Inspired by my fellow blogger and cyber friend Kat I have included this picture. It pretty much sums up how we feel right now: incredibly sad.
There is a pervading air of sadness in our house since Molly died, she was here so long. This picture of the weeping willow weeping into the lake, all of which has been painted by the Hoar Frost, reminds me of a time of silence, and is pertinent to how we feel. Right now we need silence and solitude, just with each other and our remaining pets, who are also showing signs of grief.
But it is also pertinent because the Hoar Frost eventually thawed, and the willow came back to life in the spring; as we will too, once we have processed and sat with our pain. I know this.
I have been reading blogs today, and I was inspired by one to write a letter to myself about what I hope this year will hold, and what I hope for, and where I hope to be by the end of the year. For me that will be a good exercise because (as with all endings) I have been reminded (again) that life is short and to seize the moment. But I also know that what we think we want is not necessarily what we need.
It was not just a New Year, it is a new decade, and R/D and I had already decided to reflect on where we were ten years ago, and all the things that happened to us in our life. Not least moving here, and falling in love with Welsh Terriers. It is a poignant reminder that at the end of this decade they will not be here with us, another reminder to cherish every moment.
We will also reflect on what we have achieved, what we thought we wanted back then, and see how much of what we thought we needed we didn’t need at all. I will share some of that on here.
So today I am going to take the Christmas decorations down, it’s time to move into something new, and I am going to open my new journal (how apt that the other one ran out just as the new decade came into being!) and do my form of meditation. But not before I found out my journal from ten years ago and read what I wrote then.
Mellow New Year
If you think others will like my blog please share
As you know I truly believe that life sends you messages, and over the past few months we have had some sent our way to really make us reflect on what we have acheived, and how lucky we are that we fight on and have that spirit in us. I have said before that I do not take for granted the blessings I have been given with regard to resilience and temerity. So on to our story.
We purchased some items from a site on Facebook where people can sell their second hand goods. H went off to collect the items one Sunday and when he came back he was both shocked but also grateful. His actual words were ‘Or Rosie, I thought we had it bad!’ The couple he had visited had moved here the same time as H and I and had bought a very dilapidated house and land, for less than half that we paid for our house. When H arrived they explained that they had the land and house up for sale and were returning to the UK. The house had holes in the roof (literally) where they were simply putting tiles in the holes to try and stop the rain. The land was waist high in brambles and long grass, and the outbuildings were falling down. They had only two light bulbs in the house and lived in one room, H said it was unlikely that the roof was going to stay up for another month or two before crashing in. We worry about our cesspit but they did not even had a toilet; and they had lived here nearly five years.
But H felt compassion for them. They had spent their money and said that basically they had now run out and were selling their possessions to survive, despite having a considerable amount of money when they arrived. They had quite simply lost their way.
It is difficult to move to a new country and culture. It is not all about sunny living and long days in front of the pool. The language even if learnt (I can get by) is so difficult, and sometimes it is just so nice to be able to speak to someone in your ‘mother tongue.’ This couple had tried to register for work but had come up against the n’er do wells on Facebook, had been frightened with the bureaucracy because they had encountered difficulties; and become so overwhelmed they had given up. On everything.
I have documented often how difficult it can be living here, I have touched on how vicious some people can be. The normal response to this is ‘well that can happen everywhere!’ And yes, it can, but the difference is if you are in a place where you can speak the language then normally it easier to avoid the n’er do wells, and circumvent them. Here if you are trying to set yourself up in business then you do have to use social media sites such as Facebook and then all the little ugly trolls come out. I was brow beaten and anxious about them when I first moved here, as I have said before I was still ill from my mini breakdown; but this year my Fighting spirit was poked (or the Incredible Hulk as I like to call it -God bless Stan Lee) and my resilience returned. You cannot survive on an adventure like this withouth having the ability to to tell people to ‘fuck off’ and mean it. But not everyone has that, some people are so broken by their experiences, and do not have that natural resilience and they fall apart.
