The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Saturday, 23 September 2023

More Mallorca!

I figured I'd better get back to journaling about my trip before I forget it all, but I've been a bit busy since I got back. So after our island tour I took the following day as a kind of laze around day, just going for a walk along the beach (although not as far as the nudist beach!!!) and reading by the pool. I can highly recommend it - having absolutely nothing to do, that is. 

Anyway the next day six of us had booked a trip to Palma, Mallorca's capital - me, the three Scottish ladies, and Irene and M (The One)! The trip there was a bit tedious because the guide did his spiel first in Spanish, then in English and finally in German but since people had booked different tours in Palma I guess he had to labour the detail a little! Our ticket basically just gave us a ride there and back, but people getting on at other hotels had different coloured tickets, which indicated maybe the aquarium tour and/or the guided tour of the cathedral. None of that was an option for us, but I was fine with that as I like to do my own thing anyway.

When we got off the bus the guide explained that the aquarium people should be at this spot at 10.30 and the cathedral people at noon, and M was adamant that they were booked on the cathedral tour. I told her she wasn't as that wasn't offered at our hotel but she was having none of it. In the end I've no idea if they showed up for the cathedral tour but Bernie, the little Scottish lady, just laughed and said to let them get on with it! So the four of us set off for a coffee in what looked like the old town and then wandered down the back streets to find a restaurant for lunch off the main drag and in the shade. We found just what we were looking for and were enjoying a meal of tapas when up comes a man who sets up his keyboard and started blasting out very bad music which meant we couldn't hear to speak to each other. I used to get that a lot when I worked in central Geneva, the guy who wandered round the restaurants playing three bars of Rawhide and then came round with the hat and it drove me mad - every single day! Mind you when Karen said "I wish Richard Clayderman would bugger off" we all cracked up - and maybe he heard because he packed up and left not long after that!

After that we spent an hour wandering round the old town and the cathedral but as it was so hot we were only too glad when we got back down to the harbour to wait for the bus in a shaded café!

Palma cathedral!

Later that evening a young man come in who played soul music so for once I sat and listened as I love soul. He wasn't bad but the heat was a killer so I left around 11.30 pm just to get out of it! The next day was another "do nothing" kind of day until later that evening when the guide came over to me and asked if I spoke Spanish (I can get by, but I'm not fluent), because apparently Irene and M were at the police station and the hotel receptionist didn't speak enough English to explain what had happened. Well it turned out that Irene and M had taken a taxi to Alcúdia and sat down in a restaurant when M decided it was too expensive and got up to leave. At this point I think Irene had had enough and offered to pay for her meal but M was already out the door, so Irene grabbed her purse and ran after her. It was only when she got to the next restaurant that Irene realized she'd left her small shoulder bag with her papers, money and phone at the previous restaurant and went running back to get it, only for it to be gone. The people at the next table said that nobody had been at that table since they left except for the wait staff so it was pretty obvious who had taken it! At this point the owner refused to give Irene the restaurant's phone number and virtually threw her out the door and told the people at the other table to stop talking to them!!!!! The big worry, of course, was did Irene have her passport in that bag as we were leaving the next day, but the hotel receptionist told us that even with Irene's permission she could not go into her room and open the safe, so we just had to pray she had left it in her room (she had, as it turned out)! While I was chatting with our guide the receptionist came over to me and said that a gentleman needed her to go with him to his room for some reason, and she was letting me know that she was going up to room 152 - if you get my drift! To be honest I'd never thought about that kind of thing but she just wanted someone to know where she was in case anything happened. I guess they see it all in hotels, don't they!

Later that evening our guide bought me a drink for helping her out and we ended up having a long chat about this and that - and it came out that her first husband had been extremely violent, one time throwing her through a glass door into the garden and that she would have bled to death if the neighbour hadn't seen her through the kitchen window lying on the back patio!!! Crikey, I wasn't expecting that, but she did send me a text message after she got back to England thanking me for allowing her to open up like that!

