CHRISTMAS AND A BRAND NEW YEAR
We left for the UK via Normandy in the middle of December. Driving up through France under an overcast sky and spending one very chilly night, sleeping in the van in a carpark lit too brightly for comfort by it's Christmas lights.
We first celebrated with family in Normandy and then again in Somerset. We caught up with as many friends as possible, sung carols, drank port and enjoyed precious time with family.
The day before we left back for home, a new nephew was born and at the same time in France, a neice also came into the world. The best Christmas presents of all for everyone.
Then, after meeting the new additions to the family, it was back down through a frozen France, this time with a stay in a roadside hotel. 'We're in a ho-tail, we're in a ho-tail' chanted Little L, diving from one bed to the other. This time we used the autoroutes to avoid any un-gritted roads and crossed the Garonne covered in frozen fog, three small fishermen huts on stilts ('carrelets') peeping out from the bank. Finally we were home to a freezing house and the underwhelming room we were to spend that night cowering in, as the heater slowly did it's work. Over sixteen hundred miles of driving and entertaining the girls had left us exhausted but pleased to be home.
So a New Year and back to work. As has been said by many, 2016 brought quite a few disapointments poltically (celebrations for those with different persepctives of course). These momentous events can leave me feeling helpless or hopeless and sometimes frightened for our futures. However, instead of holing up and hiding from the world, I think it has to be a call for us all to act out more bravely. So 'Be Brave' is my resolution for 2017 (a long with less sugar for the children, less Facebook and all the usual ones): Less of worrying about what other people think and more of acting out of love in the face of fear, seeking to connect even with those I might struggle to find connection and sharing what we have; time, food and a half-built house.
Florent is levelling the beams in the attic floor, laying electricity cables and insulation and laying the floor. Once finished we can use this space for storing tools and the belongings that don't fit in the room and finish the bathroom.
Whilst he toils above me, I find myself cast into the role of referee more and more as the girls respective personalities evolve in increasingly opposite directions. Little L wants no more than to curl up with books and colouring pencils. Little I is increasingly boistrous and seems to be constantly seeking out her next adrenaline rush or new method of best provoking her sister. Fortunately snow is forecast for the end of the week which we are waiting for with baited breaths with a plan to trip into the mountains for some snow shoeing with friends … Some time out of the house and fresh mountain air for the girls might just save us all from insanity.
Happy New Year!