The Luxury of Dreaming.

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.

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Le Grand Plan

Le Grand Plan

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There is a language barrier, but it is my saving grace.
So that when I want to visit France, I’m able to save face.
I try to speak the lingo and do what can be done.
But when faltering in conversation, I’m inclined to run.
The actions of our countrymen, can lead to embarrassment.
But that’s not what takes me there, its not why I’ve been sent.
See, I am after something else, which is different from the rest.
It’s a place to call our own, and searching is my quest.
I will enjoy the culture, the cuisine and the wine
And when I’ve actually found it, we’ll settle in just fine.
Not sure if farm or mill house, will suit our big grand plan.
Or whether a small cottage, will house our little clan.
But it will have some land and lots of greenery.
Somewhere with peace and quiet, with great scenery.
The climate will be lovely, where warm breezes blow.
It will be a place, where we’re happy when we go.
Perhaps there’ll be a place, where we’re looking out to sea.
Surrounded by trees and pasture, where animals run free.
Or in some darkened forest, or a wooded glade.
I simply do not know what decision will be made.
When we’ve finally found it, I’ll definitely need a hand
Strong people there to build on, or work our fields and land.
Friends might come and stay with us, plenty of room there.
If there’s lots of space, maybe a cabin or two to share?
Will there be an old house, filled with grace and charm.
Or ramshackle sheds and buildings, on a forty acre farm?
Wherever this can take me, I’m glad where it began.
I’ll call this little journey, the start of “Le Grand Plan”
It has some ten years, in which to grow and fruit.
Now there’s just the family, to entice and recruit.
When up mountains and through lakes we follow all the trails,
I’m sure they’ll be with me as we figure out details.

 

Images: Location Photographs byIndiaBlue. Food from morguefile.com

A Little bit of Glamour, or Striving for Fabulous

It’s about time that I got glammed up again. I know that things must be getting better after all this time, when I start to think to myself I am feeling the urge to get glammed up. A chance to be Glamorous again. This urge, can last a mere moment, or if I am lucky I will push myself, find something smart to wear and try new make up, so that IF I should venture out somewhere and my weight or shape hasn’t changed then I am sure to know what to wear and not spend hours hunting for the perfect thing. I even thought about doing my nails. And was thinking about a photograph which was taken some years ago now, when I was going out to a function, In my mother in law’s gifted fur coat, good jewellery and make up and a sparkly dress. I showed my partner the photo a few months ago, he asked who it was. Then he remembered the coat and realised. My mother told me that I didn’t look like me. I took that as a kind of compliment, that I had somehow pulled it off being dressed up to the nines.

Ok so I might have to push myself to actually do this again now. I haven’t worn earrings for years and nail varnish for about 4 years, none not even when going out. I bought some, but it has gone off. Hmm, a lot can be said for that comment alone…

You know rather than an old favourite dress, I could try something new or wear something different. I am not used to going out you see, I used to be.  I worked in the events industry for a while, so I was used to being around people and mingling.  Some years ago, we had a different life to the one we had now. We had holidays abroad, went out to events and dinners’ fairly regularly and had a busy social life. I was quite the social butterfly. I am not quite sure what changed it all so drastically, but it stopped, so completely that I began to feel like a fish out of water in such places. I think it was after my last surgery, which changed both my body and my frame of mind.

A Hysterectomy can cause havoc upon your self confidence! Although I always felt as though my life had truly begun, opening up opportunities to enjoy myself in ways that I couldn’t before. My life totally changed. When your life changes in such a way, you are often unrecognisable to yourself, let alone others.

I have not been able to drink like I used to, which is not such a bad thing it’s definitely healthier for me. Although people think that you can’t have so much fun. I guess you see fun in a different light and sober you can‘t see the sense in not knowing how you made it home. I also figured that if I drove myself, then I would always know that particular answer. However, I do still have the occasional few drinks but don‘t get smashed very often. I also have an inbuilt stop button, where suddenly when I have had enough alcohol, I will just stop and drink water. I can’t help it, I get thirsty!

I also figured that I wasn‘t great around loud noise any more, with high blood pressure, a side effect of growing up in our family which arrived before the operation and has not left, I find that the bass or beats pound through my head, raising it to an uncomfortable level leaving the throbbing in my ears and waves of nausea through my body and a headache which can last for hours. So bang goes the nightclub lifestyle or live music events, which is difficult to explain to a family who love it and is full of musicians.

We used to go to nice restaurants, especially when we were away. It is a sad indictment that the first words you learn in a foreign language for your holiday are “Hello, I am Lactose Intolerant, Please No Dairy.” It kinds of restricts you before you even start, at best, the resident chef will make you his project for “interesting new dishes” and at worst, you will suffer as I did in a beautiful chateau in France, where this was ignored and every dish was cooked in Butter. Tasting absolutely amazing, but I couldn’t make it through the meal before running for the bathroom.

Now, our social events usually revolve around a meal with family or friends, usually relaxed and in one or other’s homes. The chance to talk, (we do a lot of that) and I feel that in some ways, even though it may be temporary, we are living slightly vicariously, hearing about other’s fantastic holidays and events and this needs to change.

So although it has been a while, I think that I should make time to find a nice outfit, as though I was going out somewhere fabulous again, prepare myself for the event and do my make up and with it build the confidence to throw myself back out there headlong into the world and all it has to offer.
I think even if I can’t quite pull off Glamorous, then I should at least aim for Fabulous.

