Page 0009

LEGGETT IMMOBILIER - LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST 9

T

HE AREA AROUND

Montbron is not typical of

the flat countryside often

associated

with the Charente.

It was here, at the highest

point in the Charente, that Mick

and Natalie bought their holiday home ten years

ago.

But the best laid plans of

mice and men are subject to

change. The holiday house,

destined for occupancy just

once or twice a year, became

very much more when the garden, designed to be at its best

in late summer, was created

around their home.

"It was the space that

first attracted us," Mick explains. "We

were living in a very

pretty Sussex village overlooking the village

green. But a

flat in a Victorian house near

Horsham could never compare

to the nine acres we have here."

And so the holiday

house became their home.

Mick moved his tree surgeon

business - "lock, stock and

two smoking chainsaws" - to

France, where the couple both

now work successfully. Natalie's

name, of course, will be familiar

to many, not just as Trevor

Leggett's sister. She manages

the Call Centre and arranges

viewings, accommodation

and all the other necessities

vital to ensure a successful

house-hunting trip to France.

Mick, however, had to

start again from scratch. Little

by little, he re-established his

business. Firstly he worked

predominantly for expats in a

very wide radius, sometimes as

many as two hours' drive away.

Then, as his language skills and

reputation increased, he was

able to work closer to home. He

now has predominantly French

clients.

Tree surgery is very specialised. "All

too frequently we hear

of people who come over here

to retire and enjoy the good

life. They get out a rusty old

chainsaw to lop off a branch,

climb a tree and then fall. It's

far better to minimise risk and

get someone with the right

equipment who knows what

they're doing."

Building a business - like

renovating a house and creating

a garden - takes time. So their

first decision was to try living

in France for 12 months to see

how they would get on.

"We managed to survive

that first year. One or other of

us was ready to book the car

ferry for the following Monday

morning more than once during

the year. Fortunately, neither

of us wanted to go at the same

time," Mick explains.

"We learned to speak

ABOVE

Mick Dempsey &

Natalie Leggett, and

their own piece of

'the good life'RIGHT

Natalie makes

the most of her

flowering garden

LEGGETT MAGAZINE INSPIRING PEOPLE

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