Ascot – from Waterloo Station

In my documentary film class, I learned that scripting and best laid plans are sometimes abandoned to capture the unexpected…the element of surprise.

This applies to blogging as well.  We had no plans to write about our routine transit through London on our way to Bournemouth Saturday morning.  When we arrived at Waterloo Station we witnessed quite a spectacle….women in beautiful formal dresses and fascinators and men in morning suits.

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We arrived in Cannes on Friday and will remain here for a week.  Stunningly beautiful, and more than a playground for the wealthy.  Great walking areas through the old town, with orange trees and palms.   It is made more inviting because we are away from the tourist area.  What to do in Cannes? — perhaps a movie this afternoon to escape the +32 C temperatures.

French breakfast…Happy Father’s Day
View from our balcony


In France even the sewer lids are beautiful

Our Beloved Pet Found!

Shortly after we left Vancouver over five weeks ago our cat, Tika, escaped from the third floor window of her foster home in New Westminster.  Reward posters were put up by her foster parents, with no response.
We were too heartbroken for a blog entry when she went missing.
We had all given up hope.  Last night, Courtney and Matthew got a call from a neighbour down the street saying they had caught her!  The best news ever.
As you can see she appears to be in very good condition, which will be confirmed with a vet check tomorrow.

Thanks to Courtney and Matt for their persistence in locating her.  We can now again look forward to having her join Garry and I when we setup or new home next year in Penticton!

Tika – June 12, 2017

UK Immigration and Incompetence

We are at day 14 [business days] of waiting for the UK Immigration Department to deal with our application which should take about 20 minutes [based on my thirty years of experience with Canadian Immigration].  Our stolen documents were reported to police and UK Immigration and now seeking a replacement document.  Of course being the UK we are not yet ‘replacing the document’.  Rather we are obtaining a visa so that we can go back to the UK and then submit another application and fee for replacement of the Residence Permit.  Prior to that we must obtain a UK Visa or counterfoil – which is what we are currently awaiting.  Incidentally – they charge a hefty fee for this and then another fee for the card replacement.

Patience is growing thin.

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Back in Paris

No sign of our replacement visas, so we have arrived back in Paris to wait it out.

Because our travels have taken much longer than expected, and we started paying rent in the U.K. on June 1st, we have chosen to stay in a budget Ibis hotel, about a third of the cost of our modest three star hotel in Cologne.

It is comfortable, but a very peculiar set-up.  Austere, but very clean, it has a wash basin in the sleeping area, a separate room with a toilet, and another room with a shower.  Would recommend Ibis if you are on a budget (they seem to be everywhere).

Garry and I had a grumpy start to our day…yet another neighbourhood we are unfamiliar with and we feel like we are being held hostage by the U.K. government…which we are!  At any rate, it doesn’t take long to get cheered up in Paris, once you get out for a wander.  We felt much better in the cool Paris air, once we found a boulangerie and had a coffee and croissant under our belt.  We are staying near the Saint-Mandé metro stop in the eastern suburbs of Paris.

As we were walking this morning, we found another interesting neighbourhood and stumbled onto yet another outdoor market….the Vincennes market.  I think it is the largest one we have seen so far.  Ladies, if you are looking to shop it would appear at first glance to be a really good bet….lots of clothing and discount shoes and purses along with the usual sumptuous food and produce.  I plan to re-visit tomorrow at a more leisurely pace.

We are hoping to be headed back to the U.K. early next week, as the promised deadline to get our passports back to us is Tuesday.  If that doesn’t happen we will have to investigate.

Some catch up photos below.  The first three are from the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.  (Please note James that we made a special trip back for you!)

The second group of photos is from the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.  The photo of the Monet painting is taken from breathtaking murals that occupy  two rooms of the gallery.  Monet donated the murals to the people of France, just after the first World War, as he thought they needed cheering up.  Not to be missed when you visit Paris…absolutely magnificent.

Grave of French Songstress Edith Piaf
Grave of Heather’s favourite composer Frederic Chopin
Grave of Jim Morrison – for James
Claude Monet
Paul Cézanne
Henri Matisse

Supporting the EU in Cologne

Here we are in Cologne to spend part of our time until our visas are redone by an incredibly inept British Immigration department.

Citizenship sometimes requires action.  Today we attended a demonstration in Cologne supporting the EU, countering some of the right wing agenda to derail it.

The first demonstration I attended in Germany was 49 years ago in Munich.  In August of 1968 the Soviet Union had enough of Dubcek and the movement toward democracy by the Czechoslovakians.  They invaded Czechoslovakia.

As next door neighbours to the Czechs, this provoked a lot of anxiety in West Germany and the western world.  In the Konigsplatz I attended a huge demonstration against the Soviet Invasion.  The Konigsplatz in Munich is huge, and the local police aided by using loudspeakers in their cars encouraging people to attend.  The night time demonstration was attended by about 30,000 people.

Today’s demonstration was to show support for the unity of the EU.  Demonstrations were held throughout EU countries.  More photos to follow.