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Friday, 31 October 2014

Friday 31st October: Halloween

Karl arrived this morning in a cheerful mood. He had just sold a nineteenth century sideboard and received a very good price for it. Whilst he was here Madeleine and Benjamin came running over to see me. They were both wearing Halloween masks, waving their arms around, making scary howling noises.
Celine was waiting for us when we arrived at her place. She said she was looking forward to seeing the house. She asked if we knew how old the house was and anything about it's history. I said no and asked Karl if he'd been told anything by the owner, but he was singing along to his blues music and shook his head. I mentioned to Celine that the front of the house looked okay but the back was a mess. We both thought this was odd. 

 Once we arrived we waited in the van whilst Karl collected the key from next door.
Celine said she couldn't wait to see inside. I had described the place to her but she seemed amazed when we went into the kitchen. Everything was as I remembered it last time. Used plates and cups left out, saucepans on the hob and two chairs pulled out from under the table which was littered with newspapers and magazines. Celine pointed out the wall clock which had stopped at ten to three. On the draining board next to the sink was a vase of dead roses, petals scattered everywhere. 
I asked Karl if he remembered these roses from our last visit. He shrugged,saying he wasn't sure. Celine wandered around, opening cupboard doors. She called me over to have a look. The shelves were stacked with tinned soups, cans and packets. She opened the cupboard underneath the large stone sink, pointing out all the cleaning products. She thought it strange that considering the house was for sale the owner hadn't arranged for a cleaner to come in.
Karl was in a hurry to pick up the chest of drawers so we followed him into the living room. Two couches were arranged around the fireplace which was covered with a thick layer of ash and soot. The chest of drawers was in the study, the same room we had collected the filing cabinet from last time.. The drawers were full of papers, documents and notebooks. Once we'd emptied them I helped Karl to carry out and load the chest into the van. Celine followed us. She didn't seem keen to be left in the house alone.
Karl suggested we have a quick look around. We followed him into the hall and up the stairs. Celine made a face, saying she could smell something sweet and sickly. I said Karl and I noticed this on our last visit. As we went up the stairs I became aware of a man's voice. Celine, who was walking between myself and Karl, froze. She gripped onto the stair banisters. Karl laughed and said it was a radio, probably timed to switch on. We went into all of the four bedrooms and sure enough, in the last room, a clock radio was talking away to itself. Something about politics. Karl went over to it and pulled the plug from the wall socket. He laughed, saying he knew there had to be a logical explanation. He smiled but neither of us smiled back.
The master bedroom was very untidy. Sheets were pulled back from the king sized bed. The dressing table was full of lipsticks, mascara, and half used perfume bottles. Celine opened the wardrobes, they were packed with dresses, suits and shirts. On one bedside table stood an alarm clock, a full glass of water and an opened packet of pills. Celine said she was sure the clocks in the study and the kitchen had both stopped at ten to three, the same time as this one.
Karl told us he was going out for a smoke. I got the impression he couldn't wait to get outside.
Celine followed me up to the attic rooms. 

We were standing in one, Celine studying the books, when we heard a door shut down below and footsteps coming up the stairs. Celine called out Karl's name. There was no answer so we went downstairs to meet him but when we reached the middle floor there was no sign of him. I looked out of the master bedroom window. Karl was outside, leaning against the van, smoking. I told Celine to come over and see. She said someone must have come into the house, maybe the old lady from next door but I could tell she wasn't convinced. Karl looked up at the window and waved. At the same moment I became conscious of the voice coming from the radio. I told Celine that the timer must have something wrong with it. We both laughed and then Celine stared at me. I asked her what was wrong.
"Karl pulled the plug out. " She reminded me. "It can't be working. "
We both listened. We could both hear the voice prattling on. Downstairs in the kitchen a cupboard door banged shut and something rolled across the tiled floor. Above us in the attic bedrooms a door slammed. Celine ran to the window. Karl was walking towards the front door.
We were halfway down the stairs when Karl strode into the living room.
He looked at us and asked what was wrong. Then he paused and asked if we had plugged the radio back in. We told him no and asked if he'd been back into the house, telling him about the footsteps on the stairs. He shook his head, stared at us for a moment then said "We've finished now. Let's go." We followed him out through the kitchen and as we passed through I noticed the chairs had been pushed back under the table, but I said nothing.

