Before children, uprooting my life wouldn't have phased me too much. Even when Florent and I were looking for somewhere to live when we were unexpectedly expecting Linny it felt quite exciting (albeit stressful at times...) but now there are not just our own feelings to consider. Not just my worries that I might be lonely, that renovating a crumbling house will be too much for us or that I'll never be able to decipher the local accent but the responsibility we have for our children and their feelings. The prospect of trapsing a few hundred miles in a van (that our gut feeling informs us will break down before we get there) with two small children to live insecurely is something that some days feels overwhelming.

I've been surprised at how much I have thought about how the move may unsettle Linny: Leaving her nursery, her friends, her extended family, the familiarity of our neighbourhood.. Rationally I am quite certain that on balance she will gain so much more than she will lose. They will be immersed in their father's language, country and culture, and live a life lived so much closer to nature, in a climate where we can grow our own melons and grapes, and with an incredible mountain range to explore in our backyard... However sometimes I find myself wondering about the possibility of it 'all going wrong' and what that might mean for the girls.


I guess it's too late now for these kind of reflections. Our house is a sea of boxes and piles of belongings , the Great Declutter somewhere between finale and failure. We're at that dreaded point in the packing process where there seems to be an insummontable amount of stuff to pack but no obvious place to put it: The incredible paper brain hat made at a neuroscience festival, too delicate for a box, too great to throw away and too impractical to ever wear. A violin I haven't played for fifteen years. A copy of a Rough Guide to Great Britain from about 2003. If these aren't passed on then I have definitely failed in my mission to declutter.

When not packing we have been planning and making:

I made some very lovely body wash from castille soap and coconut oil which I'd been meaning to make for the girls for ages; something gentle for their skin and that doesn't cost a fortune and won't be too polluting when we are camping and washing outside.

We melted down a bag of old tea lights and created some of our own anti mosquito candles by adding citronella, lavender and peppermint oil to burn when we're being driven insane by biting insects. Apparently you can also just rub fresh herbs such as lavender or mint onto your skin for an easy and natural alternative to bought sprays. We'll see if this works...


We have started a little project to collect Bristolian memorabilia and reminders of the significant places and people we are saying goodbye to. The 'Bristol Box' is for the girls to have a little package of the place they spent their first few years. I hope it's something they might be interested in when they are bigger. Some small pieces of their years before their own memories tell their stories.

We bought the minibus in the end although I'm still not convinced that it isn't a disaster waiting to happen. What is clear however is that it's a great place for children to spend HOURS playing. The whole pretending to drive the car game has come into it's own and I can let them play in it whilst I drink a cup of tea peacefully sat in one of the seats in the back (of which there is a multitude to choose from). This might look strange to any passersby but I am beyond worrying about what other people think when it comes to free entertainment for my children. We've sold some of the seats to make room for the insane amount of Florent's tools we will bring and whatever else we can fit in. We definitely aren't going to have time to make it into a basic camper for the moment so it will remain looking like a minibus without many seats. Hopefully we'll have time once we're a bit more settled in France.


There's been some delay to our application for the planning permision. I think an inevitable hiccup in the infamous and what some might suspect excessive administrative procedures in France. We've just refused to take this on board as a disappointment to avoid us feeling frustrated over something we have no power to change.

We set up a plant stall in front of our house which raised some much needed spare change for this month. Sadly I think my plan to bring plants to France is doomed. I don't think there will be space so my beloved tomato plants may find themselves being sold soon too... This is a genuine sadness for me, I am very oversentimental about plants.


My renewed passport had arrived. Which is good.

The to do lists we write are endless. The trips to charity shops with bags of just-about-donatable-clothes are endless. The things we have left to do are endless. All the worries are endless but so are all the exciting prospects and whatever happens and however sad we may be at leaving here, there is bound to be an endless list of great things to come too.


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