It’s been a wonderful holiday, ten days watering my French side, visited relatives, caught up on all the family feuds, been fed royally by the family and friends and not spoken a word of English. It’s by the sea, so plenty of wonderful fish, oysters and mussels and lovely to drop off to sleep and wake to the sound of the sea.
In France you never leave a relative or friend, without a gift of some sort. This visit has included books from the reading crew, including a new discovery, the wonderful Fred Vargas. My aunt yesterday was shocked that I picnic in my hotel room in the evening, having had a good family lunch and a hotel breakfast. So she insisted on giving me half a melon and a strawberry yoghurt. She wanted to cook up some mussels for me, I had a hard time resisting.
I love the neighbourhood, this year I’m staying in a hotel as I can’ t make the six flights of stairs of my nearest aunt. But I know the neighbourhood well. The postman nods, the woman in the bakery knows the bread I like, the butcher has proper ‘ready meals’ of salads and cooked dishes. I have a slice of ham and grated carrot waiting for me later and a proper quiche for lunch on the plane tomorrow.
But as ever I’m trapped in the should I stay or should I go narrative. I don’t get to speak French much anymore except when I visit Mum in her nursing home. I play out the fantasy life in my head, I could write here and live quite happily.
By chance the hospital calls to remind me of an important appointment on Monday. Ah yes, I’m still seriously ill. I’ve managed quite well here, being careful of what I’ve eaten and walking as much as I can these days.
So of course I’ll get on the plane and enjoy the life I have back home, with all my friends and family there.
But a big part of me will stay right here.