I didn't sleep last night. Was wide awake at 2.30 am after receiving the information from sister, Reggie, that mum would be dropped at my house in Coburg, Australia, on July 15. Okay, back on duty in my brain, which has already got me on high alert.
But it wasn't just that that woke me. It's playing the endgame on a holiday like this, and let's face it, it's been a rollercoaster.
The endgame requires a strict schedule. Dispose of the bikes, somehow, return the camping car, and this time face the damage bill for an avoidable prang that's been eating at us since it occurred over a week ago. Then there's figuring out how to make all the public transport connections, cos poor me, I get to spend two nights in Paris.
Sounds absolutely pathetic, but it's white knuckled stress for a neurotic like me.
As far as driving goes here, the other drivers are generally polite and cautious. The roads are safely marked and chicanes slow down traffic. But it's foreign. It's not home. And we're driving a sizeable truck, even though it's called a 'compact car'. As I've already mentioned, some roads are so narrow you suck in your tummy to get through and god help you if a car, or semi, yes, is coming the other way.
Thinking of all this got my stress hormones happening. Sister, Jane reckons I'm an adrenaline junkie cos I keep returning for more. I'm not though. I hate adrenaline; makes me feel desperate and today it had my blood sugar in the 20s. (I have T1 diabetes.)
I got up at 4.30 this morning, sick of lying on our cramped smaller than double bed and went for a ride through the camping ground to find the facilities. Was kind of fun. Wondered where the stars were. When it lightened it was foggy. I've only seen stars once on this rain sodden trip to France, where incidentally it's now HOT AND BLUE. Yes, just when it's almost time to go home
When Al woke up at about 6.30 he was unusually anxious too. That caused me even more of an adrenaline surge. He needs to be in charge. Don't like it when he goes all dithery on me.
After a brief confab during which I bitched about the cold shower I'd just suffered in the dark sanitaires with some madam making her tea and having an early morning fag, Al and I agreed to make a dash from Cahors, where we'd arrived late the previous arvo, to Bordeaux to try to resell our bikes at Ecocycle Merignac, from whence we'd bought them.
And that was it. We were on the winding road carefully following Sat Nav Jane's directions for close to five hours, despite having done a similarly long drive from Carcassonne to Cahors the previous day.
(Carcassonne, by the way: put it on the must see list.)
The reason we had to return the bikes today, Saturday, even though the van's not due back in Bordeaux until Tuesday morning, is that Ecocycle isn't open on Sundays and Mondays. We'd bought them for €320 3 weeks earlier. Given how few rides we've managed due to inclement weather it seemed every ride had cost us about €60.
Anyway, we high-fived each other when we arrived at Ecocycle, found it miraculously open during that lunch-time shutdown - c'est exceptionnel, said Monsieur le bike seller - and sold our bikes for €168.50. Made us feel a tad better.
Now we have a couple of days sans bikes, to read books and relax by the pool; the type of thing one does on a holiday if one is not us.