Friday, 30 November 2012

Hello world we're back

Back to the blog

Well hello world, it feels like years since I last updated the blog and even longer since we were in France, it’s also amazing how quickly you can slot back in to the stress of living back in your old life.

We had every intention of coming back to England, doing a bit of work and seeing family and which we have done and it has been amazing, but work takes over so quickly, I am back to sitting at my laptop till silly o clock and travel for hours to do a day’s work.  

I had forgotten how horrible it was to sit on a cold train station platform only to be informed that the train is running late (over and over again!!!!) or the joy of sitting on the M6 or M60 looking at the signs telling you to drive at 40mph, if only you could as normally you are sat still or crawling in first gear and the signs still mock you.

The weather has been another thing altogether, how much rain can one small island have? I feel like I am about to develop gills, yes OK I know it rains in Brittany (a lot) but at least it does stop at times and even the sun pops out, but here it is just  constant, Oh no I have just exaggerated, it stopped last night and the temperature dropped to minus 2.

Right I have moaned and ranted enough, five weeks back in the UK and I know we have definitely made the right decision.

But on a positive note I will now add a number of posts about all the good times we have had here, soooo many friends to see, parties to go to, so many different places to eat, think we may have fell in love with Rusholmes famous curry mile all over again and the arrival of the most precious present ever known, my baby granddaughter.

If you are new to the blog, it is not normally a moan fest, but I had to get it out so I could start on all the good bits, so sit back and enjoy a bit of Manchester and a bit of my posh daughters haunts in Cheshire.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Renovation project - a filling, an allergic reaction and a fire alarm! - Wednesday 24th October 2012

Renovation project - a filling, an allergic reaction and a fire alarm! - Wednesday 24th October 2012

We have had a fantastic few days with family; it has been so nice to see everyone. We are spending a few days at John’s parents whilst we wait to move into the house we are staying at.

Last night I managed to break a piece of a tooth filling so we set off for Manchester dental hospital, which has a drop in service between 8.30 am and 9 am.

The place is amazing and we can’t believe it actually has a security guard on the door, John wouldn’t let me take a photo of him, but I wasn’t sure that people would believe me without photographic evidence, but please believe me he is there! This is very different to our little French village.

I fill in all of my forms and take a number to be seen, 

The dentists are final year dental students with a professor over seeing their work. All went well and I explained that the last time I had had a local anaesthetic I had a bit of a bad reaction and fainted, we had a discussion about this and came to the conclusion that it was probably because I hadn’t eaten before the anaesthetic.

Time for treatment and the first injection goes in, all good then part way through the 2nd injection I feel funny and have a struggle to breathe but I can’t move and tell the dentist, the 3rd injection goes in and I just manage to move and say something before my head flops back, I try to move again and speak but all that comes out of me are strange noises before I start to fit!!!!!!!! 

This is scary enough for me and the dentists but just to make matters worse as I start to fit the fire alarms go off in the hospital, talk about bad timing! The dentists call for assistance and I have a team of nurses trying to calm me down and stop my arms from thrashing about as the fire marshals are trying to evacuate. It was the most surreal experience as it was almost like an out of body experience, I could see and hear everything, but could not speak (other than make sea lion type noises) and my arms were waving up and down like a demented windmill.

I hear someone saying that I had to be evacuated and the nurses arguing that I could not be moved, then the oxygen mask was put on me, I calmed a little and we agreed to try to get on a wheel chair but the moment I sat up I passed out, so then it was a case of trying to get a hospital bed for me, with the marshals still trying to insist that I could use a wheelchair, the nurses were insistent that this was not the case and would only be considered if they saw smoke! (All the while reassuring me and trying to calm me down). This went on for a couple of minutes or so I thought. I was finally able to get on a hospital bed and was wheeled outside, where John was at the door, his face when he saw me really made me panic. It was about another 5 or 10 mins before I finally stopped shaking and was able to remove the oxygen mask.

John had been trying to get back into the building to find out what had happened to me, and was stopped at all attempts by fire officers and security (at least now we know why they have a security officer on duty!)
Apparently there were a few hundred people evacuated and at least I provided them with some entertainment whilst stood outside in the cold.

