Friday, 30 December 2016

A Real Mixed Bag.....

The week before Christmas our Son was unwell enough to be rushed into hospital and kept there for four days so we did a dash from Suffolk to Wiltshire then Bath and back to Wiltshire then home to Suffolk all in a day. We'd packed a bag to stay if need be but in the end it worked out best to come home. Happy to report Son is fine just needing lots of rest now to recover.

Nine Wednesday-friends had a lovely Christmas meal out, with friendsT&F producing funny photo props out of her bag lol.
Then back to BfriendM for drinks and a late night.
I left a few bags of gifts with people that night and came home with lots more bags for us to put under our tree. 

Daughter had been in and out of our house with various children for days, glazing and firing clay gifts and wrapping here out of sight of recipients etc. Bringing bags in and taking bags out. 

Christmas Eve our favorite neighbour-friendsP&A came in for drinks and nibbles (P is also unwell so taking it easy, not that we do anything strenuous here lol).

Christmas day was lovely. Daughter came with children, M came later on his motorbike so he could leave when he needed to. Son and fiancé came too, so nine of us at the table. Dinner all cooked really well (surprised me too), including options for vegetarians and a vegan. Only realised two days later that I'd forgotten to put the cranberry sauce on the table oops.

27th is our extended family day (has been ever since my siblings and I set up homes of  our own). Hosted here as usual. This year we totalled 30 people, six of those invited couldn't come, two were too ill to come, for one boyfriend and one fiancé it was their first time (hope we didn't scare them), we met a guest friend who was sharing Christmas with one of our families and we all had lots of cuddles with our two newest 2016 babies. So another big bag of secret Santa gifts very theatrically handed out by O with help from great-nieceE.

Thought I'd be finished with my knitting bag, but couldn't get it finished so the bag has been shoved behind the sofa. Actually just remembered I've two books unfinished on my kindle that I need to get back to.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Theatre: Pinnochio......

This was physical theatre, dance, human puppetry, clever light effects, with the only dialogue given by a six handed white gloved 'face' glowing in HV light. It was amazing!

Jasmin Vardimon Company presents a brand new adaptation of the classic tale, Pinocchio. Based on the original book by Collodi and performed by Vardimon’s multi-talented dancers, Pinocchio will bring to life the famous marionette as he embarks on a fantastic journey to become a human boy.

‘A conscience is that still small voice that people won’t listen to.’ – Carlo Collodi, Pinoccho

Showcasing Vardimon’s uniquely theatrical choreographic and directorial style, Pinocchio will combine physical theatre, quirky characterisation, innovative technologies, text and dance to examine the idea of what it means to be human.

With insightful humour, engaging drama and an acute observation of behaviour, Pinocchio will take audiences on a wonderful journey of discovery through the parameters of this timeless and beloved fable.


Daughter had a spare ticket so with her O, R and D we went to the venue Dance East on the Ipswich Waterfront. Not sure how many people this theatre holds but it was a totally full house. 90 minutes without an interval kept us all silently spellbound. D had said before he hated dancy stuff, R had seen it before as a trip with college and O is only seven. ...we all came out saying how much we enjoyed it.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Medical avalanche........

Been a very busy time of late and calander booked to stay that way till just passed the new year.

R and O performed for the last time with their Saturday drama group, a fun performance as always. Unfortunately this drama group has been ended by the County Council as they only want to run Saturday school for music in future so this was an emotional end of term and end of an era for the children and also for Daughter who started coming here for her own music as a child and now as a parent has helped with registration and tuck shop for years. Sad farewells all round.

