It's been a funny ol' couple of days I have to admit, but the best news is that I just received a message from Steve to say that he came out of hospital last night after over four weeks in isolation following his bone marrow transplant! Way to go mate! I posted about him not being quite his normal self when I was staying with him in August last year - with it turning out that shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with cancer. So he immediately started chemo and various other treatments with a view to having a bone marrow transplant "as and when". Well he went in to hospital just over a month ago, spent the entire time after the transplant in isolation in Liverpool Hospital and is now home! I'm so, so pleased for him. Other than being incredibly tired (and bald) he is doing really well. And yet again, I say thank God for the NHS because after all that treatment (and continuing check-ups) he walked out of there with not a single bill to pay. Socialized medicine at its best!
In other news, I have finally decided to go ahead and begin the paperwork to request French citizenship. It will take at least two years from when I submit the paperwork but knowing that most of this paperwork will be necessary for me to get a French resident's permit after Brexit anyway (if it ever happens - I still hope not), I may as well go ahead and request citizenship. So with that in mind, I drew up a list of all the paperwork they will need, which isn't particularly onerous if, like me, you are administratively minded anyway. So today I called the notary's office to ask for an attestation from them to the effect that I own my own home here in Haute Savoie. I just have to take a few papers down to them tomorrow and they will begin the "search" to prove that I am still the registered owner of my home and I should get my attestation in a couple of weeks. Then I was faffing about online as I needed a copy of my parents' birth certificates, their marriage certificate and my own birth certificate, but the kicker here is that while I know all the relevant dates, what the official search engine in the U.K. needs to find the appropriate references is not the dates of those events but when they were registered! Crikey! For instance, I know my mom was born 5 October 1921 but they don't want that to find the reference number, they need the date her birth was registered!!! It's pretty funny actually because she was Welsh and her maiden name was Jones, and if you ever look at the names of the Welsh rugby team you will see that 75 per cent of the team are called Jones - so it should be a doddle to find her reference (not!) - especially given that her mother's maiden name was Williams (see the remaining 25 per cent of the Welsh rugby team)! Anyway, I found a "Gwladys M. T, née Jones" registered in the right quarter in a small town called Llanrwst, so I'm hoping and praying I got the right one. Dad was easier as his mom's maiden name was more unusual, so with a bit of luck all that paperwork is winging its way to me as I speak. The good news though is that for a small extra fee the UK authorities offer to provide that paperwork in a multilingual format (I had to specify "French") so hopefully that will mean that I won't have to go to the trouble of having it re-translated by a recognized French translator. We'll see I suppose! And like I say, I'm doing it a bit at a time so I'm not exactly stressing about it! It's weird though because had I chosen to request U.S. citizenship "in the day" when I was living in the U.S., it wouldn't have taken one-tenth of the work that French citizenship will. I didn't do it because at the time I would have had to give up my British citizenship and there was no way I was doing that. The U.S. changed the rules on that shortly thereafter and began recognizing dual citizenship, hence my boys have both U.S. and U.K. passports!
And talking of "Jones", I heard from my sister last night that my mom's last remaining sibling died yesterday in North Wales. My sister must have had some kind of premonition because she and her husband went up there on Tuesday to see our aunt, only for her to die yesterday as they were on their way back. So that's the last of my family on the "Jones" side - all gone now!
In other news, I got a call from my youngest and his wife on Tuesday to say that they had been to see an apartment in a place called St. Jeoire, had put in an offer on it, which had been accepted, and they were hoping to go ahead with the purchase when they got the final approval from the bank - but they have been told it will go through. I'm so excited for them. They've both knuckled down and worked hard so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for them that they are, indeed, able to get on this first step of the ladder!
