This is the view I face every morning when I consume my solitary breakfast. This takes place usually just after 5 am.
It is there to remind me of my youthful folly, rushing off to France to live a life of primitive hedonism. The painting's title of 'Man with his head in the clouds and his feet amongst Lizards' says it all.
My thinking was to buy a nice big old stone farmhouse with plenty of land, where my children (and me) could grow-up in as natural an environment as possible (on a reasonable budget), in a pleasant climate, and where gastronomy was all important.
All of that did in fact happen, and my 3 children all had idyllic childhoods. They also learned a second language, which is never a bad thing.
My business ambitions sadly did not go as planned, but that was mostly the fault of my clients rather than me; but I expect everyone says that. I had of course made allowances, so it didn't prove a problem.
In 1973 we had not anticipated the Common Market, and certainly not the EU, but in fact they made life much simpler for us.
In 2020 we didn't anticipate the implications of Brexit, which brought our self-indulgent lifestyles to an end, meaning that we now only spend three months of the year at what has been our home for 50 years, and the other nine months back in the UK. Luckily we had made provision for such an eventuality.
I look at that painting every morning and wonder if I made the right decision. Would it have been wiser to have spent my entire life in England? Should I have gone further afield and settled in Canada or Australia or The Caribbean?
In fact, I've loved having my head in the clouds, and I love having Lizards scampering amongst my toes. The only thing I might have done differently would have been to buy a much bigger and more ancient house, away from others. The only thing I can honestly complain about is that over the past few years some newcomers have totally changed the atmosphere of our tiny hamlet. But I suppose I should have foreseen that as well.