The Long Goodbye

We have been saying goodbye for months it seems, and yet we are still here in France. We are now working towards 26th March if we can change our flights accordingly. We are still going to Paris next weekend due to fixed hotel bookings, tickets up the Eiffel tower and friends with their own bookings too. See two weeks time for the photos.

Last year we approached a company to handle the pet transport from door to door. But by the time we were able to start the actual process (apart from rabies shots early on) they had disconnected from their French counterparts and we were going to have to deal with each separately. Our delay really came down to one form about whicj we had read the comment “when Isabelle has dealt with that” as meaning it was in hand. We did ask but no specific reply. So when said form suddenly became vital for the actual import authorisation we new nothing about the fact that “Isabelle” expected us to have sorted this out. Anyway we will be suggesting to them that, despite having separated as operators, they should maintain better co-ordination.

One of our farewell lunches happened this Thursday when my photoclub got together at the Relais de Gorre. We had been there only a week or so previously for another farewell, so the proprietor was surprised to see us.

And three more shots I took walking Siena over the past week.

Delays – 26th February 2020

Well what has been happening in our part of the world, unfortunately we appear to have a delay – we didn’t have our import permit for Siena or Wallis and it means that it looks like we will have to delay the transporting of them.  At the moment we are still trying to decide if I will travel on our original date and Pat will come later or if we both wait and come later.  It is frustrating as the delay was caused by a breakdown in communication.

So what has been happening here – we sold the car, and have been trying to catch up with various people to say goodbye.  We’ve had one lunch so far, an afternoon tea and tomorrow we have both!  Thankfully one of my friends has been incredibly generous and has lent us her car to use while we are still here – she is also dropping us off at the train station when we know when we are going.

I will admit I did have to buy another bigger suitcase – it appears I have been buying various items (and been given a few) over the past 12 months so what 12 months ago filled one suitcase now takes up two!

I have started to put in job applications; I had forgotten how long each application takes.  It is difficult.

Today we did got notice that the import permit has been granted so hopefully we can travel when we originally planned.  We’re just waiting to hear if that is possible. 

For now, à bientôt, from our wonderful part of France – Delia

I say! There’s a squirrel nesting in my bonnet.

So, as Delia described in her blog last week, we had ourselves a Farewell UK Tour. Here is a bit of photographic detail – not a comprehensive diary like Delia’s (so don’t feel left out anyone if I didn’t have my camera handy).

After arriving at Liverpool Street station from Stansted, Delia had wanted to have lunch in, of all places, a Wetherspoons pub. Not renowned for its style, this particular site was rather speccie (see what I did there for my Aussie readers?).

We planned to look at some of the architecture on our way to a place I had arranged to fix the broken screen on my smartphone. Weather mostly dreadful, Spitalfields mostly closed and Leadenhall mostly under tarpaulins. I did, however, manage to take some photos of the remarkable architectural style juxtaposition when I came back to pick up my phone.

A night in Wimbledon and off to my brothers in Buckinghamshire. Food, walks, great nephew and more food.

Back to London to meet up with K at St Pancras, hotel then back to the station for afternoon tea at St Pancras Hotel. Champagne, cucumber sandwiches (and more) a variety of teas including cold sparkling Jasmine – petit fours and scones with cream.

Theatre that evening (photos not permitted 🙂 ) and then meetup with H on the Friday and off to the Wallace Collection (no relation unfortunately, though we made much of having our own Wallace Collection back in France – my, how we laughed).

Greek dinner that evening then goodbye to H off home to Aberdeen and us off to Leicester. We went onto T&R’s whilst K went to an ex-work colleague’s. That evening T&R and us met up with B&S for some pub grub. Brunch with K the next morning she headed off home herself. We though, headed off to Bradgate Park for a bracing walk.

On to Nottingham for our last stop at M&S. More relaxing though we did have a day out at Ilam and Dovedale.

And so back to France tired but happy.

