The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

10,000 steps!

I got my 10,000 steps (and more) in yesterday, and how!!! Since I have retired I've only been getting 4,000-5,000 steps in in a day unless I make a huge effort, and to be honest, making a huge effort while it was so hot was not going to happen. So now, seemingly, I have no excuse!

On Saturday I stopped in at Jordan and Jen's to take something over that Jen had asked for. She had not been well (spent the night in hospital) so I wanted to see how she was doing. Initially they suspected appendicitis but that turned out not to be the case, although they found massive internal inflammation instead. Hopefully with a bit of treatment, rest and some TLC she will be feeling better soon! Anyway, I was telling Jen that I wanted to get one hike in, either up Le Môle or up to Balme while the weather was so perfect. But she told me that she had recently taken her patients on a hike up to a place called La Bourgeoise, which was a pretty easy hike but with the most spectacular views! So I decided to take a trip out there on Sunday just to see what it looked like. First I stopped in at a local vide-grenier which was much bigger than I expected and very well organized. I didn't buy anything though as nothing really caught my eye, but it was still nice to be out and about anyway. And then I set out to find La Bourgeoise. It was about an hour from home and just over 50 km and what a lovely spot it turned out to be! I drove up to the top of the pass to a small café which is the starting point for the hike. Since, by this time, it was already 5 p.m. I decided not to go up to the look-out but that I would come back "some time soon". So I sat and had a Perrier water while taking in the sunshine and the beautiful view (all the while trying desperately to look like I'd just done a gruelling hike - but nah, that didn't work). Behind me was a large party having a drink and as they got up to go someone called out "grandma, you forgot your walking stick". I was just thinking how sweet it was that they took "little ol' grandma" up the mountains for a day out, when I turned round and 70+ year old grandma" came striding back to the table all shorts, thigh muscles and hiking boots, picked up her hiking stick and then ran back off to join the rest of her group! That'll teach me about stereotypes I guess, especially around here!

Anyway, yesterday morning I had my early morning yoga class in the next village, and I've come to realize that doing that first thing, right at the beginning of the week, is a wonderful way to set up my week. As so often with yoga, I've found that it doesn't really feel like I'm actually doing anything, but when I leave I feel absolutely wonderful! I love it! So on the way back I was telling my friend about La Bourgeoise and when she said "let's give it a shot", I suggested "how about this afternoon" so off we went. And my was it ever pretty!

The walk to the top was pretty easy actually, although I agree with my friend that it's still probably better to do these hikes with someone as it would have been easy enough to twist an ankle in some of the more treacherous spots. We came across sheep and cows (and a few goats), all with their bells on, and it was just glorious. Most people do this hike in about an hour or less - we took an hour but were fine with that as neither of us like to rush and it was pretty hot to boot!

Right in the distance, to the right, you can see the tip of the Mont Blanc!


That "little dot" in the middle of the patch of green is actually a chalet!
And then didn't we just totally luck out when a group of men came up behind us and were setting up for hang-gliding lessons - and we had an eagle's eye view!


My friend and I were talking about how strong the instructor must be because with a novice they have to be prepared to take the weight of the student, if necessary, when they come back in to land. So my friend was saying she'd need knee pads and shoulder pads (and here's me thinking incontinence pads would be more likely to be on my list of essentials)! Still, it was such a thrill to see them up close in action!

And in other news, seems my scammers are back. There were two yesterday and one of them, a widow, formerly married to General Somebody-or-other in the Congo, apparently wants to marry me!!! Now I must definitely be giving off the wrong vibe - not in the sense that I'm a "woman looking for another woman", but anybody who knows me knows darn well that if they think I am ever getting married again they want their head looking at! But thanks for the offer anyway!

