Saturday, 29th May, 2010
We spent a slow morning and had several discussions about what we would do and where we would go as we wanted to get our tickets for Provence. Eventually we decided to go to Senlis to the SNCF office. Senlis has been my nemesis, but we drove in and found a car park without any problems. I had discovered that I hadn’t driven through a red light the other day, just through a give way line, so I felt better. I asked where the office was and we found our way there just to discover that it as closed for an hour. On the way to find something for lunch we came across a beautiful baby shop and bought a little outfit for the newest Gillett arrival. We wandered off and Gray went back to check if there was the need for a ticket in the car park as we forgot to look.
We found a nice place for lunch and once again had a delicious meal. The French chefs certainly know how to cook a pave of beef.
We went back to the SNCF office and there was a very helpful lady in there who booked us our seats and didn’t complain at all when the tickets were printed and we realised we were sitting down the bottom of the train rather than the top. She just changed them over happily. She was a bit different from the gorgon in the Chantilly train office.
We found a Nicolas, a wine shop, and as I was explaining that I couldn’t find a wine I really liked, Shell came out by mistake with the fact I didn’t like French wine, she realised later. We found a supermarket and then went back to the car and off home.
I did the washing and more blogging and Shell discovered a better way to pump the mattress up more. The washing was on the balcony being very lightly rained upon.
Friday, 28th May, 2010
6.30 came too early! Shell got up and had breakfast with me and I aimed to get there a bit early as I hadn’t done any preparation the night before.
All was quiet for the first hour and a half and then Nabil became his usual self. He was completely off the air which was sad because he has been good. The day for him went from bad to worse and finally finished with him being brought in, banned from sport in the afternoon. The children finished their hats and Sharon judged them for me. England had rung to say they had received Sharon’s hats and how absolutely thrilled they were with them. This bodes well for the competition! I had an email from Isabelle and they are right to come next Sunday for lunch. We are having a great time visiting people and being visited.
Gray came in for Sport and was happier with the way the children were participating. They are just not team players and have no idea of playing hard.
Shell had come into Chantilly on the bus with him and had then gone for a walk to try and find the swimming pool which I had been told was a 2 minute walk down the road near the school. She messaged at 4 and said she was at the Chocolatier in Chantilly and could we meet here there. We did and I had coffee and a pain au raisin. I am having too many of these lately, but they are so yummy.
We went back to Avilly and decided to have dinner at home seeing we had had coffee out.
We opened the special wine from Le Mont Saint Michel to have as an aperitif. It was all right, but not so special. I am still trying to find a nice French red wine that I like.
By the time we had had dinner it was rather late and I was ready for more sleep. I blogged a bit and then gave in.
Thursday, 27th May, 2010
The alarm went off at 5am and up we got in the dark. I figured we needed to leave at a quarter to 6 as we didn’t think Shell had had any of our messages and we needed to be at the exit as she arrived. We set the tomtom and set off. It led us very nicely to the beginning of the Aerogare 1 and we just followed the road round, and round and round and up into the Parking Station. We went to find the Arrivals and when we looked on the board, to our horror, Shell’s flight was delayed and not due in till 8.11 am.
Oh dear! School starts at 8.30! What to do? It was too early to call Loretta and so we had a coffee. It was another case of there is nothing we could do, but sit in an airport chair and wait. We bought a newspaper and read about the grève. It appears that some of the trains were running, but we thought it was just as well we were there because otherwise Gray would have been at Gare du Nord waiting and waiting for a few hours not knowing what was going on. I sent a text to Loretta and then I sat with 2 mobiles on my lap and waited. One eventually rang and Loretta said she was on a train going to school and it was fine. I would get there when I could.
Shortly after the board said the plane had landed, my mobile went and it was Shell saying she had just got my message. I sent back that we were there and we waited some more. Eventually she appeared and we headed back to the car. The lifts did their usual. Each time someone pressed a button, the directional light changed. We followed Tomtom’s directions and got back easily in good time. I dropped Gray and Shell at home and drove off to school arriving only about an hour late. My guys were in with Claire the French teacher, finishing Mother’s Day presents. They came back in with me and Nabil started to play up a bit. They worked on their Floppy the Dog’s Hats to try and win 300 English pounds worth of reading books and started their glass painting for their Mothers’ Day candle holders. We worked on all these things again in the afternoon and some people finished.
I arrived home about 5 o’clock and we decided to go back into Chantilly for dinner as I was too tired to cook. We drove in and I told Shell to watch around the next corner. She was suitably amazed. Each day I drive through tunnels of green trees and roundabouts and then suddenly I come to one cobblestoned roundabout and the close view of the Chateau Chantilly. It is so big and old and has beautiful stonework and turrets and sits in the middle of a lake. It is history just sitting there in the middle of the countryside. We drove on into Chantilly and I managed a parking spot on the pavement. I am still not brave enough to try and back into a space between two cars. We went to Giorgios and had a nice meal, but the grumpy waitress was on. We went home not too late. Then began the fun! We had bought a double blow up mattress and a pump, but hadn’t tried it out. We unpacked it and after many laughs and changing of pumpers, we brought it to a “sleep on” stage. We would add more air tomorrow.
