And so we’re back AGAIN! (Part 2)

So, let’s recap from last time. We left off at the “lovely” motel near Dole where the men slept or died silently, the kids feared the bedtime monsters, the dogs did whatever they needed that we wont talk about and the local mobsters hid in the shadows ready to steal our manky pants

All caught up? then I shall begin:

Breakfast bought more hilarity, mainly because the mother in law and I escaped while the men folk feared movement in their beds. I wont say that it was a lovely affair because the breakfast nook, (honestly, my downstairs toilet was more spacious and I used to hit my bum on each wall of that getting into it) was rammed full of tourists, getting ready to start their day. Some even bought their dogs to join the fun and sniff your plates as they walked past.

Admit it who doesn’t want the spit of a dog that’s licked it’s own genitals on your croissant in a morning?

We sat there and managed to watch one woman stash her next weeks food requirements “discreetly” into her back pack. In all honesty I think the only thing she didn’t stash was her morning Coffee. She has clearly not realised you can get flasks to hold such liquids.

After establishing that Grandad had survived the night, we packed up, checked all luggage was in tact and argued with the staff at the hotel after one child needed a drink from the drinks machine. Turns out it’s very bad as they’ve been cleaning it for a whole hour. (I resisted typing that in the style of an angry French accent to avoid any racial repercussions. I’m still going to face them though aren’t I for merely typing that I was thinking that?) Oh heck, should have just done it!

Anyway, off to Lidl we went to purchase snacks for the day. French food from the German shop that resembled English food as closely as possible! I think we managed it nicely. Guiding the Mother in Law around the Sandwiches to avoid anything funny like “Thon”. Jambon et Fromage it is then!

Other than realising we had to go back to the Motel we’d just argued our way out of to pick up the tablet and snack bag child 1 had forgotten (Thanks Dave, bet you wish you hadn’t chosen a quiet car now?), we had a lovely journey. Well lovely up until you reached Mt. Blanc.

Dave has a phobia of toll booths ever since we got to one during our previous return trip from Sicily, had 6 credit cards refused (Not due to lack of funds I should add) and realised we didn’t have any cash on us. So, when he realised we’d have to pay an extortionate amount to go through a long tunnel and that avoiding it would have added too much time to our already tight schedule, and he didn’t have any cash on him – panic set in.

Not helped by the long traffic jam we hit going into a tunnel. Further not helped by the parents and I joking that the hold up was probably caused by some Eejit without sufficient credit and no cash on his person! Evil I know but we still needed to teach him a life lesson for choosing a quiet life!

With the entrance to the tunnel in sight, my trusty Audi decided it wanted to have a rest. Just a little one it soon started again.

Then, once in the tunnel, said Audi decided that it wanted to glide through without any power. But only occasionally. I think it liked feeling the panic extend through my body to my feet every time it did so. I think it was Karma coming back to bite me on my engine for teasing the husband.

As some of you may know, in Mt. Blanc tunnel – you don’t have a phone or GPS signal. The kids, pukey dog and I were alone. Completely alone. As Dave would say, we’ve gone dark. Well, other than the stream of traffic that was behind me lighting my way to remind me of how much traffic there was that I would be holding up.

Once again, the party had got separated. At the exit of the tunnel, Dave had waited for me and we joined up with me shouting across the poxy wanky tanky, “My car keeps dying”

We pulled over. The parents, despite us telling them we had pulled over, sailed past, completely oblivious to the Audi with it’s bonnet up and the Smart car in front, two lost looking English people looking blankly at an engine without a clue what they were actually doing.

Figuring that the best thing to do would be to take it easy and see how things were, we set off again. As we drove off at a steady pace, I remembered where I’d put my sandwich, just it time to watch it fly off the bonnet and back up the road behind me. It took the last piece of my sanity with it. Or so I thought!!!

We met up with the parents after a short distance and off we went. All of the journey up until Genoa then was perfect. My Sanity returned. The kids only tried to kill each other a couple of times and the Pukey dog held on to it’s stomach contents nicely.

