Saturday, 1 September 2012

I Love My Children .... But ....

Knitwits Yarns

We have finally retrieved youngest son from his French wanderings and he appears to have had a great time, met some very cool multi-national people, spoken much French and even indulged in some culture.  It is extraordinary that if I ever suggest a visit to a cathedral or - heaven forbid - a National Trust property the groans are audible.  Similarly - walks (unless they come under the 15-mile "yomp" heading) are treated with some disdain.

Yet - lo - we were treated to a slide show of his French trip yesterday and there they were - pictures of cathedrals (inside and out), fabulous French architecture, the Palace of the Popes (inside and out), a wonderful walk he did outside Nice to a great beach and - of course - fabulously expensive cars during his day trip to Monaco.

He is only 17 and has the reputation of being intelligent yet somewhat ditsy with a penchant for losing things (usually expensive things) so we were really pleased that he'd got around with no problems, hadn't lost anything and had clearly had a good time. 

Clearly we spoke too soon!  He spent his last 3 days in Nice (with said day trip to Monte Carlo) and we'd been through the whole debate of whether catching a 7.00am train, arriving in Beziers at 1.15pm, with check-in at the airport closing at 3.45pm was too close a call.  Clearly if he was in the UK no-one would have even debated such a foolish concept.  UK trains are never guaranteed to be on time and we would definitely have advised catching the train to Beziers the day before.  But the French trains are different - they are quick, and clean and being even 10 minutes late in France is almost unheard of so the plan was set.

I - jokingly - texted him at about 9.00am (UK time -10am in France) from Bristol (3 hours from our home in Penzance) to check he was on the right train.  No reply.  Fine, I thought - he's not amused by the fact that I don't trust him.

At 10.30 UK time (11.30 in France) my phone rang.  Slight panic/nervous tone to his voice.  He'd missed the train.  Not missed the train by a few seconds and was running down the platform after it.  No - missed the train by 4 hours!!  A leaving party, combined with a few drinkies, combined with getting to bed at 2am, combined with a 5am alarm which didn't go off resulted in him waking up at 10.30!!!

Thank the Lord for friends who live 15 minutes from Bristol airport.  Thank the Lord - again - for the wonders of the internet - yes, I know we curse it and swear at it and frequently contemplate throwing our computers out of the window (or is that just me?) but - in time of need - invaluable.

How else would I have been able to ascertain (in about 3 minutes) that there was no train from Nice that would get him there on time.  Furthermore, there were no flights that day from any airports in striking distance of where he was.  There was, however, a seat available on the next day's flight from Nice to Bristol - which is where he was and where we were.  OK - it cost £270 but, on the bright side, that's a lot of car washing, lawn mowing, chicken feeding, garden weeding and hugs that he owes us (just me on the hugs, I think). 

He was home for 36 hours, at the doctor's within an hour of getting home for antibiotics for an infected toe (yuk), has had 2 loads of washing done and dried by his Mother and is now in Edinburgh for a University Open Day.  We are happy that he's more than able to navigate airports, buses, taxis, hostels and maps but we're a little anxious about the return flight on Tuesday!!

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