Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Still 'Head over heels' in love with France!

Hi everybody, you might have noticed a gap since we last had a chat and you would be right. In my previous missive, full of the joys of life, I encouraged you all to get out there and celebrate your freedom.  Well, shortly after completing my enthusiastic ramblings, I contracted a nasty virus and have only just felt well enough to get back to writing today. Indeed I am way behind in finishing my book editing, but I just thought I would touch base with you all, lest you wonder where I've gone!

With spring arriving, my husband and I have set about putting the house to rights, before hopefully placing it on the market as a first step to returning to our beloved France.  The plan this time is to move to Burgundy with a view to being nearer my daughter and her husband. Like everything in life, however, our plans are not without worry, as I have my elderly father to think about this time, but we have decided to go ahead in the hope that taking things a bit at a time, problems will be solved as and when they arise. You may well be aware from previous blogs that we have made this move before; so we know exactly what lies ahead of us.  This, one would think, would be a distinct advantage, but on the contrary, it seems harder the second time around, as we are aware of the amount of work involved in relocating! The housing market here remains very slow, however, so no doubt we will have plenty of time to make our plans.

While convalescing over the last few months, I have passed my time reading  and in the process enjoyed various genres, from the classics to comedy, the latter of which helped me laugh my way through some of the darker days.  Always eager to read of others who have made the move to France, however, the travel memoir has been hard for me to resist and so I found myself turning the pages of  'Head over Heels in France' by Samantha Brick. 

I had seen Samantha on television, when as a journalist she dared to write an article on how difficult it can be to be beautiful, for which she found herself heavily under fire from the general public on Twitter, the majority of whom felt it lacking in modesty to admit to such an opinion of one's self.  I was, therefore, interested to read her own story, an honest account of her descent into depression after her television company went into liquidation, leaving her with no job, no home and virtually no money.  A chance encounter during a break in France sees her life take a new turn, when she falls in love with Pascal, a gun toting, stubborn and ever so macho Frenchman.  I found the book well written; some of her descriptions of the 'Lot' countryside in France proving positively eloquent, transporting the reader to join her as she explores her new environment.  As someone who has lived in France I was fascinated when she moved in with Pascal to have an insider view of the French way of life; something I have only glimpsed through my neighbours up until now. The book ends with her marriage to Pascal, when the villagers finally welcome her as one of them. 

An interesting read which I enjoyed.  As for my opinion of Samantha herself, well, her glamorous life in television has obviously meant her priorities have evolved around appearance and the importance of a designer label. Although this is all in the past, as she becomes embroiled in French country life, I find myself asking the question, 'You can take the girl out of a pampered life, but can you ever take the desire to be pampered out of the girl?'  When all is said and done, I like Sam and wish her all the very best in her new life, as I  look forward to the sequel to her book.  She, like me, has discovered the lure of French country life that captivated me during my three years there and like Sam, has prompted me to write my own story.