Bouncing Back.

I try to look on my time in France with a positive outlook. It was a big chapter in my life. I learned what it meant to grow up. To stand on my own two feet. Waking up every morning with purpose and a goal. What it meant to feel like nothing and still bounce back.

It’s the ‘nothing‘ part that gets to me. I’m terrified of being ‘nothing‘. It’s a big part of what makes me try. I try out of fear.

Naturally, I suffered a lot of setbacks over there. Shit hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m not afraid to say I crumbled a few times as well. I cried a lot. Gave up occasionally. When i first started my landscaping apprenticeship in Grenoble I doubted everything inside of me. Pascal was my boss. He told me to meet him on  my first morning at the work base in a village on the outskirts of the city, the opposite side from where I lived. It was basically a huge farm house with all the equipment in it. He gave me the street name, no postcode.

I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever been to Grenoble but there’s a stretch of motorway ‘La Rocade‘ which is notoriously bad for busy traffic (unbeknownst to me). Maps on my phone showed it to be the quickest route. Nevertheless it stayed true to form. I was late for my first day. After that it was almost like I was doomed to fail.

That first morning on site ‘sur chantier‘ it was pissing down. Bucketing from the high heavens. I got out the van, he handed me a shovel and told me to start digging. To be honest I barely understood a word he said. It was an uncomfortable introduction. I couldn’t even share patter with them. No craic or nothing. What the fuck can you say to your new boss and colleague when your soaked, nervous, confused. Basically a fucking idiot.

Well things never did get any better. I couldn’t overcome my nerves. I couldn’t learn as fast as Pascal wanted (he was an impatient soul) and I couldn’t adapt as quickly as I’d hoped. It wasn’t through lack of trying. Fuck I tried so hard. Every night when I got home I was exhausted. I’d take a shower, make some food and lock myself in my room. I became a bit of a social recluse in order to try and save my energy for the next day. It still wasn’t enough. He used to say to me, in French of course, ‘you’re a fucking retard‘, ‘you have no brain‘, ‘you’re never going to make it in this industry‘. Now I know Scottish men are all supposed to be thick-skinned and able to take some flack. But the truth is I eventually folded. No matter how hard I tried I just wasn’t good enough. I couldn’t even straighten out a surface with a rake. I phoned my dad and asked him ‘how the fuck do you do that?’ and he thought I was taking the piss. I woke up one morning and couldn’t face the day. I broke down and cried like fuck. Then he sacked me. I cost him too much money. I still fucking hate that guy to this day.

I knew I needed a different environment. Another company who would understand my situation and give me the confidence to succeed. Who would work with me on a more consistent level. It was Damien who gave me a chance. I was so grateful for it. My confidence grew and I started to improve. I was getting somewhere. I could use a rake competently! And we had a good team. Damiens dad Christian, my big mate Chaon from Tahiti and my wee bro David ‘mon frère’. I loved these boys along with every day I worked there. I miss them all the time and I hope I’ll go back to see them soon. This is where I learned so much about life. What it takes to make it in the profession. About dedication. About family. About being happy. I developed a new work ethic. It inspired me to be better. My only regret is that I never had the chance to stay longer and learn more from them.

Unfortunately things broke down in my personal life. My relationship broke down. I was hurting a lot. Being alone in a foreign country on apprentice wages meant I couldn’t really stay. I wanted to go home. I had no car and would’ve ended up homeless. For whatever reason it just wasn’t meant to be.

It’s been seven months now. A long and slow rebuilding process in my mind, within my surroundings and in my work. But I’m on the right track now. I’m back at college. Continuing my landscaping studies albeit on a more theoretically based course. There is some practical work however, and I’ll be doing my own work on the side alongside that. I’m getting my own van soon. My own equipment. And I met someone too. I’m smitten. What a darling. She’s helped me to realise its okay to take the foot off the gas once in a while. To relax. Easier said than done putting this into action but it’s a working progress and something I dedicate some effort to every day. All I know is it’s all just a part of bouncing back. Showing that French tadger Pascal that I am going to make it.. That there is a brain in here.. and it’s getting stronger. Ready to succeed.

