Letter from France – Changes

Dear Mum,

So much has happened since I last saw you. It was back in February: you were in the sunroom surrounded by homegrown summer roses. Something I said amused you. I asked you why you were smiling and you said ‘Stop asking me how I am.’

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How annoying of me. How typical of you. The most humble, most deserving and least demanding of women. It’s been a long five months since then.

Somewhere along the way my mojo went missing. I knew I had to make some changes so I booked a place in a week-long writers retreat. In Paris. That seemed to do the trick – enough of my old blind optimism returned to convince me that everything else would fall into place.

Friends offered me a place to stay in Burgundy for two months. But why stay for two months when I can stay for 90 days without having to apply for a visa? So I am.

You’ll be pleased to hear I’ve reconnected with an old flame, one you wrote about in your journal with great fondness. I’d forgotten how kind he was to you the first time round: that connection has taken on an extraordinary significance for me.

So that’s two changes. There’s just one more. I bought an apartment Mum.

Stop laughing. Not quite such a laughing matter when you sign a contract five days before leaving the country for three months. And your lawyer finds a major problem with the contract when you’re somewhere over Western Australia. And solves it somewhere over the desert sands of Dubai.

I have handed over the execution of both sale and purchase to a band of volunteers in Australia to whom I will be forever grateful. Then buggered off to Paris.

And since you’ve always been my favourite correspondent, you’re the one I’ll be writing to. So strap yourself in mama…

Hitting the in-law jackpot in the lottery of life

A bonus long weekend post in honour of my nephew Tom and his mother – my friend – Anne

A gift like Anne comes along once in a lifetime

An in-law who becomes a close friend, confidante and partner-in-crime. From the day we met, we got the point of each other. We laughed at each other’s jokes, shared each other’s pain (including a common mother-in-law), went on holidays together and shared a brood of children who were best mates and just happened to be first cousins.

Two smiling women with their arms around each other and a champagne bucket in the foreground

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