Thursday, September 07, 2006
Officially a Maverick and a life in France
I'll apologise profusely first of all for these photos being in no particular order - I just can't get my head round blogger at all
Speaking of not getting my head around Blogger, the best part of a month ago Bonnie and Tonya very generously asked me if I'd like to join the Quilt Mavericks ring. I felt honoured to be asked and agreed immediately. Of course being a total Technophobic computer-numpty it has taken all this time along with numerous emails and finally Bonnie rescued me and set up the Mavericks ring logo on my blog. So now I'm officially a Quilt Maverick and very happy to be part of it - I'll have to keep coming up with quilt ideas slightly outside the box to continue earning my membership :o) This is why I included the picture of James Garner (tenuous link) - I used to love that TV programme as a youngster, if I tried I could probably still sing the signature tune - aren't you glad I'm sufficiently computer incompetent to not be able to add sound to this blog???
A week or so ago Dordogne quilter asked me when and where we'd lived in France so I googled the place name and came up with their website http://www.loonplage.org/ville1.htm - it is all in French obviously but if you're sufficiently curious you might like to have a gander - the button for Visiter Loon Plage will take you to the pictures
The photos above show general pictures of the village centre, the play area to the side of our house and the floral display at the end of our street. The village of about 7000 souls boasted at least 4 play areas like this which had both little kids stuff like this and big kids football/basketball courts and skate board ramps. There were also several beautiful floral displays like the train one dotted about too - lovely!
We lived over in France for six months over the winter and spring of 2001/2
Nigel took a job with a Danish company at one of their European Distribution depots in the very North Eastern part of France between Calais and Dunkerque in October 2001. He commuted weekly until we moved lock stock and barrel to join him at the beginning of December. We jumped in literally at the deep end - the only English family the village had ever hosted - after all usually Brits who move to France either live in Paris or head for the warmer more southerly climes. The children settled straight into French schools and I kept house for the family experimenting cooking with French ingredients and trying to make myself understood in Le Banc etc as people en masse refused to admit they could speak any English and the 25 year old O Level school French that I thought would stand me in excellent stead proved to be woefully inadequate - still all our linguistic skills improved rapidly.
We had just begun to feel like we were getting our feet under the table when Nigel's employers announced they were restructuring and he would be jobless from the end of February - GULP!
We spent a very worrying few weeks until we found out they were prepared to pay to repatriate us - paying for that ourselves would have bankrupted us. Sadly we hadn't been there long enough nor was Nigel's French of sufficient standard for redeployment to make staying an option.
Someone's hand must have been on our shoulder when we made arrangements to leave the UK as we had only rented out our house, not sold. However we had to wait until our tenants vacated at the end of May to return to Gloucester
We were very very sorry to leave as we'd really started to like the life out there and even almost 5 years later still feel very cheated over the whole situation.
As a family we view ourselves as Europeans and we went with the intentions of giving the children the opportunity to grow up bilingual - a very useful lifeskill for their employment opportunities - plus we felt that without that expensive travel barrier of the Channel we would be able to spend our spare time travelling through Europe seeing more of the world.
Alas it was not to be then but there are positive points - our children will never be afraid to go anywhere - moving to Somerset was a breeze by comparison
Would we go again? - you bet your life we would, for the right package at the right time
But, at present, with the children at the ages and school stage they are it will be sunny Somerset for us for the forseeable future