spikegifted.net - Archive Q1 2012
Opinion: After a generally mild winter, we have enjoyed an exceptionally dry and sunny March, particularly the second half of the month. Day time temperature was reaching the low- to mid-twenties, with clear blue sky and with little wind. I even went to work without a coat of some description, which was unusual for me at this kind of time of the year. The London Underground was beginning to be an uncomfortable place to be in, particularly during the evening commute as the system was heated up during the day. Thankfully, there were few delays during this period. All that brought my thoughts to how the transport system would handle the extra demands during the Olympic Games. The one conclusion I could draw was that if the visitor numbers were in line with expectation, the entire network would be under such strain that if delays happened in just a small corner of it, there would be such knock on effect that would being the whole system to a slow grind. Coupled with the heat and the crowdedness of the train carriages, there would be many people suffering, assuming that not every one would be prepared for such conditions. This, in turn, would have negative implications to London's international reputation as a major modern global city. I sincerely hoped that the planning teams have done the forecasts and the engineers have completed all the necessary upgrades and maintenance in time to sustain an acceptable service throughout. Otherwise, our city might turned into the laughing stock of the world.
Home: It was a difficult week for the boys and, by extension, a difficult for the Ruler_of_spike. The cold which she has been suffering from was still lingering and the boys were still in their unusual eating pattern. These two combined to make her days very long. Thankfully the weather was exceptionally fine, so she could take the boys to their activities in the mornings and also let them out in the back garden in the afternoon. Our back garden was, compared to many others, basic - there was just a piece of turf and a few plants, bushes and small trees. In a way, it was perfect for the boys as what little available space was unhindered and provided them with a decent bit of ground to run around. Master Cheeky loved that space as he would grab a ball, put it on the grass and dribbled it around. He had an unusual running style as his arms were swinging all around and his hair moving all over in the breeze created by his movements. Altogether it could be considered a comical sight, but also a picture of pure joy. For Master Chill, ball games were not that interesting. He was fascinated by the garden hose and its reel which we had left out. His interest lied in dragging the hose and the reel around the garden, swing the hose around and generally inspect the garden with the hose in tow. Sometimes Master Cheeky would join his brother in pulling the hose by grabbing another part of the hose, but they did not necessarily be pulling in the same direction. Occasionally, Master Chill would join his brother in kicking the ball around, but he would often lose interest and return to his hose.
Home: We have some very close friends living in the northwest of England and it had been a while since we last caught up with them. So after finding a free time for all of us, we drove up north to spend the weekend with them. Aside from the excellent hospitality offered by our friends, the boys had a great time too. After the long drive which took up most of the morning, we took the boys out to the children play area in the village. They had a great run around the place and tried out some new toys which they had not seen before. The boys also got particular excited as a lady was with a flat-coated retriever which was very gentle and loved to be patted by children. The stairs in our friends' house was totally different from the stair case in our house. The major difference being the steps were a lot deeper and less steep. The boys had no problem climbing up the steps. However, as we had never allowed the boys to come down the stairs in our house due to the steepness, we took the opportunity to teach them how to negotiate the stairs tummies. It was a brand new adventure for them and they were eager to learn. It did not take them long to figure things out. In less than five minutes of constant instructing, the boys would turn around at the top of the steps and go down on their hands and knees to reverse themselves to the edge of the first step before sliding down the stairway. That turned out to be a hit with the boys and went up and the stairs many times to repeat the action. By the time we headed for home, they had mastered those stairs and were eager to show it to anyone who cared whenever the opportunities arose.
Home: After observing the boys eating their ways through the day, they suddenly seemed to not wanting to eat as much. They were struggling to finish their meals and they had to be distracted to be fed. Meal times, which previously had been a delight watching them eating their way through the courses, had been become a rather painful affair. With the Ruler_of_spike being weighed down by a cold, feeding the boys was something to endure. We figured that it was just a phase for them and we were hopeful that this phase would not last long. Still, it was impossible to ignore that they were eating a lot less than they were just a couple of weeks before.