Then last Friday the Swiss/French emergency services carried out a simulation of a "catastrophic" event in one of the tunnels of the new CEVA train line, which will begin running mid-December. The CEVA, or the Léman Express (lake Geneva is called lac Léman in French) will eventually link Geneva airport all the way through to Chamonix/Mont Blanc because skiing, in particular, is very big money around here. In December, however, the section of the line linking Annecy to Geneva (the section that would have benefitted me had I still been at work) will be opening up so they simulated an "incident" (crash/bomb) inside one of the tunnels with 2,000 "victims" and around 900 emergency service personnel/first responders to see how they would cope in such an event. I'm told it went pretty well, but of course the upshot of that, very necessary, exercise is that roads were closed for hours, although they had forewarned people via the press. Unfortunately, on top of that, there was what I understand was a relatively minor three-car smash on the motorway leading to France, but which involved having to close off more roads so that the emergency services could get in! And again, I can only say that I'm just so, so glad that I don't have to do that commute any more!

And I saw in the newspapers this morning how an elderly cyclist in Australia had died falling off his bike after being "attacked" by magpies! How very sad! But I remember being in Australia in 1983 (my six-month "round Australia" trip) and at one youth hostel in Queensland they had put up signs advising us to "beware of the thieving magpies". Well we just thought it was to warn us to keep an eye on our valuables, but no, it was, indeed, to watch out for the bloody magpies who swooped and basically attacked pedestrians as they were walking down the street. It was quite amazing really!


And finally, I got a call from Max last night to say they would be here tomorrow morning to finish hooking up my heating/hot water system, so I'll finally be able to get my house looking somewhat less like the site of a nuclear "incident"! I also got a call from Patrick, the "official" French translator, to meet him for a drink tomorrow afternoon so I can drop off my parents' death certificates for him to translate in connection with my request for French citizenship. Now I'm not totally convinced I need their death certificates but since it only costs 30 cents a word to get them translated I may as well just go ahead and have everything ready for if and when I ever get my initial appointment with French immigration (don't hold your breath)! So on that note I will love you and leave you as I have my second yoga class of the week a little later this afternoon and I'm sure the ladies would probably appreciate it if I had a shower first!

Friday, 13 September 2019

Well, it was worth the wait!

The wedding photographer finally got the website up. It was worth the wait though - now the problem I have is deciding which ones to go on the wall! Never be a Libran!

All pictures by Ap-Art Photography (well done Pete)!

The château in my village - Château de St. Sixt - small but beautiful!






The "mates"!


Thursday, 12 September 2019

Ha ha!

Hey, "Sharon from the USA" just contacted me. Apparently she knows Mrs. Victoria, who knows a spell caster who can make your husband faithful again. If anyone should need her services please see below. (I took the liberty of deleting the phone number just in case, but 0234 is the country code for Nigeria)! But hell, if anyone tries to cast a spell to make my cheating ex-husband come back I might have to put out a contract on them! Anyway, see below the message from "Sharon".

