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Monte Carlo: Day 5 – 13.03.18…………..Six Shades of Fifty - The homecoming!

We woke to the heavy pitter-patter of torrential rail on the window pane and gazed through the window of our balcony-less suite to the dreary scene beyond the window pane. The sky was dark, the sea grey and choppy. It didn’t look great out there. We dove into action, showered, packed and made it down to breakfast for 9am. Anne and Shirl were already helping themselves to breakfast whilst Abi and Tan were nowhere to be seen. Eventually we were reunited, managed to nab the big round dining table and made our usual relays to and from the breakfast buffet. It was going to a long day so we needed to stock up.

Our flight, which I thought was at midday was, in fact, not until 4.30pm. Best ring ‘uncle Barry’ then and tell him I’ll be picking Milly up at 10pm rather than at 5pm as first thought! We had some time to spare in the morning so having made the decision the previous evening to go to the ‘Musee de Automobile’, we borrowed the hotels very large umbrellas and set off. By the time we’d walked the ten minutes to get there we were absolutely soaked!

The museum was amazing, certainly well worth the €6.50 entrance fee. The cars were beautiful, all gleaming beneath the lights, it was a truly impressive collection. We looked on in envy at all these glamorous cars, our favourites being the Sunbeam and the pink Mercedes. Oh yes, we could imagine ourselves driving along the coast road, on a lovely warm sunny day wearing our headscarves and over-sized sunglasses. Very chic.

We returned to the hotel to drop off the umbrellas and pick up our luggage and wondered how we were going to get to the bus stop, such was the deluge outside. Thankfully, the hotel shuttle bus dropped us off at the No.100 bus stop where we all huddled together under the very narrow bus shelter, taking refuge from the rain. The buses ran every twenty minutes except for today of course when we were advised by two French ladies waiting at the bus stop that they’d been waiting for well over an hour! Seems there’s some sort of road event going on which is affecting the local transport. Supposedly, normal service would be resumed after midday.

We waited for at least half an hour until a fire engine pulled up at the bus stop and six French fireman got out, no kidding. We thought our luck had changed and were going to be given a ‘fireman’s lift’ but they bypassed us and went into the flats behind. Ah well, it was a pleasant thought!

Eventually the bus arrived and looking like drowned rats we entered into the scrum to get on board. The two ladies who had been waiting got on with their umbrellas still up, then got off, then got on again, then off again, poking everyone with their umbrellas each time. Honestly, what a farce. To make matters worse, we had to stand all the way, except for Tan and Shirl, who managed to bag a seat.

It was still raining torrents when we got to Nice and to make matters worse there were no buses running to the airport due to the Nice-Paris cycle race. Of course, we didn’t know this until we’d been waiting for twenty minutes. We regrouped in a dry patch underneath the arches and decided to ask the waiter in the restaurant behind us if they could order us a taxi. He was very obliging, rang for two taxi’s, and as they wouldn’t be arriving for twenty minutes, we popped in for some wine and cappuccino’s.....and why not. Actually it was Anne who requested the wine which looked so nice that I had one too.

Finally we arrived at the airport only to be informed our flight was delayed by an hour. Not to worry, we had a bite to eat and then boarded our flight at 5pm. It was a very uneventful flight, though we did partake in consuming wine and Oreos and when we landed our taxi man was waiting to escort us back to Petersfield a) because this is where Tan lives and b) we needed to pick up Abi’s car for the drive back to Dorset.

Back at Tan’s we packed up the car, said our goodbyes, wished each other well and off we went. Ah, we were on the last leg of our journey home, not long now and with a bit of luck we’d be home by 9.30pm. Unfortunately, luck didn’t seem to be on our side.....we’d only driven a few minutes down the road when the engine management light came on, the car started juddering and there was a slight smell of burning. What to do? Well, after the quickest debate we’d had all holiday we pulled into the Petersfield Service Station and called the AA who were sending out a Knight in Shining Yellow Armour going by the name of Russell. As we were parked in the McDonalds car park we decided to take refuge inside and have a coffee while we waited. It took us at least ten minutes to extract ourselves from the car due to the fact that we were parked so close to the cars either side of us that we’d need super model figures to get out. We manoeuvred our bodies into some very strange positions, legs akimbo, breathing in and eventually managed to get out. The young couple ‘hanging out’ in the next car, instead of moving their car to give us room, thought they’d sit and watch this entertaining spectacle.

AA Russell arrived at 9pm and proceeded to make a diagnosis of the car, in the pouring rain. It wasn’t looking good as he needed a part that he didn’t have so a call to his colleague in Portsmouth meant him going to pick it up. An hour later, in which time we had consumed numerous cups of coffee, fillets of fish, big macs and chips, AA Russell set to work, still in the rain, to fit the part. We were all crossing our fingers in the hope that it was a) the right part and b) it fitted. Fortunately, it was a good fit and after taking Abi for a spin ‘round the block’ to test it out we said our goodbyes to AA Russell and McDonalds (we’ve never spent so much time in one before.....just as well it was open 24 hours) and hit the road. It was close to midnight......!

We finally arrived in Dorset in the early hours of Monday morning, dropping off Shirl, then Anne then Abi in Wool to pick up my car. Having phoned Barry earlier to ask him to keep Milly for the night I drove straight home from dropping off Maice, finally falling into bed at 2.30am.

What a day, what awful weather, what trials and tribulations we faced throughout the day and night, but through all this adversity there was laughter, good times, food and of course a little bit of alcohol! What more could we ask for?

So, this is goodbye from Monte Carlo Monaco (MCM) and the Six Shades of Fifty.......all six us in our fiftieth year, okay two of us may be imposters but we still possess a 5 in front of our age!!

Until next time....AAMAST xxxxxx

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