We arrived at 2am on New Years Day. Moving countries is exhausting, as someone said ‘You do like a big move don’t you?
Well if you’re going to have an adventure you may as well make it a big one!
I have lots to write about, but right now I have to take the dogs out as we cannot let them run free. So I thought I would share with you photos from our ten minute walk to the beach yesterday….breathtaking
I think it’s fair to say, I have a knack for finding a view! But that’s not hard on the beautiful emerald Isle.
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I have so much to blog about not least the journey to our current home in Donegal, Ireland (such a nightmare, but also funny if you have a sense of humour). But first I want to write about my dad, who was a big factor in how we ended up living in Ireland.
It’s taken me a while to write this because I wanted to pay homage to my dad, and every time I thought about what I was going to write my eyes would fill with tears; they are now, but here goes.
My Dad was Patrick Joseph Walsh, you couldn’t get a more Irish name than that! He was a Tipperary man, the youngest of a large Irish family. He lost his mother early when she was sent away due to a sanatorium for mental health issues.
My dad Paddy was a clever man, but education was not an automatic right in the forties in Ireland, and further education was not available to everyone. But despite that my dad won a scholarship to go on to further education, it was a huge prestigious opportunity. Sadly whilst the education was free the uniform and the books needed were not. Despite going cap in hand and asking for help nobody would fund my dad, so terribly disillusioned he left Ireland and set sail for England where he boarded in my nan’s boarding house, met my mum, and the rest they say is history.
When my Irish grandmother (who I never met) was sent away to a sanatorium it was my Auntie Maureen who became my dad’s surrogate mother and so whenever we visited Ireland it was Auntie Maureen that we went to. I still remember today her breakfasts of Irish herby sausages, eggs with the brightest yellow yolks, and her homemade soda bread. Of how she would listen to me (a small gobby child) with a half smile on her face, but she would always listen, a little bemused. Looking back now I realise that perhaps she could see my dad in me, and that is why she always listened. I was always full of ideas, the difference with my dad was that I was more confident than my dad and have always had the ability to not show that I cared what people thought. As I’ve got older I now just don’t care.
Sadly my dad never returned to live in Ireland. My mum wouldn’t go, she wanted to stay with people she knew, no matter how vile some of her family were to her and my dad.
One of my awful, ignorant arrogant uncles would call my dad stupid (let’s not forget he was a ‘Paddy’ after all!) you can probably tell I am not a fan of my mum’s family (with the exception of one aunt). I know now that was insecurity on the uncle’s part, because my dad could see through him, and knew he had more intelligence than the arrogant uncle would ever understand. Ever the ‘quiet man’ my dad said nothing, because he also knew that was the only way to deal with insecure idiots.
Looking back now there was my dad, highly intelligent having to put up with those arseholes, how he must have longed for ‘home’.
So on New Years Eve as the boat was docking in Ireland all those travelling with their dogs were asked to wait on the dog deck, and there we stood with the Welshies, watching as Ireland became a reality. As I stood with RD I could feel a lump rise in my throat and my eyes brimmed with tears, I felt such an overwhelming feeling that I had finally come home. RD looked at me and just got hold of my had, he knew.
It’s hard to explain that feeling, it was so totally unexpected. The last time I visited Ireland was in 1985, when my dad brought us all over for a family holiday. I knew it was beautiful, but I was too young to appreciate just how beautiful it really is.
As I stood on deck I found myself hoping that my dad was standing beside me, with a smile on his face, approving because finally a little piece of him had come home, in me.
This one’s for you Paddy.
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I have been a while sharing some posts because we have been back to having no internet again! But now, finally, we now have a hub, and all hopefully all should be okay.
So due to that I have not been able to post all that I wanted to, there is lots to share and I will endeavor to catch up some of it now.
