Every once in a while we allow ourselves the luxury of dreaming. I am not speaking of the dreams that just happen at night over which we have no control. I am talking about if things were different for us…
For instance if we could purchase a property in France and eke out a living somehow and live out his dream of living in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. It is where he wants to be, with every passing year he thinks that it is slipping away and it deeply saddens him and I to think that it may not happen for him. I want to see his dream and wish come true, I just don’t know how to make it happen in the life that we currently have. Another massive change that’s needed before it could. He is older than me by several years and he does not want to end his days in the little place in the South, or in Scotland where the weather is damp and unforgiving to a man with osteo-arthritis and who has been unwell for a long time.
So that is how it happens. An actual dream, which is then discussed with the other (in which we are living in some old house) or quite simply, one or the other of us begins to search online for French property once again in the search for the perfect place as shown in a dream.
A week ago, I dreamt about a house, it didn’t look particularly French in its design, but in the dream it was coastal France and we were travelling. Upon waking I remembered the name of two places. I felt that one of them was in Spain but I looked it up and it didn’t exist. But the other place along the coast that I was looking for, St Coulomb it turns out is off the coast of St Malo. This is not the Southern France that he craves but much nearer to the UK.
So the search began for a beach house in my dream, on a rocky bay where apparently we had gone for a holiday previously and I was suddenly in a position to purchase for us, except I was up and down the road and couldn’t find it again. I met him down the road and we began to look for it together. We knocked at the door to ask if we could go inside and shortly after that I woke up.
So I looked online at a favourite website or two, for property in that area. Then we talked about it since everything was way out of a budget that we often set for ourselves which is based on a figure we see as realistic for our Scotland home. One of us said that it was the wrong part of France and so I looked in The Midi-Pyrenees region. Non specific to town, just to see what was about.
It started out as harmless browsing and rapidly became a bit of a mission for the needy few days whilst I had felt unwell. It kind of lifted the spirits as it so often does when we allow ourselves this dream. I was met with 136 pages containing 3241 listings of houses. At the time I thought that I would look at a few of them, but every time the computer went on I found myself looking again at them. After the first day I had covered 60 pages of them. The second day I was up to 100 and the. I thought, I may as well look at all of them.
The houses are many and varied as you would expect. My criteria was that it has to have land, more than two bedrooms and I had to think of a figure.
So I only looked at those (unless it looked very special indeed)
Although many people might see this as a monotonous task I had set myself, In conclusion it has offered clarity on a couple of things, so that should the time come I will have a better idea of what would suit our ideal and what I would like to do in the future. It seems that our dreams often intertwine and have a crossover. I would have liked to run a B&B Chambre d’hotes business whereas he would be happier with our own private space and the responsibility of cooking for our guests. The ideal solution being to run self contained Gites instead which he seems happy for me to do.
When I was a little girl I dreamed of living on a farm or small holding and in the past few years since we got the cottage in Scotland it seemed as though we were getting nearer to that happening. A beautiful place surrounded by Farmland with enough land to make a start. If only I could get it finished and we could actually live there all year round we would know if we could. But then life dealt us some cruel blows and our health has suffered and I don’t even know if we could do that if we wanted to. The limitations that have reared their heads over the years often makes us rethink the possibilities. I would still love that farm, the practicality would be that we get people in to help us run it. Since I have no knowledge of animal husbandry or agriculture it is pure fantasy based on where I would like to live. Surrounded by land which no one can take away or build some monstrosity upon and a place where I can be immersed in nature.
So through this self imposed house search I looked at all the possibilities. I found some amazing properties which captured the imagination and was surprised at the effect it had upon my finding an architect designed single house built in the 1950’s with many inbuilt original features. It looked like a sprawling 4 bed bungalow but had a basement too like many French properties do. It was a bit of a marmite house. You’d either love it or hate it. For two days I couldn’t get it out of my head and he loved it too with it’s acre of flat land in a village it was not isolated and would have made a lovely garden with plenty of running space for the dog.
