The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Monday, 10 May 2021

This and that!

We've had bloody awful weather this past week. Solid rain every day - that is, until the weekend, which turned out nice and sunny thankfully. Now here we're back to Monday morning and it's forecast rain all week again. A typical May I guess. Usually rain doesn't bother me too much because I'm so used to it of course, but I feel sorry for people like my neighbour as it really brings her mood down and she finds it so hard to tolerate!

I went out last week though and bought a few more veggie plants (oh how I love wandering round the big garden centres) and got the last plastic greenhouse-thingy in stock. Well, it's more of a shelter for the tomato plants really, but now I'm wondering if it will stand up to the winds we sometimes get round here. I always plant my tomatoes up against the living room window - where they do well as it's a sheltered, sunny spot up against a white wall. Trouble is, I keep running out of space, so hence I wanted the greenhouse. I took out my little rototiller and gouged out a spot at the top of the garden right next to my raised beds, so we'll see how my various veggies make out up there. I have no doubt they will thrive as it's a really sunny spot, but given the howling wind we had last night I'm a bit worried that I might wake up one morning and find my veggies scattered across the farmer's field being eaten by the donkeys. Time will tell I guess!

In other news I think my kettle is on the blink as now when I turn it on we get loud whistling sounds like some opera singer warming up. Since André has the same whacky sense of humour as I do I mentioned the Florence Foster Jenkins film to him as my kettle sounds just like Meryl the Diva in that movie. So André pulled up the trailer for the film on his phone - and I swear if I hear that bloody thing one more time I think I'll brain him! It is funny, of course, but he keeps playing it over and over to the point that I want to punch him in the throat. Luckily he went in to work twice last week so I did get some respite. On the way home on Wednesday, as he was driving through Geneva he sent Lily's grandma a message to ask if she wanted company - which she did, and I'm so glad he still makes the effort to see her as she's a lovely lady! Her grandkids always called her Abuela, even though she's not Spanish, and when André and Lily divorced she told him that he was still family to her and to keep in touch - and he has! Good on him! Later - and I don't know how we got on the subject  - but he was telling me about a recurring nightmare he has about him being chased round the airport by a dinosaur???? Anyone wanna take a shot at that one?

On Friday I stopped over to see the Munchkin and Jen left him with his dad and me for about three hours while she went out shopping. He is doing so much better, putting on weight and is much more relaxed now that his feeding is getting sorted. He's also just starting to react and smile (a little), so I spent a good 15 minutes telling him the story of how Mr. Donkey and Mr. Horsey in the field behind me decided to have a race, and since Mr. Horsey let Mr. Donkey win, they are now big friends and can't wait to meet Charlie next time he comes over! Rubbish I know but my dad was always babbling away like that to the grands. Jordan just rolled his eyes but Charlie smiled - or it might have been gas, but I'll take it as a smile! Jordan was telling me that they have so much work lined up he'll never be unemployed. So much so that they are looking to take on another qualified plumber and an apprentice but they can't find anyone??? Wow, I would have thought they'd have their pick, what with the crappy economic situation right now. There are three qualified plumbers (Max and his brother - the owners of the company - and Jordan) and one older man in his 40s who is retraining, having worked in the food industry for many years. He was also telling me that they have another big contract in Chamonix (where the Mont Blanc is) and for six months of the year, when access to the mountain refuges is on foot only, they will get taken up there by helicopter! Not bad huh - well it beats sitting on the number 25 bus for 90 minutes every day doesn't it!

Chamonix and the Mont Blanc

We had sad news from work this week when we were informed that a colleague had died (of cancer, I believe) at the age of 58. Many moons ago P had lived opposite me for about a year so my kids knew him. Well, more so André than Jordan, as Jordan was just a toddler. About 25 years ago he was lucky enough to win around $1.5 million (or the equivalent in Swiss francs), and yet within a few years it was all gone and he had nothing to show for it. All of a sudden he had "friends" crawling out of the woodwork who wanted to open a bar and so on, and so yep, just a few years later it was all gone and he had nothing. He didn't even own his own home and was living in a rented apartment when he died. He may have been a fool to lose all that money but he wasn't a nasty guy - in fact, he was pretty kind and decent - if gullible, I suppose. Poor guy, worked all those years and never got to enjoy retirement! It's sobering isn't it!