It turned out the episode had lasted almost 30 minutes in total, not the couple of minutes I thought it to be!
John was shouted at for trying to take a photo, you are not allowed to photograph hospital staff, so I was not able to show the faces of the fantastic team that helped me, but we did get one of me looking like crap on a hospital bed!

When we returned to the dentists room the poor dentist that had been treating me was in a state of shock and the professor asked if my mouth was still numb, I replied yes, thinking he was just checking and then he said right lets finish the treatment! This was probably for the best as I don’t think I would’ve ever been brave enough to go back again.

The decision was also made that I am never; ever to have an adrenaline based local anaesthetic again.
We returned to the hospital and left a box of heroes’ chocolates, as I cannot possibly thank the team enough for their treatment.

The rest of the day is spent with me dozing and sleeping, after an early night I didn’t get up until 12noon the following day, which was a miracle as I never tend to sleep for more than 4 hours at a time.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Renovation project - fried breakfast and beautiful Plymouth - Friday 19th October 2012

Renovation project - fried breakfast and beautiful Plymouth - Friday 19th October 2012

First things first, a hearty breakfast in the hotel, it is the full English fry up, which 4 months ago we would’ve enjoyed, now we just feel sluggish and full of greasy fat (this is on top of last night’s curry) I opt for a choc au pain and it is disgusting, it’s like eating a lump of lard. I have a feeling we are going to miss our new healthy eating habits and the not so healthy but fabulous fresh baked croissants.

Once fed and showered we set off for the nearest shop selling sat nav’s. We find a Halfords, pick out the sat nav we bought to take to France (which as you may remember is now in the possession of some scruffy scroat in France).

We go to pay and don’t have the card, so back to the car, we now have the card and can’t remember the number, so john gets his phone out to find the battery is dead, so back to the car again for a battery charger and we stand with the lad from the shop waiting for our phone to charge so we can retrieve the pin number, yesterdays technological breakdown is spilling over into today.

It is only 11am and we have arranged to be at Friends in Staffordshire this evening so we take the opportunity to explore Plymouth, this is a beautiful town on the South coast of Devon (it does have its bad points but these can be easily missed) we park the car at Plymouth Hoe and walk around the coast.
Plymouth brings back some lovely memories of when my daughter lived in the area and the fact that I had planned to move here a few years ago to open my tea shop or have a little B&B. This was before I met John, its funny how things turn out.

The morning was fantastic and the sun was shining, lots of photos were taken and we highly recommend anyone heading to England to pay a visit.

The Cenotaph at the Hoe is a very sobering place, when you see how many names or written on there.
We set off early afternoon and are making good time so we decide to stop for a late lunch, we see signs for Taunton and pull off the motorway, it was not what we expected at all, and would recommend anyone considering a visit changes their mind or just has a drive through so you can say you have been. We end up buying sandwiches from Sainsbury (this was the best option we found, so you can now understand why we don’t recommend it as a visitor hotspot!)

Arrive in Ashbourne early evening and it is so nice to see Kate, Phil and the kids a lovely evening is enjoyed with lots of food, laughter and wine

Friday, 2 November 2012

Renovation Project - Total technological breakdown - Thursday 18th October 2012

Renovation Project - Total technological breakdown - Thursday 18th October
The big day is here; luckily we get up reasonably early. So it’s time to do the last lot of clothes washing (you may have gathered from yesterdays post that I am not the most organised of people!) once washed it’s time to go to the launderette for the final time, I also take the opportunity to go and buy our last fresh croissants, and I’m so gutted they’ve already sold all the almond ones.

Back at the house we manage to pack one suitcase each, it almost makes you wonder whether it was really worth unpacking a couple of days ago, but after approx ten seconds consideration, yes it was, it really, soooooooo was, worth it!

John is doing his usual with the bag of toiletries, i.e., planning on taking a rucksack full of lotions and potions, I am following him and unpacking it, saying we have just trawled them all around Spain and France and never used them, we really don’t need them in England where we bought them all in the first place! I’m not sure if it was my well worded reasoning that persuaded him to leave them or the fact that I was nearing hysterical ranting, but whatever, it worked and the ruck sack was left.