Ever the empath I asked H if he could offer some labouring work but he looked at me as if to say ‘that is not a good idea’, and when he was honest it was because he did not think they would want it, or more importantly for us, whether they would do it well. Sometimes you cannot help people when they are so lost, and that makes me really sad.
A few weeks later H went to price up a job for someone who lived in one of the large houses that you can purchase over here. They were elderly and infirm now, so struggling to keep on top of any of the maintenance work that was required, but they had also lived here over fifteen years and yet never decorated their house. When we left their house I sat in the van on the way home and it got me thinking: how many people make this move and then become so overwhelmed they just give up? I said to H about how so many people buy the great big houses, and the acres of land and never think that in ten or fifteen years time they will struggle to maintain it. Even now we know that unless I sell film rights for my book (I live inn hope!) we will not be able to stay here forever, the land is too much work now added on to running a business.
Both of these encounters made us think (as we do). Firstly the encounter with the couple enabled H to see that although he thought we were failing (his good old demon doing a number) we had in fact achieved so much. In four years of being in this house we have: put a new water heater in, a new shower, fitted a kitchen (H built it), new toilet, new kitchen roof, water has been connected, all of the house has been decorated (albeit quickly) a new log burner. Trees have been pollarded, new front doors, the garden has been maintained (to a fashion). We have had it so hard where money has been concerned, but we have always believed that life would give us what we need and it has. H realised that he was not quite the failure that he thought.
But you know failure for these people is not the right word: they struggled because they felt overwhelmed by everything that a new life abroad entails, and as a result they have lost their way. In mental health awareness week it is important to understand that and also see that you are blessed if you are able to claw your way back out of the pit of despair.
It also made me realise that although I can be driven, and although I have to ‘reign it in’, as I have said in my previous post , in life you do have to keep going, small steps every day if necessary, but keep going. But it is also important to know when to let go, to move on to the next part of the adventure, and I know my greatest blessing is that I understand that life will show me the way and I listen to it when it does.
So at a time when mental health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind I thought that I would share this with you, to hopefully help. Small steps., simple things, keep going, just slow down a bit!
For you all: I love this song, it has memories for me, but we can all be Bob.
Making This Better the book is now available including the journal entries for the first 5 years of our recovery & the whole 21 days of ‘The War’. Available internationally in paperback and ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble also available at Xlibris and Apple Books for iPad and Waterstones Bookstores for click & collect
I would love to hear your feedback.
If you think others will like my blog please share
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.
If you think others will like my blog please share
I cannot believe that I have not blogged for over seventeen days, so much has happened but time has truly run away with me.
At the end of May I signed up to self-publish my book. There have been so many people asking where they can buy it, the blog is just about to have it’s ten thousandth visitor and has just hit fifty nine thousand views. I couldn’t wait anymore, I am confident of it’s success and life will show me the way where a publisher is concerned. But….
Due to the nature of the book I have had to use a pseudonym I didn’t want to, but after a weekend prevaricating I came to realise that it is the right thing to do You can read about my decision here and as a result Rosie Joseph was born. It is an homage to my mum and dad, using their second names, hopefully I will immortalise them forever, as a big thank you to my dad, who taught me to read. So now when you look on this blog it will be RJ who is posting but I have kept the title the same.
Due to all of this I now have to re-edit my book, but now I have a deadline of the end of July! In addition I have nearly 100 blog posts on the blog of the same name to edit, so that it can be linked with the book, but sadly I will have to unlink the blogs. To say that I am busy is an understatement! Add to that new social media accounts, rebuilding followers, and continuing promotion, including Danny’s business (yep another name change my husband is called Danny now!), and doing admin for the business and I am now having to remind myself to switch off!
The French bureaucracy is driving me nuts! (Another story that must be told) and some additional galavanting and I have lots to tell.
So tomorrow I will be sitting in the sunshine of my beautiful garden, surrounded by the ever changing fields of gold, editing, editing, editing. We will also be pulling together some lists for some life changing decisions we may make in the future.
