The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Vegans and snails!

About 18 months ago I was introduced to a new-to-me vegan restaurant just up the road from here. I've always been interested in vegetarianism/veganism so was delighted to find that their food was actually very, very good! Then of course the pandemic intervened and this restaurant chose to no longer do in-house dining because they refused to ask for people's vaccine passports - so it was take-out only! Anyway, everything opened back up for us a couple of months ago and I saw on their website that they were offering cookery courses, so I signed up and went to my first one yesterday and it was wonderful! I'd been to a vegan class in Geneva a couple of years ago and it was a real disappointment, but this one was everything I'd hoped it would be and more! The lady lives and breathes veganism/organic food/holistic medicine and is such an interesting woman. For the first 30 minutes we talked about why we were interested in it. She said that right from a very young age she felt such empathy with animals that she couldn't force herself to eat meat so vegetarianism came naturally, followed by veganism as she got older! It's a lovely place where they give yoga classes, and reiki and massage therapy, in addition to the restaurant side of things. There were four other ladies, all very interesting too. One lady "talks to animals, plants, trees, etc." and was very into all that stuff, and while she's obviously free to believe what she wants I just wished she'd talked a little less! That being said we were all different but all very accepting of those differences too. In fact, the lady I liked the most has a small farm in the mountains where she and her husband raise animals for meat and the "tree hugger lady" didn't bat an eyelid at it!

On the menu were chilled courgette and cucumber soup, carrot and olive cake and the most delicious uncooked lemon tart (made using avocado as the "mousse")! Everything was really good and our teacher told us how and why she used the different flours and vegetable milks/creams, etc. 



Chilled courgette and cucumber soup!


Olive and carrot cake!


No cook lemon tart!
(The photos aren't very good because
I'd already put it all in containers
to take home when I thought to take photos)!

It was such a good time that I was disappointed to learn that they were selling up and moving to Vendée in September!!! When I asked her what they were going to do in Vendée she said she had no idea but as somewhat of a nomad, every few years she felt the need to move on and she knew something would turn up for her when she got there! Apparently her grandmother had been a true gypsy so I guess that is where she got her wanderlust from! Since I'm anything but a gypsy I kind of admire her, but will be very sorry to see her and her little restaurant go! I don't know if you've seen the film Chocolat but she reminds me very much of the main protagonist in that film. That being said, the book is so much better than the film (of course), all the more so because in the film it's the local Mayor that falls under the spell of the travelling gypsy woman, whereas in the book it's the local priest, which makes it that much more "juicy"!

Thankfully there are a few very good health food stores round here but when I asked her where she preferred to shop she mentioned a new Ecoquartier which had been built up the road in Bonneville, on the site of the old hospital. Now I'd never heard of this place so this morning I took a trip out there to check it out. The store was, indeed, lovely and afterwards I stopped in the little coffee shop next door for a drink (and yeah, a meringue cake too), but it did strike me that for an ecoquartier there was an awful lot of concrete! As I was only 10 minutes away from Jordan and Jen's I bought a couple of pastries and stopped over there as I wanted to discuss something with Jen. Since Charlie is only in daycare Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Jen's mom and I take care of him the other two days, with me doing Friday as I want to continue my Monday morning yoga classes. When we were sorting out our schedules though, Jen's mom had a whole list of Mondays where she couldn't take Charlie (she has a boyfriend who lives 90 minutes away and goes to his place, and then they are going on holiday soon for two weeks). Fair enough, I worked my schedule to suit her and cancelled a few yoga classes - except this morning she sent me a message to say she was coming home early from the boyfriend's and could now take Charlie tomorrow instead. While I don't mind accommodating her, I don't want to be forever on the receiving end of moving plans around after they've been agreed, so I wanted to ask Jen what suited her best. I'd planned to miss yoga and have Charlie at my house tomorrow and have set up his little swimming pool, but now that's been changed and we're back to our normal schedule. I don't know, maybe I'm being unreasonable but I don't like making plans and then having them switched at the last minute, especially if I've made my own plans! 

