This is the question I have been asking myself a lot over the last couple of days regarding our French house.
Plagued by lingering ‘Man Flu’ the journey seemed arduous, yesterday pruning the fruit trees in a raging gale finished me off by lunchtime and during the afternoon I just could not get warm despite having both woodburners blazing and today the discovery that half the garden has only about 10cm of soil over rubble are all not good.
This is coupled with the reality of a hard Brexit making the dream of spending the warm six months of each year in retirement, possibly only that… a dream. The whole point of all this work possibly taken away.
This visit is one that I have not been relishing anyway. Despite being in horticulture, I am extremely trepidatious about ploughing up the entire garden, levelling it and sowing a lawn that I have to leave for six weeks at a time hoping it will be ready for the summer. Anyway this is underway. My French digger driver, Xavier, arrived this morning and promptly started work, unfortunately on the upper level. This is where the soil was found to be very thin. This caused much head shaking and faces of concern, not improving my mood in anyway.
After lunch, (in a rather unFrench way, Xavier only took fifteen minutes, leaving me shamed for taking nearly and hour and sitting at the kitchen table!), I got stuck into cutting back and tidying the beds planted last year and the year before and Xavier started to look a bit more comfortable as on the lower level the soil is very deep.
By five oclock, he had levelled the entire garden and things started to look up. Feeling better after a hot shower (better than our one at home), I went out to photograph the work and was greeted by Robert, the farmer who handed me a box of ten freshly laid hens eggs.
I chatted with him for a while (yes chatted, even I am impressed with how well my French is coming on), as the setting sun shone on St Victor across the valley.
At this moment I realised exactly why we had bought this house…..to be part of rural France, and we are. If this is not romance, then I don’t know what is!
All is not so bad!