"Hello everyone out there, I'm here to share my unexpected miracle that happened to me through the help of Dr OKHUELEGBE. My name is Sharon, I'm from USA. I was happily married with two kids; we lived together as one because we both loved each other. All of a sudden, my husband started acting funny and started keeping late nights. I took out time to know what was actually going on and realized that he was cheating on me. Later on, he told me that he cannot continue with me, I even pleaded with him but he never listened. The worst part of it was that he left me and my two kids with nothing to hold on to. But there was nothing I could do to stop him or bring him back to me. I work so hard to pay the kids school fees and other responsibilities for good three years. I cried all day and night because I didn't know what to do to have my husband back to me until this fateful day i read a short piece from one Mrs. Victoria testifying how the great spell caster helped her to get her ex back. I said let me give it a try because I never believed it will work. I contacted the great spell caster and he told me not to worry that my husband will return to me in no distance time after he must have finished casting out the spell placed on my husband. The unbelievable happened on Sunday when I got a call and I was so surprised to hear my husband’s voice apologizing to me that he is so sorry for all his Wrong did, telling me he is coming back home to fix all the pains and hardship he brought upon me. Wow! I really appreciated the great work of DR. OKHUELEGBE. I will always acknowledge your "FABULOUS WORKS" and there is nothing I could say than to tell the whole world about my miracle. So, if anyone is out there reading this post and you have similar issue like this, worry no more, Dr. OKHUELEGBE is there for you, he can also offer any type of help like Reuniting of marriage and relationship, Curing of genital herpes and all types of Diseases, Court Cases, Pregnancy Spell, Spiritual protection and lot's more. Call/WhatsApp him on:+234XXXX or through his email: XXXXXmail.com"
Oddly enough, I also got two messages today from another lady who wanted to give me $2 million since she was dying. The lady the week before only wanted to leave me $30,000 so obviously I'm on the up and up! I wrote back and asked if she could possibly put her message into intelligible English. No reply as yet but I will let you know when I have that $2 million to share around!
BTW, have you ever felt like a complete idiot? I have on a few occasions and I did again today. I went into town to our weekly market and saw a neighbour. Not a close neighbour but one who had once given ski lessons in our ski club and who I knew vaguely, although I can never remember his name as I only see him about two times a year. Anyway, I saw him coming towards me at the market with his sunglasses on and waved quickly. He took his sunglasses off and came over for la bise - you know, the two kisses on either side of the cheek. That was when I realized it wasn't my neighbour and this guy couldn't have known me. Bloody hell! I have no idea what to make of that and I'm sure he didn't either but who knows, maybe I have just made a new friend! I guess we'll see at the market next week!
And I think I mentioned some time ago about someone telling me when my dad had just died that a white feather is the symbol of your guardian angel. Well I have to admit Steve's death has really bothered me. On Monday, at 1 o'clock French time (the time the funeral began in England), I went out and sat in the garden and just absorbed the stillness of my garden, just thinking about Steve, and it really upset me. Yesterday I went in to work to use the gym and as I parked in the parking lot I pulled out my ID badge from the inner pocket of my bag and there was a small white feather hooked into the chain of my badge! And last night, I was a bit "moithered" and didn't sleep well. At one point, I remember dreaming various odd things and then Steve walked over and hugged me while I was crying in my dream! How weird is that! But I just know that was Steve saying he was ok and everything was good with him! Like I said before, it might just be poppycock but it is very reassuring either way!
And finally, I have been plugging away and struggling to get several trees/bushes cut back in my garden. Then I came back from shopping today and my neighbour was outside at my hazelnut tree cutting it back to half its size, so I went out to help him. He has just come over to ask how I want my damson bush cut back this weekend!!! Now I'm not struggling to get this stuff done as it will get done as and when, and in any case I would be willing to pay someone to do it if necessary, but isn't it nice when someone comes over and takes over, maybe when they see you are a bit fragile!
And just in case, I've been having problems with my computer. First I couldn't play videos and then when I got that fixed I couldn't get the sound on the videos. So I updated Windows 10 and switched to Chrome but in the meantime I have been very remiss on reading and commenting on your blogs. Hopefully that is all fixed now so onwards and upwards! Speak soon, and don't forget Mrs. Victoria and the spell caster!

