The past couple of weeks have felt pretty long to me - just dragging by - or maybe it's just that this lockdown is feeling longer than the previous couple. We're two weeks into a four week lockdown "lite" and I'm guessing everyone is feeling pretty much the same! Still, time moves on, lockdown or no lockdown! The other day André finally received the good news that his loan application to buy his apartment has been approved. We were pretty certain it would be anyway (he's already picked out the kitchen units and flooring), but of course it's never over 'til the fat lady sings is it. His loan will be in Swiss francs, while the apartment is in France (think euros), but that makes sense as he earns Swissies and so will not have to worry about exchange rate fluctuations. I think more and more he's seeing what a good idea it was moving back into France (he originally wanted to stay in Geneva), because he realizes how much cheaper it is this side of the border, how beautiful it is (although he knew that anyway, having grown up here), and he has just as many mates over here (if not more) than he had when living in Geneva. It's amazing too to see that his monthly repayment will be just SF 1,100, compared to the SF 1,000/month he paid as his share of the rent on the one-bedroomed apartment he and Lily rented in Geneva. Of course he'll have all the other bills to keep up with on his own, but it's more than doable if he's sensible. He's also become more aware that one of the best guarantees of financial security in retirement is to own your own home outright. So yeah, he's stoked! What with that and stashing the cash to buy all the stuff he's going to need - it'll be fun to go out shopping with him! He also finally received his carte grise (title/log book?) for his car, which will allow him to switch his Swiss plates over to French. You're supposed to have these switched within three months of moving into France (he's been here 10!) but I guess there's not much they can say when you've done the necessary and yet still not received the corresponding official paperwork from them!
We've had snow three times over the past few days but honestly nothing to write home about, although the temperatures have dropped quite significantly again. I went down to the market in my local town of La Roche yesterday looking to buy some new tea towels and veggie plants, and while I got a few plants, the bric-a-brac stand wasn't there, so I decided to head to the market in Bonneville today to see if I'd have better luck - but again, he wasn't there. That's when I realized, of course, all the non-essential stores are in lockdown so they're not allowing non-essential market vendors to trade either!!! In fact I would say Bonneville's market was operating at about only one-third capacity, so life has got to be hard for some of these stall-holders. I've been tracking the number of covid-related deaths in both the UK and France, since both countries have a pretty similar population size. France is due to hit 100,000 deaths shortly and seems to be tracking at 30,000 fewer deaths than the UK on a fairly consistent basis, so who knows which government got this lockdown business "right"! While I was at the market it struck me how nice it must be to just be able to wander out of your home and have the shops/markets right there, within walking distance. I know I'd be in heaven if I could do my shopping at Turin's market every day! While I have no plans to sell right now I realize at a later stage it might be an option for me to get an apartment in a small town round here in order to be able to walk everywhere. I already dislike driving in the snow and getting a small place in town would definitely have it's appeal, it's just that while my house is nothing special, the view from my back garden is just glorious, so I don't see me selling up just yet - but who knows what the future might bring!
|Bonneville market place!|
The other day I managed to break a tooth so I'm going to have to cross the border next week as my dentist is in Geneva. As I'm going to be in Switzerland anyway I thought I'd book up another couple of check-ups to get them out of the way too and hopefully be done with doctors for the year! After I got off the phone fixing up my appointments, André called me to come and take a look at the dishwasher, which was "fizzing" away nicely. Turns out I'd put washing machine tablets into the dishwasher (????) by mistake! I guess that's one way to get the floor properly clean isn't it!
Yesterday I drove over to baby-sit the Munchkin so that Jen could have a few hours to herself (ladies, remember the luxury of being able to have a shower and wash your hair with the bathroom door shut?)! He'd just slurped his way through 120 ml of milk (up from 90 ml) and is going great guns, although the fact that he actually seems to "hoover" his milk is giving him a bit of tummy trouble. I can't say it's colic as it doesn't seem that severe, but since Jen's started giving him a fennel/camomile-based drink also it does seem a bit better. Oddly enough I remember my mom telling me that "in the day" they used to put a piece of coal from the fire into boiling water, let the water cool down and then give it to the baby as a colic remedy, and it worked pretty well. Makes sense, I suppose, since charcoal is in many "tummy upset" remedies. But isn't it amazing how so many of these old wives' tales turn out to be bang on? Anyway I played with the babe, who is now starting to open his eyes more, and babbled away to him for ages. Poor kid, he's probably wondering about the black and white fuzzy thing in his field of vision and the bunch of cobblers she's telling him! Still, it was lovely to spend some time with him, and at least Jen got to have a few hours to herself!
Then the other night I was watching Mary Berry's Foolproof Cooking on TV and since I like Mary and so many of those recipes looked good, I decided to throw caution to the wind and order the accompanying book - and to hell with the expense! Well all €7 of "expense" really, since I went online and bought it second-hand. Not that I really need another cook book but if I ain't going to either Thailand or Mexico this year ...! I've also been continuing to enjoy more of Grace and Frankie. While the series is fun, I'm absolutely loving the music that goes with it, so I decided to go through the entire series and, using my superior technical skills (ha!), have been downloading the songs I really like to my Amazon Prime Music account! Anyone else love Dorothy Moore's Misty Blue or Candi Staton's Young Hearts Run Free? I mentioned before that I want to get rid of about 200 CDs I have cluttering up my house (most of them being my ex-husband's), so I'm going to pick out the one or two songs I like on each CD to download and then box them up for André to take with him. Win/win right? Then André was telling me that if I got an "auxiliary music cable" I could plug my phone in downstairs or in my car and play my own playlists anywhere. Who wudda thunk (see previous note about my technology skills)! Well since I didn't know what an "auxiliary music cable" was in French, and typing "musical thingy" into Amazon France doesn't seem to get me anywhere, I went on to Amazon UK and rummaged around, then went back to Amazon France to order. I no longer order anything from the UK thanks to Brexit because I'd have to pay extra for the customs paperwork and, potentially, customs duty on the items ordered. But this morning, just before I set off to the market, I got a message on my phone saying my parcel was being "held up due to unpaid customs duties"! I had to think for a minute but then realized it was a scam. Everything I've just ordered I ordered through Amazon France, and even if I had ordered anything from the UK, the grand total was about £25 and I wouldn't need to be paying customs duties on such a small amount. It can't just be a coincidence that I've just been on Amazon UK and Amazon France and all of a sudden someone's trying to scam me about "parcels". Makes you wonder though - that's pretty sophisticated scamming somewhere along the line isn't it!