As I write this post I am sitting in the very warm French sunshine, thankfully being cooled by a gusty breeze, it would be too hot otherwise. I have now been home just over two weeks, and I have found the need to have a nap in the afternoon up until last week. I was tired. We have spent a lot of these two weeks just sitting in our garden in the very warm weather and enjoying what we have (and too much wine!) Daisy out smooth coated cat has finally realised I am mummy, and allowed me to cuddle her again. She was miffed I was I was away so long
It has been a busy two weeks for many reasons not least RD has had raging toothache and has had to visit the dentist (emergencies only at present in France.) He is due to go back tomorrow to have the tooth removed.
We have also rearranged the furniture in the living room, taking some out and putting it in the barn. As per my previous post whilst I was away RD made himself busy and painted everything in the kitchen white. So we took the decision to take out the huge vintage French buffet that we had in there and put back the bottom of our larder unit that I painted many, many moons ago. It is to make the room airy and bright, and it is safe to say we have achieved our objective. All with a view to selling our house.
Despite my love of my home we are still going to leave France. I have been blessed to live here but the urge to move on is still with me. When I came home the peacefulness of our surroundings were not lost on me, but they are not enough, and I do believe that life is about change. In fact whether we like it or not life is all about change, it’s one of the bigger lessons I have learnt.
But me being me, I have realised that I am trying to cram everything in and make the change happen quickly. I have heard myself say ‘We need to be in Ireland by this time next year.’ Why do we?
Yes, Rich will need to find work and I think that by this time next year he will be ready to move somewhere where he can speak the language, especially if I am still in my current job, and away for two weeks at a time. And I like my job, I am learning so much, but that is for another post.
I had forgotten one of my other biggest lessons and our belief: That ‘life’ shows you the way. Or to quote M Scott Peck from ‘The Road Less Travelled’ “Someone else is doing the driving.” So whilstour plans remain the same, and we will move to Ireland, we will get the house valued and then decide if it goes on the market now or in a few months.
For the first time since living here we have the opportunity to live the life we wanted to, so we are going to enjoy it for now. The weather is hot, the pool is up, but we also know we have a lot to do in the time I am here.
More to come…
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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.
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I love hares, perhaps it is the Irish in me, as hares are revered in Ireland, seen as a communicator with the other world of the little people: faeries and leprechauns. But I really fell in love with them when I moved to France: I was up early and driving along one of the long country lanes on a sunny morning, taking care I was driving at about thirty miles an hour when I looked out of my open car window to see a hare running along the hedgerow right beside the car, keeping up with it. It was a sight to behold, a big animal full of power, and it was at that point that my fascination, and utmost respect for hares began.
As Easter approached this week it was also a full moon, and on Friday Rich and I were up and out early, very early. Europe is experiencing really good weather and even at seven in the morning it was already twenty two degrees. The sun was shining, and France is in bloom, and as we drove down our long lane from our house we were met with the sight of two hares boxing in the middle of the road.
As we stopped and watched they ran off (or hared off as the saying goes) into the field in flight; truly, truly amazing. But that was not all: on our journey through the winding lanes of France we saw another five hares, in the fields, in the hedgerows, to the point that I turned to Rich and said ‘ it must be a hare convention!’
Hares are revered by many cultures: they represent positive change, because of their connection to spring; and new beginnings. In Ireland they are a protected species and were featured on their half pence coin until it went out of circulation. Perhaps my love for hares and the abundance of sightings is telling us that we should consider that move to Ireland after all – we are still not ruling that out. To have a hare cross your path is a sign that you will receive abundance and joy; as we have had five cross ours then I am in no doubt that is the case for us.
Rich’s business has taken off (with a small amount of help from his social media savvy and writer wifey) he has bookings into June now with more to come. My book is nearly fully edited with some additions because of the research and wonderful comments from people who follow my blog: over 40,000 views and counting. I promised my dear late friend in my last post that I would get my book out there and I will. you can read that post here I aim for it to be available in the autumn for all the people who have asked where they can buy it.
The evening before our sojourn with the hares the moon had risen full and red over the fields, and I thought back to the posts where I have said that I am not sure if living here for me holds enough, but that I would wait and life would show me the way: it seems to be, at the moment. Later that night though Rich had an experience with the werehare!
