I was feeling more and more miserable as the end of 2010 approached - the job market was pants and the hope of my getting a job proved futile as the interviews dwindled to a virtual stop. I realised that my house was going to have to be sold in 2011, so the job-hunt switched to a home-hunt which proved that renting anything in Belgium is ridiculously expensive and that nothing required the needs of a single woman and a tortoise. After a fight with the staircase, I was left with an extremely swollen right foot which showed, after a week of hobbling around alone in the house, to have a broken toe.
Coralie drove me to and from the hospital, got me some crutches and a vast supply of various painkillers, made me comfortable on the sofa before shoving two rolls under my nose and dashing off to pick up her boyfriend. It then dawned on me that cooking with crutches was barely possible and so spent the next six weeks sitting on the sofa looking for somewhere to live. After a while, it appeared to me that property is much cheaper to buy in England, and though I have never really lived in England before, the thought started to appeal to me more and more. Richard sent me links to property sites - as well as job sites in the area - and I soon settled for one particular house that was well within my budget once I had sold the house in Belgium. I visited for a week, saw The House and set my heart on living in it. There was plenty of space for Hermie to run around in it too.
As I ate less and less, the skinnier I got, which was a worry, but Coralie would often come around and help, especially after Tatiana left for Madrid at the end of January to do her internship. It was only then that I realised that I had to cut down on my belongings as I was all alone, living in a four-bedroom house. But I worried terribly about the culture-shock, having never really lived in England, and the adjustments to be made after having lived in Belgium for 25 years. I would worry at night and would often cry myself to sleep, but Richard was very understanding and we would chat over Skype every evening and I tried to feel reassured about the whole move.
Once the plaster came off my foot, things changed.