Last week seemed to be dominated by medical things too, and none of them involved my health for a change.
     We are both fine, which has been no easy task in fact, as Daughter then O and now M have all been ill with a sickness bug and we haven't been able to avoid seeing them.
      Our next door neighbour has a very serious medical condition diagnosed 40 years ago (told back then she only had six weeks to live) and she now needs stronger magic so has been in and out of Papworth Hospital and sometimes Addenbrooks over the last few weeks. Her husband has been asked to take in various bits of her medical supplies when he visits every day but midweek he phoned Hubby urgently asking him to go into their house and find some tubes in her medical supplies and get them to Papworth as he was there already (as the hospital had the wrong ones) so on his bike more than an hour's ride away! The staff were so grateful.
     Wednesday night I was out with my friends and before dinner had arrived friendM had a really funny turn, acting so weird that we were all concerned and I thought she should get checked out so took her and her partner to the local A&E. They decided she needed an ambulance to the main hospital about 11 miles away. FriendsT&F met us at the local hospital then went to the pub to tell another friend we should have met what was going on, then met us at the main hospital. Meanwhile I took her partner home and we gathered up what she might need if they kept her in overnight, then as he hadn't even had time to finish his first pint we could take two cars and ended up following the blue lights into town. It was nearly 1am when I left them there as having checked her thoroughly they suggested maybe a CT scan, but by the time I got home they had text me to say "no scan needed on our way home" so I was relieved and slept well. The think she'd had a TIA or mini-stroke! Very scary at the time and there will be follow ups but thankfully she's feeling fine now.
     While we were in the hospital friendM got to see her daughter as she was there with a sick baby, thankfully they'd just been discharged and I caught her just in time before they left for home.
     Heard from friendLW too who is totally drugged up as she has horrid sinus problems so she can't breathe and makes her sick and made her eyes really swollen.
     Also I went to visit friendHM to tell her about friendM and she is still unwell having one infection after another and now has a nasty rash on her face and in her eye.

My mum always said that winter needed a really cold snap to kill off the germs but even that wouldn't help for most of this!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Advent better than chocolate.......

What a good idea.
See how many you can do.

Image looks unreadable to me, so here's the link

Friday, 25 November 2016

Theatre: The Wizard of Oz........

Award winning Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society will take you
‘Over the Rainbow’ with this RSC Version of the MGM classic musical 
Little Dorothy Gale of Kansas, like so many girls her age, dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day a twister hits her farm and carries her away over the rainbow to another world.  Come join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and Toto as they travel the universe of Dorothy's imagination.  Experience the timeless songs Over The Rainbow, Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead, If I Only Had A Brain, If I Only Had A Heart, If I Only Had The Nerve, We're Off To See The Wizard (Follow The Yellow Brick Road), The Jitterbug, and The Merry Old Land of Oz and some new ones too!  This joyous musical is fun for the whole family and will have to singing as you ‘follow the yellow brick road home


A fun evening spent with Daughter and children who all enjoyed this (with the inevitable criticisms)
We had especially gone as R's drama teacher was playing the Wicked Witch of the West, she was very good. Funnily enough seems the rest of the drama and art department staff from college were also in the audience, taking up the rest of our row hahaha

Oakham short break........

For Hubby's birthday present I bought a Buyagift voucher for two nights hotel break with breakfast for two. His birthday is in February so I was thinking lovely spring walks. However, life gets busy and we booked somewhere just before the voucher expired, so November and cold wet weather meant long walks but Christmas shopping instead.

Looking through the list of hotels available to us we reduced the choice down to no more than two hours drive away, daft going too far when we are only away three days. Then of the ones left it was what's near to good shopping places, tricky for us as we both hate shopping. Then of the ones left it was who had a vacancy.

(Sorry for this) We found a room at the inn!
Whipper-In, Oakham, Rutland. A really old coaching inn, 1700s I think. The hotel was a bit shabby in places and very creaky everywhere but full of character and the staff were all really helpful and friendly.

Driving in horrid weather does have some great skies.

Monday's journey up there was paused at the Queensgate shopping mall in Peterborough. Had to be indoors as the rain was heavy. We also had dinner in our hotel to save us going out again, and it was really nice. Some people were eating in the bar but we asked to sit in the dining room (couldn't resist the crisp white table linen). We were the only ones in there and the waiter immediately put some music on the speakers for us. 

