Mmmm what does that even mean? What does it mean to live the life you dream of? Answers on a postcard. I have come to ponder that of late as it’s an expression that is bandied around quite a bit. For me, it would be to live in a country that 1) I love (check) and 2) not to have to do any of the day-to-day crap as you’re an adult god damn it. No tick there.
I’m not the first, nor will I be the last ex-pat/immigrant to say that irrespective of where you live in the world – that crappy stuff that you don’t fancy doing, the urgh moments that happen in your home country. Yarp they happen where ever you are in the world. Dreams are just that. Dreams. They’re not real.
Unless you have oodles of money and can afford a mini team to oversee all your ‘things to do list’ – actually my fictitious team wouldn’t even let me see the ‘things to do list’ – then ‘living the dream’ is kind of the same drudge but in a different location and sprinkle a light magical dusting of only being able to articulate yourself to primary school level.
In my living the dream world I wouldn’t have to get new tyres for my car – front and back, my kids would never get sick and have broken bones, get bitten by dogs, slam their thumbs in car doors, cars wouldn’t need their headlights changed over, MOT’s wouldn’t exist, I would never frequent the local garage as often as I currently do and…Oh do stop whining woman!
It was just one of those week’s last week – where I so wished for my fictitious squad team to arrive coupled with the fluent fairy. Alas, no one showed up and I had to man up and delve deep in my mixed array of French verbs and if in doubt just say it with an acute É at the end.
So why the poor you? You may ask. Poor you roaming around the lush Normandy countryside, drinking doll’s house portions of coffee in local tabacs, watching your children perform in their school’s spectacular, eating copious amounts of almond croissants and giving it the big ‘un with your bisous to all and sundry.
Well, see above, is what happened. Mr Normandy’s pride and joy – his workhorse, his truck that has been a welcome sight entering into our driveway for many years. This rusty, unassuming, 13-year-old tripper truck got well and truly stripped of all its dignity.
It was the night of the Spectacular – the opening night at the children’s school and it so happened to be Mr Normandy’s birthday – what a treat! Although admittedly he didn’t see it as such at first. Not until he watched the spectacular and felt just as proud as I did to see them participate and look really settled in their new lives in France. Living someone elses dream.
However, this was France so naturally the Spectacular didn’t finish until gone 11.30pm so we didn’t return back to the house until midnight. We were all well and truly knackered.
The next morning as I turned the engine of my car to take the kids to school, I looked up and saw my husband’s truck without its bonet! That’s quite a sight I can tell you. My jaw did drop slightly but not wanting to be late, I drove the kids to school and gave Mr Normandy another 30 minutes of ignorance is bliss sleep.
Upon my return, I promptly woke Mr Normandy and told him to brace himself to the fact that his truck wasn’t looking quite how it should. On closer inspection it transpired that the bonet had been unbolted, the battery had been taken, the drivers window smashed (to unlock the bonet), the gps gone, the aerial ripped off? and the indicator lights smashed. Not much then.
Now funnily enough the tools (not power tools he’s not that daft) in the cab weren’t taken nor were the crowbars. They’ve saved them for me for when I see them next. And I would – I think French prison would really make my French come on leaps and bounds plus I wouldn’t need to visit a garage anytime soon.
Two weeks prior to this, Mr Normandy’s front number plate had been ripped off and the serial plaque for the truck had also had an attempt to be prised off – unsuccessfully. So it may possibly be British thieves or French. We have no idea.
Now, the neighbours were all out and horrified for us. Everyone was talking about it as it was so unusual and they all said it was terrible. However, burglaries are not uncommon here, especially people with second homes, and they don’t just grab and run. Oh no, they proper clear you out of everything. So yes, violent crime is nowhere near the levels seen in the UK but the ease of breaking into rural properties and petty crime is probably higher than where we were in London.
When I say, this never happened to me in 25 years of living in London, Mr Normandy does (quite rightly) point out that we did have high gates, always padlocked with anti-climb paint and it was very awkward to break into our old house. However, across the way from us (on an estate) there had been numerous break ins during the day and lots of car vandalism.
So, not for the first time, off we went to the local police station (our local one opens 2 x a week and only in the morning!). We arrived, entered and produced the photo’s etc but they were closing although come to think of it why were they open? Who am I to argue so off we went for a 25 minute trip to the nearest open police station. The young gendarme behind the desk listened to my word order (only recoiling once or twice) and understood what I was saying. He promptly went into the office to dispatch some gendarmes who were at the house when we returned.
What lovely fellas! They came in and told us to make a complaint on the Friday with an invoice for the repairs etc. Our local garage were also super stars ordering us a battery that day so we could get it going and into the garage. He also typed up a devis (estimate) ready for us to hand to the police on the Friday. The chemist was also lovely and we had a bit of a laugh later that day.
On the Friday we went to file the complaint and on that same day it transpired that Master Normandy had broken two ribs. Another post for next time – at the gendarmes and the radiographie clinic aka x-ray department. Oh my, I do have lots of material don’t I!
So, yes it’s not ideal and it’s not quite #livingthedream but it’s real life in a beautiful location with wonderful people and let’s face it there’s crime the world over. No one died and whilst hassle, time and money are going to spent it really did push my French in the right direction.
And I actually got to say C’est La Vie to the French in France! #kudos