ONCE again I find myself at a crossroads but this time I’m frozen to the spot, unsure which road to take. For someone who’s always been decisive, believing that any decision, even the wrong one, is better than none, it is a disturbing position in which to be.
Logically and for my health’s sake it is time to sell up and move. I know you’ve heard this annually the last few years and it is true that I’m somewhat of a malcontent who believes the grass is always, always greener somewhere else.
And then I settle down again, having thrown up the usual arguments for not moving – houses not selling, a flat market and the killer, where to? There has never been a plan B.
“Where to?” is really the only question – everything else is ultimately easy to set in motion.
But there is also the other lurking part of the equation – the fearful realisation that with age my options have diminished, my horizons shrunk, the time ahead much less than the time behind.
Real fear, then, steals forth. Not the adrenalin-surging exciting terror of leaping into the unknown and seeing where one lands – that frisson of anticipation I’ve looked for all my life.
No, this is the fear that comes in the early hours and leaves the heart thumping, the mouth dry as all the demons crawl from under the bed to whisper: memento mori.
In youth and rude health the idea is an abstract one, impossible to grasp and batted easily aside.
But once hit with the consequences of a careless life and the awareness of the frailty of the body, the words can no longer be pushed aside.
And what drives me now is the need for someone to be close by to act if I have another lung crisis as happened recently.
Living in a field surrounded by farmers’ pollutants with temperatures that frequently settle in the mid 30s is no longer an option.
Neither is the constant battle with the damp, even with dehumidifiers going non-stop.
If I am to stay in France then I need to head towards the sea, to a place with no extremes of temperatures to trigger problems.
Needless to say my sad, main reason for remaining in France would be the health service.
Many years ago when my son was small we discussed moving to France. When I asked my mother, who lived with us, if that would suit her, she replied: “Yes, so long as I’m near a hospital and a taxi company.”
I rolled my eyes then but now I know exactly what she meant.
My son wants me closer to him but sadly London is no longer an option either – nor is any city clogged with the fumes I once loved.
Perhaps a compromise would be Brittany or Normandy, much closer to the English coast than here but still with the security of the French system – and without a Theresa May and her coterie of the blind.
New friends would have to be made and no doubt lost, as happened here, and behind me I’d be leaving the little support system I’ve built up over the years.
A new vet, a new groomer and new kennels for Cesar, who reacts badly to unfamiliar situations, hiding his fear behind an aggressive stance and attempts to bolt. Rather like his owner, really.
Having ignored all advice to the contrary and with the knowledge that I made a rod for my own back on getting Cesar, his wellbeing is just as vital as my own.
Which means an apartment is out of the question since he’s a dog used to roaming his own large space. He’s also, unlike most of his breed, a barker, a vocal guardian who reacts to any and every unexpected sound.
Do you see how the cons quickly outpace the pros in reasons to move?
The truth is I am running on empty and have no reserves to give to a move.
For the first time in my whole life I need rescuing; I need somebody to sort it all out for me and magic the in-between bit away.
I’d just like a break, for a bit, from paddling my own canoe and let somebody else do it for me. I’ve never felt that before.
If I seem defeated and downbeat then it’s because I am. It probably won’t last and by the time this appears I’ll be cross with myself for writing the words.
Usually I snap out of my selfindulgent musings on reading of real struggles; of children suffering yet fighting against the odds; of men and women who smile on in spite of horrendous disabilities. Then I feel ashamed that life has brought me the good fortune it has and how, when hit with my first real health problems, I’ve crumbled, am crumbling, moaning at the unfairness of it all. Pathetic. Actually, one of the joys of writing is the catharsis of the words themselves and I’m already feeling much brighter.
What do you mean I’ve depressed you? Oh, sorry. Ah well, we’re all in this together at the end of the day, aren’t we?