Very White and Very Fast

Our friend Simon arrived safely on Saturday afternoon having driven down in his spanking new white Ford Focus RS accompanied by his girlfriend Alison. I’ve been reliably informed that his RS is the last of its breed with its 2.5 litre turbo-charged Volvo engine. It is very fast, very sporty looking and very, very white.

Since their arrival they’ve been out and about enjoying the sights of the Riviera as well as sploshing about in the pool on their return. Today they are off to Monaco to whiz round the Grand Prix ‘track’. Simon even got up early to wash his beloved car using a paraphernalia of special washing gloves and cloths.

Suitably impressed by his efforts the dogs looked on in the hope they could help water the tyres. I’ve not been brave enough to tell him that Boy Boy, the eldest of our cats, went and sat on his car’s roof after he’d lovingly cleaned it . . .

As we all know (even if you have a very whizzy car) France is a big country and can only (safely) be driven through with an overnight stay mid-way. And sensibly they did the same thing and apparently stayed at an impressive Château on their way down : Château De Vollore situated in the Puy du Dome and currently still owned by the direct descendants of Général Marquis de La Fayette, the French hero of the American Revolution.

They stay at the more meagre Château d’Alice until Friday before heading back home.

Home Alone – Nearly

The Boys: Freddy (right), Muffin (middle) and Bertie (left)

I’m back although it was touch and go for a while. There we were in the car heading towards Stansted when Nigel gasps and tells me he’d mis-calculated the journey time; I’d miss the plane by half an hour.

With Stansted having just one flight a day into Nice the other option was to drive down to Gatwick or Luton, with Luton being the closest for us. And this is when you have to love the internet. Sat in a layby, Nigel checked the flights on my iPad and found one leaving at 13h20 out of Luton. At a click (touch?) of a button, it was all sorted and I could breath again.

As it turned out, I was a very lucky bunny. Just as he was approaching Norwich, the alternator on Nigel’s car up and died on him and there he was stuck on the outside lane with cars hooting and flashing their lights at the poor fellow. Thankfully, two nice policemen turned up and pushed his car off the main road and onto the grassy verge with the RAC man following close behind.

Sat on the plane I finally managed to read an article in The Guardian written by Andrea Wren entitled How to build and monetise a blog. Not that I want to make money from my scribbles, but I am intrigued as to how one builds a blog audience so I shall be following her progress closely and seeing what gems I glean from it.

In the meantime I have guests arriving later today for one week so off to the shops to buy some fresh fruit and veg and some ‘poivre gris’ for my friend Ineke.

A Musical Evening & Return To France

Yesterday Nigel and I drove over to Holywell in Cambridgeshire to attend the first IOV (Institute of Videography) Area 7 meeting organised by Peter Baughan, the local IOV representative (you’ll find more stuff about this meeting here on my business blog). The meeting was a Music Video Evening  and the band (Trevor Jones Band) was surprisingly good. The lead singer and song writer, Trevor Jones, has been playing the guitar and writing songs since he was 8 and has played alongside artists such as Suzie Quatro and Jeff Buckley and has played at Glastonbury Festival twice (‘Each time in the mud’ Trevor piped up).

I much enjoyed their music and one song in particular: Old Fashioned Woman and bought their CD so I could listen to it (and their other songs) again.

The meeting was held at the Old Ferry Boat Inn located on the edge of the Great Ouse. Constructed in Anglo-Saxon times it is said to be the oldest Inn in England with mention in the Doomsday Book. It’s a large Inn, with a partly thatched roof, heavily beamed interior, open fires and various nooks and crannies one would expect in an old place like that. It is also apparently haunted. The ghost of a young girl is said to return at midnight on the anniversary of her death each year – 17th March.

Tomorrow I fly back to France for two weeks. I have so missed the dogs and to be fair the cats too (up to a point) and long to see them again. Belaugh will never truly be home until all the furries are here. And that adventure starts in October. For now the plan is to drive back with my MG – another long drive through France in store – and in rather more cramped confines than the Range Rover!

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