Last blog – 05 June 2020

It has been awhile, I know, our usual routine went out the window and still hasn’t come back. So why is this the last blog? – well it is and it isn’t, it’s the last blog about our lives in France, because as I type this I can look out of my hotel window at the City of Perth in Western Australia. We arrived last week after a manic two weeks of packing cases, finding flights, shipping 2 suitcases, getting permission to enter Western Australia and cleaning our gite as best we could. We had accumulated a lot of junk over the year and thought we would be able to go to the dump and the like but due to our lock-down no such luck. All of this happened after we received an email saying that our pet transport company had found flights for our pets to get to Melbourne (where animal quarantine is).

Currently we are in quarantine for 2 weeks, we hopefully get out next week – dependant on a negative COVID-19 test. Which will be wonderful as Perth is now opening up and we can see so many people out and about on the streets. However back to France.

Once we knew we could go and had hired a hire car to get us and pets and baggage up to Paris CDG airport. So on Sunday the 24th May we packed up the car, said farewell to our landlords and headed off on our long drive to Paris. It was mostly an uneventful journey and only one gendarme check – which did cause me slight anxiety as Siena was illegally “housed” in the car footwell due to the fact that we couldn’t fit her crate, the cat crate and all our luggage into the car – our solution was to dismantle her crate and store the cat crate inside – it worked but it did mean Siena was not appropriately restrained. Thankfully we got waved through the check point.

Finding the hotel was entertaining and the sat-nav in the car was not useful, but as the airport wasn’t busy and it was a Sunday we were able to drive around a couple of times until we found it. We had a similar experience the following day to get to the petrol station. So Sunday night we were in the hotel room at the Ibis – one of the few hotels still operational at CDG – a little bit different to our last stay at The Pulman. We off-loaded everyone and everything into our room and then took Siena for a walk and surprisingly came across quite a few rabbits nibbling at the grass around the various hotels and buildings! These did interest Siena, but we continued our walk and headed back to the hotel. Wallis had exited his cage and taken up residence under the bed.

We feasted on take-away pizza and cheap but good red wine that night. Not exactly the best last dinner in Paris but these are not normal times. The following day the pet transport people came to get Siena and Wallis we said our good byes – I cried – and then Pat and I had to sort ourselves out, return the hire car and get to our terminal. We did all this and then proceeded to sit in the airport waiting for our check-in info to come up on the display – it never did! Around 2 hours before we were due to fly I did a walk down the entire terminal to see if I could find our check-in desk – which I did, 20 minutes later, 2 lengthy phone conversations (to check Pat’s visa for Australia) and a waiver for my luggage being overweight and we were on our way. Next passport control and security, by this time we were close to our gate open time, but I thought I would have time to find our gate and then have a look at the duty free (there were a couple open). However by the time we got to our gate they called boarding for our flight. So no duty free for me! So on to our flight with Qatar Airways and into our very empty economy class seats. I will say this much, the stewards on Qatar were wonderful, considering the circumstances and the full protective gear they were wearing, they were cheerful, polite and couldn’t have been more wonderful.

We arrived into Doha at about 8:30pm our time but around 12:00 midnight in Doha and everything except a couple of eating places were closed – so again, no duty free. I think we had a 3 hour wait in Doha, but we were surprised to go through a security check again at our gate to board our flight, which also meant we lost the water we had bought. So through security and then on to our Perth bound flight this time in business class (thanks to a cheap upgrade offer). Again absolutely amazing staff on board, and after a glass of champagne and a drink of water, we took off on our final leg home. Pat chose to have something to eat and I chose to sleep, so one of the stewards made up my bed and gave me some pj’s to put on (they are sooooo soft) and I headed off into the land of dreams. It was wonderful I generally don’t sleep on planes but this time I got around 4 hours sleep, which was really good. After that some food, coffee and a couple of films, we arrived in Perth. Pat will be also writing a blog about our time in quarantine on our new blog site called “On the Beach – Delia and Pat in Australia”. I have been keeping myself busy with my art while in quarantine, but here are a few paintings from my final few weeks in France.

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