Absence makes the heart grow fonder

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When I first got home the peacefulness of where we live came over me like a wave. It was not lost on me how blessed we are to live here. The birdsong that surrounds us, and the rolling hills.

Then I walked into the kitchen and saw all the hard work that RD had done painting the whole kitchen white (five coats on the ceiling! One of RD’s characteristics is temerity, no doubting that!) what hit me was the size of my kitchen. I had not realised it was that big!

I love my home, but I have learnt that home is wherever you make it. So enjoying where I am right now, and counting my blessings in the here and now.

More to come ….

Rosie

I realised this is all part of the adventure

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After writing my last post A retrospective blog: Going Home…. the wonderful Ed (more of him in a moment) came down to us all and told us that there were dolphins swimming alongside the boat. Going back out in the sunshine not only warmed us physically it warmed us spiritually as well.

Alongside the boat was a school of dolphins, all female with their calves, it literally took my breath away as they leapt out of the water, inches in front of me. They followed us for at least an hour of our three hour journey and it made me think of just how precious nature is.

Ed explained that due to recent over fishing in France they had not seen the dolphins for some time because sadly so many had been killed. But due to the limitations put into place by Covid 19 the French fishing boats had not been out as much and the dolphins were now back alongside the boat. It was perhaps telling that as we approached French waters the dolphins left us. Perhaps Covid 19 has something to teach us after all.

I decided to stay on deck because the sun had warmed me up, after the freezing cabin below. I just let the breeze blow through my hair, and watched in amazement as the cormorant that followed us, so far out to sea, was one minute floating on the air currents and the next hurtling towards the sea in the shape of an arrow, plunging deep, and coming back up with a fish in its’ mouth.

As I stood on that little boat I realised that if you had told me ten years ago that I would be standing on the deck of a little fishing boat from Jersey, making my way back across the English Channel to France, watching dolphins and cormorants I would have laughed at you; it was so far from my reality at that time. And I then realised that IS the adventure: change, things you didn’t ever think would happen, and how important it has been in all of this to keep an open mind to all possibilities. This is truly the adventure.

But more was to come when we arrived in the small port in the pretty seaside town of Granville.

Port of Granville in France Stock Photo: 102271541 - Alamy

If you look to the right of this photo you will see the wall where the boat came in to dock. We had been warned that we may have to climb up a vertical ladder, they were not kidding! But more than that they did not warn us that we would have to climb one ladder from the boat across to a platform and then step across a meter gap to the vertical ladder on the wall with the sea directly between you. I don’t like heights, the platform was moving and I froze. Bless the wonderful Ed, he was so patient with me as I started to cry with fear. But it was when I could see my husband, and all my girlfriends who were going back to Jersey to work, calling out encouragement I thought of how desperately I wanted to get home, and I said ‘No, I am going to do it.’ The lovely Ed put one leg across to guide me and held my arm and I went for it.

I have never shot up a vertical ladder so fast in my life, with my wonderful RD waiting at the top to pull me up.

We had to go through the formalities with some very officious gendarmes, I hugged my girlfriends goodbye and good luck, they had to go back down the ladder after all! And with that we were off on our journey home.

Home the most wonderful place of all, with my puppies waiting to see me.

And my long awaited glass of wine (sixty eight days with no alcohol!)

This really is turning in to a bigger adventure than I ever anticipated.

Rosie

A retrospective blog: Going Home….

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Sun Shining On Sea Stock Photos & Sun Shining On Sea Stock Images ...

I have been back home for ten days, with intermittent internet access (good old France) and I had written this blog on the boat coming home ready to share. I thought I would share with you all now, with more to come…..

‘I am sitting on the boat as I write this, half way back to France.

The fates have been kind to me and the fifty five kilometre winds have abated; and whilst the boat is rolling, the sea is generally okay, but I am writing this to take my mind off the hovering feeling of nausea and how cold my feet are! I am excited to be going home and at the moment that is the only thing keeping me warm. I am so pleased that I rescued my gloves back out from my bag of winter clothes that have been left back in Jersey until they can be ferried home another time.

But what a journey it has been so far: the sun is shining and shimmering on the waves, the winds are light and as the little boat chug, chug, chugs, plowing through the waves, nature and the vastness of the sea and sky never ceases to remind me of how insignificant we are.

There is something about the expanse of sea and sky that always grounds me.

I am going home….

Rosie

‘And Homes the Most Excellent Place Of All’ …..

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The sea is the most beautiful turquoise blue today, and this view never ceases to take my breath away. I have made new friends, despite being at work; and I have giggled every day. Drunk more hot chocolates than I normally would, seen nearly every beautiful beach in Jersey. But I am not home, and in the words of Neil Diamond from the fabulous song ‘Heartlight’: ‘

‘Cause everyone needs a place
And home’s the most excellent place of all’

Thirteen years ago Rich sang that song, and he cried as he struggled with where we were at that time. I have loved that song ever since.