Ciao for now.. Troops X


‘The Wide-Eyed Scotsman’ is a collection of thoughts, written pieces, opinions and blogs by myself, Aidan Meehan. Unless stated otherwise all of the work on this site is my own. All of the photos, unless credited, are my own. If you have anything to say or if you enjoy my updates please like, share, follow, communicate or criticise. I am not a professional blogger/ writer/ photographer and any interaction which may help to improve my work would be appreciated.

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Winter Season Thought Track.

Throughout the winter season in Les Saisies, I wrote down some notes in various forms. They are mostly trivial, constructs of boredom, and whether they pass as ‘bloggable material’… i’ll leave that to you.

An empty store,
There’s nothing to do,
Except for stare at the walls.

Outside there are few,
And no attention is paid,
For those minds are fixed elsewhere.

Without customers,
And without work to be done..
What can I, the lonely Ski Man, actually do?

The winter snow storm has beaten us all;
The pistes lay empty,
The roads conquered by snow,
While bitter tourists rue the dashed dreams
and retreat to their chalets.

And I, the lonely Ski Man,
Sit here biding time sanguinely
And writes this poem to express..
Just how f***ing bored I am.



He had a dream.
He had many dreams actually.

To see, to hear, to smell. To feel.

He observed videos and pictures online.
He read many books.
He spoke to many people.

It was the beginning of an everlasting adventure.

He was a flower ready to bloom.



Clouds fill the sky,
The colour of grief.

Those otherwise boastful mountains,
Have become bashful,
Whilst they hide between deep stretches of fog.

She rains down like a determined soul,
Persistent in disrupting the life underneath.

For her skin is white and glorious,
But should she be disrespected,
Her heart will be black and vengeful.

La neige.



I often fight with myself about the idea of home.
I’ve come to realise that it’s never going to be where I lived all my life.
Ok you can argue that it’s story and mine are forever intertwined,
But should the place you call home endure you a mountain of pain?
Is home really a place at all?

Wonder entrenches my thoughts now I have strayed away.
My brother called it ‘soul searching’.
Perhaps an expected & unsurprising buzz phrase.
Tell me this, does one find home whilst soul searching?
Or is the soul contaminated, poisoned, by the constructs of our day?

For me this is crucial.
I don’t believe in soul searching.
My soul is always here.
It’s the cleansing and the repairing that I believe is pivotal..
In finding my home.

(Note. I am ginger. And I do have a soul.)



The Art of Leaving.

Those first steps wreak havoc on a mans curious mind.

To leave was to fare on my own.

Without the loving mother whom I cherish so dear.

To this father of mine I normally keep near.

Of friends turned family and family turned friends, I gave up everything to seek better ends.


For this life has given me enough to move on, amidst great hope that with wisdom I will return.

To complete my life aims I must venture on,

Beyond these grey walls and from these strong bonds.

The continent is vast with opportunities abound.

New experiences lie ahead; sweet lessons to be found.


And so my dear home I give you my word,

Leaving you was imperative to grow.

Your concrete surroundings and your merciless approach,

Sends many into a haste-ridden frenzy.

You tarnish communities through systems of wrong.

Fuelled by a wickedness of a wallet grown strong.

Leaving those in control with filthy hands not yet rubbed.

Callously witnessing a delirium undisturbed.


They say it takes courage to leave all behind.

But I can’t say for certain if I believe this is true.

I see many who stay despite all their woes;

They bravely hold fort, they boldly fight foes.

And thus we can answer our pigheaded question..

Does courage ascend from the people who go?

Perhaps there is depth to our meaningful journey,

But in the end it is from everyone that we see true strength grow.”


Thursday, 10th May. 2018.

‘The Art of Leaving’ by Aidan Meehan.

Rue de Dauphine, Lyon.