In 2007 my wife and I made the decision to leave the rat race. escape the cold and the rain of Inverness and make a new life in south west of France
Early life and big decisions.
We had spent most of our holidays in France for the last twenty years or so, therefore we were fairly certain we could settle into this new way of life. Things were made a little easier to start with as we had a holiday home in a small village in Gironde called Gensac. So after the usual settling in period, we quickly realised that language was going to be crucial to life here, we were also determined not to have to rely on French speaking British friends for every day events like the tax office, the mairie or the doctor’s surgery.
We had done the usual CD learning courses and had some tuition in the UK and Joyce was actually pretty good, however there is a big difference between getting by and actually conversing with the locals.
Joyce joined a twice weekly French language class, and still attends regularly after six years. The classroom style of learning is just not for me so I had to think of another vehicle to learn. I was a regular golfer in the UK and love sport of all kinds, however the clubs here are predominantly English speaking so that would not help, golf is also very expensive here and the courses are not up to the standards of Scottish courses I am used to, back to the drawing board.
Ste Foy la Grande is a market town about 15k from Gensac, we approach it via a bridge over the Dordogne. On the west bank of this bridge there is a Petanque club (yes you have got the picture) always thriving with players, and a classic french scene. It struck me quite quickly that this could be the solution to both language and integration, combined with my love of sport. The problem was of course that I spoke effectively no French and had never played petanque!
Hopefully my blog will give you an insight into the unexpected adventure in sport, the language, culture and friendship.