The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Friday 26 October 2018

Ouch! Brrrrr! And I wish they'd make up their bloody minds!

Ouch! Well first of all, as in the past three years, two days ago I was able to pay a further 10% extra off my mortgage. I think I've explained before that the only time I can pay extra off my mortgage is if I pay 10% of the initial sum (obviously they don't want people to do this), so in my case it means I have somehow to cobble together 33,000 Swiss francs. This will be the fourth year in a row that I have been able to make this extra payment on top of my regular mortgage payments and I thank God I have been able to do it because that is what is going to allow me to retire at Christmas!

I always keep a copy of my original mortgage amortization schedule in my diary on the date the mortgage falls due (I pay every three months) and from that I can see that by doing this I have knocked an extra 114,000 Swiss francs (£89,000 or $114,000) off where my mortgage would have stood had I not made these extra payments! Yay me! I realize, of course, that I have been very fortunate to be able to do that but I'm just so, so glad that I knuckled down and threw (almost) everything I had at it! Not everything of course because I have still travelled but as I mentioned in a recent post, I cut everything else back as far to the bone as possible in order to be able to sock that money away!

On the "brrrrrr" side, we have been having glorious weather here still - no rain, and you can still easily go outside in the sunshine without your coats on (well the Brits can - everyone else seems to think it's "cold" enough to wear coats. What a bunch off wimps!!!!) Buuuuuttttt, apparently as from Saturday we are heading for fairly constant rain for a few days so I imagine the snow won't be too far behind. I'm just so glad that when I got my car serviced the other week I had them put my winter tyres on because as soon as the first snow flurries come the garages are swamped with people rushing to do the same, so again "yay me"!

And on the "I wish they'd make up their bloody minds" part, I had spoken to a colleague who lives near me (in France) and was telling her about the horrendous tax I was going to pay on the lump sum. In any case, I have resigned myself to paying it but the thought of it is more than a little painful, I can tell you. Anyway, since she will also be retiring shortly she contacted our local tax office and they basically said the info my tax guy had given me was baloney, and that the tax on the lump sum would work out at about 15% instead of the 22% he was talking about. So I forwarded to my colleague the explanations my guy had given me and she then "played tax ping-pong" with the tax authorities, which eventually led to the lady there basically saying that my guy "doesn't know his a$$ from a hole in the ground" (only she put it more politely) and offering to bring him up to speed!!!!! Sooooo, I have the name of another tax person that I intend to talk to and I will shortly be going on a pre-retirement course to be held in one of the large international organizations here where they bring in tax people from both Switzerland and France to talk about these issues (amongst other things), so I intend to put my case to them (in front of about 500 people I guess). Crikey! In any case, I have/had resigned myself to paying around 22% of my lump sum in tax so if I can get that down to around 15% I will be well pleased, but don't you think everyone should be "singing from the same song sheet on this matter"!!!!

And finally, on Wednesday night I went with Thérèse, the "Présidente" of our sewing club for the last 22 years, to the annual meeting of the local community centre groups. I was surprised to find out that there are about 14 groups in total who use the facilities donated by this particular commune for free (and who also receive a small subsidy from the commune) and we are, therefore, obliged to have a yearly meeting where each club must submit its accounts! That's a bit of a joke to me at least because I am the treasurer of the second-hand bookshop that we run in aid of various charities and for me that just means tracking spending/receipts and keeping any remaining cash in a tin under my bed! Still, this has to be done properly and it was pretty nice to find out more of what kinds of groups it is possible to join (you know, when you're not putting in 12-hour days working/commuting). Anyway, the big joke is that I am now the "Présidente" (so a little respect is in order don't you think) of our sewing club (despite not being able to sew!!!! - I do a bit of patchwork when I go, but can't sew) but then they only need someone to do the administrative work in any case! After the meeting everyone crashed out of the meeting room for drinks and snacks, but as it was nearly 10 p.m. and I hadn't even been home yet I bowed out (this time). So there you, go - another feather to add to my hat (and CV) when I finally get round to asking for French citizenship! I hope they are impressed!

Monday 22 October 2018

This and that!

