12 October, 2009

Back Home

Well...where do I start? It's ages since I last updated my blog, and I'm sorry if you've all been desperate for news! I know you haven't been really, but it's a nice thought!

The last time I updated I hadn't been back up here very long. Everything has changed hugely. Within the first week I was back, I had an interview for a job in a local call centre. To be perfectly honest, I had no recollection of applying for it, so when they phoned me to invite me for an interview I was surprised to say the least! I've figured it out now - I had applied for a call centre job through an employment agency in Cheltenham - never realising it was actually up here! What's for you won't go by you and all that! Anyway, I got the job, and I've been working there for nearly two months and surprisingly I'm really enjoying it!

For the first few weeks I stayed with one of my best mates, Joocey, whose parents were brilliant and let me stay in their house. After a few weeks, I moved to one of my other best mate's house, Lara. She was also brilliant letting me stay there. I had a look at rentals, and the council and there was really nothing nice around the town where I could see myself being happy. Another friend phoned me one afternoon to say that he knew of a house being rented, in the village where I went to primary school. I went out to see it, met the landlords and really loved it. It needed a bit of TLC, but certainly nothing beyond my abilities. The only problem was that I didn't have the deposit. My mum and dad said they could manage to come up with it, but not until the end of the month, so I seriously needed to think about it.

I went up to Edinburgh for the weekend, which I've done quite a bit of...and talked it over with another friend. Joocey was off back at uni by then - she's studying to become a teacher - and Lara and I were like ships that passed in the night!! With both of us doing shifts we actually rarely saw each other! So, I needed to talk to someone about it just to get another point of view. Anyway, F, the friend in Edinburgh, said I'd be daft if I didn't go for it. I got a call while I was up there from the landlords saying that they had other people interested, but if I could come up with half the deposit up front they'd hold the house for me until the end of the month. I then didn't have a clue what to do, until F said he'd lend me half the deposit until the end of the month.

So...to cut a very long story short, I now have my own wee house! It's an ex-council house, right on the edge of a small village. Like I said, the house needs a little TLC, but I have made a start! I don't have any of my furniture from France here yet, but my best mate J and his family have lent me a few bits and pieces, and his mum has a furniture shop, so I've bought a few bits and pieces too. I have a lovely king size bed! I have already decorated the bathroom - it was definitely the most drastic - dark blue dolphin wallpaper! Looks much better now!

While I really appreciate everyone's help over the last couple of months, it is so nice to come home every night to my own wee house. I keep falling asleep on the couch though!!

The one downside is that I still don't have Isla here yet. I'm working shifts, and until I can sort out regular hours it's not do-able. She's really excited about coming over now that I have a house for us. I think she had visions of us living in a grotty little flat somewhere in a town with no garden, but instead we have a three bedroom house in a village surrounded by fields! She's starting to look forward to it, instead of dreading leaving France. I'm missing here like mad though.

It is amazing to be home. A fellow blogger recently had an article published in the Daily Mail - I know some of you read her blog too so have probably seen it. The comments that were left on the article by readers were incredible - people really have no idea of tongue-in-cheekness or humour, or even what expat life in France is really like. People have this Peter Mayle vision of delightful locals who'll welcome you with open arms and fawn all over you, but it's not like that. Life is hard - if you're working it's pretty much a hand to mouth existence. Something normally comes along when you need it, but you can't rely on it. There are some truly lovely people there, expats and French both, but there are also some real oddbods. There's a massive "arty" community down there - people move to places like that and totally reinvent themselves. They may have been an office manager in UK for example, move to France and suddenly become an "artist" - by the way, that little example is based on no one as I don't know any ex-office manager artists, so if it's you, don't sue me because I don't know you!

It is so refreshing being back in the UK, especially up here. Not down south so much, because a lot of people have too much to prove down there and they work too hard to have fun. But up here, generally with people what you see it what you get. I'm living in a village about three miles from where I grew up and loving it.

I really feel that I've come home.