The Iron Lady

After a recent trip to the doctor it would appear that I am low in ferritin and need some more iron in my life. It would seem I am not made of cast iron after all. 

It explains why I look like I’ve been punched in the eyes, the unexplained tingling in my left leg (not MS after all) and a surprising multitude of other niggling things including fatigue, lethargy and malaise. Not just my personality after all. 
While I had to go private and spend a fortune on blood tests to find out that I only need an iron supplement, I’m going to say it was money well spent. 

Brighton Sunny

On Sunday, having been out the night before and feeling a little grey around the gills, we decided spontaneously to go to Brighton for the day.

One minute we were sitting in the kitchen having breakfast, grey skies inside and out, an hour or so later we were walking along the pebbled,beach, wind in our faces, blue skies and sunshine. What a good decision!
We had the quintessential English day at the seaside. The dog chased a ball running madly along the beach, we walked along the front admiring the stunning Regency mansion blocks of flats with floor to ceiling windows and glorious sea views and we had some of the best fish and chips with a cup of tea for lunch.
We walked around the gardens at the crazy Brighton Pavillion, met a Welsh terrier and an Airedale (like minded people) and ended up sitting on the pebbles under the pier as the waves crashed up and over the sea wall in front of us and the horizon stretched out beyond.
Having lived near the ocean for the majority of my life, I miss being able to walk to the beach, the sea or ocean always puts things in perspective as one realizes how insignificant one is. The endless cycle of tides and waves will long continue after we’re gone.
We fell a little bit in love with Brighton. Perhaps it was the sunny day, the friendly people or the break from London. Or perhaps it was as simple as a day at the seaside.
Needless to say we came home and looked at property for sale in Brighton which turned out to be so much cheaper than London! Who knows… a flat with a sea view would be very appealing. 

Donkey Rides and Ferret Racing

On Sunday it was the annual Queens Park Day.

The park was busy with families, dogs, donkey rides and ferret racing. Bouncy castles, inflatable slides, dog fancy dress and baking competitions were the order of the day. 
Sadly we missed the dog fancy dress where we’d planned to dress Agnes as Elizabeth the First and follow with a different queen each year to celebrate Queen’s Park. (next year she’s definitely Anne Boleyn). 
We did make it for an underwhelming ferret race though where Big T won a pound on a ferret called Biscuit. The other three ferrets turned around halfway through the race so not much of a sprint to the finish. Who took the Biscuit?
Agnes it seems, loves a ferret race as she was very excited by the whole procedure, followed closely by the donkey rides. 
QPD was fun for all the family!

Autumnal Feeling

After three days of 30+ temperatures, an enormous thunderstorm with buckets of rain arrived at 4am and we were back to normal. Temperatures dropped, grey skies prevailed and suddenly we went from balmy to brisk. It seemed Autumn had arrived.

It is Agnes’ first Autumn and she snuffles the fallen horse chestnut leaves sniffing the damp earth below. She sits in the rain trying to catch rain drops in her mouth so it appears is well suited to the climate. A Welsh terrier indeed.

Big T has had his first cold for the season this week and while we haven’t put the heating on yet as we’re trying to hold on until October, we’re transitioning into the Autumn wardrobe.

Starting to get cosy.

London’s burning

Burning hot that is, as we’re having a late summer heatwave!

To take advantage of the heady temps we met up after work near Hampstead Heath. Me with my bike and Big T and Aggie Bagster. 
We walked across the Heath as the sun started to set, picnickers galore on trusty tartan blankets. 
Agnes with a spring in her step, bounded through the grass chasing balls. 
And then home on the overground and dinner outside in the garden. 
Enjoy it while it lasts!

Celebrate good times!

It was a lovely birthday, Sunday lunch sitting by the canal at Kings Cross kicked things off a day early. 

A walk through a new tunnel at Kings Cross. 

Then time to look for a new pair of shoes for winter. Hello Selfridges!