There's not a lot going on here at the moment. Well I am actually pretty busy at work but it's all routine stuff. There's not a lot of interesting stuff going on, is what I suppose I mean. I had another bloody awful few days' commute though. On Friday (12 October) I again took three hours to get to work. There was an accident on the motorway (turns out it was a four-car accident) which I saw ahead of time so decided to take the back road. Problem was, everyone and his dog decided to do the same thing so I ended up crawling to work yet again, getting in at 10 a.m. after leaving home at 7 a.m.!!! Aaargh! What is especially frustrating though is that although there were four cars involved in the accident, it was (seemingly) just a prang and no-one was hurt (thankfully) and so it was cleared pretty quickly. Had I stayed on the motorway I probably would have been in at least an hour earlier but who can know that in advance eh! Then on the following Monday and Tuesday central Geneva was blocked by a construction workers' strike, yet again causing me (and thousands of others this time) to be late for work. Double aaaarrggghhh!! Now I actually have some sympathy for them because the gist of what I can understand of their complaints is that when they get to 55 on a regular contract they then acquire the right (assuming certain conditions are met) to retire at 60, so what happens is that many, many construction companies effectively fire them at age 55 and take them back on as temporary staff, thus screwing them out of their guaranteed retirement rights. It isn't right or fair of course and I understand their frustration because goodness knows any long-time construction worker who makes it to 60 in that kind of hard, physical job, in my opinion, deserves to retire. That being said, this constant drip, drip, drip of commuting delays is doing my head in. Yet again, I am sooooo grateful to have put my notice in you wouldn't believe it, as I don't really see the traffic situation improving any time soon!

On another note, I got my latest electric bill plan for the upcoming year and it has gone down by €10 per month so that can't be bad given that EDF (the French electric company) have just put their prices up! Which got me to thinking, when my ex was still living with me, our electricity bill was €344 per month!!!! Yes, you read that right! About $400 or £300 per month!!!! I found out after he had gone that he had fixed the water heater to be on 24/7 and routinely left heaters running all day and night even when we were not home (and despite the fact that we have oil central heating)!!!! So my new bill works out at €80/month! Not bad really for this area and given the size of my house. Then there was the home telephone bill. €266/month ($300/£236/month)!!!! Yep great! I think I mentioned before that when I called the telephone company they explained to me that he had set up a contract for unlimited calls to the U.S. for €150/month plus €70/month to Canal+ (the French cable TV company) "just in case there were any good concerts on"!!! For Pete' sake, we could have afforded to fly all over the world to different concerts for that amount of money, and in any case he only called his parents about once every two months to the tune of about €30! I now have my house phone bill (plus Wifi) down to about €25/month so just by cutting those two bills down I was saving around €500/month! Of course, that's without his mobile phone bills, his car insurance (drink drivers pay horrendous insurance bills - that's if they can even get insurance afterwards). Yep, one time after we had separated our finances he had a mobile phone bill of €1,200/month and a home phone bill of about €800/month (in the same month). Add in the car insurance of €500/month as a "high risk" driver and I'm sure you can imagine how much I saved just by having him leave me!!!!

Actually, I called his mom last night as it was her birthday last week and I wanted to wish her a happy birthday. I was pretty fond of my in-laws and I occasionally call her just for a chat. Well we were on the phone for about 1 1/2 hours but I don't mind that at all (and in any case it doesn't cost €266 does it!). I never ask about him but I do get to hear how the rest of the family is doing, and occasionally to hear about him as she tells me some stuff - like the fact that he just bought himself a new, top of the range phone (so nothing's changed there then) and was pissed off when she didn't want his old one. She was then talking about her other son who is on invalidity and how she gets him to come up and help her with her garden (for which she pays him!!!!! - she is 83!!!!) but she has to be very careful what she says to him because "his eyes go black and he explodes into a fury"! So just like his brother then! The brother hasn't worked for years, lives with a woman who has had three kids by three different men and whose 25 year old daughter also lives with them and doesn't work either. In fact, they all live with her granddad (who is 94) and basically sponge off him, although what will happen to them when he pops off this mortal coil God only knows. So no-one works, no-one cooks, no-one cleans and the washing machine is broken and there's no replacement in sight because granddad won't buy a new one. What a lovely picture that paints. To be honest though, my ex is retired and why he can't go up and take care of his mother's lawn (they have a riding lawn mower) is beyond me, but then why would he treat her any better than he treated me. He never cut our lawn either - my neighbour always did it - and I did everything else!!!!! Uuuuurggghhh, I'm so glad I'm divorced. She was also telling me about a cousin of his who (seemingly) had a good marriage but then the husband took to drinking, lost his job and was rolling in at all hours of the night drunk, and (I'm guessing) aggressive since the cousin has now left and moved in with her mother!!! So I just said, "yeah, I know that feeling too, dreading the sound of that key in the lock". Now I don't really mean to pile it on but I think she deserves to know what kind of sons she produced. I have no idea how, actually, since my in-laws were decent, hard-working, church-going people and definitely did not raise their boys to be like that. Buuuuut, they all had those stinking tempers and I guess alcohol never did any of them any favours in that department as the sons are both evil drunks (even though mom didn't drink and dad only rarely)!

