Friday, September 1, 2017

Settling in to a new future

It's taken me four months (somebody please slow down that ticking thing!!) to find the space in my head to write about the three weeks between leaving the house at La Ville Oger and moving in to Melody in Pors Peron. There have been huge changes in our lives in the past 18 months and I've had to process it all so that I can move on. Next lifetime I'm going to be a man who doesn't have this urge to purge and grow!

You see ... even Alan and Bridie are ahead of me on this pathway .... ha ha ha
On the beach at St Gilda's

At the beginning of 2016 we discovered that we were too burned out, after nearly 10 years, to continue as responsible carers for my then 92 year old Mum and her rapidly progessing Altzheimers. I ended up in hospital in the UK with a rather life-threatening bout of pneumonia, and the pressure on Alan, looking after both of us (once I had driven a rather scary drive back home to France, by myself) for a couple of months, was huge.

I could see the strain on his usually laughing and affable face and every time I looked in a mirror all I could see was this puffy, tired, black-eyed ghost which I vaguely remembered was me. Both of us felt our nerves were at screaming pitch and we couldn't cope with my siblings who, quite rightly (one in South Africa and one in the UK) could not yet fully relate to what we were going through. Plus there was no possibility of any sort of break for us, from any quarter, for a few years.

To cut a long and traumatic story short, I took my Mum over to my sister in the UK, in October, to stay there temporarily whilst I try and find a suitable nursing home for her there. As it turns out, it's a really long process so Mum is still living with my sister for the duration. She turns 94 just after next Christmas ... Mum, that is, not my sister! ... and is unlikely to be coming back to France to live with us.

Back in France, I didn't realise how long it would take to get back on track with my own life. The Big Sellout of all our goods and chattels, followed by our move here to Pors Peron didn't help much either. That too was quite a draining experience even although it's exactly what we wanted to do.

The biggest hurdle in this challenge has been regaining my sense of identity. Altzheimers is a cruel monster and as much as my sensible brain told me not to take on board the unfamiliar and harsh words which came out of Mum's mouth on an almost daily basis, it certainly wears you down. I've needed to find the essense of myself again. As has Alan. It's not so easy!

Good long hours doing glass painting commissions these past few weeks, once all the unpacking had been done, has given me that inside space to balance out, so right now I'm probably the most whole I've been for a couple of decades. Watch out world!

From life's journey it's back to our road travels.

Here's a little reminder of Lanouee

After leaving Lanouee (see: and before we could head south towards the coast of Vannes, I needed to have a carcinoma removed from just below my right eye, in the Pontivy Hospital, which meant staying in the area for a few more days. Thank you South African sun!

Our next overnight stop, hardly half an hour down the road, and heading towards Pontivy, was at Pleugriffet. This aire fast became my favourite for the area. Traffic-wise it's quiet, next to a lake and we were the only motorhomers there. The local community take care of the area, having erected sculptures from natural materials and plants. There's even a couple of boxes where simple vegetables are being grown and I noticed a family picking a handful to take home and use.


We were still experimenting with keeping Bridie on a lead next to the motorhome, attached to the seat belt connection inside, seeing how long we could allow it to be without her being able to scare the wits out of passersby or getting herself too tangled and knotted up.

Herself, not being used to restrictions when there were so many lovely sniffs to be had further than the length of her lead, got a little miffed and didn't want to look at me while I was taking pics. She's such a teenager!

My facial op went off well but my mind being elsewhere, I forgot to take pics of our stop at the Pontivy aire. Valvert. It's a popular spot for motorhomes as well as walkers and families, with a lunchtime restaurant there as well. Next time then, when I don't have a big plaster and dressing on my face!

Heading south ....


  1. Phew sounds like a tough time but good times ahead.

  2. Phew sounds like a tough time but good times ahead.

  3. ... more coming ... hence the blog update. We're off on the road again for a few nights this coming week. Looking forward to getting to know the area we're now living in :-) x