Last August we took possession of our dream house – and our dream life in France. After spending six weeks in the village over winter getting the house set up, it is now available for short-term rentals.
I see the vultures circling over Bitrague hill. Given today’s wind direction there is probably an updraft there keeping them aloft but in this hilly region, it’s certainly not the only place with a suitable updraft. There are about ten vultures. How did they collectively decide to circle over that hill and not somewhere else? I suspect they didn’t all have an equal voice in the debate. Perhaps they all follow a lead vulture. Or perhaps there’s a more complex hierarchy in which each vulture follows its immediate superior. I notice that they look content with their choice, wheeling around on the wind, each bird moving independently but staying in touch with the others. Continue reading
Yesterday we celebrated our first Christmas as a family in our very own house in France, three and a half years after we first saw and fell in love with it. After so long, I can hardly believe it’s true, but here we are and all the hard work, tears and tantrums, and the relentless bureaucracy has been worth it.
After four months, the time has come for us to leave Quillan, and I am as miserable as the weather at the thought.
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!
This afternoon Tom and I go exploring up the hill above Quillan’s old castle. Despite the sunshine, I wear many layers of clothing. You can’t be too careful at this time of year. Tom is more lightly dressed. More sensibly dressed, as it turns out.
We start by going up Rampe du Chateau. This leads us onto Rue de Bitrague. Now we go offroad.
One half of our little family is on the other side of the planet. It should be impossible for me to know anything about their activities there. Continue reading
Two-and-a-bit years after our last Grand Adventure, our family is heading back to France. This time it’s largely a known quantity. Same town – Quillan in the French Pyrenees. Same school. Almost the same house – just a stone’s throw away.
But this time is different.