Home: Thanks to my poor planning, it was a last minute scramble to find a place to celebrate Mother's Day. I managed to secure a booking at an Italian restaurant in Kingston which promised there would be high chairs available for the boys. Unfortunately, the restaurant did not take into account of the fact that it was Mother's Day and loads of families with small children were eating out to celebrate. While we had our table, there were no high chairs available for the boys. It would have been impossible to enjoy our meals with the boys being out of control. So we left. We were right by the river and there were plenty of good walking surfaces and there was nice weather for us to walk with the boys. So we strolled up the river. While we were walking with the boys, we were keeping an eye out for somewhere where we could buy a sandwich so that we could continue enjoying the river and the weather. Luckily, the Ruler_of_spike spotted a diner where they had high chairs and booster seats for the boys. So we set up camp in this unexpected find. The place was very children-friendly. It was a great little place to hang out. Had we been in our twenties, this would have a great place to spend a lot of time in. We sat next to a table with piles of magazine and little toys. We found a set of plastic 'potato men' toys and the boys entertained themselves with various body parts of 'potato men'. They even had a good children set meal. After our meal, we headed back to down the river, giving the boys another chance to stretch their little legs. Master Cheeky was particularly adventurous. While Master Chill was quite contend to be carried around. All-in-all, a good day out for our family.
Home: A big Happy Mother's Day to the Ruler_of_spike!!
Home: We have managed to acquired a second hand toy vacuum. That's right, the boys were playing with the real vacuum that we were hoping that giving them a toy version, they would forget the real one. They nearly went mad the first time they saw the toy - a brightly colored version of a popular brand, sized so that it was just the right size and height for them.. Master Chill was particularly attached to it and it was almost impossible get him to relinquish the toy. That, of course, was not Master Cheeky's plan. As one refused to let the anyone touch his priced toy, the other insisted on trying to play with it, the Ruler_of_spike was having a tough time stopping the boys from fighting. They refused to eat unless the darn toy vacuum was in their line of sight, and Master Chill actually carried it around while being pushed around in the buggy. The stupid thing was that I went and bought batteries for it and once the figured out that the toy vacuum could be switched on and that it made a noise, it was switched on all the time, even when they were not playing with it. So Master Chill would switch it on first thing in the morning and he went about doing his stuff, but he would keep an eye over the toy and it was switched off, he would switch it back on again before returning to whatever he was doing last. It was like background noise for him. Thankfully, this obsession with the toy vacuum did not last for long, although they would return to it again and again.
Home: We noticed that, in the past few weeks, the boys' appetites were almost insatiable. After their cereals and bottles of milk in the morning, they asked for more food. That kept them going until lunch time. Lunch was a multi-course affair - solid main meal, yogurts and fruits, and ended up wanting something else, typically a biscuit or two. The same applied to the afternoon snack and dinner. They just seemed to be always wanting more. It was great feeding as they were enthusiastic and they were full of energy. If there was a down side was that you would never know at the beginning of a meal how much you got to feed them. Additionally, as they were full of energy all the time, they were getting frustrated by the limited space offered in our house, which meant that the Ruler_of_spike had to take them out all the time.
Home: The boys were ready to be more adventurous with their food. We have noticed that they were eating more, but they were finding it easier on some of the foods which they previously have had difficulties with and they were now handling with ease. So we decided it was time to give them some 'real food'. We started with breakfast - toast with butter and strawberry jam! The boys have been consuming small bits of toasts for a while now as they would approach us when we had toasts to be given some, so we used to tear little pieces for them. However, we were trying to give them whole pieces. Also, they have not had strawberry jam before, despite having been eating strawberries for a long time. We needed not to worry - the boys absolutely loved butter and jam on toast. It was a mess as we have predicted as they boys held the toasts with their fingers. More importantly, we noticed Master Chill was struggling a little as not only had he lost one of his front teeth, his lateral incisors have not yet fully come out, so he was having trouble tearing the toast. However as soon as we helped him by giving him smaller pieces, he was able to enjoy the toast. This made Master Cheeky happy also as he saw his brother was enjoying the food.
Opinion: The leader of one of the largest unions in the UK has proposed strike action against government cuts during the London 2012 Olympics. You can tell that this has been thoroughly examined - this was designed to caused maximum damage to the UK's reputation on the global stage. Did the union leaders actually think of the consequences of their proposals? Damaging the country's reputation would result in lower inward investments, which would lead to slower economic growth - hurting the country in the long term. In my opinion, this was a simple case of the union(s) trying to grab the headlines and serve its own self-interest. The fact that all political parties, as well as most credible economists, agreed that deep cuts were necessary to balance the budget and reduce the national debt. A strike against cuts at the time when the country, not just London, would be under international spotlight was irresponsible and unpatriotic.
