Alpine Mummy

A new life in the middle of nowhere


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On the road with Alpine Mummy

Giving up life in the UK and moving to the Middle of Nowhere, Lost in the French Alps (my official address), was supposed to result in a healthier, more outdoors-y life, away from the smog and grime and roads and cars and traffic that is London life.

That has half worked.

The great outdoors is so much closer to our great indoors now – we can walk and ski and cycle mountains galore without needing to ever drive for more than four and a half minutes (I’ve timed it).

But recently, I have spent a LOT of my time sitting in a car – and it makes me wonder if we can ever leave the world of traffic behind us…

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On the move again…

I start full-time work tomorrow. Gosh.

Midweek Alpine Mummy fun will be no more. Gone are the days of frolicking in the mountains on a Monday afternoon, or cycling round the lake on a Wednesday, or spending the entire day eating cake and drinking lots of tea with other English mummies every Tuesday (and Thursday. And Friday. And… OK – I do more cake-eating and socialising than I do mountain-frolicking and cycling. Life is tough).

I think I can cope with having to wear vaguely presentable clothes every day, rather than the knackered jeans and holey t-shirts that have become my usual uniform (on the days I actually get out my pyjamas…). I can probably even cope with brushing my hair every day (I got it all hacked off on Friday to ease this pain), and I am certainly looking forward to speaking to grown-ups about things other than sick, poo, sleep, poo and sick. (Forget career aspirations – I’ll just be proud to get through a day without threatening to put my colleagues on the naughty step, or absent-mindedly spoon-feeding my boss at lunchtime…)

Anyway, all that will be fine. What I’m not looking forward to is my commute. I live about an hour and a quarter away from Geneva. More (a lot more) at peak times. I am working a full day. Every day.  I will never (and I mean never) see my kids if we stay here.

So the Alpine Family are on the move again… But where to?

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Me… revisited

In July 2012 Alpine Family, then a somewhat smaller unit than we are now, embarked on a new adventure: giving up hectic London life for a new start in the French Alps.

It was a temporary move – I had a year’s maternity leave, and what better way to spend it than gallivanting up and down mountainsides with the soundtrack of cow bells echoing around us. The hills were indeed alive, and the Von Trapps had nothing on us (although admittedly I am yet to dress my little darlings in curtains…). Life couldn’t have been more different had we moved to the moon – life as a City lawyer was a distant memory as I got used to life as a stay-at-home mummy in the middle of nowhere with two kids (Alpine Boy aged 3 and a half; Alpine Girl aged 7 weeks when we moved here). Doctors’ appointments, supermarket trips, and snow (lots of snow): all was new, all was in French, and I blogged about the lot (well, some of it).

 

My dream house... (shame it's not ours)

My dream house… (shame it’s not ours)

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Warning, may cause homesickness

Far from home...

Far from home…

(Note for my non-UK readers – I imagine that several of the references in this post will not make much sense to you… if so, check out the Glossary of Terms below…)

Sometimes, the warnings on medicine packets (drafted by cautious lawyers with an aversion to getting sued, no doubt) contain warnings which make you wonder if it’s actually worth taking the medicine at all.  Ibuprofen tablets, for example, tell you that one side-effect of this particular painkiller is… um, headaches.  And bottles of emollients (used to treat eczema) warn that the product may cause skin irritation.  Go figure.

And I’ve discovered that the same can be said for homesickness remedies.  I have been taking a few of these recently and have found that the side-effects do seem to include (yep, you’ve guessed it): homesickness. Continue reading


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I’m doing OK. Really.

I was speaking to my oldest friend on the phone the other day when she asked me how I was doing.    Genuinely.  She didn’t want a flippant answer about how everything is fine.   She really wanted to know if I was OK.

And I answered honestly – I am.  I really am…     Continue reading


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The fridge smells of farts

I love it here in the middle of nowhere.  And I tell people that.  But that makes for a boring story, really.  Sometimes people want to hear the juicy bits, the rubbish bits, the bits that give them an opportunity to sit back and say “well, yeah, it’s alright I suppose, living in the middle of nowhere like that Alpine Mummy does, but it’s not all great – did you know [insert relevant horror story]….?”

So for those of you who think like that (don’t be shy, I love hearing about other people’s misfortunes!), here are some of the crap bits about living here.  This is not a racist tirade against France, you understand (or at least it’s not intended to be…), nor should it be seen as an indication that I hate it here and I’ve made some kind of terrible mistake in moving out my entire family (I don’t and I haven’t).  But maybe some of these points will be useful to throw back at me if and when I ever get a little too smug about how great it is here…

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Making a good impression. Oh yes.

Summer is coming to an end, and I’m starting to panic about quite what it’s going to be like here in November, in the middle of nowhere, in the cold and wet… But, rather than sit at home dwelling on that, I’m rapidly trying to cram as much as possible into these last few days (and hoping that I’m wrong, and summer is going to stick around for a few more weeks yet). Get me, what positivity!

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