The resurrection of our bathroom

We've had the builder round this week - finally, an end to the prohibition on showers is in sight!

I've got a series of photos to add to this post at some point when I get them uploaded, but until then, I just wanted to reassure you all that I'm not dead, though I'm deeply annoyed about being stuck inside during the last few days of summer, making sure that some builder doesn't nick my stuff.

Still, tomorrow is supposed to be nice, and so I shall spend the morning on the beach, ignoring the increasingly urgent packing that needs doing. If I forget something, Paul can always bring it over next week, right? As long as I have my passport, my bank card and my toothbrush, I'm set! Easy!

I woke up to a couple of sales this morning, too, which was exciting. I sent the two pairs of earrings below off to their new home this morning - I hope their new owner likes them!


Posting likely to be sketchy...

As if you hadn't already noticed that... I'm moving back to the UK soon, so the next few days are likely to be busy with packing, planning, flat-hunting and preparing for a new job.

In addition, our bathroom is being gutted and retiled to fix a sealing problem - apparently they didn't do it right the first time. So, house will be filled with builders, dust and tiles. In addition to me trying to pack around them.

Posting is likely, therefore, to be intermittent at best.

Though we all know my dedication to packing and things related, so you may see me here much more often as I procrastinate heavily. But I think if I spend too much time looking at this blog and all the amazing things I've seen and done while I've been here, I might just cry at the thought of leaving - I'm not exactly looking forward to the move as it is...


Sunrise and strikes

There's a general strike on all across France today, protesting the pension reform that Sarkozy is trying to introduce. Pretty much no public transport is running - it's a good thing we're not getting married this weekend instead!

There was, however, a train at some unearthly hour of the morning and my new husband went to get it, so I happened to be awake to watch sunrise this morning. It was quite pretty.







Days leading up to our wedding day

My mum and dad arrived on Monday, giving themselves plenty of time to relax in the sunshine before the others arrived. Everyone else arrived on Thursday and Friday - some of them later than they had planned, due to the oh-so-happy coincidence of a French air traffic control strike, which delayed a lot of the flights our guests were on and completely screwed up the plans Paul and I had made which had meant we could relatively easily meet everyone from their flights. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing from the airport, collecting people as they arrived and showing them to their hotels. Both Paul and I were utterly exhausted, both days, and to be honest, they kind of blur in my mind. It was lovely to get to talk to everyone when they arrived, but if we ever do this again, people are definitely making their own way here!

Everyone had finally arrived by Friday night, and we had welcome drinks on the beach for those who were up for walking round; most of my family went off and had dinner somewhere - I hope they had a good time! Huge thanks to Vix, Stu, Lou and James for their sterling efforts in setting up on the beach for drinks, helping me with ironing and washing up, collecting waifs and strays, and generally ensuring I didn't actually go mad before the wedding. You are all fabulous, fabulous people.

(If you've never watched people trying to assemble IKEA furniture on the beach as the light fades, by the way, I recommend it. I'm not sure they'd recommend doing it, but as a spectator sport, awesome. I have photos, somewhere in the pile of photos.)

In an effort (mostly successful, I think) to ensure that no one was horrendously hungover for the wedding, we decided food would be a good idea - and I do take credit for the suggestion of takeaway pizza, which everyone seemed pleased by. Certainly the restaurant were, and all credit to them for not even blinking when we asked for 14 pizzas to go, and dealing painlessly with a request for no cheese on one of them. Not even the vaguest hint this might be a problem - actual customer service, I'd forgotten what it was like!

I'd also like to thank the local police who, instead of fining us for drinking on the beach when we shouldn't have been, stopped after several drive-bys and explained that we weren't supposed to be drinking in public anywhere in Villefranche. They ought to be fining us. So, they'd be very grateful if we could hide the bottles of wine etc. out of sight from them, since what the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over, and then we could carry on happily, as long as we promised to tidy up after ourselves. They even congratulated us on our upcoming wedding. I was amused - and we did tidy up, of course. We made it home at about midnight, leaving Adam, Rich and Lou [ETA: and Fran and Tim] to bravely finish the remaining bottle of wine and find their hotel - they all looked surprisingly bright-eyed the next morning, all things considered!

