An announcement

The church on the hill that is Laroque's main landmark
The church on the hill that is Laroque’s main landmark

I wonder what you’ll think when you read this?  Will you be as surprised as you would be if you heard that the couple down the road, the ones who always seemed to be such a great team, always doing things together, are getting divorced?    Or maybe you won’t be.  Let’s see.

We’re leaving.  Selling up.  Returning to England.  We’ve loved it here – we love it still.  We believe we’ve made friends for life: we’ve had unforgettable times.

But in the end, the call of family and England itself was just too insistent.  Throughout our time here (seven years full-time)  I’ve had recurring bouts of home-sickness which Malcolm never understood until very recently, when he too got suddenly and painfully afflicted.  We realised we don’t want to grow old here.  I don’t want to find visiting family more of a circus than it already is: I don’t want to miss out any longer on my grandchildren growing up.  So it’s time to go, whilst we’re still young enough to re-establish our English roots.

In many ways it’s an odd time to choose.  The house has developed from the unappetising near-hovel that we bought (but which, oddly, was love at first sight:  why?) to a comfortable and spacious dwelling with a pretty nice large back courtyard where we spend all our time in summer.  We’ve only just finished the en suite bathroom,  for goodness’ sake.

Before……

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And after……

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This last week we’ve been talking to estate agents, and realising that in tough times we’ll certainly have to use one – the French still usually prefer word-of-mouth and adverts in ‘Le Bon Coin’.

We’ll certainly be here till March: maybe longer.  A lot depends on whether the house sells.  And because the next move in England will be, we hope, the last one, we need to get it right.  So a temporary pied à terre near Ripon seems quite on the cards at first.  We’ve already started looking.

Don’t jump ship yet!  There’s still quite a few months to go on sharing our Life in Laroque.  And as for the next phase – who knows?

32 thoughts on “An announcement”

  1. Did you feel a huge sense of relief when your decision to return was made?
    Thank you for sharing your reasons – you have such exciting times ahead. DO contact me whenever you are back house hunting! I have popped a Parish Magazine in the post for you!

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  2. Home is where the heart is. My mother, who was Irish, sold up everything when she retired and moved back to where she had been born. We were all married by then and when the grandchildren began to arrive she felt bereft. Like you, she bit the bullet, swapped her beautiful Irish house for a tiny terraced house in the UK [because Irish prices were rock bottom while UK property prices had gone through the roof] and never, ever regretted her decision. Life is too short to waste a moment of it. Good luck, Margaret. Perhaps you can do a Ripon blog?

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  3. Margaret – it is a tough decision and I know it was difficult. Growing old in a place – even though it is paradise – is hard on you and your family. When you need family the most it is difficult for them to stop, drop, and run….. (or vice-versa) I know you will miss the countryside – but you will find a way to find beauty where you land. good luck on the sale and the house hunting. i will continue to follow your adventures – where ever you land. Take care.

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  4. Oh, I know how you feel, Margaret! It’s tough to love a place but still feel that home is somewhere else. I look forward to the rest of your Laroque posts, and hopefully we’ll then get to read about Life in North Yorkshire!

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  5. Margaret and Malcolm – all the very best, shall really miss you and hope Margaret is going to create an other E-blog …..just tasted your BlackBerry jam – excellent – succulent – take care, AnnAxxx

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  6. Well, you did hint a wee while ago … since I’ve been following. Grandchildren will do it, if nothing else! Whenever we talk about moving to France, we always know it will only be for blocks of time as we need the family time too. You’ve had a lovely adventure which is more than many. Good luck with the sale!

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    1. You’re not the first one to have noticed before we did that we were on the point of packing our bags here. Yes, it’s been a wonderful experience, and we will come back as often as we can. But England and the family call. Thanks for your good wishes.

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  7. I understand your decision. It’s difficult to live far from family and the distance from the grandchildren must be terrible. I will miss your tales from the Ariege though and all of the beautiful photos… Your house is amazing!! I would think you could sell it in a minute! You’ve done such a fabulous job on the renovations because your home seems to have all of the modern comforts while retaining the charm of the “ancien.” I hope you will continue to blog once you return to England!

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    1. It won’t be too easy to sell in troubled economic times, but we thope someone will buy it who loves it as much as we do. Yes, I plan to continue blogging too – thank you!

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  8. Good luck with the sale! One day I thought Malcom felt more attached to France than you but I migth be wrong. I hope you will continue to blog once you return to Ripon. I will miss you both but I understand you want to live near your family and in the beautiful North Yorkshire. Anyway you’ve lived together a pretty experience, Life is thus made of several lifes!

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  9. Good luck – it is always nice to go back home. Soon we will enjoy seeing your move to England it Life in England!! God bless you as you prepare the sale of your house (which you did an amazing job restoring it) and find a new in England.

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    1. Thank you so much. Yes, I’ll have to keep up the story through all the changes of the next year or so. And while you’re here – how did you feel about the November writing challenge in the end? You must be exhausted!

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      1. Yes I am but a “good tired” Most of the writing I did my hand as I sat waiting for appts, or picking my daughter up. So now I need to type them up. Not sure how many words yet but I am on my way! Thank you for asking. Are you going to buy a place to fix up again? You and your husband have a great talent.

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      2. Keep up your good work. It’s amazing what you’ve achieved. Thank you, but it’s my husband who has the DIY talent. I’m ashamed of how traditional we are. I can’t do DIY and he can’t cook. No, we’ll probably rent. An easier option at this point.

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  10. Well, I think this is exciting. I look forward to reading Life in Ripon very much. I have tried moving from Shropshire a few times but the pull back home is too strong. Fortunately I married a man who loves the county as much as I do. I sometimes wish I felt the urge to try somewhere else but I just can’t contemplate the leaving. So, I can understand the pull back home. Enjoy the house hunting. I hope it all goes smoothly.

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    1. Oh, why would you ever leave Shropshire? Gorgeous county. Just one other query though. How could anybody put ‘enjoy’ and ‘house hunting’ in the same sentence? But thank you for the sentiments anyway.

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  11. While I’ll certainly miss your slant on French living, and the stunning photographs, I’m sure that you will be just as insightful on living back in the UK. I’ll follow your move closely – and maybe when you’re back our paths will cross. Good luck with the sale.

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