Like many British carp anglers, the thought of one day living and working in France as an Owner or Bailiff on a carp fishery has never been far from the forefront of my future thoughts and aspirations.
Four years ago, whilst on a fishing trip to France, I met Martin, one of the owners of Lillypool. He was on holiday and had Lillypool booked for himself, but he was kind enough to let my group fish the lake at very short notice after we had been badly let down by another lake we had booked.
After a really good weeks fishing and more beer than I can remember, we exchanged email addresses and telephone numbers. We would definitely keep in touch once back in the UK after having had such a good laugh all week.
Fast forward three years and after numerous more holidays and trips to help on work parties and a few boozy nights out in the UK, Martin and I had become really good friends. Martin then tells me about a second lake he is thinking about opening as his second carp fishery and he’s looking for a partner to share the project. After a quick trip out to see the lake and plenty of discussions on costs, my house is up for sale. There is enough equity for a share in Martin’s new project. This could be it – the dream was getting closer!
Another year passes, two sales have fallen through and the economy in the UK is dreadful. Selling my house is going to be far from easy. The dream is fading somewhat, but I know that nobody else has bought into the share of the second lake. Maybe there are other ways and I’m still in with a chance?
Only a few weeks pass since the last house sale chain breaks, it’s early April 2013. I receive a call asking how my meeting with the bank had gone… In principle, I could re-mortgage to release funds. ‘Great news’, was the reaction. ‘There have been some further developments. The current Lillypool bailiff is going back to the UK in six weeks time and I was wondering if you are interested in a job’. After nearly soiling myself, I said that of course I was interested.
The next 4 weeks are somewhat hectic. If I can sort all my things in the UK, I’m moving to France!! Needless to say, I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip. The house, money, job and all, sorted! This is it – I’m moving to France on the 4th of June. The time comes and I can’t wait for the challenges that lie ahead.
Six months on, many a friend made and many a trial navigated, I have settled in nicely and am very happy here in France. The dream has most definitely become a reality. The reality though, is very far from what I had dreamt! The last six months have been a massive learning curve and far more demanding (both physically and mentally) than I could ever have imagined.