Mov­ing di­ary

Fiona shares her hus­band’s ex­pe­ri­ences of com­mut­ing to work in the UK

Living France - - Contents - Fiona Flint moved to a small ham­let in HauteGaronne with her hus­band An­drew in 2017

This month I’ve de­cided to hand over con­trol to my hus­band, An­drew. I’m still writ­ing the ar­ti­cle (I can’t give up the reins that eas­ily!), but I thought it might be in­ter­est­ing to write a col­umn from his point of view. That is, the point of view of a commuter liv­ing in France and work­ing in the UK. I’m sure that this is a sit­u­a­tion in which many of you might find your­selves.

When we de­cided to move to France, we knew that my hus­band would con­tinue his UK-based em­ploy­ment. He al­ready com­muted from Manch­ester to Lon­don, and the fact that he works sev­eral days ‘on’ and sev­eral days ‘off’ made the slightly longer com­mute fea­si­ble. We’re over a year in now, and so far so good!

There is no doubt that there have been days when it hasn’t gone to plan though, not least when the French are on strike! Quite of­ten my hus­band has only a cou­ple of days off at a time and so when the French air traf­fic con­trollers de­cide they are on strike, it can re­ally af­fect An­drew’s travel plans and sub­se­quent time off at home. Un­for­tu­nately, this year strikes seem to have been a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence, and not just with the air­lines!

The weather has also been some­thing to con­tend with, pri­mar­ily in the sum­mer. The sum­mer storms can be quite vi­o­lent, and I must ad­mit there have been times when I have been rather con­cerned about him driv­ing in these con­di­tions.

Some­thing else to con­sider is the cost of com­mut­ing. My hus­band is lucky enough to ben­e­fit from dis­counts on flights, and his em­ployer also pro­vides a lot of the ac­com­mo­da­tion re­quired when he is away. Not­with­stand­ing this, we ac­cepted that com­mut­ing costs would be in­creased due to the greater dis­tances in­volved. It is clear, how­ever, that the af­ford­abil­ity of our mort­gage for our home in France far out­weighs any in­creased travel costs (when com­pared to the equiv­a­lent size home in the UK).

There is just one prob­lem with the com­mut­ing – my hus­band likes it in France so much that leav­ing for work is get­ting more and more dif­fi­cult! While he en­joys his work, there is no doubt that the thought of re­turn­ing to Lon­don is not as at­trac­tive as sit­ting in the gar­den look­ing at the Pyrénées! But needs must.

De­spite this, ac­cord­ing to An­drew, no mat­ter how bad the com­mute has been and how long he’s been away, as soon as he sees the Pyrénées ap­pear on the hori­zon on his re­turn jour­ney all is for­got­ten. The great life­style that we have here in France more than com­pen­sates for the oc­ca­sional dif­fi­cul­ties en­coun­tered while com­mut­ing.

Calan is keen to join daddy!

Fiona and Calan join An­drew for the com­mute

An­drew en­joys time at home

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.