Sarah and I are thinking of moving to Stoupa in Greece for six months, maybe longer. Or moving to Greece, then moving on somewhere else perhaps.
I can work from anywhere with good internet, in fact I’ve been working towards such a goal for a long time. I had a different companion in mind as you will discover…
We’ve been looking at long term house-sits in France and there are some really lovely ones available, but the thought of the pets and gardens requiring looking after daunts me.
Although, to be fair, Sarah would probably mostly deal with the pets, I don’t really do animals, since the last fish were despatched to their new home back in 2010. I can garden a bit and do watch Gardeners World avidly, which would have surprised my late Nan, who had to endure my younger self endlessly moaning about how boring it was.
Sarah is a professional house-sitter. She’s been police checked and everything! With that certificate of upright citizenship and many great testimonials to her name, I think she must be a good bet for any nervous home owner, to look after your empty house.
When you house-sit you live for free, largely. In these houses in France you have to pay for logs and in one particularly lovely option, you get to use a shot gun to keep large river rodents at bay. Very tempting especially since I found out I’m a crack shot, on a strange day in Louisiana last year.
Sarah’s off now in Goring for 3 weeks, house sitting for Gaile and Matt and looking after a trio of pleasant cats and a demented Romanian terrier nicknamed Dex The Dastardly, who is so terrified of everything it manifests itself in very loud barking towards people, things and other dogs.
(Sometimes I know how he feels. I feel a blog post brewing on the topic but I’ll leave that for another day).
Lucky for him, Gaile and Matt love him pretty much unconditionally and, when house-sitting, Sarah can cope with the solitary walks at lunchtime and mid to late evening. These are necessary to keep Dastardly’s fear and stress levels to a minimum.
The thing about France though, while I love the food, could learn the language and it’s a mere drive away from England, so we could take a car / our cars, it’s not really much sunnier and hotter than England.
If you are going to uproot yourself completely, I think you need sun and a bit of warmth to make it worth it. So it’s the South Of France or nothing really. I’m not holing up in a strange house in the middle of nowhere just a few short latitudes lower than England.
There’s another option. Going to stay in Stoupa, my favourite village in the Mani Peninsula in Greece, where my cleaner co-owns a house.
There are other options, as I have a friend called Elias who owns Pefko Taverna but also lots of properties in and around Stoupa. I stayed in one last time I ran away to Stoupa back in 2010 when my world fell down around me along with the global credit crunch and ensuing recession.
Except I’m not running away this time, I’m changing my environment to help facilitate some much needed change in me. I don’t think I’ll last another British winter, working from home, now Steve is dead.
Those three words.
I say them, I write them, but I still can’t believe them.
Turns out, long silences, fights and all, he really did light up my life.
I have no idea what to do next. How to keep going. NO IDEA.
OK, stop. Deep breaths. Don’t start. Move on.
As I say, I have to make changes.
Sarah has decided to come too. Sarah is my sister, 9 years younger, who appears back in Shoreham in between her house and pet sitting gigs.
I think she’d prefer France as it’s nearer and we could, in theory, pop home easier but she has been to Stoupa a couple of times. She’s not been out of season, I’m worried it will be too quiet for her. I don’t mind quiet, I want quiet, I crave it right now.
She’s not seen this house and I deleted the photos of the interior a while ago in an ill informed space making purge in Drive. So I can’t show her where we’d be staying. She has only my word that it’s a really lovely house, cosy in a way that one of Elias’ holiday rentals out of season would not be, only needing Broadband to be perfect. Here’s the view from the balcony.
Today it’s Decision Day.
After talking to Yvonne, my much loved quirky cleaner of nearly 10 years, who’s somehow has managed (with her friend Noreen) to buy a house in my favourite village in Greece, thus usurping my own laptop lifestyle dream in a most unexpected way.
We are now going to meet Noreen. Sarah and I think they want to see the whites of our eyes, not being internet types.
If they like the look of us (and why would they not?) we will tell them definitely, whether we want to go and live in their house and look after it over the winter.
I’ve been to Greece in February & March before but never been in October and especially never stayed until April.
I’m terrified, I feel like I’m going mad for even contemplating it, but the thought of staying in rainy Shoreham for the next 6 months, wrestling with my grief mostly alone, is too horrible to contemplate.
I need shaking up, shocking to find signs of life, jolting out of my solitude and sadness.
So today we go to North Lancing, to meet Yvonne and Noreen, to make a most momentous decision.
Will we move to Greece? Secretly I think I already know the answer.