Then the other day my neighbour came round and asked me if I would keep an eye on their place as they were having to dash off to the west coast of France as Mamie (his mom) is going downhill fast. Well she's 102 so I suppose it was to be expected, but I have to say I was a bit surprised at his reaction. When he got the phone call his eyes filled with tears - and yet he never called her, if she would call him he, himself, told me he would put the phone down and walk off leaving her chattering away to herself, and as far as I could see there was no love lost on his part. For her, on the other hand, he was the Boy King who could do no wrong - and yet it was her daughters who took care of her and did everything for her, not him. She even told me one time how lucky I was to have two boys. I found that quite insulting actually so just said I would have been equally lucky to have two girls as all children were a blessing. I'm not sure she appreciated that though! A couple of days after they left I felt sure I could hear something in their basement, and sure enough there was 10 cm of water down there (again). Our other neighbour came round with a heavy duty drill and was trying to create an evacuation spot to allow the water to escape (presumably with their go ahead), and from what I can see it's ok for the time being - but it's still raining of course! Damn I'm glad my basement has been spared (so far)! 

The other day I got a very sweet message from a former colleague saying that she'd heard I had a new grandson and sending me her congratulations. She's in her early 40s and was saying she's desperate to get vaccinated as she can't wait to get out of here because she's "sick to death of mountains and lakes"! That made me laugh actually, but as she's half Spanish I get that she wants to head down to Spain - it was just a funny way to say it. I mean, who the heck can be "sick of mountains and lakes"? Not me, that's for sure. Talking of which, Marysette (from the sewing club) and I went off walking on Saturday at a new-to-me spot about 30 minutes down the road from here. I'd often seen the signpost for the Lac Bleu but never went down there, and boy was I missing something! It was hot and pretty uncrowded when we got there and somehow, over a period of about five hours, we managed to clock up 18 km! Oh we stopped and had a picnic, then stopped again for a coffee, but still, we put the km in (and I got a rather fetching sunburn on my right arm and a V-shape burn on my neck - again. Will I ever learn?

The Lac Bleu, although "green lake" seems
more fitting than "blue lake" to be honest!


Thursday, 6 May 2021

And there you have it!

Well it took a little longer than usual, but Mr. Wonderful of Words With Friends fame finally showed his true colours after about four days! Yeah, hunky "Louis" with the cutey pie dog picture wanted to chat. Now when they do this (according to my own experience and confirmed by other ladies), they're either married/partnered men looking for a bit on the side or they're scammers. And would you believe it, but after "Louis" started to show his hand, "Kelvin" also showed up just dying to play WWF with me. I usually can't be arsed with these guys - in fact I never accept to play against a man now because what 32 year old Nigerian guy (seriously!) is really looking to play Word With Friends? Anyway, I took screen shots along the way, so ladies if "Louis" or "Kelvin" ever wants to play WWF with you, I'd give it a miss!

Gorgeous "Louis" (they never look like the back end of a bus do they!

So he's a diamond miner - dangerous job huh!

And they're always tragically widowed - with their bratty kids being off their hands. At this point I told André I was surprised he wasn't US military (I'm giving André a running commentary and we're cracking up)!

When he asked about my kids I told them one worked for Interpol - just to see if it would shake him up a bit. Thing is, it would be perfectly possible for my son to work for Interpol as Lyon's within easy commuting distance from here. These guys usually have several scams running at once so they don't actually read most of what you've written, so nope, Interpol didn't seem to phase him!

When I asked "Louis" why he was showing up as "Dennis G" on my phone when he sent me a message he said he didn't know - but he quickly corrected his settings to show up as "Louis" again!

By this time he had asked me for a photo so he could "see what I looked like", despite already telling me I had a "smile that could light up the world". I was getting a bit fed up by this time so just pulled the plug and blocked him!

Enter "Kelvin", who's a "military doctor currently on contract with Nato" - in Afghanistan (oh bless his heart)!

And of course he'll soon be retiring (so free to travel and meet up with little ol' me, who he has already fallen madly in love with, ya see)! I told him I was retired from the UN (not true), which was great as their pensions are pretty generous! So then the eejit asks me what "my organization" does (told ya, they don't read everything because they've got several scams going on at the same time)!

