After a lovely trip on the Eurostar (now my number one way to travel anywhere due to the opening of not one, but TWO, Marks & Spencer’s at St Pancras International, I am on the TGV speeding towards home.
I am desperate to see the children, Rupert, my dog etc but I have to admit that something approaching depression hit me as soon as I walked off the train and into Lille Station.
Suddenly all the signs were in French, people were speaking French and it all seemed horribly unfamiliar. Obviously after almost eight years of living in France it is familiar, but the fact is it is not home.
But if I am going to get over this depression I have to change my mind-set. When I go to England I stay in Chelsea (somewhere we would never be able to afford to live), I am able to be supremely selfish (I have no children in tow) and I spend most of my time shopping, applying fake tan, having my eyebrows threaded, seeing friends or painting my nails. This is not life. This is a holiday. So from now on, France is going to be home and England my number one holiday destination.
I am going to make an effort to feel more French by listing things I like about living here.
The girls’ ballet school
The straight, empty roads
The fresh food
The sense of civic pride
The view from our house
Our house and garden (especially fig trees)
The vineyard at the end of our road with a cross in the corner
Our almond orchard
My new beauty column in Sante Magazine
The lack of people falling over drunk in the street (yes, even in Chelsea)
The lack of women showing less clothes than flesh
The fact that they stop for lunch
And talking of lunch, it is now at least 15 minutes past the allotted eating hour of midday so I need to get my picnic out (from M&S of course, where else? I’m not completely French yet).
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008