Wednesday 3 August
“The wheels on the bus go round and round. Oliver, stop that. Round and round. Oliver, I said stop that now.”
Monday mornings aren’t always easy and this one was proving less pleasant than usual. I was at Bergerac airport, waiting patiently in line to board a flight back to London. It had required a 6am start – the first time in two weeks I’d had to set an alarm clock – and a two hour car journey. And now there was a huge racket going on behind me.
I glanced over my shoulder to see what Oliver was doing that required such frequent and loud interjections from his mother. Said child – aged about 5 with a shaved head and a snotty nose – was attempting to use a metal barrier post as a climbing frame.
“Oliver, if you don’t stop that right now….”, snapped the mother again, giving the boy a frustrated tap on the wrist. At which point Oliver promptly began screaming and crying at the top of his voice.
I took a deep breath and made a silent prayer that I wouldn’t be sat anywhere near them on the plane. I didn’t particularly want to be making a journey back to London so soon after moving to France. To have to suffer the screams of an insolent child throughout the journey would have rubbed salt in the wound.
As it happened, Oliver was sat at the opposite end of the plane and the journey was scream free. Thank goodness. I made another silent ‘thank you’ in relief, and hopped on the Stansted Express into London to meet my team.
The reason for my short trip back was for a two-day strategy and planning session with my team. We had a new person, Claire, starting with us and so the meeting aimed to act as both an induction for her and a practical session for the business overall. It also had the additional benefit of enabling the team to get together in person. Seeing my PA, Heather who lives in Antibes in France, in the flesh for the first time since she started working for me four months ago was very lovely indeed. Big hugs all round.
The visit back to London also served as an opportunity for us to hold a “summer party” – a very loose term for some informal drinks that gave us a good excuse to get in touch with key clients and contacts. What with it being the middle of summer and the school holidays we were not anticipating many people to accept, but it did give us the opportunity to remind people we exist and that the business is doing well – particularly important now that I am based in France.
Overall, about 14 people turned up for a few glasses of wine, which then morphed into a group meal out. I dread to think how much it cost me but it was good fun and a great way to build on the relationships we enjoy with our clients. Nothing cements a friendship like getting drunk together! (Cue disapproving tuts from mother as she reads this!)
The hangover from Monday meant Tuesday was a little slow and it took a few cups of coffee to get the old cogs moving again. But even with that, the day was a success. There is such value in getting all the team’s heads together to think strategy – we developed a good solid roadmap for the future and some exciting opportunities for us to take advantage of. Now we just have to deliver on all our plans!
I can’t write this blog without mentioning how in addition to cramming it full of work, I managed to squeeze in seeing family and friends. Needing to beg, borrow and steal a free overnight stay is giving me a great excuse to hangout with the people I love the most, including my beautiful sister and her ever-growing bump. Roll on September when “Bertie” is due to make an appearance in the flesh. I can’t wait to be Aunty Becky!
All that said and done, and as successful as the trip was, I was very much looking forward to getting home and seeing the hubby and the cats. I had to pack so much into my time that I was exhausted and in desperate need of some rest (and some cuddles please, Dennis). Not that Brian’s sofa and Helen’s airbed were not comfortable or appreciated, but there is nothing like your own bed for a good night’s sleep. Arriving back at Bergerac this afternoon to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and to find a smiling husband waiting for me was very welcome indeed!