This is for those people who may read my blog and think that they could never do it, never make that move.
For over eight years Rich and I fell in love with France since our first visit in 2007. But we had a son who was eighteen at the time, and his friend who also lived with us of the same age. When they left home to go to uni in 2011 I suddenly realised why people felt so strange when their kids left home.
We had a beautiful Edwardian house in Herne Bay in Kent in a road that led down to the sea. It was idyllic and I know that most people would ask why we decided to move. The house was big, we realised over the years since the boys left home that we hardly used any of the rooms in it. We felt caught on the hamster wheel, having to work long hours, for people that were frankly at time arseholes, some days getting up at 3.30am so that Rich could go to work as a delivery driver for a building firm for £7.50 an hour!
My job, as Head of Patient Experience and then as a Patient Experience Manager for a well known failing NHS Trust was thankless. Dealing with members of the public whose lives had been changed forever and who were understandably distraught to people whose expectations were so high they could not be met was relentless; added to that the feeling that once someone had raised concerns it was the responsibility of the PALS or Complaints Department, and not those who had caused the concern in the first place I was clearly being dumped on! It quite simply made me ill.
To keep our house we had to stay on the hamster wheel, and we started to feel was it really worth it?
We knew that life in rural France was vastly different, simpler. No we would not have lots of money, but we would not need it! We needed a simpler life, a change of pace, but at the same time we also needed a challenge.
It was not easy. I loved my house, and I was truly lucky to have lived in it. After the offer had been agreed last November I found myself often with eyes full of tears, stroking the walls, not believing that I was giving her up; continually reminding myself that it would be the “last trip to Canterbury”, the “last walk along the beach.” Leaving our neighbours was hard as they were, and still are, our very close friends.
But all I can say to people is do you want to continue to live the life you are living? Are you happy? Do you want to be where you are in ten years time? For us Herne Bay had a large number of elderly residents (although new families were moving in and it was changing) whose houses were falling down around them, and we knew that we did not want to stay and “wait for God.” There was a big world out there and we wanted to make that change, live our life and see where life took us.
I am a true believer that life will show you the way. I hope that you will enjoy our journey, warts and all, and my reflections on life – after all I don’t have to please anybody now so I can say what I want!!
I hope it inspires others…..
It’s all copy!