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Montaigu on the day we viewed it in 2015.

So we said ‘Goodbye’ to Montaigu on Tuesday. It was an emotional day and as the day closed we sat in the awful gite we’re renting exhausted.

It was such a rush, as most moves tend to be at the end, that we didn’t have the time to have a final walk around our garden, or say goodbye to our neighbours. But we did say goodbye to our beloved departed cats Molly and Sophie, we know their spirits are not there, but we said goodbye anyway. I said goodbye to my Tree of Tao, and thanked it for healing me, and I took one last look at the view across the valley, never to be replicated. I will always treasure it as one of the gifts I have had in life.

Sunrise in Ambrieres Les Vallees
Misty Mornings Ambrieres Les Vallees
Summer Moon Over Fields of Gold. Montaigu Ambrieres Les Vallees

Although we will return to say goodbye to our wonderful neighbours we did meet with our dear, and wonderful French friends Martigne and Michelle, affectionately known as Cheeky.

Moisy (Rosie) and Martigne 2018
RD and Michelle 2018

They had called us the night before the signing, and when we arrived at their home there they were as welcoming as ever, with beautiful champagne and Tarte aux Pommes. They have both been so kind to us over the past five years. RD will never forget his outing with Cheeky to replace his tyres, that man has so much energy and joie de vivre it’s infectious. Martigne has been one of the kindest people I have ever met, but recently her life has been turned upside down having received very bad news about one of her sons, news that nobody can offer words that will help, other than to say ‘I am so Sorry’. It made me think how much change has taken place since our BBQ at the end of the summer: Mark and Nadia splitting, us leaving, and now this. My heart goes out to my dear friend.

As we left we threw Covid caution to the wind, as is necessary sometimes, and hugged deeply, and we all cried. I’m crying now. It’s a constant reminder from life that everything changes, and sometimes those changes are hard, and heartbreaking. But necessary, as they have to be. I will email Martigne often with photos of our new life, she will be one of the very few people I will stay in touch with from this adventure.

It was a subdued journey back to our gite through the dark French countryside, it seemed as if all the houses were shut up, disappointed in us for leaving. As a very tired RD drove I found myself singing in the bleak midwinter softly; it seemed to calm the dogs down and we trundled on, frighteningly homeless, and somewhat bewildered.

Our small van was crammed with the last minute stuff we hadn’t packed. I have been sorting through it yesterday and today and find myself becoming more and more mercenary: towels that have seen better days, oven dishes that take up so much space, glass containers, all going, let’s make space for something new. This is a bigger move than when we moved here: with a twenty hour boat journey, as well as a total of seven hours driving. We are now changing our plans, letting them go and letting life show us what we should do re our treasured possessions.

The dogs are stressed to the max, and me, the person who used to try and make Christmas perfect is sitting surrounded by this….

But we don’t care, we have each other. We’ve been contacted by many caring friends, and we have our son and pets. What is Christmas anyway,

For us it’s about the New Year now, when we toast to our old, and bring in the new whilst looking out to sea in Ireland.

Au revoir Montaigu, it’s been a blast….

Happy Christmas everyone, in this strange year let’s make it a mellow one.

Rosie

The Sun Setting December 2020. The End of our French Adventure