Life, it has to be said, was previously very quiet in our tiny hamlet, but we kept busy with plenty of regular bucolic tasks.
Sadly life had also become accompanied by a few who (I imagine) are unhappy with their lot, then compensated by visiting their anger and frustration on others. I could never imagine Billy having stones thrown at him, or being kicked over here; fortunately people are more civilised than that.
We are now back in the world of pleasant reality where everything goes at a fast pace driven by energetic people of vision and verve, and where friendliness is a way of life. We have left our sleepy hamlet, for the serious hustle, bustle, and urgency of the young en masse, where people smile and randomly say "hello", eccentricity is almost obligatory, and neighbours leisurely pass the time of day as once they did back in France.
We arrived on a Saturday evening and the city was buzzing. The young (18-30-ish) were everywhere in huge numbers, and were out for a good time. Driving through the crowds wasn't easy, it was like New Year's Eve in Trafalgar Square. The bohemian atmosphere for which the city is famous, was palpable.
Fellow dog-walkers become instant friends; Simon and Ziggy, Max and Rufus, a man with a red beard with a black dog, and others that came and went too quickly to remember all their names. All around there is an instant feeling of being back home, but in a totally different and friendlier world; I honestly thought I would never say such a thing.
Neighbours that we've known from way back were genuinely pleased to see us again, and welcomed us 'home'. We've already had several callers, and consumed plenty of wine and champagne together.
Amongst all this amazing energy, our little street remains peaceful and almost 'undiscovered', yet right at the epicentre of this wonderful city. The mostly Georgian/Victorian houses are well kempt and reflect their hyped values. Their owners all appear to be happy and successful.
I've only been shopping once. A new Sainsbury 'express' store has opened nearby, and my purchases were accompanied by modern rock/swing music rather than the depressing dirge that I'm used to in France. The clients were all young (except me), rather than all being old back in France.
New restaurants of all nationalities have replaced uninteresting shops, and if there are empty shelves, a lack of petrol, and a feeling of post-Brexit depression; it certainly isn't here. Do not believe the hype.
Where some nearby towns (Worthing, Eastbourne, etc) are known as 'God's Waiting Rooms', this city is alive, well, and buzzing. We already feel invigorated. It's wonderful.
Yes, our dustman have been on strike, and yes there are piles of rubbish everywhere, but they are going to remove it very soon. The Foxes, Seagulls, and even Magpies, are putting on weight, and will no doubt be very miffed when their 'pop-up restaurants' are removed.
Work on the house continues. The main work has been done, but not the finishing. We shall have workmen in dribs and drabs for a while yet. However, all is looking great, and we have no complaints.
All in all, I'm very happy with our re-location. My 'hermit's cap' has been temporarily put away, and I'm really enjoying my new-style freedom.
As long as Covid's kiss passes me by, I shall remain content, and be patient before we return South again; we have a huge amount of work to do.
We shall soon have our booster and flu jabs. I should add that the carefree folk of Brighton seem to be blissfully unaware that Covid even exists!
p.s. And yes; I'm still wearing shorts!