So everything was going well and it was just a matter of counting the days until I moved. I didn't tell many people that I was leaving and spent the majority of my laptop time trying to find out my National Insurance number that was probably given to me when at school at the age of 16 and not thought about since. I notified the necessary authorities and sat back, wondering about what I had let myself in for. I was leaving a country that had been my home for the past 25 years - could I cope with a country that doesn't even use euros, drives on the wrong side of the road and is totally surrounded by water?
Richard sent me a text message letting me know that he had been admitted into hospital with acute appendicitis.
My thoughts were two-fold: a)What the hell do I do now and b) oh dear, I hope he's OK.
And then I started to worry. The ferry was booked, the electricity and water were going off as of 18 April and all my possessions were packed. Thanks to my Dad's help towards the cost of the move and Richard's family pulling together, I was picked up by Richard's brother-in-law who kindly packed the van he brought over with the help of Coralie's boyfriend and friends, ignored the sudden buzzing noise in one of the boxes which refused to die a sudden death for an impressive length of time and put up with my inane babble all the way to Ashford where I spent the night chez Richard's charming parents.
I had expected the departure to be a rather painful and sad affair, but everything seemed to happen so quickly that once the electricity etc had been turned off and I gave my keys to Coralie we had time for a tearful hug before I jumped into the van hugging a shoe box containing Hermie and left the road for the last time without even looking back.
Somehow, via the good fortune of knowing someone with such a wonderfully kind and helpful family, I got here. I miss my children immensely and have the odd moment when the tears roll, but in all, I'm very happy although it is going to take a while to get used to the culture.
The people here may need a while to get used to me, too.