Wednesday 22nd July
Last year when we were thinking about retirement and what it would mean we had no idea things would turn out as they have. We knew we would want to spend more time down here in France, but I at least imagined it might be for three or four weeks at a time, then back for two or three weeks in England. I thought that I would get bored of life down here, that we would enjoy the contrast of busy England and lazy rural France; that we would be almost nomadic, grazing for a while then moving on when the mood took us.
We also knew we would need a project. Daytime TV is simply too boring, though on days off in my pre-retirement life I liked to catch ‘The Daily Politics’. I haven’t seen that in a long time now. We thought about another property, maybe one that needed a bit of renovation, something that I could work on a bit. We looked at a few but the only one I really liked was on a main road and next to a twenty year empty house, so no go. Then my wife hit on the brilliant idea of opening a café, I think she got the idea initially from a small café we attended a birthday party in late last year, the Roman Road Art Café. And so, like serendipity, the Café des Arts was born and now takes up at least half of each of our days. I quite like it as I can write and listen to music and occasionally serve a customer.
And so we now spend almost all our time out here. I am returning on Thursday for a few days to catch up on some work and see a couple of my children and their wee ones and then to bring Mum and Dad out for a week. It is incredibly hot here, and though everyone complains it is better than rainy England. The days drift by and actually for the first time since I was seventeen I am having practically a whole summer of no, or very little work. Splendid. Not quite as we had planned it, but splendid all the same.