Random wafflings

Back to the UK tomorrow to see family and friends for a week or so and also stock up on various things.

We’re feeling a bit ambivalent about the trip.

We’ve really taken to France and whilst I’m absolutely not in the business of running down the country of my birth, I’ve found life here to be far more relaxed and there’s a certain ‘respect’ that everyone seems to have for each other – not to mention a lack of chavs, soapdodgers and pikeys. That’s not to say that France doesn’t have its share of these, but there don’t seem to be any remotely near where we go.

There have been hassles over the last few months, but I think I’ve found the answer when it comes to the dreaded French bureaucracy.

You simply do what you can to sort things out your end and then you just wait. Everything eventually gets sorted out and kicking up a stink about delays will probably get your paperwork sent to the bottom of the pile. So, you just wait.

Of course, being retired helps, but my work never gave me any stress anyway, so I don’t think my relaxed attitude to virtually everything is all down to that.

The cats are going to be lodged in a cattery which I have no misgivings with, but it will be the longest they’ve ever been away from us (8 days)and we’ll miss them. I never thought I’d say it, but leaving them will be a real wrench because they’re more than pets. They’ve become really good companions and having brought them along on this late ‘life adventure’ they seem to have adapted really well.

So, although we’re desperate to see our children, our grandson and other family and also our friends, I reckon we’ll be gagging to come back to France in a week’s time.

It feels like home here now.

I’ve been wondering what to do about this blog. I’m starting to think about having another blog that will deal with matters French and keeping this blog for non-French specific subjects.

At present it’s frustrating enough with a 35 Euros for 12 hours 3G stick being the almost the sole means of internet access (free wi-fi fucking rocks!) and this won’t be remedied until we make a permanent move to the new house later this year. This will remain my only blog and no decision made until I get broadband access.

Certainly I have nothing but praise for Microsoft’s Live Writer in Windows 7. It enables me to write blog posts offline and with many of the facilities that the WordPress admin panel gives me.

Come to think of it, the whole Windows 7 experience has been excellent on this new laptop, although I hate having to rely on a pre-loaded OS. I’ll probably buy a Windows 7 disc when I’m over in the UK next week, Another advantage is that it’ll purge all the Samsung crap from this machine.

Blogging may be erratic for the next week, although my iPhone will come in handy for blogging via email, not to mention tweeting, which I really miss.

One thing I’m going to have to be careful with is making sure I drive on the left back in the UK. I’ve got to the stage where I see a TV program set in the UK and think it looks odd when I see people driving on the left…It also occurs to me that I’m going to have to get some headlight adapters because we’ve had our lights changed for driving here as part of the re-registration process.

Packing the car – a Ford Fiesta – is going to be interesting. We’ll be leaving tomorrow with two cat cages full of cat, many, many bottles of wine, gifts and our luggage…

Then we’ll be back with books, more books, Cheddar, washing tablets, Pimms (not easy to get here), curry paste, cat treats and Twinings Everyday teabags – plus the cats…

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4 Responses

  1. Hi,

    I’ve been working around Marseille for around 18 months now, I’m really finding French people very friendly (in Marseille!).

    I was talking to a French friend the other day, I said that my natural expression (when thinking of something else) was to look pissed off! Too my great surprise, she said I was wrong, I smile now.

    I have the same reaction to cars driving on the correct side on tv. When I have returned to the UK, I have found myself perfectly at home on the left again.

    I’ll be coming along the Route des Anglais myself next week (contract ends). I have 10 weeks at home before the next contract starts out here.

    Bon chance

  2. Glad to hear you’re settling in well – sounds like it’s been a good move all round. Although sadly you haven’t been able to escape one thing – underperforming national football teams – it seems France are as bad as England at the moment.

    Thanks for your mention of Microsoft Live Writer in your blog the other day – i’ve just got a new laptop with Windows 7 and wasn’t aware of the blog programme until you mentioned it – found it really user-friendly when doing my blog the other day.

    Bon Voyage back to Blighty

  3. Curry paste? WTF? Go to a decent Indian type spice shop…Loads of spices in huge bags.

    Whatever, enjoy your trip… Christ, am I jealous of you both…..

  4. We’ve just had a week away, only our second since getting the cats. The first time, last September, we took them all to a cattery… it was fine, but the journey there and back was the most stressful bit for them (Merry seems to suffer from car-sickness and shat in her box both times). This time we decided to use Petpals, a national cat-sitting agency.

    The local bloke seemed very knowledgeable and trustworthy, and it all seems to have gone painlessly for them. They missed out on going outside, but at least they were in familiar territory.

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