JOE and Maureen Hayton headed to France to build a home for their family’s future, turning their backs on Scottish rain clouds.
Before arriving in Villefranche du Périgord the couple ran a horse-riding centre and game feed business with their daughter in the Borders.
But the desire to sell-up and buy a home for themselves and their daughter’s family became a reality when they bought a former hunting lodge and the surrounding fields.
“In Scotland we would plan to do something tomorrow and come the morning it would be pouring down, eventually you get a bit browned-off,” said Joe Hayton.
“So we thought let’s finish work a little earlier and buy something suitable for our two families.”
Their daughter Tracy had worked alongside her parents on the horse-riding centre and now with her own daughter and husband has joined her parents.
For Joe and Maureen the thought of starting afresh did not worry them as they had ran a variety of businesses in the UK.
“We had built properties before so the chance to work on this house and then the barn into two gîtes is something I look forward to doing,” Joe said.
“And in time we have received planning permission to build two new houses in the field below the house which we intend to let, providing an income for the future.”
The couple, originally from Salford near Manchester, had spent some time in France looking around the southwest.
But the chance to buy their house had a stroke of good fortune to it.
“We had spent quite a few holidays with friends in the Pyrenees and been around a lot of the Dordogne looking at properties,” Maureen explained.
“One house we’d seen was almost perfect but when we enquired about it, it had gone.
“But the estate agent called us the next day to say this house was available and we bought it almost straight away, without it going on the market.”
But the move from Scotland did not go as smoothly as the couple hoped, which was not helped by a fire on the ferry they were due to catch from the UK.
“Our ferry was delayed which we did not find out about until we arrived at the port, so we were a full day behind,” said Joe as he shook his head.
“So instead of being here for the furniture we were a few hours behind and the lorry had got stuck on the lane up to the house.
“It appeared the whole village was there with the gendarmerie and the mayor also helping out, that made one heck of a first impression.”