The glamorous Cote d’Azur… DON’T STEP IN THE DOG POO!… France

I blinked, and in that moment I was plucked UFO-style from my life.  I looked around to see a a completely new reality.  The previous day went something like this: Predawn departure for Glasgow airport; check in 3 large suitcases, 2 car seats and 1 stroller; carry on 3 cabin bags (no weight limit, I am carrying rocks), 3 winter coats, 3 jumpers and 2 kids toy bags.  Three hours later I moved the small mountain of stuff and the kids from the plane to the car hire shed.  Kynan did a sterling effort of pushing the stroller piled high with car seats 500m in the heat.  Meanwhile Leora sat on the baggage mountain like lady-muck and ate cookies.  Next up: navigate to our new home, an hour away, on the opposite side of the road.  I sat in the over stuffed hire car, fed the kids more food, told myself to breath, stay awake, drive on the right and look left at the roundabouts.  Breathe Lynita, you can do this.  So, yes, I was in shock the next morning.

Fortunately, I had an aim that day – to meet a sailing family that I had ‘met’ on facebook.  That family saved my sanity like they will never know.  I had someone to talk to and other kids to play with mine.  I have never become such lifelong friends with a stranger in an instant.  Thank you to the crew of Laurin – Karen, Patrick, AJ and Esme.

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Four kids, one studio apartment – mayhem

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Getting said four OUT of a studio apartment seems like a good idea…

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A much better playground = the forklift that drives boats around the hardstand

We filled our days roaming the streets (and dodging the dog poo) of Port Saint Louis – an industrial village at the ar$e end of France.  Not exactly the Cote d’Azur we dreamt of!  Some days I didn’t even speak to another adult so we visited Justin and Claude working on our boat.

Things couldn’t get worse, surely? But a few days later my AirBnB host called to say that her neighbour complained about our noise, and if it continued, she would call the police.  Suddenly my isolated life parenting two kids, who fight a lot and regularly throw LOUD tantrums, got a whole lot more stressful.  I’d be lying if I said this was a happy time in my life.

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Motivated to keep the kids out of the apartment, we explored the mud flats at the mouth of the River Rhone…

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…we hung out under the boat

..

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…we threw rocks into the water

One night, I thought Kynan was going to die in my arms.  It haunts me now to think about it, so here is the message I shared with my family about the event.

“Last night I was ripped out of a deep sleep to the sound of Kynan coughing, a barking cough. It worsened quickly to the point he could barely breath. In a split second these are the thoughts that went through my head: what is the ambulance number in France? How can I get phone reception /data to find the number? What is French for respiratory distress? What is my address? What do I do with Leora? We are all in Pjs and is freezing outside. I don’t have TIME to answer these questions. He might not make it. TERROR.

I considered standing on the balcony and yelling help. Instead I went on the balcony to try and get some painfully slow data to start answering these questions and Kynan followed me into the cold air. Not a good idea, but that gave me the thought maybe hot steamy air would help. I plonked him next to the shower full pelt hot. Back on the balcony, not functioning effectively now, I noticed his cough eased slightly. The steam was helping. RELIEF!! I sat with him for a while and cuddled him back to sleep. Then I cried. Then looked up Respiratory distress in French (difficulte respiratwour), my address, ambulance number, whether an epipen would resolved acute respiratory distress (yes). Packed a bag of jumpers and shoes went to bed in my clothes and hoped like hell it didn’t happen again.

Haven’t slept much, of course Leora is brimming with energy this morning.
Sorry for the long post, we are all ok, just sick and I know now he has croup. Had to tell someone.“

After a month in the studio apartment the boat was still not finished, but we moved on board anyway.  This was hard for everyone, but at least I wasn’t solo parenting.  While living in the marina, we waved off a bunch of young Ozzy guys when their boat was launched, we waved off our friends on Laurin and looked forward to our own launch day.  Finally, 6 weeks later, that day arrived.

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Power tools + boy = happiness!

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Stories with daddy in a construction zone

The day of the launch was was Friday 13th. But Oh!  It felt so good to be on the water!  Now we are in a rush – we aim to take Dizzie to Sicily for winter.  A long way from France.  Fortunately, Justin’s parents are joining us for the trip.  I doubt we could do this trip without them.

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Dizzie in the travel lift

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Dizzie in the water, our floating home!

 

The kids, like they do, just take it all in their stride.  I watch them tonight from the cockpit, snuggled up to Justin reading to them from his tablet.   Their little faces caught in the glow, intent on the story.  My frustration of their constant fighting vanishes, I love having my family close.  I look around the boat as the last of the daylight fades and I love our new home.  Am I happy?  I think so.  Was the preceding two months of turmoil worth it?

Yes, I think so.

 

 

 

 

7 comments

  1. Wow, I felt like I was right there reading that. We are in the process of looking for a boat in the Med to head off on next April. We are in Australia so it’s very difficult finding a boat on the other side of the world. What kind of boat did you get and what kind of work did it require? We are really worried we will waste our whole Schengen 3 months working on our boat, so we’re trying to find one that doesn’t need much work. Hard to do on a limited budget, it’s all so stressful. We also have 3 kids, so I could totally relate to your blog. Good luck with your adventure!

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    1. Hi Erin, I understand. Our boat is an Oyster 435, we bought it knowing it required work and it was quite the process (read my previous blogs about it). My advice would be to have a short-list and visit those boats when you arrive in April, expect to miss the summer season getting your boat prepared for your family adventures and find a way around the Schengen restrictions.

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  2. Oh Lynita- thanks for sharing my friend. You have amazing strength and will never look back with regrets on this amazing time of your life!! Take care and thinking of you all xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! What a scary time for you, but your presence of mind in an emergency is so brave, so there you go, you ARE a capable,wonderful mother. So glad you are all together again, and everybody is well and happy.I hope you really enjoy the next few months. Keep safe.xx. (I have been wondering for weeks how you were getting on, so thank you for the post.)

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