Home: The Ruler_of_spike has been reading bedtime stories to the boys. She has developed a way to engage and to maintain the interest, and the boys loved it. With some guidance from her, I started read them stories also. However, for whatever reason, the first time I tried doing that, the boys were jumping up and down their beds after five minutes. Since then, they have been repeating that on a nightly practice. Putting them to bed became another long drawn out process, just like their afternoon nap. Sometimes, the process could last nearly two hours. This made the Ruler_of_spike's days exceeding long. We were hoping this was just a 'phase', otherwise, life would be difficult.
Home: In the mist of the boys' illness, we had an engineer coming to fix our fridge/freezer, again. This had turned into something like an annual event. There was always something going wrong. This time round, it was making a horrible sound when the fan of the compressor was on. Or at least that was what the first engineer thought. We waited for the ordered part to be dispatched and a second engineer came to replace the part which the first one diagnosed was malfunctioning. To carry out the replacement, we had the defrost the fridge/freezer. Again, we were relying on the good will our neighbors to keep our fridge contents temporarily. The real let down was that the second engineer said that he was sure of the fan was the source of our problem. Nevertheless, the part was replaced and the noise went away. However, we were not sure if it was the act of defrosting the fridge/freezer or changing of the part that fixed the problem. We were very disappointed - we have had the unit for nearly six years and it has been a constant problem. We bought the unit on the basis of the reputation of the retailer (it was the retailer's own brand), yet we have horribly let down by the product.
Home: In the space of two days, we had to take the boys in turn to the doctor. As usual, Master Cheeky succumbed first with a slight temperature, a hacking cough and breathing with a wheeze. He was diagnosed with a lung infection. On the very next day, it was Master Chill's turn, despite the doctor briefly examining him the previous day. The doctor explained that, children at their age would be suffering eight to nine infections in any twelve month period. All the hard work was down to the Ruler_of_spike again as the boys had to be given medicines, comforted and kept entertained. The last part was particularly difficult when the boys were in bad moods owing to their coughing and temperatures. Thankfully, with the help of the medications, the boys soon recovered and back to their normal forms...
Home: By day break, there was a good six to eight centimeter of the white stuff. We wrapped up the boys in some warm clothes and put them in their new plastic boots and let them loose in the back garden. The boys were not sure what was going on - the whole place was white. Master Cheeky was happy to start with. He tried to move but lost his balance, so he put his hand in the sown to help regain balance. He was not happy when he found out how cold snow was. He raised his hand for me to clear the snow, but did not like the fact that his hand was now wet. Master Chill, on the other hand was unstoppable. The snow did not bother him. As a matter of fact, he was not paying much attention to it at all. He went straight for the garden hose which was left outside, covered in snow. He was busy hunting for the nozzle but it was could not be located quickly enough for him. His impatience led him to the sprinkler, which was unattached. He held on to that until we returned home later. After a little bit of fooling around in the back garden, the boys were getting accustomed to the snow and were moving around quite freely despite the fact that their plastic boots were too big for their feet (size 24 in the UK was larger than its Continental European cousin). As it was still relatively early, the Ruler_of_spike suggested going to the park nearby. We walked over to the place. The boys managed the walk in the snow very well, but our progress was slowed by Master Chill insistence in dragging the sprinkler along with him. We got some strange looks from total strangers we met along the way and in the park thanks to this unusual object. Once we got to the park, we let the boys loose and they was growing in confidence in navigating around the snow. After forty five minutes of mucking around in the snow, it was time to head back home for their lunch. Throughout the entire trip, Master Chill did not let go of the sprinkler once...
Home: By the standard set by the past three years, this winter has been comparatively mild. However, we were not going to get away that easily. It was inevitable that the winter would turn cold before the arrival of spring. When the cold did arrive, it was properly cold. The nighttime temperature dropped to well below freezing, while it barely went into positive territory during daytime. For days before, the forecasters were predicting the snow over the first weekend of February and the weather systems duly delivered. The clash of a warm front from the Atlantic against the massive high pressure system that had enveloped must of continental Europe and the UK produced widespread snow. On the one hand, given how inadequately prepared the country was in previous periods of heavy snowfall, we were dreading the return of the white stuff. However, we were secretly hoping that we would get a good covering. Not that we were out of our mind or anything like that. We were looking forward to seeing the boys playing in the snow! Although there was significant snowfall last winter, they were too young (and immobile) to recognize or to move about in the snow. Now that they were older and could walk and run, the snow would be a brand new experience for them. I managed to buy two pairs of plastic boots for them the day before the predicted snow. The serious snowfall started right on time, just after they have gone to bed. Despite not being as heavy as the last couple of winters, it was steady and it lasted for most of the night.
