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Rural France by Linda Proctor


I was born and bred in Whitstable and still visit family there from time to time, but after spending 9 years in the RAF travelling around the UK and Germany, I seemed  to be moving on every few years ever since.  

We moved to the Charente-Maritime in South-West France in February 2004 with our two daughters, Cally and Kirsten, then 2 and 6. We bought a large, but rundown Charentaise house, Le Moulin de Malineau, in 4 acres of lovely gardens with a fully stocked carp lake and spent the first year building two three bedroomed gites in order to make a living here, in what is quite a poor, heavily agricultural area, despite the proximity of Bordeaux and Cognac.


Wine Vats in what is now Matisse  – a 3 bedroomed Gite


That first year was very hard work – 12 hours a day, 7 days a week – so much for a stress free life and spending more time with the children. 

The children found it hard to settle at first, but we are very proud of them. They have never moaned or tried to get out of going to school even when they’ve had valid excuses. 

Cally was the first English person at the tiny local village school – a big change from private school in Chichester. No allowances were made for the fact that she spoke no French at all, but she has flourished and is out-performing her peers now. She loves it here and wouldn’t want to move anywhere else. There are more English children now but, ironically, they receive much more help than Cally ever did – some of it from Cally.


 Matisse as it is now!


Kirsten has found it more difficult, but since we discovered she had a problem with her ears and indeed couldn’t hear anything much at all she has had an adenoidectomy and is faring much better. She is much more confident and a non-stop chatterbox in French and English.


The Driveway To Le Moulin de Malineau 


We are just gearing ourselves up for our second season of holidaymakers. Things have been a little slow and the money is always tight. Somehow we’ve found some change down the back of the sofa to make some more improvements, like new tiling round the pool and a 9 hole pitch and putt.




We’ve been through a lot with accidents and illnesses but we’re determined to stay and in the end, we wouldn’t change a thing.


Neil & Linda Proctor
May 2006

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