Then Genoa. After driving in circles around the same streets a couple of times. We found the port, the correct entrance and went through without a hitch. Well Dave and I did. All we saw in our rear view mirrors as we drove off was the parents being pulled to the side, never to be seen again. (That’s a little dramatic, I mean we saw them again about an hour and a half later as they were loaded on prior to the boat departing). They took the little sanity we had regained with them.

Turns out that when we book a van on with GNV, you can have different types of van. A van with seats is different to a van without seats. They didn’t have seats therefore they weren’t a van. They were a commercial vehicle. Lord, give me some Italian logic!

Whilst waiting for the parents to sort their drama out, we had time to decide we didn’t like the dog smelling inside cabin we had been assigned. Dave came over all peculiar, I needed to step into action. And what do I do best, UPGRADE! I managed to obtain, with the help of ship staff, the dogs a lovely cage together in the doggy quarters and bag ourselves a free room upgrade to the biggest cabin ever with a nice window out to the sea. The vast emptiness that is the ocean I’m so afraid of!

The ship was nice, and once the parents were safely on board, we settled down to the 20 hour sailing that lay ahead. We hadn’t eaten in some hours and managed to find one small bar open. You see our sailing wasn’t until 11pm. Restaurants are only open for a brief time after you board. I didn’t care, the kids enjoyed the hottest slice of manky cruise Pizza ever and full sugar coke. I was more worried about the Celine Dions Song from Titanic that was playing on continuous loop in my head and the need to shout “I’ll never let go Jack, I’ll never let go!”

Did I mention that I hate boats and ships and sailing and bridges and anything to do with the ocean or water and being on or above it? Nope, well I do!

We soon settled down to sleep, the Parents in their little box cabin as it was all that was left and us selfishly in our grand Ocean view room. The kids were smacked off their boobies with Coke and Pizza. Dave couldn’t stay awake and life was good. We would be on Sicilian soil this time tomorrow. Nothing more could go wrong, could it….

And so, I shall leave it here. Day 2 of our trip is drawing to a close and oddly enough we didn’t have to worry about any thieves attempting to steal those manky pants. The kids felt the Bogey man didn’t like sailing so that was good and the rocking of the boat meant Dave slept naturally on his side with his Snoring pipe not needing clearing.

The dogs were in their luxury accommodation with the howling Husky to keep them company.

And so, I bid thee all Ciao for now peeps.

See you next time for part 3.

And so we’re back, AGAIN!

I know I haven’t posted anything in such a long time, the reason being, life was just a little crazy. I mean, when you keep moving across Europe how can life not be crazy!

Having taken the decision to drive over again due to there being two dogs this time as well as the Husband and I, the planning is just crazy. Not only that but Dave’s Mum and Dad offered to help move some of the urgent bits over to help us out. So lets just recap all of those travelling:

4 Adults
2 Children
2 Dogs
3 Vehicles (Dave decided he needed to purchase the smallest vehicle on the planet when he discovered all that needed to be done to move. This way he got the trip to himself)

(Just as a side note, this isn’t Dave’s car)

Both Dave and I changed our cars, I had to get one big enough to transport everything but the kitchen sink and as I said earlier, Dave just needed to transport his manly self. Both cars were battle ready and not the shiniest beasts. Both bought to withstand Sicilian driving styles and Dave’s reversing skills.

I hope you’re getting a feel for the enormity of the trip ahead.

When it came down to it, the trip didn’t fail setting off our anxiety levels.

If you remember when we returned from Sicily, I underestimated the size of the Mini, well it seems we wildly underestimated the size of Daves Dad’s van. We had to leave a few boxes behind, Dave had to cram his small car so full and have one dog, I had to have our suitcases in the boot along with anything else I could as well as have the two Raptors and 1 dog.

The one dog travelling in the front seat of my car hadn’t traveled 10 minutes before it decided to unload all of yesterdays meals over the items shoved tightly into the front foot-well of my car. 1 Child in back then screaming at how unsanitary the car now was. The other hating the journey. I didn’t like to tell him we had another 9 hours travelling ahead of us that day!

The rest of the journey to Dover was fine. Other than Customs needing to inspect the van. It was Ok though. Dave’s Dad gave the customs officer a full history of our life leading to this moment and Dave’s job. We’d given him training beforehand on what not to say and I’m pleased to report that not once did he say his son was in the Mafia or that he had Araldite on his person.