But then it wasn’t what we had talked about. It had no space to grow our options. No outbuildings for a Gite what would we do for an income I asked. Yes it would be a great retirement home all on one level for those with a pension and who are financially independent. But we are not. That’s when the reality kicks in and ruins the dream aspect. I need a job, either that or a lottery win. But certainly the means with which to support us all. He may be in his sixties now, but I am only in my forties. I cannot retire for about twenty five years if I am lucky. He has no private pension pot to keep him in luxury and so it is likely that it will be down to me to raise funds in whatever way I can as time goes on.
No if it’s going to happen then it must have land and outbuildings.
I found a place in the woods, near a river, on a mountain pass. It was a pretty place with a view of the mountains and river but the house held no allure for me at all. “You could make it special” he said. It had no inside toilet and I don’t fancy going outside in the freezing cold and the land around the house was steep and terraced. Since it was built into a slope, I couldn’t immediately see a way to connect the toilet facilities to the house. So I rather ruled it out.
There were houses in acres of Woodland with no one around. I must admit that holds its appeal still, but then I would need to be mobile and not cut off completely from the outside world.
There were Masters houses, grand looking country houses resembling small mansions on the edges of villages or towns.
There were houses with character and big gardens in villages with huge vegetable plots.
There were empty unloved farmhouses with crumbling barns filled with relics of machinery.
I found one such place which has 43 acres of land, barns and an old farmhouse on a hill surveying all of its land looking out across fields and woods. It has a magical quality about it that I like.
He asked but what would you do with your own village?
My response, I’ll think of something.
I even found a small vineyard.
After three days of looking I realised that I would not settle for a modern house. It would be big and sprawling with lots of rooms, loads of space and enough land around it so that I do not feel cramped I will one day be a little old lady walking around a big house. Hopefully with a beloved dog at my side and maybe with a companion to keep me from losing my marbles. It may keep me busy looking after it all. I don’t have children to leave it to but I hope that I will always have friends who will visit and come to stay. To enjoy the hospitality and company and that I will not be alone far away from any loved ones that I still have.
It’s funny that I mentioned earlier that our dreams intertwine and crossover. As I wrote this I meant that we sometimes wish for the same things. But there is another strange thing after I began writing this yesterday morning I had no conversation about the subject. Suddenly at around midnight last night my partner was telling me about a dream he was having in the early hours of the morning. As it turns out it was when I was awake writing this in fact, but I was not doing so even in the same house. He said that he remembered it so vividly and with intricate detail.
We were walking along the beach near St Malo and I was talking to him about a boat. He loves a boat and has craved owning another since letting his one go some years ago. In truth I think that he has regretted it and so it is often something he talks of again. Apparently I had chosen for him a 24ft cruiser which could be moored at St Malo so that he could go out fishing. He used to skipper fishing trips and would happily make that his vocation once again. We were just getting on the boat so that I could show him it and Roki our dog who doesn’t like water was the first to clamber on and found the best spot up at the helm with me. He asked him where he would sit and the dog just sat there laughing. So my partner had to sit at the back of the boat and told me that I would take them fishing then. We were also discussing going back up the road to show him a house on the beach which we had passed earlier. I said that I really hoped he would like it, he said what if I don’t and I told him I hoped that he would like it since I had already bought it.
He often dreams that I would do that. Purchase and present him with the house that we would live in. I think it’s strange, but he says that he trusts me to find the perfect home for us, if I am happy with it then he thinks he would be. It is great that he has that level of trust, but the reality is that I would not do that unless I had to such as in the event of him suffering dementia. Obviously then I would have to but in normal circumstances he would be a huge part of the process for fear of niggling doubt that it wasn’t what he wanted too and I might get it wrong.
It is not the first time that we have dreamt of the same place. We have dreamed that we are doing the same thing, in the same place often with the same people in them whilst we are sleeping in different buildings. It seems odd that we can begin to tell the other one about a dream we had only to see a familiar smile spread across the other ones face. It is usually followed by the phrase well in my dream we were here (or there) and we did this or that.
I also have the ability to return to a dream after waking, when it’s a good one I can go back to it and find out what happens. Unfortunately if it’s a bad one I can also return to it quite ruining my sleep for the night if I can’t shake it off.
I often have recurring dreams of places and/circumstances. It feels like an ongoing story sometimes frustrating as I’d like to move on. Other times the familiarity or Dejavu is oddly reassuring. I wonder what the experts would make of it all.