We went next door where after knocking several times and waiting for what seemed like ages, the old lady finally appeared. She listened as Celine spoke to her, asking about the house, trying to discover it's history. She shook her head and held out her hand for the key. Karl handed it over and she closed the door.
"Well, " said Celine. "She's hiding something but I don't know what."
On the way back Karl turned the volume up and sang along to his C.D whilst Celine and I were quiet.
At Karl's we unloaded the chest of drawers and went into his kitchen where we discussed the events of the afternoon. Karl couldn't explain the radio coming back on and wanted to find a rational explanation. Celine said there was never any logic or reason in life but Karl insisted there must be. I could offer no explanation for any of it. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Tuesday 28th October: Unexpected Arrivals‏

Went over to Celine's for dinner this evening. When I arrived she came out to meet me, telling me to come and take a look at Maximillian, the rabbit we'd saved from the cooking pot a few weeks ago. I'd asked her how he was settling in but she hadn't told me much, just saying he was doing well.
The living room of her little cottage was crammed with bookcases filled right up to the ceiling. I jokingly said I'd need a few weeks to sort all the books into alphabetical and size order!
She had cleared a space in one corner of the room where a rabbit hutch stood. There was no sign of Maximillian. Celine said he must be asleep in the enclosed area of the hutch.
Napoleon was watching us, slumped on a pile of cushions. Celine said he ignores Maximiliian, even when hopping around the room.
She opened the hutch and told me to come and look. Maximillian was laying on a bed of straw.
"Look," said Celine. "Can't you see them?"

I looked closer. Curled up next to their mother were three tiny rabbits. Maximillian had been pregnant when we rescued her. He is a she! Celine closed the hutch, saying it was best not to pick the babies up or fuss over them as this would upset their mother. They were born two weeks ago. She'd decided not to tell me, but keep them as a surprise. She asked if Madeleine and Benjamin would like to take one of them in about six weeks time. I'm sure they would, not too sure what Solange and Pieter will say though!
Celine had made a Coq au Vin (chicken stew) which we ate with plenty of bread, washed down with what was left of the wine. It was cold outside but warm in the cottage with the log fire crackling away in the little brick fireplace.

After dinner, as we sat around the fire, I told Celine that Karl had heard from the owner of the haunted house we went to recently. He wanted some more furniture picked up. Karl had asked me to go along with him and we had decided to go on Friday (Halloween) - just for the scare.
I asked Celine if she wanted to come along. She immediately agreed, saying she would be very interested in knowing the history of the house.
While Celine said she's really looking forward to going, I'm not so sure that I am!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Thursday 23rd October: Farewells‏

Rodrigo phoned this morning to say that he and Tatiana are leaving for Portugal to stay with Tatiana's parents. I was very surprised by their news and arranged to see them.
I hadn't been to the campsite before and when I finally reached there, the place had an abandoned look about it. The reception appeared empty although the barrier at the gate was up so I drove through to the visitors parking area. As I walked up to the main camping area I passed the small shop with empty cardboard boxes piled up outside and a dirty window displaying a prominent CLOSED sign. 