Anyway, it got sorted, and then Jen asked me if I wanted to go to visit a snail farm with her and Charlie as they had an open day and it was only 10 minutes away? A snail farm, ehhhh, no thank you, I'm not shoving those things in my mouth! Well in the end we all went and it was a fun way to spend a few hours (not that Charlie cared that much but he was very interested in everyone around him). Oh, and there was no snail eating either. It was just the owner showing how he "cultivated" 200,000 snails a year for the local market. He was good fun and put on a 50 minute show for the kids all about snails. "How do you wake up a snail"? "You shout at him"! Nope, they're deaf, they're also pretty much blind (unless you get to within a couple mm of them), and so the best way to wake them up is to water them (and of course the kids got a good watering too). Then he asked what snails eat and cracked up when one little boy shouted "ketchup"! The really interesting part was when he showed the kids how strong snails are, capable of moving 100 times their own weight - which he proved by attaching a toy car to a snail's shell and they watched it pull the car up the slope. As I say, it was a good show, and afterwards we had a wander round the other stands set up in his field (selling honey, wine, jewellery, etc.), had a quick beer and then headed back home!


See the toy car "tow truck"!

On the way home I stopped to fill my car up. While I was there a young lad on a scooter asked if I could change a €20 note for two tens as he wanted to put €10 in his scooter. I knew I hadn't got any change so told him I'd fill his scooter up for him. Crikey, you'd think I'd given him the world, he was so grateful!

When I got home I went round the salad plants I've got potted up on my garden wall, picking off slugs and snails before they could do too much damage. Oddly enough it seems that the best deterrent has been the smashed up egg shells I've got scattered round a couple of pots, so I'll be keeping any and all egg shells in future - or at least until this growing season ends. I had to laugh when I went to throw some stuff in my compost bin though, because some time ago I'd dumped a whole bunch of potato peelings in there - and now it looks like I've got a compost bin full of spuds! I'll have to wait till I dig them up but from what I'm seeing right now I needn't have wasted my time planting potato seedlings in my raised beds if all it was going to take was to drop the peel in the compost bin!

Just as I was starting to think about dinner there was a knock at my door and my neighbour walked in with about 10 bottles. Here's me thinking we were in for a good time tonight, so I was disappointed when she asked if she could fill them up with water as their water heater had blown and they were having to empty the tank to fix it! It ended up with her very embarrassed daughter coming over to my place for a shower, although when I offered to give them my spare key they said they'd be ok as they were hoping to fix it by tomorrow. While I wish I'd already gotten my bloody bathrooms done, I was so glad I'd made the effort to clean all the upstairs rooms thoroughly this week. I guess it's just like your mom used to say - always wear clean underpants because you just never know!

And finally, I don't know if I'd mentioned before but I decided to start using my lovely sunny balcony as a place to put my other home grown veg hopefuls since I never use it. So far I've got 11 rather nice looking plants out there (tomatoes, courgettes, hot peppers) and you know what, there's not a single slug/snail on them. So it would seem, that planting them on a first floor balcony is an even better slug deterrent than scattering crushed egg shells round your plants. Beat that ya buggers!



Friday, 20 May 2022

Yikes!

Jen asked me if I could look after Charlie pretty much all day today as she was having to do a split shift to cover for absences. No problem, of course, but getting up at 5.30 a.m. to get there for 7 a.m. was a bit of a shock to the system. Still he was as good as gold and when I sensed he was getting a bit tired, but still too early for a nap (in my opinion), we walked up to the farmers' market in their little town and then stopped off at the park for about 30 minutes afterwards. He loved it as there were loads of kids there today and he got to crawl over (not quite walking yet) to so many of his new best friends and "chat"! After that it was back home for his nap and it was only then that I got to check out what was going on on FB! Crikey, there was a massive explosion right next to Geneva airport today! First I heard was that it was the UPS terminal at the airport, but it was later confirmed to be a building that was being built for asylum seekers right near the airport. No-one was hurt, thankfully, but I have to admit that my first thought was "hmmm, a building for asylum seekers", and then the next thought was simply "I'm glad I won't be sitting in that traffic"! Still, it wouldn't be the first time a building being either built or renovated has gone up in smoke in Geneva! It made me laugh though when I read in the Geneva news that "traffic was only slightly affected"! You've gotta hand it to the Swiss!







