It’s quite a while since we have seen our family and friends so are both quite excited when we set off on Thursday morning to catch the train to Paris and Charles de Gaulle airport. The train ride from Decise to Paris via Nevers is uneventful but relaxing and we enjoy passing through the towns, villages and countrysides. Don’t tell anybody but I even made up sandwiches for the train ride but didn’t bother with a flask of coffee!!!
As we go through the security at the airport we are feeling in holiday mode – how we dare say that is quite unbelievable really as the past few months have been nothing but!! Having decided to enjoy a glass of wine we are mortified to learn they don’t serve anything stronger than a can of Heineken – we will not forget that in a hurry and make sure we have a drink the other side of security next time.
Andy picks us up from the airport after a particularly rough landing creating a lot of grunts and grumbles from the passengers. We stay with Andy and Laura for a few days and enjoy a special meal out to belatedly celebrate their engagement last July. Laura takes us around some of the potential wedding venues which all have their own particular charm but none seem to be exactly what they are both looking for so it appears they are back to the drawing board.
Sunday we visit my brother Paul and his wife Shirley and its good to catch up on their news and enjoy some meals out. We also pick up our new bicycles to take back to France at the end of this trip. Matthew comes over to visit us in York so after going out for lunch we go shopping for a new suit for him as he going to a wedding in a couple of weeks. I thought as he is so tall and slim it was going to be a difficult task but we buy one in the first shop we visit and he looks great. Its especially nice as we don’t get to see Matthew too much because of his shifts at work so I thoroughly enjoy the day.
Our homecoming appears to be good timing with Amelie being taken ill so Monday is spent looking after her – she perks up quite quickly and when I ask her what she would like for lunch, she looks at me and says ‘I expect it will be something healthy’. It would seem she knows me so well……
The days fly by with dentist, hair, doctor and hospital appointments so we can return to Bluegum nicely coiffured, with shiny smiles and a clean bill of health.
We were a little taken aback when we visited the French School to find out about their courses and both had to introduce ourselves by speaking French for one minute – it doesn’t sound long but I can assure you its long enough when you are not expecting it but we must have passed as Christine invited us back in the afternoon to join her intermediate class. Charles is more comfortable than me but we both enjoy the session and find the other participants very friendly with some more fluent than others. We will return in November where we will have private sessions and also the group session to improve our conversational French.
We move on to stay with Simon, Joanne and the family for the rest of our visit and again look after Amelie who is sick again for the Thursday and Friday – you can always tell when she is getting better as her chatter becomes non-stop. I think Joanne must have told her kids if they were thinking of becoming ill – this would be a good fortnight to do it in…. We enjoy a lovely family bbq on Saturday and Laura, Andy and Bobby the dog join us – Loiue Jack and Amelie especially like having them visit and get very lively and excited.
We manage to see quite a few of our friends too, a meal in Addingham with Heather and Maurice, a meal in Colton with Alison and her mum; Lynn celebrating her 85th birthday, Sue and Chris entertain us at their new flat with Karen and Mark – how long they will be there is anyones guess as I’m sure Chris will be itching to find a new place to renovate.
We even manage a visit to Pipers in Stoke on Trent to see Simon for Charles to ask all the questions he stored up.
Wednesday comes around very quickly so we load up the car and surprised how full it has become even without the two bikes strapped to the back on the bike rack. We trundle down to Ashford where we stay the night before boarding the 7 am ferry over to Calais and have a five hour drive down to Decise.