Monday, 18 June 2007

Wam Bam - Ohana

So there we were, happily or not so as the case turns out, living in Northampton. A small 2 bedroom bungalow with half an acre of land, backing onto a protected spiny, NN1 postal location, everything seemed to be fine and dandy. Of course on the wish list; living closer to the beach was always one of my high priorities but at 42 you kind of just reassure yourself that travelling a couple of hours to the coast was no big deal. You can only kid yourself for so long!

One evening in May 2004, my wife Sophie piped up and told me that she wanted to go back to live in Montpellier. That came right out of the blue, so was somewhat shocking to say the least. Her mother, an infamous Mediterranean darling; who has doted over me for the last 10 years - NOT, had found her a job and she was adamant to get her daughter and grandson back to her home town. To cut a long story short I was left holding the broom to tidy up the loose UK ends, whilst my wife took our son to France so that he would be able to start the new academic year without any hassle.

The flip side to this wonderful UK based decision was that it took over 13 months for me to sell our house and as a result I spent a long time away from my family but like all things when you put the ball in motion you have to go with it regardless of the consequences. Lots of too-ing and fro-ing and of course the inevitable tears for everyone but hey ho it all came good in the end. Well at least that is what I have been telling myself.

I finally got to living in Montpellier full time at the end of July 2005. It was a long old slog and emptying a house on your own is most definitely an arduous task. A big thank you goes out to Corey Adcook who was a friend and a big support whilst my family were not there in the latter stages. Most house owners will appreciate that moving house is supposed to be one of life's most stressful activities, well let me share with you the compounding effect of changing your country residence, tying up all the loose ends, council tax, UK tax office, closing down your business, fiscal details - the list seems never ending when your right in amongst it. But I had my list and eventually it got completed.

On reflection - I guess when I arrived I was slighted twisted and I did feel let down by my wife. This has only just really dawned on me as I write this blog entry. She had walked away and I had independently taken on the task of sorting the UK end out. Grrrrrrrrrr I hadn't realised that I was so stressed by it. Aghh well as you get older I guess you learn to mellow a little. Keeping cool when things get really messy takes a lot of control - oh... and I almost forgot to tell you:

Whilst I was living on my own, the house was broken into and messed up, that wasn't such a problem as most of our belongings were already in France and then a few days later the shed was broken into and my steadfast Cannondale Mountain Bike was stolen - but I kept my chin up because there seemed little point in being any other way. The police confirmed that since the Gipsies had arrived and set up camp in the town, the crime rate had gone off the scale. We had continued to pay our insurance so things were sorted out via claims.

Lots and lots of opportunity to really go off the rails - let me tell you. However, it did come to fruition in the end. So what is the flip side to this encounter of stress, house selling, moving and sorting things out. I guess in essence if you have the opportunity to tackle it together, side by side, in a good old British way, fa na fa na, choose to do it like that because 'Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.'. (Lilo & Stitch - 2002 Disney)