Rodrigo waved me over to an old style green VW camper van. The interior was taken up with a two ring stove, a small sink and four multi patterned cushioned bench seats. Tatiana was sitting at a tiny table bolted to the floor sorting through piles of sheet music. She looked pale and tired and when I asked where Paulo was I thought she was about to cry. Rodrigo explained her parents had driven up from Portugal at the weekend and taken Paulo back with them. He'd been constantly ill with colds and flu and was miserable. They missed him so much they'd decided to leave Brittany and join him.
Rodrigo's construction work had dried up and they'd abandoned their dream of building their own house, at least for the time being. He said maybe they'd return in the Spring but I saw the look Tatiana gave him. She was definitely not keen!
Tatiana made me a coffee and explained the stove was powered by a gas bottle which fitted underneath. I asked if they had any water supply. She shook her head and pointed to a container of water they had to top up from the shower block. She said she was tired of visiting there late at night and early in the morning only to find the tepid water would run dry after a few minutes. She said the place is so depressing. She was on her way back last night and overheard a young couple arguing in their tent. The girl had been crying whilst her boyfriend was shouting at her to take her passport and go back to Spain. The girl was begging him to go with her.
My sympathies were with Tatiana and Rodrigo. They had always been so lively and cheerful and I couldn't believe the change in them.
Rodrigo said there had been several more night raids at the campsite; flashing police lights and sirens at three in the morning. Last night two young men who had just arrived from Germany were arrested. Rodrigo thought it probably involved drugs. I asked Tatiana about her work in the cafe. She sighed and said it started well but one of the local girls working there had taken a dislike to her, constantly finding fault with everything she did. Last week she had been told she would no longer be needed. She had no idea what the problem was. I said the girl was probably jealous and Rodrigo agreed, saying Tatiana was a million times quicker and far more efficient as well as being a million times prettier!
Two days ago the camper van had failed to start. Luckily there was a man with an identical VW on the site who had not only given them a new battery but fitted some new spark plugs too. He was from Toronto and was travelling through Europe, collecting recipes from each country. Rodrigo said he planned to publish the recipes together in one book. When he went into the van to fetch the battery the whole of the side panel was fitted out with compartments containing tools and different parts for the van. Rodrigo couldn't believe how organised the guy was.
I asked how soon they were leaving and Tatiana said at the weekend. I said goodbye and wished them luck. Tatiana handed me the piano music Rodrigo had borrowed and hugged me, reminding me to send Kieran her love.
As we walked back to the car, Rodrigo pointed out Kieran's caravan. No-one had been there for weeks and there had been no sign of his family. It was obvious they didn't care about him. Rodrigo said he'd seen him at Alexander's a few days ago and he seemed happy there.
On the way out a tall blonde woman with hair tied back was walking two small poodles stopped to speak to us. She had a strong Dutch accent and asked Rodrigo where Paulo was. He explained about the grand-parents. She nodded then asked what exactly they were doing on a campsite in the cold. She said it in an accusing tone, as if she was telling him off. Before he could answer she went on to tell him he had a very nice wife, implying Tatiana had a lot to put up with. At that, she dismissed us with a wave and marched off dragging the dogs behind her.
Rodrigo made a face. It was clear he couldn't stand her.
I laughed, saying the woman sounded very nosy. I also pointed out that she too was living on the campsite. Rodrigo said she had a very expensive and well equipped caravan. She'd taken the best pitch on the site and even created a little garden to mark out her territory. He thought she was probably on the run from something or someone.
He stood watching as I drove off, I could see him waving in the mirror. I was sorry to say goodbye to Rodrigo but I think he's doing the best thing for Tatiana and Paulo; also for himself. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Friday 17th October: Intermezzo

So pleased I've finally got my car back. However, I've made the most of being marooned in the cottage by spending the last few days writing some missing sections for my historical novel.
Ines phoned this morning asking if I could run through some new pieces with her. She's now moved in with Gavin and described the house to me in great detail. I think she was keen to find an excuse to show off her new home. Her directions were surprisingly easy to follow and it only took me ten minutes to get there. I drove through a pair of imposing gates up a gravelled driveway to a large white house. Ines was already at the door as I got out of the car. She looked different somehow; a little older perhaps, her hair pulled back, and dressed more formally than usual. She led me through a black and white tiled hallway into a living room with a large conservatory off to one side. One of the walls was decorated with photos of Gavin performing in various operatic venues around the world, and framed newspaper cuttings: reviews of his performances. A number of similar photos of him stood on the marble mantle piece. (I wondered if Ines had placed them there).
The room was very masculine and dominated by two large black leather couches. Perched in the centre of one was an elderly lady who was introduced to me as Gavin's mother. She beckoned me over, speaking so quietly I had to bend right down to hear her. I asked about her home in Wales, but could only make out a few words of her reply: something about it being very cold.
No sign of any books, apart from two hardback travel books placed strategically on the glass coffee table. I peeled one from the table top to take a look. (Obviously no readers in this house!) 

