Setting up is not remotely easy

We have had our house closed up since we took possession at the end of August, and are abut to head over for the first time, to get it set up for renting. Now is when things get real fast. It turns out that when buying a house in France, buying the house is actually the easy part. When it comes to furnishing the place, I am reminded just how much work is involved in turning a house into a home.

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Pitch perfect

After years of thinking about it, months of writing, weeks of editing, and days of anguishing over every last detail, I have finally finished the book and am ready (maybe) to pitch it to publishers.

It’s not perfect, but it’s about as perfect as it’s going to get without the eye of a professional editor and I have to accept that if it is ever going to stand a chance of seeing the light of day beyond my computer, I have to let it go. Let it go.

Will it be any good? Does anyone want to read it? Since my pitch is premised on the idea that there’s interest, I certainly hope so!

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A snowy weekend in Andorra

A long-planned weekend in Andorra with my three boys. In January? Expect snow.

I’m posting this report reluctantly because it reveals my dubious decision-making. On reflection, I perhaps should have called off the trip at the start, given the weather. But with a no-refund hotel booking and boys who would have been bitterly disappointed if unable to go, my judgment was biased towards proceeding. Continue reading

The loneliness of other

As I spend a long weekend writing, feverishly beavering to complete my first book draft while the boys adventure in the snow in Andorra, I am reminded that loneliness is a major challenge we face when uprooting ourselves from our regular lives, wider family, friends, colleagues and connections to move to the other side of the world.

As an extrovert and a fairly social person, who likes to spend time with people, it is unexpected and unsettling for me to discover it is possible to be lonely, while surrounded by people; living in a sizable town, even while having good ‘friends’ and neighbours and knowing others in the wider community.

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Finally we use sleds

For once, we were finally able to use a sled.  A toboggan.  Being a Wednesday, I had school in the morning.  Naturally.  It was boring.  But while I was at school, Dad went out to a large sports shop near Carcassonne, called Decathlon.  They have so many things there, including sleds.  Dad got two sleds.  One big, red one with brakes, and one small green one that looks a bit like a spade.  When I got home from school, we made sandwiches, and Dad, Nicholas and I went into the snow.

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An icy walk to tooth rock

This week I left Stephen to enjoy the bracing walk and scramble up to the arche perdue while I looked after the toddler at home, and beavered away on my book, but last week, as school had not quite started back, I persuaded the two older boys to join me for the weekly Monday full-day walk.

Prospects looked good for a sunny day once the mist lifted, but it was the iciest morning so far, for the walk around the hills between St Ferriol and St Just-le-Bezu.

Tomos would have loved some of the drinking water, but the spout was completely plugged with ice.

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L’Arche Perdue – sequel to Holes

Today I join the local walking group on their walk up to L’Arche Perdue, the hole in the rock above Maury. Last month I wrote about that remarkable rock formation and my hope to visit it. This is the walk that was scheduled for last month but cancelled due to high winds. Today is also windy but we do it anyway. I drive to the meeting point at Maury, half-way between Quillan and the Mediterranean coast. We have friends at Maury, very close to the meeting point, so going there brings back happy memories of pit stops and a summer evening barbecue three years ago. Continue reading

A French Christmas 

This year was the first time the boys had experienced Christmas in France. It was an opportunity to do things a bit differently, being away from home, living in someone else’s house, visiting others and sharing the Christmas festivities with French friends.

It helps that Christmas in France is in the winter – with the dark and the cold, it fits all the prevailing stereotypes of the season and actually feels like Christmas!

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