So then I asked "Kelvin" why he was showing up as "Sarah Nevada" on my phone. "Sarah Nevada" - ha ha, that's not even clever, but I guess that's the name he uses when he's trying to scam/catfish a man!

At this point I'd pretty much worn my "typing finger" down with these two and at some point I really needed to get in the shower so I just told him I knew what he was up to and basically to f.... off! Still, my car's in the garage, it's raining and I have nothing better to do. Well, that's not strictly true, I have tons of things I could be doing but .... it was fun for a while and André and I have really had a blast drafting messages to these two! So happy days then - I'm off to get in the shower!

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Anyone taking bets?

Happy May Day everyone! Actually I'd forgotten it was May Day until I drove into town and saw the vendors selling Lily of the Valley on all the street corners. That brought back memories of an old boss from before I was married who used to bring all the ladies in the office Lily of the Valley on May Day! He was somewhat "bohemian" in his outlook but he was always very nice to me. I never quite knew his family set-up but when he died I was surprised to see the announcement in the paper saying "in loving memory - from A, his partner, M, his wife and XXXX his children"! Good old Mr. T, God rest his soul!

This week being the last week of lockdown (until the next time?) it's been a bit "blah", and even though it hasn't affected me as badly as some, I think we're all ready for it to be over. And it is - somewhat! As from Monday the restriction of staying within 10 km of your home is lifted, but the curfew remains. More stores are allowed to reopen and while I can't remember the exact dates, restaurant terraces are opening up, with cinemas and concert halls to follow, but indoor gyms being the last to open up mid-June. By end of June, "all being well", I believe the last curfews will be lifted and the country should open right back up. To be honest, even if (and when) the numbers start going back up I don't think people will be willing to go into another lockdown, given all the economic and emotional downsides. I guess we'll have to wait and see though won't we. I'll just be glad to be able to go back up the mountains now that we're freer and the snow is disappearing (although there were still avalanche warnings as late as last week)!

I had another doctor's appointment in Geneva last week so my lovely Dutchman met me and we sat and had a drink together on the terrace of a café and both really enjoyed it. He's bored and I guess we're all missing human contact, especially those of us that are either working from home or retired. But can someone explain to me how I managed to walk away with some darning of his to do!!! He was wearing a nice dark blue sweater and when I commented on it he said it had been his father's and he wore it on occasion for sentimental reasons. When I pointed out it would look much better without the moth holes he was mortified, so cue me ending up bringing it home and attempting to clean it up a bit! I walked right into that one didn't I!

On the Munchkin front, Jen took Charlie for his one month check up and explained to the paediatrician the problems he had started having on the feeding front. So the doctor ran some tests on him and while he is indeed slightly lactose-intolerant she said it wasn't enough to justify switching to the rice milk. Moreover she explained that rice milk is constipating so it's no wonder the poor little thing was in such pain the other week. She did say, though, that his oesophagus is quite raw from the acid reflux many babies get when the valve that stops the back flow hasn't toughened up yet, so she's given Jen a treatment for that and hey presto, he's a much happier baby and they're getting several rounds of four hours sleep a night, so everyone is happy!

André helped me move some garden furniture this week and drag up my sunbed from the basement, which I made full use of on Tuesday as it was lovely weather. Just as well I did though because it's been piddling down ever since - drab, wet and grey! So I've spent a lot of time indoors pottering about doing nothing much in particular. Then today the landline and internet connection went down for about eight hours so there was no computer, no wifi, no landline and no Netflix. What to do? Well luckily I had just picked up a Joanne Harris novel called Five Quarters of the Orange and I'm loving it, so not having internet turned into a rather nice bonus today as I got to sit and read for hours. André said the same thing actually, but when I pointed out that if it wasn't restored by this evening he might have to talk to me instead of chatting with his mates, I saw the realization spread across his face that maybe it wasn't such a great thing after all!