We then went to rehearse in the conservatory where a white baby grand piano dominated the room. We were halfway through ComoFue when Gavin appeared at the doorway. Ines stopped, obviously surprised to see him. He continued to lean against the doorway as he watched us. Ines again stumbled over the lyrics a few times, so we started again. I was certain Gavin was putting her off; he was standing, arms folded, without saying a word. We went through the next piece, Aguasde Março, during which time Gavin left the room without a comment. A couple of more attempts and things got better. Ines suggested we take a break for coffee.
Passing through the living room, I noticed Gavin's mother was still seated on the couch, now asleep, snoring slightly with her mouth open. I followed Ines into the large modern black and white themed kitchen where she made us coffee and two slices of chocolate cake. I was asking where Gavin had got to when Ines told me to listen. The sound of his voice boomed into the room.
I followed Ines as she hurried back to the conservatory in time to applaud the final cadence of NessunDorma. Gavin bowed theatrically, inviting me to return to his piano. (The man certainly enjoys being the centre of attention). For the next ten minutes Gavin took up his position at the doorway while we resumed out practice. Whenever we finished a song, he neither clapped nor smiled once and I had the feeling he somehow disapproved.
When I arrived back home I found a plastic bag hanging on my door handle. Inside was a dark blue jumper I hadn't seen for months. I took out a folded note.
"You left this at mine. So sorry we keep missing each other. Adele."

I took the bag and went into the cottage. Why can't that woman leave me alone? I took my mind off Gavin and Adele and spent the evening researching for my book. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Friday 10th October: Destined for the Pot

Late yesterday afternoon Celine phoned to say she would call around as she was in the area, interviewing the residents of the care home for her book. She seemed fed up, complaining the visit had been a waste of time as most of the residents were asleep when she arrived and one elderly man wouldn't leave her alone; repeatedly asking if she knew where his keys were. She told me the place can be so depressing sometimes.
I tried to cheer her up by telling her I'd just sold two of my books. She suggested. that we go out and celebrate. So we decided to look for a restaurant in Vannes and take my car as I needed to fill up with petrol.
On the way I told Celine about the house in Pontivy where Karl and I heard the mysterious knocking on the door. She told me that when she was in her early twenties her father had been planning to rent a house in Normandy. We went to an auction sale in Rouen where he bought an oak table and chairs, which were then delivered to the empty house. On the following day he and Celine went to check that everything had arrived. Celine recalled going into the dining room and telling her father to come and look. The table and chairs had been placed in the middle of the room and all the legs were covered in deep scratches, as if made by a large dog. She and her father looked in every room of the house and there was no sign of a dog. Her father was so shocked that he withdrew his plans to rent the house and found somewhere else instead.
I asked celine what her father did with the table and chairs. She said he left them there.
We drove in silence for a while, both thinking about this. The silence was soon broken by a rattling noise from the car's engine. It didn't sound good but I tried to ignore it.
Celine was relating Napoleon's latest attempts at mice catching when the car started to shake. I was heading down a deserted lane when the steering wheel began to tighten. The car began to slow down, eventually coming to a halt. I turned the ignition. Nothing. I got out and kicked the side panel and swore at the old banger. 

Celine took out her phone and asked me for the number of the garage. I said I didn't know and thought it would be closed by then. I was considering phoning Karl when an ancient 2CV van trundled down the lane towards us. With a squeaking of brakes it stopped and a bearded man, his bulk taking up the whole of the driver's side, wound down his window. Next to him sat a tiny white haired woman, smoking a cigar with a small terrier dozing on her lap. Between the two sat another dog of indeterminate breed. The man asked if we needed any help.
Before I could think of the words to give him an answer, he leapt out of his van and ordered me to steer while he pushed the car up the lane and through the entrance of a field. I stepped of my car, at which point the man slapped me on the back and told me to smile.
Celine and the white haired woman were standing next to the van talking. The woman, dressed in faded dungarees tucked into green thigh boots, was rocking the sleeping terrier in her arms. Celine called over to tell me the couple lived near my cottage and would be able to give us a lift back.
We climbed into the back of the van. The floor was littered with old newspapers, receipts, handwritten notes, lists and chewed up boxes of dog biscuits. We drove off accompanied by loud accordion music. The man whistled along as his wife sucked on her cigar. The terrier snored in her lap whilst the large dog turned to stare at us.
It wasn't long before we realized we were not alone in the back. The music was accompanied by clucking sounds and we both turned to find two cages behind us each containing a pair chickens. They were all gazing at me. 