Tomorrow I have a cookery class at the excellent vegan restaurant near here. Their food really is very good and I'm intrigued to see what we will be cooking. Will let you know in my next post!

And, you wouldn't believe it but something that must have been the size of a flying cow has just left me a "gift" on my brand new velux in the TV room. There's just no respect sometimes is there!


Thursday, 19 May 2022

Wow!

I took a trip out to our large, local charity shop last week to drop of some stuff (not enough - I need to do better) and have a look around. As I was almost there a cyclist came belting round a bend, down a hill and on the wrong side of the road! He wasn't a lycra fettishist, just an old fart on a bike, but thank God I spotted him before he got to me. The guy behind me wasn't quite so lucky though as he had to swerve like crazy to miss the idiot! Damn, do some people have a death wish or what? This charity store isn't much cop, to be honest, but they don't do too badly for baby items and I was able to pick up a lightweight, collapsible stroller to keep at my house for just €10 - whereas they run anywhere from €80-€100! So score there then!

On the way home I stopped back off at the garden centre to pick up a couple more of the 7' wooden stakes and a couple of tomato plants. The old guy behind me at the check-out made me laugh though when he said "hon, you've got some high hopes for those tomato plants, haven't you"? Although actually no I don't. My "build my own greenhouse" idea is a roaring flop so that will all have to be taken down, I guess. In all honesty, given the amount I've spent on my "organic gardening" idea so far, I'd probably just be better off buying it all from the health food shop and to hell with it! Still, every spring I get this madcap idea how "this year it's going to be better" and then it mostly goes tits up (if you'll forgive the expression)!

Jen had an interview today for the director position at another local crèche (she was upfront with her current employers about it). I don't know how she did as yet, but if she was lucky enough to get it it would basically just mean a transfer from her nursing job at the psychiatric hospital (where she worked before she had Charlie), on the same pay grade and with all her time in grade respected, so fingers crossed!

Then last week I got a reminder email from the people who prepare my French taxes asking where my paperwork was. I told them I'd been waiting for them to send me the link to the Legal Pilot that we used last time but nope, this time they were using Swisstransfer - and what a wonderful system it is. I'd already prepared my paperwork anyway, but using Swisstransfer it literally took me two minutes to upload everything, type in their email and they'd received it. The difference is that once the document is sent, other than my own copy the email/file then disappears permanently. Clever huh! I would guess these people handle some pretty big tax declarations and can't take the risk of having people's personal tax information possibly being hacked!

On another positive note I recently received my latest water bill so I yet again sent André a message saying "thank you for moving out", because my water bill is now only about a third of what it used to be! And then, I got a phone call on my mobile from "Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes" - which is this region - and while I don't normally pick up on numbers I don't recognize, this time I did and it was my bank/insurance company wanting to review my various insurances. My first thought, of course, was "here we go", but nope he suggested that as my car is now 11 years old I probably didn't need fully comp (I had no idea it was still on fully comp), the insurance amount for renewal of home contents was waayyyy overvalued so all in all I've knocked about €60 off my monthly bill for that, in addition to the €40 a month that I was being charged by my telephone provider for a wifi box I no longer owned. The one place I wouldn't go was my accident/sickness insurance because I have excellent worldwide coverage through my former employer, but all in all I did pretty well from that phone call!  Add to that the euro is dropping like crazy at the moment so that gives my Swiss franc denominated pension more bang for my buck, so I'm well pleased!

And finally, the windows guys showed up today to install the three velux windows I'd ordered a couple of months back and man did they work hard. It was scorching hot and they were up and down my stairs and had those babies installed in just five hours. The only thing missing is the blackout screen for the large velux in my TV room, which is on back order, but I'm so pleased with the rest as those rotting windows were starting to get on my nerves. Now if I can just get my bathrooms started .....! But I think I'm going to have to go with someone other than Jordan as he is working all hours God sends at the moment so he's fine with my looking for someone else - although goodness knows I won't be looking forward to the mess when they start that! I think it's time to do some serious decluttering before even thinking about all that!




Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Cheapchick!

Just a quick post to say that Tammy (Cheapchick)'s husband has posted a beautiful tribute to his lovely wife and the post is open for comments if anyone would like to stop by!

Sorry Dave, I guess I should have added the link.

Living Rich On The Cheap

Monday, 2 May 2022

It's been a while!

I've been offline completely for a few days again as I felt I needed to take a break for a little while - I find it does me a lot of good. In fact I've actually just realized that I unplugged the TV about three months ago when the guy came to look at replacing my windows and I haven't plugged it back in since, so I guess I might not need that either!

I did watch a brief Youtube video recently though where a Canadian immigrant (from Tanzania, I think) filmed around his local area pointing out how no-one was outside and saying that in his country everyone was always outside chatting and so on. Of course a huge part of that is if you live in a cold country you're hardly gonna be sitting on your doorstep chatting are you, but I got the point he was trying to make. When I was very young, before the council demolished our homes and moved us into new homes, I vaguely remember the women sitting outside chatting while the kids played "in the square". That happened also to a certain extent in our new home too, but much of that seems to have gone now, and I think it's a darn shame because you lose that sense of community! Oh I get it that nowadays most families have both parents working outside the home so who has the time to sit outside and chat, right? But it was brought home to me today when I bumped into a neighbour at the mailbox (she lives a little way away from me) and we had quite a bit of catching up to do. She asked if I thought we'd be having our neighbourhood clean-up/shindig this year and I told her I'd already spoken to the Chairman of our Homeowners' Association and yep, we'd be doing it. Of course winter and covid put the knackers on so much so I think we're all looking forward to meeting up again and having a chat and a drink on the little island in front of our homes. She also told me that the people at number five had moved out and I was quite shocked as I hadn't known. Now to be fair they had always been a very discreet couple but over the years the wife had gotten sicker and sicker (diabetes, I think, but at the time I had thought it was dementia) and so many years ago refused to leave her home at all, which meant that the husband had to do everything, including taking care of her. I barely knew him but had heard a little of what he was going through and my respect for him was enormous. So to hear the wife has now been moved into a care home in a village not far from here and he has found a small apartment nearby makes me so happy for him, as it can't have been easy these past few years, even if their two children visited regularly!

In other news, I decided to take a run out today as I wanted to drop off my recycling and get a baguette from our little local bakery, but I got quite a shock when I pulled into the next village to find that the bakery has gone out of business!!! They've been there the 30+ years that I've lived here and the place was absolutely picture-perfect. In fact I remember when Steve visited a few years ago he commented that it looked absolutely how he had pictured it in his mind! It saddens me to think of the two local corner stores that have also gone out of business recently due to the arrival of a much larger chain store a couple of years ago, but it is a conundrum because I guess we all like the efficiency and pricing of places like Amazon (and Walmart, I'm led to believe) and yet we know that they are putting small mom and pop stores out of business and, from what I hear, don't treat their staff particularly well either! How can the little people ever hope to compete?

Charlie looks to be as fit as a fiddle again now, after his bout with conjunctivis/an ear infection/roseola and chickenpox! But when the roseola didn't seem to be going away a couple of weeks ago they ended up at the emergency room on the Sunday night and it turns out the poor little thing is actually allergic to the antibiotics the doctor had given him for the ear infection!!! Still, I suppose you have to find out one way or another and it's good to know, right!

My sister headed off to their house in Spain 10 days ago and after she'd arrived safely I found out they'd actually had an accident on the way to the port in England. Apparently a motorbike had come belting up the line of traffic crawling it's way to the port, spotted an oncoming vehicle and screeched back into his lane taking half the backside of my sister's car with it. My sister and the man in the car behind started directing traffic, while my BIL tended to the motorcyclist. The ambulance arrived pretty quickly and as he was apparently not badly injured they were able to continue their journey in their smashed up car and made it in time to catch the ferry. Thankfully the car behind them had a dashcam so it will all be taken care of by the motorcyclist's insurance, but since then I've been thinking it might be a good idea to get front and back dashcams too, because if you're ever unfortunate enough to have a need for them they must be a godsend!