If you love good music thus is for you…Heartlight

I go home tomorrow in a small boat, to my home, and I cannot wait.

Thank you all for your positive thoughts

Rosie

Hoping….

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It’s been a while!

I am still in Jersey. It has been nearly eight weeks now, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I want to go home.

My work had assisted in finding a little cargo boat, that I have taken to calling Boaty McBoatface, to take me home last Wednesday.

I duly completed the paperwork for travel during this pandemic and sent it off. The French immigration came back asking for proof that I lived in France. I duly sent four bills, and my tax returns from last year and the not yet completed (because I am stuck here!) Tax forms for this year. I could have opened a bank account with the amount of documentation I sent! But the good old French immigration department waited until the day I was due to travel to say that because I had mistakenly ticked a box on the form that didn’t apply to me (the other two boxes applied: I was returning to my home address, I was travelling across France to get to my home address) they had refused my application.

I have lived in France long enough to know that because the restrictions are being lifted on Monday they don’t want to do the paperwork. The only problem is if I leave it until Monday I will be cutting it fine to get the boat on Wednesday. As the old regulations apply I have filled in the form again and done it now. I am placed with fantastic people, but I am desperate to go home, and they understand that.

I am not going to lie, there were a lot of tears on Wednesday, as I had to open my case and get some clothes back out.

Add to that in the afternoon I fell over a concrete block, and I fell hard. I actually counted my blessings that at fifty-seven I didn’t break my hip, arm or leg. I guess having some weight on me helped, but I think mainly it was all the years I taught aerobics. (Mental note: I must resume exercising!) On Wednesday I felt very sorry for myself. But the lovely lady I am with told me to have a hot bath, and boy did it help. I didn’t realise how much I was in shock.

I came over with only early spring clothes to wear. Summer is almost here so luckily the garden centre (which has beautiful Italian clothes) had a 50% sale, due the pandemic. Five dresses, five tops, three pairs of trousers and four pairs of shoes later, I have consoled myself with some retail therapy. (It’s been a long time coming!)

But it doesn’t make up for being with RD, who is finding it hard, or my beautiful furries.

They are all missing their mummy, and, boy, am I missing them.

But being me, I have pulled myself back together, but I am going to ask all my readers to send some positive thoughts that I get home next week, because they would really be appreciated.

I however am going to break with my normal approach of thinking well and just this once I am hoping that bumptious official in immigration has a shitty bank holiday weekend!

Namaste!

Rosie

Consider Every Little Nuance

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I posted this on my newsfeed a few days ago. It touched me when I read it because, at times, I have felt overwhelmed; not by the thought of the Pandemic, but the hysteria that has reared it’s uglier head as a result of it.

So before I go any further I want to stress: for those who may choose to see what they want to see in the midst of the hysteria that seems to be gripping the world, this post DID NOT advocate going outside and breaking any lockdowns.

So please if you feel the need to comment about self-isolation then read the post again, and again. See every little nuance.

This is a post about understanding: merely a post asking people to understand that what may not be essential for you, may be crucial for someone else. The items (paint and compost) are items that are sold in most supermarkets across the world, so someone could buy them whilst shopping for food.

RD posted it on various sites and a lot of people thanked him for saying what they were afraid to say. Yes, ‘Afraid’! Because they thought they would be shot down in flames by the very people who had also commented in the fashion of ‘You should not break the self-isolation rules.’ And worse….

It highlighted to me the hysteria that has taken over the world. With self-appointed Facebook police jumping on anyone who dare not share the herd mentality, or question some of the things that are happening. The media who are not (or haven’t been until recently) asking the questions that should be asked.

Like ‘What’s the fucking plan?’

In England we clap for those in the NHS bravely doing such a hard, emotional, heartbreaking job. But we don’t question the fact that the NHS is still woefully without the equipment needed. We are shown arial views of car parks, told they have been set up as testing sites, but they are always empty, with frontline NHS staff refused tests, whilst ministers get tested instead.

I have seen very few people question this, why?

All over we have care homes, full of the most vulnerable in our society, especially where Covid-19 is concerned, left to fend for themselves. In the UK they were not even being counted in the ‘stats’, why? Because they don’t count? It is only now, months into this pandemic that the questions are tentatively being asked, and even they are not enough.

Why is nobody as outraged about any of this as they are outraged if their neighbour decides to buy paint? I would ask why over and over, but I know why, because they are not interested, they are only interested in attacking others, it is so much easier than considering something that is actually quite frightening, if you consider every little nuance.

In France there are people who recently asked why there were camper vans parked in a local car park, they were outraged that people were on holiday. The people in the campervans lived there! But those asking and shouting loudly, didn’t even stop to consider that some people don’t live in houses. Because surely everyone must live in a house!

