So how does a bike-riding, trumpet-playing, home-loving English bloke come to have a house in a part of France which even most French people don’t know about?
It’s thanks to the Wessons, the family of an ex-pupil, who kindly let me stay in their lovely little house in St. Andéol-en-Quint, near the historic market town of Die, in the Drôme valley, twice in the Summer of 2012: once as part of a quartet of cyclists, and then with the Wessons themselves, after I’d cycled down there from Exeter. They took me in despite knowing I must be mad.
Anyway, to save you the trouble of reading all the ins and outs of the French property-buying process, I shook hands on a house in Les Liotards, Romeyer, about two miles outside Die, on the last day of 2012, the deal was done on my birthday in March, and I spent a week in April with some brilliant cycling friends turning the place into a showroom for Ikea.
So that brings me to August, and my first extended stay in the place. Would it be the dream I was hoping for?