Yes, I'm just back from a month in France.
And why, when I have all mod cons, inside plumbing and wi-fi, did I not post anything about my wonderful new kitchen?
Well, It wasn't the worst holiday ever; I've already blogged about that, after all. But it was up there.
We always stop over at our sons' place Down South on the way to the ferry. It means we can get the early ferry without driving all night, or the afternoon ferry without getting up at stupid o'clock. Although on this occasion the Old Man decided he didn't want to drive to our French house in the dark so we were on the early ferry. Stupid o'clock it was.
Except that when we stumbled out of the house at 5:30 am, the car wouldn't start. Now I have to say in its defence that it had hiccuped a bit the previous week, but seemed to have recovered. Anyway, we got one of the sons out of bed, and he said not to worry, he could give us a start from his car. And when he finally got the bonnet open (he hasn't had it very long, and obviously hadn't had occasion to top up the screenwash yet) he found the negative terminal on his battery is just too close to something or other (I didn't inquire) to get a crocodile clip on it.
Not to worry, he said, he would call his mate who lives next door. Everything is done by phone now. I'm surprised he didn't send him an email. But in all fairness, his mate next door got out of bed and came to try to get our car going for us, which shows what a stand-up guy he is - thanks, Carl, you're a toff and a gent. Unfortunately it still didn't work. So we called first the ferry company, then the RAC.
The RAC man turned up at 8:30, coincidentally the exact time our ferry was sailing. He sold us an extremely expensive new battery, and off we went. We had to pay to have our booking transferred, and more because they didn't have any inside cabins left, but we did at least get going, on the ferry we would normally have caught anyway. Complete with night-time drive in France, our headlights adjusted for driving on the Continent by having gaffa tape stuck over part of the glass.
We had not been in the house for a week when the Old Man got a pain in his belly. He likened it to being kicked in a delicate part of his anatomy, but it didn't go away. Unless he lay flat on his back. For a few days he even had to eat reclining on the bed like a Roman patrician. We did a check-list of symptoms, and eventually came to the conclusion that he had a kidney stone. Which gave me the opportunity to point out that I always said he doesn't drink enough, but otherwise was not a happy conclusion.
So he spent the rest of the month doing very little, though he gradually improved and was able to come grocery shopping and mow the lawn once. And as I became responsible for the catering, at least we didn't spend the entire time eating sausages.
He was just about well enough by the time we came to depart that he could drive us to the ferry port. Except that we got a message from the ferry company, 36 hours before we were due to sail, to say that the ferry had been cancelled because of "electrical problems". Once again we had to re-book, and once again we ended up paying extra. It was a bit late to go for the next morning's early ferry, we had the final shopping to do and the house to close up for a couple of months, so we ended up on the (more expensive) Saturday overnight ferry. We missed our sons' birthday, and only just got in all the things we needed to do Down South, like taking our French clock, the one with the eccentric Big Ben chimes, to the clock repairer, and having a meal out with the boys. We got back just in time for my first Creative Writing class of the new term on the Wednesday.
Oh, and one more thing. When we were about to disembark at Portsmouth, the car wouldn't start.
Doreen lives in the empty bit in the middle of Wales, where since her retirement she has taken up writing. She says it's better than working any day.
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