Wednesday, 26th May, 2010
The alarm went off and I seemed more tired than usual. I made my breakfast and got the ironing board out. I looked at my phone for the time and discovered it was only 9 minutes past 6! What was going on. The alarm was sill set! I looked at the messages and it was a jolly message that had come in from Shell who was just boarding the plane so I had thought it was the alarm and climbed out at 5.30 Ugh!!! I went back to bed and read till a decent hour.
The Wednesday children were good, some of them are improving in English and some of my group are just like me. I say,”Ma française à disparu aujourd’hui” and they say “My English has disappeared today!”
Gray came in from the market in Chantilly carrying a huge bag of vegetables and some cheese (of course!). We went to the station to get him a ticket for the next morning early as he was going to meet Shell at Gare du Nord. Sadly I struck the only really nasty woman I have met in France and all she could say was grève, grève. I looked this up and found it was Strike! She told me to look on the door for times and I told her our daughter was coming in to the airport at 6.40am. She shrugged and virtually said “Tough!”
We stressed about this and tried to contact Loretta. I thought I would drive and get her and with any luck be home for school in time. How French!
We went to Saint Maximin to do the shopping. We put it all through the check out and packed it all up. You have to pack your own here! Then my card wouldn’t work in her machine. It always takes an age, but she got impatient and started pushing buttons. This wrecked her whole system and after quite a while with a supervisor present, we had to unpack and put it all through again. All was well and we went to buy lots of paint at Cultura for Sharon to start painting the backdrops for the School Production. Lately I have been much happier driving on the roads around here. However, things can still go haywire as I discovered when trying to find the way out from Cora to get to Cultura. I went on to the roundabout and couldn’t find a way off until another couple of cars came on and I discovered, to my horror, that I was going the wrong way around the round about. Aarggh! I backed into one entrance and then drove around it properly and found an exit.
Another French thing! They talked about getting paint in the staff meeting and waffled around as to who would get it and when. I said we were going shopping so I would. When I gave the docket in the next morning, I was met with an amazed look and “Already!” Nothing happens here in a hurry!
We made dinner and I rang Rochelle to see whether or not I could get to the airport and back in time fro school. She is so lovely! She offered to go for me, but she has 3 children to get to different schools so I refused.
Eventually Loretta rang and said it was fine, just get to school when I could. I looked everywhere on the Internet to see if I could find arrival times for Charles de Gaulle and for Malaysian airlines so we could check in the morning, but there was nowhere. I went to bed as we were going to have another early morning.
Tuesday, 25th May, 2010
The alarm went off at 6.30 as usual and I stumbled out of bed, unwillingly, to get ready for school. It was quite warm for a change and not a bad drive in. I felt far more comfortable in the car as we had driven that far to Le Mont Saint Michel. I was first as usual and had everything ready as the children arrived. Nabil wasn’t great, but not too bad.
The day progressed as usual and we did “rope” as usual.
Gray was really sore and tired so went back to bed after our lots of walking at the weekend. He went for an easy walk to the Bar and Tabac to buy a baguette only to find it closed. How annoying, no bread and no beer!
We had a staff meeting which I had to run as Loretta had a sudden board meeting so I didn’t arrive home until nearly 6.
Monday, 24th May, 2010
We woke on Monday morning and had one tray of breakfast in the room. In France they don’t have the same Accor deal where you have one free meal each time we eat, but we still accrued a lot of points.
We packed up and left about 9.30am heeding Sharon’s warning of Long Weekend traffic. Tomtom did a good job and took us back to the motorways and we headed for home. We had wanted to go through some small villages, but thought that it would be much slower and a four hour something trip was quite long enough. We decided to leave the tollway and have lunch in Vernon and go to Giverny to Monet’s Garden. Lunch was good. Very rarely do people now answer me in English when I speak French to them. The light still hasn’t gone on yet though and I do not think in French yet either.
We found our way to Giverny and walked through to buy our tickets. We had to go to a different place from where Nic and I went in last year and we joined a long, long queue. I realised that we had bought our tickets before we went last year and so could go in a different entrance. We would have taken about an hour to get to the front of the queue and it would have been nearly three before we even got into the gardens so we left, deciding to get tickets and go back one Wednesday afternoon when Shell was with us.
We changed Tomtom’s route and followed him home arriving at a decent hour with time to prepare fro school on the Tuesday.
Had messaged a bit with Loretta and they were stuck in traffic going back to Paris so we were really happy that we had left early.