Sunday, 8 September 2019

All booked up!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was debating whether to enrol in a Thursday morning pilates class at the MJC (the local community centre), as I was wondering whether it might be taking on too many commitments in one week. Buuutt, in the end I decided to go for it as I realize I like to be busy and feel I need something that is a little more challenging than just yoga. Truth be told, I really need to get my backside into gear and do something slightly aerobic, but I'm still valiantly resisting that urge (rather easily as it turns out). But yesterday between 14-17h was enrolment time at the MJC so after dropping more hedge clippings off at the tip I decided to drive past the MJC to check it out. It was only 13h30 and I could see that the queue was already snaked through the corridors of the building and round the entire block!!! Say what! Well there was no way I was going to stand out there in the heat for goodness knows how long so I took myself off back into town and decided to treat myself to lunch out, having had the forethought to bring my kindle just in case the queue at the MJC was a little long! Crikey, I could have read "War and Peace" by the time that lot had worked their way through the enrolment process! So after about two hours I drove back up there and it was still chocablock, so I decided that maybe pilates wasn't for me after all and drove home. But then again I'm a stubborn bugger so at 4.30 p.m. I decided to give it one last shot with just 30 minutes to go before closing time, found a place right in front of the building and was in and out in about 10 minutes flat! So it seems that, yes, God really did want me to take pilates classes after all! It was pretty well organized (as I found out later), in that you did your initial enrolment at various desks depending on the subject you were interested in and then you headed off to another room to pay. I suspect a large percentage of the initial group was all the young kids enrolling for judo and karate and so on, but I saw that all the yoga classes had quickly filled up and they had posted a note at the front gate to that effect. These classes were given by a lady called Sylvie, and I'm pretty sure she was the lady I enrolled with about eight years ago but had to give up in the end because her class started at 7 p.m. and more and more I never made it back to La Roche before 7.30 p.m! She was very good, so I'm not surprised her classes are all fully booked and I guess teaching yoga maybe 10 times a week is one reason why she is in such great shape!

And talking of yoga, my neighbour did, indeed, finally come with me for a trial run at Tuesday's class and she loved it. I told her to be sure and tell the teacher that she suffered from scoliosis and she would guide her as to what and what not to do. In fact the teacher was very attentive to her, making sure that she was comfortable in everything she did, but M, my neighbour, hung in there and managed to do every movement that the rest of us did and she loved it. She was just bubbling afterwards and it gave me such pleasure to see her so happy! We both ached later that evening (for me particularly the neck and shoulder region) but she said that she had tried out some of the moves at home to "keep up the momentum" and has decided she will sign up. Score for me then, as I've been "nagging" her for ages to give it a go as I just knew she would get a lot out of it!

Then on Wednesday I decided it was time to get back on some kind of walking schedule as I no longer had the excuse of it being too hot! The weather has turned almost 180° - but then I guess that's normal for September - and it has gone from chilly to warm to chilly again (and guess whose heating still isn't installed!). I did the one hour walk round the Church of the Blessed Fountain and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd planned a longer walk in the mountains today but it is currently peeing down, with thunder in the offing, and the last place you want to be in a thunder storm is in the mountains. Oh well, it will perk up again soon enough so I will get that walk in at some time. I can't wait actually, as it's a new one to me, despite having lived here over 30 years! And looking out the window at the rain I see that some of my neighbours have already got their heating on, but I'll be damned if I'm turning mine on before end-September (not least because, as I say, it isn't installed yet, but as a matter of principle I don't want to turn it on before October ever!). Max had to order specific tubing in order to hook it all up so as soon as that arrives it should just take another day to finish the installation. I can't wait, actually, because I'm curious to see if it really turns out to be as economical as he says!

