17 hours from Paris

Here we are finally in England, well to be exact Leicester. We are staying at my Mum’s in her very small one bedroomed bungalow. Sure, it’s quite a squeeze for us three and my Mum but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Perhaps bad isn’t the right word,
but the idea of being cramped and little Rémy being frustrated about a change of scene was worrying me – particularly as my Mum smokes.
But my Mum takes care not to expose him to that and has even let us use her room – so we can close the door.

In fact he was no trouble at all during our long trip up from France in the car, crossing the Channel with Speedferries. Leaving home at 12.30am (or was it nearer 1am?) on Wednesday 15th, then arriving at 5.30pm the same day made our trip pretty gruelling.
Roadworks around London and stopping for Rémy made the trip a slow one, plus both me and Isa hadn’t slept much before leaving on Tuesday as we had so much to do.
We must have got in only 3 hours sleep each if that.

The ferry crossing was very choppy – particularly as we approached the breakwater in front of Dover. Isa decided to go to the loo before we arrived wondering if she’d have the time to before we docked. She wished she hadn’t because she walked in to a scene from the exorcist – seemed a lot of people were seasick in there.

On arriving at my Mum’s, she was obviously over the moon to see her Grandson for the first time. I don’t think it has quite sunk in that she is a Grandma. For the rest of Wednesday evening we had a rest – in fact a rarity for me, I fell asleep at 9.30pm – and had a full 12 hours sleep.

Thursday turned out to be a Rémy day. We bathed him in the morning – with some difficulty on the floor of the bathroom, after inflating the blow-up baby bath (makes a change from dolls I suppose LOL) in the car using a pump that plugs into the cigarette
lighter. I think for the next time we bath him (tomorrow) we’ll have to think again. Isa had to take over from me as my back went when I was trying to dress him.
We were also worried as it was 3 days since he had done a “number 2” – which he finally did yesterday afternoon to our relief.

For the afternoon he slept, so our plans to go shopping were put on hold. By the time he woke up we would have been caught in the rush hour had we gone to the local
shopping centre near the M1.
In the evening we went to see my Grandma (Rémy’s Great Grandma), who lives a few streets away from my Mum. In the end we spent the evening with her and my Uncle, Isa chatting with my Grandma while I sorted out a few things on my Uncles PC and rang a few friends up on Skype to arrange a few get togethers while we are here.

We had a late evening meal and turned in. Today we went to see my Dad’s old friend, Nigel, who lives just round the corner from my Mum’s place. They were both great friends, meeting in the CB Radio in the 80’s before both embarking on the Radio Amateur exams for their licences. Unfortunately I lost my Dad in 1990 but Nigel helped me so much during that awful time and I’ve never forgotten him. For around 15 years we lost touch – but got back in touch via the internet. When I spoke to him last year he told me that a few years ago he survived a heart attack, and had surgery to try to avoid him having another. Hard to think that he’d had one of those at his age – this year he’ll turn 50. Time marched on and before we knew it, we’d been chatting 2 hours. Which meant we went off shopping a little later than intended. When we got to the local Asda there was the usual chaos – loads of people shopping this afternoon. We’d gone mainly for food shopping but with some cash for Rémy from a few friends and my Mum we bought a few clothes for him – ready for when he grows bigger over the next year or so.

Whilst going down to the Asda at the shopping centre called Fosse Park next to the M1, we dropped a note with, Wendy, an old school friend who lives nearby to arrange to pop round to say hello. I guess now we are parents like she is now – she has two boys aged 8 and 4.
This afternoon she called back and we’ll see her next Thursday.

On Monday we’ll see Colin and Lorna over in Ibstock – Tuesday and Wednesday are mostly free. Thursday we’ll see another school friend, Anne, who was at Infant School with me over in Hinckley before we moved from there to Leicester in 1977/8. So was rather a surprise to hear from her 30 years later and a surprise to myself that I remember so much from that period of my life including Annes friendship. So we’ll be taking a trip to Hinckley before we see Wendy in the afternoon.

On Friday afternoon we’ll be popping round to see Martin a fellow bus enthusiast – and by chance he and his partner Yvonne had a baby litterally days before Rémy was born, a daughter. Each time I come over to Leicester we’ve said that we’d meet up, but due to lack of time we’ve not been able to to fix a time before.

I’ve also been in touch with an old colleague from my Midland Fox days, called John Breen. Hopefully we’ll be able to see him and his wife Steph too.

Tomorrow I have to clear my Mum’s sheds out. Sunday, if the weather is fine we’ll go
to Bradgate Park to the north west of Leicester.

Speaking about the weather – we’ve had dull and rainy weather here, much the same as in France. Except it’s really cold – perhaps I forgot that the British Summer could be this bad???

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