Please bear with me as I change my name, my adventures will be the same, but perhaps in Spain!
If you think others will like my blog please share
When we undertook this adventure what I did not see was just how much it would show me: with regard to the way I look at life. Since moving here I have read the Tao, still not completed reading ‘The Road Less Travelled and Beyond’, and I have touched on the great ‘regarder of life’: Byron Katie. I have learnt a lot from them all. In addition living here has given me the peace and tranquility that I needed to find myself again, I have written before that I am back, but never really fully explained why. You can read some of my posts on this here
As most of my readers know due to the pressures of my job in England, and being an empath, I eventually became very ill from stress. I did not realise just how ill I was until I fully recovered this year.
As part of this adventure I have written my book ‘Making This Better; and I have serialised it on another blog (you can click on the link at the top of the page.) I always knew that the story of what happened to Rich and I would help others, and serialising my book has proved to me that this is the case. (Nearly 10,000 views this month alone and on it’s way to 42,000 views in seven months.) But more than anything as I re-read some of my journal entries from so long ago they have showed me the one true asset that I have had all my life: my strong personality. In fact in one of my journal entries I have commented how I was fighting ‘the essence of me’ to stay with Rich. You can read this entry here
As I have said in that post when I read it I had tears in my eyes, because I knew that I over the intervening years I had suppressed it and I realised what an asset I have been given in my life. The teachings of the Tao are to be kind, that is true; but they are also to turn the other cheek, and with that I cannot always agree. This adventure has shown us people who will take advantge of that, I have written about them often; and perhaps all of those experiences was life telling me to take back the one thing that God gave me that mattered: my strong personality. you can read about some of the lessons here
Now when I read what I said all those years ago, knowing that I have taken back my strength, I feel that I am finally where I need to be with regard to what to do with life. Since doing this, it has been as if life is saying ‘thank Christ for that! She has finally realised what she has to do, now I will help her’: and since then Rich’s business has started to take off. I said many years ago that integrity was a commodity out here; and now I am managing his Facebook page and have designed his website, which I am also promoting Rich is doing well, and I believe it is because we are being us and using the skills and integrity that we have. We don’t rip people off, we do over and above what is needed and we can be trusted not to steal.
One of the things that really got to me since living here was that people can be so vicious, especially when it comes to hustling for work; we were in some ways afraid to put Rich’s services out there because of what they would say (this would never have been me before my illness!) and so we relied on others to offer us work. Now I am back that is not working for me: I want us to get our own work, I know what we are capable of as a team and I don’t want to be beholden to anyone.
In addition I will not put up with an ounce of unnecessary shit from anyone. Now if people want to be rude to us, or try to undermine us, then I will answer them right back, in a professional and businesslike, sometimes terrifying way. In fact I already have, and we got a job out of it. I find nastiness unecessary, and whilst I understand that often it is because people feel insecure or vulnerable, we all have to step up to the plate, if you are feeling vulnerable then find out why and change it; stop taking it out on everyone else. I am not unnecessarily nasty to anyone: unless they are nasty to me!
The other day I was saying about something to Rich and about how I was not prepared to put up with it and he giggled; when I looked at him he said ‘I love that so much about you: that you won’t let anyone beat you.’
We have also realised that when you undetake an adventure like this, many people who are afraid to do the same are often waiting for you to fail; add to that you also feel like you ‘have’ to keep plugging away at it because you chose to make such a huge change, and because of that you fail to see that the whole point of an adventure is change: when you embark on it, and when you are in the midst of it. As part of me coming back this year, Rich and I have been honest with each other in that we didn’t know if we would stay: and from that we then realised that was all part of the adventure to make change as we needed.