Back to preparing for leaving for Oz. Things on Facebook marketplace. Including, I felt a bit late, our car. But no, before I had a chance to advertise it elsewhere I had a buyer from the other side of Limousin. I had spent quite a bit of time cleaning inside and out. I totally forgot that there had been some seed pods and leaves stuck down the bonnet hinge line. When I opened it there was a whole batch of hazelnut shells. And the under-bonnet insulation was bulging with leaves and the like. I was a bit embarrassed and made a joke that I wouldn’t charge extra for the nut shells. All was fine, even with the hour or so it took us to go through all the bureaucratic rigmarole the French make you go through for the selling process. Our faithful Fiesta headed off into the sunset in good hands. It was only after they had left, seeing the handfules of fluff and nuts that it occurred to me that it was a squirrel nest. I have wondered about the leaves and such since we seldom parked actually under a tree. But we had seen a squirrel out and about the garden, and there was a hazel tree near the car. So either there’s a hibernating squirrel having had an unexpected trip or one at least wondering where his home had gone.

The UK Farewell Tour – 08th February 2020

We’ve been in the UK for 10 days, starting in London and finishing in Nottingham.  We got to catch-up with most people that we wanted to see, we have 2 friends from our London days that we didn’t get to see and planning is in place for when we will catch-up with them before we leave.

Our UK tour started in London on a very wet Monday, where we got a few little things done and then met with C&C – Pat’s daughter and son-in-law for dinner and an overnight stay at their lovely place in Wimbledon.  On Tuesday we headed out to R&L’s in Buckinghamshire, which was lovely and I had my first bath in a very long time.  We also got to see a couple of Pat’s nieces and the great nephew and have a lovely lunch out one day.  Thursday we returned to London to catch-up with K from Aberdeen (H joined us on Friday). Thursday afternoon was afternoon tea, followed by a night at the theatre – we went to see The Book of Mormon – it is very irreverent and funny, we enjoyed it a lot.  Friday was breakfast out and then we headed over to the Wallace Collection – it has been 20 years since I last saw it, and it was great to see again, we then headed out for an early dinner at a Greek restaurant – which we all really enjoyed but we were all very glad to head back to the hotel early.  I think I slept for 10 hours that night.  Saturday was a good bye to H as she headed back to Aberdeen and the rest of us headed for Leicester.

Saturday we got to stay with T&R and then we headed out for dinner on Saturday night to see B&S – who we hadn’t seen since their wedding back in September.  It was a lovely night out.  Sunday was a final brunch with K before she headed back to Aberdeen afterwards we decided that since the weather was so clear we would head out to Bradgate Park for a walk.  Another place I haven’t been to in years and it was wonderful to walk around and see the deer and the ruins of Lady Jane Grey’s house.  Late afternoon we went off to see L & P and I finally got to see their house and meet their dog.  Monday we slept in as for me exhaustion was really starting to kick in, the afternoon was spent at M&V’s chatting and meeting their new baby girl and a rather more grown up son (last seen 3 years ago).  Monday night was a lovely meal out with T&R at one of their favourite pubs.

Tuesday we then headed to Nottingham on Tuesday morning to see M&S, we had a lovely relaxing afternoon and evening.  Wednesday, the plan had been to either go to Kedelston Hall or a final visit to Chatsworth (one of my favourite houses) unfortunately both were closed!  So a visit to Ilam was decided on and a walk to Dovedale and the stepping stones – another place I haven’t been to for a long time and it was wonderful to see the Derbyshire Dales.  Thursday was our final day and we went out for our last brunch and then off to the airport and homeward bound. 

Both Siena and Wallis were very happy to see us, Siena unfortunately came home with a limp and had to go to the vet’s on Friday morning, she is recovering and got back to her walks on Saturday.

It was a lovely tour of the UK and most people we had seen during 2019 so this really was just a chance to say goodbye for the next few years. 

For now, à bientôt, from our wonderful part of France – Delia