December has arrived and we only have ten days before we are off again, this time to the UK for the Christmas period. Narbonne really goes overboard with a full blown funfair on one side of the canal and a Christmas market on the other.
Unfortunately three days after returning from South Africa Charles becomes ill. He starts by being tired and then gets feverish, his health deteriorates over the next couple of days and it is quite unnerving when at 2 in the morning he is convinced he is fighting Star Wars. He is reluctant to see a Doctor as he is worried that we won’t be able to fly back to England and whilst our French is okay neither of us fancy trying to explain to Doctors over here about his myasthenia gravis or cancer of the kidney so we battle on although on reflection we really should have sought medical advice earlier. His fever and delusional behaviour continues and as you can imagine our journey on Saturday (19th Dec) is probably the worse trip ever made. Poor old Charles is so poorly and has to sit down at every opportunity whilst I struggle with all the luggage. I feel mean having to hurry him along to catch the various modes of transport which includes taxi, train, shuttle bus, plane, bus, train, taxi until finally we collect our own car in York and by 17.30 we are waiting in the A & E department of York hospital. As soon as the Doctor sees him Charles is admitted to a ward and I am asked how ill he had to be before I brought him in to hospital – that’s me told!!! Malaria and Legionnaires Disease are ruled out and we learn he has pneumonia which as we know can be very serious and apparently fatal in 30% to 40% cases but fortunately Charles responds quickly to the antibiotics and after five days is discharged on Christmas Eve – he will do anything to get out of Christmas shopping! What is it about the Polkey men always managing to be ill over the Christmas period.
One positive outcome is that I am in charge of the credit card and all the Christmas shopping in between visiting Mr P twice a day. Laura takes control of my indecisiveness and organises me so we methodically visit Harrogate shopping centre where I manage to get the majority of the gifts in just a few hours.
We enjoy a noisy Christmas day with Simon et al together with Kieran, Bobby and Bobby’s parents Andrew and Kay. Surprisingly we are not woken up until 6 am for the younger members of the family to open their pressies. Laura has driven over from York to give me some gifts she has bought on behalf of Charles who had been unable to do any shopping so I had something to open – don’t you just love such thoughtfulness? She returns to Knaresborough for Christmas lunch with her dad but returns later in the afternoon together with Matthew and we have a fun evening.
Unfortunately we have to cancel our intended visit to London to see Daniel and Jonathan and miss out on our Christmas pressy from them to see Guys and Dolls in the West End but they make an overnight trip up to York instead and we have an enjoyable evening out at Hotel du Vin.
Charles takes things easy but Simon decides I need some exercise so he pushes me into 6, 10 and 12 mile runs over the weeks we are staying with them. I even get a personal best in the York parkrun and manage the 5 k in 26 minutes.
We stay with Paul and Shirley for the last five days although Paul is off colour for most of the time but keeps bobbing down to be sociable. We also enjoy catching up with Damien and Sarah and hearing all about their wedding plans, we have coffee with Alison in Tadcaster, lunches with Carol and Nick one day and then with Sue and Chris another day. I then have a drive over to Harrogate to have a girlie meal with Linda, Sue and Karen. And of course we finish off our visit with good old Yorkshire fish n’ chips.
Friday we pack up and set off back for a night in Liverpool before an early flight on Saturday morning to France and a much less fraught trip it is too!!! Once again Maggie and Nigel have kept a careful eye on Bluegum and even put the water and heating on so we arrive back to a lovely cosy boat. We don’t even have to do much shopping as John and Lizzie have invited us over for a meal together with Maggie and Nigel – what a lovely welcome back.