A few weeks ago I met a couple who were returning to the UK. As you know I have blogged about the fact that I was reconsidering whether I wanted to continue our adventure here in France, or whether to move to pastures new (although we know that England will not be an option.) This lady said to me that she had loved living here, but that they had been here twelve years and she believed that life went in ten-year cycles: when it is then time to move on to something new; and it got me thinking: I do believe tha life is about moving forward all the time; perhaps it is also about accepting that when we get itchy feet we should listen to the message that life is sending our way.
When we moved to the Pays de Loire area of France four years ago we chose this are because we had holidayed here twice, and we loved the peace and tranquility. We loved it because we were having a break from out two notoriously hectic careers; mine even more so. England is a notoriously crowded Island: you queue to go anywhere even to the supermarket; and I wrote very early on in this adventure how people in the UK generally seemed so angry. All of these things led us both to want somewhere in the rural countryside, where life was extremely laid back and was not overcrowded with people and so we made the choice to move to the Pays de Loire region. I have come to realise that at that time that is what we needed; and you can only ever make life choices based on what you have in the here and now.
The last four years have been glorious they have replenished me; I still love my house and the beautiful countryside around us, but as I have written recently I am back to being the real Moisy and I don’t think in the long-term that will be enough. I now need a little more stimulation, I am ready for it again. Who Knew that would happen?
A winter sunset from my garden in France
It has made me consider that perhaps we all hold on too tightly to things, and don’t embrace the fact that life is a constantly evolving adventure. Now that is something that I learnt from the Tao: no matter how much you plan, no matter how many contingencies you put into place life never goes to plan.
Add to all of this my book which means that I now interact with people whose lives have been turned upside down, as ours was many years ago; and I can see that was another life event to make us stop and change direction with our lives (we had been together nine years!) It was also an event that we have now been able to use to help other people; and I never thought that I would encounter so many wonderful people as I have. Who knew?
When I moved into my house in Kent all those years ago I thought it was my forever home; and now I am here: in France. Who knew?
Now I have come to realise that life does go in cycles, and only by embracing that knowledge can you truly find peace. So the biggest lesson I have learnt: We make decisions based on the here and now (as we should) and given that we should all expect change as the here and now changes!
I know that whatever decision we make we will make it based on the circumstances at the time and that in the future when those cirucmstances change we may well adapt and decide to do something different.
THAT is life.
So here is the thing that I have learnt so far from this adventure:
Understand that when you make a decision in life it is based on what you need at that time; but over time your needs will change, you will change, and it is okay to change direction, change your adventure and move on to something new. It is not failure it is in fact strength and bravery.
Never let go of any strength you have, if you have been blessed with it use it for all your worth: look at what has happened to us this year since I have got all my strength back. Don’t let others undermine your strong personality, it is your asset and they are envious.
So here is to strong personailities, here is to the adventurers, here is to changing direction when it is needed, or every ten years, here is to listening to life.
I am never saying never about staying here; because I do not know where my life may change again, as I said to Rich who knows what we will be doing this time next year!
I’m just going with the flow because I know it will take me where I need to go.
The view from my garden in France
If you think others will like my blog please share
I deliberately adapted this photo, of one of the wonderful sunrises and sunsets that we are privelidged to see living here for a reason.
As you know over the past few months we have wondered whether this is still the right adventure for us; I have fully got back to being me; and this has led us to a better place than we have been for a while. But….
I have loved living here, I needed to recharge my batteries and they are now fully recharged but now I don’t honestly know if this is still the right path for me. I said when I moved here that I wanted an adventure, I didn’t want to just ‘wait for God’; so we did this. But now I am wondering that is this? Is not just waiting for God in a different place? Ambrieres is beautiful, the neighbouring towns and villages are beautiful but I have seen them and for me, now, they are not enough. They don’t have enough in them (nothing in fact but that is for another blog) to inspire; add to that my need (yes need!) to work and have purpose and I will not get that here.
