Not only did I abandon Jonno and head off to France but I left him fighting the Beast from the East, along with everyone else in the UK.
Decorating at No 10
At 82 my Mum and her other half, Alan, made the move to a smaller property in St Antoine in the South of France. It is number 10 Rue du Chemin de Ronde but affectionately known as No 10. It needed a lot of work doing to it so they spent two months in a gite whilst the windows, electrics, plumbing, new kitchen, new bathroom and heating were sorted out. They moved back in 10 days before I arrived and I couldn’t believe how much they had done. I had expected a camp bed and sleeping bag somewhere but the second bedroom had been decorated, laminate flooring laid, twin beds, wardrobes, chest of drawers, bedside table and my favourite thing of all an electric blanket.
Alan and I spent six of the seven days I was there painting and Mum made frequent trips up to the grenier (that is loft to you and me) to retrieve dishes, draught excluders, cookery books and anything else she could lay her hands on. She was like a little sherpa taking her bags up to carry stuff down. The mystery of the missing cherry brandy took three days to solve but the box of red wine is still on the missing list (or has been drunk by some thirsty French workmen – it wasn’t me!) Mum managed to prepare some gourmet meals whilst ducking under ladders and scaffolding, all washed down with some red plonk. Perfect!
As we watched the weather deteriorate in the UK, it felt weird to be sitting in brilliant sunshine on the terrace for an afternoon cuppa. We did have snow but not a lot of it and one day I even needed a sun hat. Crazy.
Coffee, Giant Croissants and Shopping
Thursday was a decorating free day. We started with coffee and a giant croissant for 2 Euros each in a patisserie on the outskirts of Boe. Supplies of both the DIY and food kind were gathered, including a box of macaroons. Lunch at the French equivalent of the Red Pepper and home to put our feet up with a macaroon or two each.
I was determined to leave knowing that I had made a difference and I am hoping that was the case. Most important was having the opportunity to spend some time with them and be able to visualise their new surroundings. Their stamina to get things sorted puts those 20 or 30 years younger to shame. As with previous moves, they have the ability to make a neglected house a home and it won’t be long before they can relax a little and do things out of choice rather than necessity.
The Beast was not so beastly to me as it was to everyone in the UK and by the time I was due to leave all UK flights were up and running. I had a date with a well travelled man carrying two suitcases at an airport hotel. Just to surprise me though said man was at the arrivals gate. We had one night booked in an airport hotel before heading off on our next adventure together.
…….to Mum for getting “Jo’s Room” ready.
…….to Alan for getting “Jo’s Room” ready and keeping us both supplied in paint, rollers and brushes.
…….to Sam and Tabitha for keeping Jonno busy.
…….to my man, Jonno, for struggling through many underground engineering works with two cases, being there to meet me as we prepare for our next adventure and just for being you.
25/02 – 04/03/2018