Just under 12 months ago, we were preparing to make another trip to the UK, to spend a week visiting elderly relatives and helping Jo finish her packing for her move to France. Since then, it seems, life has been quite busy (in our terms at least) and I have only now found myself wondering, “So, what’s next?”
There were several months whilst Jo got her business up and running Writer’s Block Admin Services and settled herself into French life with all it’s differences and quirks. I did what I could to help with promoting her business (not a lot but I felt I was helping). Got my head around things like Tweetdeck and Dropbox amongst other things. Helping also to promote Dad’s book Sojourn in Silesia after we’d re-typed it between us and other bits and pieces.
I feel sure we must have a reasonably quiet winter, but I cannot now remember. I recall we were unable to get across to attend a funeral in February due to a late winter snow fall, and a big freeze for a while. In March we jetted off (okay we squeezed into a tin can and breathed the air of 150 strangers) to that well known holiday destination of the Wirral. This was a 4 day return trip to visit my Dad’s sister and my cousins. Several weeks later (April) we were off again to Kent this time, and this time by car. A nice week visiting more relatives, a nice reunion of training peers and eating takeaways. Oh and a rather expensive toilet stop at Fenwicks resulting in the purchase of 2 sofas! With our Sainsbury’s shopping on board and some hatching eggs, we travelled home, once more pleased to be back in our part of France.
May brought a short overnight visit from our friends in their camper en route to Portugal, they returned overnight on their way home after our Normandy holiday.
In June we headed up to Normandy to have the holiday we’d planned 3 years before, and had postponed for family problems. It was a blustery time, but a hotel fronting onto the beach certainly gave me my sea fix. Our peace and quiet as nearly the only guests was rudely interrupted after 3 days with the arrival of 70 ten year olds on a school trip! How many times can a fire door slam shut in 2 minutes at 7.30 in the morning? We stuck it out, and managed it from a place of knowing that they were actually well behaved kids but on their school trip and obviously excited. We even coped with teachers shouting in the corridor for quiet, and knocking on our door asking us what we were up to! We did also negotiate a very large discount for the disruption from a very apologetic hotelier.
Normandy was very enjoyable. Mark got to see and visit all he wanted to and I got to see and visit half of those things and get what I wanted from the trip. Whilst sitting in the car outside the odd museum or attraction I was enjoying a really good book.
2 weeks after getting home I jetted off yet again (this time in a slightly less cramped Ryan Air flight) to visit my friends in Wiltshire and play several games of Scrabble. It was my turn to visit them, as they’ve been here twice. It was lovely being looked after, fed and playing lots of live games of Scrabble.
More overnighter’s in August, with their son en route to hotter parts of France. Followed in 10 days by our Devon campers who stop each year en route home. This year they’d done a grand tour in their big old camping car. They’d dropped in on each of the countries that boarder France and had some great tales to tell.
During the last week of August my son and grandsons arrived for 10 days, and they had a fantastic time in and out of the small pool, fishing in the river, driving the tractor at the farm and basically doing some of the stuff I remember from my own childhood. Amazingly their was a Nintendo DS in the car and that’s where it stayed for the whole of the visit. As they left on Sunday morning, we headed off to Limoges airport to pick up our friends from Devon for a 2 week visit. This was enjoyable, they are great guests, even doing my ironing and sweeping the floors! So, August was busy and September too. Oh and in amongst this we had to go to court about the unmentionable regarding Mr Unmentionable, which meant for a while we were busy compiling our evidence and gathering written attestation.
When they left we had 10 days of very little until our final visitors of the year arrived. They also come each year, mostly on their way home and as they got out of the car this time I commented on how “normal” it was, and that it didn’t seem like a whole year since they’d last been here. We had a nice few days, and since they’re interested in religious architecture a couple of days were spent exploring some of our local treasures.
Having written all this (a bit like a Round Robin thingy at Christmas) I can now understand why I am wondering, “So, what next!” I can see why this solitude and slow pace has become alien to me. I am the world’s champion at procrastinating and yet for the moment it’s not comfortable. In fact, I nearly rushed us off for a day by the sea tomorrow, it didn’t feel right to be just here, doing very little. That idea is on hold until next week at least, and in November we’re off to Kent again. So, maybe I will gradually acclimatise to my normal.
The gate has been opened a lot recently, it feels good to be keeping it shut.