The last few months have been a bit of a mental challenge for myself and Neil. For Neil the responsibilities as major wage earner and house restorer have made it impossible for him to "switch off" and enjoy any down time at all, and I have been in major doldrums having lost my beloved horse and trying to cope with the house and lifestyle we have bought upon ourselves by entering this renovation. Consequently Neil has been exhausted and I have been frustrated at never having any time that I see as "quality" whatsoever and trying to be positive enough for the two of us.
We have cleared out the house and ripped out walls so that at last we can see some progress happening, which is exciting in one respect but at least before we had one room that was cosy and welcoming and it felt like home. Starting one job leads to a domino effect of construction, and things can't be put back together before a chain of other jobs have been completed. We have always been very aware that we are not builders, but enthusiastic (!) amateurs, and we have been lucky enough to have gratefully received some good advice along the way.
So our journey back to the UK for Christmas has given us both a chance to have a bit of a break from the project.
We have decided to release some of our investments, even if it means losing some money and pay to get some help in to move things on a bit. A friend of us told us months ago that you don't get any prizes for struggling to do it all yourself and we feel that it would do us both good to see real changes in the house.
Being around more in the UK to help with Neil's father will give me a chance to earn some money and take the pressure off Neil a bit, and if we can make our house more comfortable and shut off from the weather Neil will be able to concentrate on other work projects without coming home to a bigger project than the ones he is working on!
So bring on 2010! We have decided to try and get a bit fitter and slimmer in time for a wedding in August and to stop looking quite as "ferral" as we do at present. It is quite easy to end up being an absolute slob in darkest France and it is time we took better care of ourselves and each other.
Don't think we feel we made a mistake by entering into this life - there are a myriad of things that make all the above worth struggling with. When I used to look out of the window and see my horse grazing in my field I used to feel like the luckiest person alive, and I am sure there are going to be a lot more of those moments in the future. It's worth a bit of hardship to have our freedom.