Then the other day Jen called to ask if I had gotten rid of all my ex's CDs yet. He must have left about 300 of the bloody things in the farmhouse that he was renting when he buggered off back to the States (without emptying the farmhouse) and I had been slowly going through them to see if any were salvageable. Trouble is, he never took care of anything so most of them were scratched to sh*t anyway. In the end I had pretty much given up because you can't even give CDs away and I was damned if I was listening to any more of his CDs to find out if I could put any of them on Freecycle, his taste in music not being anything like mine! In fact, one of the joys of being divorced is never having to listen to Willy Nelson ever again (I know, I know, all you Willy Nelson fans out there will probably chime in) but I got so sick of listening to the same songs (not just WN) over and over and over again! And now I don't have to! Anyway, back to the plot, Jen has a project lined up with some of her patients (she is a psychiatric nurse) and was looking for CDs to use - not the cases, just the actual CDs themselves - so it looks like I will be getting rid of pretty much the whole lot in one fell swoop without actually throwing them away. I'm not sure what she plans to do with them but …. all I know is that they are wending their way out my house as we speak. But, I did come across a few that I have listened to again and got a lot of pleasure out of. Simply Red and Santana anyone? So yesterday afternoon I was standing out in my garden in the glorious sunshine watching the hangliders soaring over the mountains behind my house blasting Santana. And then I got to thinking about Steve and I started crying! I just felt so sad but it was a really poignant moment all the same! When I got in I opened up my mail and there in my inbox was a lovely message from his daughter, Josie, thanking me for the beautiful letter I had written to her and her brothers and for the cheque I asked her to donate to a charity of their choice in memory of her dad. I told her that I just wrote from the heart and that it just came spilling out, that their dad was so very, very proud of them and that they were his everything! And you know what, I'm good with it now. She said she wished they had gotten to meet me so I said maybe one day we will as I really am hoping to spend more time in the UK and in the north in particular, so maybe we can meet up sometime when all the sadness is over. And I would like that. Who knows, one day!

Monday, 2 September 2019

Life goes on!

When I went back to the flooring place to return the samples, the sales rep was very helpful and full of ideas about how it might work best (aren't they all though). But, like I said previously, I have had work done by these people before and have been very pleased with them, so I went ahead and ordered my new floor! I guess I tend to be like that in most things - think about it for quite a while - chew the cud if you like - and then just go for it. I tend not to spend an awful lot of time going back and forth once the decision is made, so I went ahead and ordered the tiling I posted pictures of the other day. The rep is coming out later this month to do the final measuring up and then a few weeks later they will come to lay it. Which means that I will have to get everything out of the rather large living/dining room beforehand - and I mean everything! Apparently, they clean and pre-treat the original floor so there is no question of just moving furniture around - it all has to go! While we were looking at numbers I told her there was no way I could move some of that furniture on my own, so included in my quote is the cost of two half days' manual labour by a second person (hope he's got bigger muscles than mine) to get everything moved out and then back again on the final day. They reckon it should take 4-5 days all told, so that'll be more chaos to look forward to. Still, it should be pretty nice once it's all done. And, I must be getting good at this "gestimating" business because the quote has come in at €200 less than I had reckoned on spending, so I'm happy with that!

Problem is, Max and his team have to have my new heating installed before they can start on the flooring so it looks like I won't be able to go to Steve's funeral. I could make it out to the UK over the weekend but need to be back here by Tuesday morning and from what I can see there are no suitable flights. I know his family will understand and I'm actually ok with that as I wouldn't know anyone anyway. I would basically have to show up and then dash back to the airport so I'm not sure what the point would be really. I will send Josie a cheque, however, and ask her to donate it to a charity of her choosing in memory of her dad. As a "no fuss" Yorkshireman, I know Steve would understand!

And moving swiftly on, our latest board game evening was scheduled at my place on Saturday night, but Jordan and Jen asked if they could host it at their new place as a kind of "housewarming". When I got there I realized they had already moved in - they had spent their first night there the night before - and had it all set up pretty nicely to host our evening. We had a lovely time and spent the entire evening playing Cranium. I was useless, but in my defence, a lot of the questions were "French-biased". Buuut Jordan surprised me and his brother with one of his answers to a puzzle. I gave up before I even started - not my kind of thing obviously, or maybe I'm just thick! Just in case you want to try it: "A woman has two pairs of red socks, two pairs of black socks and two pairs of white socks in her drawer. What is the minimum number of individual socks she can remove from the drawer before she cannot fail to have a matching pair of red socks?" When Jordan came up with the right answer I was stunned - as was his brother! I guess the facility for logical thinking wasn't something I ever recognized in him before. Just as well he has it, I guess, what with being a plumber and all and installing complicated heating systems. (Oh, I'll put the answer in another post if you're interested)!

