Monday, 15 October 2012

Living in Ooh La La Land

This is what I want.....

Bonsoir tout le monde

This week I have been mostly tearing around France. The Boy and I decided to go on a half hearted attempt to look at potential holiday homes - deep down it was probably more of a full-hearted attempt at getting some child-free peace and quiet for a couple of days and to avail ourselves of cheaper wine. However, as we all know, the female of the species can be far more conniving than that and I went with the express intention of bullying The Boy into upping our mortgage and shelling out for a nice pad, whether he was aware of that or not. I suspect he was.
This is what I'll get. Only 90% of my time is
spent in cloud cuckoo land - the other
10% is on property porn

It didn't bode well from the start really. One of the first things you do pre-trip is book your hire car. If you do it on one of the generic websites that offers to find you the best deal,your car hire company isn't indicated until the booking has been made. Unfortunately, ours turned out to be Hertz which was indeed unfortunate as The Boy has been banned from hiring from them for life. (He didn't commit a heinous crime, merely wrote one of their cars off the day after proposing to me in Scotland - an omen of things to come perhaps? The crime wasn't even writing the bloody thing off - it was crawling from the wreckage in Glencoe at 6am and minus 10 degrees and hitching to the nearest village rather than freezing our (his) balls off. ). Either way, we thought Hertz might have forgotten by now so we tried it on only for the woman to pronounce "you 'av a problemme wiz Herrrtz end I cannot igh-ur you zis carrr". By you she meant either of us. I quickly corrected her on that point and asked not to be tarred with The Boy's brush. She relented which was fine but it meant I had to do ALL the driving, all 700 km of it and the French now have v strict drink-driving laws so not even a solitary beer at lunchtime.

The boding didn't get much better. We met the first agent, a lovely guy called, rather preditably, Jean-Pierre and agreed to follow him out of the village square to the first property. Unfortunately I followed the wrong guy - easily done given all the French drive Peugeot 106s. There's a reason I'm in the wine trade and not a private detective.  Issue rectified - found the right guy and spent an enjoyable afternoon with him. He even bought us (The Boy - I was adhering to the law) a beer and asked me if I'd do the Lac de Vassiviere Half Marathon with him next July. He's such a nice guy I probably will.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, viewing properties in France is a very interesting experience. They all speak excellent English, apparently because 80% of their clients are English. And I thought we were all selling up and coming home? They can be very charming of course and some of them buy you beer. But the decor is bloody awful. Where else would you get floor to ceiling dark brown flowered wall paper that has somehow managed to find its way between the ceiling beams aswell? In every room. Honestly, I googled "very bad 1970s French wallpaper" and couldn't find anything as bad as the stuff we saw up close.
If The Boy doesn't aquiesce
to my demands I shall decorate
our entire house like this or make him listen to
Rolf Harris on repeat

So, we saw 11 properties. Some were complete shockers, a couple were pretty cool, one was amazing. Then we came home and I tried to push The Boy into making a plan. He's really making me work for it and spouting stuff about exchange rates and other such nonsense that frankly I don't care about because a) I'm a woman on a mission, b) we need another venue for a book group weekend and c) I'm a woman on a mission.

I shall keep you posted.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

13 miles of awfulness

I've surprised myself.

I'm rather like my sister in that we both have fads that last a nanosecond before we find another far more interesting one. She moved from learning Japanese to horticulture to tap dancing within a month and I'm sure she won't mind me saying that. The one thing we did stick at together was learning the Charleston which, I'll have you know, is actually very difficult. Plus you never get to display your skills in public unless you deliberately engineer a 20s themed fancy dress party at which you're the only pair dancing.

Anyway, the point is, today was the long awaited and much dreaded half marathon. Given that I've spent two out of the last three weeks away from home and probably peaked a bit early in my training, it didn't go too badly. I started the week with an enforced version of the Atkins diet. I've never fancied doing that because apparently it makes your breath smell but by far the worst thing about not having any carbs is the rabid hunger that comes with it. No matter how much fruit or omelette you eat, you cannot fill up. Plus the very fact that you can't eat carbs makes you want them even more. Never has a child's soggy marmite on toast that's sat on the floor for 3 hours looked so appetising. The sogginess was from my drool as I gazed lovingly upon it from my bowl of melon (3 types just to make it a bit more interesting).

After that followed three days of carbo-loading. Given that I spent three days desperate for the pasta-fest to start it couldn't have been more disappointing. I was so delighted that three days of protein-only had shed me 3lbs that by the time I was officially allowed to eat again, I didn't want to. I felt my face balloon into the shape of my breakfast as I forced down my marmite bagel. Followed by toad in the hole for lunch and lasagna for dinner. Come to think of it, perhaps that was overdoing it a little.

So, the morning finally dawned. After a bowl of porridge the size of Lake Victoria, I crawled onto the Jubilee line at Stratford looking forward to a nice sit down. It seems 5000 other runners also had the same idea - so I stood, wishing I hadn't lost those 3 lbs and still looked 7 months pregnant. And when I got to the race area, I stood some more in the mile long queue for the toilets which incidentally is all psychosomatic. No-one needs the loo that often.

There was no turning back then.  I stood at the start, gazed at the heavens, muttered " I hope you appreciate this, mother" and set off. And, wow, how easy it seemed. It looks like living in an area of unfeasibly steep hills pays off when training for a race on the flat. My hips gave in, my toes started to hurt (strange) but I swore I wouldn't even think about walking until 10 miles and then I made a terrible mistake. At ten and a half miles I reached round to try and remove the super-power-giving gel pack (that The Boy had lovingly donated) from my back pocket and found it had stuck to the jelly babies I had been storing to give me energy. In order to get energy you're supposed to eat these things, not just store them, but I hadn't been able to because with all the sweat and heat I was giving off, they had fused into one gelatinous mess. So I had to walk while I tried to remove the gel pack, wrestle with it's tab and try to stop myself from gagging on it's vile, warm contents. I looked at a poor guy prostrate on the floor being attended to by paramedics and thought "you lucky sod, you're having a lie down". Hope he was ok. Walking made my legs seize up so it was an almighty effort to get started again but what's the choice? Crossing that finishing line was the best thing I ever did. And then my sister thought I was having a heart attack. Nothing a nice cold pint didn't sort out though.

And now I'm home and I can eat what I want and drink what I want and wallow in a nice hot bath.

And then the real world will begin again tomorrow. But at least I have proved to myself that I can decide to do something new, train for it and do it.

But I've turned down the London Marathon the charity offered me for March. Don't want to let a good thing go bad.
Sorry, no photos, too tired! And before you ask - 2 hours 18 minutes....