The trip back was a bloody nightmare, with my flight ending up being delayed six hours and Easyjet changing the gate number from gate C44, to C62 and back to C39 all while making no announcement of the gate change over the tannoy! So I got back around midnight and threw a load of washing in because of course the plumber was coming at 8 am the next morning to start work!!!! Then I got a call from the chimney sweep, who had tried to set up an appointment while I was in Mallorca, and he asked if he could come in an hour's time too. So at one point I had a man running a vacuum upstairs with another man running a vacuum downstairs - that surely must be a Women's Libber's wet dream!

It was only when I got back that I heard about the earthquake in Morocco and realized that my neighbours had been there at the time. They were in Agadir and said they were in bed on the fourth floor of the hotel when it started swaying like crazy! Nobody was killed in Agadir (most of the victims were in the Atlas mountains and Marrakech), but one man had a heart attack and died from the fright. I can't even begin to imagine how frightening that must have been!

And finally, last Sunday was our "clean up the neighbourhood" day and we lucked out in that we had good weather all day - only for a torrential downpour to hit right after we'd cleaned up. And now life returns to normal - or as normal as it can be with a plumber and tiler traipsing through the house most days. Still, you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs can you!

Oh and get this, tomorrow is my birthday but this morning I had a "happy birthday" text message from the young man that I dated briefly after my husband left. He lives in Berne and the relationship kinda just ran its course but we parted on friendly terms. So today he texts me and we end up chatting off and on all day, It's hard to believe we hadn't spoken in about 14 years and then just picked back up where we left off! How weird is that!

Saturday, 16 September 2023

Island tour!

Later in the evening of our first night our group was joined by an Irish man who flew in from Dublin (quite the character) and two older ladies who arrived from Manchester. These two ladies reminded me a little of The Odd Couple. Irene had obviously been quite the looker in her younger years and was indeed still very glamorous and sociable. M - her companion - was the complete opposite, a kinda "quieter than a church mouse" type. I did get to speak to M a few times because she had at one time owned a house in Normandy (and apparently very much regretted selling it) but others said that when they tried chatting to her about the many solo trips she had taken she pretty much blew them off! That kind of thing doesn't bother me much because I just do my own thing anyway, but I heard later in the week that things were somewhat tense between Irene and M because Irene wanted to do more things with the group but ended up "having" to stay with M all the time! Hence I don't travel with anyone on these trips 'cos my days of having a regimented schedule are well and truly over! Anyway, I mention this as it's relevant because of what happened on the last night! More to follow!

There was also another couple of Scottish women travelling together and who also seemed to fit The Odd Couple mold somewhat. They too had slight tensions during the trip but ended up being okay together for the most part. I got along really well with the outgoing Scottish lady but the quieter lady had actually had quite the life too, it turns out. She had been born in India (her father was manager of a tea plantation) but when she was six her grandmother in Scotland had become seriously ill so A (the quiet lady) was shipped off to boarding school in Scotland and she hated it! She said she had never seen anywhere so cold, wet and grey in all her life, but I suppose having been born in India that was a normal reaction. Ultimately she ended up loving Scotland but said it wasn't easy at first. And Mrs. Quiet Lady had also travelled all over - although Asia was her main love, for obvious reasons! There was also another quiet lady who I put in her mid-70s (as did others) but turns out she was only 68 and she had been doing the solo travelling thing for the past 18 years. She seemed to have been everywhere and was such an interesting person to talk to, so I guess it really is true that you should never judge a book by its cover!

Anyway, the next day six of us signed up for the aforementioned island tour and it was wonderful, if a little hectic! Our first stop was in a town called Inca to visit a leather goods outlet. Mallorca is known for its leather goods and cultured pearls and their wares really were lovely and very reasonably priced, but in the end I realized that I actually don't need any more stuff. I really do have everything I need in that department so decided (reluctantly) to pass! After that we ended up crawling over a hair-raising horseshoe pass to get to our first stop where we would pick up the boat. Hats off to the bus driver is all I can say!

This was the "easy" bit. We had crawled
through forests with steep drops over the side
for an hour previous to this!

Our guide said the locals refer to this pass as the Ay Maria pass (or basically the "oh my god" pass) and you can see why! Anyway, we made it out alive in time for a quick lunch and then boarded the boat to circle further down the island, heading for the beautiful port of Soller!

I had to laugh at this one because some time ago I wrote about driving up a hair-raising road to get to the Plâteau de Cenise and nearly laying an egg en route. Well when I got back this picture popped up on Facebook showing just how nasty that road really is! Never again says I!

I had been to Mallorca many, many years ago with my boyfriend and I remember Soller being stunning then, and of course it still is. André told me that he and his then wife took her grandma to Soller for a holiday and she just loved it (I'm not surprised)!

This is a google picture of Soller, as I couldn't get
my head out of the train window quick enough
to take a decent picture!

After a quick lunch in Soller we caught the rickety old tram for a few km up to the town of Soller and from there hopped on the train for a one hour ride back to our bus!

Another google picture I'm afraid!

13th century church!

Town centre!
When we got back to our hotel our guide asked us what we thought of the trip and we all said it was great, if a little rushed because of having to marry up with boat/tram/train timetables. Well all of us, except Irene and M, one of whom had apparently complained that at their ages (mid-70s I would guess) it was disgusting that they had to stand on the 3km tram ride! My eyes almost popped out on stalks because twice I had offered Irene my seat and she waved it away and the younger Scottish girl in front of me had done the same. I'm guessing it was M who was bitching then but we both put the guide very much straight about what really happened. As I say, there's always one isn't there!

That evening it was back to the hotel for a quick shower and dinner in an excellent Argentinian restaurant on the beach where the food (and the margaritas) was wonderful and very reasonably priced. In fact the food throughout Mallorca was consistently good so guess who's gonna have to go on a diet now that she's back!

Friday, 15 September 2023

Home sweet home!

Well my first Solos holiday in over four years has come and gone and no surprise there but I thoroughly enjoyed it yet again! Even though it was only just over a week long, I felt like I'd been away for about a month and needless to say, the travel itch is well and truly back and just waiting to be scratched!

I hadn't been getting much sleep the week prior as I had this stupid cough which, while it wasn't particularly severe, was enough to wake me up pretty much on the hour every hour. Then I happened to spot another video by one of my favourite Youtube doctors where he recommended putting Vicks on the soles of your feet and explained why it might help ease the coughing - and bugger me but didn't it just work!!!! My friend dropped me at the train station in La Roche, which turned into something of a nightmare. The ticket machine must have come out of the arc as it was very user-unfriendly so I went to the service counter to confirm that the ticket I finally managed to buy would indeed take me all the way to the airport - which it did (not that anybody checked it though). I then asked how I could get over to the other platform and the lady told me to "go out of the station, turn right and I would find the underpass there". So I did just that, left the station (in scorching heat), crossed over at the level crossing - and ended up on a construction site, so had to turn round and retrace my steps. It was only when I was almost back at the station that I realized I'd dropped my cardigan so had to lug my case back to the construction site, all the while thinking I'd gotten there so early but if I didn't get a move on I might still end up missing the train! When I finally located the underpass I was horrified to see that it consisted of 40 steps (20 down and 20 up) - no ramp and no lift! What the flip???? I mean what about people with heavy luggage, or pushchairs, or wheelchairs - or people who simply couldn't physically manage it? By the time I'd gotten my case up to the 30th step I thought I might have a coronary and that's when a kind young man picked it up and carried it the last 10 steps. Even though the airline allowed 23kg I had only packed 14kg but it still felt like I was transporting dumbbells! What a stupid set-up for a railway station - but at least I figured out a solution for next time and that would be to get on a stop earlier where there are no steps at all as everything is on the flat!

When I got to Geneva train station I had to change trains to go to the airport and that was when a Roma gypsy woman and her two kids decided that they weren't going to take the escalator after all but would follow me into the lift - all the easier to trap me and ask for money, you see. Well I was hot and sweaty at this point and told her exactly where to get off! In the end I got to the airport too early to check-in, but when I saw the crowds in the food hall I decided to take myself up to the fancy restaurant on the top floor and while away the next couple of hours in relative peace!

The flight to Mallorca was uneventful but the Spanish have this disconcerting habit of clapping when the pilot lands - which might lead one to think he wasn't normally very good at that kind of thing right? Anyhoo, I'd booked a hotel near the airport for the night and very nice it was too - although the mattress was a bit softer than I like so it felt somewhat like I was sleeping in a dish of rice pudding. I had thought I'd get washed up and go out for dinner but in the end I just bought a sandwich and a bottle of water and had an early night. Then next day it was back to the airport to meet up with the main group and head north to our hotel for the duration!

Everyone had been on at least one Solos trip before and it turned out to be a nice group - with no "pain in the bum" types like there usually is. As it happens that turned out to be not quite accurate, but that's a story for another day.

The resort wasn't quite what I expected in that it seemed to be more of a party resort but in the end I quite liked it and the party animals in our group had plenty to keep them occupied! The "Bee Gees" were playing at one of the bars the night we arrived, followed the next night by Michael Jackson. I didn't go to any of those shows but had a great time on the lovely beach the next day where I had a foot/leg massage by a Vietnamese man with fingers of steel - absolute bliss!

The next day was market day so a few of us had a wonderful time wandering up and down the stalls until we could take the heat no more. One of the ladies talked me into buying a new bikini and we ended up roaring laughing with the lady stall-holder as she was flogging her wares. When I got back to my hotel room I tried that thing on and while it did indeed fit I honestly looked like a Rubik's cube with a pair of knickers on, so out came my tried and trusted "whale harness" and off to the beach I went again that afternoon where I found out that "Madonna" was playing in another bar later that evening. I never went of course, but it was nice to have some quiet time in anticipation of a couple of fast-paced trips we had lined up over the next few days. More on that tomorrow!

Saturday, 2 September 2023

See ya later!

Just a quick note to say I'm off to Mallorca next week for about 10 days (I think), so I'll try to catch up with you all when I get back! Hasta la próxima!

Sunday, 20 August 2023

Summer's back!

Well after weeks of pretty crappy weather, summer seems to be back with a vengeance. It's forecast 35°C tomorrow (95°F) and while many places get it hotter, that's plenty hot enough for me. Too hot actually, but thankfully those temperatures tend to last only about four weeks before dropping back down. Still, at least where we are we (hopefully) don't get the awful wild fires that we're seeing (mainly in Canada and Maui right now) - my heart breaks for the people caught up in that nightmare! I don't like to have the windows open at night (bugs and other creep-crawlies) but it has been hellish hot without AC, so I might put my little mobile unit on until this heat breaks!

Last Tuesday was a holiday here (Assumption), although why the French have 15 August as a holiday and not Good Friday beats me - but then I'm not Catholic so what would I know! With that in mind, the people in the white house you can see across the field in my header picture decided to have a party last Monday night and were at it all night long! Not loud music or anything like that, but just loads of people screaming and yelling (though thankfully not fighting). I read until 3 a.m. and then must have fallen asleep until more yelling woke me at 5 a.m. and then I was done. I'm a bit surprised at it actually because the French have pretty strict rules about just how much noise you can make (or how long it can go on for) but I guess this one slipped through the net. Then on Tuesday (which was the holiday) my neighbour must have decided it was a good day to drill everything within a 10 mile radius so that was me done for the day! Still, it doesn't happen that often so I guess you have to go with the flow, even if it did feel a bit like this at times!

While I was making dinner the other night, I realized that the gas flame wasn't burning very hot, which must mean that my gas bottle was running out. We don't have mains gas here so have to buy those large gas bottles that you used to see on a BBQ. Man I know I'm getting old because lugging the empty bottle down to the supermarket was bad enough but getting the full bottle off the top rack nearly killed me!!! I always have a spare on hand but could I get the damn thing to work!!!! I've changed these bottles many, many times but this time I took the sealant rings off both joints - and then realized what a stupid thing that was to do, so put them both back on and decided to sleep on it. Well next day, as often happens, I decided that "the gauge" (looked a bit like this):

... probably needed to be in the horizontal position and bingo, it works so crisis averted! While I was running around I popped into LIDL for a few things. They'd got six crates of tomatoes for sale on an end aisle and I was pretty perturbed to see a couple bagging up the whole lot (all six crates) and clearing them all out! I guess they were going to be making a lot of tomato sauce at some point but I do think they might have left a few in case other people wanted some! Not me, because I don't buy my produce there but surely there has to be some kind of etiquette for that kind of thing - or maybe not!

Jordan and Jen arrived back from Brittany having had a wonderful time. They said the initial dismal weather didn't really bother them that much as they had so many places they wanted to visit anyway. They decided to stop off on the way back to spend a few days with Jen's grandparents, and wouldn't you know but Charlie - who had been great the whole time - decided it was his time to be cranky as hell! Maybe the heat was getting to him at this point but ....! While they were away Jordan received a job offer from the new firm starting up in this area and is going to accept it - starting work with his friend, Christophe, on 11 September, so they are both delighted!

I mentioned to my friend that La Clusaz were having a craft fair on Tuesday and did she want to go (of course she did), so we mosied up there in time to have lunch and then a wander round the fair - except we couldn't find it! I mentioned to a lady sitting next to us at the restaurant (who looked a "craft fair" kinda lady) and she said they hadn't found it either, so I'm guessing the advertising was messed up. Still, with La Clusaz being my favourite ski resort it's never a hardship to drive up there and it got us out the house (without spending too much money either)!

La Clusaz!

In other news, I was saddened to hear of the death of chat show host Michael Parkinson last week. Oh he was a fair age and hadn't been well for some time, but I remember as a kid really enjoying his shows as he allowed his guests to shine, rather than holding forth with some monologue of his own. Still, what an amazing life he had, and he had to have met some of the most interesting people over his 50-year career span!

And talking of going back 50-ish years, I wrote in a recent post about the young woman who has set up a mobile manicure unit with the help of a small grant from the local commune. Well in order to show solidarity I stopped in for a mani-pedi (only the second I've ever had in my life!!!) on Monday and it was wonderful! Her little caravan transports you back to the 1950s-60s and I came out of there humming the theme tune from Austin Powers (but with slightly better teeth)! I hope she can make this work for her, and if so I will definitely keep going!

I'll have to buy this outfit for my next visit!

Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Ouch (again)!

I got a notification from Easyjet yesterday that I could now download my boarding pass for my trip to Mallorca in early September. After much faffing around I got it done and printed off the list of things I don't want to forget for my trip. It's been over four years since I was in Sri Lanka and that being my last big trip I'm obviously a bit rusty at this travel malarky! One of the things I want to take with me is my kindle as it's good to have something to read during the down times. About 18 months ago Amazon contacted me to let me know that my old kindle (bought in 2010 I think) was no longer supported by their system so I reluctantly bought a new cheapo kindle to replace it. I don't like it as much as my old one, but when I started downloading books onto it, I noticed that they were also downloading onto my defunct old kindle (?) so I'm still going to use that. What a rip off though right? When I travelled previously I also used to take my clunky old iPad as I like a bigger screen than my phone, so when I saw it sitting forlornly in a drawer I decided to charge it and bingo, it still works, so I'll be taking that too!

The weather here this past month has been bloody awful. Not cold exactly, but grey, wet and depressing for the most part. Last week La Roche hosted its annual Blue Grass festival and while it wasn't exactly rained out, I'm sure there would have been a much bigger attendance if we'd had better weather. It's such a shame as bands come from all over the world and the organizers put so much work into it, but what can you do? Nothing right?

Jordan and Jen are still in Brittany and they're having pretty much the same weather as we are. It hasn't mattered to Charlie much as there's still plenty to amuse him, but I feel so sorry for parents in particular who are hoping to amuse their kids with days at the beach and who then end up having to fork out hard earned cash on indoor attractions due to the bad weather! When I was on maternity leave with Jordan I drove home to England for a few weeks and the weather was so bad one day that we decided to take the kids to an indoor water attraction called Splashdown. I commented to my sister that it must have been so hard on one young family who were there with their four young kids - spending money they probably wouldn't have had to if they could have spent the day on the beach. I well remember back in 1966 (the last time England won the World Cup!!!!), my parents had taken us to the south coast of England and the weather was appalling! We were staying in a bed & breakfast and the owner very kindly invited everyone into his personal sitting room to watch the match - all the while it absolutely bucketed down outside! Another wet day mom and dad took us to the cinema (we saw Born Free) and while we kids probably loved every minute of it, I'm pretty sure it burned quite a hole in their planned spending money for our holiday! In fact I called my sister on Saturday as it was her birthday and it was absolutely bucketing it down. So summer in England then! At least this week weather here is back to normal temperatures but it's been a long time coming, I can tell you! (Katie telling it like it is).