So eventually I got around to telling her about my decision to retire at Christmas, despite losing quite a bit of money by taking a lump sum to pay off my mortgage. So she asked "what mortgage - didn't P give you the house in the divorce?" HA! So that's what he's been telling them all Stateside then - what an evil, money-grabbing bitch I am I suppose. Oh man, oh man! Anyway, like I say, I was very fond of my in-laws and am happy to chat with her occasionally, but some of the stuff she comes out with never ceases to surprise me!

Other than that, the weather is glorious here, warm and not a spot of rain. We actually have a hosepipe ban in place - not that anybody would be watering their plants I guess, but no washing of cars and so on. Since I have come back from Sicily it has rained briefly one time and other than that I would say it hasn't rained for about three months! It's not good for the crops and our water levels are running really low, but for the moment I am enjoying this glorious Indian summer!

And finally, yesterday a friend and I went to town for the now-annual "Creative Hobbies Fair". We walked there and back, thereby getting in a good 90 minutes of walking, and yet again it was lovely, although I resisted the urge to spend on all  the beautiful items they had for crafting, particularly since I haven't even started the embroidery projects I bought there last year!!! They had put the entrance price up to €7.50, which I thought was a bit expensive for a small, small-town fair, but luckily I had received two free tickets so I was well pleased. They had also increased the parking to €2.50 from €2 (although, like I said, we walked) and the drinks and refreshments prices were also pretty steep, but all in all it was a pleasant way to kill a few hours, and the quilt display at the entrance was, as always, pretty impressive. That'll be me some day!

Monday 15 October 2018

Our latest board game evening - and just too much partying for this old bird!

On Saturday night we had our latest, monthly board game evening at my neighbours' house. There were only eight of us there this time as quite a few of our group already had plans and I did wonder if it would be as much fun as usual - but it was every bit as much fun, probably because we could all easily play the same game. Yet again there was way too much food, although I found that we were very reasonable in the wine department, thankfully. We spent most of the evening playing a game called "Time's Up" where we split into four teams of two and each had to get our team mate to say certain words or phrases, either by giving clues or by miming, all the while being up against the clock! It wasn't easy as many of the answers were very "French-specific" - by which I mean French culture, TV, expressions and so on. I don't even have French TV so a lot of it went straight over my head but on occasion we stumbled across a few anglophone answers which tended to make up for all the "Frenchie" stuff. For instance, what is the name of the main character in The Big Bang Theory (answer: Sheldon Cooper - hope you got that one!).

Anyway, at one point I had to get D, my English friend, to say "Harrison Ford". Easy right! Well bugger me but do you think I could think of the name "Indiana Jones". It went straight out my mind. I seriously couldn't be on a programme like "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" because even if I knew the answers (unlikely, I admit) my brain just doesn't fire properly when I'm under pressure! So my solution to getting her to say "Ford" was to start singing "climb every mountain, FORD every stream"!!! Seriously! The French just looked at me like I was mad!! So Jen, my daughter-in-law (to be) suggested she say the word "hedgehog" in French - i.e. "hérisson" - which, for some reason, to Jen, sounded like "Harrison". OK, I can go with that I suppose, but I can't say we were on the same wavelength really. Then she asked D what make of car I drive - to which somebody yelled out "Toyota" (I drive a Ford). So in the end, "Harrison Ford" ended up coming out like "Hedgehog Toyota"! I guess you had to be there but I was doubled up, it was so funny! I also had to get her to say "Claude Monnet", so just said "how do you say "argent" in English?" and she stared at me and said "money"! I took that one as a win even if D had no idea what I was talking about!