Tuesday we stayed local wandering in and out of all the little shops in Oakham. As with most town centres there were loads of pubs, cafes and restaurants and plenty of charity shops too, but we couldn't help notice the huge amount of hair dressers and barbers! The pretty town centre of Oakham was right on our doorstep and so were the church and private school which has been there since 1518.

An empty shop being refurbished had this little Chinese character in the window waving to passers by, made me smile.

In the afternoon we drove about 10 mins up the road to Gates Garden Centre which had been excitedly and enthusiastically recommended by at least four people. Maybe we were getting shopping weary but it wasn't as good as some we have near home. We also swung into a factory outlet shop having a closing down sale that we spotted.

Only got stopped at the level crossing once, but it was for ages!

Wednesday's shopping started with a wander round the market right outside our hotel (very small so didn't take long) then onto the huge retail outlet centre in Spaldington which had this attractive water feature.

Got home just before 5pm as we were both out again for the evening.
I would like to report that we have completed our Christmas shopping.....would like to but I can't, we barely got anything ticked off the list! Was a lovely interlude together though.

Thursday, 17 November 2016


In general I seem to have fewer and fewer blog posts to read, I've had to have a check and yes for some I've lost the link and thankfully I'm still reading from a few regulars which I love, but maybe blogging is generally becoming less fashionable or are people just moving to other social media platforms?

Then I realised that actually I'm totally guilty myself and even my posts have longer gaps between them now!

So what's been happening? Lots of childcare lately as Daughter has had some paid work. O had a sleepover here.  Some crafting, finally finished knitting the second cushion cover that's been hanging around for ever (still not sewn yet though). Found another craft group on facebook and I'm wasting far too much time browsing the lovely things others have made. E has now gone from veggy to vegan so I've been researching and trying some recipes. Cleared the ironing more than once (flaming pile keeps coming back). We've been out to dinner with friends, had a lunch out with a neighbour and also met a very old friend for drinks as he was passing through Ipswich. There has also been a dental checkup this week too (all fine for me, even managed an xray as they have a new machine).

Hubby is really busy, he's been doing lots of big gardening, pruning trees and shrubs, shredding and bagging, leaf raking and bagging, filling our's and our neighbour's brown bins and still needing to do tip runs. He has also cleared up lots of leaves for our neighbour as she is in Papworth Hospital and he has to do the journey there and back every day which is about 1hr 15mins each way if there are no traffic problems and that's rare. Obviously the neighbour wasn't there when the heating engineer came to fix their heating, so Hubby was in there sorting that too.

We've had the water conditioning system serviced, that may have been the cause for reduced water pressure upstairs (takes an age to fill the bath) so Hubby called in Homecare as we have insurance with them. The first guy couldn't find a problem and left, so Hubby called them again and the next guy seemed more willing to try different things and he spent quite some time forcing water through the pipes but did tell us we would need to update tanks and stuff, he left. A couple of days later Hubby noticed a leaky toilet upstairs, bought and fitted replacement bits and it still leaked so bought something else which did the trick, then that evening we noticed the downstairs loo had come out in sympathy and developed a drip, bless him he sorted that too.

Yesterday we did the trip to Papworth to visit our neighbour but even that wasn't straightforward, we'd travelled about three miles when we noticed Hubby's car go past on a low loader (his had been insurance repaired and we were in a loan car), it was obviously being delivered back a day before arranged, so we turned around and followed it home, the delivery chap was very grateful that we had but we were now 20 mins later.....then a traffic jam added another 30 mins to that, so a much shorter visit than we'd hoped grrrr.

Today has also been an everything-at-once day. Daughter needed to take the girls to college but product tracking showed her new washing machine was being delivered early so she asked Hubby to come over at 8:30am as she wanted him to connect it up too. Meanwhile I got the call to say British Gas were coming for 9:30am to install Hive. Hubby came home so did Daughter and O to sort out the dried out clay stuff and get it in the kiln, we took in a parcel for next door, the loan car was inspected and collected, the gas man finished, we all had lunch, now Hubby and Daughter have left to play with the washing machine and O is deeply engrossed with Mario, so I've used this little time to blog hahaha.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Theatre: Pride and Prejudice.......