I believe that life shows you the way; anyone who reads this blog knows that. Over the past few months as we have deliberated our way forward I have said how living in the deep and rural countryside is very hard work: you have to clean your house every day, it is never ending. I came out here with the wonderful ideal of open shelves inmy kitchen – not in the rural countryside unless you want to wash everything every day! The garden is stunning but extremely hard work, and as I have turned 56 I have started to ask myself whether we can continue to do this for the long term and the answer is no.
As I was thinking this we visited a client who said exactly the same: they sold up their sprawling old stone house and bought a new house with a smaller garden which was manageable because their life was not their own whilst they were trying to keep on top of everything. I found it to be an omen because I had a similar conversation with Rich as we were driving there!
A few days later on the way to another clients house I said to Rich how I Ioved the countryside but that I had seen it; been here 4 years, loved it but now I needed something more. When we arrived at the clients house I commented on the pretty view and she replied that it was lovely but you can only see so much of it; and because she was so rural there is nothing to do. Again – just as I had said to Rich on the way there.
Now other things have reared their ugly heads, and made me re-evaluate life as they should and they have reminded me how you should treasure every day; never take anything for granted; and that life really is too short.
It has all got me thinking: is an adventure really about moving forward all the time?
I know that you cannot stand still and keep everything the same no matter how hard you try. You can shut all the windows and all of the doors and try and keep the world out but life will still take you where you are destined to go and things will still change no matter how you resist: you will grow older, and less able to do what you could do; your children will grow up and move on; people will move away; things cannot stand still.
So is the adventure about not staying in the same place; about doing what you have to do at that moment in time for your life and then accepting that at some point that will change? We moved here because we loved France, we were both burnt out (I was) from our chosen careers, we didn’t want to feel hemmed in any more. But now this beautiful house and our surroundings have replenished me; I no longer feel burnt out, I don’t feel hemmed in; but as a result of that I have changed again and now this may not be enough; and I feel ready to go back to something with more life than where I am. Not full on but somewhere in the middle.
When we chose our house we were moving from a beautiful house with a very small garden,and no outbuildings. So we bought a house with an acre of land and outbuildings, and all the work that entailed. We have enjoyed the time here but is this now what we really want?
Is life about accepting the changes that happen, and realising that it is time to move forward again?
So that brings me to my first photo, with the comment ‘Happiness is a state of mind’. Despite what I have said, and despite the fact that we may well move on sooner than we thought, I don’t regret moving here. Rich would look at it as a failure; until I remind him that at the time we made the decision to move here it was because it was what we needed – at that time.
We have learnt so much from this adventure: We have learnt not to be wasteful; that simple things can bring you so much happiness; that having each other (despite all we have been through) has been a blessing. We have learnt that we do not need material things to be happy. We got Wiglet! All of these lessons will be taken forward to where we go next. You see – my state of mind is that we did the right thing; I did not want to continue with the life I had before and I know that I will honestly not go back to it.
And again I have chosen this photo carefully. I love to watch washing blowing on the line. I find it so fulfilling: what was dirty is now clean and blowing in the wind and sunshine, it’s a simple thing but one that brings me pleasure; and it is all about change, dirty to clean, wet to dry, free to blow in the wind and sunshine. Yesterday Rich and I (after having many discussions this week) were out in the garden with the Welshies cutting logs and clearing the garden. It was a blowy sunny March day and I found myself looking across the valley and thinking how blessed I was to have lived here; even though now I am thinking of moving on. I know it will be a couple of years before our house sells, and even a year of more before we have it ready to even consider putting it up for sale. I also know that in that time things may change again and we may have a different plan. So right there in that moment (because that is all we have) I looked across the valleys on a glorious spring day, with my beautiful dogs running around the garden like teddy bears, and I still counted my
I looked at Rich, and he looked as miserable as sin! I asked him was there not anything in the day that made him happy; because at that moment in time I was happy. He replied by saying ‘but you said you weren’t happy anymore that there is not enough here for you.’ To which I replied:
‘I am happy in this moment in time; no I do not think that this is the life I want to follow for any future length of time but right now, in the here and now (because that is all I have) I am happy: I am happy I get to spend time with my husband in a sunny spring garden; I am happy that I get to work with him chopping logs, with the dogs running around my feet chasing the rats and chickens. I am glad that I get to feel the wind on my face and the sunshine; I am happy that I get to look out across that view; I am happy that all the little spring flowers are appearing in the lawn, and that summer is on it’s way. I am happy that I have logs to cut and logs for next winter; I am happy that we have made some decisions; Just because I have made the decision not to stay here does not mean that I am unhappy, or that I cannot appreciate what I do have.’