Ferry to Calais, also smooth sailing. After this, we kind of got separated. You see, I was loaded on with the first group of cars because I had dogs with me. Dave second because they needed him out of the way and the Parents were somewhere else. It stands to reason then that we came off at different times.

Dave and I met up just off the ferry somehow with him following me because he thought I had more superior Google technology. He was wrong, I followed the car in front and had a tour of the port, bringing us out in completely the wrong place. Google lady telling me off numerous times for not “MAKING A U-TURN”. In the end though we got on our road at just the right time to see the parents go in completely the opposite direction.

Jumping forward though it was all good. Dave had made us all use some walkie talkie app that we had to explain numerous times to the parents on how to use it via a more traditional communication method and we finally met up at some services The convoy was all together at last and Dave could use his never-ending supply of Smokie and the Bandit lines via the Walkie Talkie.

Anyway, to jump forward some several miles we ended up at our little tiny motel. It was OK. One of the dogs didn’t like it and I won’t go into what it did to show it’s dissatisfaction as you may choose to stay at the hotel (Ibis Budget Dole) and be conscious that this is the room that my cuddly fluff ball decided to….

We all had a lovely meal and spent the night worrying about the three vehicles outside being emptied through the night by hardened criminals looking to relieve us of our dirty pants and Dog sick stained documents.

Dave’s Dad thought he was dying in the night from a migraine, the kids thought they were going to be taken by the Bogie monster that lerks in the dark. Dave spent the night clearing his snoring pipe. Leaving the women to keep an eye on their tough men and make sure all was safe.

Thank goodness, we didn’t have an early start the next day. Of which I will tell you more about next time.

And so, I’ll leave it here for now at the end of Day 1 of our travels. It doesn’t get any better.

Thank you for reading this far.

Ciao for now peeps!

It’s all about the preparation.

Although we don’t know any more about when we go, we do know that we need to start preparing certain things. I need a few lists and at the moment we only have the one. It doesn’t look very big either.

For a start there are the dogs. Two of them, two dogs. Double the costs to get them travel ready. This is going to hurt!

Poor Dave reacted fairly well when I broke it to him that my little trip to the “cheap” vets just cost him £315. He only swore the once as I recall. I think he was expecting a much longer list of treatments too!

Baxy took the treatment like a boss. I found this most surprising considering how scared he gets just getting hiccups. He just let the vets feel him all over, stick him with many needles, put some gunk up his nose and check out his teeth oh and talk to him in Italian. (Turned out the vet was Italian)

Archie on the other hand decided that he hadn’t had enough biscuits to be violated to such an extent. Despite rolling over to have the vet listen to his heart, Arch created such a fuss that the vaccinations had to be done in his leg. It took two of us to lift his lips up to check his teeth and as to the Kennel cough nasal thing, that ended up being sneezed back out over both me and the poor vet. At least I know I’ll be free from Kennel cough for the next 12 months.

Archie also managed to not limp long enough to get a passport and Bax managed to be brave and get his updated.

Both managed to scare some woman with a creature on a lead that needed weighing. Apparently it was a dog! She had the cheek to ask if my pups were nervous. Of course said thing then had to be cradled to protect it from the ferocious hounds that stood there licking their lips like a pair of wild wolves with their tails wagging fast as they could.

After dropping Nanny off I returned home with my brave little soldiers. Upon opening the boot to release them I was greeted with two lovely piles of sick. One by each of the hounds. They looked somewhat depressed at this point. Lovely!

As for the rest of the day, they were well behaved and quiet. I may see about getting the Raptors a Rabies jab.

I haven’t had the heart to tell my beasts or their Papa that thanks to the pain in the arse that is Brexit, all this could be futile and have to be repeated. In a mere two months their little passports could be worthless but we have to do it.

I don’t know what I’ll say to Arch if he has to have a blood test. 😬😬

More paperwork!

Its all good though.

In other news, the excitement levels are still high. Benji was disappointed because we weren’t going this week.

