And so begins this wonderful adventure

A couple of days ago I was sat with a friend, drinking tea and chatting about some of the things we will be doing this year saying that it will be ‘interesting’ to say the least.

She smiled and said that her idea of interesting is visiting a museum or looking at some art, a far cry from our description that usually entails doing something a little bit out of our comfort zone and possibly slightly mad and it got me thinking.

Cycling in winter in Provence is interesting

Over the last few years you could never say that our life has been mundane in any way, shape or form in fact probably since life unexpectedly turned on a sixpence five years ago and forced me to reinvent myself (from senior manager in a very structured environment to a part-time silversmith having fun being creative) and changed our plans completely.

With my jewellery at the superb Bath Artisan Market

Happily 5 years on I wouldn’t change what we have now and as one of life’s ‘eternal optimists’ (as Andy constantly reminds me) I now believe that there have been huge positives from what seemed so negative at the time and I constantly look forward to what twists and turns our life now takes, although some of the turns are more stressful than others.

The house was a huge positive from a massive negative

That said, this year is already shaping up to be one of the more ‘interesting’ so far.

In January, whilst heading back from a particularly lovely afternoon with my friend in Aix, I was involved in an accident that led to our car being written off. Happily no one was hurt and the Insurance company were superb, but it wasn’t the best start to the year, especially as Andy was in Devon when it happened and felt very far away.

Hardly a perfect end to an otherwise perfect day

The good thing was that it forced us to think hard about lots of things and already there has been a positive in that we realised that we didn’t really need a ‘sensible’ car any more so have taken the plunge and bought Fifi instead.

Happiness is driving Rose with her roof down

I know she probably isn’t the most obvious choice, but she’s French, an icon, a dream come true and actually we think she will be quite practical when it comes to what we’ll be using her for.

We already love this car

That said, there is first of all the minor fact that we need to get her to Provence first. We considered putting her on a trailer to get her down, but somehow that didn’t feel right, so in May are planning to drive her down over a few days, taking it easy and coaxing her along the main N roads from Caen to Apt, quite a trip for her and I have a feeling us too.

Roof down motoring will be fun

It will be ‘interesting’, an experience we haven’t had to date, something to be enjoyed and added to life’s rich tapestry, that has become so much more complex and colourful in recent years. If all goes well we should arrive after a few days of gentle driving….

If it doesn’t go well then we’ll arrive rather more quickly on the back of a tow truck, but if we don’t try to do it, we’ll regret missing the chance.

I hope we don’t arrive in Provence like this

Then onto the next ‘interesting’ thing, our plan to cycle to Provence a month later. Leaving Exeter in early June and aiming to cycle down through western France, visiting old haunts on the way, passing through The Dordogne, before finally cutting across back towards Apt.

I never imagined I would look forward to riding nearly 1000 miles

Whilst this isn’t new for Andy (having done it with the boys 4 years ago), it will be a new experience for me and I am looking forward to it, albeit with a little trepidation wondering how I will get on.

Cycling together always puts a smile on our faces

Then back to today, which finds us sat on The Eurostar, at the start of our biggest adventure yet. We’re heading to Paris for work before I continue on to Provence and Andy heads back for a quick turnaround before driving down with the animals.

Millie chilling at The Toulourenc

A lot of our life will be in the car with him, heading south, shifting our funny little life again, making our long-dreamed for place in Provence our permanent home. There are so many things to sort out, to secure our long-term future in France, but we have to start the process somewhere and we can’t continue to live the half-life here and there, spending weeks apart as we have for the last few years.

Pusscat is happier in France

In many ways it has come about more quickly than we would have liked, but the horror of being apart when I had the accident just brought so many things into sharp focus and it created the moment for us to think hard about what is important and where we want to be.

Its not going to be easy as our hearts remain with the boys in Devon (although as they keep telling us, they don’t need us as much now and the world is a very small place). But if we don’t make the leap now the moment will pass.

Exeter is a superb city and has this on the doorstep

When we first bought the house I found a card with the words ‘So begins our wonderful adventure’, it seemed really apt at the time and possibly even more apt today.

Once again our life turns on a sixpence again and we’re determined to make the most of it.