Buying a home in the UK was not possible for British couple Paul Mapley and Yip Ward. Prices were very high. In the area where they lived, they had to pay at least 300,000 pounds (358,000 euros) to buy a tiny house. This option was never on the table for them. “We always rented and lived in a – really nice – mobile home for a friend. But when they wanted to sell it, we started to worry.”
In their research, the men looked beyond national borders. Finally, in 2019, they ended up in the small village of La Buslière in French Normandy. A friend wanted to offer them a cottage for sale there. They paid 10,000 pounds (just under 12,000 euros) for it. It was their last cottage in a row of several cottages. “After the first purchase, we became aware of the fragility of the rest of the class, in that they were in danger of collapsing if left unattended for years, with roofs collapsing in places and allowed to re-enter,” reads the GoFundMe page of the two. In 2021, they can also buy the rest of the homes for a total amount of £12,000 (€14,300). As a result, the entire village eventually came into their possession.
The village of Paul and Yip consists of six cottages, two barns, a horse stable, a workshop, an cider press and a communal baking oven. Also, there is no electricity. According to the GoFundMe page, the homes have been empty for about 25-30 years.
Camped in a well-equipped place
The couple plans to turn the village into a luxury vacation destination, renting cottages and opening a luxury camping site. But it will be some time before the first guests arrive. The two had to work their way through the vegetation and only after some time could they estimate how many houses they had actually bought. “It was like squatting when we moved here, but we feel very comfortable now,” Paul told British media. “And we get along well with our neighbors in the next village. They whispered about us when we arrived, but not because we are the only gays in the village – there are more of them living in their village.”
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