I then looked at Rich and asked him what he was happy with he looked at me like a rabbit in the headlights and said ‘I am happy that I’ve got tobacco!!!’
Good job I love him!
It is so clear that happiness is just a state of mind. How often do we fail to look at all the small things that are in the here and now because we have made decisions to change things? How often do we not just do that anyway!
So we will continue on this journey but there are new horizons ahead……
If you think others will like my blog please share
Nearly four years ago when we moved here we were told to chop down this old cherry tree. But she was covered in leaves and we didn’t have the heart. So Rich propped her up with a length of pine, and every year she came back, with her beautiful blossom under which we sat drinking wine
And her copious amounts of cherries. She fed the birds, she fed us.
Last year Rich set up the swinging seat I bought him (for 3€) for his birthday from it’s boughs. But when I look at it now I can see her leaves were dropping in July, and I believe she was dying even then.
Just last month I took a picture of it and you can see where the seat was. But then we noticed two weeks ago that if you decided to sit in the seat, your bum would be scraping the floor! The hooley from a few weeks ago had wreaked the final damage on her that she could take.
So Rich removed the seat and we deliberated on whether it was time to let the old girl go. She had some buds, but some parts had died and her trunk was sounding hollow. We didn’t have the heart to chop her down, but had a dilemma with the Welshies.
But as we considered what to do nature took the decision out of our hands. Yesterday, on a bright, warm, sunny day, as my washing blew in the wind
As we chopped and split yet more logs getting ready for our new venture, there was suddenly the sound of loud cracking and snapping. The Welshies stopped in their tracks and Rich shouted ‘that’s the tree’ as an almighty crack and the sound if splitting filled the air and down she came.
It was time to let the old girl go.
Poor Rich, he had just put his chainsaw away, after the chain became too loose, only to get it back out. More wood!
so in the evening sunshine we took two garden chairs up by the tree cracked open a beer, and said goodbye. We felt sad though, that cherry could tell so many stories, but nature showed us that sometimes things come to an end. It has changed the whole landscape of our garden. Everything must change.
If you think others will like my blog please share
As I sit here on a Sunday afternoon there are 80km an hour winds blowing around our house. They blew in on Friday and then subsided only to come back with a vengeance last night. I took this picture of our two chairs on Friday evening and now one is on it’s back!
The reason I took the picture was because the chairs had been positioned there last Sunday, for us to enjoy the warm sunshine after an afternoon of working in the garden. (We’re winning the battle with the tree trunks and gradually clearing the brambles)
It really was such a beautiful day, and as we sat there with a panache (shandy, a drink of lemonade,beer and a dash of lime) in the warmth it reminded me again of how all things change, and things go from bad to good and back again. As Rich said ‘there is nothing like warm sunshine to make you feel that all is right with the world again.’
I wrote only recently of how I thought that spring was going to come early (Spring and winter) and I was right. Although The Hooley is blowing it is not cold, in fact we’re into double figures and the forecast is we will hit fourteen degrees by Saturday, with sun and clouds all week. That is warm for February over here, and it is good to not have to light the fire really early every day, and to be able to leave the expensive electric heaters off. (They tax you on your use here and then tax you on the tax!)
