Happy New Year to you one and all, and did anyone make a New Year resolution they broke the next day? Well I did! Needless to say that I promised myself a physical workout first thing followed by a bowl of muesli before starting the day with a song and a skip. Sigh, didn’t happen, because due to catching my first heavy cold in a long time.

New Year was a pretty quiet affair and as for the 1st day, well, that started with a bacon butty, some heavily salted snacks and a number of DVDs which passed the time away nicely thank you.

Ah well, ‘Safe As Houses’ gets back to normal from next Tuesday, after the celebration of the Kings day which is a revered holiday here. Then it’s onto the challenges of the New Year and the uncertainty that may bring.

It was pretty hard for us post Christmas as having both our sons here for the week had made our lives complete and full with family laughter and jollity we had not experienced for nearly three years for one reason or another. But all too soon the lads returned to their own lives as young free men with their exciting futures ahead of them leaving yet again a gaping hole in our hearts which will take time to close. It may be some time until we see them again, but it wouldn’t be much different even if we lived back in England as they’re so busy in their respective careers they rarely visit Weymouth anymore less to see their grandparents or to catch up with old friends.

But deep in our hearts we know that they both live life to the full and hopefully there’s better to come. How many people in these times can say the same? Certainly not anyone I knew back in Blighty, and there lies the tale.

I stated a couple of weeks ago that there were many reasons and attractions that had led us to choosing to live in a foreign country, and many people have asked me what the one overriding feature was that made us give it al up for a life in the unknown. But more importantly, what inspired me to chronicle the move publically and in so much detail!

Well, It was a combination of reasons both private and commercial which prompted me to tell the whole tale of who what why and when, and being as local as I could be as a Weymouthian, it made sense to post it with the Dorset Echo as I was certain most of the people I knew actually read it.

And as for the move itself? Disappointing as it might sound, there was no one rock solid reason for our departure, no one factor that made us give up all that was comfortable and safe, no great need to depart the shores of a country and county I had always adored and dreamt of returning to during my years in the Navy, and no one driving cause that saw me split the family from a whole unit to the fragmentation it is now.

It was simply a case of ‘what if?’ That was it! ‘What if?’ I didn’t seize the chance to try something new in a different land doing a different job and living a different life.

‘What if?’ I decided to stay in England, hoping for the best and leaving my whole life and future in the hands of someone else uninterested and less qualified than me to run it!

‘What if?’ there was a better way of life yet undiscovered that was ready for me to grab at with both hands to forge a better life.

‘What if?’ my beautiful wife or I lost our jobs or were incapacitated so as to lose everything we had worked so hard for, this again controlled by someone else.

But most importantly, ‘what if?’ I had such a chance and chose not to take it; it would probably haunt me for the rest of my life!

I rather think that the negative what if’s are far outweighed by the positive one’s, so much so that sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat believing that the opportunity has passed me by and I hadn’t taken the decision to move. And don’t get me wrong, I sometimes miss our lovely house in St Patrick's Avenue and the view and the people and the garden and - well, there are so many things and now that is past.

But Rose and I have embarked on a journey that gives us a chance to mould our own futures, and it wasn’t brave or foolhardy or irresponsible or impulsive or reckless or a dream, or any of the things that friends, family and acquaintances we left behind may have thought it was. It wasn’t anything to do with anyone or anything else.

It was just Rose and Allan moving to live their own lives their own way with as little fuss as possible, and the Echo feature hopefully has explained all that.

I still maintain that no matter how hard it was to leave our two boys to ‘fend for themselves’ as it were, it was the making of both of them, and seeing how they are now compared to others of their ilk, I have absolutely no regrets. And yes, it had an impact on Mum and Dad with their daughter moving away and we both miss the regular visits, though Skype has helped tremendously with that one.

But when feelings take a downturn, as they sometimes do at festive intervals like Christmas, with thoughts of the familiarity of all things past and those we miss, those two little words ‘What if?’ come to the fore and strengthen my resolve to strive on and work harder either mentally or physically to make life more exciting and stimulating than it ever was or could be before for both of us.

And I’ve said it before, yes, it’s true that sometimes it is harder to get ahead and cope with the generic challenges that a foreign country and it’s language brings, but that for me only adds impetus to my goal while keeping my mind and body active, something that neither of us would have experienced in our last jobs!

I hope therefore that the Echo articles, for those that have read them, give an insight not only into what Rose and I have achieved and experienced to date, but has shown, explained, helped and informed people of what it is like to live here on the usually sunny Costa Del Sol it was never intended to be an anthology promoting all that was good and great about Spain and how everyone should come here, far from it in fact, for as you’ve read, it’s a task very few people ever succeed at and can destroy all your hopes and dreams In a short while if you’re not prepared.

No, moving abroad isn’t easy and certainly isn’t all fun. It takes a great deal of fortitude and work, even more so if your one of the few like us who try to integrate and live as the Spanish do rather than wile away the hours pretending you’re still in Britain which can be disappointing and short lived. Thus I hope then that the hints and tips were helpful and may be put to good use.

So what of the future for Rose and Allan Davies? Well, to be truthful, who knows? It’s an uncertain time for all, but with an established business and a growing clientele base, and with the boys settled and never far from our thoughts, at this moment in time we are as poor and low as we’re ever going to be. And as at this moment I feel great, can eat and drink what I want, am fit and healthy with a euro in my pocket, with a number of new friends and a whole country to explore, then yes, that will do for me.

Rose and I wish you well and remember, enjoy life and as we found, if you do nothing to change things, ergo, they’ll stay the same!

Hasta Luego

Rose and Allan Living in the sun.