|Marechal Ney, one of Napoleon's heroes|
|It may not be gold, but I got a retirement watch|
|The certificate says thanks|
Katrina and I left Oman on the 13th for a break in France, I return to Oman shortly to take up the new role and Katrina will be a little later because of visa requirements. Fortuitously or not I start my new role on 1 April!
|Queen Mathilde in Jardin Luxembourg|
|When in Paris|
It's been a busy little while since we landed in France. Normally we would opt for a night flight to arrive in the morning and catch the train to Normandy, but this time it was the day flight, meaning evening arrival, all too late for the trains - so a night in Paris. We booked into a lovely little hotel in Montparnasse for the night. The Hotel Villa Modigliani, it's tucked back from the street, with an arched entrance to a courtyard. Nice and isolated an oasis of peace and quiet.
|Coffee with the Slushers in Paris|
After that we caught the train to Normandy.
|The Normandy Flag|
Normandy in spring? Well kind of, it's been a long winter this year and in the first week there was even a day of snow! Fab, but it has been cold and most days have rained. Mind you trees are budding, primroses are blossoming everywhere and the farmers are disgorging huge tanks of watered winter manure on the fields - it's enough to make your eyes water as you pass through the miasma.
|Snow through the eyes of a Kangoo (the rental)|
Since arriving it's been rather busy. We've bought a car (a silver Renault Kangoo), stripped out a toilet in preparation for replacement hot water service, tiling and toilet fittings. Today has included demolishing the end wall in the downstairs bedroom. What we uncovered reveals that this room was once the kitchen. Interesting colour scheme........... Won't be staying like that. In reality we could have left that wall alone, but there was a curiosity about what lay below. Now there's some repair work to be done, but nothing major, thankfully. Or possibly some more excavation to uncover the rock wall as a feature wall for the master bedroom - possibilities.
|That wall aint staying like that|
|Carve some for me please|
Apart from that our only outing was a trip to Charleroi and back - on a matter of principal! Recently the rules changed and you can't board an international train with a knife in your suitcase. I discovered that the hard way in January when the rail police in Brussels x-rayed my bag and took my knife away - "no, no sir, you can't have a belt knife wrapped up in your locked suitcase!" Sigh "But you can have the carving knife and fork set wrapped up in your locked suitcase!" The belt knife blade is maybe 10cm, the carving knife a good 25cm, coming to a much sharper point. Anybody else detect some cognitive dissonance here? Anyway I have my knife back and the rail police feel satisfied that security theatre was upheld! I maintain that anybody who wants to work in security shouldn't be allowed to. Mind you I would have happily paid a small fee for railway staff to carry the knife for me to destination, like airlines do.
|Hmmm, which one first?|
|Here comes the Peloton|
|There goes the Peloton|
|Just a few Gendarmes|