There's a group of former long-term colleagues who get on a zoom chat most weekends and this Sunday we were "reminiscing" - as is your want, I suppose, when you've worked together for so many years. At one point we were discussing the different computer systems we'd used over the years, and P made us all laugh when he said that at one of our organization's big meetings in Punta del Este (Uruguay) in 1986 someone told him that a document had arrived from Geneva and he couldn't figure out how it had got there - he'd never heard of a fax machine ya see! Time, tide and technology wait for no man do they! Then the other night I was channel-hopping and ended up watching the 1967 movie To Sir With Love starring Sidney Poitier (can you believe he's now 94)? It's about a young unemployed black man who takes up a post as a teacher in a tough area of London and how he wins over his class of "rough" students, although frankly if you considered that lot "rough", you'd have to agree that the schoolkids in the movie Grease were Hell's Angels! But it was a nice movie and I absolutely loved Lulu singing To Sir With Love. I wasn't a great fan of Lulu but she just nails that song!

And finally, when the internet connection was restored this evening I was catching up on a few rounds of Words With Friends on FB. I tend to end up playing against the same people over and over again - none of whom (except for my 88 year old buddy in New York) is a man. It's pretty well known, in fact, that so many youngish men use WWF to try to pick up women and after playing a few words they suggest "switching to WhatsApp" or want your email address. Well, Mr. Hunk - he with the cutesy photo of him snuggling up to his dog - asked me to start a game tonight so I played the first round. Anyone wanna make bets on how many rounds he plays before he wants to switch to Whatsapp? All bets are currently open!

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Oh dear!

Well one more week to go and hopefully we'll be out of lockdown (again). I've felt a bit bleh this week but I suppose that's normal. I haven't been out walking because I guess I kinda "resent" the 10 km limit imposed on us - which is pretty stupid really because there are nice walks round here well within that radius! But don't mind me - I'm just having a whinge!

My dentist called the other day to say she'd had a cancellation and did I want it to get my broken tooth fixed? I did, of course and it was so nice to be back in Geneva for a change. There was loads of parking because I guess many people are still working from home and as Geneva "opened back up" on Monday there were people sitting on café terraces eating or having a drink. I thought about stopping and having a drink too but since she'd pumped goodness knows how much anaesthetic into my mouth I thought the sight of me slobbering at the next table might put people off their food so decided to go straight home! It did bring home to me, though, that while I'm pretty happy on my own, I have missed socializing too, particularly before the weather gets too hot for my liking. And talking of teeth, I've gotten more into Grace and Frankie as it's gone on and it's made a nice change to watch something "silly" and not too taxing, buuut I have to admit I'm becoming a bit fixated on Martin Sheen's teeth! I don't know if he always had "prominent" teeth (goodness knows he was a gorgeous young man), but I keep wanting to suck those babies back in and I find it a little distracting. Still, I can live with it and the whole series has been a pleasant interlude in the seemingly never-ending bleh of the pandemic!

Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson

Talking of the pandemic (for a change), I saw an article in the news the other day where the city of Nice announced that they had 4,000 doses of the AstraZenica vaccine available and only 50 people turned up to get their shot! I don't know if people have been put off by all the bad press AstraZenica has gotten recently (which is a shame, I guess, because I believe Oxford University asked for it to be distributed at cost price - unlike the other vaccines), or if people are just not interested in getting vaccinated at all. I don't know to be honest!

The other day I did a bit of baking and made James Martin's banana and maple syrup cake and while it looked nice I do wonder why I bother as I don't particularly like banana cake anyway. Still Jordan and Jen liked it and the Dorset apple cake I also made - that one's a winner every time! I also decided that while I was feeling pretty listless I'd give up on reading a couple of books which were turning out to be quite depressing. So I had a rummage through the hundreds of books on my shelves just waiting to be read and found a couple of Joanne Harris books (Chocolat anyone?) and another Carl Hiassen book (Star Island) which is a real hoot! I also saw that one of the victims of serial conman Mark Acklom has written a book about how he conned her out of the £850,000 she had in the bank from the sale of her home! I guess I was interested in his story because he was finally picked up by the police on the terrace of a café that I know in Geneva so his name stuck in my head. I think at last count he's been to prison five times and started his "career" as a conman at the age of 16!!!!! Damn!!! I know people will say "how the hell did he con her out of £850,000?" and "oh that would never happen to me", but I think these sociopaths are so good at what they do that so many people are in way too far before they realize they've been had. When the book comes out I'll download a sample onto my kindle as I think it might be a good read and, hopefully, a way for her to make back just a little of what he took from her!