To play Cranium we split into three teams of four and towards the end of the evening Jordan was wandering around making sure everyone had drinks and Jen's mom and her partner actually nodded off, so my poor neighbour, Philippe, whose team they were all on, said "I guess it looks like I'm now relegated to a team of one since the rest of my team seem to be either sleeping or have gone AWOL"! Not to worry, as he's probably smart enough to beat the rest of us all on his own!

The day before it had been André's 32nd birthday so I took two bottles of champagne over, one for the house-warming and one for André's birthday. As this was the first time André and Lily had come to one of our get-togethers it ended up being a very nice evening, for me in particular, spending time with both my kids and their wives, although getting home at 2 a.m. knocked me for six the next day, I can tell you!

André and Lily


Lily


Alexandre - 17 years old and one smart cookie. He was the one that answered 
the question re "Beethoven's Ode to Joy"!


As we were leaving we set the date for the next get-together (at my place) and Alexandre's parents asked if I might be interested in joining them for an "enigma challenge" which will take place in Annecy later this month. Apparently as a team you're given a set of clues and have to find various "staging points" around Annecy - or at least that's the way I understand it - a bit like geocaching (or Pokemon Go, I guess)! The last one they went to was in Lyon and there were over 600 participants so it could be quite fun!

And moving seamlessly on, the lovely young woman that was giving the yoga classes on Tuesdays contacted me to say that she will now be giving classes to a small group on Monday afternoons and was I interested? Yes, very much so, in fact. She was a replacement teacher when the other, Tuesday afternoon, teacher was placed on long-term sick leave and my friend and I agreed that we both preferred Tiphaine's classes so are happy to go to her Monday class, in addition to the Tuesday class we went to previously. My neighbour popped round the other day and asked if she could go with me as she has terrible back pain due to having scoliosis, so I called the organizers and she can have a couple of free sessions at both classes to see if she likes them (I think she would enjoy the Monday class more, so will be interested to see what she thinks). I've also decided to go to the Thursday pilates/gym class at the local community centre that I mentioned previously. It's only for an hour - so I added up all the time I would be spending at these various classes and in the end it doesn't really eat up much of my time so I reckon I have no excuse!

And finally - and I have no idea why I did this - but haven't I just gone ahead and enrolled for Wednesday evening beginners' Italian classes! I suppose I got the feeling that I needed to do something to actually use my brain and since I have always loved languages I thought I would give Italian a shot. It's a beautiful language and as we are only an hour from the Italian border I might well be able to use it sooner rather than later. I'll be curious to see how fast I can pick it up as when we learned languages at school, of necessity it would have been rather slow going since "we were kids and obviously not that quick" (my interpretation of the snails' pace we worked at). Could be interesting and a good way to start using my brain again. So until the next time "Ciao"!

Friday, 30 August 2019

And then there was Steve!

Because I had to hang around the house yesterday morning I missed the Thursday morning market in La Roche. Since I prefer to get my fresh food from the market I decided to go to the Friday market in Bonneville, where I inevitably stop off in the main square for a tonic water before heading home. While I was sitting there my phone rang and I saw that it was from "Southport, UK". And I knew immediately what it was! Steve lives in Southport but this call didn't flash up as "Steve" - just "Southport". Turns out it was Steve's daughter, Josie, who had found my number on her dad's phone, knew we were friends, and called to tell me that Steve had died on Monday evening!

While I say "I knew immediately what was up" I mean that Steve and I usually chatted about once a week at the weekends but he had been letting things slip a little these past couple of months. I sent him a message about six weeks ago to ask what was up as he was very quiet and he told me that he had been back in hospital for four weeks with pneumonia, brought on by his compromised immune system. So we chatted a couple of times and then he went quiet yet again. A couple of times I messaged him and said I hoped he was OK, but, as I said to my sister last weekend, I didn't want to keep hassling the guy if he wasn't feeling well. Turns out he was having difficulty breathing again this weekend so Josie rushed him into hospital where, sadly, he died on Monday night.

