Friday, July 08, 2011

Last year at Chez Nous

Mike & Munson at kitchen window
Photo by neighbour Brent.

It’s one year today since Munson and I flew out of Sydney to sample a new life in France, and definitely one of those years that didn’t fly past, each season being full of some new challenge, new experiences.

I’ve nearly checked off all the paperwork that I need to accumulate for a second year here. Sometimes it seems that the first year’s visa just puts you on a treadmill towards that renewal and it can all seem somewhat overwhelming at times. There’s definitely scope for making the process more transparent so that visitors can get more out of their time here.

Coming from outside the EU adds several layers of complexity which Europeans are not normally familiar with. While expat forums like AngloInfo can be very useful, they tend to be dominated by people who know all about how things used to be done, and that can be dangerously misleading when you’re running up against time constraints.

Anyway, Munson and I are well ensconced in our cottage, with real farm life happening around us, and now ample opportunities to explore some of the attractions of the region, and the country at large.
Both of us are very healthy (we will not speak of my hayfever ordeal),  benefiting from the fresh food diet and opportunities for constructive daily exercise.

At the end of July, we’ll be heading north with two major aims – to visit Gustav in Sweden, and to walk Offa’s Dyke National Trail in the UK. That 300km trail sits on the border of England and Wales, roughly equivalent to walking from Bristol to Liverpool. I anticipate that will take us about 12 days, and I’m furiously working on the logistics for transport and accommodation. I hope to catch up with a few more folk whom I missed during my short time in the UK last year, and maybe squeeze in a coffee or two at Munson’s Cafe….

I haven’t worked out which order I will be doing these yet as I’m waiting to hear back about staying on Arran Island in Scotland during the first week of August. If that’s not on, then we’ll head to Malmö first. and get to the UK in the middle of the month. (Hey Walt and Ken: any chance of an overnight stopover as we head north?)

That will take us away for about a month in all, our first proper getaway this year. After that I hope we can welcome so more guests.

Finally a big shout out to all my friends and family back in Australia, and a special thank you to Richard and Corinne for hosting my car in their garage while I retrace some of the journeys it made through Europe.

 

Last_days_chez_nous_DRG1260 (1)Today’s post title is a nod to Gillian Armstrong’s 1992 film Last Days at Chez Nous whose soundtrack is one of my most-played albums.

2 comments:

  1. Congrats on the year! It's been fun watching and reading.

    Let us know what your itinerary is. We have some house guests scheduled for 22-25 July, and another blog reader will be stopping by sometime during the weekend of the 29th, but not overnight.

    It'd be great to meet you and Munson (finally) and you're certainly welcome for an overnight if it works for you.

    My email is waltfrance"at"gmail"dot"com.

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  2. You two have such a fun and exciting life! I can't believe it has been a year already! Time sure has flown!

    Malagal kisses to that adorable Munson!

    Holly

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