For description I've copied the article from the East Anglia Daily Times review by Andrew Clarke

      Pride and Prejudice is one of the great classic novels, filled with comedy. drama and romance and a vast cast of memorable characters. The idea that this complex, passionate story could be told with just two actors seems ludicrous and yet it works brilliantly.
      Husband and wife team Joannah Tincey and Nick Underwood just sparkle as they lead the audience on a joyous romp through this much-loved Georgian classic.
      Not only do Tincey and Underwood transform themselves into all the characters with a subtle shift in body language or the addition of a hat or an unbuttoning of a coat but the beauty of Austen’s language has also been preserved. The characters not only speak their dialogue but provide a commentary on the action, a narration supplied by Austen via the novel.
      The abstract set resembles an exploded Georgian country house and provides a perfect backdrop for the fun, fast-paced nature of the show. Tincey and Underwood deliver a galaxy of strong, diverse characters, all of which have a twinkle in their eye and makes for a wonderful night at the theatre.


Wow, this was amazing! And I really couldn't add to the review above without just repeating how clever the two actors are at putting across each slight difference for so many characters.

My only criticism is with The New Wolsey Theatre for not actually mentioning the actors by name in their brochure or on their website. I had to search and look at various websites including Two Bit Classics Productions which is the company name. That's how I came across the review above.

So just because they totally deserve further applause, "Well done Joanna Tincey and Nick Underwood, you did an amazing job, my friends and I were truly entertained".

Friday, 28 October 2016

Another sad goodbye.......

This has taken me some time to write!

Sunday 16th October Hubby's only brother, my bilM, died aged just 66.

It all happened quite quickly. About four weeks before, he started to suffer dizzy spells and they discovered very low blood pressure and very low sodium levels and he was kept in hospital. Medication was struggling to restore his levels but the doctors didn't actually know why it had happened. Then he got a chest infection, (which may have already been brewing).

For the last week he took a turn for the worse and was moved into ITU and fully sedated with breathing apparatus, but stronger medication didn't help enough and his organs started to fail. Earlier on that last Sunday Hubby, with M's wife and his daughter together with the doctors discussed all options and made the very difficult decision to let him go in the most comfortable and dignified way.

Hubby's family have never been close in the way I think of as close but it suited them. It was only the brothers and their dad that even kept in touch and it didn't seem to bother any of them if contact ended up going weeks before someone did. They just knew if they were needed someone would pick up the phone.  Uncles, aunts and cousins never contacted them either so obviously just the way they all wanted it to be. Hubby's dad died in 2009 and now his brother so the only blood relations that Hubby even knows the whereabouts of are our own children!

Because of bilM's quite sudden death the coroner needed to complete a full investigation, so long delays, however today we finally heard from his wife that the funeral is booked for 9th November when we can finally say our goodbyes.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Theatre: Night Must Fall.......

An Original Theatre Company And Salisbury Playhouse Production
In Association With Eastbourne Theatres

When charming, smooth-talking Dan arrives unexpectedly at old Mrs Bramson’s remote woodland home he soon ingratiates his way into her life and that of her beautiful niece Olivia. But when a local woman goes missing and rumours in the press of a murder surface among the household, fingers begin to point. Has the past finally caught up with Dan and could he really be capable of murder? As the police close in, and with the press baying for blood, is anyone safe?

This psychological thriller from master playwright Emlyn Williams has all the tension, atmosphere and suspicion of the best British mysteries and will leave you on the edge of your seat.

A star cast includes Gwen Taylor (Barbara, Coronation Street and Heartbeat), Daragh O'Malley (Sharpe), Niamh McGrady (Holby City & The Fall) and Will Featherstone (Romeo and Juliet for Shakespeare’s Globe, The History Boys for Sheffield Crucible and Channel 4’s Fresh Meat).


It was a great set, and obviously with such an experienced cast it was acted so well. It was in places funny, tragic, scary and sad. My friends and I really enjoyed it but agreed it had a flat and predictable ending.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Theatre: Made in Dagenham.........

