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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!



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.


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.



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!


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.


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.




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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.


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.


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.


Change: Time for something new


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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.