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They talked amongst themselves for a while before saying something about down on the right.

It was then I realised they were talking to each other in English.

“You're English?”

I was amazed.

In the middle of nowhere and totally lost we'd found probably the only other English speakers for miles around.

But there was little time for small talk. There was some poor person in Gaillac who’d been waiting two days for their pony.

I memorised the directions and rushed back to the horsebox. All we had to do was follow the road we were on for a quarter of a mile, turn right at the main road and after a few hundred yards we'd see the church.


We set off with renewed optimism. Until we found the candidates for main road. We had them narrowed down to two – one of them turned out to be a farm track, the other was narrower.

And we were wedged again. High banks of soil and stone all around us and no room to make a proper turn.

I have travelled past that junction many times since and every time I pass by, I marvel at the fact that anyone could turn a lorry that size in such a tight space. But they did. One driver at the wheel and the other outside shouting instructions. The giant horsebox moving a few degrees at a time, as it rolled backwards and forwards into the main road.

From there, we found the church and were back on my pre-planned route. A few minutes later we were pulling up outside our new home. It was nine o'clock, Friday evening. Sixty hours of hell were over.

We stepped out of the lorry into a mild star-lit night. No wind, no rain, no hint of sound. We'd arrived.

And the electric fence was up and working. The keys to the house were where they were supposed to be. It was as though a line had been written under the previous sixty hours – all torment wrapped up and safely buried in the past, a new life about to unfold.

How wrong can a person be?

(next chapter - The First Day, House Hunting and Toilets)