My training, and indeed my blogging, have been put aside for the visit of my parents. They were only here for a week, so it would have been churlish not to make the most of their visit. My aim was to give my Dad a bit of a break from caring 24/7 for my mother, who has Alzheimer’s. This was made easier in the first few days of their trip by the presence of my beloved thereby enabling us to visit Aix en Provence and Alassio.

Walking around these two towns has made me realise just how much my parents have slowed up, particularly in the last year or so. They shuffle along at a painfully slow rate and, as a consequence, are not good on cobbles, stairs or uneven pavements. In effect, “trips out” are just lunches in a different location.

Selecting things for my mother to eat is also fraught with difficulty. It’s best if we all eat the same, then she just copies us. But if you get her something different, she’s just as likely to eat it with her fingers or the incorrect cutlery. She seems to prefer my home cooking rather than eating in restaurants but that’s probably because we’re all eating the same dishes and I’ve prepared things I know she likes.

Sunday morning my beloved left for the States and I went for a quick ride to include the pointage which was fortunately only in the next town. I returned to find my parents had breakfasted, but my mother was resisting getting dressed. My Dad has the patience of a saint and, eventually, generally manages to coax her into doing most things. However, she can be very stubborn, a trait which is undiminished by her illness. There are certain things which she still seems to enjoy doing, such as helping me in the kitchen, but frankly it’s often hard to tell.

The last few days of their visit I tried to give my Dad a bit of peace and quiet to enjoy reading a book, something he struggles to do at home. Mum was quite happy to go out and about with me. Although my parents never discuss my Mum’s illness, she’s very adept at covering it up in company. Most people think she’s just a sweet old lady as she politely smiles and nods when they talk to her.

I hate to admit it but I was glad to see them depart on Wednesday. It’s very tiring looking after elderly parents and a pile of work has built up during the week, plus I was itching to get out on the bike. Unfortunately, I’ve been struck down by some bug which saw me projectile vomiting while out riding yesterday. I wasn’t able to keep anything down, not even water (good for the regime!) but feel much better after a good night’s sleep. Despite feeling lousy, I have managed to finish everything for today’s AGM.  My beloved is due back at lunchtime and, after getting him settled, I’m going off to the club to get everything organised for this evening. As it’s our first AGM, we want everything to go smoothly.

Only now have I had time to look at the routes of the Tour and Giro, both of which were recently published, the former with rather more fanfare than the latter. I’m always keen to learn the details of the route so that I can make any hotel bookings as far in advance as possible. That way I avoid ending up in some crummy, overpriced accommodation.

I’m definitely going to see the last week of the Tour in the Alps, starting with the stage into Gap and ending with the time trial in Grenoble. I’m still debating which stages to go and watch at the Giro. May’s usually a busy month here for sportifs at the week ends, so I’ll probably go and watch the mid-week stage into Rapallo. A trip to Cinque Terra is always a pleasure.

Postscript: Hotels booked in the Alps and Cinque Terra.

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