Serial con artist Mark Acklom!

I got a pleasant surprise too the other day when I realized the farmer has yet again indulged his pleasure and put more donkeys in the fields at the back of my house. I counted 10 (there may have been more) and at least four babies and they are beautiful - if noisy buggers!

And finally, more good news came when Jen asked me if I could watch the babe today while they had a meeting at the bank. They had had a rough time with his feeding this week so Jen called and got an appointment with a paediatrician when he started having trouble breathing and constantly throwing up his milk. Between them they figured out he is lactose intolerant - as is Jen, so I guess she shouldn't have been surprised - and they've now switched him to baby milk made from rice. She was so upset as she had desperately wanted to breast feed and wasn't able to, but now the Munchkin has had his milk switched hopefully he will be better able to tolerate it. When they dropped him off today they said to "watch out" because he's got some evil farts due to not having pooped in the past 24 hours - and indeed he smelled like he'd eaten a dead rat and could clear a room in about five seconds! For the first hour he was in his little baby carrier and every time he opened his eyes he had André's grinning mug in his face. After a while though he started getting cranky with stomach pains, but I was able to pacify him for the most part. I was concerned in case he hadn't peed so put him on the bed and took his nappy off and that was fine, but trying to put a new one back on him was like trying to dress a feral cat! Damn those legs were all over the place! At that point he must have got a really bad pain because he just sobbed (I almost did too). Oh it didn't last for long - just a few seconds - but it broke my heart to see. Still, all's well that ends well. Jordan and Jen were invited over to Max's for lunch and when Jen sent me a picture from over there she also said that he'd just pooped. She also sent me a picture of that (just in case I doubted her?) and it was all up his back and on his clothes (I guess I didn't get that nappy on so well then), but boy I'm glad that load didn't end up all over my bed! André said it looked like he'd been eating grass (!) so I reckon it was changing the milks on him that did it. Poor little soul, but at least I guess/hope he'll be happier now! And that, folks, is the poopy diaper story for the day. You're welcome! And bon appétit!

Friday, 16 April 2021

This and that!

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!

Friday, 9 April 2021

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish ...!

Well André and I kept the Munchkin here for five hours on Wednesday while mom and dad did a lot of running around, registering his birth with all the different agencies and so on and he was an absolute doll! It helps that André is even more ga ga than I am, so much so that after he'd given him his bottle I got the kitchen timer and put it on the table so he'd know when his "time was up" holding the babe! Ha! But seriously, he was so easy. Jen asked me to make sure that he held off on his next bottle for four hours as she really wants to get him on a schedule and I'd guess we only had about 15 minutes of him getting a bit restless before we could legitimately give him his next bottle - hence me walking around with him singing "the wheels on the bus go round and round" ... and I hate that bloody song! Still, it worked, he was as good as gold and Jordan and Jen got everything done that they needed to! Any time, kids, any time!

While they were out my front doorbell rang and I opened it to two young men who thought they had an appointment to do an "insulation evaluation" of my house, but when they saw me they realized they'd got the wrong address. I had to laugh when the first guy said "oh, sorry, I must have the wrong address because I made the appointment with a young person" (!) and when he asked if it might be next door I said nope, they're even "less young" than I am! I did point out that if they were hoping to make a few sales they might want to finetune their doorstep patter a tad, but we all ended up laughing anyway. A little later André took me down into town to pick up my new compost bin and I'm dead pleased with it! I know, to think I used to love going clothes shopping and now I'm all excited about a compost bin. It was really easy to assemble but you needed to be two people as it was heavy and unwieldly, but we got there in the end. Not bad for €15 huh?

Then, bugger me but didn't I get another whingeing email from bloody Chantal, she of the "let's hide behind the cauliflowers" fame. Why she thinks I care about anything she has to complain about is beyond me, but apparently she had just received a plaque from work to commemorate her 30 years of service to the organization and "had I received one, and wasn't it a load of rubbish, and what a stupid thing to waste their money on" .... and so on ad nauseum! Damn it woman, if you don't like it stick it in a cupboard or throw it in the bin but stop bloody moaning! (On a side note, I actually quite like mine and have it in a display cabinet)! Needless to say I never responded to her, but her constant whingeing gets right up my nose!

