On Wednesday I had my day fully organised. This is usually met with love and loathing. Love in that I have finally managed to organise and arrange some tasks and deeds I have been meaning to do for weeks. Loathing in that on a day off work I cannot just sit on my fat arse and crash, either with a book, a film or my computer. So having shelved the housework, the gardening and any necessary food shopping I just got up and cracked on when the alarm woke me at 6.50am.
I started with the usual morning ablutions followed by sorting the kids, dogs and myself into some semblance of order. Then printed off two sets of directions from the nice multimap people, filled up the car with petrol and the requisite playlists, bottles of cold water, sucky sweets and swizzler's lollipops.
I headed east towards the sunnier and warmer climes of Newcastle about 60 miles away, then with my first set of directions not very securely held at my steering wheel I pointed the car towards Gateshead and Fhina. I only had to circle St. James Park twice before I was sure I was in the correct locale and found myself a place to park. I was just taking a photo of the gate to China town - I didn't know Newcastle had one, but then most big cities do don't they! - when I spied the wide smile and the promised red coat and shoes on this woman of (no?) importance beaming at me from across the road. From that moment on I was enchanted by Fhina, she expresses the same quirky humour and sharp insight she displays on her effervescent and entertaining blog.
She then, and thank god for her, helped me find my way and accompanied me to the French Consul. Where I formally completed my application for my French passport and Identity card. Monsieur le Consul was very debonair and friendly, he put me at my ease as by now I was twisted up in excitement like a child's spinning top (we just don't see them anymore). I was asked about my thoughts on the current global financial disaster and the MP's expenses crisis.. Well I hope it was just polite conversation or peut-etre I was being taped for training purposes or other more sinister raisons! I may not even pass muster, knowing a little about French bureaucracy it isn't a given. He did say I was a special case. I know not why he said this. He could have been referring to my political savvy. Or perhaps my beauty and style. I can only guess it may be unusual for a FF and fifty year old applying for her birthright so late after the event!
I left feeling slightly lightheaded, from the questioning and lack of air. I hold my breath when I get excited, so it may have been that. The lovely Fhina and I then drove back to town central and I dropped her off for some well deserved therapy shopping. She was by this time probably grateful to be relieved of this FFF excitable and talkative - till her ears bleed - southern blogging dervish - not to be confused with the whirling of religious ecstasy you understand.
Not to let myself off lightly by returning home for a quiet night in with a good book or other, I alighted to Ikea. I had checked availability of the items I needed before I left and 35+ of each item were in stock. But could I find them? Could I heck! I asked at customer services. Their computer said NO! Apparently they were stacked in the warehouse in such a way as the guys in there had been prohibited from moving them by the very pc guardians of Health and Safety . So I asked for the display pieces and that I would sign a waiver for non-returnable items. The computer or supervisor said NO! By now I was perspiring like a good'un and getting not a little cross. I found suitable and more expensive alternatives. Complaining not to effusively but sweating enough for the customer services to want me out of there, they offered me a reduction 'for my journey and disappointment' . Utterly defeated and somewhat disheveled I managed the trolley and car into a neighbouring space whilst eating a jumbo hot dog. Unable to lift the boxes by myself - after eating said hot dog? - I appealed to the guy beside me, who gallantly helped me. I drove back to Carlisle, telephoning ahead ensuring they knew every detail of my difficulty, so they were expecting me with a fresh pot of tea and smiles. I hoped.
Enfin. Home. Tea. Replenished and hearty enough to help put together my son's wardrobe and leave the rest for the weekend. At 10.30pm I sat at the dining table to unwind and checked out some blog posts.
Tomorrow is another day. My last day off until next Tuesday. I planned to sit on the couch and crash. Did I?
Did I heck!
A contender for post of the day at Authorblog, thanks again for the mention David!