In two days I’ll be hopping on Cerise to belt down the mountain road hairpins and catch the train from Aime to bring this first pathfinding snippet of semigration to an end. Oh, sorry, you don’t know Cerise, I never was very good at proper social introduction stuff. She’s my semigration bike. I’m not 100% sure that’s going to be her permanent name, I’m not 100% sure of her gender but leaning to female for reasons I’m utterly unable to explain. Hey, who wants to be crassly binary and gender rigid these days? Anyway, seeing her ‘photo the family said she was pink, hence the name and it’s sort of stuck for me despite the fact that she’s actually a slightly odd orange. I’ll introduce you properly at some later date when I’m back up here and she and I know each other better.
I left the UK two weeks ago today and a lot has happened so it seems time for a stocktake and I think I should start by reminding myself why I’m here:
- I am hoping to get French residency and that it will generalise to the young ones giving them a small protection against the restrictions Brexit puts on their options. One way or another we’ll probably know about that around the end of March 2019 when there will either be a negotiated separation or, perhaps looking increasingly likely, a default exit with no agreements … or even, but this seems to look increasingly politically unlikely, the UK has a rush of sanity and we don’t leave.
- I am hoping that it will start something more solid for all of us in the nuclear family giving all full EU citizenship rights. I am increasingly clear that’s the secure thing to aim for and the only sensible route to that which seems fairly clear whatever happens with Brexit is for me to keep semigration going and do everything else necessary for French citizenship and hence full EU citizen rights … which would, barring some other tragic and radical political madness, involve five years semigrant residency and some other things.
- Making a statement, a bizarre one maybe, of my personal, and my family’s shared, anger about Brexit and petty nationalisms of all sort.
- Having the pleasure of living in France for over half the year.
- At the moment, the particular pleasures of being over 2000m up in the northern French Alps.
- Perhaps thereby having a less busy or mad life and achieving more of the work things I want to achieve before I pop my clogs.
- Perhaps thereby having a less busy or mad life and, despite #6, having a more balanced and pleasurable life while I am still around (see #4 and #5 above particularly, but also #3 I think!)
OK. That’s quite a list. But a quick visual diversion.
They’re both taken from the vast balcony area that our appartment shares with three others up here. The one on the left was taken on the 11th in the evening and the one on the right, clearly not quite from the same point on the edge of the balcony and an hour ago.
At last, I have something I’ve wanted for a long time for this blog: you can click on those and get them full screen in a “gallery” or “lightbox” and can flick between the one and the other to get an even better, or at least bigger, sense of the huge change that’s happened in the 11 days between the two.
The snow is disappearing at an impressive rate with the run of blisteringly hot days we’ve had here, following the first radically cloud shrouded and pretty cold days I had. Part of the reason for showing this is pragmatic: I now think that snow won’t prevent me cycling up and over the ridge in distance (on the extreme left of those ‘photos) to meet friends from Nottingham over in the Champagny valley. The most direct route would be over a saddle just out of those shots to the left.#
That route would take me up that inverted Y (that’s from the 13th) which looked still skiable when I arrived. Now it’s a mix of snow, gravel and rock and at this rate it would probably be walkable in reasonable walking shoes by Monday. That’s a pretty steep climb there so in fact I will be taking a longer route off the left and not visible from Aime2000 here but I’m sure that by the 18th of July, when we’re hoping to meet up, both routes will be clear for cycling, if challenging for the quads.
I’m sure of the meteorological feasibility of our meeting there now which I wasn’t a couple of days ago. That does beg the question of the physiological feasibility, particularly given how little Cerise and I know each other and as most of the route (all if you follow Google’s recommendations) is off road. Today or tomorrow, I may, hm, I think I must, make time to slog over either to the foot of that red run, or over, further, to the gentler blue round the back of the ridge.
Hm, here’s what Google maps makes of the cycling options.
Again, you should be able to click on that to see it in a bit more detail, or to go to it directly and be able to zoom around and have fun with it courtesy of Google: click here!
Hm. I know what’s going to happen here, if I go back to the stocktake, or start working, I’m not going to do that and it’s beautiful out. OK, stocktake 1(a) terminates here!