It has been a wee while since my last post.
This is not an oversight, but as a result of my employer using a 'smart' system at school (and I do use that term very loosely) which meant that all of a sudden I was not able to access my blogger account. Very frustrating, but a more normal lack of service should now resume.
In the meantime we have been enjoying our summer vacation to the south of France. A selection of quick highlights will provide a taste.
It was twelve hours each way in a car. There were seven of us on the way out: the five of us, plus Nano and a niece. To while away the time we mostly enjoyed the stilted and frankly inappropriate pronunciation of French place names by the sat nav. Destinations like "Boulevard Georges Pompidou in Troyes" made my own attempts in French sound positively fluent. We found the most amazing crumbling chateau on the outskirts of Amiens that will definitely be worth a second visit and beat last year's overnight stop in the equivalent of a Travelodge in Lille by a significant margin.
Eddie took his first steps, a month short of his second birthday. I watched him get up and walk a good four steps across the balcony before reaching out to a folded deckchair which promptly clattered down on top of him. We were both crying. Mine were tears of joy, his of pain and shock, for a moment that at one stage we weren't sure would ever come. He became a good 'pool guy' and enjoyed holding on to the net pole each morning, and the steps have come fast now that he is back on British soil.
The way home was memorable for the wine drinking on a foot-wide balcony of our hotel room in Troyes. I know that we will not be the first parents to have resorted to that, but we could be on for the record for the most wine consumed on the smallest balcony...
We also met a German couple at breakfast who were fascinated by Freddie's ability to talk. I pointed out that this was directly related, perhaps, to his inability to walk - and the necessity of communicating his every whim to two older siblings willing to run around doing anything he needs.
"Ahh!" said Herr with understanding. "I see. It is he who gives zee orders!"