During my travels in the Far East in early 2012, it was clear that a new direction was taking shape for me; one that would enable me to fully focus on finally writing my debut album and leaving the shackles of teaching behind.
My children had flown the nest by this point and I was officially footloose and fancy free and so for the first time, I could really take a chance and follow my heart.
Initially I thought I would move back to Sussex to be closer to family but on reflection, the concrete jungle just didn't speak to me. It was whilst chatting to my brother, Quentin that the idea of moving to France came up.
I'd always felt a connection with France, partly due to my name and had imagined myself living there one day. The rest stemmed from my late father's influence, who was a francophile, having trained and worked as "Rollo" the clown at Cirque Medrano in '50s Paris. I'd previously been guided by him subconsciously in other major life decisions and it seemed he was influencing me once more.
Booking a flight and packing a bag, I set off on my search for my french idyll. The first stop was Dordogne but as my week of house hunting developed, I kind of freaked out! Realising that I would not only be moving to a foreign land completely alone but would be embedded so deeply in the country suddenly felt too daunting. This was when my brother stepped in again. "Why not try Normandy?" he asked. "It's beautiful, varied and is just across the water..."