On the home front, I'm slowly learning that it's ok if something doesn't get done today because, you know what, there's always tomorrow! And that is a really nice feeling. That being said, I'm trying to get myself into a routine of getting in some exercise, something done in the house, a little sewing and some gardening done every day just to keep things ticking over - and so far it seems to be working! To that end on Monday I spent four hours pressure spraying my front and back terrace to get the winter's crud off and boy was it hard work. It was also quite windy so as I was spraying the moss and crap loose the wind was blowing it back in my face and I ended up looking like I had a beard!! Talk about cruddy! So with all the aches and pains that came with that I was really looking forward to my Tuesday afternoon yoga lesson to iron all those creaks out. Except I got a message from my friend asking if he could come over and buy me lunch! Say what? We split up about four years ago (it was my decision, I just felt we weren't going anywhere), but have remained friends all the same. But he hasn't been to my place in four years so I'm wondering what's going on. Anyway, we went to the one and only restaurant in the village for lunch and had a great time! He was saying how much he loved where I live, how calm it is and so on and then we came back to my place and spent another four or five hours chatting away and it was really nice! I have no idea what was going on there but I guess it doesn't really matter either does it! We will always be friends and he will always be welcome here - it's just that I'm curious as to why now? Why come over after four years? Oh well! Then yesterday I was determined to drive in to work to use the gym as I really needed some kind of exercise, having missed out on the yoga. I bumped into a few colleagues and every one of them said how well I looked - "younger" was the most common term! Now I don't know about "younger" but I guess more rested could have something to do with it. It hit home to me last night, though, as my nephew sent me a message to ask if I knew that mom's sister had died and after a bit of a chat he said he was going to go to bed!!! What!!!! It was 9.30 pm in the UK!!!! When I told him I never went to bed before 12.30 - 1 a.m. he couldn't believe it. But, even when I was working I would only go to bed around 12.30 a.m. as I felt that if I went any earlier I really didn't have a life, what with getting home so late! And it's true! I didn't! So maybe I do look more rested now that I'm still going to bed at the same time but not getting up until I darn well feel like it. I guess sleep really is the big healer isn't it!
Then after using the work's gym I met up again with my friend for a drink and also with a couple of other colleagues who go way back to when I first came to Geneva in 1980. We had such a laugh reminiscing! It was really great!
And talking of exercise, I went to the market this morning and then on to the supermarket. From there I always take a small back road back home instead of going through town. Now I don't know what made me do it but I saw a woman parking up in a rather remote spot and getting out of her car with her hiking gear. So I screeched in next to her leaving her covered in a cloud of dust from my tyres (for which I apologized) and asked if she could recommend any good hiking trails in the area as she would seem to be "in the know"! Well I got talking to her and she told me she was off to join her hiking group to hike up "le Grand Môle" and I might want to join them next Thursday. Turns out this was the lady I had once called about the Thursday afternoon walking group but didn't join up in the end as I didn't want to have too many commitments! How odd! I actually asked if her name was Christiane and when she said yes we knew we had already talked on the phone. I guess that's God's way of saying "so what's your excuse now"?, although to be honest, once the hot weather hits the thought of hiking in the mid-day sun could be as good an excuse as any!
And I see that the Jeremy Kyle show has been definitively cancelled! Good, is all I can say! For those that don't know it, it's a kinda U.K. version of the Jerry Springer show. Bear-baiting to all intents and purposes, where the "participants" usually have a grand total of 56 tattoos and four teeth between them! It is (was) absolute crap and I, for one, am glad it has been canned. Then again, if they canned all the "Real Housewives of XXX", "Keeping up with the XXXX", "Don't be tardy" crap I think the world would be a better place, to be honest. Yeah I know, we don't need censorship since we all have an on/off switch on our TVs, and to be honest the only one I have ever seen in any detail was the Kyle show anyway, but honestly, it's no loss. I'm sorry for the guy who committed suicide but I can't help believing these people know what they are getting into and in any case the show really is simply scripted bear-baiting! OK, rant over!
Anyway, on that note, I shall probably not post for a few days. I'm off to Turin (again) on Saturday for our annual day trip to the market. I hear the weather isn't supposed to be great but that doesn't really matter. Then on Sunday they have the annual fabric fair here in town so it could be a "spendy" weekend. Oh well. Onwards and upwards, as they say!