Monday, 31 March 2008


Ah, well, I guess spring has arrived, or at least British Summer Time has begun. Sunday, of course, it didn't make a great deal of difference - all we did was visit the supermarket, and clearly it makes little difference if one gets there at 11:30 or 12:30.

I was reminded, fleetingly, of my time in Oxford when it became something of a ritual to visit the pub (whose name I have long since forgotten) which lay on the towpath at Iffley Lock. The catalyst for lighter nights and warmer weather.

Lazy day for us, then, although I had to fill out my VAT return, and this coupled with a load of other "admin" work took up most of the evening, such that by 11:30pm (10:30pm in old money) I was ready for bed.

Getting to bed so late, however, had implications for getting up this morning. Difficult, very difficult. It was dark outside once again, and the one clock we had forgotten to bring forward was the central heating timer, so there was a definite chill in the air. A good snooze on the train gained a partial respite, although at one stage I woke myself up by snoring, so how much respite was gained by my fellow passengers, it is hard to say!

We're off to France in a couple of weeks, and I am tentatively going to make another bold purchase, since both Alice and I could do with new bikes and the range at Decathlon is pretty good. So, I'll see if we can't pick them up while we're there. I feel quite brave since I am stretching my knowledge of the French language, but it feels good nevertheless. Plus, I am emboldened by my other recent achievement of booking a thalassotherapy visit for Jacqueline. The centre proudly announced on their web site that English was spoken, but after three of four rounds of fruitless emails (in English) I reverted to French and with just two more emails I had found out what treatments were available, and booked one of them.

But I suppose that's France for us. Reminds me, actually, that one of the consultants I work with, a guy from Aus/South Africa who's making the most of his stay in Europe, went over to some Alpine resort recently and was totally flummoxed by the fact that even in the Tourist Information office, which was packed with English-speakers, the only language spoken by the staff was French.

But as I say, that's France for you. Certainly I'm not complaining or I wouldn't visit several times per year. Personally as someone who regards himself as non-conformist, I think it is great the way they fight to preserve their national identity against all the odds.

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