I had yoga Monday morning and while we were waiting for a few more people to arrive our teacher was saying that after two months with her Ukranian guests, she really was looking forward to having them leave while they could still part on good terms! One couple had found jobs and gotten an apartment and the other three were moving into a large house that had been provided by the local commune. Frankly I think our teacher is a saint but she said it was even enough to try her patience as they got up late, started cooking lunch around 4 p.m., were noisy and went to bed very late. She also said that nobody took any notice of the fact that a household that size could only run if everyone pitched in and helped with the housework, so, as I say, she will be very glad when they move out! One man fell off his bike last week and was going to have his shoulder operated on the following day so she was already thanking her lucky stars that she had gotten his medical coverage sorted out immediately upon arrival! I have another friend who had taken in three Ukranians and when I asked him how it was going he just said "tricky", so I left it at that. Two of the ladies at our sewing club said the same thing, so while I think it was very altruistic to have done what they did, it hasn't been the roaring success that so many imagined, going by what people are saying!

The other Sunday Jen and I took Charlie up to a vide-grenier in a local town, although I think calling it a town is a bit of a misnomer because it's more like just one street! Still, it was warm and sunny and we had a nice few hours out. At one point Jen stopped to buy churros but when she spotted that they were €6 for 10 she walked away. Apparently they used to be around €2/€2.5 so I guess the price of the frying oil has really gone through the roof! They had a few fair-type things for the kids and an oompa loompa band which fascinated Charlie, so it turned out to be a nice way to get out of the house for a few hours!



And finally, I got this hairbrained idea into my head that I was going to build my own makeshift greenhouse! I know, mad right! So I went out to the garden centre and bought myself two pointed stakes about 4' long and two more about 7' long (I looked like I was going pole vaulting when I carried them to the car). So here's me thinking I can just "tap" them into my rock solid garden with a lump hammer! Well of course that didn't work, so I got the sack of cement out that I just happened to have handy and gently dabbed a little cement around the base of each stake. After leaving it to set for a few hours I went back out to check on them and the bloody things had fallen over (I guess one of the neighbours sneezed) because I'd cemented them to the grass!!! So there was nothing to do for it but to start digging four holes, load them back up with cement and pray. It's not ideal but it's definitely an improvement. Then I placed cardboard down inside the confines and have started fixing ("fixing" being another loose term for what it actually looks like) chicken wire around the outside. I've yet to finish it but the whole thing looks so saggy even I have to laugh. In my mind's eye I knew exactly what I wanted but apparently my mind's eye might need new glasses! If I ever get it finished I'll take a photo of it - I'm pretty sure it'll give you a good laugh!


Saturday, 23 April 2022

And the good news is ...!

I'm coming to realize lately how much I appreciate having days/weeks with nothing planned. I still seem to get plenty done but it's been at my own pace and as and when I feel like it. There's no yoga for the next two weeks due to the Easter holidays, so I decided I wanted to get in at least one walk (done, 10 km Thyez to Cluses) and one session at the gym this week (also done). I wasn't feeling too enthusiastic about the gym but by the time I got off the bike after 45 minutes I thought I may as well "give it some wellie" (as we say back home) and ended up really enjoying myself, on top of having the whole upper floor of the gym to myself!

I continue to play the old head game of setting my timer for an hour and just getting on and doing something - anything - and by gum it seems to be working. Maybe I've found my groove because I've gotten so much done this week in one-hour chunks and, more importantly, I've actually enjoyed it! The other day I got my French tax papers ready to send off, and then went online to set up my account with the local water authority on their new site. Just like the French naturalisation site, however, the water board site wasn't working so I decided to leave it a few days and bingo, I got that done this morning. I wasn't so lucky with the naturalisation site though because their newfangled site is still not working - or maybe it's just that they don't want any more of us becoming French! Who knows! Still, not to worry, it'll all come right on the night I suppose. So since I couldn't get that ticked off my invisible to-do list, I set to and scrubbed the large balcony at the back of my house for the first time in ages and it looks pretty good. I actually don't know what the point was in installing these balconys when they built the houses because I don't know anyone that uses them. I suppose a more pertinent question would be why don't I use mine because it has the best view, looking out over the farm and the mountains! I suppose it could be because I like to sit under the balcony in the shade rather than on the balcony getting burned to a crisp. Still, it's a great place to dry my washing, and I'm even thinking I might put one of my small greenhouses out there to grow some of my warm weather veggies. I'd have to think about how to secure it though because right now there's a storm blowing and the wind can and does howl round that corner!

