On our way home

I think it would be fair to say that this year has been a little disrupted …. In fact that is probably an understatement, as everything we had imagined we’d planned has been tossed in the air and the cards of life have fallen in a chaotic tumble around our feet.

It feels as if fate has been playing with us and just as we imagined we had a way forward, it stirred everything up with its mischievous finger and threw us in a totally different direction. As you can imagine, for someone who likes a plan (or at least a basic idea of what we’re doing) it’s been rather disorientating.

Who knows what the next day will bring…

But as ever, we have muddled our way through, picked up the pieces, reshuffled the cards and as I write this Andy and I are on a train hurtling through Somerset, on our way home to Provence. Another day of making connections, by bus, train and plane, before (all being well) being collected by our eldest son (and his girlfriend) at Marseille this evening. Needless to say, we are hoping that everything connects as it should, always a worry with so many changes en route, but fingers crossed….

Leaving the village on the bus this morning

We have spent the last few weeks getting everything straight in our little cottage in Devon and proudly watching our youngest son settle into his new apprenticeship, which (fingers crossed) will mean that once qualified, he will relieve Andy of dealing with anything electrical in the house. That will be a huge relief to me, as I still pale at the thought of the sparks that flew when he cut through the mains cable into our first house. Yes, I know that was over 35 years ago, but the memory is still enough to set my nerves on edge, whenever he mentions rewiring a plug!

Andy really needs one of these!

It may not have been what we had planned, but if I’m honest, it is delightful having a base, so close to the beautiful East Devon coast and we have enjoyed walking and cycling the area whilst we’ve been there, discovering pretty villages and finding perfect spots to stop for coffee whilst out walking …..

Coffee stop, with style, at Brandy Head on a walk from Sidmouth

I’ve also considered it my duty to seek out and rate the local cafes and their teacakes (my guilty pleasure) …. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it ….

Superb teacake at Otterton Mill

We have even discovered the efficient local bus service (quite unexpected for a small village off a main road) to get to Sidmouth, from where we can walk back home along the South West Coast Path, with beautiful views and the soft, calming peace of the sea.

Views from Ladram

So, even though life has been playing silly games with us, we can see the positives and will look forward to spending time in this quaint little cottage and I will be able to re-establish my little silver jewellery business there as it has never felt right in France and will give me something to keep me busy whenever we return.

Vintage Silver Workshop

It’s been all change in France though too and after spending 6 months working in a bike shop in Abu Dhabi, our eldest came back to live with us and has just secured his residency, so we now have a son in each country, which is lovely.

If I’m honest that was probably the last thing I imagined would happen, but after submitting a huge dossier of paperwork (with every ‘i’ dotted, every ‘t’ crossed, together with page numbers and a full index) to the local Prefecture, his Titre De Séjour was agreed and just before we headed back to the UK a few weeks ago, we popped into Avignon and collected his card.

And then there were 3 french residents

Of course, he’d love to work in the cycle industry again as that’s where his passion lies, but for the time-being he has found a job in a local hotel and is happily finding his feet as a French resident, which is perfect …. It also means that there is always someone at home to look after Pusscat and Millie (and the garden) which takes a little more pressure off us too….

So here we are, on our way home and I can’t wait to get back and sit on the terrace tomorrow morning, watching the sun rise above Caseneuve, whilst catching up on what has changed, over the last few weeks ….

Not sure ‘dog’ will still have her flowery accessory

Of course, I hope things are starting to settle a little now, with big changes having happened and life beginning to shuffle its way back onto a path, just not perhaps the one we had been on at the start of the year, and this one has proved to be slightly more bumpy than we had imagined.

When we first bought our little house in Provence, it was a holiday home, with our family base being in England, but now the balance has shifted and Provence is home, with a second base in Devon that is home for our youngest too. Now, we have to rebalance our life to fit, which will take some time and I’m certain there will be some heartache along the way too, as we know there will be moments, when we feel we’re in the wrong country at the wrong time

Sitting on the terrace

That said, it is just the next stage of this wonderful adventure that we started over 6 years ago now and what a time we have had so far!

So it’s time to start looking forward to the next stage, although we know, we still have a few obstacles to negotiate, even before the end of the year. There is heating to be fitted to the house in Devon (it has none at the moment and individual water heaters for the sinks) Also, Andy is due to have surgery in mid-November, which will be yet another foray into the french health system, which to date, has been incredible. Not exactly how he would have anticipated spending his 60th birthday, especially as he won’t be able to cycle for a while, but at least it will be winter and I can ferry him around (on the nice days) in Fifi, which is always a joy!

Boulangerie visits in Fifi

In the meantime though, it’s time to get back under the skin of The Luberon and enjoy the simplicity of our life in such a beautiful part of France.

This is what it’s all about

Our bikes and walking shoes are calling!

9 thoughts on “On our way home

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