Celine's attention, however, was taken up by something else. Next to the chickens was a hutch containing a grey and white rabbit; his nose twitching through the wire. Celine asked the couple where they had got him from. Both speaking at once, they told us they had been to the market that afternoon and bought the rabbit and the chickens from there. Celine told them the rabbit was beautiful and it would make a very good pet.
The woman almost spat out her cigar. Both she and her husband seemed to find this very amusing.
"No,no, they are for la cuisine; the rabbit and the chickens!" The man smacked his lips, assuring us the rabbit was destined for the pot that very evening.
Celine was horrified. "You can't do that!"
She later told me she had a vision of the unfortunate rabbit in the film, Fatal Attraction. She took a twenty Euro note from her bag and waved it in front of the little old lady. The dog sniffed at it.
"Take this," she said. "And I will take the rabbit." She had to shout over the music to make herself heard. The couple started to laugh, telling Celine she could have the rabbit, there were plenty more. My French vocabulary had deserted me so I asked Celine if she would offer the couple ten Euros for the chickens. They wanted twenty but we eventually settled on fifteen. It was another twenty minutes before we reached my cottage and during that time the couple conducted a whispered conversation interspersed with bursts of laughter.
Celine told me they think we're mad!
Once we arrived at my place the couple laughed as we took the rabbit and chickens from the back of the van. We heard them laughing as they drove off. 

We took the animals indoors, Celine asking if I had any lettuce. I didn't, but I found a couple of old carrots at the back of a cupboard and she took the rabbit out of his cage to stroke him. He trembled whilst the chickens looked on. I was certain Karl would be pleased to have them.
So, despite the car breaking down and being the centre of amusement, at least we'd been given a lift home and managed to rescue a few animals from the pot.
After a coffee Celine left with Maximillian, the rabbit's new name, saying she was looking forward to introducing Napoleon to him. (I'm sure he'll be thrilled!)
This morning I phoned the garage in Lorient and arranged for them to pick up the car. A couple of hours later I received a phone call to let me know the cost: nearly three hundred Euros! Bloody cars!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Monday 6th October: Haunting‏ in Pontivy

I was revising the chapters of my historical novel when Karl phoned, asking if I would help him pick up some furniture from Pontivy. I always liked that town and needed a break, so was happy to go along.

We arrived early and stopped for a coffee in a cafe by the river. Although the weather wasn't as warm as it has been, this was an advantage as it kept most of the tourists away. Karl explained he'd received an e-mail with details of a chest of drawers and a bureau, which would be left for him to pick up from the study of an empty house in the outskirts of the town.
The house, a lovely old granite building with dark blue shutters, built around the 1850's. We picked up the key from the old lady living next door who explained that the family had left several weeks ago and were planning to sell up. The key was stiff to turn in the heavy oak door but we finally pushed it open and found ourselves in a stone tiled hallway leading off into a kitchen. It looked as if the family had just gone out and were due to return at any moment; saucepans left on the stove, discarded cups of coffee and a tea towel laying on the floor. Two chairs were pulled out from under the table and several of the cupboard doors had been left open. The room smelt stale and musty.
"Are you sure there's no one here? " I asked.
Karl looked puzzled. "That's what they told me." He called out. "Bonjour. Il y a quelqu'un?"
No reply.
The kitchen led into a living room with another room at the back; an office containing a desk scattered with papers, a computer and piles of unopened mail. It was in this room we found the chest of drawers and the bureau which Karl recognised from the pictures he'd been sent.

