Perspective: We are not doing the driving

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Just a quick post before I go back off-grid.

In the light of the Covid19 virus putting us all on lockdown, I just saw this on Facebook and it made me smile.

Man thinks he has it all under control, but he doesn’t. Never underestimate the power of nature. Like I always say: someone else is doing the driving.

In my absence I recommend the following:

The Book of Awakening. Mark Nepo

The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho

Stay safe, be kind, don’t be selfish.

Rosie

Changes: In seasons and life, just taking it in my stride.

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At this time of immense change in the world (I really don’t think the world will be quite the same again and in all honesty I don’t think it should be.) I am sitting in my chair in the window and the spring sunshine is streaming in. Isolation has been imposed in France, and whilst we can shop for essentials only one person is allowed in the shop and you have to carry papers as well as passport to say why you are out and about.

I get it, they are trying to shut this thing down, and whilst I have never bought into the panic, it seems the sensible thing and I am happy to go with the flow. All things change and I am happy to accept change, anyone who reads my blog will know that. There is no point fighting against it, because it will come anyway.

So I am going back to work early. I am now in a care giving role, and have to go to the UK to give it. Care still needs to go ahead, people who are dependent will still be dependent, but with the daily changes I volunteered to go back early just in case. I recognise and care for a wonderful person and I don’t want to let them down. This means that I will be back off grid primarily for a week or so, so I will set up posts to go out there in my absence.

At the momentI am enjoying my time with RD, and hoping I will only be gone for 18 days. I’m cherishing the blossom on my old cherry tree, it will be gone when I get back; and it may be the last time I see her blossom: I will be leaving her here when we move on, setting her free from the pot and hoping she survives in the garden. I have had her nearly twenty years. But we cannot hold on, we have to let go.

So at this difficult time, here is something I borrowed from another post on Facebook. It says it all really.

Rosie

Silence

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I am sitting in my bedroom and the spring sunshine is streaming in, something to warm the soul.

Since arriving home from work the thing that has been the most soothing for me is the silence. Calming, thought provoking, thought soothing silence.

I can hear the wind blowing on this blustery day, I can hear the birds tweeting, I can hear my Welshies snoring, as they snuggle up beside me in bed, I can hear the clock ticking, and they all add to the sense of calm the silence brings. but I can hear nothing else: no traffic, no sirens, no motorbikes, no cars revving, no buses…..

The first thing that hit me on my return to the little part of the UK that it turns out is actually it’s own little country, being only five miles by nine, was the traffic. The permanent constant hum twenty-four hours a day; punctuated only by louder revs, the hiss of brakes, and sirens. It shocked me, I have been away from that for five years.

On arriving home the first thing that embraced me was the silence, and I welcomed it.

When we search for our new home the level of noise will have to be considered, that’s now on the list.

Rosie

Life’s lessons: What have I missed

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I have been away from home for nearly two weeks as I write this, with still no internet as it is not available where I am. When I post this I will be, no doubt, sitting in the terminal waiting to board my boat home.

There will be a series of these posts about life’s lessons because it is clear that I will learn many lessons on this stage of my adventure. But this one is about what I have missed with regard to England and what I have missed with regards to France.

I have not been back to the UK for nearly five years, and whilst I am not on the mainland, the first thing that hit me when I got here was the noise of the traffic. In fact just the traffic.

Whilst I know that returning to England is an unlikely option for me I have missed the food: crumpets, hot buttered crumpets, sometimes with a poached egg on top. Part of my job has been to encourage someone to eat, and adding little things like that to the menu has been a joy. I have missed coleslaw! The French make coleslaw but I don’t like it, and one of the first things I had was a ham sandwich and coleslaw, creamy, thick cut slaw. I will taking some home with me, along with crumpets, tea bags and two thick juicy sirloin steaks. Beef in France is not hung for days, as it is in England, and we have had only one filet steak since we have lived there, because we find it too tough. So on Sunday we will be having steak, with mushrooms cooked in butter with lashings of black pepper and boy am I looking forward to that meal with my lovely husband.

But it is not really about the food, it’s the language, I have missed being able to go into a shop and not have to think about what I am going to say beforehand and rehearse it in my head. To just speak to people in your mother tongue is something to be treasured, take it from me. I have missed that simplicity of life.

What have I missed about France? I have missed my husband, dogs, and cats most of all, and I know RD would understand when I say, not necessarily in that order. Time with our animals is short, and I can speak to RD on the phone, but I do feel as if I am wasting precious hours, minutes and seconds of the time I will have with the dogs and cats.

