I think my husband finally admitted defeat after being forced to watch channel 4‘s ‘A Place in the Sun’ thirty seven times in one month.
In the deciding episode, Aunt Maude had left a substantial inheritance to a lacklustre middle aged couple who, after being shown several stunning Spanish properties in Andalucia decided they wanted to stay in Accrington after all. Shaking my head in disgust whilst inhaling my fifth Jammie Dodger, I sighed and pointed out to my forever weary spouse that come 2019 the choice to relocate in Europe may well be taken away from us Brits and we would have to stay and reside in the UK forever. Brushing the crumbs off my increasingly expanding belly I sighed loudly and looked out of the kitchen window at the grey clouds rolling heavily across the November sky.
Rubbing away the deeply ingrained London smog from his bleary eyes, the man I married only 7 years earlier raised his hands in a ‘you win’ gesture and uttered the words I’d been longing to hear “Ok, let’s do it, we’ll move, but you can tell the family!”
Scraping up my disbelieving jaw from the Axminster I screamed in excitement and rushed over to the computer to see how much international Schools cost and what paperwork was required for back-packing pets. Behind me I could hear my husband mumbling under his breath about Rabies jabs and how they were missing a trick by not administering them to menopausal housewives.
Looking down at the family dog, feet in the air, snoring obliviously, no doubt dreaming of cheese and giant tennis balls. I made a mental note to get his maracas removed before heading off on our adventure. The last thing I needed was the pitter patter of 24 Spanish feet while quaffing cheap Rioja.
(I did actually enquire with the family GP if the same procedure could be done with my younger husband but alas, the NHS is stretched enough apparently)
So here I am, exactly 5 months later and one week shy of my 51st birthday, staring vacantly out of the airport window onto the grey Gatwick concourse. Beside me, my twelve year old son mumbles something incoherent about mozzarella and ambles off to purchase a baguette which costs roughly the same price as my first car. The boy child is more than happy to move abroad. He’s watched Bay Watch. He knows that everyone runs in slow motion and looks like Pamela Anderson on warmer shores. Plus I’ve bribed him with the promise of a certain Xbox game (yes I am a bad parent, but at least I’ll be a bad parent in a vest as opposed to a cardi)
The house is under offer. The tears have been shed. Man and dog are loaded up in the Jeep, our worldly possessions crammed into every available crevice. No doubt by now both would be heading over the French border, happily singing Charles Aznavour tunes en route. The ties with normality had been cut.
I glance down at the suitcase in my hand and grip the one way ticket to Malaga tightly in my fist. We have no home, we have no jobs. We don’t speak Spanish. We are either very brave or very stupid.
Taking a deep breath I drag my belongings and monosyllabic child towards the gate which is now boarding. This is the moment our lives will change forever. I smile, pull my big girl pants up and take the first step towards our new life in the sun.
To be continued – Episode 2