My husband is over six feet tall and weighs over eighteen stone (I am being kind here). I went to bed with the Welshies and he went outside for his last cigarette. The moon was full and our cat Daisy was sat on our drive with wild staring eyes and her tail puffed up to four times its normal size. Rich spooks easily with regard to anything unexplained or supernatural; so he looked at Daisy and realised something was wrong. Then he heard a noise of something very large snuffling behind our hedge; he turned to Daisy and said ‘what the f**k is that?’ Daisy responded by high-tailing it indoors. On the sound of Rich’s voice whatever it was ran across the garden quickly and loudly, and Rich could hear something heavy stomping on the oak logs. With that he high tailed it indoors, made sure all the cats were inside and locked the door. (He is so brave!)
When he came to bed he told me the story; I was just glad that Wiglet the serial killer had not been out there as chaos would have ensued. Rich was clearly spooked and proceeded to build up a pile of pillows down the side of the bed by the door to stop any ‘ghosts’ getting him in the night (didn’t realise that pillows were a ghost deterrent!) We then discussed that it could have been a deer or a wild boar, or even a fox but that seemed unlikely with the dogs scent. Neither of us thought that it may have been a hare, moonwatching from the pinnacle of the hill on which our house is perched.
As I turned off the lights I then said ‘it could have been a werefwolf, it is a full moon!’ To which my husband replied in a wail ‘Why would you say that man? Stop trying to frighten me!’ I giggled and said ‘well we are in the middle of nowhere, perhaps all the neighbours are werewolves and we are living in the midst of a werewolf colony!’
Rich then shut the door!
So the next morning when we saw all the hares I realised it was probably a hare, or as I said to Rich: ‘perhaps it was a werehare!’
I am sorry I have been absent from Mois French Adventure, folks but I will be sharing some more posts with you this week, but I know you understand that the book has taken priority.
Have a wonderful Easter weekend.
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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
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Apologies to all of my Moisy’s French adventure readers for the lack of postings, it is safe to say it has been a bad week!
I have been busy, blogging on my other blog (phew two blogs are hard to keep up, and maintaining your social media presence is even harder!) and also preparing some new stock for a Christmas Fayre I am attending on Saturday the 15th. So I have been trying out some new designs and making little angels..
With wooden christmas trees on stands to follow, and of course my signature stars (still a work in progress folks) I also have some unicorns to finish and it is all very time consuming.
But this is not why it has been a crappy week, a week that started off badly and then got worse – although is starting to look a bit brigher now the weekend is on the way. Let me explain:
On Monday I had to go to the bank, and do some errands. We were up early and there was a slight drizzle in the air when I left; but as I drove to our post office it started to actually rain. I arrived at the post office only to find that it was shut! Now I don’t like the post office at the next town of Gorron, I find the woman in there to be a sour faced cow! She never smiles, barks at you and is just generally rude (think the cliche of a rude French person and that is her, she really lets the side down.) But I had to post a parcel so needs must, and I knew I would have to go there as I was going into Gorron anyway.
Off I set and as I drove through the grey French winter countryside the heavens opened and it poured down. When I arrived at the post office there were no spaces in the car park so I had to park and walk a couple of minutes in torrential rain. I looked like a drowned rat. I gave the parcel to ‘les miserables’ and weirdly it cost me ten euros more than a larger and heavier parcel I had posted the week before in the post office at Ambrieres. How I longed to be able to go there with the lovely, friendly French lady; but, alas it was not to be.
Out I came and hurried back to my car, still in the torrential rain; in fact by now I could hardly see there was so much water on my glasses. I then drove on to the bank which was shut, as was expected, but I knew that I could still access the foyer to pay my money in (banks are shut in France on a Monday, hence the term bank holiday) But to do that I needed a rib which I did not have with me, so I got a rib from the cashpoint (still in the pouring rain) and went inside. But oh no! This was the day when nothing was going to be simple! The bank had no pens to complete the deposit envelope! I went back out to my car (in the pouring rain) in the hope that there would be a pen there, but of course there wasn’t so off I went to the tabac (in the pouring rain) to buy a pen; then back to the bank (in the pouring rain) to deposit the money. I had experienced enough, so I then went home and sod whatever else we needed!
