Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Au revoir 2019

French Village Diaries au revoir 2019 a challenging year #KTTinyTourer
2019 cycling challenge with #KTTinyTourer

As 2019 draws to a close my word for the year is challenge.

This Christmas, likely our last as EU citizens and therefore not something we felt like celebrating, was a simple day and perfectly ‘us’. A 63km bike ride with a posh picnic and a bottle of fizzy, was timed to perfection for me to complete my 2019 cycling challenge and to benefit from a sunny afternoon.

French Village Diaries au revoir 2019 a challenging year #KTTinyTourer
Christmas Day picnic

Having smashed my original goal of 2019kms in August, I upped my game to 2019 miles (or 3230kms) and although the weather has been against me these last few months, the sun came out on Christmas Day to help me celebrate. 

Living with the uncertainty of Brexit for the last three and a half years has also been a challenge, especially on my mental health. Thankfully buying my Brompton bike, Katie #KTTinyTourer, last December and having the focus of working towards a goal has really helped, and I am proud of my achievement. There is nothing quite like a bike ride on the quiet back roads of France for clearing the mind and calming the body.

French Village Diaries au revoir 2019 a challenging year #KTTinyTourer
#KTTinyTourer in Bordeaux

With Adrian by my side (or more accurately out in front) I’ve used Katie locally instead of taking the car, but I’ve also had great fun further afield revisiting favourite places and discovering new parts of France. I’ve explored the lovely Ile de Ré and the cities of Limoges, La Rochelle, Poitiers, Bordeaux, Toulouse and London. 

French Village Diaries au revoir 2019 a challenging year #KTTinyTourer
Climbing mountains with #KTTinyTourer

I’ve climbed mountain cols and crossed the Pyrenees into Spain.

French Village Diaries au revoir 2019 a challenging year #KTTinyTourer
Sunset in France #KTTinyTourer

I’ve been out on the bike in the 40º heatwave of summer and the frosty mornings of winter. I’ve seen sunrises and sunsets and cycled into 40km headwinds as we reached the end of our Bordeaux to Toulouse adventure. 
For the 5th year running I’ve celebrated my birthday with my 100km in a day ride and I’m fitter than I’ve been in years. Without Katie things would look a lot gloomier.
I know there will be challenges ahead as the reality of Brexit works itself out. I know we will lose our right to vote in the March local elections in France and I will also lose my right to stand as a local councillor. I hope some agreement on cross border service provider work will be found, as currently this is not something included in the withdrawal agreement but is critical for Adrian to remain working.

French Village Diaries au revoir 2019 a challenging year #KTTinyTourer
A dry and sad looking potager

The weather has also thrown us a challenge or two this year, with a summer hotter and drier than we’ve ever experienced, followed by the wettest autumn in years, with more than our fair share of wild windy nights this winter too. The combination of which has challenged the waterproofness of our old roofs and then Big Bertha, the central heating boiler (and general prima donna), sprang an internal leak and died. Keeping warm while we waited for Tiny Tina, her replacement, to be installed was a challenge I could have done without, but onwards and upwards as a new year and a new decade await.

French Village Diaries au revoir 2019 a challenging year #KTTinyTourer
#KTTinyTourer at home in France

My new challenge with Katie is a 20 20 challenge split into parts, as I felt I needed more than just kilometres to focus on and tick off this year.

The first 20 is to cycle in twenty different departments (counties) in France, and with 96 to choose from, that will certainly give Adrian a challenge in terms of route planning.

The second 20 is split into four challenges of five:

5 consecutive days on the bike, cycling a minimum of 50kms each day. 

5 trips to the supermarket using the bike instead of the car. 

5 mountain cols or passes climbed by bike. 

5 days cycling 100kms in a day, as opposed to once a year for my birthday.

This might seem a lot, but I’m positive that tackled in small parts and with some careful planning (like most challenges in life) I can succeed. 

Whatever your goals or dreams are for the coming year, I wish you well and hope 2020 is good to you.

Happy New Year!


  1. Happy New Year old chums, if you set your mind on it, you'll do it x

  2. Congratulations on all you have achieved! It's been a pleasure to follow along and I admire the goals you have set for the coming year. My heart goes out to all of you who are being affected (and left in the dark) by Brexit and I join others in hoping a satisfactory agreement will be reached so your enviable life in France may continue. Thanks once again for all you to do support authors and help readers discover our books. Warmest wishes to you and your family :-)

  3. All the best Jacqui. Things do seem a little harder to get on top of at the moment. I hope that your biking challenges help with the changes ahead.


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