While I was out there scrubbing I noticed a little hedgehog moseying around on my back terrace. I thought it was unusual because they're usually nocturnal, but nope there he was, all curled up having a snooze. It eventually struck me that he might be sick so I put some water out for him and decided I'd shovel him up with my snow shovel if and when he kicked the bucket. But he didn't 'cos when I went out there to do the deed he was sniffing around by my back door! I deliberately went out and stood quite close to him but as that didn't seem to phase him at all, I went back into the house and came out and scattered some crushed up cereal to see what he would do. And guess what, turns out hedgehogs like Special K!


I also finally got through varnishing the bathroom unit after I realized the paint chipped easily if I didn't varnish it. I haven't done a very good job but I'm happy with it and it's 100% better than it was! Just got to get the rest done now!

Before - God I can't believe I put up
with that for so long!

After - I'm rather pleased with this!

I've also got quite a bit done in the garden/seedling department, even if my living room still resembles a jungle as I can't plant out yet. The other day when I was checking on my tomato seedlings I noticed that several pots had something else sprouting in addition to the tomato plants. Then it hit me that I had just been dumping in whatever half-decomposed compost I happened to have handy when I was repotting and some of the potato peelings had started to sprout! Heck at this rate I might be able to grow an entire salad in one pot!

I got chatting to my neighbour earlier this week and she asked me if I had heard about the Ferme des Chenevifs (the cheese-makers just up the road). Turns out that a couple of their cows had tested positive (for what, I don't know) and the entire herd had been slaughtered and they have now closed up shop!! Damn, that is so sad! I barely eat cheese so I wouldn't have known about it, but they were a small, family-owned business and poof just like that everything they had worked for is gone! I just hope they were well compensated for their loss!

Two weeks ago saw the first round of the French elections. In order to stand you have to have the support of at least 500 French mayors. There were three candidates who I thought were excellent but who weren't able to stand because of lack of mayoral support (there's a whole fishy backstory to this), but one who did get to run was a former Macron crony named Valérie Pecresse - the richest of all the people running! She was an abysmal candidate who came over as totally phony and so, of course, hardly got any votes. The thing is, she had put €5 million of her own personal money into the €7 million campaign funds, but under an unknown-to-me ruling for French elections, any candidate who polls less than 5% of the votes can not request reimbursement of monies spent from their party's campaign funds. Pecresse polled just 4.8% (she was convinced she was going to win) so is out €5 million of her own money and then had the nerve to go on television asking people to send money to help her recoup her losses!!!!!! It was quite funny (to me at least) because a whole bunch of people mailed in cheques for €1 and an opposition candidate offered to lend her his Peugeot 308! But seriously, the nerve of her, asking "the plebs" to help make up her losses when they will never have one-tenth of what she has if they work their entire lives! Needless to say my cheque is not in the mail!

I've been reading in the news that Netflix has apparently lost thousands of subscribers in the last couple of months as people, for whatever reason, are turning against them. (Could it be that nobody could give a sh*t about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's angst and the documentary Netflix is paying them millions to film)? I have to say, though, that I'm definitely getting my money's worth out of Netflix even if I won't be watching the Ginger Whinger's documentary! The past couple of nights I've stayed up late to watch the documentary on arch paedophile Jimmy Savile and it truly was stomach-turning. I remember as a young girl thinking I didn't like that creep and then one day my mom said the same thing. Oh there were rumours about him floating about for years, apparently, but since he raised millions for charity - in particular for Stoke Mandeville spinal injuries unit - the guy must have felt untouchable. Indeed he certainly seemed to be just that! When some of the victims were finally able to get their stories out (with the aid of an intrepid investigative reporter), they numbered in their hundreds - 400, in fact, according to the documentary - and while the pervert seemed to prefer young girls, he wasn't averse to assaulting young boys either, the youngest being a five year old! While "justice" (if you can call it that) was served in the end, it's just a shame that the bastard had already died when that justice was dished up!

