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