We finally finished that game around 1 a.m. when Isabelle, our hostess, suggested another game - "Six qui prend" - a rather good card game which was new to me but good fun anyway. I ended up trudging home exhausted (all 20 metres of it) at around 2.30 a.m.!!!! Goodness, I'm too old for this partying malarky, I was so out of it the next day that I had to have a three hour siesta! The sooner I retire the better, I must say, if I'm going to keep partying like this!

Isabelle - miming God alone knows what!

A "smaller" mime obviously!

Jen - either with her swag bag or being Father Christmas!

Not sure what Philippe was miming with such gay abandon!

Jordan all smiley-faced!

Isabelle - looks like she's singing opera!

Friday 12 October 2018

If there were ever any doubt ...

... that I made the right choice to hand my notice in, that doubt disappeared this morning when it took me three hours to get to work!!!

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Sicily - la fin!

Our last couple of days in Sicily were spent visiting the ancient Greek town of Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples. The remains here were quite spectacular with the Temple of Concord and the Temple of Zeus being incredibly intact - the Temple of Zeus is also the largest temple built by the Greeks. As we were being given the background at the Temple of Zeus there was a modern day section of the "Oracles" - basically screaming women who predicted the future. I (and many others) didn't like it at all (call it art, call it what you want but it was still just a bunch of screaming women to this pleb) but our guide was saying that they believe there had been sulphur and other gas emissions in the area and it is quite possible that the "Oracles" were driven crazy and given to screaming as a result of being subjected to these gasses. Now that is interesting.

I loved this olive tree - many hundreds of years old.

Our last day was spent in the beautiful town of Cefalú, a lovely fishing port dominated by one of Sicily's finest Norman cathedrals. Now this town I really loved. I don't know why, but it had so much character and was just so pretty.


There were small, pretty beaches - uncrowded - and loads of interesting back streets to explore. All in all a lovely way to end our stay.

As for our group, they were pretty nice. Well, I have usually found my travelling companions to be pleasant, to be honest. Of course there are always a couple that everyone tends to avoid like the plague but all in all they were a nice bunch. There was an 80 year old lady who was not a widow but who was the carer for her husband who suffered from both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The poor thing occasionally took a short break in order to get away from the constant strain of being a never-ending care giver. She did it willingly, of course, but 24/7 that has got to be so hard. Her name was Marion. Now I have a sister called Marion and a sister called Brenda, and I'm pretty sure I called her Brenda right up to the last day - but she didn't bat an eyelid! She was quite bent over and just a diddy little thing to begin with but she and I boogied on my birthday like there was no tomorrow. When it came time to doing The Twist and we had to go "round and round and up and down" she laughed and said she had a head start because she was already that much nearer the floor! What a lovely lady she was! There was also a very distinguished older chappie who was a former RAF fighter pilot. It was his first trip since losing his wife and he was quite quiet to begin with - very reserved - but even he came out of his shell a little by the end of the week. As you can see, I love my trips and I tend to really enjoy these people's company so maybe our Tour Manager was right - I might like to consider applying to become a Tour Manager myself at some point. The area I live in is a big draw for these kinds of tours - be it in the summer for the lakes or the winter for the skiing. Since I know the area and speak the language I would obviously have an advantage, although the Tour Manager is not the local guide, he just makes sure everyone gets on the right bus and nobody leaves their false teeth in a glass by the bed! Moreover, I like people (well most of them and can usually fake it till I make it with the others), so I am seriously giving it some thought - maybe next year after the wedding. Who knows, the world is your oyster isn't it!

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Sicily part deux!

Before I post about the next part of my trip to Sicily, this morning I had my last "MOT" physical before retiring. I think I had mentioned before that I was getting pain in my jaw, down my neck and into my chest and since this can be symptomatic of a heart attack I decided to get it checked out. I came back with a clean bill of health from the cardiologist/hospital and also from the gynae, who nevertheless decided to send me for another mammogram just to be sure since I take HRT. Well for the second time in a row I got a male technician (which I found weird last time) but at least this one was taller as the last guy's eye line was just level with my nipple as he was trying to get my boob squashed between two transparent discuses! Sweet (or not). It is weird though staring down to see your boob looking like a pitta bread with a nipple isn't it! Still, at least that's over and done with. I had this done in the clinic where I had my second son and yet again I marvel at how spotlessly clean (and luxurious) this clinic is. Ok, it comes at the price of very expensive medical treatment in Switzerland but it really is spot on! I'm glad to say all is well, so I can only think the chest pain was coming from stress caused by grinding my teeth and my interminable commute - but that too will soon be sorted so what's not to love!

