My Story


From my days running a nighclub in France to, travelling around Italy learning the language and trying to find a place to lay my hat, settling in my own little piece of heaven and starting a new business.

Here is my story...

Part 1 "Learning The Language"

As I looked up from weeding my allotment the snow covered foothills of the French/Italian Alps stare at me with such a welcoming smile a warm feeling entered my bones even though the temperature was below five degrees that’s why I moved here I thought, undergoing this interesting journey of relocating abroad, learning another language and culture at the age of 42.



A large grin arrives and a chuckle as I think back on what brought that decision to the forefront of my mind, having to return to school at the age of 42, imagining I would be sat in a classroom with 7 year olds and being the victim of the school bully again.

Learning the language had to be the foremost objective for me, as I had already experienced how it was to live in a foreign country without the knowledge of its language back in the late 80’s. I had made the choice to move to France staying for only 8 months, even though I had gone to run a nightclub. My staff was French and only so many hand gestures & charade moves could be made. 

The embarrassment of having to ask my only one member of my staff who could speak very good English to translate as I dismissed someone, or having to sign a police statement that was written totally in its native language, not having a clue what had been written, only the trust of the officer who’s English was as good as my French (I would like a croissant please).

So learning Italian was a must, I booked into 7 language schools across Italy with two things in mind learn the lingo and maybe find my final destination. I had the intention to Live in Umbria but no decision had been made it was just a reasonable priced area of Italy with a large expat base from across Europe that could allow me an opportunity to find some work.

So In 1996 I left my four-bedroom home in Cheshire and a well-paid job ending up a year later converting a dirty old cantina (cellar) of 55 sq. In a beautiful mountain village called Airole in a beautiful part of Liguria, close to the Coast and France.

Donkey Shit

Cantina Door

Airole became my home, washing pots in a restaurant and that’s where my new adventure began.

I had stayed in Airole around 10 years previously through family friends that had bought an apartment back in the 1970’s, well I say an apartment the first purchase was a room with bathroom and another was bought eventually.

Piazza - Old

Over a decade they had required a number of rooms, alongside, above and below each other. They were converted into two apartments a system that some buyers still use to gain or grow a property, as I have done, of which I will talk about later in my story.

Airole, a quaint village of a population of about 300 situated 10km north of Ventimiglia, which is the old customs Italian / French border town leaving Liguria to the Cote D’Azur. It’s a village with a heart being the busy piazza where you can still find the locals sitting down passing time chitchatting in their local dialect, old woman wearing black gossiping and the smell of good home cooking seeping from doorways and windows around the village, making you hungry even if you aren’t as my waist line found out in time.

Piazza - New