Sunday, 22 June 2008

Tonight I did have myself a real good time

Series 11 of Top Gear got off to a fantastically funny start. Hope this is a good omen for the rest of the season. [GRIN].

There's something happening somewhere

Finally we may have a breakthrough in Hubby's quest for a new (and interesting and challenging) job. He has been offered a 3-month secondment in London to work on the roll-out of WiMax projects. More details will be forthcoming. Suffice to say we are all mightily pleased and hope that it will be a fulfilling experience for him, whatever it may lead to.

No more working for a week or two

Actually that's not strictly true, as it's back to the slave-caves tomorrow as it happens. Still rewind a fortnight and it fits just nicely.

So here I am back from two blissful weeks in the Ardèche. Sunshine, kayaking, hiking, local markets, swimming and general lounging around for two weeks sounds like a decent holiday in my book. And that's what we got.

I don't know where to start or what to tell. We hired a car, hoping for a Scenic as we've had in the past, but instead Avis fobbed us off with a cheap and nasty Citroën Picasso. Disclaimer: no offence intended to Citroën owners. Now, Citroën make cheap and nasty cars made by and for people who's brains are in the wrong way round. Still, ripping the piss out of the car did pass the time in Paris traffic jams.

We stopped overnight at Hubby's Dad's. C made an absolutely lovely meal all of local produce (asparagus grown on the neighbouring farm, boar shot by JP this winter, local cheese and salad from the garden, and strawberries again from the neighbouring farm). It doesn't get much better than that! C's cooking is always a delight, even her 'just everyday' meals. Even though we were still quite full from a big lunch, we all took second helpings. I guess holidays are no time for watching your weight anyway!!

The next morning we had a walk round the farm with JP, and he showed us a foxes' den. It must not have been in use as Doggy didn't seem to pick up a scent. As JP said, if any animals had been there recently, even our "townie" dog would have noticed. It was lovely to walk round the farm and chat with JP. We were even lucky enough to spot a couple of red deer near a copse of woods.

Temperature was cold and sky was grey on arrival, but it soon got better and we enjoyed visits to local markets, mini-hikes, kayaking, swimming and lazing around in the sun. We did have one day of rain, but we managed to make that go by fairly painlessly by simply faffing around so expertly it took us all morning to leave the gîte and all afternoon to have lunch. How about that.

I love going to the Ardèche. I love the ace weather, the walks (we went on walks for wimps, as it was too hot for us to attempt the interesting-looking mountains in the distance - maybe one year we'll conquer them in October when it's cool!!), the markets, the fresh local food, the scenery... It's all jolly fab. So if you're looking for a fairly active holiday in France, go to the Ardèche. I have even added the gîtes to my links list so you already have somewhere to stay!!

Anyway I wanted to tell you all about it in great detail but I can't recall it all/be bothered to structure it all. Pics on Flickr.

And so they're back

No prizes for guessing where I'll be at 20:00 GMT+1 tonight. Slap bang in front of the telly, goggle-eyed in front of the new series of Top Gear! Perfect timing to keep away any end-of-holiday blues.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Relax, take it easy

Following Mika's orders to the letter down here in sunny Ardeche. Hubby and I are so definitively addicted to thei nterweb, we have sought out a McDonald's and have scoffed a muffin and pulled out the laptops. Read laptops, Hubby's using mine and I have swiped Mum's. QWERTY keyboard is requiring some acclimatisation after so many years in France!

Anyway, Hubby at least has an excuse. He has a phone interview Friday am, and needs to get the job spec off his email. I just can't stay away from the interweb!! Thought I'd grab the chance to say a big blog hello. Holidays are very much fun though no kayaking has been done thus far. Will tell all on my return.

Slobbery cyber kisses to you all. xx

Monday, 2 June 2008

Making excuses for idiocy

Oooooh I'm so mad! Today a horrible accident happened in the Alps. A coach full of school kids was struck on a level crossing by a train travelling at about 60 mph. Six (?) children were killed. It's awful.

Witnesses say the coach drove on to the level crossing after the lights started flashing and one of the barriers was already down. So the driver will hopefully be charged with manslaughter (I doubt it though). Because only a fool/suicidal maniac/psychopathic murderer drives onto a level crossing when the lights are flashing and the barrier is coming down.

But apparently the "journalists" on the payroll at France 2 think that the real cause of the accident is because of the adverse camber of the tracks, making it difficult for buses and HGVs to clear the crossing. And the fact that the crossing is there at all. The regional highways department should build a bridge, they say.

So, a tragic afternoon for six families and a harrowing time for many other parents until they knew their children were OK. And not because some complete fucking twat of a coach driver thought he could just nip through before the train arrived. But because there is a camber on the tracks. Great.

Why can't they take the opportunity to do a public service and remind the un-clever masses that when the lights are flashing and the barriers are coming down, the level crossing is the last place you want to be. Don't make excuses for the utterly negligent behaviour of that driver!!
Or are they afraid of being sued if they hint that maybe he might have made an error of judgement.

Ach! This post is just a jumble of incoherent indignation. I guess I'm annoyed that the first fifteen minutes of tonight's main news bulletin was spent sensationalising the apparent danger of level crossings, instead of focussing on the facts: man drove bus onto crossing, ignoring flashing lights and barrier, resulting in six deaths.

It's not helping with my level crossing phobia, either!

And I'm all angry at life because today I heard of the death of a colleague's 12-year old son, following a long battle with brain cancer. I know that he is better now, and he isn't suffering any longer. But it's still shit.