After a short wait the lady radiologist came in to do more tests and give me my results. I had had her before and recognized her South African accent so when she asked me about a couple of red blotches on my chest I told her I had been bitten by mosquitoes in Sicily and cured the occasional spot of boredom by scratching them! She just laughed and started asking me about Sicily and became more and more interested when I told her it was a "solos" holiday - one of many! So then she started asking me about all my other "solos" trips and seemed very impressed. She told me that she was also divorced and her dream was to give up her job, get herself a camper van with wifi and become a "mobile radiologist"! Wow, that sounds pretty impressive doesn't it! She had been looking into a convoy trip across the desert in Morocco where campers are provided for you. You don't have to travel in convoy in actual fact, but the guide is always the last one to head through and she was really excited about the prospect, although she said she would be renting a van solo as she didn't want to share with anyone (I can understand that. I'm pretty sociable but need my own space also). So I told her that we had had a camper for 15 years when we were married and that the ex had got the camper in the divorce while I got the kids! She just roared laughing, but when I told her I had bought myself a camper after the divorce she became more interested. To be honest, I think my camping days are over as not having anyone to travel with at the time it wasn't so much fun, but we just yacked on and on and I swear my appointment overran by about 30 minutes! The upshot of all this is I walked away with her phone number and gave her mine. I told them at work that I had been for a mammogram and had come away with the doctor's phone number - haven't told 'em she was a "she", not a "he"! Let them assume what they want!

Anyway, back to Sicily! After three nights in our first hotel we started making our way to the resort of Campfelice di Roccella, further north towards Palermo, where we would be staying for the rest of our trip. On the way there we stopped at another UNESCO World Heritage Site - the 4th century Roman Villa del Casale - a fascinating and complex collection of Roman mosaics. To be honest, we were unlucky in that it was a bit crowded (and pretty hot) but it was definitely worth it - such amazing mosaics and of course having a guide explain them was really worth it. You get so much more out of it with a local guide.

The first bikinis - worn for sports!

On the way there we visited Montreale and its stunning cathedral square. Some places, though, just had me start humming the theme from the Godfather in my head! You could really feel the atmosphere. We never did get to visit Corleone (Marlon Brando's namesake in the Godfather) but there was definitely an "ambiance"! To be fair though, our guide was saying that while the mafia still exists, of course, (as it does everywhere sadly) it is nowhere near as pervasive as it was in the 1980s and 90s, as a result of the murderous attacks on the likes of Judge Giovanni Falcone, the anti-mafia crusader who was blown up in his vehicle in 1992.

The cathedral in Montreale

I tell you, there was just so much to see that we were on the go constantly, so I suspect the rest will have to wait until another day! But would I recommend Sicily for a visit? Absolutely!

Monday 8 October 2018


Well it's taken me a few days to get round to writing a bit about Sicily but things have been a bit "hectic" here trying to dodge the hit squad about my having handed in my resignation!

I flew to London on the Friday to spend the night at the airport because our flight out to Sicily the next day was at some God awful time - 06.40 a.m. I think. Nothing like getting up at 3 a.m. to stand waiting for a bus back to the terminal at 4 a.m. but I made it. Knowing Gatwick Airport a bit better though, next time I will simply stay at the hotel in North Terminal as it is about 100 metres from the airport and it only takes maybe three minutes on the shuttle train to get to South Terminal so one less thing to worry about. On a slightly related note I have already got back to the travel company to say that it is ridiculous to have to fly to the UK in order to fly back east - it seems I'm not the only one because they have now "seen the light" and will be allowing people to make their own travel arrangements in future. Score then!

