It has been a long time, hasn’t it? I suppose I haven’t had a great deal to report on the “me” side. I am trying my best to keep Two Snails up to date and that is a difficult enough proposition as it is. We never seem to stay anywhere long enough to find the time to fit it in. Always travelling, not often with both electricity and Internet, and when we do stop I seem to spend much of my time doing laundry! Nell and Mr L command a great deal of my time of course.
If you had asked me when I was younger if I could ever envisage a life in which I spent sunny afternoons rambling about the French countryside I would most likely have laughed in your face and yet this is mostly how I have been spending my time for the past weeks. Oh, and how much of France we have seen! and how much the sun has shone upon us! There is a Page on the Two Snails blog that lists all of our stops.
To be completely honest, I feel a bit like The Littlest Hobo just now, always moving on. I should like to come to a lengthy period of stop soon. I am missing home and familiar faces and the song of the wind and being a little bit watery-eyed at times.
On more positive days I remember how in the past I have believed that it is impossible to have it all. When we lived up in the hills, we missed the sea and the trees. When we lived on Sanday we had the sea but missed the rivers and forests and hills. Suddenly we do have it all. We can be sleeping on the bank of a river one day, deep in a forest the next and then by the beach the day after. We can go anywhere, do anything we want and it is absolutely brilliant. I just hate the actual driving part and the constant packing and unpacking. And I want most of all to settle in one spot and get to know it and its people well before moving on.
I should like time to knit! The sock was going well on the way down through England but not a stitch has been worked since arriving in France. We seem to be busy much of the time and as co-driver, I have work to do in helping with sign-spotting and translations, so cannot really knit on the move. I am happy to report however that I am reading more than I have done for several years. Kindle Unlimited is a brilliant thing.
As for Photography, I continue to find my new camera challenging. It might help if I had once found time to sit down with the manual! Alas, the manual is on disk and I need power for my laptop in order to do the reading. A few photos come out alright but mainly I produce rubbish. On the other hand, the camera goes everywhere with me and I have captured every single day of our trip, which I would not have done with that hefty old Canon.
There has been much cheese, butter and cider, and a degree of eating out but overall I appear to be dropping some weight, so that’s a good thing. My walking is improving and I can now do four miles without a sit down to rest my sore ankles. There have been walks of seven or eight miles or so – when we set off I could trudge about a mile before hurting so much I could not go on. That’s another good thing. Surprisingly my French is not improving much. That is a bad thing. We have been using ur French as much as possible and usually have French radio on in the evenings to help us absorb but the French immediately recognise us to be English and switch to speaking English to us. It can be very frustrating. Overall we are liking the French, who are not at all living up to their reputation. We find them to be open, relaxed, friendly and fun-loving and very helpful indeed.
In fact, there is much about France to love, not just the cheese. There are good marked footpaths wherever we go and really good cycle routes; they seem to put plenty of public money into leisure. The work/life balance is spot on and everybody takes time to relax and enjoy themselves and their family. Oh, and the bread!!! and the cheap wine! Really a rather wonderful country all round.
So, rather a pity that we are leaving already.
Leaving? yes. We are currently in Castets and poised to hit the motorway to Spain.
I have never in my life had any inclination to visit Spain and I therefore know less than nothing about the place. This is going to be challenging. I have an App on my phone and am learning some simple Spanish to help us along the way,.