We will have lived in France four years and four months, lived in our house four years last week. Wow! The time has truly flown.
Those who have been following this blog know that we have had some good times, but boy we have had some tough times; and it has only been this year that I have fully recovered: back to being me
As a result of my full recovery I have taken over the management of our small property management business, set up the website, and promoted the hell out of H: He is good at what he does.
Because of this H (my new abbreviation for Danny/Rich, it’s just easier!) has had more work and last week we realised that it was actually the first ‘holiday’ we have had since living here.
That’s the thing with an adventure like this: you’re setting up a new life when you move to a new country: bank accounts, language, culture, in France in particular finding your way around the mountains of admin. All the things that you just took for granted: like opening a letter and reading it, or being able to pick up the phone to sort something out just goes out of the window.
This was our house when we viewed it, the paper on the walls was damp and mouldy in the living room.
Our kitchen had the unit you can see and nothing else. It had to be taken out and H built us a kitchen on a budget, and over the years we have actually taken the wall between the laundry room and kitchen.
When people embark on this type of adventure they want ‘the land’ but as I have written about before land means work! Add it to having to translate everything, renovating, trying to build a business and oh my! So suffice to say to have an adventure is hard work, unless you don’t have to work, or have enough money to pay others. And you are always doing something, if it’s not work it’s the house, or admin, or in our case starting up two blogs, writing a book, setting up an Etsy shop, and so much more beside. We are always on the go, and we haven’t taken any kind of holiday, until now.
Life intervened to make this a holiday, where we took a break from everything, including admin, and housework, and renovation and gardening: it made me ill.
I am the driving force, H would tell you that. But my failing is that being a ‘doer’ I cram things in to every day. I am always looking to achieve, but this last week I stopped. We did the basic tidying that you have to do on a daily basis, we lay in bed until mid-day (albeit with a cup of tea), and we chilled. H had a window to fix that was smashed in the winds the week before last, and every day he said he was going to fix it, and every day I said it was fine. It’s not freezing, it didn’t have to be done on our week off. Being ill, and still not one hundred per cent even now, made me stop.
Yesterday was our last day of our holiday and with the fuel to drive around we had spent the total of twenty-two euro. It proved to us we didn’t need money, we just needed each other and simple things like sitting in the washer-woman’s wash house watching the rain plop into the river in the beautiful Chailland.
Or just chilling with tea in the morning with the Welshies, who couldn’t be happy seeing this every morning.
As we sat in the garden last night drinking our last bottle of red wine (before our self imposed change to not drink on weekdays) H looked at me and said ‘I have had such a lovely time, and really felt as if I have had a holiday.’ I agreed with him and it made us realise that life has changed for us: being busy has enabled us to appreciate the holiday we have had, and also made us realise that we don’t need money to have a good time.
Here is to more galavanting, time permitting.
But just one other thing: if you don’t have bad times then you won’t know good times, that is the biggest lesson we have learnt from this adventure. If you’re not busy, how do you enjoy relaxing? Or does each day just merge into another? I have also learnt from this break that you can get caught up in the busyness and forget to sometimes just stop, and that there are so many beautiful places just on our doorstep, we just need to take the time out to enjoy them.