I have missed cooking in my home, I didn’t know just how much I enjoy cooking until now. But my hope is I can set up a career in Ireland selling hot street food, and doing something that I love. But that is all I have missed. I have missed my house and my beautiful bedroom, and I will treasure the peace and tranquility when I get home. I have missed the birds in the trees, but I have not missed,the evil ex-pats, or the bloody bureaucracy : although I have so much to sort out when I get home, and the more it piles in the more my decision, our decision to move on stands fast. My mind is set now.

More to come.

Rosie

Off Grid! Huge changes!

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So here I am nearly two weeks in from losing our internet. I have now been off grid for 12 days, apart from one trip to good old Maccy D’s to pick up some emails, and there is still no sign of Orange repairing anything. In fact I was advised yesterday that the engineers do what they like, and Orange find them difficult to control, because there is a shortage of them. I find that ironic in a country where people need work, perhaps Orange should think outside the box and put some apprenticeships in place.

I cannot begin to describe how difficult is without the internet, and have lost count of how many times I have told people I am off grid but they then email me documents, or message me! We have an air printer that won’t work and it is frightening how we all rely on the internet now. What about all the people who cannot afford the internet, or the homeless, how do they stand a chance?!

The attitude of Orange is just another thing to make me reconsider France.

Much has happened, and decisions have been made. We are putting things in progress to make that move onto the next stage of our adventure. Life showed us the way in many ways: not least realising that there is so much negative energy generated in the ex- pat community in this area that it is like a beacon, and more and more shallow, insecure people are joining the throng. Just as Deepak Chopra and the book of Cosmic Ordering confirm the energy generated is the energy that comes back.

I have lived here five years, and written often about the people here. Being off grid has allowed me to sit and write my journal nearly every day, and clearly this was just what life had planned. I realised the level of negativity, petty jealousy and nastiness that underpins life here in this area, and I have come to many conclusions, including going back to the UK to work.

In the the book ‘ The Cosmic Ordering Service’ they explain that the left hand side of our brain (the conscious) can take in 7 impressions per second whilst the right hand side (the sub-conscious) can take in 10,000 impressions per second. It sees and understands so much more than your conscious brain, but we often don’t listen to it when it sends us small messages telling us which way to go. After writing in my journal I have come to the conclusion that there is a low level of emotional intelligence around me, generally. With everyone fighting for a buck, and undermining each other. It was time for things to change.

Writing my journal I realised that my sub-conscious had suggested something to me, a job, a while ago, but my left hand side of my brain had talked me out of it. But a few weekends ago we encountered people, and a level of ignorance and lies like we had never experienced before, which finally brought things to a head. We realised just how low people will go out here to get money. We have often had it said to us ‘Oh they’ve got money, you should charge them a higher rate.’ We have seen people over order building materials and take the surplus. Quite simply that is not us. Our rate is our rate, and we would no more over order materials than the man in the moon. In fact when a client recently gave us a tip for the good work we had done I told him I thought he had overpaid.

I am who I am and I am not, and we are not going to lose our integrity to live. If we lose that then we could have all the money in the world but we would not be living. Sadly if you don’t have emotional intelligence then you won’t understand that.

What happened was the straw that broke the camels back. We are not like these people and we don’t want to be associated with them, or even have them on our radar. To the point that RD said, ‘get me fucking out of here.’ To work out here we have to interact with the English, and apart for a select few, quite simply we don’t want to. It was a no brainer that I went back to the UK.

It isn’t just the salary, I realised when I wrote my journal just how much I have been starved of emotional intelligence, I am at risk of stagnating, and I cannot stand it any longer.

Then on Sunday some dear friends came to see us to tell us that they were moving back to England. It did and didn’t surprise me. They had been here the same amount of time as us, they had built up a community of ‘friends’. When I asked why, they too said it was because of the ex-pat community and how they too had been stabbed in the back.

I knew it was life telling us to move on. In addition my friend suggested a job for me in the UK which pays well, it was the very job I had talked myself out of only a few weeks ago. I knew it was life telling me to do it.

I have applied and I am now sitting in my seat on my way to my new job! (Hence the internet connection!) After the first conversation with my new employers I realised just how much I have missed intelligent professional interaction on a one to one basis, missed talking to others who are also professional in their approach. It felt as if the door had finally swung open, and the sun was streaming in.

It will mean having to leave RD for weeks at a time, and I will miss him and my puppies and kittens so much. But it will give us choices, it will give us the route we need to leave France and move on to Ireland. It will allow us the choice to only interact with those we want to interact with, it will give RD a break (not counting the lists of jobs I have for him!), it will give me interaction with professional people who are not only looking for a fast way to gain a buck, it will allow my brain to be used to its full potential, but, seriously, it will give us freedom.

