I got it finished. By "it", I mean the quilt I decided to make for my son's wedding in a fit of insanity (wedding is next week). By "insanity" I mean, if you have never made a quilt before why would you suddenly decide to make one for your son's wedding? Which implies (a) a deadline, and (b) it can't just be "n'importe quoi" - I mean, it should be reasonably well done right? I must be nuts.
Anyway, I had already given them money as a wedding present since they have everything they need as they have lived together for nine years already. But, I thought I would like to give them something a bit more personal and decided to make a quilt. I had just learned how to transfer photos onto fabric so decided to incorporate some into the central panel. I also knew I wanted a photo of each of them as toddlers so while I already have photos of my son when he was little, obviously, I had to go on to Facebook and steal one of Lily (the one and only toddler photo of her) from her FB page. That bloody quilt took me ages, all the more so since I was unsure what I was doing and was kinda learning as I went along. But, despite chewing my nails down to the quick and making quite a few blunders (I won't point them out to you), I finally got it finished this weekend, which is just as well as I will be fully occupied from here on up to the wedding.
There are loads of cock-ups but I have to say I am rather proud of it - I just hope they like it!
And moving swiftly on, in other news, I mentioned recently that my Uncle Frank - my dad's last surviving sibling - had died recently. The funeral was in England and I couldn't go but sent my condolences to his son, Simon. So yesterday I received a memorial card back from Simon in memory of his dad, which kinda triggered a memory of something my brother said at my mom's funeral last year.
I was very fond of my Uncle Frank and, compared to some of the other brothers, I always considered him rather more "restrained" - quieter, if you like. But my brother Phil told a story of Frankie in his younger days when he might have been slightly less "restrained". Dad and Frankie both played football, and apparently Frankie was quite gifted. Moreover, he was a "left footer" - something which was quite prized because (apparently) most players are "right footed". So one day, local talent scouts arranged to be at a match to check Frankie out. Well seemingly Uncle Frank had been "out on the razzle" the night before, played about 10 minutes then walked over to the side of the pitch and threw up. And that, as they say, was when he saw a glorious future filed firmly behind him!
Uncle Frank is in the front row, seated second from the left. And, parenthetically, my dad is in the back row, standing, first player on the left - you know, the one wearing the odd socks!
And talking of pictures (we were, weren't we?), now that the quilt is finished my next job on the "to do" list is to start sorting/purging old pictures. I have an idea for my boys for Christmas where I want to sort out a few photos of them when they were younger and make them into photo albums using Snapfish. I experimented with Snapfish for the first time recently with the few photos I have of my trip to Cuba. The quality wasn't great because my photos weren't great but at least I got to play around with the formatting (it isn't easy) and was able to send off for my album. My boys love the old photos so I hope they will like what I put together.
And again on the subject of photos, my neighbour was in my house the other day and asked me why I still had my wedding photo up since I have been divorced nearly six years. To be honest, I barely notice that photo since it is tucked away on a corner wall, but I thought "she's right", I don't need to have photos of my ex on my wall since there is no love lost between us. At the weekend I told my sister that I was dreading seeing him again next week at the wedding and was praying to God he wouldn't just show up at the house "because we're all great friends you see" - err, not! She said not to worry as she would answer the door for the week!!! Yay, for sisters. I have already re-programmed my doorbell to play the theme music from "the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" for the week just in case. On top of that, until I get a photo from my son's wedding to replace my old wedding photo, I used my Photoshop skills - to great effect, I think. I hope you will agree!
I think I mentioned that last year I decided to employ someone to cut my grass. I was sick of doing it myself because while I don't have much land, trying to cut grass on the side of a mountain in searing heat just wasn't my thing, so I called the guy who cuts my hedges and he jumped at the chance. He is pretty reasonably priced and it seems to be working out with him cutting the grass about twice a month - depending on the weather. What a relief that is!
Well the grass was getting a bit long as we had had quite a bit of rain recently so while we were having our neighbourhood clean-up on Sunday I hesitated to cut in front of my house but then thought no, that is what I pay him for. And yay, when I got home Tuesday evening it had been done. It is a lovely garden with a beautiful view so when the grass is cut it is quite stunning. And as an added bonus for my gardener, my neighbours also decided to employ him - I guess things kinda snowball like that don't they.
Anyway, at the top of my garden I have a few raised beds where I have planted what is laughingly called "my veggie plot". I could plant a lot more as I have the room but I honestly don't have the time to take care of any more - maybe when I retire. And next to the raised beds I planted a peach tree, which amazed me by actually producing a few (very small) peaches last year - I had assumed it was too cold, and some red currant, raspberry and gooseberry bushes. Trouble is, between all those bushes the weeds were growing at a rate of knots so I had decided that this Sunday I would get out there and tackle that. Buuuuut, when I got home last night I saw that the weeds had all gone. It was weird because I don't remember my gardener doing it and he normally doesn't but .... As I was stood there pondering, my neighbour tootled over and asked if I would mind if he cut the hazelnut tree back, then the mirabelle plum tree, and how about the honeysuckle and the lilac????? Only he wanted it to be "nice for the wedding" in two weeks!!! Wow, I told him it wasn't necessary but he insisted. The way he put it is, he spends 10 minutes chopping away and the next 30 watching the Tour de France so it is no big deal! I tell you, I have great neighbours (all of them in fact) but I think I am particularly lucky with both sets of immediate neighbours. Of course over the years we have always helped each other out - I was dropping his wife off at the hospital once a month on my way to work for a while - but hearing what some people have to put up with (One Family, One Income I am talking to you), I really appreciate having such nice people around, all the more so as I live on my own now.
