Posts Tagged ‘france

Since it’s my last post from French soil, here’s a taste of what I would have seen had I been lucky enough to be in Pézenas for carnival season.

Somehow pancakes seem a little unexciting by comparison…see you back in Blighty!


I know a few of you who read this that already do…to the extent that you have embraced your new country for all its foibles and more importantly for its uniqueness.

Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.netThat’s the thing, isn’t it?  I can’t think of a single country where I’d say, oh, this is just like X country.  Every single part of this planet has something totally individual to offer.

I ask the question because my parents are trying to make their minds up whether or not to live in France permanently.   Currently the only house they own is the one I’m sitting in, on French soil.

There are financial quandaries to get past, but at the moment, whilst my mum would gladly live here forever, my dad feels he would miss the UK too much.  So they are here on a sort of trial run, living here for a few months before they make their decision.

So many TV programmes are now dedicated to people who want to live abroad, though they are more likely to be in English speaking countries.  The language barrier is not a small one, especially in France. Like the British in the UK, the concept of someone coming up to them in their home country and talking at them in any language other than French is downright rude.  (And quite right too.  Manners require that you at least try.)

Perhaps that’s what’s really bothering my Dad.  He doesn’t really have any confidence speaking French since he gave up his language classes a few years ago.  Of course, he could find a course here, but I’m not convinced he really wants to.

The distance is also an issue. Realistically children and grandchildren wouldn’t be able to visit more than once a year; the cost is too prohibitive.  But, on the plus side, when they do come they are more likely to stay for some time, possibly spending more time together than before.

But it’s the culture that makes one fall in or out of love with a country.  You have to embrace it totally to be able to live somewhere permanently.  Every place has its own feel, and it’s a question of whether that rubs you up the right way or the wrong way.

I’d love to live abroad.  I haven’t seen enough of the world.  I love the challenges it brings.  But I’d never be able to persuade loved one, and I’m not sure I’d want to while we have grandparents – the ones who do live in the UK – that we also want to spend time with.

So I’ve warned loved one that I’m going to need some seriously long holidays in lots of interesting places to get my culture fix.

And my parents?  They started building this house ten years ago. It’s gorgeous. And it’s great weather…Maybe Dad will be persuaded one day. Maybe.

Au marché

Posted on: 13/04/2011

We’re here now…so I thought I’d look and see if any of the local customs had made their way onto YouTube.

They had!

Bienvenue au marché à Pézenas (and pardon my extremely rusty French).  I’ve been many times and look forward to sharing it with my children this Saturday… Perhaps you’ll see why it’s so popular.  And many thanks to champavert who uploaded the home video.

Road trip

Posted on: 04/04/2011

In a few days’ time I will be taking myself and all bar the salary-earning member of the family down to my parents’ place in the south of France.  By car.

federico stevanin /

While we are down there, we will celebrate my mum’s seventieth birthday, Easter, and Smallest One’s first birthday, in a three-day festival of much eating, before we head back home.

Part of me is anticipating a fabulous time (Much Beloved will join us briefly too – yay).

(There’s another part of me that’s trying really hard not to think about what will happen spending such a long period of time in the company of my parents. Who, whilst well-meaning, like all parents of adults I know bar very few, have this amazing capacity to drive me insane.  But I’m straying off the point)

For now, I am trying to fathom how to prepare, during the busiest week of the school term, for such an expedition. I’ve been dreading it.  However, now I’m actually thinking about it, apart from winning the battle of the laundry and ensuring the children don’t pack totally unsuitable clothing, it’s no longer so daunting.  I’ve prepared all the documentation (insurance, cross-channel tickets, passport applications, etc.), and that was really the tricky and time-consuming bit.

So now the prospect seems quite appealing, all in all.  I think what I’m really dreading is the last week of term.  I really wish the school’s events diary was not confined almost solely to this one week when we’re all exhausted…but at least it’ll allow me to really look forward to the trip.