Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Our half-term holiday's cancelled - my mum's died

Been an awful week just gone, and even writing this retrospective Blog entry 10 months later it's still no easier to look back on the events that have happened so I'll recap over them briefly.

Wednesday 18th May

My mum phoned me up on my mobile whilst I was at work to ask me about some paint I'd asked her to get from B&Q. We were due to go up to see my parents in Lancashire for the weekend on the Friday as it was her 68th birthday that day.

I quite like one of the pastel paint ranges from B&Q, we've done the hall and lounge in our UK house in the pale yellow colour and two of the bedrooms and the kitchen in our Brittany Holiday Home are also done in different shades from the same range. Wednesday is 10% off day for senior citizens so she was buying some more paint for me and getting the discount !
Anyway brief chat and she said that she'd give me a ring later on that evening.

Just after midnight got a call from my Dad saying that my mum's complained of feeling dizzy, checked her blood pressure (on a portable reader I bought for her last year) and found it was way too high. My Dad insisted that she went off to hospital and she went reluctantly, worrying about my Dad (who is wheelchair bound following a stroke 3 years ago) as she went. Offered to drive up but agreed that I'd wait until there was more news.

Thursday 19th May

5:45 am phone call from my Dad. He's been back into hospital again, she's "very poorly", had a "major stroke" and has been transferred to Preston Royal Hospital. I said I'd come up straight away. Threw a few things together and left within half an hour.

We live in Bedfordshire and my parents are in Lancashire - just about 190 miles door to door. Depending on traffic it takes 3 and a half to 5 hours to drive including stops.
As I left I figured that under the circumstances I had a good reason for driving quicker than I normally would do and so I completed the journey in 2 and ¾ hours.

In case the boys in blue have taken up Blog reading I'll make no comments about the precise speed I drove at, but the roads were very empty and I did take the M6 Toll bypass round Birmingham (for the first, and so far only, time) - worth the money on this occasion.

Saturday 21st May

I've skipped over a bit of the story but the essence of it was that she'd had a stroke and was only being kept alive in the intensive care unit by the ventilator. The stroke had been massive and fatal at the same time and on the Saturday the consultant confirmed what I'd thought that there was essentially nothing left.

In some respects this made it easier to come to the decision we did. My mum (and Dad) had always believed in organ donation and we gave our approval for any of her organs to be used for the benefit of others. Some months later we received thank you cards from the families of those who benefited - indirectly we helped a number of children and grand-children that we'll never know by improving the life of one of their loved ones.

Monday 23rd May

Had the most almighty row with Brittany Ferries. I was due to be going over to France the following week to with my friend Stephen and his girlfriend Harriett for a week's holiday, to do some gardening and to finish decorating the third bedroom in our Gite.

I'd bought the ferry tickets some time beforehand and unfortunately they were a special offer that was "non refundable".
As I explained to the BF lady I absolutely couldn't use the tickets any more (the funeral was that week) and that when I'd bought them I "hadn't intended to be burying my mother that week".
BF were adamant that I couldn't get a refund for the tickets as they were a special offer. Eventually we agreed to amend the ferry booking to a month later (for which I had to pay a £25 amendment fee). Oh well at least I didn't loose out on the total ferry cost.

Wednesday 25th May

Not expecting that I would get anywhere I listed next week's holiday (which was the school half-term week) on ebay as a "late availability" 3 day buy-it-now offer on ebay and was successful - a family of 5 are going to be enjoying themselves in Brittany whilst I'm sorting out arrangements back home.

One slightly brighter part of an otherwise awful week.

Only problem was that the Gite only had two bedrooms at the time (so could only sleep 4 - one of the things I was going to do whilst over that week was to finish the 3rd bedroom) so it meant that I had to get our local agents to carry through the other bed and assemble it in the master bedroom. Thanks Cherril !

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home