Chris was in Oxford and then Swansea last week, only coming back on Monday. By way of an experiment he took the train back from Nice airport to Les Arcs-Draguignan which is just 10 minutes drive from our house. It was only partially successful because he discovered what many others have, namely that although the fast ‘intercity’ French rail service (the TGV) is outstanding, the local lines are rundown, overcrowded, frequently delayed and incomprehensively announced. But in the end he got back safely back via a storm-lashed Côte d’Azur coast that was very definitely not ‘azure’.
Tuesday was the day we both visited the doctor because we have had what most of France has: a particularly vicious form of the flu. And as in the UK the vaccine (not that we’d had it) appears to have been totally worthless. The doctor in Taradeau is one of those good old-fashioned family doctors who seem to have been rendered obsolete in the UK. He speaks good English and rather bizarrely his surgery has an oil painting of a Napoleonic naval battle in which a French frigate is clearly being sunk by the British. It didn’t seem appropriate or wise to comment: perhaps he hasn’t noticed. Well, of course there was nothing he could do for flu or its aftermath but that didn’t stop him issuing a total of eight prescriptions between the two of us. At the pharmacy subsequently we decided it would have been wise to have brought a carrier bag with us. Fortunately, courtesy of medical insurance, all we ended up paying was the equivalent of five pounds for some herbal concoction.
In between sniffing sneezing and coughing we have been busy doing various other things and on Thursday we drove down to Toulon to what we swear will be our last visit to IKEA. (IKEA Toulon is exactly the same as IKEA Tottenham or Toronto.) We needed a wardrobe and fortunately we had the common sense to remove two of the rear seats on the Yeti which just about allowed us to get some 2 m long packages in the car. Just. In the picture below you can see the splendid mountain that overlooks Toulon and which has been a central part of its defences over the centuries. Unfortunately, it has been unable to stop the invasion of IKEA which has wiped out almost every other furniture shop in a hundred kilometre radius.
The weather warmed up mid week (although we have a rainy spell today). We took the cover off our swimming pool and found that it was an unhealthy shade of green and somewhat too acid for perfect pool conditions. However we were greatly heartened by finding a local pool expert who looked everything over and says that he can put it in perfect condition very easily and will train us up on how to manage it. Sounds a good idea although it’s going to be a month or two before the temperature is up to the point at which we will risk swimming.
So a week really of not a lot. But actually we are making progress. All we need to do now is to persuade our Internet supplier to get our speeds up to something remotely useful.