Monday, 18 April 2016


Long time readers of this blog may recognise that I have a (bad) habit. When the going gets tough the tough get going I hibernate. It is my way of dealing with stuff. I narrow life down to the essential and get on with it. My problem lies in getting back into the groove after things start to clear up.

So, since my last post things have been happening. I was busy with work. Both girls got ill. Fortunately they got better enough that my mum came to stay and for the first time himself and I went away, just the two of us, in fifteen years. (More on that shortly.)

We arrived back in the country and before we got home my mum was ringing to tell us she was worried about Helen, she wasn't well. So we beetled back home from the airport as fast as we could and within a short while of returning we were phoning for a ambulance. It couldn't come fast enough so we took her off to the hospital ourselves.

The long and short of it was many blood tests, administration of drugs, painkillers, rehydration, an x-ray, CT scan and lumbar puncture later we were relieved to be told she didn't have meningitis. And an EEG later it was confirmed she didn't have encephalitis. What she did have was bilateral bacterial pneumonia. And a four night hospital stay.

Since then it has been all about recovery, which is going to take a while longer. She is on partial school days, exhausted and fed up. I can't say I blame her. It is going to be weeks before she is fighting fit again but she will get there and soon it will all be a distant memory.

Meanwhile, Em threw a viral throat infection into the mix and barely ate or drank for five days. I had a bunch of work to catch up on. And all told everything put together left me exhausted myself. The blog paid the price. Sorry. But I am back and once again will endeavour to not let it go for so long again. It has been a miserable few months on the blogging front for me and I do miss it. I just need to get back in the groove and get the blogging routine re-established.

That's why I disappeared. Please do not worry, all is headed in the right direction once again in life. And I wish to have a happier stuff to talk about in this post...

... so let me tell you about our long weekend in the magical city of Carcassonne in Southwest France. Above is the view from our hotel room. It was so beautiful the way the buildings changed colour as the light changed during the day.

Him and me, well we never really had a honeymoon. And Helen arrived soon into our marriage. Holidays and escapes for just the two of us had to wait. This is not a complaint, but more an observation. Family changes the way life is and I wouldn't have it any other way. It isn't like I haven't had some pretty fabulous holidays over the years.

But Carcassonne was on my bucket list of 'things to do and see in the future'. My list is a mental one, I've never written it down. The list exists none the less. (Please note that I intend to put wanting to ride in a bi-plane to the top of the list next if I can.) Despite seeing huge chunks of the world there are lots of places for me still to see. If you have a 'places to go' bucket list and have never been then I highly recommend you add Carcassonne to your list.

The old city is walled - with two walls - and beautifully restored. It oozes character, lacks any tacky elements and abounds with restaurants and shops that lure you in.

We stayed in an amazing five star hotel with the friendliest staff I've ever come across. Every last person we dealt with was charming and welcoming. The hotel also has a Michelin starred restaurant. While we don't live the high life in general, far be it for us not to take advantage of the chance to partake in a little fine dining when such a chance was right there.

Six courses of exquisite food chosen by the chef, with the sommelier choosing wines to match. There I went thinking when we made this 'lucky dip' choice from the menu that we would get little samplings of wine. Um, no! He kept pouring and pouring more every other minute. Turns out that our sommelier had lived on the Isle of Wight and he enjoyed chatting to us about the island we too have lived on. Such a small world and a happy coincidence like that meant I had more wine in one night than I had in months. Can't say I didn't enjoy it though. That sommelier knew his wines.

Exploring the town is easily done on foot as it is small, but you can take all day doing it as you wander in and out of shops and stop for food.

You can also visit the old chateau and walk the city walls if you so desire. We did so desire. We went first thing one morning and had the city walls all to ourselves.

It was a magical long weekend and it was a shame that I didn't get to tell you all about it when I was still glowing from it all. But instead went from a five star hotel to sleeping in a hospital by my daughter's side. Such is life. I'm just happy we were home in time to be by her side.

I leave you with a final photo, of the stairs to our room. Who doesn't want circular stairs in a turret to get to their hotel room? Look at the fabulous way centuries of feet have worn them away. Honestly, weekends don't get much better than this.



  1. Aw Suz, sorry life has been pants recently! Sounds like a really scary time with Helen, but glad to hear she is slowly on the mend again. Your holiday looks beautiful and you will have those wonderful memories for ever! Welcome back to blogland! Jxo

  2. What a nightmare, i'm so sorry but glad to hear it was a lesser evil than encephalitis. Sending you all some love. I went to uni near carcasonne - in Toulouse. It's such a fab place!

  3. Your weekend sounds like pure magic. I'm sorry the memory of it was marred by coming home to the girls' illness. But I'm also glad they are on the mend and you have the lovely memories and a check on your bucket list.

  4. So sorry to hear you have been having a rough time Susan - your poor girls! But as you say soon it will be a distant memory and we all have to go through these periods of sickness to make us stronger. How lovely that you were able to get away together and to such a beautiful place! xx

  5. was worried about you in a bloggy friend type of way. Poor girls and poor you, a worrying time for you. Glad to hear that they are getting betting albeit slowly xx

  6. That play looks amazing. My kind of vacation. I love to explore old places and learning their history. I can see that you are having a great vaction. Enjoy.

  7. I'm glad to hear Helen is on the mend, it sounds like a scary time. And I hope you have more vacations as that one sounds like it was great!

  8. Glad you had such a lovely wee break, it will have built you up for facing the worrying time you came home to - so glad Helen on the mend.

  9. I am glad that everything turned to the better. I had been worried when you didn't write for so long. All the best for your family and welcome back!

  10. Such a magical town. Right out of a fairy story!
    Sad that the fairytale began to have an unhappy ending... but loh . . The Princess did turn a corner and is improving. Looking forward to the final chapter of Helen in the bi plane with you!

  11. I'm glad Helen's on the mend again and I hope Em's also regaining her strength after that nasty throat infection. Take care xxx

  12. So sorry about the girls, they don't do things by halves!! Glad to hear they are on the mend though. Your break to Carcassonne looks wonderful. x

  13. Sorry that life has taken a wee nosedive for you all. Hopefully things are on the way up again and Helen and Em are feeling better day by day. All scary stuff, but thankfully they both have the treatment and the tlc they need. Your break looks beautiful.

  14. Lovely pictures of Carcassonne, shame it got overtake by poorly daughteres, but at least both daughters are on the mend! They are far higher priority than blogging!
    hopefully smiles are back in order now.

  15. Home with a horrible bump, glad both are getting bettet now x

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