It seems so long since our last theatre trip that we were all really looking forward to this! 

Dagenham, 1968: Rita’s a busy mum, loving wife and hard working Ford factory employee. But something’s very wrong. Rita and her female colleagues find themselves working long hours sewing car seats for far less money than the men. And they’ve had enough.

Finding a voice she never knew she had, Rita leads the women on a trailblazing battle for equal pay, taking on the unions, Ford’s top brass and the Government. As the pressure mounts Rita struggles to keep up the fight and the happy home she’s worked so hard for.

Inspired by a true story and based on the hit movie, Made in Dagenham is an uplifting musical comedy about how ordinary people can do extraordinary things.


Fantastic performance by the whole cast. As a musical they had great voices and good musicians and meaningful words sung to proper tunes that you want to sing along to. Choreography was mostly good, with only one dance really I found over the top and silly. The script was really moving at times while hilarious at other times.
The posh couple were discussing why their son, in public school, had been caned. She said "it was for farting in Latin" he said "well that's impressive, most people can't even speak in Latin"

My only criticism was one of the female factory workers, the oldest and mouthiest who's every other word was a swear word, was named Beryl hahaha......but she was also one of the funniest so I forgave her.

A very important time in our modern history told in the most entertaining way!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

When did it start to happen........

......that the main topic of conversation with friends is health, medications and hospital visits?

.....that I'd get excited with a good blood pressure reading?

......that plucking my chin took over from shaving my legs?

......that at a recent friend's party our little group were the oldies on the sofa with the youngsters bringing us cups of tea?

......that shoes definitely have to have comfort over fashion?

.....that I'd congratulate myself if I only needed to get up once in the night?

......that the TV had to get louder and louder?

......that friendHG and I had to go to bed at 1:30am instead of our usual 3am (that was last weekend)

......that I started a blog-post then completely forget to publish? Until now Hahaha

Thursday, 29 September 2016


Thought I might do some more gardening today, then this

 So I nearly got drawn into doing some jigsaw
But that is actually Hubby's project with O, so I shouldn't interfere, especially while he is in his office maybe doing something important on his computer, or maybe playing a game while watching TV.

 So I did start off the cleaning process on the top oven (this is a bi-carb+vinegar mix).

 Then wandered upstairs and felt guilty about the ironing pile (this is the half left after yesterday's session)
So of course I decided to take these photos and write this post before eventually ironing about half of that pile. 

Whatever it is can wait, I'm not in the mood! 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Holiday in France - 8 to 18 September.......

Thursday 8th
Lovely leisurely morning. Really easy drive (for three hours) to sisterS and bilK's. They cooked, we all ate, watched Jersey Boys film and eventually all up to bed.

Friday 9th
All up and breakfasted and tackled the luggage-in-the-boot jigsaw puzzle. SisterS and I got comfy in the back (we are both short and sit low in Hubby's car, so I'd made booster seats and foot rests for us, she loved that) and men in the front. Last check of "have we got everything?" and we were on our way!

Their house to Folkestone was an easy 2.5hrs, but we did have just under an hour delay on the shuttle.....the Marshall at the front of our queue told us that one cause was a dodgy carriage door that took 10 mins to open and close each time, then there was the Ford Escort car rally convoy when 26 of them boarded an earlier train and one went up the ramp when it shouldn't and damaged its underneath spreading oil over the ramp, sending the following cars sliding backwards down the ramp! And while we were waiting he got messaged over his radio about a Rolls Royce that had gone the wrong way and blocked the entrance to the train refusing to move, so they called the police. So an entertaining wait :-)

Our first night was at the Brasserie Des Sangliers, in a small town called Crecy-en-Ponthieu.
First of course a drink outside, still really sunny and warm.
Then a local walkabout and discovered a really small museum.
The curator was adorable. He insisted on guiding us around and explaining as much as he could so he could practice his English (a big struggle for him).