We were met at the airport in Catania by our Turkish guide, Ayrtan, (yes Turkish, to show us round Sicily) and what a treasure he turned out to be. I have always had good guides on my trips to be fair, but some are more fun than others and I think he got it just right. He paced himself well and was very good with everyone but, as I later found out, he also loved to boogie!

We checked into our hotel about an hour from the airport - a very large room in my case with a lovely view. Very nice too. I like a bit of luxury! And very sweetly, on my birthday, Ayrtan arranged for a bottle of plonk to be placed in my room! Now that's the way I like to celebrate!

The view from my window

Next day it was up early (well, every day it was "up early and off" to be honest) to visit Mount Etna. Mounta Etna is a volcano and part of UNESCO World Heritage. It stands at 3,329m so we had to take a cable car up and then a 4x4 up to the top after that. To be honest (and I know I'm going to sound like a peasant) but it just seemed to be a lot of black sand to me! At the top there was a very small burst of steam but other than that it was very quiet, thankfully, because when those babies wake up you really hope they wake up in a good mood!

Mount Etna
Then later that afternoon we set off to visit Taormina - a beautiful old town with a Greco-Roman theatre. A new friend and I set off to find the theatre but somehow managed to get lost in the back streets. I reckon we came within about 100 metres of it in the end but had to hot foot it back to the bus. Not to worry of course, because Sicily isn't exactly lacking in ancient relics (most were on our bus - in which group I now include myself of course)!

The next day it was up early (again) and off to visit Syracuse and the old town of Ortigia with its Greek theatre carved into the hillside (see, I told you there were plenty of "old relics" to see)!

Il Duomo - Syracuse Cathedral
I love looking at old buildings and ancient theatres, but I must admit I don't take too much in regarding dates etc. I mean, there's just too much to take in unless you want to make it a full-time job or have a burning interest in it. Suffice it to say Syracuse was just stunning but .... and this is where my interest really does get peaked ... inside this lovely Cathedral is buried the body of Father "Pino" Puglisi, a brave Catholic priest who set up schemes to try to get the young people of Sicily to pull away from the mafia and take another road. He knew the mafia would come for him eventually, and that they did. He was shot on his 57th birthday in 1993 but apparently the young man who killed him could not live with what he had done and so handed himself in to the authorities. He is now serving life in prison!  More to follow tomorrow.

Father Giuseppe "Pino" Puglisi

Friday 5 October 2018

A message from Ian!

Continuing with the seemingly never-ending saga of my resignation, my director called me in on Wednesday to say that he was "worried" about my resignation letter. When I asked him why he said because I had used the word "resignation" rather than "early retirement". So I asked what difference that made to the end result and he said that he thought that in the private sector "resigning" meant you lost all you repatriation benefits (I have expat benefits) and also your pension!  What a crock of BS! I just looked at him and said "I wouldn't know what happens with people's repat benefits in the private sector but I find it hard to believe that someone would lose their pension rights because they resigned rather than retired. I mean, even the Swiss courts can't touch your pension fund. But in any case, aren't we lucky we work in the public sector"!

So I'm starting to smell a rat at this point but bloody hell, don't try to intimidate me - or baffle me with bullshit as we say - in an area that I spent the past 20 years working in!  The upshot is that he wanted me to change the word "resign" to "retire", but "of course if you resign, the big boss can't refuse you - but you know, you might lose your repatriation benefits and your pension, whereas if you retire you maintain your rights to your repat benefits and your pension but here the big boss could refuse your request to take early retirement"!!!! WTF. Is that the best crap you can come up with!

When I pointed out that our chief economist took early retirement and even the last Pope got to "retire" early, I couldn't see why a little old secretary like me leaving would pose a problem. In reply to that I got "work exigencies"!!!! Oh for Pete's sake. So I pointed out that I had verbally forewarned him in July that I wanted to leave, that I had given them the requisite three months' notice and that by Christmas my heavy workload would be over and done with until it started picking up again in March/April. Now in April I do have a piddly little meeting but I told him that just working with S - the main economist for this meeting - was enough to make me want to leave as he is a bully and a twat. Moreover I told him that it was inadmissible that S could make girls cry and have them refuse to work with him in future. He doesn't bother me because I will tell him where to shove it, but did he realize that S was harassing people, to which my director replied "I know". So bloody hell - eye roll here please - I said "you know he is harassing people and you do nothing about it! What does that make you look like"! At this point he nearly slid under the desk, but when he got up he asked me if I would "speak to S about it"!!!!! What the flip! To which I replied "you're the director, that's not my job"! Bloody hell, will someone please stop me from banging my head against the wall or even just shoot me to put me out of my misery!

