After a winter of sanding, sugar scrubbing and scraping we can really see some results. My ceiling is up (but needs filling) and Jen’s painting and waxing is done in the lounge (though my flooring isn’t quite there yet) plus we’ve made a real dent in the dining room (though there’s plenty more…) and despite my constant need to remind myself how much more is done we really have made a difference. And this process always visually speeds up remarkably in the final stretch. If we play it right we might have the floor down in the lounge before France, which would take the room from unfinished to basically done in a single step. It’s this turning of the work into some sort of appreciable, noticeable result that’s so galling, and that throughout the wet and dark of the winter I managed to get through until the last few weeks – which just so happened to be the time my regular posts dried up on the blog, too. But just last weekend the sun and change of air that spring has already brought to the year lightened my take on everything. There are other things that are making any risk we take in dropping our lives here and moving to a new country look less worrisome, but overall it’s the sense that I can feel of stepping beyond the fears I had after weeks and weeks of my nose at the sandpaper, the fresh and hopeful feeling that the late March sun is bringing. It was actually HOT outdoors the other weekend and somehow that primal, huddling from the winter in a cave feeling that eventually descends on me over the winter manages to surprise me every year when it begins to ease, when the daylight begins to creep further into the day and when the air temperature rises and when there’s a glimpse of the end of the road, the last efforts before the rewards, the positives that begin to overwhelm and outnumber the little fearful scared voice that repeats worries and directs my eyes to the problems instead of stepping back and seeing the victory that is now within reach. It’s incredibly challenging to dream in the first place and intensively demanding to pursue that dream, so much so that during the pursuit it can feel as though all we are doing is treading water or slipping beneath the surface, but finally, thankfully I have a spring in my step and a smile on my face and the road seems open and welcoming rather than closed and narrowing. Our trip to France is just in perfect timing. I won’t just be ready for the break, I’ll be ready to look properly at what our future CAN be. And ready to leave my second guessing worries back in Britain.