Tag Archives: Cote d’Azur

Baking Day

Anyone following my blog will know that as of the 2nd March this year [2016] I have been living in the south of France.

I retired from my 45 year career in the field of commercial credit management at the end of January and decided it was time for a sea change. As my personal circumstances changed at the same time it seemed logical to leave Australia that has been my home for the past 28 years and return to Europe.

Although I have been writing on a part-time basis, mostly as a hobby on an as and when I have time basis I have now decided to turn my hand to writing full-time. However with my move to Europe has also come a period of adjustment. For a start I am temporarily living with my mum and elder sister in their flat at Golfe Juan located close to Cannes on the Cote d’Azur. It’s a wonderful part of the world and the view from their apartment is spectacular. The view across the Mediterranean Sea is breath-taking. There is always so much to see – huge cruise ships on the horizon, exotic yachts of every size entering and exiting the port of Camille Rayon, sailing boats filling their sails as they skim across the bay of Le Golfe Juan, and occasionally, as moments ago, a show of fire fighting seaplanes practicing their skills in the event of the return of the bush fire season.

Fire Fighter Planes 002 Fire Fighter Planes 006 Fire Fighter Planes 009

Apart from carrying out a bit of research for my next book and a short blog from time to time I haven’t done much writing. My excuse is that I am unable to concentrate. I have bought a flat but I don’t finalise exchange until 7th June 2016, and I am waiting until I move in before I dedicate the lion’s share of my time to writing.

Until then I am killing time playing scrabble with my mother [a note on this: mum is 91 years old, has limited vision due to macular degeneration, but when it comes to playing Bridge and Scrabble she is champion]. I do manage to win sometimes though.

I have also spent time reading – never have I read so many books in such a short time – I have been averaging two to three a month depending on the book. In addition I have completed a hundred or so crosswords and I have been watching endless TV quiz shows… in French: It is a great way to improve my language skills. French isn’t my first language although I have known it since my youth – I am more comfortable with Italian and English [obviously], but since I have chosen to live in France it only seems sensible to improve my mastery of French.

So onto Baking Day…. As another diversion to keep me occupied I have offered on a few occasions to offer to cook for my family. I have prepared omelette; meatballs in a tomato sauce served with pasta; Ivory Coast Beef with rice; a salad or two, and today I experimented in preparing a fruit tart: a first for me. There were some cherries, grapes, a few prunes, and a couple of nectarines looking sad in the fridge. My sister suggested we have a fruit salad, but I said I would do something better. So this morning I nipped down the road to a local Spar supermarket and bought some short crust pastry then returned home to attack the fruit.

The photos speak for themselves [yes that’s me, Koala apron included]:

Baking Day 010616 001 Baking Day 010616 002

Ready for the oven:                                        Baked:

Baking Day 010616 006  Baking Day 010616 009

Presentation:            And of course, ready for eating:

Baking Day 010616 010  Baking Day 010616 011

Served with custard it was quite good – not bad for a first attempt.

I expect the next time I cook anything will be at my new flat.

It’s an exciting prospect.

RLB – Tomewriter

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That’s it for me… I’m done!!

That’s it for me… I’m done!!

No more getting up at 5.30 a.m. unless it’s to go somewhere nice.

No more commuting on Sydney trains.

No more trudging to and from the station through Sydney’s weather extremes of blistering heat, torrential rains, hurricane strength winds that destroy umbrellas.

No more account reconciliations.

No more phoning customers to pay their bills.

No more having to put up with sanctimonious salesmen who forget who pays them?

No more having to work with colleagues who walk around with long faces and are just plain miserable bastards.

That’s it for me… I’m done at being a credit controller.

From 4pm on Friday 29th January 2016 I finished up from a profession that has spanned 45 years.

You know when it’s time to quit and in my case it came earlier than planned.

I had hoped to have phased it out gradually after reaching my 65th birthday in August 2016, but personal circumstances have brought it to an immediate halt. Am I sorry? Yes and no. Dealing with no regular income will be a challenge but it is just one more of life’s problems to overcome.

After 27 years of marriage my wife decided it was time to end our relationship; so as part of the transition process back to bachelorhood I have decided to finish working. This is mainly because of my decision to relocate to Europe to be close to my 91-year-old mother and my two sisters.

I chose to end work now so as to allow me freedom to wind up my affairs here in Australia and make the necessary preparations to set up my new life on the Cote d’Azur in southern France.

All is slowly falling into place and depending on how quickly I can get my superannuation account closed and transferred, and how fast our respective lawyers can finalize the separation agreement will determine when I can finally leave.

In a way I am sad it has come to this – after knowing someone for thirty years to give up such a relationship isn’t easy.

Dealing with the emotional wrenching of separation, leaving a job, packing one’s possessions into several boxes [64 years of one’s life all wrapped up in 11 boxes doesn’t say much – pretty sad really], arranging bank accounts in a foreign country, leaving people you have got to know, is all very stressful. Any one of them could lead to a nervous breakdown… to do all of them at the same time: well there aren’t any words that can describe how I feel.

But life goes on… I have always been a fighter. Whenever I have been knocked down by some personal disaster or set back I have always bounced back. And so it will be again…

As one door closes another opens: for me it is a new start in a new country.

I may be scared at the unknown, but I am also so very excited at the challenges awaiting me.

I hope you will follow my progress in the months and years to come :o)

RLB – Tomewriter

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