Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Fair Wind for France..

Well, I'm off in the morning at 6am, which reminds me I haven't yet booked my taxi! I only have to go to Hove Station, but my suitcase weighs a ton and though it has wheels, I won't be wheeling it up that hill. My train is at 6.30 and gets to Gatwick at 7.11am. As the check-in closes at 7.45am, I hope the train is on time. Fingers crossed.

Just to bring you up to date, we had a really nice weekend, and the Car Boot Sale was great. Daughter bought a few things for Grandson, and I bought a couple of things I really didn't need. One of them was a sort of patchwork throw, very old and faded, with appliqued elephants on it. A bargain for £2, and it's now draped over my drop-arm chesterfield, looking lovely. The only downer was that I got a Parking Ticket (on the new car!) because I was parked on a bus stop. Silly really, and my own fault. I was in holiday mode, and forgot that the Brighton Parking Authorities are a greedy and rapacious lot. And though there are no buses there on a Sunday, the laws allow them to still collect fines. Fine!

The rest of the Bank Holiday was set fair though, and today we have had even better weather. Hot sunshine and a sparkling sea when I went on my early morning walk. I've topped up my mobile, cleared out the fridge, watered the plants and cut the grass. I've got my passport, my driving licence and my Euros. Now I must go and finish packing and order that taxi. I also want to call Son and Daughter before I go, and they won't want to hear from me at 6am in the morning!

Bye for now, I'll miss you all, and will try to keep in touch from France.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

All over the Place..

Heaven knows what I've been doing this week, but it hasn't been Blogging. I suppose that real life has taken over again. I'm sorting myself out for my impending trip to France, and I don't seem able to concentrate on more than one major thing at once. I've been on the phone to my France BF a couple of times, confirming arrangements and that sort of thing. And I've booked my flights (from Gatwick to Toulouse on 7th May and back home on 28th May). I've also managed to organise hiring a car for 10 days while I'm there, and I've got my Euros, or some of them. Of course, thanks to the dodgy global economy, our currency isn't doing too well at the moment, so I didn't get a great deal on the Euros (£500 gets you approx 615 Euros, which is pretty poor compared with last year, when it would have bought you about 750 Euros). Sister had what sounded like a good idea on this. She suggested buying Dollars and then changing the Dollars into Euros. It wasn't quite as good as she'd thought though - when Daughter checked, it meant I might have made about 25 Euros, but I probably would have ended up paying most of that in commissions. Never mind, it's swings and roundabouts I guess.

Earlier this week, on Thursday I think (no, Wednesday), Son finally came to collect the old car. We have been trying to organise this for a couple of weeks, but as he has been busy moving and settling into his flat it has taken longer than I thought it would. The annoying thing has been having to park the thing while I waited. I have used some of my Visitors' Parking Permits, but I forgot to write in the Registration number one day and was given a ticket. My fault, but it was £35 and absolutely infuriating. Next, I decided to park the offending vehicle up the road a bit where there are no parking restrictions, only to go back three days later and find (after driving the car) that I had a flat tyre. One new tyre, £49. (It would have been much cheaper to keep using the Visitors' Permits!) Since I have also had the car serviced (£100), taxed (£99), MOT'd (£78), fitted a new rear wiper (another £90) and also had the car cleaned inside and out, I do feel that Son has got a bargain. Bless him, he did look happy when he came down, and was with a very nice girl friend. He took me out to dinner too, which was a lovely treat, and as he left he hugged me and said "Thanks for my second hand-me-down car Mum!" That makes it all worthwhile.

This week I also helped Sister to write a letter to one of her neighbours about the building work which has been driving her mad of late. They have had this complicated agreement about replacing the windows in the property, but the guy who was arranging it has been impossible to get hold of, and has been ducking and diving when it comes to communication. He is making a contribution to the replacement windows, but was refusing to show Sister the original quotation, or give her the number of the company making the windows. Anyway, between us we concocted a letter which was long overdue, and which demanded some proper communication before any cash would be forthcoming. It did the trick. No sooner had the letter landed on his welcome mat, than he was on the phone offering information, contact names and numbers, and everything else she has been trying for. Previously she has been either emailing him or sending text messages to his mobile, but I reckoned a bit of old-fashioned putting it in writing was what was needed. Emails and texts are too informal and too easy to ignore if you want to. She was thrilled with the result (and so was I) and I hope it will lead to getting the job done properly. Otherwise the next bit of old-fashioned letter writing will come from her Solicitors.

I'm off to bed now. We're planning to get up early and go to the Car Boot Sale at Brighton Station in the morning (Daughter and Grandson are here). They'll be up very early, so I'd better get some beauty sleep..