Home: As Master Chill had to be placed under general anaesthetic for the removal of his teeth, we were told that he had to fast prior to the operation. Thankfully, the boys woke up early and we managed to squeeze in his breakfast before he had to stop eating. We arrived at the hospital on time and there was a nurse waiting by the reception for him. I was told that Master Chill was the first patient for the day, so, if everything went well, we should be allow to leave by mid-afternoon. I had to strip him down to his nappy and he was given a fun little theater gown. He was weighed - he was a big boy, he stood on the scale by himself. Then we returned to our cubical where we waited. Various people came around to greet us: the surgeon, the anaesthetist, the nurse, etc. His heart beat rate and blood oxygen level was measured, which involved a device which gave out a red light. Master Chill was generally kept amused by this stream of visitors. Finally, I was asked whether I wanted to accompany him to the theater, which I did, so I put on the green theater gown and carried him over to the theater while the crew pushed his bed. For little toddlers like him, nitrous oxide was sufficient to totally knock them unconscious, so I held him and administered the gas. This was when the use of inhalers at home became useful as Master Chill initially thought it was just another inhaler session. He soon figured that this inhaler had something different from Salbutamol and began to struggle. However, he was out in three breaths. I had to leave the theater while the medical crew did their work. This was when I had time to call home and brief the Ruler_of_spike as cell phones were not allowed in the patient area. The operation did not take long and by the time I came back from buying a soft drink, I could hear Master Chillís crying in the recovery area. I went to wait for him by the door and I was relieved to see and hear him. It was not long before he calmed down, but it was evident that he was under a lot of stress from the operation and also being woken up in a strange environment. The nurse came later with a little plastic vessel which contained the fragments of his broken tooth. After seeing that there was no question as to why the tooth needed to be removed. We were eventually given the all clear and I gave him his afternoon milk before leaving for home. He fell asleep during the trip him. As a sign of his resilience, he was full re-charged and carried on as if nothing has happened. I wondered whether, with their range of noises, he told his brother what happened that day...
Home: It was not often that the Ruler_of_spike would call me while I was at work, and when she did it was usually something new that the boys have done. Then one lunch time, she called to inform me that Master Chill has slipped in the kitchen and broke one of his front teeth. It looked pretty serious and he was bleeding a little. It sounded pretty serious and we made a decision that he should be taken to our dentist to be check out Luckily the dental surgery was only at the bottom of our road and he was seen to in no time as it was an emergency. The dentist came to conclusion that, owing to the way the tooth has broke (north-and-south), it had to be taken out at a hospital. After making several phone calls, he managed to talk to one of the hospitals and we were told to take Master Chill there as soon as possible. I left immediately when I heard the news from the Ruler_of_spike. She was also told by the dentist that while Master Chill was relatively calm, it might have been the fact that he was in shock. As a result, he might experience a lot of pain and might have been irritated when he came out of shock. When I got home, he was running around semi-naked. The Ruler_of_spike has changed his clothes in the hope that I could drive him to the hospital as soon as I was ready upon my return, but he has playfully taken his jacket and trousers off. We got to the hospital's dental department and we had to wait for a paediatric dentist. Moreover, there was a bunch of stuff the bureaucrats had to do. Although Master Chill did not show any signs of being in pain, he was getting impatient and he was making his displeasure known. Luckily, we were soon seen to by a young lady dentist. Master Chill immediately turned on his charm, with his infectious smile and unflinching eye-contact. The paediatric dentist confirmed what the first dentist has said - the tooth had to be taken out. She personally went over to the day surgery unit to check for an appointment and came back with an appointment for the next day.
