With only just over a week to go before the end of January, I am delighted and relieved to report that so far this winter we have had no snow here in Derbyshire.
By this time last year we had been literally knee deep in the stuff several times. It was the snow last winter, or rather having to drag myself to work in it, that added to my conviction that it was time for me to retire.
A sprinkling or two of snow is forecast for this week, but nothing much. A few centimetres will not cause too much havoc, it takes at least six inches to do that. This time it will not bother me as I don't have to contemplate clearing the drive with the snow shovel and fighting my way to work in it, driving the car in a state of total panic. Nick now works from home most of the time anyway so snow will not be a problem for him either.
We do however have to go to a funeral. My aunt died on 5th January and her funeral is on Thursday. She was my mother's sister and they were very close. I was very fond of her. She spent the last few years of her life in the kind of physical condition that most of us would prefer not to endure, completely bedridden, totally unable to do anything for herself, her mind still active and hoping that one day a miracle would happen and she would be able to walk or at least feed herself. My uncle was her principal carer until she needed twenty four hour care and had to go into a nursing home, which they had to pay for by selling their own home.
It takes a funeral to polarise thoughts sometimes and now more than ever we both feel it's time to make a move, to get on with the next chapter of our lives while we still have the energy. We have reached the it's now or never stage and finally we have arrived at the crossroads we have been heading towards for a few years. We have decided to pack up and move to France.
We had really come to this conclusion before we arrived in France on Boxing Day but as each day passed and we talked about it more and more we felt certain it was what we want to do.
Sunset over the rooftops seen from our little garden.
Realistically we are not packing up entirely but downsizing in the UK and upsizing in France. Selling our house in Derbyshire will be a huge wrench as it's a nice house in a nice area and we love it. But we'll be swapping it for something small and easy to maintain, keeping a foothold in the UK, so that we can come back and visit our families and, most importantly, be there for my dad when he needs us.
Finding a larger house in France will be quite an adventure and we're looking forward to it. We'll be aiming for somewhere where we can spread out and relax for a few years. Or maybe longer, who knows. We know that if we don't do it we'll always wonder how different life could have been if we had and be full of regrets.
So far so good.