5 September 2022


…..but what it pours……

One of our favourite Derbyshire walks.

Last night’s thunderstorm here in the UK woke me up at two in the morning.  It was a French style storm, the like of which we rarely see in our part of the UK nowadays.  It somehow reminded me that I haven’t posted anything for a while.

The weather in Derbyshire has been very pleasant since we got back and we have been enjoying our favourite walks.

The heat wave continued in France until a few days before we returned, en famille, on our planned trip back to the UK.  It was thankfully a little cooler but even so there was only the occasional light shower and in fact there had been hardly any rain at all since April.

We have to physically be out of France on the day our VLST (visa de longue séjour temporaire) expires so we planned for our exit to last a couple of weeks.  Time to catch up with family, friends and chores, not to mention paperwork following my dad’s funeral.

About a week before we returned my brother (in the UK) began with a set of symptoms that we all thought sounded very much like Covid but he kept testing negative.  We persuaded him to see a doctor and it turned out to be a pulmonary embolism.  He was admitted to hospital for treatment.

Our journey back was a nightmare, even worse than on our way to France only four weeks before.  We arrived at Eurotunnel in Calais two hours early, as they suggested, passed through the pet check in then were sent to a holding area.  After two hours we moved to the car park which, along with the overflow car park, was rammed with vehicles, and by then stories were circulating about a train stuck in the tunnel.  I say stories because the information process was hap hazard to say the least.

The outside information boards gave different information from the inside ones; staff gave different information from each other.  The only thing certain was that we were in for a long wait.  Our departure time of 19.40 came and went.  Delays of two, then three, then four hours were announced.  Then they gave up and the outside information boards were switched off.

Around 23.00 hundreds of cars started leaving as rumour had it that you could exchange your train ticket for a ferry ticket.  Their exit was chaotic and disorganised and tempers flared.  We decided to stick it out.

We finally got on a train at 2.30 the next morning, after a seven hour delay which, to add insult to injury, meant the whole thing cost us one of our 180 days as we passed through French customs after midnight!  There were only two cars behind us at the back of the train, the next one being two hours later.  We got home at 6.00am and at 8.30 the phone rang.  It was a doctor at the hospital telling me that my brother had been admitted to intensive care.  He’s very poorly indeed.

To have this happen only six weeks after our father died is very hard.  It never rains but what it pours.


  1. I am so sorry to read all this - especially about your brother's health. You've had a rough year. Thinking of you 💓

    1. It has certainly been a difficult year, almost rivaling our previous "annus horribilis" which was in 2016.

  2. Oh this all sounds dreadful! I do hope your brother makes a full recovery.

  3. I've just read this to the background of torrential rain outside. I am sorry to learn about the diffculties you have been experiencing and hope, whilst confronting them, you don't forget to try to look after yourself too. .