Saturday, March 22, 2008


Goodness - not a squeak from me since our trip to New York! A quick run-down on the last five months ... Christmas first of all with 14 of us gathering in Switzerland for a week of eating, drinking, skiing, family feuding and over-excited children; the usual sort of stuff and G of course being thrown into my family. This is somewhat like being hit head-on by a runaway train! 24 hours grace which gave me time to wash sheets and towels and dig out from under the sofa remnents of wrapping paper, chocolates and a couple of marrow bones belonging to Angus and the next lot arrived for a week ... by the 8th January when everyone left I just wanted to lock the door, take the phone off the hook and sleep for 2 days.

However, this was not to be - four days later the car had been filled to the gills for a nine hour drive to Brussels to take possession of the new house. G had sort of packed up his old house - he had pulled everything off the shelves and faced by chaos, had given up. But with help of friends, a wonderful Polish guy with a van and me, of course, he moved out and into the house (the garage is still full of what I class as rubbish but its days are numbered!). Beds hadn't been delivered so we spent a few days sleeping on a mattress on the floor, the heating played up and the dishwasher was dead, but apart from that all went well. The beds arrived but we couldn't get them up the stairs, so for three days they filled up the hall until the guy with the hoist arrived to put them in through the second floor window. The usual moving stories!

A couple of weeks of scrabbling round in packing cases, washing up by hand waiting for the new dishwasher to arrive and problems with internet connections and G whisked me off to St. Petersburg for Valentines - most romantic ... not! A beautiful city most certainly - the sheer size of the buildings and the enormous squares and parks are quite, quite breathtaking, but the Russians still have much to learn in the hospitality business. We found them surly and indifferent and despite all the rubbish one reads in the papers, Russia is not yet 'European' although the prices are! Of course the language was our biggest handicap and despite all our efforts to trot our our four words of Russian, it never raised a smile. I must admit I had expected museums to have explications in Russian and English - no way, and when you can't understand/don't know what you are looking at, you miss an awful lot.

We wanted to eat Russian food ... everywhere serves European food which is often excellent, but one doesn't go abroad to eat what you have at home; we wanted to drink Russian wine - embargo on Georgia so all wine is French, American, Australian. We did find some Russian beer though. On the couple of times we managed to eat Russian, we regretted it most bitterly, so plumped for French/Italian food.

And it was cold - bitterly cold. You face froze in a couple of minutes. We knew it would be, but it was the wind that really got to us and as we did all our visiting on foot (not able to read the bus signs!) we were frozen most of the time. So not one of our most successful jaunts - everyone said we should come back for the White Nights in June, but I think this is just a massive piss-up and we have other places to go to ...

On a sad note, my ex-husband died unexpectedly last week of a stroke - so everything was dropped, the son was put on a plane from Geneva to Brussels and the three of us drove to the south-west of France for the funeral - 2400km return trip over 48 hours. My children are of course heartbroken at losing their father at the age of 58, I am worried for them but I think my mourning was done when we separated and divorced. A very sad time, but a 'good' funeral on a lovely spring day ...

Little did G know when he contacted me on the internet dating site that he would find himself with a rather loopy English woman, her dour and rather smelly Scottish terrier and now a rather laconic 16 year-old. He is a courageous man!