These are the very people who are so outraged if someone dares to buy something that may well keep them sane, and stop them from killing their family. There is such an irony that these people cannot see their own mental frailties.

Recently I changed my profile picture to this.

I kid you not when I say that someone commented on how we were not social isolating! It was taken in December (my hat is a clue) but they just jumped in, not even an inkling to consider any little nuance, like my hat!

My son answered them before I had a chance to.

Why is the general consensus not considering the depth of damage that will be caused in mental health? The children who are trapped with an abuser, day in, day out, who will take that into their lives in the future. The partners trapped in an emotionally abusive or violently abusive relationship, the people locked in flats with their loved ones who suffer from dementia, mental health problems, drug addiction. Those who will lose all they have worked for, their livelihood, their homes. Who is giving any thought to those who have no food? Has anyone considered the impact of this lockdown, which will, over the years, kill more people than Covid-19 itself?

As someone recently wrote you have to give people a deadline, something to look forward to. Although it may not exactly appear as promised, it still gives people hope.

The lack of emotional intelligence in this whole sorry saga has been highlighted to me time and again. The herd mentality to only see what we want to see, and attack any who don’t want to be part of the herd has been depressing.

I fear that more than Covid-19. I fear what the world will become.

Rosie

Pulling myself together

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How often do we all get caught up in the crap, and not see what is front of us? Right now, at this difficult time in the world I think it’s a good question to ask.

I am currently in a very difficult situation; people feel challenged, and behaviour reflects that, and I am caught up in twenty-four seven, as is the nature of my situation. Add to that not being able to go home, and not being able to see when I can go home, a d I started to get down. So this has been a test for me, where I have had to put into place all that I have learned, philosophically, over the past few years.

I am not going to lie, a week last Wednesday I could have cried.

But I reminded myself to see the positives: Another step closer to Ireland, and to not focus on the negatives. I wrote my journal, put some coping mechanisms into place (namaste) because I knew that the only person who was bringing me down was me! I have the skills to deal with this, and I knew that life was testing me to see exactly what I had learned.

I reminded myself that I could either let things get to me, or not. The only person who could control it was me!

So last night when I was talking to RD and he told me of someone who he had worked for who had taken a turn for the worse with regards to an ongoing illness (other ailments are available); and also of how France is now predicting a recession not seen since the second world war, I felt ashamed for moaning about my situation.

I have spoken often about the difficulties in people finding work in France, and most of those from the UK who work are self-employed, just as RD is, and live hand to mouth, just as we have been. Consequently there is no work for the builders, plumbers, handymen, gardeners, painters and decorators, and so on in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. What is often a difficult situation anyway is now a thousand times worse.

RD and I already knew how lucky we are that I have this job (and a big shout out to a close friend for helping me) but last night that really kicked in when RD said that someone had put on a Facebook site that they were down to their last two euro fifty, and asked if anyone could help.

We know that feeling, we know how hard it is. The person was not in our part of France or we would have given them some money. We have lots of debt to pay, and catching up to do, but even ten euro would help in a situation like that. Can you imagine not knowing how you will feed those you love?

I know some would think that they may have been conning people, but it was good to see many didn’t, and offered food parcels and help. At this difficult time surely we need to let the cynicism go, and just help in any small way.

More than anything the conversation helped me to focus: I am lucky, as always life sent me what I needed, and I can assure you I am not complaining now. Whatever is difficult for me I will be sucking up and getting in with it.

So now I urge others who are feeling down because of what’s going on, let’s think of all those struggling to eat, feed their children, or their animals, who are stuck in flats, or in an abusive relationship, who have mental health problems, those who are living in fear, lets not lose site of the bigger picture, and help others where we can. To just count our blessings and use that to keep ourselves going.

That’s not to say if you’re feeling low to not have a good bawl, breathe deeply, and get back to it.

My God I know I have.

Namaste

Rosie

Only in France!

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RD are still apart! The island of Jersey has no boats, or much else, to take us home. The earliest booking you can make is the 1st of May. Given I have been back over since the 19th March, and on day fourteen of twenty-four hour work I can tell you that the 1st of May looks like a looooong way away!

Anyhow a quick little story to wet your appetite for more posts to come. RD went to the local Super U shop yesterday for a few things, mainly for the animals because we have come to realise we spend more money on them than we do ourselves!

Needless to say he had to queue. All the chariots (also known as shopping trolleys) had been taken away and as you got to the doorway and a shopper left a young girl took their chariot, disinfected it, and passed it to the next shopper who had finally reached the door. All duly waited their turn. Then…. lunchtime arrived! The girl went of to lunch without a word, until the disgruntled French in the queue began gesticulating with their arms. At which point she came out, said ‘ I am going to lunch’ and left the French to a free for all for trolleys – disinfected or not!

Covid 19 clearly stops for lunch!

I think that just about sums this whole thing up! I know you couldn’t make it up!

Rosie

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