So, after the lovely warm Sunday, winter tried to take a hold again; and all week we have had rain, mizzle (a Cornish word meaning a mixture of rain and drizzle, which is like a mist that makes you really wet!) Despite it all we have persevered with the garden because we have plans for the summer (more of that to come later: I told you I’m back!) I’m back! But some of the days it was just too wet, so I have been busy setting up a website, and finally took hold of all of our paperwork, four years worth!! All is filed away in relevant folders, every plastic docket is labelled, and every folder has an index.
I have also driven Rich (it easy to lose your motivation when you are down): So he has set me up a temporary light for my other light in my kitchen (been without it 2 years, so I keep forgetting to put it on now!) started to sort out our large wooden barn structure so that it is more efficient for storage and to work in;
And also started to strip the lining paper off our stairwell (a pig of a job) and has painted our fireplace; turning ugly to beautiful:
I think I told you, I’m back!
Where the weather is concerned Spring is winning this battle, and she is coming early: the crocus are now abundant in our garden, the narcissi and daffodils have buds and even in this hooley the rain is lashing on the windows one minute and the sun is shining the next. Persephone is coming back early this year.
I did say to Rich that we should go for a walk, but he has just brought me a cup of tea and said ‘enjoy your walk and when you get back I ‘ll have a nice cup of tea waiting for you!’ Bastard!
So just like nature I have realised that you have to use all that you have to survive in life, and that my lesson was to understand that one of my greatest gifts is my strength and fortitude. I needed to get back the old Moisy, that did what she had to do, and sometimes fucked people off! I understand now, let’s see what this year brings.
I am off for a walk in my garden now, and will be settling down for a film and roast chicken dinner I think.
Have a good day.
If you think others will like my blog please share
I have said for a few weeks that I thought we were going to have an early spring. Despite it being only January my clematis have buds on them (they are being cut back tomorrow) and the narcissi and daffodils were standing tall. In fact the winter had not really been that harsh so the crocus were few and far between but that may change now!
We have been working in the garden, clearing the logs from the trees that were cut down last year; cutting back the brambles,and generally making some final headway for our plans for the future in our garden.
At times the sun has been really warm, and I said to Rich that I thought we were going to get an early spring, and I still do, despite this happening this week..
There is nothing like a Welshie in the snow to make you smile..
Harley, ever the poser. Wiglet, ever the Wiglet!
But there is still a battle going on, today the temperature had risen from -2 to 8 degrees; the snow has melted here but not in other areas, but tonight we are due to go back to -2.
I don’t care what they are, as I sit in our new seating area, with a Welshie asleep beside me, and the fire burning I am counting my blessings: not least the amazing supportive friends and family I have, including the cyber community that I interact with.
So tomorrow we are back in the garden, it’s all part of the big plan now, we’re not going anywhere. As a dear reader said to me people would give their eye teeth to live where we do, problems an all. She was right, and I am thankful.
So, enjoy our winter garden, and the beautiful sunrise I caught this week; and look forward to seeing the spring photos soon.
Have a good weekend folks.
If you think others will like my blog please share
My faithful followers of this blog may have noticed a distinct lack of blogging recently. There have been a number of reasons:
That I have been disenchanted with life (mainly people in it); that I have come to realise that I will have to lower my integrity towards people to survive, because I know that some people will take joy (sadly yes) if they read what I am going to write; and I have had to consider whether I was going to give them that joy; and mainly because I know that people love my positivity and I have felt very negative due to experiences since living here, that have now come to a head in the last couple of months.
I have come to realise that I have always tried to look at the positives to such a degree that I have not considered the negatives; and perhaps now I need to.
For the first time in a long time I wrote in my journal, and I reflected on our life here and realised that whilst I always try to look at the positive was I ignoring what life was showing me, by not acknowledging the negative as well? Our well ran dry, our water heater was not working properly, resulting in a huuuuuge bill, our roof blew off, our truck engine seized (despite being only 6 years old), work had been difficult and my! Have we had some humdinger employers! And many other things, not least Tinky Tiny Tilly never coming home. (But if you look at the balance Wiglet the PIglet came to live with us instead.)