Kieran is looking forward to getting a fair amount of kitchen space back and has kindly told me we can take whatever of ours that we need to take as long as he doesn’t need it. I Made sure to thank him for this generous gesture. 😂😂

I’ve purchased a wet suit and managed to get myself into it. Luckily I didn’t quite look as bad as I thought I would and there’s enough pink in it to not make me bear a striking resemblence to Shamu. Dave looked at it and only slightly laughed. Result!

I am thinking of just walking round the house in it while the kids are at school. I literally sweat like a camels arse within a few minutes of wearing it. I could avoid thinking about going to the gym altogether if I just wore this outfit. The postman can’t look up from his shoes on a normal day so I should be safe.

The boys started to clear their bedroom for me. The bag for the tip seems to be empty as does the for sale pile. Their bedroom floor is now nowhere to be seen. I’ve been told that this is part of the long process and not to sweat it. I have to do parkour across their room when I need to open their curtain. Even Baxter has stopped going in to rob their teddies.

I think that’s all I’ve got to say for now. Thanks for reading this far.

Ciao for now peeps.

X

Decision – Done!!!

It’s been a while since I wrote because as I explained previously, us Larges don’t do decisions. One wise family member recently said that “This roller-coaster would be at home in Florida”

Even after we made our “official” decision we changed our mind. I can only apologise to those that we dragged along for the ride.

Reactions have been OK to our news. Our poor Brothers, one of whom made the roller coaster comment, who have been a part of every decision via WhatsApp. We’re such a close family!

So, let me give you a run down to our final decision.

Last Sunday we were going. All excited we messaged said brothers to inform them. One of whom simply received a gif of an aeroplane taking off by Dave. The man can’t help wind people up. My brother didn’t even see the message. Worked out well for us.

Monday evening: Our official decision day is nearing a close and we submitted the email declining the job. Instant sadness sweeps over the Larges. Hopefully we’ll be done now with this craziness. Should have known with us it wouldn’t be that simple.

Tuesday: I’ve got my grown child home for the day and the poor thing I don’t think could have ever envisaged the mix of emotions that would consume his day of rest.

I need to shop, it’s the only way I can get over this feeling of sadness that’s consuming me. Dave isn’t communicating (I know, I know he’s at work) I think I annoyed Kieran with the large Sighs I kept doing.

Little could he realise that his life would turn into all sorts of crazy in the Frozen aisle of Aldi. Dave has been emailed by his would be bosses and that’s it. We make our final final decision.

Don’t ever let us go on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. We need more than one final decision.

So, I’m assuming that as you’re still reading to this point, (what happens if you’re not and I’m talking to myself ? Oh well) you’re all interested in what was decided…..

Well…..

The Larges are off! Again…

That’s right, we’ve decided to pack up again and move to Sicilia.

We’re so excited, although that sick feeling in the pit of stomachs keeps creeping in again. To be honest though it could be the full English I made Dave buy me earlier.

We hope you follow along as this time it really will be fun. The enormity of this decision is huge. And for much longer.

The work we need to do beforehand is too much to think of. I need a list.

Baxty is happy, especially as he had to go to the bathroom in snow. He found that he can poop on three legs. Quite talented really. Simon Cowell would be impressed.

Benji is pleased that he’ll be a VIP again because “I got treated like a VIP in school because I was British”. Last time he’ll be making that statement post Brexit!!!

Harry, he’s equally chuffed but sad he can’t take his wallpaper.

So, with that I will close.

More ramblings will follow now on a regular basis.

At present we don’t know when we’ll be off although I have found numerous houses I want and I’m worried they’ll go.

With that Ciao for now.

Xx

Why are we always counting down?

So the deadline grows ever closer. Its a flipping nightmare, let me tell you. We make the decision, tell the kids, and then over night the doubt creeps in and we second guess that decision.

I say the doubt creeps in, it’s more like a big grey monster with a wet fish called Doubt that he slaps right across the side of your face. Makes you second guess everything.

The little Larges have been convinced, I think it was the thought of a Private school that did it for them. As Benji said “that sounds Posh”. I don’t think he appreciated the skills he was taught as his old Italian school. Harry is just agreeing with everything right now. I have no idea why and I’m sure all will become apparent soon enough.

