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Michael and Margaret Vyse - Retired school inspector and teacher

Many people dream of moving to France and doing up an old house. But it was the prospect of creating a garden near the Medieval hilltop town of Domfront that brought Michael and Margaret Vyse here.

"Lots of people restore houses but we are not good at DIY," says Margaret. "So we worked on reclaiming a garden out of the overgrown and marshy land here instead."

"We've got about two hectares now (around four acres) that we've turned into an English garden. The climate here is very similar to southern England and roses grow well. We have Kiftsgate and Rambling Rector climbing through some old pear trees, which French people, in particular, love to see.

"We are also part of a horticultural society in Domfront. Every autumn it organises a plant festival (Plantes en fête) with a plant exchange for unwanted plants."

Michael is also a painter. He has a studio between the château and the church in Domfront where he welcomes visitors to look at his work and talk..

"Everyone who comes says how interesting it is," explains Margaret. "All his paintings tell a story and he sometimes draws inspiration from the Orne countryside. He also does woodcarvings in relief and in the round that people like very much."