Rubbish internet

Those of you who have been wondering, I've been offline because of the combined total incompetence of phone companies and broadband providers who shall remain nameless for the minute...

Sadly, I found out today that this is likely to continue until mid-January, with intermittent breaks when I'm back in France, or somewhere that provides free internet. I know you're all deeply upset, obviously, by the lack of my babble. (But, I hasten to point out, you've all got my email address, or you can find me on Twitter, so it's your own fault for not getting in touch.) Hopefully it won't actually take as long as mid-January; I may forget how Internet works by then...


Wedding day

I never wrote about our wedding day, did I? Well, I will, since it was nearly 2 months ago now, and if I don't, I'll forget... This will be long and there aren't going to be any pretty pictures (at least, not yet) so feel free to skip it. This is mostly for me.

It started sunny, although way too early. Paul went to get croissants and pain au chocolat, and made coffee while I had a shower, and we got dressed. (He looked incredibly handsome in his suit. I'm going to have to find lots of things he is required to wear suits to.) Then, my mum and Vix arrived for the complicated girly bit of getting ready that I usually skip. Vix took lots of photos while mum did complicated things with a hairdryer and makeup (yes, that's as technical as I get when it comes to girly things) and Paul sensibly stayed out of the way as much as possible in our small flat, drinking coffee and keeping a close hold on our rings.

Mum went back to the hotel so she could get ready, and Vix started her day of ordering photo poses. I have never, ever had as many photos of me taken before - if you put all the photos of me in the world together, taken by anybody ever, it wouldn't even come close. And, amazingly, most of them are half acceptable - so thank you Vix, you've worked miracles!

We had photos on the balcony, with the sea behind us - our landlady came out in her dressing gown to say how beautiful we both looked, and wish us all the best for the day. And then we headed towards the beach - it was still early, and a Saturday without cruise boats in town, so the beach was empty and the bay was open and all scenic. Everyone we passed on the way smiled at us, and one nice couple came all the way up to us on the beach to congratulate us and wish us all the best. Vix took loads of photos of us walking to the beach, and on the beach - the ones I liked best were the ones of us standing on the rocks, though balancing wasn't easy! (I went barefoot, in case you were wondering - it helped, but probably not much!)

It was a lovely way to start the day though, peaceful and quiet and just us. So non-stressful, it was awesome.

Then it was time to go back to the flat to get my wedding shoes and Vix's handbag, and meet half of our guests at the fountain at the bottom of the stairs. One small hitch when my heel got stuck in the extraordinarily wide grate on the steps, but otherwise we made it down the stairs without falling over or anything - a major success, given the shoes!

Everyone then followed us through the old town, where everyone said congratulations (special mention to SuperWoman for being so nice) and we processed towards the citadel, where we met the remaining half of our wedding guests. The sun was shining and it was warm and perfect for photos. Which is good, because there were many, many photos. With everyone. We had some time to wait in the courtyard outside the citadel because the wedding before ours was overrunning a bit, and my abiding memory is of going from group to group of people and having photos taken. (If you weren't me or Paul, what were you doing while we were having photos taken with someone who wasn't you?)

Finally, it was time to go inside, and the friendly bilingual citadel woman showed all our guests in, and we followed them up. The mayor - who is awesome - was waiting for us at the top of the stairs and greeted us, and showed us to our seats at the front, where he started the ceremony.

Quickly realising that half the people there had no idea at all what he was saying, the mayor asked if anyone would translate for him. Many thanks to Oliver for volunteering! The mayor, horrified by the number of unmarried people we had at our wedding, kindly offered to marry anyone who wanted to be married - I half thought he was going to pick random people and marry them off while we were all there.

We said "oui" at the appropriate point (after the mayor had impressed upon us all the responsibilities we were taking on for our as yet unborn children - I'm responsible for people's moral education, be afraid, be very afraid, for the poor scarred hypothetical children) and our lovely witnesses signed in the right places, and presents were handed out to Oliver and the people who had come the furthest (Piers and Ruth, thank you for persevering through air traffic control strikes and delays to come - I'm still waiting for photos of the giant pink posters...) and then all our guests lined the hallway and clapped as we walked through them. Everyone was so smiley!

Then came the kissing of the bride - I lost count of the number of kisses I got that day, that's how you know it was a good day! - and, while everyone else was going downstairs and apparently looking for confetti, the mayor gave us a copy of a guide to the history of Villefranche and talked to us a bit. Then we emerged into the sunshine and clouds of confetti - much to the upset of the mairie staff because people might have slipped on the confetti-covered marble floor.