(NB: This post may be edited randomly as people read it and remind me of things I've forgotten, or correct my misremembering. Don't be too surprised if it's utterly different each time you read it. If you read it and think I've cocked something up, do email me...)


Married me: Day 1

The day itself went amazingly, and a write-up (to remind myself, at least) and wedding pics will probably follow as we gather them together - if you took any, please do email me with them/a link to them - but I wanted to show you all the amazing job my mum and Vix did of decorating our hotel room, keeping it a secret all the time. It was incredible, breathtakingly beautiful! Thank you both - and anyone else who helped that I don't know about - you rock; I nearly cried! And a special thank you, too, to the hotel (who probably won't read this, but still...) for giving us the hotel room for free for the night, to say congratulations on our wedding. That was so kind, and we are really grateful!





Now they tell us...


Too late now!

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone - we certainly plan to!



American invasion of Nice

Some of you may remember this post, in which I mentioned the Americans invading in tanks. I promised photos and then, shamefully, never followed up. Here they are! (Yes, I am clearing my phone this week, how did you guess?) I still have no idea what they were doing here...




















Cap d'Ail

During the August Exile, we went looking for the beach at Cap d'Ail, having been told it was nice and worth going to. Didn't find it. Did find a picnic area and a very windy coastline, with huge waves. (If anyone knows where we went wrong from the picnic area, do shout...)









MAMAC - Nice

As part of the August Exile, I had to find things to do to fill up the day. One of them was pretending to be cultured and visiting the Musee d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (MAMAC). You can go up on to the top and wander round, where you get some great views over Nice, and then we walked round through the exhibits til we found the way out. (The lift was dodgy; I don't recommend it.) Photos follow.






Venus, by Niki de Saint Phalle:


More art:






Vive L'Empereur!

Not a cry you often hear on the streets of France, these days. But, there we were, sitting by the dock, waiting for Napoleon III to arrive, greet his wife Eugenie, and survey his new lands. Sadly, as the Mayor said, we weren't able to greet the Crown Prince, in whom rests the future of France. He finally turned up (delayed, as the announcer said, by the Spanish, who just didn't appreciate the importance of the French royal family - 150 years clearly hasn't changed much) and it has to be said, the cheers were muted. Apart from the woman standing right behind me, who was extremely vocal in her appreciation for His Majesty.

150 years ago yesterday, The Emperor of France arrived to take stock of Nice and its surroundings, who had just chosen to join him, rather than Italy, or whatever the other options were. He landed at Villefranche, due to an unfortunate miscalculation as to the depth of water needed for the Imperial Yacht - though the official reason given was due to maritime conditions. (Again, according to the announcer today.) Wouldn't you have hated to be the one to break *that* to the Mayor?

"Excuse me, sir, but you need to come in to the mairie and dress up today"
"Why? It's hot. Fuck off."
"The Emperor is coming here."
"Don't be silly, we're a small fishing village in the middle of nowhere. Why would he come here?"
"The idiots in Nice fucked up - he'll be here in about an hour - best get started on your speech!"

Yeah. A bad day, all things considered. His speech was good though - they gave it again today, to welcome Napoleon again. We all waved flags (though they were the modern French flag, not the relevant one from the time), occasional cheers were heard of "Vive l'Empereur", people were dressed in costume and must have been dying from the heat (and the Most Bossy Woman In The World was shouting at them to make sure they all curtseyed in time with each other and turned at the same time as each other - it was positively military!), and there were horse-drawn carriages to convey the Imperial Party around Villefranche. (Sadly, as you'll see below, they didn't close the roads, so the Emperor got stuck in traffic. Bet that never happened in the old days...)



The hired guests:





The Emperor:




Emperor and guests:




Emperor and carriage:




Emperor's marching band:

Emperor hitting traffic jam:



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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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