Sunday, 31 August 2014

New Life Continued

As part of my DH and I shaking up our lives and starting over, we have also moved out of Ile de France (Paris's equivalent of Greater London) and into the fabulous Picardie region and to france's oldest town Soissons.

Isn't it beautiful?

We are still only 45 minutes from the outskirts of the centre of Paris but the change is amazing. The cost of living is the main reason for us moving here. We've have cut over outgoings by 2/3! Over the last couple of weeks we've been slowly discovering our new town, in between unpacking thousands of boxes and all the paperwork that the French so love for you to do when you move!

So far I'm in love! We've spent the last 5 years living in a tiny village with no amenities whatsoever, so to have a whole town centre on our doorstep is simply marvelous! Everything is within walking distance, and if you are feeling a bit lazy there are no less that 14 different bus services! Corner shops are open til 1am even on Sundays! We are 800 yards from the train station, which has a direct train into Paris Gare de Nord every hour. There are pubs, bars, a nightclub, over 40 restaurants and countless lovely high street boutiques. Including a fabulous second hand clothes shop, that I have already have a loyalty card for and have kitted Tiana out for her starting school for 15€ and that was only because I got her a coat that cost 5€ ! It doesn't smell funny and has loads of high street labels in perfect condition, you've got to hand it to them, the French can even make a Charity Shop Chic.

Last Saturday we'd had our fill of unpacking boxes so after googling whats on in Soissons we found Saturday morning is market day. We took a stroll down and as with all French markets, we were not disappointed. And as anyone who knows me, knows I love my food and this was definately a feast for the eyes. So sit back and enjoy our new Saturday morning routine ....

Saturday, 16 August 2014

My Daddy, My Loss, My Hope

My Daddy, My Loss, My Hope

When I got the phone call a little over 3 weeks ago to tell me it's time to come home and say goodbye, I sobbed big fat snotty very unattractive sobs for two days. My daughter had gone to stay with friends for the weekend and I was able to use her absence to be upset without upsetting her. I set off a few days later with a heavy heart but as I grew closer to home, it became lighter.

Spending those four days with my mum and my sisters, playing the bizarre waiting game, will oddly be one of my best memories. We laughed, we drank, we ate, we looked at old photos and all with Dad in the corner slowly fading away.

An hour before he died, I kissed him on the forehead and said 'Love you Dad. It's ok, we'll all be ok'. It was the last time I touched him or talked to him, even though I stayed by his side until his last breath.

I always thought losing someone so close would mean living with a black cloud over your head for months or even years, until the pain would slowly subside to a dull ache that is to be borne for the rest of your life. Age and already being a parent obviously has a lot to do with me coping positively. I've been thinking that I must be in denial, but even today, when I would normally be sending a Happy Birthday message to my Dad, there are still no tears.

I think about him and smile. I remember the happy times, stories and memories I'd long forgotten keep flooding back. The passing of a parent is natural, we all know it will happen one day. I have nothing I wish I'd said. I knew he loved me and he knew I loved him. He may not have always been overjoyed with my choices but he knew they were mine to make and with that my mistakes to make.

He lives on in the stories, in his children and grandchildren; the mannerisms, the curly hair and the humour.

I will miss his forever, but I won't cry because he's not here, I'll keep smiling because he was.