Sunday, 27 April 2008


Ahhhhhhh, we're settling down on the ferry after a great weekend in France. To Rouen once again, just a Friday night to Sunday night job, so we only actually stayed one night in Rouen. We are very grateful that we have been blassed with the best weather of the year so far, and to be honest immediately we arrived in Le Havre at 8 o'clock yesterday morning, we headed up the coast to Etretat for a walk on the beach and for a wonderful, al-fresco French breakfast by the sea.

Onward to Rouen, where certain haunts are becoming regular, an example being going to Flunch for lunch. And all of this in a polo shirt! Mid-afternoon we headed to an out-of-town shopping centre, for visits to both Carrefour and Decathlon.

Decathlon has become a firm favourite with us, and in fact we had a long drive up to London a couple of weeks ago, to pick up new bikes for Alice and I. It is a great shame that there isn't one nearer to us in Salisbury, or even that no English sports shops even come close. Imagine a sports shop that actually sells sporting equipment as well as sporting clothing - ridiculous!

Anyway, resplendant on new bike, I now also have some new bike gear, including a very fluorescent windcheater. Also some summer walking shoes and some T-shirts, plus some stuff for Alice.

The Carrefour shop was somewhat less exciting, though we stayed last night in one of those apart-hotels (with limited kitchen facilities, but including a refrigerator) so we were daring enough to get a bunch of meat and cheese. Despite this, from the whiff in the car as we boarded the ferry, I'm not sure the cheese will survive the crossing!

On today to Honfleur for lunch - very packed, many other people obviously had the same idea - and we treated ourselves to a meal in one of the most highly-recommended restaurants in the town (by the Michelin Red Guide, which used to be my bible), which sadly was instantly forgettable. Still, we followed lunch with a mooch around the town, which again we know quite well - set us up nicely for the short trip to Le Havre for the return ferry.

In the rest of life, the clients are once again stressed about delivering some system or other, and have once again turned to me. Not bad I suppose that they think so highly of me, especially when most of the City is bracing itself is bracing itself for job losses off the back of the current credit crisis. Of course I know myself how bad this can be, having been unable to find any work for three months or so in 2002, but I know how much work my clients are supposed to deliver to their business, so short of any nightmare scenarios I should be safe.

As I mentioned earlier, I got a new bike a couple of weeks ago. Sorted out the one I wanted, then phoned the Decathlon in Docklands to reserve one. The plan was just to drive up on the Sunday to pick the thing up, but trust me to pick the day of the bloody London Marathon. And trust Decathlon to be right on the bloody route! Fortunately I realised this the night before, and so I was at least able to put off the visit until the road had opened once again. But at something around 2 hours each way, it was a long day. Ironically the first chance I got to use the bike was a week later, and although I managed a quick ride into the village (with Alice on her new bmx), we did actually have hailstones last weekend.

Oh, one thing I must mention since I am very proud of myself. I have mentioned previously problems attaching the trailer to the car - the electrical connectors simple didn't match. Well, last Saturday I took the factory-fitted, perfectly-crimped plug on the trailer, snipped it off, and replaced it with a new plug, £2 off eBay! I did a proper job too, soldering the ends to ensure the wires didn't come loose or fray. And, the plug went straight into the towbar socket, and all the lights worked correctly first time. I was so chuffed with myself I made the family come out to see!!

Wow! A marathon entry today to make up for the recent lack of entries. And only four hours to go before we arrive in Portsmouth - whoopee!

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