Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day Three.
















I have moved to France, alone with my children, to live with my inlaws. My husband will follow in time, but for now he still lives in South London, fixing up the house that we thought we'd live in for a decade but which we actually outgrew emotionally within two years. Times are strange.

The girls and I flew to Languedoc on Saturday after 24 hours spend mostly crying about the impending move. I'd been so excited about getting out of fucking south London that I forgot I was leaving Nye behind for 18 days, that in nine years the longest we've been apart for was nine days and that the girls won't see him for a further week, having spending most of their waking hours with him for four and a half years. The reasons I had for thinking that this wouldn't be a big deal escape me right now. It's a big deal.

We are settling. It's now (...counts it out on my fingers...) Tuesday. We've done three days and three nights. The girls start l'ecole maternelle (nursery) tomorrow and although I have no idea what that will comprise of (because I still don't speak a damn word of French*) we are all excited and looking forward to this next, huge, milestone. We visited the nursery on Monday and it seemed very sweet, smaller and more structured that our nursery in London, which was what I think is described as 'child-led' (the French are not led by children.) There were tiny desks in rows and hand-writing exercises on the walls. I can't help but recoil at the shock my children will get when they realise that 'nursery' is not a standardised thing, that it will not be simply what they already know but with new children. But then again perhaps they won't recoil, I hear that children are more adaptable than adults, less thrown by things being different. Here's hoping.

Other things that are happening; I am being kept awake every night by a god damn frog that lives in the pond outside my bedroom door. It is raining in biblical proportions. I have no idea which of the six types of flour is the right one for making cakes. French toothpaste tastes funny. We have yet to catch a wild boar. And to learn the French for 'where is the lightsaber shop so we can buy one to kill the wild boar which we are going to catch and make into dinner because wild boar is just hairy pig and pigs make bacon, did you know?'


*not true. I can invite someone to dine with me and then tell them 'I'm sorry but it's not very comfortable for me like that.' The language course I've been using is clearly catering to a more sociable traveller than me.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time is gonna take so much away.







Time is gonna take so much away
but there's a way that time can offer you a trade.
Time is gonna take so much away
but there's a way that time can offer you a trade.
You gotta do something that you can get nicer at.
You gotta do something that you can get wiser at.
You better do something that you can get better at
'cause that's the only thing that time will leave you with.
'Cause time is gonna take so much away
but there's a way that time can offer you a trade. 


It might be cabaret.
it could be poetry.
It might be trying to make a new happy family.
It could be violin repair or chemistry.
But if it's something that takes a lot of time that's good.
'Cause time is gonna take so much away
but there's a way that time can offer you a trade.
Because your looks are gonna leave you.
And your cities gonna change too.
And your shoes are gonna wear through.
Yeah, time is gonna take so much away
but there's a way that you can offer time a trade. 


You gotta do something that you can get smarter at.
You gotta do something that you might just be a starter at.
You better do something that you can get better at.
'Cause that's the thing that time will leave you with.
And maybe that's why they call a trade a trade,
like when they say that you should go and learn a trade.
The thing you do don't have to be to learn a trade
just get something back from time for all it takes away. 


It could be many things.
It could be anything.
It could be expertise in Middle-Eastern travelling.
Something to slowly sure to balance life's unravelling. 
You have no choice you have to pay times price,
but you can use the price to buy you something nice.
Something you can only buy with lots of time
so when you're old, which you will, some whippersnapper's mind. 

It might be researching a book that takes you seven years.
A book that helps to make the path we take to freedom clear.
and when you're done you see it started with a good idea.
One good idea could cost you thousands of your days,
but it's just time you'd be spending anyways.
You have no choice, you have to pay times price
but you can use the price to buy you something nice. 

So I've decided recently,
too try to trade more decently. 


Thursday, March 05, 2015

Progress.




Things are getting real around here and we're getting so close to being able to blow this joint. The girls and I are flying out to France together in two weeks, TWO WEEKS. I am going to stay there with them for three weeks and then fly back to London to shoot a wedding with Nye, who will (who will) by that point have finished redecorating the house and putting in a new bathroom and finding a tenant and cancelling our contracts with various service providers - which I have no doubt will take up at least two of those three weeks. After we've done the wedding we will drive back together, our car laden with the crap that we just can't live without. 

While we're in France I will get getting drunk the girls settled into pre-school where we have a meeting with the head teacher a couple of days after we arrive. Pre-school (l'├ęcole maternelle) is provided four and a half days a week from 8.45-3.45, totally, completely free of charge. FREE. When I say I love France I'm not - 
 like 98% of bloggers who 'looooooooove France' - talking about cheese, wine with lunch and girls in striped shirts and messy up-dos on bicycles, I'm talking about this; social provision, for everyone. (I do also like wine and cheese, it has to be said.)

The village is small and there are fifteen kids at l'├ęcole maternelle, W&P will make seventeen. Twelve of those fifteen kids are boys which pretty much guarantees that at least one of our girls will love it immediately. The pre-school is attached to the primary school which, as part of its learning garden, has it's own row of vines. It's important in France that children now how to grow grapes from the age of five.

It's the thought of this, of taking the girls down the hill to school and then spending the day in the peace of the mountains and the forest, that is getting me through this hell of packing and donating and jettisoning what we own. We're taking with us what we can fit in the car (plus the three suitcases W&P and I will drag across London to the airport). We're leaving about ten boxes of books and toys in the attic, selling or donating all of our furniture and creating an epic pile of landfill with the shit that is of no use to anyone. Aside from one epic meltdown from Puke when she realised that we were donating all of the clothes that she had outgrown ('I WANT TO KEEP EVERYSHING FOR EVER AND EVER.') it has been a fairly peaceful process. 

Nye and I worked through our hoarding tendencies a few house-moves ago and are now more or less on the same page about what we get to keep and what goes. More importantly than being on the same page though, we are more or less capable of turning a blind eye to each other's weaknesses (his; speakers, cables, bits of bike, mine; books, art supplies, 'sentimental things'.) His mutterings that if it weren't for me and the girls there would be no clutter in his life and that he would live in an empty room with just a stereo and a bicycle (doesn't that sound pleasant?) have decreased in frequency and my ability to respond with hysterical laughter and a knowing eye roll instead of screaming YOU'RE SO FULL OF SHIT before making an itemised list of every single piece of crap that he owns and pointing out how much bigger his crap is than mine, has blessedly strengthened. Dudes, we have grown