Well, thank you 2016. You were a memorable year. Some might say awfully memorable. I might say memorably awful. But, like anything in life, it wasn’t really as bad as it seemed. Maybe.
- The French health system IS as good as it is said to be, and more so (but don’t ask us about the hospital food, for fear of nightmares).
- That kindness is found in the most unexpected of places.
- We met some wonderful people. If you’re reading this, and we met you in 2016, then you’re probably one of those people. Some were guests. Some were family of guests, while others were chance acquaintances who have become friends. Some are new to the area, others have been here for aeons. But they all enriched our lives.
- I am at home. I am truly happy here (but we do miss old friends, and life conspires to keep us apart, but bimbling along with occasional correspondence).
- I forgot: picking grapes at Chateau de Claribes. That was wonderful.
- My French is still terrible. But perhaps I make a better job of making hash of it than I did before! OK, maybe not!
- I am convinced that I ought to be doing more: more learning, more growing (except with respect to my girth), and so on. More LIVING, not stagnating. I’m sure you feel the same way.
- So much to do, and so little time … (AKA Facebook?)
- And the rest …… well, it doesn’t pay to brood on the rest, does it?
- Oh, I know. Speed traps. Aaaaargh! There is a lovely story about how they failed to catch on back in the Caribbean, which I’ll share with you now. Back in the day, when hand-held radar guns were all the rage for catching speeding offenders, a certain chief medical officer warned the local police that radar was a dangerous thing, and that the hand-held units posed many threats to the officers’ virility, thereby instantly curtailing their use!Having driven thousands of miles this year making a daily commute for a couple of months (often tired and/or stressed), I’ve run foul of too many speed cameras. Some of them are really sneaky “get-you-coming-and-going” units. Downside: several points off my licence, and many, many Euros poorer. Upside: thanks to the sat-nav I bought, I know lots of lovely new routes around the area, none of which warrant the expense of speed camera installations!
So, 3 months after Graham and I came home from Biarritz, I still haven’t finished that blog series. Part 3 remains a ghost post. In all honesty, I probably won’t write it. Not now. But I think that you got my drift. I’d like to go back, though, and stay in the countryside there so that I can learn more of the people, and cuisine, culture and way of life, and take long walks with the dogs. Yes, dogs. We now have 2. Brin was lonely.
Like you, I have goals for the year ahead. No, they’re not resolutions. I have a book to research, a plan to re-learn a musical instrument, a new website to build, maybe to learn how to write an “app,”and more. I suspect that once again my French vocabulary will extend into regions that are not normally the stuff of your average language lesson. And that’s just for starts. I’d like to travel, but I suspect that’s not on the cards. I’d like to learn how to cook, too.
I bought a lottery ticket with a bunch of friends the other week. A consortium purchase. 6 of us. 5 sets of numbers, plus the wild-card draws. On Saturday, I put the receipt in the reader ………… we won!!! €12.80. Less than the purchase price. We’ve reinvested. But perhaps I’m better off betting on double-yolked eggs. This Christmas I bought 18 eggs, and all of them had double yolks. Better odds than the lottery, and possibly every bit as satisfying.
Tell me: what’s your plan for the year ahead? And what adventures might I have without travelling far?
Bonne Annee. May you be happy and healthy this year, and I hope that we see you soon.