Over the next few weeks I shall mostly be a) blogging about the Tour de France 100tours100tales.wordpress.com and b) making plans for our research mission in La Belle France and c) browsing French property prawn (but when don’t I find myself spending an hour or two sighing over properties that I know I could make gorgeous with a lick of fake Farrow & Ball?)
Obviously with redundancy and tightened belts we’ll be fact finding on the cheap – no overnight stays but I’ll be contacting B&B/gite owners in the Montmorillon area to try and arrange to have a chat with them and get a flavour not just of the commercial possibilities but the lie of the land in the area. I’ll be making appointments to view (of course!) and sounding out the possibilities for doing estate agency work (did I mention I absolutely adore nebbing at houses?). And we’ll be having a holiday – visiting Snake Island and Monkey Valley and Eagle Chateau and all the other cool tourist stuff – especially Futuroscope.
I still can’t believe I lived 1 hour away from the ‘French theme park of the moving image’ and never visited. I drove a thousand times through the park itself, a collection of extraordinary buildings united loosely by the brief ‘space age as imagined in the 1970s’. I watched a Tour de France prologue there. I had summer visitors who went and raved about it, especially the evening show that featured a gigantic projection of Gene Kelly singing in the rain, his phantom tap shoes exploding fountains of water wherever they touched. So I’m stupidly excited about spending a day there (budget be damned – at least for a day).
But more, much more, I’m stupidly excited about taking our first concrete steps to shifting the big idea from page to paysage. To standing inside a building and saying ‘you know what…’ To finding the right place in just the right spot. To talking to other Brits out there about the detail stuff – the schools and the doctors and the amenities. To establish the sense of community and the place we might take in it.
So we have the tent (we’re confirmed Glampers now), the Big Idea, and the freedom (summer holidays, redundancy) – I love it when a plan comes together and I’m more excited by this plan than anything for a very long time. The feeling of knowing you’re close to sloughing off the dead dullness of the 9 to 5 in favour of a driving your own destiny is euphoric, like being just nicely pissed on the very best champagne/great G&T/Belgian beers (delete as applicable – or not), like feeling your shoulders drop and the knots in your muscles that you didn’t even know you carried unravelling. I am so incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to do this – for all the uncertainty about our financial future, I know for certain that the road ahead will take us into the heart of la France profonde, to a lovely farmhouse/townhouse/barn conversion with fake Farrow & Ball on the walls and 4 very happy and contented people waiting to greet you at the door.