Is it really four years?

We bought this house in late December 2018. There was a bit of a rush because we wanted to ensure we had the appropriate residency time to stay here post Brexit. After purchase we stayed here one night and then returned to blighty for Christmas and packing. Then Bishop’s Move brought us here on the7-8th of January 2019. The toxic Brexit bore-fest was a factor in our decision as was the ludicrous house pricing in the UK. This house if it was positioned where we used to live would have been worth ~£2 million, four years ago.

One broken femoral neck together with titanium pin, several lockdowns, multiple myeloma, Covid and a high dose chemotherapy-stem cell transplant later we find ourselves here in tranquillity. The going to lunch traffic on the D20 has stopped. People will be nose down elbows up. We have had sandwiches and I will do dinner this evening.

In 2019 we had a bit of nightmare trying to get social security to pay for my hospitalisation. We had started the process of getting rights. But people were making it up as they went along thanks to the chaos caused by Brexit. Nobody really knew what was needed. Eventually via a mediator we were covered by the state.

We learned that getting things started here is difficult but when they are started they work well.

There are three rooms left to decorate. The garden has been transformed, there is more work to do.

The idea was to write a patent application, somehow get a proof of concept study done and then if it worked to seek some funding. Summer came, things slowed down, I broke my hip end of August and thus there was no re-entry after the holidays 2019. The “cunning” plan had failed.

It was always a long shot and the fall-back position was to take early retirement. 55 is young. No doubt Dishy Rishi might be urging me back into economic activity. There are a lot of people in the UK who “burn out” and leave the work force early. There is a whole bunch of shit with KPIs. Sometimes mature experience is better than endless competitive bullet point gathering.

The key factor in the decision as to downsize here or not are the lawns. Because of my osteo-arthritis in the hips driving the sit-on mower is painful for me. I can do one mow a month without too much grief. But two mows a month will be too much. We have had quotations and the come in at around €180-250 a pop, so roughly three grand a year. In April the grass grows like crazy and this continues until August. We should be good until March.

In that time, four years, we have had two visits from the UK. One a friend of the wife, the other her brother after she had fallen ill.

Our only social engagements were Aikido before hip and Brezonheg {Breton} before Myeloma. Since the summer of 2019 I have spoken face to face with an accountant, once. Aside from this we have met mostly tradespeople and medical staff, heap big plenty of these.

We have passed a lot of time here behind the yew hedges…venturing out for shopping and walkies. We have had one meal in a restaurant since March 2020. Who knows what goes on behind the hedges…

I think it is fair to characterize us as socially isolated well behaved citizens. We pay our taxes and bills on time. When we found out we were not allowed bonfires we ceased. We did not take water out of the river during the drought. We have not left Brittany for four years. The furthest we have been is CHU Rennes {hospital} and IKEA in Brest. Most of our money aside from utilities is spent locally.

I am on bonjour terms with some of the other users at the garden waste tip. The ladies in the pharmacy know me well. When we first tipped up, I took them a molecular formula for cetirizine. They know I used teach chemistry now.

When we arrived here the first thing I unpacked was the HiFi. The two guys doing the move were quite a bit younger than us. I put my USB drive into the amplifier and Faithless came loud out of the loudspeakers. The young guy was a little surprised that an old fart like me was playing Faithless and now Maxi Jazz is dead.

That time has flown by. This last year or so has been a whirlwind and a roller coaster rolled into one.

What is the next strange thing is in the pipeline?

Who knows…

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