L’Escapade: Episode 8

Good Luck / Bad Luck Balance

Some days are good, some days are bad and some are a mixture of both. The last couple of weeks have been a real mixture.

As Colin’s son, Jack was arriving with 5 friends for a skiing holiday on Sunday February 19th, John and I were strongly advised to vacate. We left the house that morning, hotel-standard sparkling clean and tidy, with instructions for cat care and where things could be found.


Our ten and a half hour journey through sunny France to the Euro-tunnel terminal was smooth but, being the last day of half-term, the trains were at capacity. Heightened security also contributed to the chaos. To be fair, there was a form of order, although not immediately apparent, and our delay wasn’t much more than hour.

The M25 was blocked clockwise so we opted for the anticlockwise direction, only to find another blockage at the base of the M1 forcing a diversion via St Albans. Total journey was 17 hours.

Preparing a wedding dress for fitting midweek kept me busy Monday and Tuesday. Bilko, our reliable Nissan X-trail, wasn’t back from its service and MOT by Wednesday, when required, so a kind friend had to drive me down to Buckingham. The bonus was having time to see a couple of friends and have a giggly sleepover with the grandchildren, as John came to pick me up on Thursday.

Friday was the start of the return trip, which passed without a hitch until Saturday lunchtime when we stopped for fuel at Limoges and John discovered he’d left his bag with passport, glasses and wallet at the hotel in Chârtres. He rang them and was told to send a package with the address and postage. That couldn’t be done before La Poste opened Monday morning. I’d got cash and cards so we went on.

Arriving at Colin’s house around 5 pm Saturday, we found no key in the agreed spot. We discovered the patio door wasn’t properly locked, so went in. The sight of clothes and personal possessions strewn everywhere and the unbelievable mess indicated that the visitors had no intention of leaving that day. We’d obviously been given the wrong return date.

My normal sunny disposition totally disappeared. After feeding the confused cats, John hurried me out, saying we had to find a hotel and keep out of the way till they’d gone. My anger at the ungrateful, disrespectful, slobs (other expletives passing through my brain) made me into a shuddering mush. Problems with my laptop over the weekend made it worse.

I didn’t enjoy my evening meal, I didn’t sleep, I wanted to throw my laptop out of the window and I was being a miserable cow. Dear John pointed out that it could all be better by the time they left and I shouldn’t prejudge.

He took me for breakfast in a Foix café, a glorious visit to Col de Port in the sunshine, coffee at the Auberge with fabulous views and a picnic lunch by the Ariège River. My anger subsided.


We got into the house at 1.30 pm Sunday. Yes they had made a valiant attempt at cleaning up but fell a long way short of my values. John and I firstly set about the rooms we used most. Took time-out to watch England beat Italy and by bedtime we felt better.


Shamay came to help clean the apartment the next morning and once John had mended the broken bed and repaired the blocked dishwasher, we were well on the way to being ready for Tuesday’s guests to arrive. Shamay also went with John down to La Poste to help him discover the “Colissimo” system of sending a package to have something returned to you.

The politeness of the 3 young French men who arrived Tuesday evening restored our faith.


This blog is based on truth but for privacy and security many of the names have been changed and some of the story may be embellished at times for dramatic effect.