In a bizarre twist of events not long before we moved out here, we were contacted by the makers of a Channel 4 docu series focusing on Brits starting new lives in foreign climes. The series wanted sunny views, trials and tribulations and ultimately to inspire viewers that they could live their expat dreams too. The researchers had seen our tweets and website and would like to interview us for the series...
One cringeworthy Skype interview/screen test later and weeks of hearing nothing went by. Not that this really bothered us - we had a lot to be concentrating on and some of us (me!) were very reluctant about being on TV anyway so we put it to one side and forgot about it. Cue two weeks before leaving work, leaving friends and family and leaving the country and we receive the call that we are all lined up to take part in Series 2 of 'A New life in the sun' - oh and can we film you next week?! OMG!
And so our small screen career began. A cameraman from TruNorth TV arrived at our house in the UK (weird), filmed us packing boxes as we pretended it was normal to have a camera in our faces, then interviewed us in our old back garden as we awkwardly tried to be 'natural'. He even filmed us later that evening at a family BBQ whereby rain arrived on cue as we put the sausages on to cook!
Suffice to say the film crew were then with us throughout our first four months of life out here in France. There was nothing they wouldn't want to film, including capturing the articulated removals lorry as it arrived in our rural village, negotiated a long, steep reverse up our track and a significant lunge into a ditch! They were there as we tried to make a dent in seven acres of grass jungle armed with only strimmers, they were with us as we frantically prepped the barn for our first guests (painting, cleaning, building bed heads) and even quizzed some of our guests on how successful their stay had been (thank you guests for being so patient!).
As well as the day to day stuff, they caught us on camera almost missing the Tour de France as it rolled through our local town of Saint Antonin Noble Val (not a great start for a cycling based business!) and proceeded to follow us on cycling route recces, cafe trips, and even a strange search for a 'secret' cave...
Being followed by a camera - often two - was certainly an experience and I won't lie, I personally didn't enjoy it! I think we all had our own unique take on the experience and hopefully the other three will share their feelings about being on the small screen so you can see how our enjoyment of being on camera differed!!
Whatever our individual views were, we did all agree on one thing which is that we're a new business and this year it will be crucial for us to get cycling guests booked in if we want our life out here to be permanent. Not everyone gets an opportunity like this handed to them so we took the chance and did our best. What we all hope now is that the national TV exposure will give our new business a boost, showcase our wonderful region and our amazing new accommodation. Please viewers just don't be put off by our 'on camera weirdness'!
You can catch 'A New life in the sun' when it airs from Tuesday 3 January, 3pm on Channel 4. Tours du Tarn is set to make its debut on the show from the 16th January 2017.
You can catch our reaction to seeing ourselves on the small screen by following our Facebook and Twitter accounts - links at the bottom of the page.