The last few times I've arrived in Dover recently this is the overall first impression is GREY! steel grey clouds, not cold, not wet, but a bit damp. (Which could be a discription of England's weather generally), That's not to say that northern France is any better, it's worse, at least Kent has hedgerows and a few trees while from Arras? up thanks to the wars the view from the motorway is just industrial scale potato farms under steel grey skies, not cold, not wet, just damp. But somehow driving through the department du Nord you either have home to look forward to, or the rest of France/chamonix/Europe so it doesn't seem so bad. From the moment I joined the M20 the only really pleasing site I came across was the first glimpse of the Thames as I arrived in Sunbury. I'm sure the weather in wales is often much the same, but I'm hoping/guessing/banking on that on that like in Chamonix the views available on the sunny days will make it all worth while.
We've come back to the UK to winter the bus in a more temperate climate and took the opportunity to bring back a load of our stuff which we'd stashed in Chamonix while we travelled. With shipping costs exorbitant we decided to ship all our random belongings back in the bus with just enough space for F, Goliath and I to sleep. The girls had gone ahead by plane, by the time we arrived it had been a full week. At D's age that's more than long enough for significant changes! Trying to explain the contrast is difficult, I've tried to list the differences but really the only clear one is that she now says Umga! When she’s thirsty. There are hundreds of little changes though which when you put them together reveals a child’s poise about her rather than that of a toddler. They grow up so fast, sometimes a short absence can remind me to really pay attention to the daily evolution. There are changes with the older kids too of course G has now turned 6, which just seems weird, F turning 8 was OK but my little G turning 6? Wow!!! I've come back to her radically changed, her granny took charge of her semi dreadlocked thatch of hair, got her a proper London haircut, some new clothes and she’s taken to carrying her mobile around, if it wasn't for her choice of delightfully practical footwear I would have been seriously concerned.
The main reason to come back to London had been to pack up the house for the move to Wales, unfortunately soon after booking various tickets the bottom link in our chain fell out!!!!!
We are totally gutted, and generally furious at the stupid way houses are sold in this country, but what can you do? No point losing the plot entirely, the rest of the chain is still committed and selling a two bed flat in Epsom should be quicker than finding a new proceed-able buyer at our end. We have our fingers crossed and we’re very thankful that our seller wanted a final Xmas in her house since it gives us some breathing space (funny how things works out).