Thursday, August 31, 2006

A half a week in Provence

It has been a hard week at work coming down from the high of our holiday last week. You can probably tell from the previous post we had a lovely time in France. Then India was a complete contrast and also spectacular.

We drove as far as Paris on Friday night after a few tense pre-departure moments fitting the new bike racks. As it started to drizzle. At one point a springy bit pinged off into the garden, and I dropped the bike I was meant to be holding on the car roof, while a deranged lady with a headscarf like Princess Margaret and a case of Tourettes (no I don't mean me, really) stood on our driveway watching us shouting "F*ck, f*ck! f*ggghhhhrrrrr". I looked on smiling encouragingly (at Smithy not the crazy lady).

The Chunnel was great – we arrived half an hour early and drove straight on to the train. It takes about 35 minutes for the crossing and we were off again. I was wondering if Vanessa (our satelite navigator) would have a French accent once we crossed the channel but we were disappointed. She maintained her bossy, slightly posh Englishness. She guided us without a hitch to our roadside hotel near Orly airport around midnight just as the restaurant and bar were closing.

The mini bar yielded one beer, one coke and one water. Steve rang reception to say that our mini bar hadn't been stocked up. The hotel guy arrived and looked confused at two people talking incoherently yet excitedly in a strange language and stranger accent "whayne, there's noaouw WHAYNE!!". We convinced them to send us a bottle of wine up to get the holiday underway in the style we fully intended to carry on. That the bottle stayed sitting on the bedside table between our two singe beds half full is a testament to its pure badness. There is not much wine I don’t find drinkable and we were a bit disappointed to find it in France. Even some of the cheeky Slovenian numbers I've tried in the past were good compared.

The next day we continued on France’s fantastic motorways (compared to the UK – note article in today’s paper about a scheme to let people drive on the hard shoulder to relieve the traffic congestion) for about 7 hours until we arrived in the little town of Buis-les-Barronies. At L'Ancienne Cure where we stayed we were greeted by Martine, Erik and their black poodle. Martine asked if we wanted dinner. After a day of car snacks, butterscotch and chocolate eclairs washed down with vending machine coffee, I couldn't get my acceptance out fast enough.

to be continued....

Thursday, August 24, 2006


We arrived home last night after 13 hours of driving from Provence back to London. This is Gordes, the village we stayed for a few nights. I now understand why Provence is so popular - amazing weather and scenery - but really this area is all about the eating and drinking.

You can see many (many) more photos over at flickr and just to warn you there are a lot of food related ones.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Road trip

Road trip

Got the roadmap, got the cycling gear, got the snacks. Mont Vontoux here we come! See you in a week or so.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tower Bridge London

Tower Bridge London
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

It was a lovely evening after a rainy day. Although evenings seem much shorter all of a sudden. Am not looking forward to daylight saving ending at all.

Sitting in my study tonight I noticed our friendly garden fox had almost come right up to the study window. As usual I scrambled for my camera but then the phone rang and he (or maybe she) was off through the hole in the fence. He's a regular visitor so maybe sometime I will be quick enough. Maybe I can capture him one morning as he seems to have a regular sleeping spot on the grass.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

wedding update

Am very excited as the invitations went in the mail today and will be soon winging their way to 10 different countries. I hope people aren't as slack as I am when it comes to RSVPing.

I told our wedding planner that numbers might by slightly up - an increase in initial estimates from somewhere between 20 to 40. The reason I love her so much: her response to this piece of information was " wow the place will be really jumping!"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Craft actually

I like a bit of a challenge so I've decided to start a new blog. Craft actually is for the crafty, knitty, sewing stuff. LSF will be for the London, travelling and general rhubarb. I think this will mean more posting overall and a chance for me to do something a bit different in the new hood. Come over and visit for a cuppa and let me know if you like it!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

tube puppy

As part of the mission to produce some wedding invitations I visited Oxford Street yesterday, targeting Selfridges as the source of all things good in stationery. Such a beautiful place. It really is shopping heaven. Downstairs through the food hall is the source of some great stuff including ordning & reda stationery and who’s latest stock included the lovely and unique letterpress invitations from Elum. I did price these in a flight of fancy but when the quote came back at twice the cost of my dress and shoes combined I decided plan A - DIY was the way forward. I went around to the section where they have several walls of blank cards and paper and made a sales assistant help me count out 100 cards and 100 envelopes.

I am very happy with the design I've come up with but last night discovered there is a fatal flaw. I insisted that Smithy carefully wash his hands to view the prototype; while waiting for this to happen a drop of condensation from my water fell on the prototype. Disaster. Ink everywhere. I’m considering sending them out with a warning. So Smithy came in to my study to find me frantically making prototype Mark II in the hope that he wouldn’t discover it was my carelessness that destroyed Mark I. Unfortunately I was busted.

On the way home from Selfridges I got on the Jubilee line at Bond Street and was delighted to spy a seat in the middle of the carriage. Only when I looked down I realised why no-one was sitting there. Two drooling dogs – one a very cute puppy who seemed keen to sit on top of anyone’s feet and shopping. The other a stud with quite large balls. His owner looked like he’d had a rough Saturday night as he sat with head resting on his skinny knees.

Friday, August 04, 2006

WIP Wedding Invitations

I freaked out a little bit when P told me on Wednesday she had worked out it was 12 weeks to the wedding.

This actually means TEN weeks today that we leave for Aus. V. Excited.

I MUST do (start) our invitations. This weekend. Or else!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

IOW cycling trip

South coast
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

We got off the ferry at Ryde (how appropriate you say) and met the group at the station cafe. We got off to a shaky start down the wooden pier, trying not to get thin tyres stuck between planks. I was pretty relieved when the couple in front got off and walked. I figured if they in their matching racing gear and clip shoes could walk it then it was fine for me too.

On to firm land and we all saddled up again. Round the corner and up a big bloody hill. They all took off like it was flat, except for racing couple who appeared to be cycling downhill. I found out later Lisa is some international biathalon champion. Great. Anyway that left me at the bottom, frantically trying to remember how to use my gears again. Bugger.

Anyway we finally lost most of them, as they cyled gaily off into the distance. "You.....go.....on......too......." I gasped at Steve. Luckily he told me get a grip and my lungs eventually started working again.

We cycled around to Cowes and had lunch there, watching the yachts sail in. It was a great atmosphere and I would have happily stayed eating burgers and drinking shandies but everyone else was keen to "get some miles in".

50km later we finally arrived at Freshwater, me legs burning and shaking a little bit, Steve carrying my backpack. The shame.

We had a lovey dinner at the hotel. Most of the group were younger and more than half were Aussies.

The next day thank goodness everyone left before we got on the road so we could take it at a pretty leisurely pace along the south side of the island. They were all doing an extra side trip to the Needles (gah) while I was trying to figure out if Smithy would notice if i hailed a cab back to the ferry. Unfortunately he was on to me and made my cycle in front.

We finally got back to the ferry after a short break for sugar laden food to get me up the last couple of hills. It was a lovely sight back to Portsmouth with the sails dotted out accross the channel.