Some days it seems like yesterday that I turned the key to Las Molieres and began my life in France. Most days in fact – for it has gone so fast, yet so much has happened.

I only need to look in the mirror though, to see the changes; the ravages, of time.

I arrived here a chain smoker with another Afghan Hound by my side – Portia – filled with a mixture of horror and excitement at what I’d done.

The horror began on turning up to the sight unseen flat I’d rented, via my estate agent who owned it, to find a dingy, miserable apartment with an unmade bed and nylon, multi-coloured sheets.

A Summer storm, with hailstones the size of tennis balls, had smashed rooves, cars, windows, and closed the only shop, leaving the pair of us huddled together in a dark and dismal sitting room.

I spent that first night sobbing to the friends I’d left behind; certain I’d made the biggest mistake of my life in a knee jerk defiant reaction to my redundancy from a ridiculously well-paid job.

I became someone I didn’t know as I wailed, nose running, howling in my misery as they tried to comfort me from a distance that suddenly seemed insurmountable.

Eventually, exhausted, drained, I’d crawled into the rainbow bed, comforted by the dog who curved into my back; happy just to be with me, wherever we went.

I woke, eyes boiled, to a determined sun pushing through the window and forcing me up.

In the week that followed as I signed and initialed the numerous papers to make this folly my own; opened accounts and policies; I settled into a sort of shocked, happy, anticipatory acceptance.

The heat helped. The sun wrapping me in its embrace as I sat in mediaeval squares supping wine, helped. The cheap fags I could smoke anywhere helped.

Portia, who suddenly threw off city allergies and food fads, turned into a contented being accepting all homages to her beauty without strangling herself to get away from other humans.

And that more than helped. For it is always important to look after your animal first.

Once moved in, a story in itself, even innumerate moi could see that being an economic migrant made sense.

I have never known, and don’t know now, the price of the staple products in life.

But I knew as I pushed my over-filled trolley out of the supermarket for my first guests, that I was paying peanuts compared to my order – delivered – in Scotland.

Then the £/euro was around 1.45, maybe slightly more, I forget. Oysters, foie gras, wild mushrooms were there for the choosing and the locals stopped to discuss and decide which they would take for that night’s meal.

If I became exasperated by the mountains of paper required for all I had to organise in life here, well, hey, that was the French way. I dealt with it, muttering with every folio.

Life was cheap. Life was, in fact, ridiculously easy. I was a member of the European Union and all the benefits I’d paid into during my working life were transferable.

So my health costs were billed to the UK and my tax was transferred too as I was fiscally resident and paid into the French system. It took just a signature and an exchange of papers.

In the early years I thought nothing of driving into Spain, across the Pyrennees, a couple of hours from here, for a lunch of tapas and even cheaper cigarettes and booze.

I thought of driving to Italy but somehow never got round to it but did drive all around France.

Apart from the setting up costs and paperwork, I could have actually been anywhere. The same bits and pieces apply with any move. After all we are in the EU.

Ah…no, I’m not going to spit fury about what has happened, yet again.

But I am going to tell you how it felt watching the ‘meaningful vote’; how it felt watching Parliament halt, for a moment, the destruction of all I, and so many others, have loved and enjoyed.

It felt good but no one pushed for stopping the whole ludicrous madness of leaving the best deal in town.

It felt merde. I don’t know what will have happened by the time this is published.

I’m not here in France any longer as an economic migrant. Costs have risen on a par with the UK. Tax and social charges similarily.

Yes, houses and land are cheaper and you can live a rather grand life if you choose.

But choice is, potentially, about to come with many strictures because, unless there is a miracle, we are exiting the EU.

As I write the £/€ is bouncing up and down. It has never achieved what it was when I came here.

Portia, bless her, has long gone. In her place, César; a very different being, who is barking his head off as I write.

I’m no longer allowed to smoke. But I am still a European. I still choose the country I wish to live in.

But it is no longer a given. And that is the shame of Cameron’s referendum.