Archive | November, 2013

Looking forward to December but a lot of driving required

13 Nov

We have decided to come by car for our visit to the UK in December. We looked at flying with Ryanair and hiring a car but the cost, amazingly, was within €3 of the land/sea route. So ferry it is! I love travelling on P&O ferries; they make you feel as though you are a valued customer. I also love eating in the Brasserie on the new ships – table cloths and napkins and all! Oh, and the food Is quite nice and the view is always changing (if you are a sailor – for the rest of you it’s just water)!

It takes 10 hours to drive from Montolieu to Calais, a distance of 1,000 kms or 650 miles. On French motorways you can drive at 130 kph (if it’s not raining when the limit drops to 110 kph). If you keep an eye out for radar traps then you can nudge that up a tad! We take turns at the wheel, changing every two hours. We stop at favourite Aires, to get coffee and chocolate and to give the dog a run. Normally thee is little traffic after leaving the Toluouse area, until we get near Paris. We have to work out the rota carefully as Trish just does not like driving around Paris. Sometimes we go west around and up the coast. Other times we go east around and then up the main A1 past Charles de Gaulle airport. Depends on what the signs on the motorway say, and the time of day.

So we will be leaving the Peace Factory very early on Wednesday 4th December, to catch the 1955 ferry at Calais. We have to arrive about an hour earlier, to check the dog in. Last time I went by car, I had an Australian friend with me; it took four times as long to get her past the UK Borders Agency control than it does the dog!

We will be staying in Sussex and in Kent. I have the last of my four long visits to the Dentist, as well as a client meeting all day one day, and two dinners to attend. Apart from that, our time is our own. Sadly we won’t have time to visit Trish’s relatives in Manchester as we want to get back before the Christmas exodus starts and we can’t leave any earlier as a new volunteer is arriving on 1st December.

Talking of volunteers, here are some photographs of some of the volunteers who have helped us this year.






Nearly back to full health!

1 Nov

It’s been a tough month but I’m pleased to say that I’m nearly back to full health! The bruising from my fall has gone and the pain in my side is nearly gone – I can lie on my side in bed for some of the time. As I was recovering from this, I caught a chest infection and I can assure you that coughing with a damaged chest is very, very painful. The chest infection is nearly gone (no antibiotics this time – hooray)!

Then the ear doctor wrote to me to tell me that my brain and ear CT scan was perfectly normal. Then the Bariatric clinic discharged me (three years after the op, after having lost a total of 55 kgs or 121 lbs or 8 stones 9 lbs). Then the rheumatologist discharged me into the care of my GP. So it’s going the right way.

This leaves two more visits to the dentist to fix my teeth (two extractions and five fillings so far). The last time, one of my teeth (that he didn’t touch) became infected and I had my first experience of a French dentist. I phoned on the way home from the UK and was given an appointment later that day! I sat in their waiting room for about 15 minutes and then I was seen. He diagnosed a tooth infection and prescribed me some antibiotics, some powerful pain killers and a mouth wash. He apologised that the pain would not probably subside until the next day (he was correct). I then drove by our local pharmacy and started the treatment. The pain went the next day and now my teeth are all OK. Total cost? €23 for the dentist and €10 for the drugs. Magic!

Now we’ve been back here several weeks, it is nice to get back into a slower rhythm of working. One of the nice things of living here is the interaction with the volunteers. One of our long term volunteers is Damien. He’s very nice and speaks reasonable English and is more than happy to help me improve my French. He works a lot in the garden. Here are some photos of his work.


20131101-210827.jpgDamien is also a pyromaniac!

20131101-210923.jpgThe spirit of cooperation is good here. Damien purchased a Mobylette recently and we helped him go and inspect it. Here he is on his new wheels!