Moving forward

We’ve been working towards getting all the things together for our final departure. Organising the shipping of Wallis and Siena had been supposed to be handled by a single company, door to door. However during our delay, that Aussie company is now only handling the Australian end of things. In dealing with the French pet transport side we are now subject to the French way of doing things it seems – we have needed to pester them at every stage to confirm that something (anything) is happening. We lost a good deal on a flight on 3rd March and had to go a week later, because we couldn’t confirm that the pets wouldn’t arrive before we did, nor leave after us. Even though we have agreed and instructed them to go ahead, we are still waiting to find out how to pay them. It is quite common that a French company would just go ahead and do stuff and invoice you later. But its difficult to know, so rather than find out that we were supposed to do something they haven’t told us about, we’re getting a bit twitchy.

Its been pretty wintry here, some frost a lot of rain. As well as the sunrise at the top of this blog and the star trails at the bottom here are a couple of other shots taken locally.

We met up with some friends from our now disbanded photo club. They have moved to the coast – Ile de Ré near la Rochelle. It was a lovely lunch (at the same restaurant we had been for our aniversary last September). Hopefully we will be able to visit them before we finally leave – but spare days are vanishing quickly. We have been trying to organise a UK farewell tour.  Anyway, so far we are seeing Catherine and Chris in Wimbledon, then onto my brother and family in Bucks. Back to London to meet with K and H for general London things (a show, galleries and restaurants). Then up to Leicester and finally Nottingham. All this without a hire car because the last two times we hired a car were problematic. Our driving licence can only have a UK address (my brother’s) but they are now using a credit checker to confirm that it is genuine (which strictly it isn’t) and they demand our French licence – which we can’t have because issuing has been delayed by Brexit. I actually applied in May 2018 because I had points but we have heard nothing.

We have also decided to try to arrange a few days in Paris before we actually leave. Dumping our international luggage at a hotel near CDG airport and training into the city. We had originally planned on Eurodisney but I wasn’t too keen because I can get pretty motion sick. Delia realised she was also less keen on most of the rides too and it seemed better kept as an idea than a reality. Anyway Monets Paris gallery and champagne at the top of the Eiffel tower are planned. A fitting farewell to Paris.

Its been a year.

The year started with a focus on the Oz visa and finding a place to rent. I was still recovering from the post shingles neuralgia (which as of today has faded but never quite goes away). Of course the main occupation from March onward was Delia’s cancer. This prevented us making the year the Farewell to Europe we had hoped for. Looking at our plans in the blog at the beginning of last year we didn’t make it to Prague, Amsterdam, Berlin nor Dublin. Though we did achieve some different goals as Delia listed last blog.

There was a lot of hurrying up and waiting around Delia’s treatment. The diagnosis on 11th March. The wait and postponement for Delia’s operation to remove the tumour on 9th May, the pause for healing and the second operation to remove residual cancer in 11th June. Then waiting for the chemo to start on 22nd July, then 12th August and 2nd September stopping there because of the extreme side effects. Then a further wait for the radiotherapy to start on 21st November and most weekdays to follow. Delia now has just 3 more to go and the final consultation on 10th Jan when we hope to confirm our final emigration plans.

I must say that the thought of losing Delia focused my mind and we haven’t really disagreed on much at all. The Champagne trip was a definite indulgence. The ongoing stress has brought its “moments” but for the most part its just been a matter of us getting along pretty well. Stress-wise, Delia’s illness distracted from the silence regarding my Oz visa. In fact this actually arrived more or less on-plan and, all else being equal, we would have been able to enjoy an Oz Christmas. As it was we perhaps had a Christmas that was our last quiet one for a while and certainly the coldest one.

I treated myself to a new camera and have been playing with my new toy. Here are some reminders for me later of what green looks like. 🙂