The other night I watched the first episode of "Our Yorkshire Farm" on TV - a glimpse into the lives of the Yorkshire Shepherdess (Amanda Owen), her husband Clive and their nine children. What a treat that programme was! It was really, really refreshing to see such down-to-earth people living their physically hard but happy lives raising their "free-range" kids in such a happy home. They came over as so, so refreshing. This episode was filmed during the winter of the "Beast from the East" and you could only imagine how tough it must have been taking care of their animals in such physically demanding conditions. The Yorkshire Dales aren't easy to live in by anybody's standards but by golly, this was just incredible. What was so nice, though, was how they are raising such seemingly "salt of the earth" children. They all pitch in and all have their jobs but seeing them at Christmas opening what, to most of us, would appear rather small presents and enjoying them was a real treat. I also loved how Ruben (I think), the teenage mechanic in the family, showed his "shadow" (six year old brother, Sid), how to fix and mend and really took the time to look after and involve his little brother! I had read Amanda's book "The Yorkshire Shepherdess" and, to be honest, while it was an interesting read she really isn't a writer so it wasn't that great a book (in my opinion), but seeing them as a family in this documentary really was a treat and I look forward to seeing the rest of the series.
In other news, the protests of the "gilets jaunes" have now ended here in France, and not before time. "Gilets jaunes", or yellow jackets in English, was the name given to the nationwide protests throughout France against the increase in the price of diesel. Their first protest in my area was Opération Escargot (Operation Snail), where trucks went on a go-slow on the major arterial roads to bring traffic to a standstill. We always get clobbered as our little town is mid-way between the major cities of Geneva and Annecy so that was one day that I worked from home regardless of my director's opinion! Since then they have been blocking access to supermarkets, petrol stations and so on and while they blocked my local toll road "open" - i.e. nobody paid - they closed six of the eight toll booths so traffic was drip fed into those two (admittedly free) booths! Well not free for me actually, since I have a monthly contract and it will be debited from my account anyway. I have mixed feelings about these kinds of protests (and the French are very quick to strike/protest). On the one hand I understand the plight, particularly of the truckers, who will be having to pay more and more just to be able to work. On the other hand, as I said previously, it seems to me that they are always protesting/going on strike over something or other. Even if you gave me free tickets there is no way I would fly into or out of Paris over Easter - you just know someone will be on strike and your trip will be buggered!
And moving on, since I am now working 50% up until my retirement date I took a trip down to Cluses yesterday afternoon as I wanted to pop into the Yves Rocher shop (I love their stuff) and also to stop by my patchwork teacher for some tips about finishing a project. I wasn't going to sign up for more lessons this year as I knew I would miss the first few because of work, but it turns out that the lessons are late starting and will begin only on Tuesday 4 December so I have signed back up again. After that I will be retired anyway. We will be making a Kaffe Fassett mystery quilt, and since quilts are my favourite projects to work on, here I go again. It was sunny when I pulled into Cluses so I stopped to take a picture of the mountain ahead of me. Not that the photo does it any justice but it really did look so pretty.
On another note, and not related to anything, as I was waiting for some rice to boil last night I decided to use those few minutes to start pulling stuff out of the fridge in order to clean it. Hey, have they discovered penicillin yet? They have! Damn, I thought I was on to a good thing. I tell you, some of the stuff at the back of my fridge should be in the British Museum! Yuck!
Oh, and remember my trip to Sicily? Well while I was there I kinda palled up with a lady called Carol. Anyway, we ended up Facetiming each other the other night for a gossip, and all being well she will be coming out to visit me sometime after I retire. Nice eh!
And finally, jumping from one topic to another, I was talking to my son, the plumber, on Saturday night at our board game evening and he was telling me he really doesn't like his new job much. He said all he does is takes the front off boilers, checks them over and repairs anything that needs repairing, and puts it all back together again. On occasion he has noticed small plumbing jobs which he could easily do for the client but he is not allowed to! And even if he decided to break the rules and do them anyway, his firm have him on such short turnaround times that he wouldn't have the time in any case. So he has started looking at jobs which would get him back into real plumbing. I was telling him it would be good to think about trying to get the tools so he could go out on his own at the weekends - but as tools are really expensive that will have to wait for a while. If and when he does decide to work for himself, I told him he should get a van like this one - it is just my sense of humour (and his to be honest) and it would definitely get him noticed!
My stepson is a 2nd year plumber and has asked for tools for Christmas lol. He is working in new construction right now so is enjoying it as is getting to install all kinds of things. The economy in Alberta is not great though and a bunch of Journeymen from his work got laid off - they kept the 2nd and 3rd years on though as cheaper labour. Ah, so close to retirement - that "I don't give a damn" stage lolReplyDelete
In this region they are crying out for plumbers. My son said his company would take as many as they can get. The pay is pretty pitiful but that is what he is used to anyway - he could easily make 3-5 times his hourly rate working for himself. In fact, I want his former boss to take a look at my heating system as it needs replacing. Obviously Jordan will help him put the new system in and I said I will pay him separately. It will be like gold to him! As for retiring, I haven't quite got to the "I don't give a damn stage" because I have three more meetings to do but after that ....... who knows!Delete
You certainly look twice at that car! I hope your son does find an alternative job as he sounds very talented. Id love to have a go at quilting.ReplyDelete
Hi Tania, over here at least an unemployed plumber is an oxymoron. He can easily find a job. He was in a bit of a state when the Brexit vote happened (we didn't get to vote of course) as he thought he would be kicked out of France (his gf was crying even) but has calmed down now and looking for more interesting work. I guess he was afraid to look for other work in case the prospective employer decided to turn him down because of his passport. Anyway, he will find work easily. I would just like him to work for himself and triple his salary (we'll have to look into that I guess). And as for patchwork/quilting - have a go! I am seriously untalented. I don't say that out of a false sense of modesty, it's the truth, but when you are taught the techniques (and I have a very creative and talented teacher) you can bash out some semi-decent things. And in any case, imperfection is what makes it beautiful (isn't it!)Delete
Tell your son not to do the side jobs no matter how tempting. We have a similar policy at Home Depot and people get terminated. However, if he's planning on leaving his job, there's nothing wrong with making contacts.ReplyDelete
Hi Dave, and thanks for stopping by my blog. Oh he won't do the side jobs because (a) he usually doesn't have those kinds of tools and (b) he doesn't have the time - they don't even take into account travel time between jobs. He just said he feels bad having to tell someone to call a plumber when he could easily fix it. And as for contacts, I've already had loads of people ask about him since he is bilingual English/French and many internationals don't speak French. I told him be on time and courteous and you'll have more work than you can handle. The good ones always do. But we're not there yet - time to get the tools first I think!Delete
I loved The Yorkshire Shepherdess. It appealed to my desire to escape my work, though I know I wouldn’t cope with the work.ReplyDelete
I’ve been away from the blogosphere for a year, so have randomly picked this entry to start reading your blog from again. You’ll probably get a host of comments, if you wonder why I suddenly write so many comments.
I kinda admire how the French fight so much for their industrial rights. We go cap in hand here, asking for permission to strike. When the courts and govt say no, we doff our forehead and go back to work. And do soooo much unpaid overtime.
Welcome back Lucinda. And The Yorkshire Shepherdess does make you kinda dreamy doesn't she. BUT I know I couldn't cope with that workload!Delete