We have been living in our new home for three months now, and we love it every bit as much as we thought we would.
Kid n°1, with no uses of a garden and despite our best endeavour to turn him as an outdoor kid, spend the first 2 1/2 years of his life trying to levitate rather than risking touching the grass barefoot. Two days after we had moved in, he was running in the garden not only sans shoes but in the rain. That in itself probably justifies the lifetime mortgage. As for Kid n°2, she is lucky enough she will not need to know the meaning of the word "apartment" for the years to come.
Another reason for buying a house was that we thought it would be easier to invite scattered friends and family without having them
stay squeeze in the office-cum-laundry-cum-ancillary-library-cum-fitness-room-cum-bedroom-for- baby-n°2 and accommodate them in a
proper guest-room instead. This has worked beyond our wildest dream, since it
has barely been a week without any visits since we moved in, and we may soon
need to ask for advance booking.
Talking about fitness room, we are now the proud owners of a mazot. Mazots are little wooden huts located in the main house’s garden, where people used to store the household's valuables in the event of a fire on the main house. Well, our mazot will definitely carry on serving its initial purpose since we intend, as soon as we have some spare time (famous last words) to refurbish it and house in there our dearest valuables: turbo trainers, bikes, weights and yoga mats and use it as our in-house fitness centre.
There is no rush though, since the main selling point for our new home, especially that time of the year, is this:
A (beautiful, can I say it again) mountain, steep single trails, direct access to said trails from home. In other words, the perfect training camp literally on our door step.
If you're fit.
Because nothing, I repeat, nothing around here is flat. Not a single metre of trail. And this is tough when motivation is high but stamina inexistent, the result of several months of flat pregnant running followed by a couple of months of running-less post-partum (me) or weekends spent working in the house (husband).
Initially, it was not all that bad. As I started running again, I was only allowed ridiculously short runs, and had managed to design a loop doing figures of eight in the fields which did not involved climbing Mt Blanc twice elevation-wise. It is now that I have been able to increase speed and distance than the issue has risen, since any hour-long run around here involves at least 700 vertical metres of climbing.
I guess the answer is: get fit. FAST.
Then, as I discovered, paradise can also be scary. Why, because every house or farm I run past seem to have at least one big, bad, barking dog which has waited all day that I pass by to start running after me with an unmistakable interest for my calves. Did I tell you I was s***-scared of dogs?
I then decided the way to go was to go away from the fields and houses and in the forest on the hills. So far, the route I am doing on my hourly evening runs involves some steep, stony trails as well as a stretch of single trail snaking amongst brambles and high grasses.
In other words, the perfect place for runs, and for snakes, and for me to walk on said snakes. And did I also tell you I was s***-scared of snakes? And here you start thinking that it is a bit rich of me to make fun of Kid n°1 for not being outdoorsy enough, and you'll be right: I am a sissie.
As if my fight against wildlife would be stopping when I by miracle come back alive from my runs. But it isn't so: we also fighting a hopeless battle in our own garden against moles and field mice. Our garden is in a state which reminds of the most vivid descriptions of WWI battle of Verdun. I spend every morning trying to fight molehills and mice’s holes, flatten the former out and fill the later with soil from the former (knowing they'll both be back minutes later), filled with a rage that will soon make me lose all credibility when telling my kids violence is never the way.
Three months here and I have found the secret: paradise is only for the Fit, the Fearless and the Fighter. For the others, there's purgatory first, paved with steep hills, barking dogs, biting snakes and omnipresent moles. The good news is, I think I can deal with purgatory for a few years.