It seems an age since I have had a chance to put finger to keyboard (as opposed to pen to paper these days) to tell you the latest goings on from cold, damp and rainy France (it’s the winter, so it’s allowed).
Christmas has been and gone, the day after New Year was painful, Qatar-based family arrived for a week and then a dash back to England for the christening of my two grandsons saw in the start of the year. We came back home to find a toy fire engine abandoned on the sitting room floor – I hadn’t had time to do a clean around as we had left for the UK the same day as the family. My heart did an empty lurch and I realised the love power that little grandchildren have over you; chatting by Skype doesn’t really compensate for the presence that two little beings can have when they are with you. However, I can’t wait for the end of April when J and I are going solo as we fly to Qatar to babysit for a few days while their parents go to the UK for a wedding. By that time Teddy will have turned two and is apparently displaying all the signs of that particular age range and Harry will have started teething in earnest!
Since then I wish I could say life had calmed down but it hasn’t. I thought when we “retired” to France life would be quiet, stress free and not a lot to do. When people ask us “what do you do all day?” I reply, “Oh you know, have sex a lot, drink loads of wine and then do nothing for the rest of the time.”
Since we returned to France we have been pondering whether to sell the house or not. A very difficult decision as we love it, but we want to reduce the B&B side this year so we can enjoy the summer for ourselves (more sex) and with family and friends, rather than say that we can’t fit them in as we are full. We have started the process of looking around different areas of France, where we intend to stay and maybe get somewhere with less land, fewer bedrooms, in a village and a small rental property attached so we have a source of income, should we need it. With the £ against the € at a high at the moment, our pensions give us much more spending power and, having been caught out when we first arrived with the worldwide “crisis”, we don’t want to be in that situation again. We have seen a few properties, but every time we drive back here we realise that nothing matches up to what we have now. Difficult. It is a decision we have to think very seriously about. Property prices in France have fallen badly since we arrived and you pay approximately 14% fees (up to 7% to estate agents and 7% to the legal side) in total so the thought of paying out around €30,000 to €40,000 (you pay fees on buying) just to move hurts – a lot! I am scouring all the “private sales” sites so we can avoid estate agents at least.
My health issues have been continuing but I am pleased to report that there is nothing sinister! I have had two MRI scans, one on my spinal column and one on my head. The head revealed, to my shock, that I did have a brain in my skull and the spinal one showed what might be the cause of my retentive bladder. It appears I have a congenital deformity next to the base of my spine which will probably require surgery. Although I don’t relish the idea of a back operation if it means I can pee naturally again, then so be it! What puzzles me is if it has been there since birth why has it taken 62 years to make it’s presence known? I always knew I was a medical mystery and this just proves it. I was worried about the MRIs as I am claustrophobic. With the first one they had three attempts at putting me in the coffin-like tube and I have to admit I did have a bit of a hissy fit. Self-calming techniques and an eye mask eventually did the trick and I lay there willing the time to fly past as I had headphones with crappy French music in my ears in order to cover the clanking, banging noise the MRI machine makes. Next week I see the specialist and they will decide the next stage!
Love, Louloulapomme x