"Sharon's taking me to hospital - I really don't feel well."
"OK, Richard - good luck. Let me know what they say."
"Hi Zoe - they think it's appendicitis and I have to stay in."
"Oh dear. What about next week? I'm moving over to England."
"I'll get back to you - the doctor's here."
This time last year I had packed all my belongings into a van with the help of Coralie, several of her friends, Todd, a friend and Richard's brother-in-law, Mark. Although Richard was out of hospital now, he was in no fit state to drive all the way to Belgium and so his family got together and Mark, a professional lorry driver, was designated to get me.
When the van was packed I told Coralie what to do with any mail sent to the house, what to do with what was left in the house as there was still a lot of furniture in it which I thought Tatiana, who was doing her stage in a hotel in Madrid at the time, would like. We hugged and as I handed over my house keys to Coralie I gave my last few instructions in a broken voice, gently wiping the tears off Coralie's cheeks.
I climbed into the van with Hermie in a box and as we drove out of the clos I didn't dare look back - I decided to try and concentrate on talking to Mark and try and discover what on earth the vibrating noise was coming from one of my boxes. Coralie and friends passed us by just before we joined the Ring and honked loudly before we headed for Calais.
It was a lovely warm day and we arrived early but couldn't get on an earlier ferry so we sat in the van and people-watched, making jokes about who they were and what they did. The talking helped me from thinking about what I was doing and the wonderfully warm and unusually hot weather kept my spirits up. When we finally boarded the ferry, Mark bought me a coffee and we sat by a window, chatting and watching what had to be the flatted crossing that I had ever been on. As the English coastline came into view I felt vaguely excited and calmer than earlier in the day.
Hermie had stayed in his shoe box in the van during the crossing and appeared fine as we drove off and headed towards Richard's parents, arriving dead on 7pm. I was made to feel very welcome and was fed an excellent meal of cold ham and vegetables before being sent to bed as I was obviously fading rapidly.
I think I was still in shock, because apart from driving on the left, I hadn't really realised that I had left Belgium, everything seemed to be happening in a dream.
And that was a year ago exactly.
After an excellent night's sleep I woke up and burst into tears. I knew where I was, and that I was to be driven up to be with Richard that day, but my heart wasn't ready. I was already missing my children and my house, not to mention Belgium.
But my house had been sold already, I was just waiting for my share of the sale. There was no going back now.
All that happened a year ago today.