How it all began...


We came across La Taillede and fell in love with this magical place about a year before we had any hope of putting in an offer for it! We had decided with my (Ali's) parents that we wanted to have a family project, involving forestry, plenty of animals, holiday gites and our own produce; all bio, all ECO and with the aim of being as self sufficient as possible. This is a massive project for a couple with a young family (Olea was a toddler at the time and I was pregnant with Simeon) but we felt we could manage something like this with the support, practical skills & enthusiasm of my parents, Nigel & Gina, and with a fair bit of clueless optimism & madness of course! So, on day ONE of researching the market, May 2013, at up to 1000m altitude to a seemingly forgotten hill farm we found La Taillede sitting majestically in front of the snow topped & locally sacred Mount Canigou just above the village of Corsavy in the Pyrennees Orientales of Languedoc Roussillon,. We were one hour drive away from the coast & where we were living at the time; in a villa near Collioure, SW France.

We followed the estate agent up the bumpy drive for what seemed like forever; i wondered    where on Earth she was taking us; but on arrival we all gawped at the main house; I  remember hearing my Mum gasp!

We all knew we could live here happily pretty much  straight away; it just had that feeling for us, and that was before we saw the Shepherds  cottage and the incredible arched barn attached to it (once used for the shepherds lucky  sheep!).

The main house, a big old rambling farm house, had 2 separate apartments, one with 3 bedrooms & 1 with 2 bedrooms; ideal for us all to begin with. The roofs were in great condition, the views were magnificent, and with over 50 hectares of forest and pasture (although unmanaged & totally overgrown), we were sold! But couldn't buy it.... yet. Hmmm..... what were we doing here other than dreaming? We felt deflated.

Then we met the previous owners; a collaboration of sustainability scientists from all over the world. Their dreams of turning La Taillede into an international meeting place for scientists to discuss environmental issues were crushed when they were unable to get the permission to do what they wanted with the buildings.  We got on with them all very well and they thought we were the right people to take La Taillede on. They were even happy to wait until we were ready to buy! As it turned out, the notaires took so long to do the paperwork, probably because they thought ours was a very strange situation, involving a lot of trust between the sellers & the buyers.  We were all mostly waiting on them in the end, not us, but we got there eventually. We signed the compromis de vente in 22nd April 2014, a very long meeting with a lot of people in a small, hot room & baby Simi wasn't loving it, but we did it, and completed at the end of July 2014.