Pervert-in-chief, Jimmy Savile!

Poor Charlie has been sick again! (again???)? It started off with conjunctivitis and an ear infection. When he got over that Jen reckoned chickenpox was on its way because they have an outbreak at the crèche. Well it turns out the rash all over his body was actually roseola, but, not to miss out, he then started a couple of days ago with chickenpox blisters. Poor little soul! That being said, he's actually fine, not miserable at all, and I guess we can only thank the powers that be that all these childhood illnesses have hit him while Jen's been at home and able to take care of him. I went over yesterday to see him and Jen was all bubbly because guess what? She's got a job! She'd been on parental leave until 31 March and was then suspended (along with the other 70,000 medical staff) for refusing the jab. She said the lady in HR was really nice about it and said she would have done the same if she could find another job but .... In fact, she told Jen that their small local hospital is now short 80 nurses because of the vaccine mandate and they are struggling! Anyway, Jen has applied for five jobs outside of nursing and last week went for an interview at a crèche just down the road. She said she loved the place and the atmosphere was great and she found out two days ago that they wanted to offer her the job - oh, and can you start on Wednesday? They were also happy to accommodate her need to start later (she needs to get Charlie to his own crèche first) because she could do the 7 p.m. closing instead - something the others didn't want to do. The pay is pretty abysmal compared to what she was earning as a nurse but she reckons they can manage financially. Also (and I think this is extremely positive), the woman told her that she understood that she will have been applying for other, higher-paying jobs (she has - she's waiting to hear back from the other four) and so offered her a trial three-month contract to see how she liked it and how it worked out for them! That, to my mind, is a definite plus in that it shows that this lady is human. And so, my blogging friends, for the first time in over a year I saw Jen really smile and all that pent up tension fade away! Who knows what will happen because if Marine Le Pen gets in on Sunday she has already stated that she will reinstate all the medical staff that have been suspended because of the vax mandate. Sadly I don't think she will get in because Napoleon's backers' pockets are just too deep, but who knows. So what that means is that I will be taking care of Charlie on Fridays and Jen is going to ask her mom to have him on Mondays (my yoga day), although she did say she didn't think her mom could manage a whole day so who knows if I will get roped in for Monday afternoons too. We'll see how it works out but I'm delighted for Jen and know she will not only enjoy her new job but she will be good at it (it's in a day care centre and she loves kids)!

AAAAAANNNNNDDDD (you thought I'd finished didn't you), the other day André spoke to his neighbour who works in Geneva in a hardware store selling plumbing supplies to professionals and asked him if he knew of any openings through his contacts. The guy told him the plumbers he dealt with couldn't find qualified plumbers to work for them for love nor money and to have Jordan get a résumé to him as soon as possible. So if this works out for Jordan he will be raking it in compared to what he is earning now. Minimum wage in Geneva (unskilled) is already almost three times what he's making now so as a qualified plumber who knows what that figure might be! So there you have it, a hopefully positive update on the roller-coaster ride that has been our norm for the last year. Fingers and toes duly crossed!



Monday, 18 April 2022

It's been a while!

I see it's over two weeks since I posted but even though I've been somewhat busy, things haven't been that exciting so I guess there was not much to report really! I fell into a bit of a slump for a few days the other week and got very little done, but I've come to realize if I allow myself that slump it only takes a short while for the energy to get going again. I've always known I'm a tortoise rather than a hare, so I guess it's best to go with your natural flow, isn't it!

So what's new, apart from the fact that my ex has been and gone. As I said previously I didn't think he looked very well when he arrived, but that could initially have been put down to jet leg. As time went on however (he was here three weeks), I thought that he looked less and less well, and on his last day here I thought he looked terrible! That being said, things between us were fine, there were a few run-ins with my sons, but at least he has now met Charlie and seen his boys for the first time in three years. There's a whole other back story too, which I may or may not write about in time, but when I was talking to my sister this weekend and I went on a breathless rant for what seemed like about 30 minutes (but probably wasn't), I realized I  haven't done that since we split up! I guess it goes to show where my stress came from, right?