Life will show us the way. It has confirmed it is time to go.

We have let go of the rice.

Wish me luck.

Rosie

Change: Time for something new

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Image result for mark nepo quotes

We  have decided that it is time to move forward. When I started to draft this post I did say  ‘but not quite out of France yet.’ Now I am not sure if we will stay in France once we have moved from this house or make our way to pastures new.

I wrote last January about the discussion we had about whether to stay or not. Since then we have been reading ‘The Book of Awakenings’ by Mark Nepo, and so much of it has resonated with us. Not least letting go.

I believe we all hold on so tight to things sometimes, just like the monkeys who won’t let go of the rice in the coconut shell that has trapped them. So they die, because the hunters catch them. When all they had to do was let go, uncurl their fist and take their hand out of the coconut trap. ‘Let go of the Rice’ is now quoted at the front of my journal and also my diary.

Once RD and I discussed turning off from this adventure to a new one, once we ‘let go of the rice’ and the fear of failure; once we realised that we were not failures by doing things that the critics would fear to do,  the things we needed came our way: more work, more understanding, which led us to also understand that it’s not just the work that is hard out here. It is so many other things beside.

My late dad, God rest his soul, was Irish. Born in Tipperary, called Patrick. As a result I am an Irish citizen. I have my Dad’s birth certificate and I am waiting for my long certificate to arive and I will then apply for my Irish passport. I have no sentimentality for my country, I am sad the turn it has taken over the past few years.

As a result Brexit will not affect me, not sure how it will impact on RD whilst living here, but I do know that once we move to Ireland he will also apply to become an Irish citizen. We are proud to be part of the European community. But that is not why we are moving. There are many reasons, being starved of emotional intelligence is one of them; but also we are not getting any younger, it would be easier to find work, or set up businesses in Ireland, and there is also the language.

Language is not as simple as just learning the words; there are the phrases, and sayings and slang and underlying meaning that all have to be considered. I can speak some French now, can even talk on the phone in some instances, but constantly it is extra pressure that to be honest as I am getting older I don’t need. I have a life to live and constantly translating beauracracy is exhausting and depressing.

We are not getting any younger; and whilst we are only fifty seven this year it may take a couple of years before we move, and if we leave it too late it will be too hard to do any other renovations, or start business. (I think I will be taking all I have learned in my cooking repertoire with me.) So now is the time, we think life has sent us enough messages.

Whilst we are here we will continue to love where we live, dance and sing with our wonderful friends and neighbours, and we will see as much of France as we can. I will forever have fond memories of our wingback chairs in our picture window, it is our favourite place to sit, and we always cherish the here and now.

We have talked a lot about it. We do believe that life shows you the way and where you should go, but right now, based on the here and now, we will be going to Ireland, with it’s beautiful countryside and no need to talk to only English people.

Let’s see what life has to say.

Rosie

Courage.

 

Taking every day

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We are going to move, our mind has been made up. But more of that in a other post. Because of that we are savouring our moments in our house.

Today France has been lashed by storm Ciara, and the winds are getting stronger, with the rain sleeting down. We have embraced the French culture of doing nothing on a Sunday. Last week we sat in our wingback chairs in our picture window reading blogs and Mark Nepo, so RD, after a week of hard work, asked could we do the same.

So here we are with the cats (this one is Diddies) watching the storm go by, and cherishing our time here.

Taking each and every day.

Rosie

We laugh, all the time

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I thought I would share a quick story this Friday (Friday? where the hell did this week go?) something that I hope will make you giggle.

I recently wrote about my aunt who had recently died well my sister sent some photos to me that my aunt had in her keeping; and the above photo is one if them. It is a picture of my sister and I on holiday, probably somewhere like Clacton, or Margate.

I casually passed the photos to RD when he got home from work, he didn’t have his glasses on and I hadn’t really looked at the photos in depth, and he asked ‘is that a real donkey?’ !!!

What made it worse was I said yes!

He the said with incredulity ‘ Well! I’ve never seen a donkey that looks like that!’

I then looked at the photo! I couldn’t breathe for laughing, so much so I had to stand up!

Still giggling today.

Here’s to a good Friday.

Rosie

Grateful: Sepia tinted memories

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I was born on my auntie Edie’s thirty-third birthday. My poor mum, it was five minutes to midnight and auntie Edie was screaming at her to push! Because of the significance auntie Edie was told she could name me, she suggested Claire, and my mum told her to sod off! (I am certainly not a Claire!) So with the help and suggestions of the Doctor in attendance Moira was chosen (yep Rosie is my pseudonym).