On the Monday before my birthday I asked Rich if he wanted to stay here in France and he answered honestly that he didn’t know. So I set to writing my journal, and asked myself some honest questions. I know that people read this blog for its positivity but I always said I would say it warts and all.
As I lay there in bed with Rich snoring and asked myself if at that precise moment in time if I had won the lottery would I stay: The answer was no; but I have to emphasise it was at that precise moment in time.
So I started to consider other options in my head: moving to Spain, where it would be warmer and (my understanding is) the cost of living is cheaper. I considered moving back to England! The main problem with that was that we would want to live somewhere remote, and would never be able to afford to buy unless it was a shit hole! But I considered it, expressly Wales, where there is more countryside and less people. Then I considered Ireland; my dad was Irish, I have relatives there, the countryside is similar to France, and the properties are cheap. But most of all the benefit of Ireland was that they speak English.
I knew that to be realistic we really needed to sit down with a pen and a piece of paper because all of the things to consider would get lost in our heads.
But as always, even though I had lost my belief a little bit because it has been so hard, I believed that life would show me the way.
So on my birthday when I mentioned to a dear friend, who is there in the background, that I was considering our options they messaged me and immediately asked what’s up! They then pointed out to me how lucky we were and that they would move here in a heartbeat. They don’t know how much that simple comment meant.
As part of the numerous birthday wishes on FB a number of people said how I was living the dream; another friend excitedly posted that she was on the move, and when I responded she said that she was following my lead. My dear friend Mary has already ventured on a big adventure and all of these people have been inspired by us; I felt a responsibility to them. And being a girl who always believes that life shows you the way I then started to wonder if this was life trying to make me think. Add to that our impromptu invite to the lovely neighbours, Rich’s FB site that I have set up for work resulting in him getting some work from it, I started to think that perhaps it was.
On Sunday we went for a windy walk down our lane and visited a farm where Marc’s uncle lived and loved until he died last year. It was sad, with the doors blowing in the wind no longer loved; but when I looked at how that man had lived it reminded me that I had come out here for the simple life, and this was it. What did I want?
On the walk Rich and I stopped and looked over the rolling hills and Rich looked at me and said ‘I can’t go back to England Mois, I cannot be surrounded by people.’ And I agreed, we had at least made a decision on something.
As the week has worn on we have come up with some other ideas to make some money that I am now busy working on (let alone my blogs, and my book) and I am looking forward to what they may bring.
As I have always said life will show us the way.
We have both decided that we are not beaten yet; I mean, bloody hell, if you look at all of the obstacles that we have overcome to get to here we can do anything if we put our mind to it!
I have been honest in describing what happened to me re my mental health in England and in all honesty I think that I was still ill when I came over here. So I then became overwhelmed with the volumnious amount of paperwork that need to be completed; got sucked in by people who I thought were going to help me when in fact it was the opposite and I lost my mojo – which is that I take no crap from anyone.. But now I am back, I have lowered my level with regards to integrity and compassion, you get to piss me off three times and then your out! I can look after myself and others who are kind to me and I will not be beaten.
But part of this consideration is also that I have acknowledged that we are on an adventure – it was never set in stone – and if part of the adventure is to move to pastures new then life will show me that, and I need to not be afraid of it and stop beating myself up that I have to make it work here: to stop thinking that there are no other options. There are always options and right now I choose this one. Who wouldn’t?!
Then on Monday a darling friend (I have written of him before and the wonderful music he sends me) sent me this for my birthday; with a beautifully written card with it.
He also said to me on Messenger:
‘Remember Moi, we are the good ones, we too are the sensitive ones! We are on the bus, if the wheels fall off we just have to put them back on again!’
He is right, I am on the bus, my wheels on firmly back in place and let’s see where this baby takes us.
Watch this space folks let’s see what happens, and whatever it is I will Face Everything and Rise.
I have just used this quote in my other blog, but I love it so much and it sums up this post!
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
Both sides now – Joni Mitchell
If you think others will like my blog please share