Does 'Ageing' mean going back to the UK for you?


(Glen Allsopp) #1

I've been seeing a few 'older' couples selling up to return to the UK, I've known a few very well so I asked them why. Mostly, it was given that they were afraid of approaching their 'end of life' here in France in case they needed residential care, language being cited as the main problem.


This does obviously open up the old debate about learning the language and not just living in an 'ex-pat' bubble, but it also opens the box with the 'looking after yourself' label on the top. I don't know the statistics here in France but in the UK only 5% of the ageing population actually need any form of residential or home care, 95% of us will enjoy our golden years in the comfort of our own homes and be independent.


I'll be perfectly honest with you, I'm nearly 59, I still work in the building trade and I keep myself very fit & strong. I have my own gymnasium in my barn, I workout 4 times a week with quite heavy weights and I eat a very healthy diet, I'm 1.81 metres tall (a little under six feet) and I weigh around 80kg (twelve stone 8 pounds). I suffer from knee problems and have mild arthritis in my wrists & feet. I do this training and exercise to keep strong for my job, the stronger I am the easier my work is, but mainly I do it as 'elderly insurance'. So many people, as they age, become sedentary and don't maintain their muscle mass, thus ending up weak & feeble and bent over and not being able to care for themselves.


I'm not including people with serious health issues in this discussion as in many cases they do not have the choice to undertake this type of lifestyle, but there is absolutely no reason why everyone else can't keep themselves fit, strong & healthy in their golden years, adding so much value to their own lives by enabling them to do so many more things as well as not needing to rely on others to help them with everyday activities. You don't need to use weights or cross train, just maintain your muscle mass, yoga is great for this. Remember, the truth about muscles is USE THEM OR LOSE THEM.


(Shirley Morgan) #2

Simon, we share the same planet I’m pleased to say, see my reply to Paul above!

However the same can be said about insularity in many parts of the U.K.

The world has heard of anywhere there with a famous football club!

As far as I’m concerned I find it appalling, only because there is so much more to the UK than football! As I write this I know (from a friend) my husband is driving them all to Itly for Xmas. My youngest son has probably just come back from a weeks holiday in USA or somewhere or his Dad would be joining them in UK! My daughter-in-law refuses to spend Xmas anywhere except at home in England with her family.My English friend from the village outskirts went back to UK for 3 months to be with her family up neR Darlington.

Yes numerically we are prepared to and do spread our wings, perhaps more than most, us British! Perhaps that even begs the question WHY us and not others, unless circumstances force it!


(Shirley Morgan) #3

Paul I think if we cling to our culture, the one most of us were born into and brought up with, it means we know who we Re and where we come from, so yes adapting and adopting are paramount to our lives in France now, but I wouldnt want to change who I am or where I came from its tho go like music, films, a remembered address that brings out the sentimental in us. I talk a lot in the cafe about England and Scotland, if a French person says something, and say yes say the same or have that also. I also am trying to teach and do tell them that the land mass of Grande Bretagne comprises England, Scotland and Wales - the UK also has N Ireland.

They only ever seem to mention England though, assuming all ‘English speaking étrangères’ with our English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, American or non-mainland, European accents come from there, the rest almost almost don’t exist for them! One reason I also wear my Scottish Clan badge on the lapel of my winter coat,Winter coat, if they even notice, is to maintain my individuality and character. Thankfully it doesn’t stop them accepting me pretty much as one of them, I.e., a local inhabitant. Some were even surprised I was still there, and had not gone back to the UK for Xmas.

During holiday periods in the next town, locals At that cafe or supermarket, assume I’m on holiday but seem quite pleased when I say where I live (because they know the village) and that I’ve been in France 8 years! Amazingly few have ever been to the UK. Those who have, ask where I came from there, it’s easier to say 100 Kms NE of London, they know where London is! I actually feel quite quite pleased, and yes proud of my heritage and culture!
coat! It’s the tartan around the edge of it, that they recognise as being Scottish!


(Shirley Morgan) #4

I like :slight_smile:


(Barbara Deane) #5

No man is an Island.

So rest where the pillow smells sweet

and there is a welcome in the morning

the true sign of friendship when someone is there to greet

and celebrate just being together....

so precious to have a friend.

with memories and time to share.

No man is an island.


(Brian Milne) #6

Yer welcome mate ;-)


(Simon Armstrong) #7

Owww…how very ‘kind’ of you Brian…:frowning:


(Brian Milne) #8

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee Simon, And for the island in your mind.

With thanks to John Donne


(Barbara Deane) #9

Can I ask why a conversation wonders off into a classroom deep in History or Geography!

This topic is deeply related to emotions and the need for comfort.

The final years are the final years.


(Simon Armstrong) #10

I'm quite obviously (and happily) on another planet to you Paul - I absolutely believe that British culture is worth clinging on to - I'm immensely proud to be British and to possess a British passport. I wouldn't change that for the world and can never understand those who go for dual, or even a change of nationality.

In general I don't consider the French to be far more independent and thoughtful that the average Brit - quite the contrary, I see them as insular, clone-like and much more xenophobic - almost fearful of anything or anybody different to them.