So in one way I knew something was up but it was still a shock. I'm so glad she was thoughtful enough to let me know and she apologized for breaking it to me while I was out, but hey, is there ever an easy way to break this kind of news? I was still at the market so what with the noise in the background I couldn't catch everything she was saying, but I did grasp that it wasn't the cancer that killed him in the end, but rather breathing difficulties. I think she mentioned "thrombosis" also but, as I say, I was upset and couldn't keep asking her to repeat herself.

I know we've all got to go sometime but I just couldn't help feeling that Steve was a bon vivant and somebody who really would have enjoyed his retirement. He retired three years ago at age 62 because, as he said, he would have enough money to live on and he had had enough of marching to the beat of somebody else's drum. The first year he retired he travelled all over the world - I think he said he did 12 trips! That makes sense as we actually met on a trip to Machu Picchu six years ago. We hit it off and he came out to me twice (see my post on our magical New Year's eve here) and I spent a week in England with him last year, after meeting up with him in Rhodes a couple of years ago. We were just great friends! Maybe it would have been something more if I had lived in England but it wasn't to be. It didn't change much though because we could certainly yack for England and spent many an hour putting the world to rights and arguing about Brexit - he was pro and I'm against! Doesn't matter much now though does it!

The second year after his retirement he spent doing his house up so that it would be his "forever home" and he was quite happy to just pootle around the UK for that year. That was followed by my going out there in August, which was when he found out he had lymphoma - I went with him to the hospital in Liverpool and sat there all afternoon reading while he was having his tests. He kept the results to himself for a while though as his son was getting married shortly thereafter and he didn't want to put a damper on their day - although apparently they noticed that he wasn't his usual self and suspected something was up. And then year three of his retirement was spent dealing with chemo and a bone marrow transplant to fight lymphoma - and by all accounts it was a success! And yet … he was diagnosed last August and here he is gone just a year later! It just doesn't seem "fair" to me. I know, I know, nothing is fair in life and many people have it much worse, but I can't get over that he only got to enjoy his "freedom" for two years all told. All the more so since he was someone who loved life and lived it to the full. Maybe that kind are just destined to go early - I don't know. My lovely friend, J, was another bon vivant and while her mother lived to be 102 and lived on her own in her own home in central London until the end, J only made it a few years past retirement and didn't get to see 70!

So Steve, my old mate, I'm so sorry your brave fight against cancer wasn't enough. I shall miss our chats and miss looking forward to the time "when I'm well enough to travel again and we can get together". I believe in life after death so send us a sign mate won't you, and I'll know you're all right! Love ya my old buddy!

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

This and that!

I had quite a productive day today, moving things along with the big clean-up/declutter. I'm trying to clean out one kitchen cupboard every day, do a bit of gardening and get at least a couple of things out the garage and at the moment I'm on a roll. The young neighbour I ended up giving my ex's fishing stuff to I saw actually loading up his small boat on Sunday heading off to the lake. When I first approached him he said he hadn't been out on the boat for ages so I guess maybe having all this brand new stuff spurred him into action!

This afternoon (I can rarely get my backside into gear in the mornings) I ran down to the tip to drop off some garden rubbish and a few other things when I got stuck behind a guy with a trailer right at the entrance. He was trying to reverse it towards the bins but his bloody trailer was all over the place. I sat there for about 10 minutes (literally) but because of his manoeuvering I couldn't get past to get into the recycling centre. It was quite embarrassing, actually, not only for him but also for me, as he was making such a pig's ear out of reversing this trailer. Eventually he went out the exit and came back in in order to let me pass so I went over to him and asked if he would like my help guiding him towards the bins! Eventually we got it there and he got out his car laughing, saying it was the first time he had driven this trailer, but I just said he was lucky he wasn't behind me trying to reverse that thing or we would still be there!