The lyrics in my head, “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again”

His Dreams

IMG_1131He’s been dreaming again of Italy or France,
Isn’t quite sure which, but if he had the chance.
He’d be over there just like a shot,
Of his life here? He cares not a jot.
Since they said he’s not sick again, there’s a Hooray
Will we grab the bull with both horns and steer it away?
To a place out there in the back of beyond,
With stables and woodland, or even a pond?
A place which will ramble from room to room,
Would go there tomorrow if it’s not too soon.
Time is of the essence, you see as they say.
He’s taking his moment, to seize the day.
Would she go there with him, why, Yes of course.
There might even be room for livestock or horse.
So many choices there’d be bedrooms galore.
Spread out across at least one or two floors.
Is it a small house, or a huge Chateau?
The picture keeps changing so she doesn’t know.
But every place that he thinks of to run,
They are playing and laughing and having such fun.
There’d be a huge kitchen, where she could bake,
For an occasion or birthday, a beautiful cake.
He dreams of a bed, with comfy white sheets.
On which they can cuddle and eventually sleep.
A room with a sofa where they’re lounging about.
An amazing view when you look right out.
Across country or town or even the sea,
This is the place that he feels he’ll be free.
Each morning a walk together we’d take,
Through our own woodland and down to the lake.
Be sure not to step on a toad or a frog,
Whilst we are out walking the dog.
There’d be work to be done, of this he is sure,
As she shows him around, through the large front door.
But she is not worried and will relish the chance,
To create a room, where they’d sing and they’d dance.
This is one of his dreams, he has far too few,
But this is just one that I’d like to come true.

Learning to Fly

It was a time, when Nectar points meant fun! Nectar points for the uninitiated, are store card points as a Thank you for shopping, whilst your spending habits are dissected. But at the time the possibilities were endless. You could save them up indefinitely and use them for experiences, instead of falling back on them to cover the emergency shop when you are broke, or being sent vouchers with an expiry date, which you would find weeks after they had run out and your rewards would be useless.

We had been saving them for a couple of years, to do something fun together and not knowing at that point that my partner had a fear of flying, I had booked the surprise for both of us to have a flying lesson as an anniversary present.

The day came and we checked the weather report, jumped in my car, a Saab convertible put the roof down and headed to the countryside I had selected a different airfield to our local one, so that we could see different scenery and explore it. It turned out that my partner had other plans, he would collar the instructor and see if time would allow and they would swap his part of the deal so that I could extend the experience. He would have his feet planted firmly upon the floor watching from the club house whilst I took off and he would enjoy a pint or two of Guinness and a cigar, it was a beautiful sunny day in the countryside and a pleasant place to pass the time. He succeeded in his plan, and since I had only ever travelled by air once for a holiday, I was excited, I knew that this was going to be different and I was looking forward to it, but slightly disappointed that he would not get to enjoy it with me. However I was going to get a long lesson, which was great.

I was introduced to the Pilot, a man who shared the same name as my father, but thankfully had a much more relaxed manner about him. He was friendly and informative and showed me all of the controls in the Piper 125 which we were going to take out. I clambered in, full of excitement and hoping that I would remember it all. I asked what happened if the engine failed. He told me not to worry since this type of plane could still be landed safely if the engine cut out, it basically glides. As we took off, he took us up over the countryside, I was in awe, I knew it would be beautiful. But it was so calm up there, I took a couple of photos in the cockpit. I seem to recall that we travelled at around 2700 feet, but may have that wrong.

As we climbed everything grew smaller, people disappeared into dots, cars and lorries, into matchbox figures disappearing completely and trees and green spaces turned into a blanket of fields as we floated through the bumpy clouds. Colin allowed me to take the controls and told me how to move the rudder to change direction and the pedals to keep it steady. He could see my interest and excitement in the process and when I asked him to show me how to loop the loop, he obliged. We travelled quite some distance and talked along the way, I was able to see my home town, fly over my parents and our house. Along the Estuary past the pier and up to the docks, where I could see small cranes and brightly coloured containers being unloaded from the ships, It looked so much better there from that height. I was on top of the world. I loved every minute of that flight and decided that I would love to do that again as soon as possible. As someone who was claustrophobic in certain environments, I was not sure how I would feel up there, but to my relief it was wonderful. We had the small window open in that plane and the thermal breeze floated through.

I remember saying to him that I had to resist the urge to put my foot on the accelerator like in a car, since it would upset the balance of the plane and there seemed to be no sense of speed up there, but you were still travelling, it took some getting used to, but I think I mastered it.

As we headed back, Colin explained that it was a wonderful job, that he could fly over to France in less than an hour, have a nice lunch and a bit of sightseeing and be back in time for tea. I was hooked on the idea, that one day I would learn to fly and when I got that lottery win, there would be a small plane in there somewhere to do just that.

He asked me if I was sure that I hadn’t flown before as I seemed to be so at ease up there, I must admit that I felt no tension, it had all just floated away whilst I was up there. Flying back, Colin told me I was going to land the plane. I asked if he was sure, he told me that he was confident in my ability, we came in to a lovely smooth landing and I couldn’t help but be pleased. As I taxied the plane back to it’s parking spot, past the bar, my beloved was standing there, waving and with an ear to ear smile.
I jumped out and he ran over to me, he’d been worried since we were only supposed to be an hour, an hour and a half had passed and we hoped that I had not got him into trouble. He asked Colin “how did she do?” “An absolute Natural she should learn to fly”…. he replied.

I had to tell him all about it as we drove home around Sunset, he decided that if we ever could afford it, then we should make it happen. Six months later we returned for another lesson.