836-848 – Friday 15th – Wednesday 27th September 2017: The Longest Separation and a LOT of Charging About
I crossed back to Blighty on the 15th. Although I’ve done it before, I was still slightly nervous about Oscar’s pet passport being in order. I checked and rechecked the vet’s entries comparing to the previous vet’s. No issues at all and we sailed through the process quickly.
On returning and leaving England, it is normal tradition for us to stop over to see Ian, young Jimmy and Nicky’s parents in Rustington. However, Ruth and Brian were in Brittany visiting their other daughter, Tracy, and Ian was up in town, so not this trip. The up side was that I booked an extra night in the Brighton campsite and spent an extra evening with Maddy, who has just moved here. I got to see her great 2 bed flat (she’s sharing with a good friend who is at Uni there) and to wander around and SPEND in Brighton. The flat is walking distance from the centre, so we did not have far to carry a chalk board and mirror (which I promptly smashed), as well as M’s new pre-loved clothes and my new frock and costume jewellery. If you’ve not been to Brighton, it is buzzing place. Drug addicts, students and Barbour jackets all rub shoulders together … it is very real. The break a mirror and bad luck happens adage happened … all electronic. Th sat nav lost all its maps. The sat pad (iPad with Co-Pilot) died altogether and wanted re-initialising and the radio died. The first two have been resolved and the radio binned.
Before J joined me I moved between Farnham (close to parents and sister), Bristol for dentist, John Lewis and e bike shop and Shropshire to drop off Christmas presents at my brother’s.
- Teeth: X ray and all fine – good to know as will be away, if all goes to plan, for a year.
- John Lewis: Purchased a few last Christmas gifts … all my Christmas shopping is done and wrapped!!!! A chap on the escalator was moaning that it is too soon for Xmas cards and wrapping paper …I gleefully told him that some of us are all wrapped, cards written and stamped as we are off travelling. And I pre-bought and am using my birthday / Christmas gift from the Aged P’s and a little bit from James – a GPS sports watch. One of the really good things about it is that the time digits are really large … I no longer have to squint or reach for glasses to read the time!
- E-Bikes: this was phase 2 of the get Oscar about with us. We bought the Os-car doggy trailer in Holland, but I could not get up hills towing the combined 35kgs+ of Oscar and Os-car. Also, we want to travel a bit further when parked up. We do not want to tow a car; a scooter is no good unless we had a side car for Oscar … and we’d both want to drive anyway … so e-bikes it is. I’d done some research and looked at lots of forums, ordering the bikes from a shop in Bristol, who had stock and gave a decent discount. We’ve gone for Kalkhoff Agattu …. both in matt black as no stock of the white, and I have a bigger battery to compensate for the towing. We found time to test them for all of about 15 mins before we left for France and they really do make a difference, especially up hill when you switch to high power mode. Setting off is assisted too. I was a bit reluctant about cheating and loss of exercise, but everyone we’ve spoken to loves their e-bike and I think we will too.
- I’d not seen brother Tim and Sarah for about 2.5 years, so it was good to catch him between his house parties … think modern day Downton Abbey and you have their lifestyle! They were off to a shooting party in Yorkshire and I was given a bag of veggies from the walled kitchen garden. They are planning a trip to the Balkans somewhere in Spring, so I hope we can meet up then.
James left Antibes on the 20th; his flight left 30 mins after his ex-wife landed … so Sarah really was not alone long should the baby have decided to make an appearance. This is the longest by far we’ve ever been apart – 9 nights. Boy, was it good to be back together. However, little time to enjoy being together as more jobs to be done! Including:
- J’s eco cardiagram for the DVLA. Yes, his birthday was in April, but the doctor’s two errors on the form were picked up separately and because he was identified with a heart murmur, they then wanted his heart checked out. Anyway, the consultant said she could hardly identify the murmur and they he would have no problems with his license …. I should think not, when he is a runner! But good to know, all the same. Now that we are back in France, we just need to work out where to get his license posted to …. Kerstin, are you reading this???
- Jez had his engine and habitation service – all good.
- Fiat in Guidlford …. thrice! They’d not ordered the replacement part for the dashboard (under warranty) when it was booked in over 2 months ago, so we had to go back the morning we caught the tunnel to France … I put the crossing back a few hours and it was just as well I had, as the mechanic had out the radio back in up side down, so we had to go back again.
- Vet for kennel cough and to stock up with a year’s supply of drugs!
- Washing, more washing and cleaning
- Sorting ‘stuff’ in the Aged P’s attic as a) we’ve had notice not to add to the expanding pile in case the roof comes down! and b) we wanted some of the stuff, such as Balkans guide books and winter clothes. We’re spreading our love (as one of my pilates videos says) … no, I mean, our stuff. Our normal bikes are in Clare & Chris’ garage.
- Weigh bridge … we need to drink the glass bottled beer and wine, eat the two massive sacks of dog food and stop stock piling tins and toothpaste!
We managed to catch up with a few people, but really only a few people. Stephen and Kay, our old next door neighbours cooked and always delicious. Frances and Edward to belatedly celebrate E’s special birthday, which we missed as we were on baby watch in Antibes. And I had a great Sunday afternoon with the girls – my old muckers, and Ian and Jimmy in Twickenham. Just not enough time.
We crossed back at 1416hrs on 27th – the next adventure begins 🙂
Maddy tucking into a Full English (she justified it by going to the gym before) …
… whilst I froze and wo-manfully smiled whilst she ate! I did nick a piece of bacon.
Moreton Corbet Castle, an extended castle and Elizabethan House which was owned by the same family who own Tim’s house … his is in slightly better nick!
And announcing the safe arrival of Cian Ash Weston on Sunday 24th September.