It’s six years since I left Bristol to teach English to EDF nuclear engineers in Lyon. Six years since I started writing this blog. Six years since I met Elizabeth. And six days until I go back to the UK. Wednesday 6th September.
For those of you who read this blog, you know the score. And well done by the way! It must have been a terrible struggle for you. But thank you all the same.
If you haven’t read it, here’s a very brief recap.
After two years teaching in Lyon, me and Elizabeth went to live on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Queaux (Vienne), about 90kms from Limoges. After that we went to Bordeaux for three months to look for work but ended up getting drunk on 3 euro pints of Budvar in the Revolution bar. We were saved when asked to look after a posh hotel over the winter on the Arcachon basin in Taussat. This took us up to May 2015 and after a brief housesit looking after three irritating dogs in Alaigne (Aude), we made the disastrous decision to head back to the UK to teach English in Box near Bath. After four tedious months teaching Italian and Russian bankers we jumped ship again and in October 2015 ended up in the minuscule village of Auty (Tarn-et-Garonne) to look after an 18th century chateau. The following spring we worked as holiday reps in Souillac (Lot) teaching canoeing and ferrying tourists round. After this we headed back to the chateau for another winter. But not before looking after a campsite in Serramonacesca (Abruzzo, Italy) for two months. In June 2017 once the chateau finished, we headed off to Copenhagen where I worked as a bicycle courier. This I finished on Monday.
During these six years, I’ve written a book on France based on this blog. A book of short stories and a novel. I’ve also made many short films which vaguely trace the last six years. (See Films). And also – much to my amazement – some paintings (see Paintings).
I’ve made many friends, met lots of people and done lots of things. Fulfilled lots of dreams. Written a novel, cycled with a French cycle club, cycled to Spain over the Pyrenees, learnt French, been a bike courier in Copenhagen, seen wild boar, lived in a chateau! I never thought these things would happen when I got on the Eurostar six years ago. It’s been one of the most interesting periods of my life and amazing what is possible when you simply don’t think about things too much. Say YES when given an opportunity. If I’d said NO I’d still be in Lyon knocking out phrasal verbs to EDF students. And that’s something you don’t want to be doing in your forties I can tell you that.
I’m not sure when the next post will be. Maybe never. Perhaps it’s taken its course. Achieved its goal of being a log of what I’ve been doing these last six years. For myself as much as anybody else. I’ve certainly enjoyed writing it. It’s been quite a journey. Bye and thanks for reading.
(For a complete breakdown of posts by place or by month click on the ladder shaped menu icon at the top of the page. Or for a more concise read. A Man in France is the book based on the blog and can be bought as an eBook or paperback here)(Or buy my short story collection. The Sunbed of Malcolm Todd, 24 short stories influenced by 20 years of dreadful jobs. A vivid journey through the cesspit of modern life can be bought here )