My visit to Monsieur Roussell 29th/30th July by NIcola Hodges

The departures hall at Marseille's airport is a fairly sterile, unprepossessing 'environ' in stark contrast to the warmth of the Toulon sea breezes and the warmth of Monsieur R's smile.
Over the last 2 days I have enjoyed the company of this extraordinary man, his superhuman, peerless wife Dani and stoic Dan and Saskia White ....who have quite possibly the most adorable 3 children in history.

Not forgetting a delightful new acquaintance; Oliver Smallman- who I bumped into on my arrival at the Holiday Inn. Oliver is a good friend of Dan Whites and we visited Russ together which caused R much circumspect musings and raised eyebrows. Now;whilst we are on the subject of eyebrows; how many of you have noticed what an impressive , 'Healy-esque' bushy set that Russ has?? At R's bidding I gave them a quick trim-they almost needed their own scaffolding beforehand - with Dani perfecting my work this morning.

M.Rousselle himself was on good form yesterday and we covered a wide variety of zany subjects as he is 80% coherent with his raspy mouthings with the other 20% made up of very legible inscribing.

Russ educated me on the fact that people's ears and noses keep growing throughout their lifetimes. I seriously did not know this. He informed me that the best playlist on spotify is 'Topsify' ; he expressed surprise that there was a shop in the hospital and quickly took Oliver up on his generous offer to purchase an I-phone from there to replace his 'Shite' temporary one.....then twinkled his eyes and said he was only joking!

We reminisced away about Russell's fall out of a tree in Chiswick on his 30th/35th?? birthday; leading me to ask a long awaited question of mine which was why he had felt the need to email pictures of his brutalised face to his entire contact list at the time. Russell positively lit up at this and asked asked with glee whether said photos had been posted on 'his' blog; my emphatic 'NO' rendered him very crestfallen.

Mr.R expressed sadness that he wasn't actually coming 'home' on Thursday(fingers crossed he is flying home then) but to 'another hospital' in the UK.

I believe that both Russ and Lily are allergic to animals and Russ to his chagrin has always discredited my passion for animals. However; i am shocked and delighted to report that even Russ showed(feigned) interest as I chattered on about a wheelchair-bound friend's 'carer dog'.
He could not believe that these dogs get their own seats on I attach proof...just for you Russ.

Indeed Mr.R's enthusiasm for having a 'carer dog' stretched to his asking me whether the soleros(that he is currently feasting on in hospital) could be delivered to him by the dog(well at least I think that's what his lascivious licking motions meant).
It was a pleasure to share my 3 hours of visiting time with Oliver Smallman; he was immensely upbeat, positive and reassuring to the great man himself and I am sure; raised his spirits no end plus I think we made a good double act.

I am almost sad to be leaving but they are calling my flight and I am looking forward to visiting as often as possible in the Uk

Love you so so much Russ
Love you so so much Dani(but less of the 'mad Nicola' title)
You are both truly inspirational

Signing off from ..the 'not so mad and ever so slightly boring now...' Nicola


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