We apologise for the brevity of last week’s blog. The reality is that we had been in the UK visiting Chris’ parents in their nursing /residential home. Among other things we have tried to set Dad up with an iPad so it’s just possible he is reading this: Hi Dad!
Anyway this week was what we are now calling our “anniversary week”. Remarkable as it seems we have now had three years of residency in France, having arrived at Les Courmettes on 12 July 2014. It’s been an exciting, challenging, exhausting but endlessly stimulating time and no, there are no regrets whatsoever. In some areas we have done more than we could have dreamed of; in some areas less. Some things have turned out to be much easier than we imagined, others far more problematic. In some ways we now feel very much at home here but then you come across some piece of French slang or an obscure piece of legislation that everybody knows about and you find yourself totally baffled and somewhat humbled.
Faced the appalling slow-motion multiple pileup that is Brexit we are, like many Britons here, counting the days until we can apply for citizenship. The current rule is that you need five years of residency unless, as is perfectly possible, M. Macron rewrites the book. So our anniversary date is not simply a looking back but looking forward. Mind you, of course, a lot can happen in two years.
We were going to have a day out on Tuesday to celebrate but after the best part of a week in the UK we had a lot to do. Also with the temperatures between 34 and 36 degrees (mid 90s for you Fahrenheit people) a protracted exploration didn’t seem all that attractive. So we stayed at home working but we knocked off early from the computers et cetera at 4 o’clock and then took the fast road to Sainte Maximine where we cut through the suburbs to avoid the traffic jams caused by everybody trying to head west to St Tropez. (First-time tourists sometimes talk excitedly about “taking the St Tropez road”; anyone who’s ever experienced the reality at this time of year shudders at the very phrase.) However if you go east rather than west, as we did, there are a whole string of very pleasant little beaches and we were able to get to the one at La Nartelle within 40 minutes of leaving the house.
It’s not a bad beach with a fine view of the Esterel mountains and the water was absolutely lovely. Lurking at the back of the beach is the tilted and rusting remains of a Sherman Tank inconspicuously commemorating the fact that this was one of the landing spots in 1944.
It’s fun to think we can get La Nartelle from the house within 40 minutes. After a swim we drove on down the coast to the very popular Saint-Aygulf to get a meal and then home.
Yes we did enjoy ourselves and it’s nice to think that after three years down here the honeymoon has still not worn off. Yet it raises a deep and profound question: if we can do this sort of thing at the end of the workday why would we want to go on holiday?