We did look at land in the UK. But even though we were selling a house for what I consider a decent chunk of change (£100,000 profit, such is the madness of the housing market in the last seven years), there was no way we could afford to buy a field big enough to live on.

We reckoned we’d need two and a half acres of woodland to be self-sufficient, and at least an acre for cultivation.

Clare’s always had a hankering to live in Italy. But neither of us speak the language and it’s a very long way in the car.

We thought about Northern France. But someone told us it was wetter there than it is here and, although great news in terms of water continuity in decades to come, not particularly conducive to living under canvas right now.

To the bookshop!

A good map and a few guide books quickly narrowed our search to Aquitaine. More specifically, the Dordogne. More specifically still, a triangular shaped area between Bergerac, Sarlat and Périgueux. And even more specifically, near a couple of breast-like bends in the river, just off the D29.

A quick web search revealed a piece of land that looked perfect, up for sale by an agency called Orpi. I sent them an email and, naturally, received no reply.

Already fully committed to the project, with no doubts lurking in the shadows, we decided to take a closer look.

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