How easy it is to give advice. If a friend of mine said they had this opportunity I’d tell them to grab it and run. Don’t look back. Everything would work out fine. How many of us would actually listen to our own advice? Do we still live by what we would tell others? If we don’t appear supportive we worry and therefore give what is possibly bad advice? Hmm, this is too deep for a Sunday.

1 day, that’s what’s left to decide our future. The future of the Raptors. The future of the dogs. And the Cat, I’ve even worried what the cat will think.

Benji goes to secondary school in three years, how will he adjust if we come back then. You should hear how Dave moans about going half way round the world via all methods of transportation. Legs, car, bus, tram, train, motorbike and subsequently air. (He once got knocked over by a motorbike that sent him flying. Most of you will know the story as he’s bound to have told you. If not, just you wait, your time will come)

I love Sicily, I love the people there and the people we met. Anyone we had a problem with had a British accent and likely to boil a bunny at any given moment. We British appear to be very snobby when it comes to travelling across the world and yet I’m not sure why when you look at the amount of rubbish here that litters the rural lanes.

Warmth, the Husband is obsessed with the warmth. Apparently it’s got something to do with the fact he’s Mediterranean. He gets the right ‘ump if you point out that technically it should only be 1/4 of him that needs to be warm considering this is the amount of him that is Mediterranean. I’m distantly Irish but you don’t see me claiming to need Potatoes all day long.

Either way we choose we are aware of the disappointment we will be causing. It’s not an easy thing to live with. And yet, who are our biggest concerns? Shouldn’t it be how we feel? not worry about how others are disrupted by what we choose?

I think the thought of clearing out all the house is scaring me silly. It’s not till you move that you realise you’ve got a hoarding addiction much worse than any problem Steptoe had. I just have to look in my bedside cabinet at the cough sweets that expired in 2014 (a year after our last move). I know, I know I should really chuck them away. My Nan though was feeding my brother and I the same pack of sticky barley sugars and Tunes right through the 80’s and 90’s. We survived that although we now have very few teeth left.

Anyway, I could ramble on for hours and as Dave probably stopped reading 9 paragraphs ago, I’ve gone on too long.

Have a lovely Sunday people.

Ciao for now!

x

And so the story continues…

Evening.

So I thought I’d try and catch you up with everything. You see despite us being back in good old Blighty there’s a chance we can go back and make the move to Sicilia on a more permanent basis.

Can we make the decision, can we heck!

Do you know how hard it is for us Larges to decide on what we want for dinner? No? We can’t do it. So imagine putting a live changing decision to us.

Fetch me the headache pills love, this is gonna hurt…

Finances,

Annoyingly that all works out so that excuse has betrayed us. Don’t get me wrong we won’t be living like the Kardashians but it’s not bad.

Moving,

Well that would be sorted out for us so that’s another excuse we don’t have. The houses we could afford are also spectacular and my furniture has been pictured in them too. Right down to my Christmas tree.

Sun, sand, sea, warmth all good things that would benefit my aging, weary carcas that since October has been coughing and leaving snot trails all over Berkshire.

Baxter the bouncy stray has expressed his opinion too, he has a distinct disliking for rain sodden grass and has resorted to trotting round the garden similar to a show horse. You know the ones, they do the fancy trotting dance. He hates it. The grass that is not the trotting dancy horses.

The negatives are thus:

Family,

Our big 22 year old sons. Leaving them behind is difficult, especially the one the would be homeless thanks to our move. Although, so I’m told, he has found a flat. I’m not sure what that means, I think he’s just discovered what they look like and where they are and what they do.

There’s also the babies due, I missed my gorgeous nephew being born whilst in Sicily last time and he was all grown up, well 9 months grown up, when we got back. That’s a big chunk of time and cuddles missed out on there. Yes I know there are flights back so I would have to get on one wouldn’t I. But you know what I’m saying.

Other family, I miss them and like being close. I quite like them all really.

Friends,

See this one is tough too, although one friend told me last week to go. Reason being not for my family but for the fact she’s 60 next year and needs to tick it off her travel list. (love you Mandy)

School,

The raptors are in a brilliant school, do I really want to risk that? According to Benji I don’t. He’s happy and got friends and I should think of that. Harry is Harry although surprisingly he’s not objecting.

