France, personal, teenage son, travel
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5 things we miss, and 5 things we’ve learnt to love and appreciate

Tonight is the Last One of Everything. Our last fire. The last dinner. Our last evening of badminton. Tomorrow we pack up all the furniture, empty the fridge, drain all the pipes of water (so that they don’t freeze and crack during Winter), cover the mattresses in plastic, and go stay with the neighbours up the road for a night (very kindly taking in the 2 cold Aussies, and asking us genuine questions like ‘Are kangaroos everywhere? Do they attack you?’)

I feel melancholy. I know I’ll never have this time again. Not with ‘15’. Because soon he’ll be 16, then 18, then 20, and [hopefully] travelling the world by himself, or with mates and a girlfriend [I’m not assuming heterosexuality there, by the way; I’ve been referencing ‘boyfriends and/or girlfriends’ since he was about 9, and he finally sat me down firmly and told me he was definitely not gay, which I was very disappointed about- no marching proudly in the Mardi Gras with my child sigh].

ANYWAY, back to feeling sad by the Last Fire. I know I’ll never have this time again. To be able to carve out a whole month from my life, with a mortgage to pay, Pilates clients to train, a cat to serve, and household to maintain, and just sit quietly here in the Barn, has been amazing; the blessing of taking ‘15’ out of school, and having a lot of undivided attention with him, has been nothing short of a miracle. Not to mention playing so much badminton together every evening as a ritual that I think we’ve permanently worn away the grass:


Admittedly, we did go in hunt of Wifi every 2 or 3 days, so he did at least stay vaguely connected with his buddies on social media, but the chance to read together, shop at the various markets together, cook feasts together, and just hang out, has been such a joy.

I asked him a few nights ago what are the 5 things he’s missed the most so far:

  1. His dog ‘S’
  2. His family (Awwww)
  3. Surf in the morning
  4. Doing shits on a nice toilet (don’t even ask…)
  5. Friends and Wifi


  1. My cat ‘Y’
  2. My bamboo top mattress and latex pillow (Awwwww)
  3. My veg garden
  4. My regular dance classes (Swing and 5Rhythms)
  5. Friends and Wifi

What we’ve learnt to love while being here, ‘15’ going first:

  1. French surf
  2. Sleeping in till 9.30
  3. Renewed love for reading
  4. Going for long forest walks (although the hour-long one we did 2 days ago which involved 2 dogs chasing him kinda put him off again)
  5. Badminton and card games

Here’s mine:

  1. Maps (real, paper-foldy ones- we could not have found either the Quiksilver Pro or the urgently-needed petrol station without them- RESPECT)
  2. Badminton
  3. Flushing toilets (don’t even ask…)
  4. Driving on the Right side of the road
  5. Relying on Alby (inextricably linked to both #1 and #4)

I’ve read half a dozen thick, serious books, including a new addition to my Top Ten Books Ever: Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’; ‘15’ has read 14- there’s a lot to be said for Kindles I must admit. I’ve also posted 15 times on my Blog here.

So our sojourn at the Barn has been even more of a success than I dreamt possible. The weather has been generous: although it has been cold at night, we’ve usually had sunshine during the day, and only 3 days of rain, none of them very heavy nor consecutively thank goodness, or it would have become a drag (I do count moisture coming up through the floor as a bit of a drag- call me fussy).

Today, our last full day here, was glorious, at least 22 degrees. I aired all the rugs, quilts and blankets, did 2 final loads of washing AND got them dry, plus finished the ‘creping’ on the living room wall (which involves cleaning out the 300yr old loose mud, dirt, cobwebs and dust from between the rocks, then literally throwing a mix of sand, lime and cement at them, like a massive vertical mosaic project).


Before- whole wall- 300+ years old, rocks stuck together with local mud



After- detail

We drove to our favourite local, café to watch the Rugby semi finals, in between frantic Facebook surfing and WordPress posting, then home for our Last Evening. Sigh


It’s tempting for me to dwell here on the End of This, the End of That… But many years ago, when my Dad visited me in Australia, he took a photo of me in front of a large hippy sign that said ‘Every ending is also a Beginning’; I kept it on my fridge for YEARS (and note to Self “I really must dig that out again”).

So while it IS the Last of Everything, it is also the Beginning of a new adventure together, as we travel across France, and then down to Barcelona. I’ve never been to Spain. And our apartment there has Wifi. There WILL be more times here in front of the fire, perhaps with his friends and girlfriend, perhaps one day with his children… Who knows? Dad first brought me here when I was 15, and look at me now- a seriously groovy dancing performing Mama, with a gorgeous 15 year old son!

Here’s to the future: unknowable, and unfolding, with love and gratitude.

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