Alex and Clare face camera. A noisy scooter goes past.

CLARE: When we bought the land, it had planning permission for a three-bedroom family home.

ALEX: Perigordian-style.

CLARE: Perigordian-style family home. With a turret.

ALEX: And under-house parking for two 2CVs. Do you want a top-up?

CLARE: No thanks.

ALEX: Don’t mind me.

CLARE: The notaire – that’s the lawyer – said, to keep the planning permission, we had to carry on building the house. [SHORT PAUSE] If we stopped for 12 months, we’d lose the permission. [SHORT PAUSE] But we were never going to build the house – we didn’t have the money for one thing – and we thought, if you can build a house, you can build something else.

ALEX: Or put up a tent.

CLARE: And we had all this support. When we met the mayor in February, he said he loved the idea. Everyone loved the idea. It’s a great idea! Planning permission went in, in early July. We were only expecting it to take a couple of months – three months tops.

ALEX: Why 2CVs?

CLARE: So we moved over in August, which is a holiday in France. Planning was closed for another two weeks in September, for some kind of meeting. The 12-month deadline for the previous planning permission expired in September.

ALEX: It’s a small car.

CLARE: And we didn’t find out until December that the land is in a non-constructible zone – and the mayor wasn’t supporting it any more.

ALEX: It’s a family home. What if you had – I dunno – a Saab estate? Or one of those four-by-f…

CLARE: Turns out the land was always non-constructible. But the previous mayor overrode the lack of constructibility and – ta-da – suddenly it’s not a problem any more. Mayors have that much power.

ALEX: Suppose you’d have to have the house re-designed with one big garage and apply for planning permission all over again.

CLARE: Which is why we’re waiting for the new mayor to be elected in March.

ALEX: Or park it in town and buy a 2CV as a kind of… What? Have I got a red-wine moustache?