Andy and Emmanuelle Sutherland bought Ivy House from an English couple, Steve and Sarah Lee in September 2010. At the time of writing this page, we have been running the business for just 4 weeks. To give you an idea of who we are and why we have ended up in Normandy, I have decided to write this page.
We met whilst on holiday in the United States in October 2002. I was living in England and I wanted to visit the wonderful sights in the western side of America. None of my friends shared the same interest so I decided to go it alone.
Emma is a teacher and was living and working in Ottawa, Canada. She is French but had been working there as an expat for a couple of years. One of her dreams was to visit the Grand Canyon and that is the reason she was on the trip.
We had both booked to go on the same trip with Trek America which started in Los Angeles. I had arrived there and as it was very late, I decided to eat in the room and watch a bit of TV. She would do the same; unbeknown to me, we would be watching the same movie: As Good As It Gets. This would become apparent later in our story.
During the seven days we were in America, I hardly spoke with Emma but when we did, I felt something for her. There was an occasion in Las Vegas where we managed to talk for a while, away from the others in the group. As daft as this sounds, something told me that I should be with this woman! I know it sounds mad but that is what I felt.
As the trip was drawing to an end, I tried many times to spend some time with her but each time, someone else would get in the way. I remember the last night at Yosemite National Park and I tried to tell her that I had some feelings for her. This was extremely difficult as there were lots of others from the group and I did not speak French. She spoke English, but not as fluently as she does now. I remember telling her in some way that I liked her but I don't think she understood. She just laughed; probably to be polite as she didn't understand. That night, I lie in my tent wishing that things could be different as the next day, we would all fly home.
To make matters worse, the next morning Emma came to me and said, "I wish you were French". What an insult, I thought. As I was shell shocked by this statement, I overlooked the fact that she was telling me that if I was French, perhaps things might have been different. When I had come to my senses, I sort of understood what that meant but it didn't make me feel any better.
As the tour was coming to an end, I made the brave decision not to carry on with the last part of the tour in San Fancisco. As Emma's flight was before the end of the tour, she would need to leave a little earlier than the rest of us. It was a gamble to wait with her but at least I was going to give it one last try.
As we were waiting for her flight, I tried to explain that I had feelings for her. This was really embarrassing as I did not know what she was thinking. I'm sure a lot of what I was saying was lost in translation; however, when I asked her what she thought about what I had said, she said, "Andy, you are in love with me". Was I? If I was, how did she know if I didn't? I know the French are suposedly arrogant, but surely not her! It turns out that this was the only way she could say that I fancied her.
That time had come and she was called for her flight. Was this going to be one of those desperate holiday romances that lead to nothing? Before she left, we had agreed that I would come to Canada to have a holiday with her. No one could have believed that this was the start of something special; except me of course. I was determined to make it work!
To make the story work, there has been:
8 trips from England to Canada
100+ trips from England to France
3 trips from England to the USA
1 Marriage in France
1 baby born in Paris
1 baby born in St Nazaire
I can't remember all the details; however, I wish I could claim the frequent traveller miles for my trips. Between us, we must have covered more than 400,000 kilometers so far. That is probably a conservative estimate, but it is a lot all the same.
We were living together in England and my wife found it hard to settle. In 2009, we visited the D-day beaches and I enjoyed the area. I said, half jokingly, that if we could find a house and a business here, I would come and live in France. Et voila; we now own Ivy House in Normandy.
I'm sure there will be much more to our story and probably thousands more kilometers. I haven't covered everything in our story but for the moment, that's it. Except for one small detail that I missed out: there will be 1 More baby to add to the story. He will be born in Cherbourg (more than likely).
I hope you have enjoyed our story and feel as if you know us a little better. We would be very happy to welcome you to our new home in Normandy; we certainly need your business to make our story last! ;-)
The latest addition to our family, Loic, was indeed born in Cherbourg. Born on December 2nd 2010, we now have three boys under the age of five. Combine that with a new life and business in France, you can see how complicated our life is. With that said, we are extremely happy and feel blessed to have what we have.
We hope you decide to come and share our home. Now we have even more mouths to feed, we certainly need your business!
Related pages: D-day Beach Holiday Cottages  Sainte Marie Du Mont  Bayeux  Sainte Mere Eglise  How To Find Ivy House  Utah Beach  Bed & Self Catering Breakfast  Dead Man's Corner Museum  Port En Bessin  Carentan