It’s getting nearer to the first day of my French adventure. Every room in the house is littered with cartons, tape and squidgy bubble wrap that I spend hours squashing, row by row with obsessive neatness. Here I sit like Dido in the ruins of Carthage amidst this devastation and wonder what the hell I’m doing, where I’m going and where I’ll end up. Well actually I know the answer to that – a tasty lump of worm food…but hopefully not for a good while yet.
These last preparations are all about decisions, what ifs, why not try…and any variation thereof.
There’s a period of limbo to deal with whilst I’m between houses and waiting for the money to transfer. Where do I go? Hotel? Friend’s sofa? Back seat of the car?
Do I take my car with me? Sell it here? buy a LH drive here or in France -where used cars are expensive?
How can I open a French bank account as soon as I get there when I won’t have any utility bills to brandish?
What if I…It goes on…and on.
There are so many decisions, choices, options and what-have-you that when I try to draw little coloured decision trees I end up with a London Underground map gone haywire.
Add to all that the realisation that what is known and familiar as a holiday destination suddenly becomes rather weird and foreign with bureaucratic dictats in a language so unlike the friendly “Salut, bonjour Toto, ça va?” of camping holidays. For a while at least I’ll be a “Stranger in a Strange Land” (thank you Mr Heinlein).
It’s only pre-emigration nerves I know that. As someone once said “it’ll be alright on the night” although whether it was stage or wedding-night fright I have no idea. Does anyone suffer from wedding-night fright these days I wonder? How deliciously old-fashioned.
But all this palaver reminds me of the writing process (as I know it). All these ideas jostling for space in your head; characters half-forming and then disappearing without as much as a by-your-leave; plots that could go this-a-way or that-a way and, in my case, no-a-way and the minute you try to write anything down the ability to put pen to paper or digits to keyboard becomes unaccountably difficult, nay impossible until at the very least you’ve cleaned the car, re-decorated the house, ironed everything that could be pinned down and scorched and circumnavigated the globe twice. Displacement activity? What displacement activity?
However, to be serious a mo – you’re not getting rid of me. I’ll still be blogging here and will dazzle you with tales of the conquest of France – Sheila’s revenge for 1066 and a certain Duc de Normandie.
Now please excuse me. I have an article to write but I dropped a whole bag of birdseed on the drive this morning and I have to go and pick it all up, grain by grain…with chopsticks.