A Bonne Nouvelle Annee email arrives from my stepmother. She’s French, lives in France. My father died a while ago. She goes on to say she’s finally selling the house, provincial France is too boring. She wants life, culture, movies, things to do and see. So impetuous, the French.
I write back that, coincidentally, I’m selling my house here in Wales and looking for a house in France! I send her a link to a tiny cottage I’d like to buy in Normandy, where she hails from, request an opinion. “Whatever will you do in Normandy?” she asks, from the lofty point of view of someone who is terminally bored with the French countryside where I am proposing to move to, as soon as I can fix the issue over the roof and the pretend surveyor. “It rains a lot in Normandy”. I envisage that Gallic shrug of the eyebrow, although I haven’t seen her for quite a few years.
“So what do I do in Wales?” I retort sniffily, sad to be alive. It’s been raining all day here. My hopes of effecting an exchange, my little cottage on a thunderous main road in the environs of a culturally isolated, slate-grey, Welsh-speaking urban sprawl teetering on the twilit edge of Europe, for her house and four acres on the sunny south bank of the Dordogne, beside a pretty, lively medieval town with pavement cafes and twinkly accordion players and attractive women of a certain age, pressed duck, vanish in the dank sea mist.
Is anyone content with what they have? Please let me know: how, where, when, why, that sort of thing. Maybe you’re up for a date? Independent women only need apply.