After that I dropped some more stuff off at the charity store and then went on to another large DIY place to have a look at their flooring. I asked if they had a service that could strip my flooring and reseal it and they gave me the same response as Max did - that it wouldn't look good at all! So I had a wander round and eventually asked for help from the young woman responsible for that section. I showed her pictures of my flooring and told her that I had already seen a couple of things that I might be interested in. I always tend to go for lots of colour so was immediately drawn to a mozaic-style tile that I think would look good in my kitchen, which has a colourful, marble-effect work surface but where all the cupboards are white (or at least they will be when I've finished scrubbing them)! I also picked out a pale tile which I think will  look good in the living room and entryway so the young woman told me to take the samples home with me to check how I feel about it at home. I'm thinking of going with it and when I take the samples back to her on Thursday she can arrange a date to come out and give me a quote. I've had work done by these people on several occasions and have been very happy with them, so depending on the quote I think I'll go with them and just get the darn thing done, rather than diddling around. I have money put away to buy a car in case I need to get one urgently (although not any time soon I hope), and enough money to do one of my bathrooms, so once the other bathroom is done (at which point I will definitely be broke) everything that really needs to be done will be done. The rest (I hope) will just be cosmetic and in need of elbow grease (mine). Well, I'm hoping that'll be the way it works out, of course! I know taste is very subjective, but this is what I'm leaning towards.

I'm thinking of this for the living room and entryway

For the kitchen floor (imagine all white cupboards - otherwise it's a bit "busy")!
In other news, my ex's relative that I mentioned the other day really does seem to have "flipped". He's still posting pretty offensive and/or insulting stuff on FB but the curious thing is he seems to be posting this stuff at about 3 or 4 a.m. Pennsylvania time. That seems to be his "witching hour". Unless someone steps in soon, or unless he goes too far and the authorities "step in", I don't see good things in his future any time soon!

Moving seamlessly on, on Saturday night we have our re-convened board game evening at my place, so I sent round a WhatsApp message asking who would be coming and explaining that while my place was a bit of a tip with all my furniture all over the place, it shouldn't interfere with our evening, if that was ok with everyone. Valérie offered to host at her place and then Jen piped up that they would like to host at their new apartment so we seem to have plenty of venues to choose from. I did ask Jen if she had enough tables/chairs in their new place already and she wasn't sure so it might still end up at my place, which makes more sense at the moment, I think. Maybe they can host the next one! In any case, my oldest and his wife have also said they would like to come (it will be their first time) and since Friday is André's 32nd birthday it would be nice to have them all here. I guess we'll play it by ear as to the venue!

In other news I was pretty disgusted with the comments of the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, making crude remarks about the French first lady at the G7. Something to the effect that President Macron should be jealous of him, what with him (Bolsonaro) having a beautiful, much younger wife and Macron's wife being older and ugly!! Say what! Now I'm no fan of Macron or his wife but since when did it become acceptable for public figures to behave so appallingly? I know that "thing" in the White House is no reference when it comes to how to behave, but I was gratified to see that at least Macron knows how to behave in public. His response to the insult to his wife: "He said very disrespectful things about my wife. I have great respect for the Brazilian people and can only hope they soon have a president who is up to the job. What can I say?" What's all the more galling is that Bolsonaro is 27 years older than his wife, while Macron's wife is 25 years older than him. Seems that men like this feel absolutely entitled to disparage women's looks - all the while sporting a big gut, balding pâte and bad teeth! Does anyone else see the irony here?

And finally, Northern Living Allowance (sorry, I don't know your name) posted a recipe for Nanaimo bars so I made them yesterday in order to use Max and his colleagues as guinea pigs! I have to admit they were very sweet - too sweet to my taste - but I'm not sure how I could cut down on that! Oh well, at least I tried a new recipe! Tomorrow I'm going in to work to use the gym and meet up with my lovely Dutchman afterwards for a drink. Gotta get back in the saddle at some point I suppose, and with the weather being slightly cooler now I can't think up a good enough excuse not to go - although it's not for want of trying!