Saturday, March 16, 2013

Before and After

Two weeks ago now, we went to France for the day. Cambrai to be specific. It was beautiful weather but very cold, so we didn't enjoy it quite as much as we normally do. There was another reason for that, though. What we didn't realise as we were taking in the beauties of this particularly remote area of northern France was that Koos (he with the real photographic talent for those who don't know him) was busy building himself up for a week in hospital. He might have told me (I complained to him later) but Koos being Koos simply muttered about being cold (very rare for him), turned down the chance of a luscious creamy dessert when we had lunch (almost unheard of and cause for concern in itself) and asked me to drive home (something he hardly ever never does when we are in France). Actually, now I come to think of it, he asked me to do most of the driving there too (I should definitely have been warned then).

On the way there, though, we'd stopped by this remote, but still used railway line - although the station is out of use (spot the Koos in the photo before while he got cold). It was so quiet, so tucked away, so far from not just the madding but any crowds at all that we both felt that kind of hush that creeps over everything and makes you want to whisper. In fact, the lane I was standing on where I took this photo was cobbled. Only the part around the railway tracks had been tarred. It made us feel as if we'd stepped back in time, or at least into a parallel world.

When we reached Cambrai after a few more detours, we found lunch in a great restaurant with the wonderfully cross cultural name of 'Le Jolly Sailor'. It is run by an Englishman with his 'vairy Franche friend' and they do a brisk trade in excellent food which combines well with the impromptu 'vaudeville' style songs that John (not sure if that's his real name), the Englishman performs, accompanying himself on the piano. The lunch weighed heavy on our tums and so called for a walk along the canal before we decided the cold was too cold and headed on home. Koos slept much of the way back (not all so surprising as he often does) but by the time we got home, he seemed better and we spent a normal evening together. By four o'clock the next morning, though, things had changed again and this time, we were calling an ambulance. Just as well it seems. To cut a long story short, Koos is home again now with some extra bits of tube keeping the blood circulating through his heart.  It's an op he's had before, so we knew the signs, but I'm very glad it's over. I can now look back on the 'before' and know now for sure that it's 'after' - and that it's alright.


  1. I am so glad that Koos is okay, we had something similar with my Dad last year who now has a pacemaker fitted. Why don't these blinking' men just say when they are really ill, after all they complain enough when they get a sniffle! Seriously though, it is amazing what medical science can do these days, so just be good to yourselves and enjoy life xxx

  2. I am sorry to read about the awful ending of your trip to Cambrai, poor Koos and am glad that he is now on the mend. Shall remember you both in my meditations.

  3. Please give Koos our love as well Val.

  4. Fran, I suppose it's because they don't want to make a fuss unless it's safe to :-)

    Mel, thanks for the kind words and support. I never want to 'talk' about these things till after they are over and all is well again, so you can be sure he is alright now.

    String, I will. Koos is fine now. He had a beer last night for the first time since the Cambrai day, so I can be sure he's well again!

  5. It's so hard, looking back on a day like that which should be filled with great memories but is blighted by the terrible ending.

    I'm so glad he's mended - and now you'll just have to go back to Cambrai.

  6. Hi Val .. so pleased Koos is out and safe ... what a relief - look after yourselves .... all the best Hilary

  7. Our men seem to be spared an ebay listing this time.....xx

  8. Jo, you can be sure we'll go back - Cambrai is a lovely town, and as for that restaurant....

    Hilary, all's well now, but thank you for the kind thoughts.

    Anne, haha, saved by the drip....we'll have to keep that ebay listing in reserve :-)

  9. So glad that Koos is safe and home again.

  10. I am really happy Koos is home and doing well.
    Your trip sounds lovely, the first photo certainly is a trip back in time.
    love to you both, and Sin too! x


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