You see, there I was dozing in bed one Sunday morning, back in late 1998, and Elaine shrieked "I know what we can do" and sat up full of enthusiasm. Obviously, that put a smile of optimism on my face, but then she announced that she had a plan. "Oh" said I. As the plan was explained, I sat up and nodded along in agreement.
But it was a brilliant plan! Put simply, it was a ticket to another life. A life far removed from the dismal wet, cold weather and an end to teaching in Britain. It involved staying in Antibes over Christmas and buying a caravan. Said caravan would be rented out and joined by a second caravan, then a third, and so on. But, it would take time. After perhaps five years, it would be possible to move down to the sunny south of France and live in one of them. Voila!
Ok, we came out with Eddie and Mandy and discovered La Turbie, Castillon and Le Gorges du Loup. Not surprisingly, we fell in love with the place (despite finding the climbing grades quite tough). We bought our first caravan that Christmas and the second the following Easter, both in a lovely campsite in Pont du Loup, with a spectacular view of Le Bar sur Loup, Gourdon and the Gorge.
After returning home from our Easter trip, it rained for days. This was too much for my poor dear wife. Eventually, she couldn't stand it any longer. She announced: "F... waiting five years, let's go this year!" I was stunned, as my very sensible wife is not normally a person to make hasty decisions. I didn't hesitate of course. Well, who would? I quickly agreed with her, before she changed her mind!
Amazingly, we sold our house very quickly and quit our jobs. I had it all planned out in my mind: move out, live in a caravan and go climbing, then climbing the next day and the day after......... Heaven!
And then I got a job and I didn't get to go climbing every day. And Elaine also got work.
We sold the two caravans, moved into an apartment in Le Bar sur Loup and bought our house within 18 months of arriving in France. But it's not been so bad. We chose a great place to live, the weather is fantastic, the scenery amazing and we get to climb all year round. The climbing is brilliant.
Here are some tasters from this week:
|Robin on a 7c+ at St Cezaire|
|Ced on Hot Chilli Beans Volcano (8b+) at Deverse|
|Kev on Hot Chilli|
|The classic Deverse Satanic, 8a|
|Ced warming up on Mecanik (7c)|
|Seb Bouin on PuntX (9a).|
|Franco on L'ethique du tacquet (7c+) at St Cezaire|