If there's one thing I like in people it’s contradictions, when you think you know someone and they then surprise you, revealing an unexpected interest, a new capacity, a treasure hidden to those of us who sometimes forget the importance of looking closely at things and continuously reassessing our opinion of them. The protagonists of our story must have had this effect on their neighbors when, ten years ago, they decided to reinvent their life in Italy, in Le Marche.
Jane and Ian come from none other than New Zealand and are a lovely couple, who seem to stand in perfect harmony, giving up something of themselves to make space for the other. Prior to being the welcoming owners of the Cantinone B&B where they live, they were both business analysts who met at work thirty years ago. That’s right, business analysts, never had it crossed their minds to become hoteliers, they worked in banking and the transport industry. If you have a look at the definition of business analyst on Wikipedia, you’ll see that there could be nothing further from the role of welcoming people into their home. Yet they do so with enthusiasm and with a wonderful sense of possibility. They lived in London for twenty years, where they went about their day to day business, then suddenly decided it was time for a change and bought what at the time was a huge crumbling ruin, without ceilings or floors.
Prior to arriving in our paradise possible, like Maggie, Ian and Jane had considered Tuscany and Umbria, whose fame at the time far outweighed that of our region. Fortunately, a wise estate agent recommended Le Marche to them, citing specific reasons that two business analysts could hardly ignore (and one that remain entirely valid today):
- Le Marche is convenient
- Le Marche isn’t spoilt by tourism
- Le Marche is the perfect place to open a business
Of course in reality there are many more reasons to choose Le Marche over Tuscany and Umbria and it was something that Jane and Ian sensed immediately. While Jane proved to be one who learns quickly, serving us an authentic Italian coffee, she told us that they felt instantly welcomed, and that after twenty years in London, they felt like they were back home in New Zealand. All around them were new hills waiting to be discovered, their gaze following the curves of the landscape, without interruption by the ugly, concrete buildings which have been allowed to spoil many towns. And then of course there were the people: Le Marche had the advantage of not being overcrowded, bringing them in closer contact with the locals who took time for a chat, were generous and friendly. There was no distance between people, just like in New Zealand. So Jane and Ian have had no trouble making friends.
It took a while to find Il Cantinone, being good business analysts, there was a certain criteria to be met. They knew what they wanted and as luck would have it, they found a way to achieve it: they came across Possible Paradise on the internet and despite having been in touch with other agencies, viewed only houses suggested by our editor, Grazia. "We were very lucky to meet her, Paradise Possible had the type of houses we were looking for!" they told us. Sometimes things are predestined to happen. Both Grazia and Jane talk about their first meeting as if it were the beginning of an exciting novel or film. Grazia was sitting, waiting on the entrance steps of an old ruin, when Ian’s car arrived and Jane got out enthusiastically, struck by the vision of Cantinone: "It was like a promise, I immediately felt that house had the possibilities to lead us to what we wanted to build ", Jane told us, illuminated by the same bright smile that Grazia recalls from that day.
The pathway to their new life had begun and Jane started to understand the secret to enjoying their time here: by getting to know the area, embracing its characteristics, its treasures and mysteries. It’s no coincidence that the next step, Jane describes with a certain pride: the couple, having returned to London, invited our company director, Giuliano to dinner, and to accompany the final details of the agreement, decided to serve him a plateful of bruschetta! The meeting with Giuliano, with the simple yet delicious food, representing customs and sharing, confirmed to them both that they had made the right choice. With the help of a local surveyor they immediately planned out all the work: the original structure of Il Cantinone was as sound as their dream. It took a year and a half to complete the works.
At the beginning it was just intended as a holiday home, the plan to retire to Le Marche and open a B & B was still far away, a mere seed planted but one that hasn’t yet seen the light of day. However life decides the timing of our actions leaving it for us to pursue the opportunities. In fact, some time later, Ian had a minor health problem that forced him to stop working. The couple might easily have lost heart and reconsidered the idea of having a second home so far away, with still such a lot of restoration works to do ... and yet, still with a smile on their face and as ever ready to meet the challenge, they looked into each others eyes and thought: "We have a lovely house in Italy, why don’t we move sooner?". And so they changed their lives, with the ease that comes with making the right decision.
You should know that Jane has an endless collection of elephants, kept in glass cases that Ian built for her: there are all types and origins. We like to think that the most beautiful of the elephants is their immense house, which was abandoned and found by Jane and Ian, and is the most powerful symbol, because it’s not just any place but a place where dreams are realised: their paradise possible.
The Paradise Trotter
2 comment(s) so far...
By Terence on
Re: Real Lives – Jane & Ian’s dream
This is wonderful! I can see happiness in her smile!
By Ronan Joueraux on
Re: Real Lives – Jane & Ian’s dream
Well what a wonderful story this is ! Ian and Jane seem to be really happy with their new life in tuscany , now they can relaxe and enjoy life and nature. It's very rare to find people who are business anyalysts switch lives this way.