Return enhanced

DSCF1166.JPG So here we are back in Scotland, in the middle of March, and it’s still snowing. If I haven’t blogged much about our impending return, that’s because we were quite busy with things to do in Belgium before we went, and packing and planning for another grand départ, this time in the opposite direction. In the depths of the Belgian winter a number of things became evident to us which cleared the path back north:

  • We do not want to spend vast sums of money buying property in France or Belgium at this time
  • It’s not really feasible to start our own gardening business abroad (custom and practice in France and Belgium does not lend itself to our type of approach)
  • We do not have the inside knowledge and experience to enable us to minimise our tax burden in other countries
  • What we most want – a wee house, a bit of land, cycling and walking, fruit and vegetables – we can easily find in Scotland
  • We miss the sea, the fresh air and the soft water
  • Scotland is where we are at home

So our current thinking is, let’s go to….Fife!

DSCF1167.JPG It’s funny how things turn out. From Belgium we knew we could hitch our caravan to the back of the car and head off for far-flung places (I often cited Vladivostock as a theoretical possibility, but had no real answer to Dee’s ‘why on earth would you want to go there?’) but really where we think we want to be is Pittenweem (or similar).

Quite a lot of taxpayers’ money (and my parents’ hard-won resources) was invested in my education over several decades. It will come as no surprise to many and perhaps small relief to some that some ideas, concepts, maxims, tropes and truisms from eighteenth century German literature and philosophy continue to colour my (our) thinking today. Dee and I have often made reference to binary synthesis, a synthesis of polarised opposites, in our work and even with reference to ourselves. And what we are now experiencing is very much a return enhanced.

We’ve towed our caravan all the way through England and quite a lot of France and Belgium. We’ve learned to live small (it’s surprising how few tools, books, clothes and various accoutrements are actually essential). We’ve lived in a community with many different people, doing weird and wonderful things. We’ve shopped and cooked and cleaned in many different circumstances of varying comfort. We’ve experienced different cultures and traditions. We’ve kept it together through some quite challenging and difficult times and have emerged stronger and more sure of what matters in life.

We’ve written reports, held meetings and discussions, organised various initiatives and kept in touch with key contacts and secured more work contracts while we’ve been away.

The cats have been through a lot with us and have been quite stoical throughout. They’ve learned to tolerate one another, and take changing circumstances in their stride. They hate moving, especially in the car (they managed the ferry no bother) but cope with living in different places and spaces. Curiously they are showing very little interest in the outside world, wherever they are.

Tea has never tasted better. We may bemoan the weather, but the seemingly constant precipitation in various levels of solidity which falls on the rocks of Scotland does produce wonderfully soft water for which we have a renewed appreciation. Likewise the wind you can really fill your lungs with and breathe deeply again.

12032011378.jpg It’s special to be back among our family and friends here. Some of them have actually held onto much of the stuff we gave away before we left, because they knew we’d be back. Many years ago Dee chose to come and live in Scotland. I never did – it was simply home, where I lived, no question, point final. Now, having been where we’ve been and seen what we’ve seen, we have chosen to come back. Truly a return enhanced.



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