Work: I have been involved in a work project since the end of October last year. In terms of complexity, this was not the most complex of project. However, it was a massive undertaking, given the number of principals involved. It was not made clear to me before hand, but other teams have been dealing with this project for three months and there was little or no progress made (in fact, it was in a colossal mess when I was alerted to it). Given my normal workload, there was very little capacity left unless I found myself time to complete this project. The Ruler_of_spike was noticing that I was getting home later and later. Thankfully, after around a month of solid work, I managed to get the project into shape and presented to our risk team a manageable list of principals, most of them were already known to our bank. I was hopeful that we would obtain all our approvals before the end of the year. However things were never that easy. As there were many principals we still lacked information on, there were many rounds of to-and-from to obtain just the right information. The approval process itself was not easy and our risk team worked non-stop for nearly six weeks, on both sides of the New Year, to get everything ready. Then there were the invariable delays in organizing the committees and further questions. In the end, it took until nearly the end of January before every approval were obtained. However, the wait was well worth it. This was a key client and visibility was high. When I finally got round to send out the final round-up message, I was glad that I have not let the team down. Although each of us are pretty much working on our own on our on-boarding mini-projects, our team's creditability is constantly being tested. While high profile projects may be good for the team's reputation if things have worked out. Failure, or the lack of evidence of success, was not good for the image of the team. I was relieved that I did not do our team a disservice.
Home: Ever since we moved to our house, nearly six years ago, we have been saying that the windows in the house needed changing. As a background, the windows in our house were from many different eras. The original part of the house (1860s), along with the old extension (early 1900s) had sash windows. The sash windows were removed in the past and eventually some had a single-glazed window in aluminum frames installed. Other did not progress to the aluminum frames and still had the single-glazed window in wooden frames. Finally in the new extension (1920s), the windows were single-glazed in metal frames. Those aluminum-framed windows were in reasonable shape, but, being single-glazed, we were losing a lot of heat. The wooden frames on the remainder were in bad shape. The wood had long started to deteriorate and gaps were appearing along some of the edges as birds loved to pick the wood from the frames to use as nesting material. Finally, the metal frames were rusting away merrily. Additionally, some of the glass on the windows had chips, cracks and even holes. There was a constant draft in the house and there was a large temperature differential between upstairs (cooler) and downstairs (warmer). All in all, our windows were not very safe, not very energy efficient and very ugly. Finally, we got round to getting someone to come and do something about it. After getting a few quotes, we settled on a friend of a friend who has over twenty years of experience in installing windows. He and his crew spent nearly three days taking out the old windows and replacing them with modern uPVC units. Prior to their arrival every morning, we tried to cover up as many immovable objects in the room with dust sheets. However, it was impossible to have everything covered up, especially the floor. Given the crew were walking in and out of the house all day long, the floor took a serious beating and the Ruler_of_spike had to mop the floor three time to lift the dirt. Notwithstanding the mess created, it was well worth the month and hassle. The work in the house also meant that the boys had to be contained. While the crew was working upstairs, the Ruler_of_spike was acting as gatekeeper, literally. Without the gate, the boys would have climbed the stairs and possibly created an even bigger mess up there. While the crew was downstairs, she had to make sure that they did not escape, which meant they were in the play pan for extensive amount of time during the day. It was not easy to keep two active toddlers panned up while there was all kinds of excitements happening around the house. Thankfully, the crew did a great job with the windows. It was hard work, especially for the Ruler_of_spike, but it was well worth the effort. We noticed immediately that the house was less drafty and the temperature differential was less pronounced. Hopefully, the changing of the windows would mean energy savings in the future.
Home: This being winter, even though it has been very mild, lots of kids were walking around with coughs, colds and infections. That, in itself, was not a problem. The real problem was when the parents or child carers who were inconsiderate and still brought the children to gathers. The two Masters, particular Master Cheeky was highly susceptible to infections of the respiratory system and it was heart-breaking to see him being infected again and again. Thankfully, we knew what we had to do to prevent the cold infection from spreading to his bronchia and lungs. However, while he managed to avoid the really bad infections which required trips to the doctor or, in case of emergency, hospital visits, the cough and cold made him a grumpy little boy. Of course, his whining bothered his brother and the Ruler_of_spike had to put up with it, on top of caring the two of them. The demand put on her could not be underestimated. Yet, she always managed to be cheerful, caring and constantly thinking of ways to stimulate the boys. How amazingly dedicated and determined she is.