He opened the top drawer of the chest to find it full of notebooks, letters and handwritten notes. We emptied all four drawers, making a pile of the contents in one of the corners of the room. The bureau mostly contained bundles of pens and packets of stationary.
I was still intrigued about the place and suggested we take a look upstairs before we leave. As we climbed the winding staircase I commented how the musty smell had become sweet and sickly; like a cloying perfume. Karl thought it might be coming from the vase of dead roses which stood on the windowsill (but I somehow doubted it).
On the first floor we found three bedrooms and a bathroom. The beds were all made and the cupboards and wardrobes were full. The rooms were untidy with clothes strewn about as if someone had been in a hurry to leave. We went up the next flight of stairs and found two attic bedrooms. In one of the rooms the little dormer window was open and, as soon as we stepped inside, a gust of wind blew the door shut.
Karl bent to pick up a piece of paper from the centre of the floor. He looked at it then, saying nothing, handed it to me. On the note, hand-written in bold capital letters, was the name Anne. As soon as I'd read the name the room suddenly felt icily cold. Then three distinct taps on the bedroom door. Neither of us moved. We just looked at each other.
"Did you hear that?" Karl whispered.
I crept over to the door and opened it: no one there. I could hear a telephone ringing downstairs, but stopped after three rings. We went down to the study to collect the furniture. Just as we lifted up the bureau, the telephone on the office desk started to ring again: three short rings.
Karl picked it up. "Allo?" He waited, replaced the receiver and turned to me. "I think we should go now."
We loaded up the van and went back into the study to fetch the chest of drawers. As we were carrying it out the phone rang again. This time, I answered it on the second ring: silence.
Once the furniture was in the van we returned the key to the neighbour. Karl handed her an envelope containing the money for the furniture. She was a small white haired lady who peered at us over the top of her glasses. Karl asked if there was anyone in the house. She assured us there was not. When we told her about the phone ringing, she laughed. "C'est impossible!" She told us the phone was disconnected. We must have both been staring at her in shock because she laughed again, shook her head and closed the door.
On the way back Karl told me he'd be glad to get rid of the furniture. He planned to restore both pieces and sell them on as soon as possible.
It was raining when we got to his place. Once the van was unloaded we sat in his kitchen, speculating the afternoon's events. Why had the family left so suddenly? Had they been scared off by something? I asked him what he thought about the piece of paper with the name Anne. He said it was strange how it appeared in the centre of the carpet; as if waiting for us to pick it up. Neither of us noticed it when we first stepped into the room. What shook us most was the three taps on the door. Although we tried to explain it away, in out hearts we both knew what we'd heard and neither of us have been able to come up with any rational explanation so far.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Wednesday 1st October: Runaway

The practice this evening at Alexander's took a totally unexpected turn. I didn't think I'd be able to get to Carnac in the first place, my Peugeot was making such a loud rattling noise. By the time I arrived I was so stressed, I'd been imagining the car was about to blow up any minute.
I was describing the noise to Alexander when Rodrigo arrived. He looked worried, telling us that Kieron, the young English boy from the campsite who had come to one of our previous rehearsals, had gone missing. His mother and sisters had been away in the UK nearly two months, leaving him on his own and he had become more withdrawn. He'd been spending most of the day with Tatiana and Rodrigo, but recently had become more distant . He hadn't been playing his guitar any more and spent hours alone in his caravan. When Tatiana called round to see him this morning there was no answer. The caravan was unlocked and a complete mess inside. She was worried, but no one, including the campsite owners, had any contact details for Kieron's mother.

Rodrigo was telling us this and considering whether to call the police when Ines arrived (always the last to turn up at rehearsals). She announced that she had someone she wanted us to meet; a stocky dark-haired man in his forties who she introduced as Gavin. Ines explained that he was an opera singer and had sung at Glyndebourne and recently performed in Milan. She proudly listed of his operatic accomplishments. They had met whilst she was on holiday in Florence. Gavin was describing the rigours of operatic training when Alexander came into the kitchen. "Guess who I just found in the summer house!" Behind him, looking bedraggled and somewhat embarrassed, was Kieron. Rodrigo rushed over and gave him a hug. We asked what he'd been doing in the summerhouse. Apparently, his mother had left him with a small amount of money before she left for the U.K, reassuring him she'd soon be back. However, the campsite owners had been demanding rent from him. Every time he phoned his mother she promised to send more money, but none arrived. His mother is contacting him less and less while the campsite owners continue to harass him, and now he can't even afford to phone her. Rodrigo told him not to worry, assuring him that he could stay with them in their camper van.
Kieron told us he had slept in the summerhouse, intending to leave early in the morning to look for work at the cafés in Carnac. Alexander suggested, rather than return to the campsite, he could stay with him and Simone as they have plenty of room in their house. He told Kieron to go and have a shower and see what he could find to eat in the kitchen. Poor boy; such a relief on his face.
It was difficult to get much practice done as Ines seemed self conscious singing in front of Gavin. She also insisted that he sing for us. At first he objected, but I could tell he loved the attention. He gave us a rendition of Nessun Dorma which was a treat, but Ines was a bit over the top with her praise and applause. They left soon after that, explaining that Gavin had a plane to catch early the next morning. We packed up soon after they'd gone as Rodrigo was anxious to get back to tell Tatiana about Kieron.

I was worried about my return journey but managed to make it back home with the car in one piece!