Jen's grandparents had come down for Charlie's birthday so one day we all took a trip into Geneva to visit the Natural History Museum (something Jen's grandparents enjoy very much, apparently). We spent a couple of hours in there, but to be honest when you see some of those sea creatures wouldn't it make you wonder why on earth you ever set foot in the ocean again! There was one exhibit which I can only describe as looking like a huge, fat squid and boy if I ever came across that in the ocean I think I would faint (although I expect the squid might feel the same way looking at me in a swimsuit)!

On my ex's last day we met up over at Jordan and Jen's place for lunch and then sat in the little park belonging to their apartment building waiting for Jordan to finish work. The babe explored his new surroundings, André played guitar and my ex pretty much slept for about three hours lying in the grass. Jen and I each had a bottle of Tourtel lemonade and at one point I looked over at Charlie only to see him playing with an empty bottle. What on earth the neighbours thought seeing us giving "beer" to him goodness only knows!


Other than that I've been pottering around and it's been quite satisfying to be slowly moving things forward in chunks of about a couple of hours work a day. André had given me a €100 gift card for a large garden centre near here so I headed out there one afternoon, fretting slightly because what if I didn't spend the whole €100? Would they give me a credit for the difference? Ha! What a joke! Since when could I not spend €100 in that place? I felt a bit daft at one point, though, because I've been looking for a watering can with a "daisy-thingy" spout for ages but could never find one. I mean, ages and yet while I was in the garden centre I picked up a whole bunch, looked inside one of them and there was the detachable head! Well of course, they put them inside the watering can so as not to lose them! I swear if I had half a brain I'd be dangerous!

Picture of a watering can - just in case!

Continuing on the gardening theme, I saw a youtube video claiming to show you "how to easily cultivate coriander (cilantro) seeds". Basically he soaked the seeds in water, crushed them slightly, wrapped them in cloth and put them away in a warm, dark place for three days. All well and good so far, of course, but do you think I can remember where I hid them? Nope, almost a week later I still haven't found them so I'm kinda waiting for yet another triffid to start making it's way along the shelves and out the door of some cupboard or other soon!

I'm not sure what's going on with the farm since the farmer died, but I was delighted to see the other day that there are now goats, sheep and about a dozen cows out in the fields behind me. But given that they have the whole mountainside to themselves, I can't help but wonder why the cows all huddle together in one spot!

I was also delighted to see that our village is going to hold its first village fête in four years this year. They were doing some rebuilding work at the community hall for the first two years and then of course covid intervened, but I can only imagine how everyone will be looking forward to it this year. It is very rural, something akin to la France profonde, very sociable and it remains one of the most popular village fêtes around!

My friend and I went out to our first vide-grenier last week-end, both of us dreading buying more junk that we didn't need (we didn't), but it was so lovely to be out and about again after so long. It was gloriously sunny but by golly the wind was fierce on that plâteau so we stayed just long enough to have a wander and then hightailed it back to the warmth of the car!


When I got back I was sitting watching my latest Netflix goodie (Anatomy of a Scandal) when the bloody phone went at 11.15 p.m.! I'm getting more and more of these telemarketers and I know it's randomized computer dialing, but do they really think they're going to get any money out of me at that time of night? I don't answer, of course, and they never leave a message, but still, time to unplug the landline at night, methinks!

And finally, I talked briefly over Easter with a friend who is going through a very unpleasant divorce. So unpleasant, in fact, that she found out he had placed what seems to be voice-activated recorders in her home - which is her home that she bought before marriage! Man oh man, there are so many ways you can be spied upon it's unreal. But that brings to mind a story on a site that I follow where one lady discovered that her soon-to-be-ex had placed a GPS tracking device in her car, after he'd run off with his mistress but before their divorce was finalized. So she got her own back on him (and probably drove him mad in the process) by getting her neighbour to place it in his car until the divorce was final. He was a travelling salesman!