As for true regional diversity ...again I don't see that as being any different to most countries in the world - except of course, the insularity that prevails in France (plus the vast distances between major populations), makes regional differences more apparent. Most people in my village have never even left their own department and rely heavily on the drone like crap emitted by State controlled French television to tell them how and what to think.

As for art, literature, wine, bread, patisserie, fresh fuit and veg - well, the French put on a pretty good show but with little real choice or diversity - pretty much the same old safe standards being churned out....

Just my view of course :-)


(Barbara Deane) #11

The progressive sadness is a deepening of awareness!

How can you not feel sad if you are a compassionate person!

Along with the joys of everything which surrounds you .....beauty and finery can you not

remain untouched by what is going on around you which is ugly?

But by going back to UK to live I am not going to re root with what I had in the seventies

because the world has changed, London has changed and people in general have diluted their

need to bond in the same way. There is not so much trust but masses of competition.

I would not want to go back to what UK has become.


(Brian Milne) #12

Yet he was a beneficiary of his education, qualified as a barrister in London and was a member of the Temple inn of law, before his career in England, South Africa and India took off. Wonderful man he was, but his critique came from a position of privilege. We too are privileged to be able to freely choose where we live, if we carry our culture with us as memory, or even nostalgic thoughts, but use that to compare the good and bad in fair measure then we gain and learn from that. If we are immersed in nostalgia and do not like the culture we have moved into then we should move back or move on, not stay to denigrate all we find fault with. That has another consequence for some people. If they have stayed away too long they may return 'home' to find a country and culture they did not know before. They become strangers in a strange land that was once their own but they abandoned and missed the passage of change that they can never turn back to their idealised former version.


(Simon Armstrong) #13

Really.....:-)


(Paul Stanton) #14

Ghandi was famously a critic of British imperial culture...


(Paul Stanton) #15

Impossible to escape class in the UK...it touches every aspect. Materialism and mass consumerism might have blurred the boundaries a little, but not much. Not a matter of resentment (I'm lucky enough to have surmounted the barriers) more sad recognition (Ken Clark, the aesthete not the loud mouth, noted that we don't get angrier as we age, just sadder. Dread to think what life would have been like for my generation had tuition fees been introduced back in the 70s :-(

Yes we must make the most of what we have, but we should never be blind to reality. Concepts like 'roots' and 'home' are very movable feasts.


(Paul Stanton) #16

I meant nostalgia in the sense of a sickness or yearning (like homesickness). On a purely pragmatic level (setting aside whether or memory is at all reliable!) since we live in the present and have only the future to look forward to, little point in lamenting the past.

Simon...presupposes that 'British'/ 'English' culture is worth clinging to! One of the attractions of France, to me, is that its people are typically far more independent and thoughtful than the average Brit believes him/ herself to be. Another, that there is true regional diversity (as opposed to the fake marketing hype endemic in Britain, where in reality the impact of London is omnipresent). And then there is the wealth of French art and literature...not to mention the wine (medicinal/ culinary of course), bread, patisserie, fresh fruit and veg...


(Shirley Morgan) #17

Well said Paul, For me the 60 and 70’s were my best times, the music, marriage and my own family. Yes ve had good holidays over the tears, we also had periods of financial insecurity.
Not directed at you personally Paul, but I hate the use the word ‘Class’ - to me it always smacked of jealousy, en y and resentment. I’m p,eased to say that’s 3 characteristics Ive never had - opportunity is what those attributes gives people - to educate themselves as to life’s options and opportunities, as well as its downfalls.

4 great current and inspirational examples are
1 - The refugees who fled Syria and elsewhere
2 - The French after Charlie Hebdo and November Paris shooting attacks this year!
3 - Plus listening on the UK tv news to the people affected by the most recent flooding and its effects on their lives, homes and businesses.
4 - the Winner of The Apprentice on TV this week. Alan Sugar was his inspiration.

Now memories of times and events that have affected their lives, they have all risen to the Challenges they faced and face now. None were born with silver spoons in their mouths. That is why I find the word ‘Class’ so inappropriate and misused as a generalisation,so now it’s all down to opportunity, politicians and ourselves as to what happens next!

As individuals we literally enter this world with only out skin holding us together! What happens years after that, is down to circumstance, us or family, friends and opportunity!

nothing but worked hard to to try and overcome it. So no not a lucky life, but a life full of experiences, that continue still. That’s what makes us the people we are!


(Simon Armstrong) #18

mmmm....'embrace'.....not sure abot that.....I think it's more about adapting as opposed to adopting.....

As Mahatma Ghandi once said :

“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”


(Barbara Deane) #19

What is wrong with something when it seemed so right!

In other words what is wrong with Nostalga?

I think that those who did not enjoy being a free spirit in those days has missed out.

And it is, frankly bad luck.

If you did not feel the magic of London in that period.

But ' it's all over now'!


(Barbara Deane) #20

Shirely it was just me telling it like it is.

I am pleased that you are watching D Abbey but I really hope that you will

watch Call the Midwife.

For me it is a superb production with good acting.

I would much sooner watch that than dance around with a paper hat

and a whistle and a bowl of Masks and sparks trifle in one of my hands.

Yes it is very possible to survive in France.

Merry Christmas shirely.

Merry Christmas everyone.