So where do I start, I suppose from my childhood, only kidding, this blog isn't big
So we arrived in 2010, Stuart had worked in France twice before and I just followed I suppose, I really did not know what to expect! And naively thought it would be the same as the UK where jobs, people and social life was concerned. The thing I did not really understand was the language barrier! I knew it was going to be difficult I just did not realise it would take so long to learn!!!! I must admit the first few months were bliss after running a busy village inn, which was amazing but very hard work at the same time, we had gone from working 90 hours a week each, to doing what we wanted when we wanted, it was great!
We brought a house in Limoges, threw ourselves in to renovating it and it was coming along quite nicely until we wanted a wall taken out! The estate agent who sold us the house advised that it wasn't a load bearing wall and it would be fine to take out! Don't panic! We did get professional advice.
"Bad news I'm afraid" the builder said "the whole house is sinking into your cellar and If you don't fix it will collapse!" Arghhhhhhh! "There goes our savings" I said to Stuart and 12,500 euros later we were frantically looking for work! Still, it is a beautiful house that we are still working on 10 years later, a labour of love and I would not have it any other way!
"So where do you start the job hunt with not having enough of the French language"? "Stuart said. "I know" I exclaimed. We agree the Expat websites might help, so off I went and Boom the offers were coming in! Yeah! Only the problem was they were either in Courchevel, Klosters or Méribel in 'privet' households. This was great but really to far from the house in Limoges and how would we finish the work not being there? So we tried to go local, with no success.
A couple of weeks went by and we got a phone call from a gentlemen, who has a chateau in the Loire and is looking for a chef for a weight loss retreat! So we jump at it and the next day we are driving to it for the interview, 4 days later we start. The chateau is beautiful and the work hard! At the time this first job was a life line and we loved it so much we stayed there for 8 years. In that time it had changed from a weight loss retreat to a Gite and beautiful wedding destination but as with most things, it all comes to an end sadly. What I wanted 8 years earlier was now very different to what I wanted today and no doubt in another 10 years my hopes, dreams and expectation will be different again. So in 2018 we handed in our notice................................... and left.... OMG... what have we done? I personally had so many fears and trepidations as to what we had just done, mainly because now we had an almost 2 year old! Were we doing the right thing? We had nowhere to live, no income and it was suddenly just us 3 on the road.
So we started all over again and quickly had to come up with things to do I.E work!!!!
Stu was fine as he had a better handle on the language than what I did and still does, it works out now that he does not have to speak as much French as most of his customers are English speaking. Me on the other-hand it's a bit more difficult, I seem to be at that stage with the French language of not quite there really, which is frustratingly lasting what seems like a lifetime of understanding more than I can speak.
Anyhoo, as always, I pull up my big girls pants and try to figure it out, I put out feelers to a few websites, to see what is missing at the markets, where food is concerned, I thought I would stay within the hospitality industry as it is what I know well. I also know it is what I am very good at too! A very kind friend tags me in a post, I have a look and its an Ice Cream van which is for sale, which I must say, from the pictures looked very cute! So Stu manages to get a removal van from London to Nimes and we go to have a look.
On the way down we where talking about all the pros and cons about wether to buy or not to buy!! We arrive on a cold windy morning almost a year ago to the day and there is 'Esta' in all her glory. Everything Stuart and I spoke about in the van on the way down went completely out of the window!! I had to have 'Esta' no matter what and one year on, it has to be the best decision I have ever made! My French is starting to come along nicely but is still needs to leap forward a bit, my confidence is growing and I am loving every minute working in Vintage Ice.
Who doesn't love Ice Cream!!
I think what I have learnt by just going for it, is that pushing oneself out of that comfort zone is not a bad thing. We all have in points in our lives where we become complacent with all of our surroundings and forget what we want for our life. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to live a lot not just a little. So every day, I look out of my window with pride and see 'Esta' who is now a constant reminder of pushing myself is no bad thing!!
Who doesn't love a Mr Whippy!!
Tata for now!!
Pictures thanks to me!