Home: After the experience of our last trip to France, getting new car seats for the boys became an urgent matter, given the alarming ease they got out of the old seats. So after a little bit of research, we took the plunge and bought two new car seats for the boys. One particular feature that the Ruler_of_spike and I liked a lot was the swivel. Yes, the boys' new car seats swivel. Basically, they allowed the seats to be turned towards to the car door to ease putting them in and taking them out of the car seats. Instead of us doing all the twisting around, the seats did the twisting. With the boys now weighing in over eleven kilograms each, the less twisting around the better. The boys did not know what to make of the seats to begin with. Their entire experience with the car has been from the rear-facing seats (and the rare occasional venture into the driver and passenger seats), the front-facing seats were novelties. It did not take long for the boys to slip the shoulders and tried to get out of the seats. Aside from the orientation of the seats, another feature of the seats, which was standard, was the five-point strap. Together with the grip under the shoulder straps, these two features meant that it was a lot more difficult for the boys to slip the arms from under the strap and escape. Additionally, even if they managed to move their arms from under the straps, their legs were still pinned down by the straps, so they could not get out of the car seats. This led to some very funny sleeping positions when they fell asleep after getting their upper body free from the straps.
Home: Master Cheeky was wheezing. He has had that in the past when he had colds and coughs and we usually ended up taking him to the children A&E for treatment. However, this time round, he had a runny nose on a Friday and was wheezing over the weekend. The Ruler_of_spike and I knew the drill and gave him Salbutamol to help him breath. However, while he was ok, we still took him to see the doctor on the Monday to make sure everything was under control. As he was too young to be diagnosed as suffering from asthma, he was judged to have "hyperactive airways", which was effectively asthma and the doctor was treating him as asthmatic. That, in itself, was not problematic as this could be managed and it should not affect his developments. What was worrying was the scenario whereby his development was affected. It was too early to call and good percentage of children grew out of childhood asthma. We just had to keep a close eye on him, help him to the best of ability and avoid the possibility of making his conditions worse.
Home: It was predicted well in advance and it duly materialized. The storm that was producing gales and storm force winds across the Channel was our constant companion for most of our rather rough crossing back to the UK. The ferry was a bigger one than we usually traveled on but the increase in mass had little effect on such rough conditions. We felt our vessel was being tossed around. Those conditions translated to us feeling the ferry was having repeated collisions with heavy objects as the mass of water was pushed against the sides of the hull. The waves of course rocked the ferry but it was the noise that was most unsettling. As every blow was delivered to a different part of the vessel, a slightly different sound was created. While that was fascinating, it was not the best conditions to try to rest. Thankfully, the boys slept, but for the Ruler_of_spike the motion and sounds were too unsettling for her, she barely rested. After arriving back to the UK, she spent the entire journey home squeezed between the boys' car seats at the back of the car, in the hope of keeping them in there. Although it worked in the sense that they were prevented from roaming around the back of the car, it must have been a miserable trip for her. As it was a night crossing, we arrived back in the UK early in the morning. This meant it was yet more work for the Ruler_of_spike because I had to work to conserve my vacation allowance. She had to battle with the unpacking and looking after the boys for the rest of the day completely on her own.
Home: All too soon, it was time to return to London. As we have chose to travel without the roof box, packing was comparatively quick. Additionally, for the first time in our experience, it was a night crossing from St. Malo. Just like when we were leaving for Brittany before Christmas, it was raining, or more accurately, there was a light drizzle. However, it soon turned to heavy rain. We have been watching out as a storm with strong wind and heavy rain has been predicted, and it was forecasted to hit Brittany around the time of our crossing. Less than ten minutes into our journey, that was before we hit the motorway, the rain was torrential. If that was not sufficient, it was accompanied by strong wind. Even without the roof box, the wind's effect on the car was noticeable. The wind and rain were even more telling when we got on the motorway. Sprays from HGVs, cross winds and dense fog patches made the normally uneventful drive across Brittany very interesting. To add spice to an already fully seasoned brew, the boys got on their escape acts again and were out of their car seats. There were times when I could barely see the road and at the same time turning around holding on to the boys and instructing to sit down. It was not a pleasant journey. Strangely, not long after half way, the rain stopped and the fog disappeared. So while the boys remained out of their seats and being dazzled by the lights on the road, at least I had a comparatively easier time driving the car.
Home: The New Year in south Brittany started with a healthy dose of rain. Actually the rain started back on New Year's Eve and went on for over forty eight hours! It was a drizzle at times, but at other times, it was pouring down. We have never seen rain like that in Brittany this kind of time of the year.
Home: Happy New Year!!!