Our little house in the village "au pied du château". We kept the motorcycles in the cellar.
We check regularly the status of France on the government's "traffic light" system for travel abroad. At the moment France is "orange" which means travel is possible but there are onerous and expensive conditions. So we await it "turning green".
We have now been away from our House In France for eight months. That's the longest period ever that we have been in the UK, ever since we first bought the little house "au pied du château" in the village fourteen years ago. Even when we were both still working full time and we only spent our holidays there, the longest time we were away was five months. I remember it feeling like an eternity and being desperate to get back.
We downsized in the UK so we could upsize in France to this.
Now that there are rumblings that travel to France on sensible terms might return, the longing to be there has also returned.
The re-opening of the "Jean Bart" last August.
Soon after we arrived there last summer (after seven months' absence), the bar in the village that had been closed all year re-opened and there was an opening party. There were a lot of people there, faces we didn't recognise, people from other villages and holiday makers from other countries. This was pre-vaccine and it felt very uncomfortable.
As I understand it, the vaccine has three advantages; #one is that you are less likely to get the virus, #two is that if you get it you are less likely to be very ill with it and, last but not least; #three is that if you are unlucky enough to get it, because you don't develop the severe respiratory symptoms you are less likely to pass it on. A triple whammy and all good.
There are a few "what ifs" to get out of the way before we can make realistic plans.
One thing is certain, getting there is never going to be as straightforward as it was in the past. Thanks to Brexit we have the punishing Schengen 90/180 rule so we can only stay for a maximum of ninety days unless we get a six month visa. It hardly seems worth getting a visa for this year - which involves an interview at the French Embassy, lots of documentation (no surprise there), proof of having somewhere to stay and costly insurance. Then there's the Animal Health Certificates, which can cost £150 per pet, per trip, thanks to Brexit and the loss of the Pet Travel Scheme. What if Covid tests are still required by the time we're able to travel (at around £100 each!)?
However, as soon as France "goes green" we'll be off. No iffs about that! We are at a time of life when we were hoping life would become easier and less complicated. The double whammy of Brexit and Covid has put the kibosh on that but it will take more than a bit of extra paperwork (and some of our hard earned dosh) to keep us away!