However the morning from hell was not over; as I entered our kitchen there was rain pouring in down the wall from our roof. The roof we have only just had replaced! Now this is another story that I will tell in the future – once the issue has been resolved, but all I will say is that I will write about it and, despite a thinly veiled threat from someone, the story will be told. I pay for this blog, and I will write what I want!
Having said that there are some people who don’t warrant the word space so the story will be what actually happens and not about people who are so insignificant that they don’t need to be included. There is an important part here though: For those living in France it is worth taking out legal cover with your house insurance, they will then deal with issues like this for you, whilst getting your roof repaired.
Anyhow….. The rain poured in and we had buckets and bowls everywhere which meant tht we had to try and resolve things with odious people which you might have guessed we were unable to resolve.
What a day! I think I will start the week again tomorrow I thought; but I should have known better than to think that it couldn’t get any worse! On Tuesday I broke my tooth, and it was so sharp that it cut my tongue open. I now have a very sore tongue, am still trying to resolve our healthcare cover and cannot afford to go to the dentist! So I did what any self respecting person would do who is in pain and I filed the sharp bits of my tooth myself! Hopefully this will resolve it!
It is funny how some people can bring so much darkness into your lives when you let them in; and I knew that the problems we experienced this week with the roof was one of these occasions and that the only way to stop it was to stop interacting them. But even so it can sometimes still bring you down. I have documented many times the awful people that there are out here, but I am also a positive person normally and I do try and see the good; despite this I was starting to lose that ability. I was in immense pain with my tongue, and couldn’t speak properly; but despite the pain I was in hubby, as ever, managed to make me laugh when he went off to get some bits from the shop with the list of things I had told him to get: Cat litter, bottle of wine, and potatoe wedges. Here is what he wrote (whilst giggling all the time):
As always I perservered and I got my things done for the craft fair (well some anyway) but I could not shake the feeling of being pissed off: pissed off with people’s shitty attitude; with the pain in my mouth, with French bloody bureaucracy, with people telling you there is an English speaking line and then nobody there speaks English! Pissed off with my mouth really hurting because I have to keep speaking French to people (which is not easy when you have to roll nearly every syllable!) Pissed off with feeling as if I am getting nowhere when nobody rings me back! Pissed off with feeling like I am getting nowhere generally. I had actually started looking at the possibility of moving to Ireland! At least I would have family there and they speak English (well not for Rich, he struggles to understand them, so he said he may as well move to Germany!).
By Wednesday evening I did not want to put my Christmas tree up, I did not want to go the craft fayre, I was in agony and could have cried. So on Thursday morning I messaged a person who I think it is fair to say is (along with my dear friend Mary) one of the kindest people I have met. I just asked if she was up for a chat because I felt pissed off. Now she knows, as you all know, that this is not like me; I am, generally, a positive person but I was struggling and she knew it. She rang me within ten minutes invited me over and helped me with contacting who I needed to about the roof – who were really helpful and prompt (I can say no more at this time) she chased the French bureaucrats with regard to our health cover and they are sending a form to Rich to get it sorted (yey!) and she gave me a hug. That was all I needed. When I came home hubby was worried about me – I am normally the one who keeps him buoyant, so he sat on the sofa and did something so simple – he tickled my leg! My sister called me to see how I was, nagged me to rinse my mouth in salt water, because I know that she worries about me; and I knew that I am blessed to have people who care.
Then I looked out of the window and I saw this….
I remembered what Marty (a lovely man who reads this blog) always says about how blessed we are; and I know that we cannot have it all. By last night I had started to cheer up; I just hope my tongue gets better now!
Like I always say in my other blog it is the small things that count, and they make up the good things. Big hugs to those who helped me this week, big hugs.