I know I had only been back in France (and at work) for a couple of weeks, but I have already taken a trip back to the north of England on Business of Mystery (I call it that, a la Chief Wiggum, so you won't be curious as to what I'm doing up here).
I travelled up on Tuesday - my flight wasn't until 2.10, so I had plenty of time in the morning to pack and clean the flat. Plenty of time, that is, until I nudged the cardboard box graveyard that occupies the entire east wing (I like to call it a wing to make it sound more like a stately house and less like an irregularly-shaped one-bedroom attic apartment) of my flat. And then HORROR! Behind the cardboard box graveyard, there is a happy little colony of mould. And not just a little spot or two of mould. This is an aggressive colony of green (complemented with the occasional spot of bright pink - wtf) mould growing over the ENTIRE WALL behind the cardboard box graveyard. You may ask how I missed an entire wall's worth of mould - I do clean, honestly. Just not behind the cardboard box graveyard, the centrepiece of which is the IKEA box that my fold-out couch came in. So yeah, when you have a box that's as big as a whole couch, you're talking serious wall-coverage here. I also think it's of relatively recent vintage, based on the fact that I haven't seen it before, it's been rather damp in the apartment of late (fostered by the constantly-filled racks of drying clothes I leave about the place) and the fact that - THANK GOD - *most* of the mould came off quite easily. Luckily, turns out that painted wallpaper can be scrubbed clean with relative ease. However, there remained about 10% stainage on the wall, especially those weird bright-pink spots, which need to be dealt with when I get back. I'm hoping either to find some sort of super product or to discover that an extra bit of elbow grease will do the trick. Because otherwise, feckballs. Don't tell the landlord, but Bob has already been doing his best to ruin the wallpaper with his sharp little claws, I don't need an entire mould colony jazzing up the place. Unless maybe I can sell it as a modern art installation? What do you think my chances are?
Anyway, enough wittering about Crisis Mould. I set out for the airport in good time, but still managed to miss the bus due to the fact that I was where the bus was supposed to be, and then it just drove right past without stopping. I talked to the woman in the bus place and she suggested this might have been because there was someone else in the appointed bus parking spot, but there was NOT. So I had to take a taxi to the airport, which luckily wasn't too traumatic, since the airport is nice and close and it costs 15 euros, as opposed to 5 for the bus. Plus I had a nice chat with the taxi driver and got to feel all smug about my French chatting abilities (some days I got it, some days I so definitely do not - the latter we shall call "workdays"). Everything after that - flight to Stansted, then train to York - went smoothly, and I even got to catch an earlier train.
Since then, I haven't actually been up to much other than my Errand of Mystery. I went shopping all yesterday morning, trawling in and out of pretty much every establishment York has to offer, but I think the cream of the sales has definitely been snatched up, happily for my wallet. I did get a nice gold shrug/cardi from Oasis - although I would prefer to call it "sparkly beige" rather than gold, seeing as it is a very nice subtle colour and I'm not a fan of a blingy gold look. Today I went to the Minster (cathedral) and found out that, since my last visit in late 2004, they have installed cash desks and you have to pay to go in. I felt a bit of a philistine for not paying, but I have been already after all. Instead, I had a Belgian hot chocolate (mmm) and had a walk around part of the medieval town walls. It was a lovely sunny day, perfect for a stroll.
I'm currently blogging from the pub - definitely a fan of the English pub, coming as it does with proper English cider (mmmm) and, in this case, free wifi, although chat is also a welcome option (other than with the guy who was talking very loudly on his cellphone about "pleading Not Guilty" to something or other). Not too sure what I'll get up to tomorrow - my last full day, before having to catch the train to the airport at 6 am on Saturday, boooooo - there is a free walking tour that I quite fancy, although I decided to only bring boots in order to save on luggage space/weight (Ryanair!) and consequently, my feet are not super happy with me, so I don't know how a 2-hour walking tour will go down.