More photos in the garden - memorably directed by Vix standing on a chair, with two kind volunteers holding back the palm tree leaves so they wouldn't get in her shot.

Then we went to lunch, and the restaurant surpassed themselves. Wine flowed freely, food was delivered more or less smoothly - and tasted amazing when it did finally arrive - and they even managed to provide vegan things for Vix. I was impressed, anyway, and everyone else seemed to enjoy themselves too!

Then I abandoned the party, since I was developing one of those splitting migraine type headaches, where all I could do was lie there, waiting for the pain to go away or for my head to explode and kill me. Sadly, the latter didn't occur, and it took 3 and a half hours of lying there wishing it would before things improved.

Beach petanque in wedding clothes raised a few eyebrows from passing locals, and by the time I arrived, the wine was flowing freely and almost everyone was at the beach. I mingled a bit, watching people get slowly hammered - or not so slowly, in some cases - and generally had a good evening. I hope everyone else did too (though really, I'm not so bothered about everyone else. It's all about me...)

Paul and I finally saw the last set of people off in the direction of their taxis at about midnight, and went to get our stuff from our flat - which looked like a bomb had hit it - and go to the hotel we were going to be staying at (because we couldn't face the idea of tidying up that night). I was shattered and both of us were looking forward to going to sleep - there's a romantic wedding night story for you, this is what happens when you get married after 8 years already together, people - and then I opened the door to our hotel room and it was full of magic. There were fairy lights everywhere and roses, and rose petals on the bed, and it was *amazing*. Thank you, again, mum and Vix (and anyone else who helped!) because it was so lovely. Absolutely beautiful.

The next morning was spent saying goodbye to people who were leaving early, moving out of the hotel room and making sure the cleaner wouldn't throw the flowers and fairy lights away before I had a chance to come and get them (she was a sweetheart, too). We saw my parents for breakfast (I think - we had a lot of breakfasts at the restaurant, so that might have been a different day...) saw Vix who uploaded the many, many hundreds of photos onto our computer, and my aunt and uncle who wanted to see the views from our flat. Then, we went into Nice for lunch with UK friends who were still around, got attacked by butterflies repeatedly, and watched Adam eat brains and chips. Then we came home, said goodbye to remaining family, drank champagne and looked at photos. (Presumably we did something for dinner, too, maybe Paul will remind me... I think we went out, since chances of us having food in the house were slim at that point.)

The next few days were filled with friends and family, champagne and sunshine, until it was time for the last set of people to make their way to the airport, where we waved them off and went home to collapse with exhaustion.

Thank you so much to everyone who came, we had an amazing weekend, and it was lovely to see you all. (And I'm sorry our thank you letters are taking so long to get out - 2 months really is kind of unacceptable, I realise, but flat hunting and starting work and everything has taken up so much more time than I expected it to. Will fix soon, promise!)

[I'm sure I've forgotten things in this write-up, so I might well edit it as I remember them. Don't be hugely surprised if it changes from when you last read it, therefore...]


Sometimes, a shot in the dark actually hits its target...

Plan to escape England has maybe progressed a step. This is good news. When I know more, I shall tell you more - but in the mean time, keep your fingers crossed for me...



France is lovely, and it smells of home. London, not so much.

I'm not dead, I still don't have a working internet connection back in the UK, and this horrible thing called work is taking up a lot of time.

I'm nearly caught up on my jewellery orders (business picks up in the run-up to Christmas, which is nice), and I'm still way behind on my story. I've done 15,000 words, and I need to ideally be up to 25k by the end of the weekend. That's unlikely to happen, but it's not impossible. If I can get up t0 20k, that will be pretty much good enough. That's certainly possible.

Flight was fine - pilot from Easyjet actually understands customer service. Was shocked, but pleased - may write to them and tell them how good he was. Ground staff were utterly fucking appalling - am definitely planning to write to complain about them. Complete and total lack of understanding of basic customer service, or even health and safety principles - shutting a plane load of people in a tiny waiting room, with the heating on full blast, closing all the doors and windows, and then not giving us any information about what's happening and why we're delayed by 40 minutes is utterly unacceptable.

The apology from the pilot - which was polite, informative, specific and sounded fairly sincere - went a long way to making up for the shockingly bad attitude of the gate staff, but since it's a contracted out service, I rather think I might write to Easyjet, urge them not to renew the contract with a company that's so obviously lacking in basic training for its staff.

Incompetence annoys me.


Wordcount widget

OK, So I'm being good and not boring you like last year - but in case any of you are vaguely interested in how my story's getting on, I've added a wordcount widget on the sidebar over there, so you can see how far behind I'm getting!


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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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