26 February 2022


Another horrible journey to Salford and back yesterday and we have our visas.

The weather was fine this time but the UK roads are, without a doubt, awful.  Dodging the potholes and sunken manholes, diving into the hedge bottom to avoid oncoming lorries and range rovers, bouncing along the badly maintained bumpy lanes in the countryside and grappling with the traffic in the towns, not to mention the endless roadworks - huge swathes of road turned into single lane carriageways and causing massive inconvenience to motorists - and no visible signs of any work going on.

Over two hours each way to pick up our passports, the whole process taking up two days of our lives.  Another Brexit farce, a huge expense and thank goodness we don’t have to do it again until next year.

With just two weeks to go before we leave for the first tranche of our six months in France we will be busy, busy until then.  There is much work to do to get the house and garden straight here to leave it for a while and a few loose ends to tie up regarding my father's care.  Then we're off.

We came close, very close, to transferring my father to a care home but in the end have bought in carers to visit him twice a day.  They give him his medication in the morning and something to eat at teatime, adding to the people who already do his cleaning, shopping and laundry, plus other services, and he's fine.  The last year would have been so much better for him and us if we had put all this in place months ago, putting our foot down instead of pussyfooting around it, because in the end he’s accepted all of it.  He's taken to his new life of leisure, where someone else does everything for him, like a duck to water!

We reckon he will run out of money in about three years but for now he's safe, warm, well fed and happy and we're free to get on with our lives.

I'm resisting the temptation to write anything about Ukraine.  Others are saying plenty and I can’t think of anything I can add that would make a difference.  Disgust and outrage not only for Putin but also for the leaders of our own country for making it a safe haven for Russian dirty money whilst not making Ukranian refugees welcome.  

For now I'm very much looking forward to being back in France, to sunshine, friends and those beautiful smooth, quiet and delightful country roads that surround our own little patch of paradise.


  1. I'm so glad to hear that your Dad is sorted for the time being. Well done for persisting.

    I was in touch with a Ukrainian friend this morning. He's in Kyiv, and fine, but mightily pissed off. His way of dealing with it is to get on with some entomology research he's doing. He's a bit older than me, so not likely to be out there on the front line, but some missiles went over while we were 'talking'.

  2. I am so pleased you have got your visas- but what a lot of hoops to jump through to get there. Also REALLY pleased that your Dad is in a situation where you can leave him, knowing there are regular carers who will help him. I look forward to some great posts from France very soon!

  3. I remember writing a post, when we lived in France, extolling the virtues of life there - of which there are many. But since returning to the UK and relocating to a lovely area, where we are close to grandchildren, we have no regrets about selling up. From what you're saying above, it sounds as if for you there are few, if any, advantages to having a home in the UK. In the interest of your own well being might it be to your advantage to move permanently to France, especially now that you're happy with the care package you have for your dad. You only have one life and you may as well enjoy it to the full. Elizabeth xx

    1. Elizabeth, you chose well when you moved back to the UK and I'm glad you love it there.
      At times we love it here too, but the roads are terrible, especially having to cross the Pennines for an appointment!
      We still think we might up sticks and move to France but as each half year goes by it becomes less likely. Dealing with Dad's care from anywhere other than two miles away from where he lives would have been a total nightmare.
      We don't think we can even think about moving until he no longer needs us at all, for that reason. I would feel I had abandoned him if we did.
      In reality, we've been happy with the 50/50 way of living in two countries - until we weren't able to due to covid and Brexit. When we are truly free agents we might downsize in France and move in the UK, who knows. For now we are just happy with the situation where we can relax a bit and spend some time in France.

  4. Now that’s a definition of paradise I understand: no potholes!

  5. I hope France is a splendid relief for you.