We had our ups and downs auntie Edie and I, we were probably too alike! But in the midst of what could be an awful, belittling toxic family (with my mum being the youngest, so normally the one vilified and put down, and I being her youngest child) auntie Edie was the aunt who stood up for me; she was the one who told me not to listen to them when they said what a horrible child I was (my strong personality and toxic insecure people don’t tend to mix). She was the one who told me to ‘tip them arseholes!’ She was the one who always believed in me, along with my late uncle Mac, I loved him so. Even though he used to refer to me as ‘that little cow’, he was right I am!

When I was sitting my A’levels auntie Edie took me out to the rose garden of the affiliated working men’s club that she ran with my uncle Mac, and she helped me choose the roses to take to take to my exam and draw. She had an artist’s eye, and could sew, paint and knit anything she turned her mind to. I will always remember when she painted the ceiling of their Victorian flat a deep green, people thought she was mad, until it was finished, and stunning.

Like me auntie Edie could be a cow; she would argue and we argued, until she realised that I wasn’t like my mum, I wouldn’t capitulate and cry, I would stand my ground. I know that overall she loved me for that.

The memory of auntie Edie for me was when I visited her after RD had left Me. I was crying and said how I wanted to stop, she looked at me and said ‘why don’t you then?’ I did. She then gave Tom money to buy Kentucky fried chicken, because she knew I couldn’t afford it, and that he was struggling seeing his mum in the mess that I was.

That moment was a massive turning point for me at that time in my life, and auntie Edie features in my book in the days of our recovery. I had no mum by then, and she knew that, and she took that responsibility seriously.

I did visit auntie Edie once after I moved to France, the one time I have returned to the UK, I had to visit my favourite aunt, in the knowledge that time was limited.

Sadly auntie Edie died last night, alone as so many elderly people are nowadays. From what I understand she died in her sleep, a blessing in what had become a sad ending to her life. I have no doubt that uncle Mac, young and handsome came to collect her, and I will think of them, jiving in heaven.

Rest In Peace Auntie Edie I was blessed to have a character such as you in my life.

Moira

If anyone knows of an old person near to them who is lonely, please consider spending just half an hour a week with them, for companionship. Let’s change the world this year in small steps.

Thankful

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I will be writing quite a lot this week, there is a lot to share, and perhaps this is a good place to start.

I have shared the photo of my favourite place to sit because so many people comment on the view from the window, and how beautiful it is.

It is, and for that I am thankful.

Today I shared a fellow bloggers post on this site because it really resonated with me: how we take things for granted, and fail to appreciate even the smallest of things. She has asked people to join her in a ‘being grateful’ challenge, and I have joined it.

I am sitting in my red chair, on a rainy grey afternoon, with H sitting opposite me looking at God knows what crap on his iPad, and I am grateful because one day I will remember this beautiful place where I had the opportunity to sit and write.

I am saying this because we have pretty much come to the decision that we will be leaving this house, and as soon as it is where we think it should be decoration wise, we will be putting it on the market, it will be this year.

We won’t leaving France, for now, but we believe it is time for us to move into a new chapter in our lives. The minibus is off down a new lane, deviating from the plan we have never had!

After Molly our cat died, in the early hours of New Years day, I allowed myself to sit with my pain for the first few weeks. It was something I learned to do a long while ago, but I also knew that life goes on.

The new year here is often the most difficult time (isn’t it everywhere?) with no worked booked, the cold,grey skies, it can drag you under. So after a week or so every morning before I opened my eyes I made myself say thank you: for having a warm bed to sleep in, a house to live in, warmth, my husband sleeping beside me, our son, and his attitude to life, our dogs, who we are so aware are only ‘loaned’ to us, our cats, our ability to reflect and on and on. It pulled me forward, and although I still miss Molly every day, I no longer ‘make’ myself say thank you in the morning I just do it for the benefit it brings.

So one morning a couple of weeks ago, when RD was down, I told him how he needed to see what he had, told him what I had been doing, and how beneficial I had found it; and as I was saying this to him the iPad started to ping, with people enquiring about our services and booking work. Literally as I was telling him. The power of positivity!

So will you join me? Will you share one thing every day (if you can) about what you are grateful for? Or join Eliza on this link ?

Let’s change the world, let’s not talk about mental health, let’s do it.

Rosie

I will be blogging again today, there is someone I need to say goodbye to.