For the actual date de naissance, I went to work, went out for a leaving lunch (I considered it my birthday lunch) and came home to champagne and dinner cooked by Big T in the garden. 
A very good birthday indeed!

The Birthday Eve

Similar to Christmas Eve, the Birthday Eve has a sense of anticipation but also a sense of reflection. 

Each year I reflect on the year past and assess my life and goals for the coming year.
Life is zipping by at breakneck speed and I realise how important it is not to waste it. In a blink of an eye I will wake up and be seventy, or if I’m lucky eighty or ninety and I will be looking backwards. So for when I’m looking backwards I hope I can read the memories I’ve documented over the past few years and continue to write. 
It’s important to have a purpose but it’s important to be happy.

And so as another year passes and I look for purpose and meaning, the most important thing is to celebrate being alive and healthy. 

I for one will raise a glass to that!

To Newhaven and home

We arrived into Newhaven at 4am, a surreal time to be up and about at the best of times.

By 4:30am we were sitting on the platform waiting for the first train to arrive at 5:15am. It was a tired forty five minutes where Agnes was able to get into her bed which I’d diligently carried from Valbonne, curl up in a furry ball and go to sleep. I resisted the temptation to push her out and try to squeeze into it myself. It looked very inviting!
From Newhaven, we changed trains at Brighton which took us to London Victoria and then it was an easy step to Oxford Circus and then on the Bakerloo line to Queens Park.
We made it home at 7:45am. Taking the time difference into consideration it had taken twenty three hours and forty five minutes. I wistfully thought of the four hour door to door I used to do before we got a dog.
It was raining, grey and cool in London after the heat of Spain. It was nice to be home. We collapsed and for the next two days did nothing until I had to go back to work.
Would I do it again? 

The First Stage – Antibes to Dieppe

The adventure began at Antibes where Agnes and I boarded the TGV for Paris. I’d apparently splashed out on First Class tickets so off we went in air conditioned comfort with a glorious view of the Côte d’Azur.

All was going well, after a couple of false starts I’d managed to get two seats and Agnes was asleep. Then came an announcement. 

From what I could understand the train was en panne (whatever that meant) but I took it to mean in pain. I was right as we stopped, literally ground to a halt and that was that. 

Eventually, as things were getting hotter and after lots of bumps and bangs from below and after a false start we were off again. 

We arrived into Paris an hour late so I set off by metro to Paris St Lazare where I managed to find a train to Rouen, my next stop on the journey. 

At Rouen we had a little time so Agnes finally went to the toilet having held on for seven hours and then we were off on our final French train to Dieppe. 

Dieppe seemed a little depressing after the Côte d’Azur. It was drizzling but then a rainbow appeared and the port was revealed as the inspiration it had been for the Impressionists. 

After a couple of hours where we walked around the port and back, we walked along what turned out to be a long way to the ferry terminal along a dark deserted road. Luckily I had the ferocious Agnes to protect me!

By midnight we boarded the ferry and by a strange oversight of management, I managed to install Agnes under a table instead of in a cage below deck. We were both happier and so as the engines revved up and we cast off, we were heading back to England. 

Au revoir la belle France! A bientôt. 

Twenty four hours of insanity

There are limited options to get a dog back into the UK. The reason for this is rabies so despite having a pet passport and the required vaccines, travelling without a car is a challenge. 

We had decided to leave the car in France as we couldn’t park it in London without registering it in the UK. Too tedious to even contemplate which meant that alternate means of travel had to be found for Agnes. 
Flying was very difficult as British Airways, Easy Jet and Air France don’t fly dogs into the UK for the reason listed above so that only left the ferry. 
With a car we have hopped through the Eurotunnel but as a foot passenger there was only one route possible with a dog, Dieppe to Newhaven. 
The challenge then, to get from Antibes to Paris. Paris to Rouen, Rouen to Dieppe. Midnight ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven then 5am train from Newhaven to Brighton, Brighton to London Victoria and two tubes to get to Queens Park and home by 8am hopefully…
As I write this, we’re forty minutes into the journey heading towards Paris. 
Bon courage!