Anyway, the moral of the above is don't try to intimidate someone who knows more about the subject than you do and especially don't try to BS a menopausal woman! I was fit to explode when I left his office so I told my supervisor that even if he came in and offered me full-time working from home he could shove it where the sun don't shine - intimidate me. That'll be the day!

On an only slightly related noted, remember my friend Ian who died suddenly in April - well I got the thumbs up from him on Wednesday night too! Seriously. I'm seemingly at the unfortunate stage in my life where I pretty much have to get up once a night to go to the loo. Well on Wednesday night (or more correctly, Thursday morning I suppose) I woke up around 3 a.m. because I needed to use the bathroom. So I leaned over and tapped my phone to see what time it was and saw that there was a message there.  A FB message of some kind but I needed my glasses to see who it was from. So I put the light on, dashed off to the bathroom, put my glasses on and picked up my phone - and it was a message from Ian!  I kid you not! I have no idea how that happened but I remember writing a message to him on FB which got "zapped" somehow. So I wrote him again and said "sorry, my message disappeared into cyberspace somehow" or words to that effect and Ian's thumb's up/smiley face emoji came back as the response AT 3 A.M. LAST THURSDAY MORNING. He was buried on 4 May!  Good grief. I suppose it somehow got caught up in some kind of time warp as I don't think anyone would be in his FB account so many months later or if so, why at 3 in the morning? But you know what, it was actually a real pleasure to get that message from him - weird of course - but a pleasure. I wasn't dreaming/drunk/drugged at all - I was wide awake and that message stayed on my phone for about a minute before it disappeared. Wow, I can't find it on FB messenger but I know I sent the incoming message to him. Anyway, my take on that is he was giving me the thumbs up for resigning (or should that be "retiring") because he took that leap of faith and left England with just his van and his tools in 2011 in order to escape the rat race. He loved his life in Bulgaria and had no intention of moving back to England. I'm sorry he didn't get to live that life longer but I'm so glad that he did indeed get to "live that life". So if you're "reading" this Ian, thanks for the encouragement mate!

Monday 1 October 2018

I did it!

I lobbed yet another grenade and handed in my resignation this afternoon due to "inflexibility" on the part of my director! He's not in today (but reads his emails) so I might be going up to bat tomorrow. Oh well, we'll see!

Delusional or just mad!

I know I shouldn't look on FB but sometimes I just do (and then usually wish I hadn't). My delusional/insane/demented ex just posted words to the effect of "crying a few tears while slagging a man off and ruining his reputation - she should be subject to the same grilling as him" (in respect of the Kavanaugh/Ford drama), and then getting to see all the "hoorah" comments from his half-wit "friends" makes my blood boil. I don't know who is telling the truth as I wasn't there but she comes over very well and I have personally been on the receiving end of men like that who think with their dicks. You know what they say about some men - "there's only enough blood in the male body to support one head, and the one above the shoulders rarely wins"! Kinda like the guy who once said to me as a young girl that if I wanted my contract renewed I should "know what to do"! Even then I had the presence of mind to say "yeah, go straight to Personnel" and his "little member" shriveled before my eyes! Yay me!

The most tempting thing to me was to scan a copy of the domestic violence judgement I have against my ex and post it on his timeline, but of course it's best not to rise to the bait! I don't know if he is delusional or is still telling himself that "it never happened" (it did, frequently, and I had the bruises and the court judgement to prove it). God help us all, is all I can say!

On a slightly more pleasant note, I finally got my new balcony railings and side gate put in while I was away. Sylvain, the young genius who did it for me, had warned me in advance that it would take ages as he had so much work (good for him). I'd say it's slightly OTT but I love it anyway, especially as I back on to a dairy farm, and if I do find it a bit "too much" I can actually unscrew and remove some of the animals. I sent a photo to my friend, "minimalist Steve", in England and asked if it was OTT, to which he responded "just a tad"! So now I know I got it right then!

More on Sicily tomorrow (I've just got to get my resignation letter in)!