Erupting volcanoes and earthquakes,

Did you see the news on boxing day? 10 months we lived in Sicily with a perfect view of Etna, nothing. We leave and she blows her stack. The earth shakes and all hell breaks loose. I’m not sure this is something we’ll ever get in Berkshire. I’m not particularly fond of my roof falling in.

See the dilemma? I can’t remember a time that this didn’t occupy our thoughts.

I do miss the people terribly and we did make some fabulous friends. From Water fights and pool parties (nothing dodgy I promise), to windsurfing lessons watching the Large one stand up for 10 seconds. All happy memories. We’ll forget about the bushfire on our back doorstep!

We’ve got to make a decision, it’s hurting my brain. I know, pizza for dinner. Oh, you thought I meant the move? give me a minute…

Well I best sign off, too much pressure and I need to put the dogs to bed and stuff my face on sweets as I pass through the kitchen.

I shall therefore bid you ciao for now.

Bye Peeps, till next time!

Addio Sicilia, arrivederci!

I’m writing this at 10am on the day we leave Sicily. It’s early I know to be writing but I felt I needed to.

You see for the last hour I have been attempting to pack the car. It dawned on me early that since my “rehearsal” Dave the Husband has inadvertantly shrunk the car when he last washed it. I have emailed him regarding this and await his apology.

If the car hasnt shrunk as I believe, then we are are officially the Clampits. Bar the chair on the roof for Grandma. It’s a kennel on the roof for the kids.

I haven’t even packed the football’s. And help me when the kids find out their Nerf guns may not make it. (I say may due to the fact that as I write this I may have thought of a gap they can go in.

Our car is full. So why on earth does our apartment still seem so also?

Anyway, moving on and to keep you informed. My big girl pants have, as feared, been separated from the other luggage. 3 cases arrived safely in Spencer’s Wood on Wednesday. Knickers decided from Milan they wanted to go back to Bergamo.

After speaking to the company currently responsible for my under garments and tweeting numerous sarcastic messages, my pants have made it to UK soil. They are sitting in Gatwick. Nanny seems lost of all hope and believes they will be returned. Dave is hopeful I will one day be reunited with my Apple gatherers.

Perhaps I should do a separate blog. Travels with undercrackers.

Baxty has now officially been issued his passport. He was also given tablets the size of Horses to swallow whole and a clean bill of health as well as various people feeling up his nether regions to check all is well. Dave feels that this should be a requisite of all passport applications. Anyway, I’m not sure Baxter will be grateful when he discovers how little room he now has to travel in. Oops.

We have no food in the house. This was a bit of a mistake on my part. We have two meals I need to cater for. As it stands, each will consist of literally bread and Jam with Pickled onions. We can also have Polish Grass Vodka, English tea and rice crispies. I don’t know why I worried. Or is that the Grass Vodka talking.

I have a feeling one meal will be McDonalds or at least some artery clogging tastyness. We’ve been told the cleaners are coming in to clean our apartment at 7.15. No room for us to be late!!!

Crap, football’s. They’re haunting me. And why has another laptop appeared?

The Husband has called. Mainly to remind me of my rehearsal and tell me what I already know. I think he’s trying to mock my inadequate measuring skills. If you ask me though perhaps he should be grateful. 😉😘

Is 11.04 too early for Vodka and Mountain Dew?

And did I mention my fear of boats, ships and all things that carry you across water?

The Mosquito dot to dot has faded some what. My arm is left feeling slightly numb. That could also be the vodka.

The Raptors are whining. Something to do with not having anything to play on. Maybe I should send them out to play with the puzzle that is squeezing two Nerf guns in a space the size of Tinkerbells butt crack.

Anyway, I need a nap. (Vodka related). The dog has vanished, the kids have disappeared down the crack of the bed since I last lifted it. I know they have air as I can hear Benji screech “This is all your fault”

What’s worse is on investigating said children to ensure their fighting is only minimal, they’re in their pyjamas. I’ve only gone and packed all their ruddy clothes. Give me strength.

I best go now so Ciao for now my peeps. You can guarantee that I will check in tomorrow and let you know which child I forgot. On the plus side they have 1 outfit to keep them going and pickled onions.

🙂