The house is totally secure and we have people looking after it, but John still takes his TV and surround sound to a neighbours, just to be doubly safe (they are the only things of any value in the house) I do sometimes wonder if he would take as much care of me as he does with that bloody TV and surround sound!

I send my last e-mail to my daughter, I’m not going to be able to whatsapp her, e-mail her or Skype her and due to not having a phone I can’t call either, this is starting to freak me out again!

Its 1.30pm so this is it, it’s time to go, the fridge is emptied, the electrics are turned off and the door is locked, this is such a weird feeling. We have a full car as we have had to take a full bag of rubbish with us, we had originally dropped off our rubbish with Brian and Sheila, but as we then decided to turn off the electric we have had to empty the fridge and freezer. We are now going to have to find a bin on the way to Roscoff to drop it in otherwise the car will stink of fish, not an appealing thought after a six hour ferry crossing.

The joy of living in the countryside, we soon find a bin area for a hamlet and dump the rubbish, any wild cats are going to be soooo happy!

The ferry is a lot nicer than the usual P&O Dover/Calais ferry and we settle down for drink and end up chatting to a really nice couple who have a holiday home in Plougasnou (Hi if you’re reading). The conversation is really good and the couple are really nice, but I am struggling more by the minute to concentrate, the ferry is rather bumpy (a lot bumpier than I had expected) I finally have to give my apologies and go for some air; apparently green is not a becoming colour for my face.

We try all different areas of the boat to find somewhere where I can feel a bit better and there aren’t any, I feel like absolute rubbish and I’m not sure how my stomach is remaining in the correct place (John has picked up a few bags for just in case, what a love). At least this does solve our dilemma about travelling, there is absolutely no chance we are sailing overnight, we are back to the Dover/Calais crossing with a big drive.

We meet a few people on the ferry and it’s surprising how many people actually have homes in France and travel regularly between the two countries, it also makes you wonder how Brittany Ferries can charge so much for the crossing.

The final part of the crossing is spent with a guy who lives in the Scilly Isles (always thought this was a great name for an Island) who said that he has a pilot’s license and has flown himself to Brittany, this has Johns brain in overdrive, but as much as I trust his driving, I’m not so sure about the idea of him flying us around!
Then we hear the most beautiful sound, it is the tannoy saying we can go to the car and escape the boat, I have never been so relieved to get in the car.

We disembark at Plymouth and set the sat nav for the hotel, unfortunately the sat nav thinks we are still in France and no matter how much we fiddle with it (and hit it) it will not find England. So we are in a town with no idea where the hotel is, we no longer have the IPhone so Google maps is out of the question, it is a complete and total technological breakdown. I had no idea how much we relied on technology, all of our map books are for France, so I make the obvious female suggestion of “lets pull over and ask for directions” which is met by the obvious male response of “no lets drive around, we’ll find it!” after half an hour of driving around and the realisation hits that we are not going to find it as we have abso-bloody-lutely no idea where we or it is, we finally ask two police officers for directions, it turns out the hotel is three miles out of Plymouth, in Plympton.

We arrive at the hotel and book in starving hungry to find the hotel restaurant is closed, so we ask where is the best place to go for food, Plymouth or Plympton, the receptionist tells us there is a MacDonald’s and a Sainsbury’s nearby, so we explain politely we would like to sit and eat and he directs us to Plympton where there is a Chinese, when we arrive we realise all of our bank card pin numbers are stored in our broken and lost mobile phones and we have no English money!

John manages to find a number for his business account and so after phoning the bank and transferring some money we are ready to go for a Chinese. This turns out to be a little take away and Plympton Town centre consists of one road, could this day actually get any worse!

We finally find an Indian restaurant and get something to eat, the food was lovely but it certainly wasn’t Le Crepuscule or Restaurant Tregont standard but it filled a hole.

Back at the hotel we manage to get on line and message everybody that we are safely back in England. I am knackered!