Oh, and off on a totally different tangent, this morning I thought I should start getting my backside into gear and get back to walking more, even if it is otherwise too hot to exercise. So I caught the express bus which dropped me at the train station in 20 minutes and hopped off to walk the last 30 minutes to work. The hotels around the train station are particularly popular with Japanese tourists for obvious reasons and traffic being heavy around there, when you want to cross the roads you really can't nip over between traffic - you have to wait for the "little green man". So a whole bunch of people were standing waiting for the lights to change when I spotted two (Japanese?) women standing partially on the road waiting to cross but totally absorbed in their phones. After a couple of minutes the "little green man" appeared and everyone scooted over to the other side. While I was crossing I watched the women tapping away on their phones and continuing to do so for the minute or so that we had to cross. By the time they had looked up the lights had changed back to red and they were stuck there again. A younger woman just looked at me and laughed saying "now that was surreal", and yes indeed it was!
It's been a while since I last posted but that's because the days just seem to be flying by. I have been really busy at work ahead of our 24th July meeting but most of the gruntwork is done so my feet have time to touch the floor now! The bloody traffic has been dreadful of late and I really don't know why but hopefully with the schools breaking up soon it should be a bit calmer. And the weather!!!!! A week ago last Friday as I was driving home the external temperature sensor on my car showed 37 degrees C (98 F). Then last Friday it flashed up at 14 degrees C (57 F)! A drop of over 20 degrees in one week! Crikey. Not that I minded too much because 37 is just way too hot for me, particularly since my office is in a beautiful old (protected) building (so read "no AC"). Yuck that was miserable. And of course, over here unlike places that routinely get much hotter, homes don't have AC either (or none that I know of anyway) so you really are trying to make the most of any little thru-breeze you can get. It's back to about 25 at the moment and so much more bearable!
We had some sad news on the home front too. My dad's last remaining sibling, Uncle Frank, started to suffer from Alzheimer's a few years ago. His wife had had a severe stroke a couple of years ago and needs full-time care so their only child, S, made arrangements for her to be moved into a home in the south of England near him. For Uncle Frank he had changes made to his own home so that dad could move in with him and his family. Three weeks ago they decided to give Frankie a break and take him away with them on holiday to Wales. Frankie got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, got confused about how to get back to his room and fell down the stairs, breaking his back and dying within 24 hours. So very sad. I know Alzheimer's is no fun (dad had it) but it just seems such a sad way for him to go when things were finally starting to "look up for him a bit"!
Then the weekend before last, on the Friday evening, one of my two sewing clubs held our end-of-year dinner in a lovely restaurant near me. Quite by coincidence, the other Monday-night sewing club chose to have their end-of-year lunch at the same restaurant the following day, in addition to springing a surprise farewell lunch on a lovely German lady who was leaving our region to move to Brittany to be nearer her sons. She and I got along well as the two "foreigners" and she was quite tearful when she realized what they had organized. And this being a patchwork club the ladies had had an all-day "sew-in" and made her a beautiful quilt as a souvenir. It really was stunning. I, of course, couldn't take part in the "sew-in" because I was at work so I bought her a beautiful book of post card images of Haute Savoie (the region I live in) as a reminder! She was moved to tears. Then she started threatening not to move to Brittany at all .......
But the sad thing that put a real damper on her leaving do was that one of the other ladies' husbands had been killed in a freak accident just two days earlier. He was only 64 and had been towing a 1,000 litre water butt out to the field when it moved, fell off the trailer and crushed him! Absolutely tragic and of course the shock of something like that must be unbelievable. While I'm sure losing someone you love to illness is appalling at least there is some knowledge of what might happen, but to lose your husband like that just doesn't bear thinking about! So very sad.
Getting back to my rotten commute, last Friday the traffic in Geneva seemed to be easier than normal at leaving time, but once I got through the border and pulled off the motorway to head home I got stuck in nose-to-tail traffic for another hour. The roads were completely blocked and we all got told to turn around and take little back roads!!!! Aaaarrrrkkkkkkk! It turns out it was a demonstration by local farmers using their tractors to block the roads. Much as I love France I have to say the French are very good at going on strike (I'll never fly Air France - they always end up going on strike at Easter, the school holidays, Christmas you name it). I suppose the other side of that coin is that they are not afraid to fight for what they want. BUUUUT on Friday night I wasn't impressed I can tell you. Turns out though, that they were protesting because they wanted something done about the "travellers" (gypsies by any other name) who would just park up on their land and seemingly would only move when they were good and ready. I guess that changes my opinions of the farmers' actions now! While we get a couple of groups of travellers round by us who do leave the fields clean, some are just disgusting pigs. There is a more or less permanent site near Annecy's small airport and they are filthy tips. I saw an article one time about how a group of travellers parked up on a hospital car park in England and it took ages to get them moved so I can understand the farmers' frustration.
Well, the good news is that a group of travellers cut through one of the farmer's chains protecting his field and installed themselves there. So what did the farmer do? He called up a few like-minded friends and they went down to the field and sprayed liquid manure all over them!!! You gotta love that one haven't you - and they moved off pretty sharpish by all accounts! I do so love a good ending.
And finally, on Sunday we had our annual neighbourhood clean up - a little later than usual but it seemed the last available date before people disappeared on their summer hols. It honestly doesn't take long to have our little place looking spic and span - and then we all pitch in and eat together on our little island. There was waaaayyyy too much food but hey, we all had a really pleasant day, we met two new sets of neighbours and the kids (and one dad!!!) had a blast!