On the Friday before last, me and Clare were talking over dinner. Our estate agent had told us that the person buying our house was good to move in on the 21st. Of this month.

So we needed to find somewhere to rent in Brighton for a couple of months, before going down to France as we’d always planned. My suggestions of a caravan in a trailer park and a houseboat were swiftly rejected on the grounds of comfort and sanity. Short-term lets being non-existent in this part of the world, I’d found a campsite near Hassocks where we could pitch a yurt. It had washing facilities for clothes and people, but Clare wasn’t crazy about spending the first part of the summer holidays with two kids, in a field, while making yurt covers, just so I could carry on commuting to pay our still-considerable bills.


Then Clare had the radical idea of going to France, instead. We looked at the figures. It would cost half as much to live in France as it does here. And if we stayed, we’d probably have to sign a six-month lease, only to leave after a couple of months and risk losing a few precious grand. Why not lose those few grand in France?

Look after the thousands and the hundreds of thousands will look after themselves, as my grandmother never said.

Not to be outdone on the ideas front, I remembered the wwoofing network. We could go and stay on an organic farm – for nothing. And learn valuable skills about working the land. And meet people. And get an early start on our French. And start working on our land. And other ands.

Like: And turn our three grand a month of bills into… zero.

We slept off the wine we’d drunk on the way to having this idea, and we were still happy. So after a very excitable weekend, I went into work on the Monday and told them it would be my last week. Then we started getting ready to move to France. On the 20th. Of this month.

I sourced a trailer – a nearly new Daxara 238 if you want to know – eight by four – very handy – and we talked to a company about moving everything else. We found a car to replace the one that had decided to die in this country. (More on this, later.) We brought the deadline for our guest yurts forward and Clare started making a cover for 18-foot yurt we were going to take to the organic farm.

Now the reason I’ve been writing in the past tense.

Two days ago, our buyer’s buyer dropped out of the sale.

So we’re not going to France. On the 20th. Of this month.