After a brief interlude back home I am again in France, this time more seriously searching for somewhere to settle down.
Before I left, back in October, I was staying at Nicholas’ in Ruffepeyre, and visited a ruin on the outskirts of a village some 60 km away.
A small building with solid walls built out of the most beautiful stone, with a tumble down roof in need of complete replacement. It stands adjacent to a communal track, a field away from the village overlooking its land.
There was no running water on site or electricity, but I was promised that both were available and that the ‘house’ had renovation permission that included a small extension. Its terrain faces south, about an acre of pasture in total which I dream of turning into a productive vegetable garden with fruit trees in the boundary hedgerows and perhaps a tiny camping site somewhere shady for the walkers that pass by in the summer time.
I have just been for a second visit with my current HelpX host. Brigitte kindly drove me there, she was excited to see the project too. We visited Limogne market en route, picking up bits and pieces for a lunchtime picnic and I had the opportunity to explore the local region a bit further.
The site is more amazing than when I saw it the first time. I had braced myself for a disappointment as I thought that my imagination may have run wild and created some fantasy place in my head, but it hadn’t. It was almost exactly as I remembered. The land is slightly more sloping, which is excellent news, almost completely secluded from passers by at the lowest point. The funny barn structure is bigger and more solidly constructed, 10 m by 12 m, with an additional 5 m of hardstanding at the front which will make an excellent workshop and storage shed, not to mention immediate chicken enclosure and sunbathing terrace (for my visitors of course). There are still the most tasty of apples on some of the trees, and in the weak November sun, one can see that a good proportion of the land gets plenty of sunlight throughout the year.
The biggest excitement and discovery is on a small, oddly shaped patch of adjoining land. I didn’t get chance to explore during my last visit with the agent, but this time, without any time constraints, my expectations have been verified. After looking at the plans on line, something told me that there was a source of water there. My thoughts proved to be true. A well with an almost complete hand pump, almost completely full to the brim. I reckon the water level to be at about 2 m, so an excavation on ‘my’ side of the fence should reveal similar. My beans and tomatoes will be happy after all.