Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Driving rain and home again

Isn't she lovely? My little darling Francesca! with self-inflicted nail damage! Cuckoo!

The journey was booked

a) to witness a tug launch now postponed until Spring

b) to see Francesca now 8 months old

c) to see family. Unfortunately other family members and friends could not be seen on this particular visit.

We journeyed on a Saturday stopping to marvel at the stunning stained glass windows and sculptural friezes of Chartres Cathedral.

An excellent Sunday lunch was enjoyed with Carol and her family. The two children were impeccably well behaved and a credit to their Mum and Dad. We enjoyed staying with Barbara and Terry for two days taking a walk through beech woods on Tuesday morning.

Having lost two hours sleep on Sunday with the fall back of the clocks, and an early morning alarm call for the ferry crossing, combined with a one hour time difference between UK and France, we lost sleep yet again with a Monday early morning journey to Southampton. Donning our overalls, we tried to "make a difference" with tug tasks. Captain Sensible was impressed with his first viewing of the tug in its steel flesh. So far he had only seen the photos on the weblog http://thevoyageofwendyann2.blogspot.com/ He assisted Seb with electrical and metal matters. I painted some of the anchor-chain winch but fear I was rather slow at this task! Lunch was shared and too quickly it was time to leave.

We took advantage of Wednesday's beautiful weather with a long walk across the common to Southwold harbour where we dined on fish and chips outdoors. Felicity was experiencing carrying Francesca in the new backpack who thought it was fun to be high up and "donkey riding". The new groins have created a sandy beach making it easy to stroll along the tidal edge of the shimmering sea. We arrived at the pier for a welcome cup of English Earl Grey tea. Sitting in the warm sunshine, watching the passers-by, it felt like a Sunday afternoon. All we needed was a cream tea but we were full! We wanted to explore more of my favourite place but the sun was sinking and the temperature was falling and babies do need to be in a warm place.
On Thursday Vicky arrived for morning coffee. Grace, now one year old is so sweet and very sociable. She smiles graciously at everyone and talked to Francesca, now 8 months old. We all played with the toys and the babies in between adult talk. Time passes too quickly.

In the afternoon Norwich car parks were full on account of the Beer Festival so we were forced to park on the outskirts of the city. Despite the crowds we took the opportunity for a brisk town walk to buy our favourite loose leaf teas and other English things. We also took Francesca to see the images at Sainsbury Centre for The Visual Arts - my favourite gallery designed by Norman Foster. Here she is aloft in her back pack on my daughter's back!

We met up with Tallulah who is achieving lots of success with developing Easy hotels. She has established very good contacts and has learned a tremendous amount since University. After dinner we each had quality daughter time. They went to the pub and we stayed at home with an over excited Francesca who thought it was much more fun to stay awake with Gran'mama!

On Friday zipping into the city for some last minute tasks I managed to find much needed stylish walking trousers and jacket and as they were reduced by 50% I felt very happy! Then a rendezvous with Mick's parents in The Fat Cat. It's so noisy in an English pub and drink seemeth to floweth over but at least bars are now non-smoking areas! Francesca slept whilst we chatted. The weekend came too soon and regretfully we say farewell!

En route to the ferry we spend over an hour shopping in Tesco for ourselves and friends. David takes action, putting in the trolley a pair of trousers, a packet of socks and a packet of pants! The following story makes this action significant and it is ironic that as a non-shopper, he takes the time to "shop" and his task is thwarted! As the last item is put into the trolley the fire alarm rings. Interestingly it does not sound very loud, nor does it appear real as no one is apparently moving! But then we are rounded-up and asked to leave the trolleys at the check out and we must leave the shop! As we near the main entrance door we are amazed at how calmly, nonchalantly and slowly everyone is shuffling towards this the only exit - with one half locked! We give older people the opportunity to go before us! The manager is shouting at the public. The public respond that "it is a shambles!" Outside the supermarket staff are standing clustered together, blocking the exit door and not directing us to any safe area! People are sitting on the window sills, near the half-opened exit/entrance door, eating the early lunch they had purchased, making it difficult for us to exit! It is 11 am. Meanwhile the evacuation procedure must have taken almost 10 minutes unlike the 2 minutes we used to achieve for a fire drill at school. We can't wait for the crisis to pass in order to pay for and collect our goods so we abandon all, including the carefully considered garments and leave the car park before chaos ensues and so we continue our journey. We have a ferry to catch! Rain and more rain falls during our two day journey but France, spacious and civilised, welcomes us home! We skip the auto routes for a slower passage in rural France, stopping at Blois! Very nice! In our absence about 50mm of rain has fallen!

No comments: