I suspect I might be a bit weird but I always feel rather glad when the summer months of July and August start drawing to an end. It's most likely because I don't like the heat, and although it's still in the 80s and 90s here at least in the mornings it is cooler. I guess I'm just not made for the tropics!!!
Anyway, the last couple of days I have hopped off the bus on the bridge and walked the last 30 minutes to work - still a bit sweaty but nothing like it has been. Yesterday morning I was stopped by a man who asked me for some money "for something to eat". I hate it because I genuinely don't know what to do in these cases. He looked perfectly fine, not skinny or dirty and didn't seem to be a Roma but still I didn't know what to do so I just said "no". I never give to the Roma since the time I saw a woman sitting on the floor outside the supermarket with a sleeping baby in her arms (drugged up I suppose) and the next day I saw a different woman but with the same baby! So that's me done with them! A few years ago, when I was still driving all the way in to work, I would often see a Roma man panhandling at the traffic lights, a pitiful look on his face and pleading eyes. One day I was stopped at the red light where he was panhandling when a police car pulled up behind me. The pitiful look disappeared, the cap went back on his head and he trotted off down a side street, completely forgetting his limp! We do see quite a few obviously very disabled beggars here - but it makes me wonder if these countries are sending all their disabled beggars here or if there is just a disproportionate number of these people born disabled. I can't figure it out!
On the other side of that story, a few years ago I was in a supermarket parking lot with my friend when a very skinny young lad came running up to us and asked for money. I said "no" and got in the car, but my friend said "we both have sons his age and he looks like he hasn't eaten for weeks, what do you think?" My response was "what about drugs" and she just said "well let's give him the benefit of the doubt", so we handed him five Swiss francs. I hope he got something to eat, and in the end I agreed with her. Then two Saturdays ago I was coming out of the tobacconists and saw a man, probably in his 40s, sitting on the floor begging. I don't know why but I just gave him one euro. Then last Saturday, coming out of the same tobacconist's I heard the emergency services pull up and they were ferrying the same man away on a stretcher - and that's when I noticed the empty booze bottle sitting beside him. I figured it was booze anyway with him and I honestly have no rhyme or reason as to when or to whom I give as I still haven't quite figured it out. I think I mentioned before that I pick up stuff every week when shopping and when I have a crateful I take it down to the local food bank. Well this week, as I went in to drop off my donation, the older chappie there gave me a big smile and said "oh thank goodness, we are getting to that time of the year again, and the ladies have just been out shopping". I noticed last year, towards November, they were starting to run short of supplies before their legally-allowed canvassing in front of the supermarket in October (they are allowed to do this two days a year). I will always continue to give to them (run by the splendid Red Cross volunteers), but as for individual beggars I just don't know.
On another note, I sent off an email to the French authorities at the end of July asking what formalities I would have to complete to request French citizenship. I was starting to get the impression that France must be full up because four weeks later I still hadn't had a reply, but this week I finally got one. The in-joke is that if you want to invade France you do it between 12 and 2 pm because everyone will be at lunch (true) or during August because they are all on holiday - also seemingly true. We'll see. I started reading up some of the stuff they request and yikes - just yikes. Of course I can get it all done but I just thank God I am "administratively minded" because that is one helluva lot of paperwork to ferret out, and even then, I am looking at about two years before it would go through (just in time for Brexit or thereabouts).
And finally, now that the kids are starting back to school, the bloody traffic is already hell. It took me two hours to get home again the other night!! Anyway, as I mentioned above, I have been starting to try to get in some walking now that the weather is cooler, but last night it started to rain and of course the traffic as I was about to leave was already gridlocked. I work on the north side of Lake Geneva and the train station is also on this side, so my bus gets to snake its way up to the train station and then loop back round to come across the bridge to the south side. Just getting to the train station can sometimes take an hour (it only takes 25 minutes to walk it!!!) but you don't know what it's going to be like until you are already stuck on the bus. Anyway, last night I thought I might once again hop on the ferry boat to take me over the lake, but I missed it by about three minutes. So, I decided to just keep on walking and in 40 minutes I was past the train station, past the end of the lake and over the bridge!!! Not bad eh! I actually don't mind walking but realize it might be time to get some waterproof shoes if I'm going to keep this up! The farting noises coming from my wet shoes was quite embarrassing!
Still, what with my son just turning 30 I realize I will be 59 at the end of this month!!! Which means ..... drum roll please .... bloody hell - 60 next year! And at the end of last week I was feeling really bloated (hormonal/water retention/just plain fat after pigging out?) and made the mistake of stepping on the scales. YIIIIIIKES! I had actually hit the exact weight I was when I was nine months pregnant with my second son 25 years ago and I had put on 23 kg with that pregnancy!!!!! Shame on me! So calculating my 59th birthday on 24 September 2017, ergo my 60th birthday on 24 September 2018(!!!) that would pretty well give me 52 weeks to lose a pound a week before my 60th right? (Actually, I don't need to lose 50 lbs as I was quite tiny up until about my 46th birthday (I know I weighed 66 kg then), but 40 lbs off wouldn't go amiss. I know people seem to want to get "fit at 50" but obviously that ship sailed aaaaages ago, but oh well, here goes. Let's see how I get on!