Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Archive for April, 2015

Holiday reporting continues

LOIRE VALLEY

So, after or last night in Paris, we packed up and headed to the airport to collect our hire car, and then we hit the (wrong side of the) road and we were off. On our way to a small village of St Nicholas de Bourgueil. We arrived a little early for check in, so we took the opportunity to wander the streets of the little village, popping into the beautiful church. After a while, we were hot (it was 33°C!) and we headed off to our B&B, where were met by the charming Benedicta. We popped bags into rooms then headed to the lovely cool wine cellar for a glass of cold rosé, then we became the crazy South Africans they will talk about for years when we all decided to have a dip in the pool! Their first swimmers of the season.

The next morning Mark and Debbie came along to sort out our bicycles and get us set up with maps and plans for the days cycling, they did this every morning after breakfast for us, and we really had some special days, cycling byways and country lanes seeing parts of the Loire area that I don’t think  many people do. Thandi was set up in a little wagon, which she called her chariot (she was most put out when we didn’t hitch it up to the car to take with us when we left!) We explored lots of the little villages, seeing some of the chateaus, enjoying the local markets, exploring… It was really wonderful. Even for TAKAD, who was not the most comfortable cyclist, she settled onto that seat and was a pro by the end. Some highlights for me, discovering that I would even be able to afford property in the area (despite the fact that I wouldn’t be able to afford to ever get there), enjoying a wine tasting in a local wine cave (the wine makers store their wine underground, in old caves) and then the freedom of the cycle. Loved it! Will go back one day…570 572 590 592 597 599 613 616 625 626 642 648 658 667 669 676 680 681 691 701 715 718 726 734

Holiday dream

…it feels like a dream… I can’t believe that 48 hours ago I was chilled in Paris, and now I am at the office! Talk about a reality check. But, never mind. I have incredible memories which I trust will carry me for a while…

This report may take a few days to get up, so bear with me.

PARIS

We left a warm SA on the 7th of April, landing in a very chilly Paris at 05h30 on the 8th. It was a negotiation with trains and the metro, but we made it to our apartment in the cool of the early morning. It was perfect. A really stunning spot, with quirky skylights and comfy chairs, and we loved it! It was really nice to experience Paris, as experienced by Parisians. We shopped in the grocery store, we walked on the streets, ate in the cafes, I fetched croissants on my morning runs, it was really special. We of course saw all the sights – the Eiffel tower, the galleries, the churches, Versailles… It is an incredible city. My outstanding memories of Paris will be the warm sunshine, the scent of the blossoms in the air at the Jardin des Tuileries, the incredible sense of history, the crazy waiter from Chartier restaurant and the marathon of course. Eating baguette, croissant, Ladurée macarons…

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I did it

… So on 12 April 2015 I ran my first marathon! It wasn’t the fastest, it wasn’t the slowest, but it was mine. I loved it! The run started nice and cool, along the Champs Elysses, then headed via Bastille into the burbs around Paris, then back to Bastille and past the Eiffel Tower into some more burbs, then finishing on avenue Foch, leading up to the Arc D’Triomphe. 

It got warm out there, but since I’d been training in the hot SA summer, it really wasn’t an issue. The watering points were interesting. Every 5km as opposed to our 3km. They gave us water, orange slices, sugar cubes and raisins. No coke. One station at about 33 km had an energy drink, I stopped and had 2.  Oh, and the water was in plastic bottles – a plus and a minus. You could close it up and carry it along! 

I found the atmosphere incredible. I wore a SA shirt and to every person who shouted, ” Go South Africa!” I say thanks. There was even a Saffer who stopped took my hand and encouraged me, “Come on my girly, you’re doing so well” awesome. I eventually found a fellow Saffer to run with, we lasted about 5km together and found each other at the end again. Chris from JHB, you truly made my day. Thanks for being so encouraging. And as for the Aussie who pulled me along with a comment, ” There’s only 1 thing a South African likes less than being beaten, it’s being beaten by an Aussie, come with me,” you were amazing. 

All in all a mind blowing experience. Paris, I might not be back for you, but 42,2km, I’ll be back for you! 

Today I have even managed to climb the towers of Notre Dame and wander the Seine, some discomfort, but not unbearable.  So, what’s next? I wonder… 

   

(And in case you’re wonderingly, 4:45)

Butterflies

…are partying up a storm in my insides! In the last half an hour, the nerves have struck and I have a huge lump in my throat, I feel like my heart might beat out of my chest. Gah! We are 95% packed. I have 1 load of washing still drying, toiletries need to be packed, boarding passes are printed. I guess we are as ready as we will ever be.

The marathon is also looming large. I can’t quite believe in 6 sleeps time I will be lining up at the start. My training is done, I have done the best I could, given my lifestyle. One more early run tomorrow morning, and we are done. Tears smart at the corner of my eyes when I think how far I have come, and how this crazy lark I signed up for has motivated me, driven me, and got me here. To a new me, a person who despite not really believing she can, is going to. Thank you everyone who has cheered me along and listened to me go on and on (and on) about running, MJ² and RT who ran with me when I was painful and pathetic; Coach Mo who has never really doubted me; my nurse Bridgy who has been my masseuse par excellence, T&M who have run with me with imaginary spatulas, Thandi who always believes I have won and Charlie, who has seen me at my best, and my worst; who has been the best supporter and second I could ever have hoped for. This really has been a team effort!

 

Easter greetings

…on this very wet and miserable Easter Saturday evening I wish you all a beautiful Easter – filled with the things that matter – family, friends and peace. Enjoy the feast, if you’re having one, and indulge the sweet tooth!

I had to share these pictures – we had a little excursion down river this afternoon, well, my little speed queen loved it!031 041

We are out at the beach house until Monday crack of dawn, when I must head into work and do 2 last deliveries before we leave. So far the weather has been pretty miserable, but hey, we are having some good down time with my parents, and that is quite special to see their interactions with Thandigirl. She’s such a honey!

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…more sleeps. And I really hope they are sleeps, because *yawn, I’m tired after a long, stressful week and a delivery in the middle of the night last night.

Last night we had a bite to eat at a new pasta spot round the corner from the hospital. It was very pleasant, but very noisy, and Thandi managed to break a glass, need the toilet repeatedly and have a good old whinge. Phew! I was shattered when I got home. I had a very delicious pasta, called the Nosh – blue cheese, bacon, cherry tomatoes, cream, with onion rings as garnish. This is only the 3rd or 4th bowl of pasta I have had in the last 18 months! It was delicious! I do miss pasta, but it needs to be really special for me to warrant eating it.

To those of you travelling this weekend, please be safe; to those of you running oceans, in all it’s guises, enjoy and celebrate your successes; to everyone else, a blessed Easter time. I’ll be in touch over the weekend.

Making lists

…the stage I am at. Making lists of what to pack; what must still be done; shopping to be done for the weekend. Collating all the information we need on holiday – booking confirmations, car rentals, air tickets. I am a veritable organizational geek at the moment. Saying that, preparing for 3 weeks away from home is quite daunting. Thankfully we really do live in a global village, so we will never be far from contact.

So what is left to organise? I simply need to rethink what we pack, temperatures are a lot lower than I thought they would be, so some of the lighter clothes will be getting swopped out. I am still looking for a funky running shirt to catch some attention with. It is really hard to find any SA branded stuff, some one suggested the airport, which is a bloody good idea, so I will peruse duty free while I am there. Charlie needs to get a suitcase from his mum. And then we need to pack!

6 more sleeps till we go, 11 more sleeps till my first marathon