Saturday 10th
We were back on the road early for the six hour journey and arrived about 6pm (ish) at the Novotel Hotel in La Rochelle. We'd made a couple of stops, first at Angers but no food places were open so apart from also stopping for fuel and loo at an Aire we managed with the snack bag I'd packed. After we checked in at the hotel we went out for a walk (desperately needed as we were all car-shaped). Down by the harbour we found a scruffy looking outdoor cafe and had, amongst other things, burgers, beers and live jazz. Shame it was a great success for only three out of the four of us.

Sunday 11th
We wanted a lazy day after all the driving but lots of walking locally. Our hotel is right in town but actually set inside a park, so to walk to the centre we have a very pretty route.
 La Rochelle also has a great marina, beach and foody streets and we seemed to walk them all.

Unfortunately I now seem to be the only one totally insect bitten, I noticed the first ones a few days ago but today's have reacted the worst with my left hand really swollen and one on my leg blistered right up. My companions have none, so I'm at least providing a service by keeping them away. More than a dozen bites hot itchy and kept me awake for two nights!

Monday 12th
We took a walk down to the marina for petit dejeuner (breakfast) and went to a restaurant where the bread was fresher, the croissants flakier and the waitress smilier than the place we went to yesterday! Then back to the hotel just to get in the car and drive to Île de Ré, which had been very highly recommended, making stops on the island for driving/eating/drinking at La Flotte, Saint-Martin-de-Ré, Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré and Sainte-Marie-de-Ré and the rest we drove through with some very narrow roads!

Very hot day but we found a little shade on a bench outside a church to have our picnic lunch  then took a look inside.

Back at the hotel we had a late afternoon laze on the hotel terrace by the pool (men had beers of course) then later out for a yummy Italian meal.

SisterS and I also had a nightly ritual with whoever was on reception asking for tea bags and fresh milk to take to our room, they provide kettle and stuff but never quite enough of the stuff we want and those little pots of long life creamer is yuck in tea!

Tuesday 13th
Just like yesterday we made our way to the same restaurant overlooking the marina and the lovely waitress remembered just how we all like our breakfast! Impressive!

We had this day planned long before we'd even arrived in France. Many years ago SisterS worked with a lady who with her husband moved to France and has lived here for 15 years, they've always kept in touch and sisterS has visited twice before (second time with bilK). As soon as they knew we were staying nearby we were all invited for lunch and even sent precise directions. We also have the satnav (which sisterS calls "Satarina Navratilova"). They live in Montmouton, Écoyeux just over an hour away but the hardest part was getting out of La Rochelle as roads were closed because of the market and the satnav couldn't cope!

We were all very warmly greeted and shown round Y&D's lovely home, sisterS admiring the changes since her last visit, and even their dog kept saying hello

Conversation never stopped, lots of laughter, lunch was drinks and nibbles followed by a really delicious five courses! Not sure I'll need to eat again this week! They have a pool and we'd taken swimming things but it kept raining so nobody got in. We stayed for hours and hours they made us so welcome.

Wednesday 14th
For breakfast it was back to the marina and our favorite place, but different staff were on so it wasn't as good, shows it was that one waitress that made it special. Today we visited Île d'Oléron, very highly recommended by Y&D and they are so right it's a beautiful island. We stopped at La Cotiniere and Saint-Denis'd'Oléron and drove around the rest.

Tonight's meal was in a classier restaurant, we ordered three courses each and had three more "amuse bouche" dishes too!

Thursday 15th
SisterS was told about a theme park we would like which isn't full of rides or tat. So we booked online for Grand Parc du Puy du Fou. It was about two hour drive away so we skipped our usual breakfast and drove off early with our croissants in a box!

However I try to describe the place would not do it justice, so here is the link.
It is history, divided into eras and portrayed in shows. Sounds simple but it is far from simple, each show is an extravaganza!  You cannot hope to see every show (and they tell you that often). We first collected headsets so each show came to us as an English translation.

