In which my first aid training is proved not entirely useless

Though I didn't really do much. At least, nothing that I wouldn't have done even if I hadn't been on the course. But thank you, work, for sending me on it anyway. The old man who fell and broke his nose and teeth this evening at the train station would thank you too, if he wasn't in hospital somewhere.

Story in brief: old man trips over something, goes flying, smashes his nose and teeth. Starts bleeding copiously. French people look on, saying helpful things like "He's broken his nose." "Oh, he's bleeding. Someone should call the ambulance." One actually helpful person went in to get the train station staff to call an ambulance, while we picked the man up and I took him inside, since there was no actual guarantee anyone was calling the man an ambulance, and there's nothing like pooling blood to focus the attention. Also, it was cold and raining, and the old man needed to sit down while he was bleeding copiously. Some nice passers-by did provide us with tissues, and the train staff did call an ambulance, then pretty much ignored us, me and this shaky old man who was incoherent and wondering what the hell happened to him. My advice to the SNCF is to provide first aid training to your staff, so you don't have to rely on random passers-by to dredge up half-remembered stuff. Ken the first aid man wouldn't be pleased with me, though, I completely forgot to check whether the poor old man was concussed or not - still, the paramedics were on the way anyway, so that's ok.

My most difficult task was to get this poor man to focus on keeping his head tilted forward so the blood didn't choke him and try to apply pressure to his nose to stop the bleeding a bit; he kept making feeble attempts to mop up his blood, rather than concentrating on leaning forward and letting someone else deal with the blood later on. (Turns out said someone was me, rather than anyone actually paid to do it. At least one of the train station staff said thanks...) And he kept trying to do things that would probably useful under other circumstances, like closing his briefcase, but at this point were a bit of a waste of effort (I closed it for him, since it was obviously bothering him...)

Poor man, I hope he's ok - he doesn't have any family round here and he didn't remember his kids' phone numbers. And he was clearly in shock and shaking by the time the ambulance arrived. I hope the shaking was just from shock or a stress reaction, rather than anything more serious. And I had to go home with blood on my hands, causing fellow bus passengers to look at me a bit oddly when they noticed.


Did it. 50,118 words so far, in 27 days.

The story's not quite finished yet, so I will carry on writing it, but I did my 50k words, which was the challenge. And I earnt my free proof copy. So I will one day soon (once I've finished writing it and done some editing) have a book with my story and my name on it on my coffee table. Can't wait.


Moving house

We have a new and shiny flat. It has views like this from the bedroom and the terrace. (Which is big enough to eat dinner on. If you're in the area, give me a shout...)

Gratuitous shots of this evening in our new village - the largest noise problem we have in the new place is the sound of fishermen talking, and that clinking sound boats make at night, rocking in the small waves. (At least until the bar near us opens again for the summer - we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

And my new flat has 2 bedrooms, and the aforementioned terrace with a sea view, and a bath tub and a washing machine - and even a dishwasher. It's perfect, and I love it dearly. And it's all ours, now.


A night out in Monte Carlo

So, last night was a fabulous taste of luxury. When I win the lottery, I want to live like that all the time!

Paul's work decided to take them all out to see Sir Tim Rice in Monte Carlo last night, to which I was very kindly invited (thank you Paul's work!) and we decided to stay the night at the hotel that the function was at, because how often do you get to go to one of the poshest hotels in Monte Carlo, after all? The evening was wonderful - all credit to the organisers - and Sir Tim was entertaining, amusing, and accompanied by amazing singers. It was a brilliant night.

The hotel room was bigger than our flat - the bathroom alone may have been bigger than our flat, in fact. The bed was enormous - I could lie widthways across it with my arms stretched out over my head and still not reach the edges. Granted, I have quite little arms, but that's still a big bed!

Photos, because I can...

Back part of the lobby:

Hotel room:

This is how much it would have cost if we'd just walked in and asked for a room:

(Also, did you know rich people have bath tea bags? Green tea tea bags, at that?)

View from our window:

View from outside the hotel - ours was the one with the open window:

We also got to use the spa facilities, which were included in the price - the sauna and swimming pool were fabulous.

And these are the views of the terrace and from it this morning after breakfast:


NaNo wordle

Because I'm easily distracted by new and shiny things, I thought I'd share with you the below (from It takes the most frequently used words in my novel so far, and puts them in a pretty order. Bigger words appear more often than smaller words (and common words like "the" and "a" aren't included in the count.)

Derryn, Melyssa and Krystal are my main characters - I like a character-driven novel... I'm pleased - and surprised - that laughing isn't bigger, though. Seems like they spend all their time laughing. It's nice that they're happy, but it's getting ridiculous - I shall have to find some synonyms if I ever get around to any editing of this...


Dissertation feedback

I got my dissertation feedback back today. Apparently my dissertation was "a convincing essay, easy to follow and well thought through". Also, it "is extensively researched and makes a good use of sources" and I deserve "credit for undertaking an interesting and ambitious project that paired a solid grasp of theory with a clear methological framework".

Isn't that nice?

(I think they were on crack, or marking someone else's essay, personally.)


Ding,Dong, the Bugs are dead!

Well, I hope so anyway. We resorted to all out chemical warfare and set off a gas bomb to kill them all yesterday. That or drive them to our neighbours flats, I'm not picky. Though I'd prefer the genocide method of bug removal, if forced to choose.

Having to evacuate my flat (after wrapping everything in clingfilm or sealed plastic bags) for 5 hours meant that I managed to get a fair amount of writing done - I'm up to 35,000 words now in my story. Most of them are rubbish, of course, but that's not the point. Quantity, not quality.

Today's is Monaco's national day. I'm not sure what they celebrate today, but all businesses have to close for the day. Which is nice. Do we have something like that in the UK? If not, we should.


St Paul - photos

Breaking this into another post, because it's my blog and I can...

Photos from Saint Paul, then.

From l'exterieur of the village:

Random sculptures around the village:

Pretty sunlight patterns:

Houses I want to live in, seen from our lunch terrace:

(and, because my camera has a good zoom, a closer view...)


St Paul and Vence

Today we took advantage of the sun and went to Vence. Which wasn't deeply fascinating, so soon after that, we went down to the medieval village of St Paul, which is famous for its art, I gather. Certainly there were lots of art galleries, clothes shops and jewellery shops. Not to mention sculpture dotted around.

We had a fabulous lunch in a restaurant overlooking the valley - it's still warm enough to eat outside here, so we ate on the terrace. (I know, you're so happy for me. I can hear it all the way over here...)

So, photos from Vence first of all:

And some flowers:


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All photos and text are mine - ask me *before* you use them elsewhere. Don't just copy them and hope I won't notice, it's theft.

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