On Monday I decided to have another shot at finding a store called Leclerc in the local town of  Annemasse. I hate Annemasse - it's like a rabbit warren, all one way streets, quite a few lunatic drivers and roadworks everywhere. I've tried to find this store a couple of times already and given up in frustration. Anyway, it was par for the course again on Monday and just as I'd decided to give up and go home, I realized I was right next to the entrance to the parking lot! So I finally got to check it out and I have to say the prices seem to be as reasonable as I'd heard and it was a very pleasant store to shop in (once you'd got the lay of the land I suppose), but I'm not sure my nerves could stand another round of trying to find my way around Annemasse so decided I'll just stick with the stores I already know!

Then yesterday my friend and I decided that we really wanted to get back into walking again (neither of us have done much of anything lately) and since the weather picked up we decided to head off for a "stroll" around the lac de Montriond! It's a beautiful lake but I hardly ever stop there since we always seem to just pass it on our way up to Les Lindarets (the village where the goats are allowed to run free!

Lac de Montriond
(Haute Savoie photos)

Les Lindarets
(France Comfort photos)

Anyway, we were almost there when we realized we (i.e. I) had taken a wrong turn and we ended up at another lake called le lac Bleu, so decided that was just as good as anywhere for a shortish walk. Everything was going pretty well and it only took us about an hour to walk from one lake to the next, but on the way back to the car we decided to try another route - and ended up going waayyyy out of our way, sloshing through mud and fallen trees, and coming out at a dead end and having to go back the way we came. I got bogged down in mud trying to get through one spot, and my friend went flying in another, but thankfully landed on her side rather than her dodgy knee, so after much cussing and swearing, putting in 20,000 steps and almost 10 miles, we finally made it back to the original lake looking like something the cat'd dragged in! So yeah, we wanted to start walking again, but I don't think either of us had bargained on that! My knee has been giving me some gyp for quite some time now and yesterday did it no favours, so today I tried out a few exercises that Dr. Youtube suggested and while at one point I thought I'd just moved the pain from one spot to another, since this afternoon the pain has completely gone! Isn't Youtube amazing! We've got another walk planned for next week so I'll see if my knee holds out till then - here's hoping!

le lac Bleu!

Part of the "obstacle course"!

Wednesday, 2 August 2023

Proceed with caution!

Well how about that global warming then! So far I think we've had the crappiest summer I can remember in a long time. While we've had a few hot days, temperatures in general have been much cooler - which I really appreciate, of course - but couple that with grey skies and peeing down rain and it's not much fun. Oh and a serious hail storm last week! Jordan and Jen are in Brittany on vacation and while they've had a few good days, the sea has been too cold to swim and the wind is blowing a hoolie. I don't think they'll mind too much though as they must both be glad of the break! Just before they left Jordan had an interview for the new position (two-man team) being set up in this area. He has reason to be more than hopeful as Christophe (his previous supervisor) has told the new guy that he wants Jordan on his team. I asked Jordan if he ever found out what the €1.5 million debt was for his previous company and he said he thought it was just pure mismanagement/theft to be honest. Apparently at one point the owner somehow (allegedly) managed to transfer €300,000 out of the business acount with no apparent paper trail, so I guess his house of cards is now coming tumbling down, so much so that when administrators were called in they found him at the Pont de la Caille! There's only one reason anyone goes to the Pont de la Caille, but thankfully they caught him before he did anything stupid - for now, I suppose!

Pont de la Caille!

Also before they left I got a call from Parchet, my heating system service group where Jen is now working. She spotted that they hadn't done a service for me in over two years so booked me in before she left. I told her it wasn't a problem as I had cancelled the last one since my new system had just been installed. Anyway, "the guy" come out last week - so there went another €300 I hadn't budgeted for. Still, you can't let these things just drag on, can you! Then the roofing guy I mentioned in my last post showed up to do some of the repairs he had talked about. When he took one look at my chimney he told me how dangerous it was. I knew this was true because I'd been told about it before, but when he showed me pictures the entire "hat" was cracked and if it had flown off it could have done serious damage. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at that because it's the original chimney from when the house was built in 1979, but I think I just kept putting it off until .... well who knows until when! He then showed me pictures of the top tiles that must have been lifted up slightly in the dreadful storm we had about a month ago, so I took a good look, and sure enough at the front of the house the tiles had become dislodged too. Well of course it all had to be fixed, and I give him and his young assistant absolutely 10/10 for hard work as they were up and down those ladders in the scorching heat, and the main guy was certainly no spring chick - all the more so since they were dodging wasps' nests to boot. When he got round to fixing the front tiles he pulled out one of the wooden slats that the tiles sit on and told me that they were pretty much all rotten. Now since I'd had the roof re-insulated only about 18 months ago, wouldn't you think they would have told me about it????? Well the end result is that he put in a new chimney, a few new tiles, and new slats where he could on the understanding that he would stop by this time next year and see what he could do then (i.e. when I can afford it). So again, another €2,500 I hadn't budgeted for, but I suppose needs must! Add to that I'm waiting for my dentist and gynae bills to come in and my poor bank account must feel like it's on life support! Still, it could have been worse (it always can can't it) because the other morning when I went to unlock my front door I realized that while I had actually locked it, I hadn't closed it properly and the front door had blown wide open during the night! So while I suppose I could have been murdered in my sleep, they'd have been  disappointed at this point if they'd thought I was worth robbing. Ya see, every cloud has a silver lining for an eternal optimist!

I also saw last week that political figure, Nigel Farage, announced that his bank accounts with Coutts Bank (the rich people's bank) had been summarily closed in May due to his "having insufficient funds" (you need at least £1 million)! The next day these details were announced (???) on the BBC so he furiously put in for a kind of "freedom of information" from the bank which, when it was eventually supplied, turns out it was never a question of funds but more that they didn't like his political leanings. Well I'm not too keen on a lot of his political stances either. However I very much admire a person that doesn't take it lying down and since Farage had the clout and the audience, he did indeed come out swinging, so much so that he is now in the process of renegotiating with Coutts (I'd tell 'em to get stuffed, but then that's just me), the head of Coutts has resigned from her £5 million per year job, and the BBC have had to issue an apology. And I should think so too - I mean, who the hell did that woman think she was, discussing Farage's banking details at a dinner party! But Farage isn't stopping there. He's now set up a website to help other people who have been debanked with no reason given and is receiving tremendous support from the public (you can read about it here). Way to go Nigel. I guess they messed with the wrong man this time!

And finally, I woke up feeling like crap about 10 days ago and reckoned I'd gotten a dose of sinusitis. Me being me I thought I'd just let it run its course and keep using the saline solution in the hopes it would eventually disappear - except it didn't! After almost two weeks of feeling like crud I happened to spot a Youtube video by one of my favourite doctors, and he mentioned that oregano oil was very good for getting rid of sinus pain. In the comments someone pointed out that it tasted awful but he had gotten used to taking two drops in hot water every morning and it worked wonders! So I ran out and bought some oregano oil and as it said to add five drops to a drink that's what I did, adding it to honey/lemon tea to hopefully take the taste away. Well I don't know about taking the taste away - that thing almost blew the top of my head off. Seriously! But, about two hours later I was already feeling much better and by the next day I was almost back to normal. So much so that after almost two weeks of doing bugger all I managed to sort two bags of clothes for the charity bins, take a crate of food down to the food bank and a carload of stuff out to the big charity shop about 30 minutes away. So as far as I'm concerned that stuff works. All I can say if you decide to give it a go is please proceed with caution! It's explosive!