Falling seriously ill has changed my life in different ways since my wife and I moved to France in 2007. With a house and near-derelict cottage to renovate as I was turning 70, it gave a new lifestyle and the cottage became a source of pocket money and more importantly, friendship.
Our idyll was derailed when I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. With chemo and operation I was in hospital for 15 days. It was a French hospital and my French was awful.
With little communication – and time to spare – I drafted a novel that was published as an e-book and then paperback.
Thanks to the wonderful French health system the cancer is no more and three more novels have followed.
How many people can say they are glad to have suffered and survived cancer?
I am no longer a ‘feet-up’ pensioner. Thanks to having had the good fortune to have been in France when I fell ill, I am now a full-time novelist.
Chris Callaghan (writes as Chris Calder), Limousin