And finally, Prince Philip's dying shouldn't really have come as a surprise to anyone I guess. I mean, he was 99 after all, although it's a shame he didn't quite make it to 100! He had lived a very dramatic young life, being smuggled out of Greece as a baby in an orange crate, his mother being diagnosed with schizophrenia (I believe) and ending up in a psychiatric institution and his pregnant sister and her family being killed in a small plane crash. However "privileged" he might have been by birth, that's a hellluva lot for any young man to live through. But I liked him. I believe he was a force to reckon with and an absolute rock for the Queen. I also like the fact that he was irreverent and apparently had a great sense of humour. I guess most of us thought he was perennial because he'd always just kinda been there - and yet now he isn't. I'm also assuming his passing will knock quite a few stand-up comedians off balance for a while. But however much they made fun of him I genuinely believe he was held in a lot of affection by greater numbers than those that disliked him. I, for one, think he'll be sadly missed as one of the last real, true characters!

Monday, 5 April 2021

All good stuff!

Did anyone see the amazing pictures coming out of Cairo yesterday where they were moving the sarcophaguses (sarcophagi?) of 22 Egyptian pharoahs to a new museum? They made a huge show out of moving the bodies of 18 kings and four queens to their new resting places and oh man, would I have loved to have seen that! Birmingham, where I grew up, had the most amazing library (goes with being a big city I guess) and what to me, as a young girl, was the most fabulous natural history museum. Before I got my Saturday job and was forever working, my mom used to let me catch the bus into town and wander round the city. I would go with my friend, Joy, with a whole 50 pence (I know!!!!), 16p of which would go for bus fares and we would spend the rest of the day wandering round the museum, the library and then on to Birmingham's Bull Ring market where we'd wander round the "rag market", take a few naff photos in a booth and then catch the bus back home. But the highlight of my day was always the natural history museum, and the ancient Egyptian section in particular. They had at least one complete mummy (that I remember - there may have been more) and displays of the jewels and barrettes that the ladies would wear in their hair and all I wanted to do was pick them up and handle them - which I wasn't allowed to do of course. That would be like taking a bone out of the T-rex exhibit's leg I guess! I know that part of the Cairo show was intended to generate interest in Egypt as a tourist destination, but I swear if I could have flown to Cairo yesterday I would have done! It's only a few hours' flight after all (damn the coronavirus)!

The other day I had a call from my friend, Marilyn, who wanted to know what she could send as a gift for the Munchkin. I've mentioned her before but Marilyn (American) was married to Philippe (French) and lived in the house opposite when we moved into the house where I still live. Times moved on, Philippe was head-hunted and they moved to the States where, sadly, he became seriously ill and eventually died. Marilyn's daughter is now married and working in London and Marilyn moved to Ireland with her son when he was transferred to Cork for his job. Her son is now married and has a step-daughter but it has long been all their ambitions to move back to France which, since Marilyn also holds French citizenship, should not be a problem for her. Well we spoke on the phone today and her daughter-in-law found out her transfer request to France has been approved and they are looking to rent in Annecy, where Marilyn and Philippe already owned an apartment which they rented out. So the good news is that Marilyn will be moving back to France, into her own apartment in Annecy, hopefully sometime in the summer. I am so looking forward to it as we have been friends for over 30 years. Circumstances separated us for a good many years but our friendship always remained solid. So I guess as soon as she moves back we will be careening round France like a geriatric Thelma and Louise (but without the yucky ending)! As long as we don't look in the mirror I guess we can pretend we're both still 30 again! I can't wait!

And the even better news is that Jordan just sent me a message to ask if they could leave the Munchkin with me for a few hours on Wednesday afternoon as they have a few appointments in town. I asked if he was out of nappies already but it turns out he might be a bit slow. André said to tell them no because he'll get no work done (he is even more gaga about that kid than I am), but yay me, he's only a week old and I'm already getting to babysit. Does life get any better than that? I don't think so!