France

France is NOT one of my ‘F’ words, I adore the country, the people, the lifestyle and the climate (in some regions).

I’ve been home a week today from a wonderful 10 day family holiday there and I’m having serious withdrawals from it already. It’s 1 of 2 countries where I really want to live (the other being New Zealand).

We love to regularly visit France, it’s so close and has so much to offer. My husband has a love of military history and as I’m sure you can imagine, France has a bucket load to see. As soon as we get off the Eurotunnel, we are surrounded by a wealth of history from world wars 1&2. We regularly visit places that were significant battle sites or cemeteries showing the vast number of lives lost, fighting for their cause.

This time, we were driving to Poitou Charentes and rather than driving the full stretch in one go, we decided to break it up into 2 days and visit sites we’d not been to before. We all agreed to visit The Somme region, hubby did some research and took us to Thiepval, a commonwealth war graves memorial, where 70,000 names of men missing in action are etched into the structure. It’s hard to describe the emotions it induced, a very sobering experience, which I’m glad to have seen as it has an enormous impact on visualising the sense of loss and the pointlessness of war. Then onto a vast crater (lochnagare), created when allied forces tunnelled under the German lines and set off explosives, killing themselves as well as the enemy. The site has information about the men tasked to this mission, their last letters home and testaments and poems from those that witnessed the event, again, very moving.

Emotionally drained, we stayed overnight enroute to our destination and the following day, was a short drive (4 hours) to our holiday, where we were greeted by our closest friends (who had been there a week already), with a welcome cold beer and chilli.

The next week consisted of us emerging into French culture as much as possible, speaking French as much as I could, baking my bones in the sun, swimming in the beautiful pool and thoroughly relaxing. My constant, daily pain, reduced significantly (I can only remember pain on one evening and (unfortunately) my regular night pains during the whole duration (10 days). The heat definitely reduced my pain and because of this, I was able to relax more effectively and this then led to me having energy (which I can’t remember having for the past 2 years), which was wonderful! No afternoon naps needed at all, which was wonderful.

On returning home, within 24 hours of being in cloudy, cold and wet England, my pain returned, which triggered my low mood and exhaustion, making me switch back and forth from wanting to move to France to thinking I should never go on holiday if this is how I feel when I get home 😩.

A week on and I’m getting used to daily pain and exhaustion again and am already looking at future holiday destinations as well as properties to buy so I can live relatively pain free again, ahh nice, if unrealistic dreams zzzzzzzz

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