I've been away for a couple of days, working. It's been a lot of driving and a lot of miles, with a cunning little flight thrown in for good measure, but it hasn't been so bad.
I'd been dreading the return trip to Brest for ages, ever since the last trip out here. We all know how well that went.
Luckily, after a marathon seven-hour drive, I was greeted by a friendly face (the employee of the vile-guy-who-wants-me-sacked) and a message to 'just get on with it, because the boss won't be coming'. Class. I don't know if I scare him or he just hates me - either way, the meeting went so much better without him.
Such was the happy atmosphere of the meeting that we over-ran and I had to mince very quickly indeed in order to get my plane to Marseille.
And that's when my job became worth it.
I woke up this morning, opened the shutters onto the balcony (oh yes, even cheap hotels can be cool sometimes) and stepped out into mediterranean sunshine and blue sky. I had a view over the old port of Marseille and could see the fort in the distance, resplendent in the early morning sun.
Dodging the free 'breakfast' on offer at the hotel, I skipped out of the hotel and down to the port.
I sat, at seven thirty this morning, on a terrasse, drinking a café crème, an orange juice (pressé, bien sûr) and tucking into a tartine and pain au choc. As the sun warmed me through I wondered if life gets any better. Really, it's the choice between this and a job at Birmingham HQ? I know which I'll take, thanks.
After breakfast, I jumped in the car for a drive down the coast before my mid morning meeting. I stood on the beach, I watched the surfers and I breathed sea air.
Meeting over, I headed to Lyon in the car for meeting number two. Driving through Lyon made me think about my days there, but I didn't get all nostalgic. How did I manage to live somewhere for two years and not get attached to the place? Maybe I wasn't really 'living' there...deep, eh?
Once I'd finished in Lyon, I hit the autoroute back to Paris.
Did I mention that Debbie was with me all the way? She'd turned out to be good company and a pleasure to have along. For so long I've done this travelling on my own that I'd forgotten how nice it can be to have someone else there. Especially someone who had never really left the Île de France before.
Debbie drove much of the way back to Paris from Lyon, and I learnt one thing about her. She drives fast. Real fast.
I closed my eyes as the clock went past 180 kmh (110 mph-ish). I feigned sleep when she overtook trucks at this speed. I very nearly passed out when she raced the Maserati that had been 'annoying' her for the last few kilometres.
The radio started to play Britney 'Circus' as we rolled down the last hill and onto the Peripherique. Debbie started to sing along...
"There's only two types of people in the world
The ones that entertain and the ones that observe.
Well baby I'm a put-on-a-show kinda girl
Don't like the backseat, gotta be first..."
She's not wrong.
We have so much in common.....