Our first show was
Experience the romantic adventures of Richelieu's Musketeer's, set against the backdrop of a giant 17th century theatre (covered theatre with 3,000 seats). A magical show with capes, sword fights, flamenco ballets and incredible special effects!
.......And the arena filled with water!

Our second show was
Discover the biggest day show in the Grand Parc du Puy du Fou's history. Follow the glorious destiny of a french naval officer in 1793. The life of this hero of the American War of Independence will definitely change during an ultimate fight for freedom.
........And this was all done in a 360° cinema with very live performances enhanced with film while the audience rotated to where the action was!

Our third show was
A spectacular medieval adventure inspired by the legend of a mysterious lance with magical powers.
......And the horsemanship and acrobatics on horseback was breathtaking!

Each show was just over 30 mins so with walking around the Parc to the right place, arriving early, being seated and being entertained by the warm-up guys it was nearly an hour each one, so all too soon it was time to go, but not before a stop for crepes mmm. We will definitely have to come back to see more.

By the time we got back to the hotel it was raining and we were all too tired to walk into the town centre so we ate at the hotel, which actually was really nice and no more expensive than we'd been paying elsewhere.

Friday 16th
We'd packed up the car and checked out of our hotel and on the road just after 8:30am. There was a slight delay leaving as sisterS had to make another check on her son and his partner who are currently on the labour ward awaiting their first baby. Hard for us all to leave the safety of WiFi when expecting such exciting news!

We've had torrential rain all day, so got wet loading the car and got wet when stopping for breakfast at an Aire, then got wet when trying to stop for lunch so ate in the car.
We were booked into the Hotel de la Cathedrale which is right near the Cathedrale (of course) in the middle of Rouen. We arrived about 4:30pm and drove round and round then parked on the road and then hunted through the boot for all the raincoats and walked. A young lad, seeing us confused, crossed the road to offer his help, he couldn't speak English and didn't know the hotel but thought he knew the street name so with lots of pointing and our merci's we splashed on. Found the hotel and the men got instructions on where to move the car to (they had to walk back and drive exactly to where we'd stood with the young lad which was nothing like the receptionists directions).

Into our rooms and immediately connected to WiFi but no further news from the parents-to-be!

It was a really charming old hotel with lots of character. Flushing the toilet in my room was hilarious as the very old suction/pump/small pipes system was really really noisy!
This was the view from our bedroom window

But unfortunately there was no bar or restaurant, so the men forced themselves out in the rain again to look for the best place to eat, with the incentive of a couple of beers each. They did remember to come back for us and out we all went. Our waiter spoke quite good English but we soon realised he'd learnt all he needed to know just to get his diners through the menu. We managed and all had a great meal with the men sharing a bottle of wine. As we finished desserts they got the most important phone call saying their new granddaughter had arrived! Lots of very excited conversations on the phone and passing the phone around the table. BilK ordered champagne and even though we explained the poor waiter hadn't a clue what all the fuss was about hahaha.

Saturday 17th
The plan had been to leave the hotel by 9am to reach Calais an hour before our 12:20pm train booking but we were all too excited to hopefully meet the newest family member, so we skipped breakfast and checked out at 7am and when we arrived at Le Shuttle terminal we were given a boarding pass for the 10:50am train, then read on the display boards that there was an hour delay. So into the terminal building to buy coffee and croissants. ....but just as we sat to eat the board changed for us from "wait to be called" to "please proceed" so breakfast became takeaway! 
Au revoir France, we loved this holiday.

But our adventure didn't end there! Nobody wants a great holiday to end but we had the best reason ever to rush back. Now UK side and a slow journey as the M25 was its usual crawl/standstill/crawl. Arrived at sisterS and bilK's house in time for a quick lunch then off to the hospital.

How adorable is she?

Out for dinner which didn't go quite as hoped but I'd found a 40% discount voucher and we all eventually enjoyed our meals so not awful just another tale to tell.
None of us were late to bed, it had been a long and exciting day.

Sunday 18th
Up quite early and bilK cooked us a yummy English breakfast.
Then all too soon we hugged and kissed and Hubby and I headed home.