I got a lot done today and I love that feeling. I must be on a roll, I guess, but then again, the different classes I want to take in the autumn haven't started up yet so we'll see how long it lasts once I don't have so much free time! I spent another hour in the garden and cut back a buddleia tree pretty hard. It's lovely but starting to encroach on my driveway so better to cut it back while I still have the strength to cut those suckers as the branches grow really strong really quickly! So I took a trip out to Emmaus, the big charity store here, and then back to the recycling to dump some more stuff. There's a satisfying "thwack" when another load of stuff that isn't re-usable hits that bin don't you think! But, after having had one unfortunate experience, I finally learned that when you empty your grass clippings into the "mulch" bin, you don't have your car keys in your hand! Yep, I did that once, threw my car keys in with the grass and a very "nice" man who worked there had to climb in and get them for me! Yikes, how embarrassing! Funnily enough, turns out two of my neighbours did more or less the same "recycling/charity shop circuit" today, with us all ending up at Emmaus at the same time. I told 'em next time we should bring a picnic and a couple of deckchairs and have a little party! Oh, and I offered my ex' fishing gear to one of my neighbours and he jumped at it, so job done!
In other news, I read yesterday about a near-tragedy in Porthleven, Cornwall, where a young child was swept out to sea on his airbed. The RNLI were called out (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) and they had to scramble a helicopter, with a rescuer being dropped into the sea to rescue the child. Now the RNLI is a charity staffed by volunteers which, I believe, refuses Government funding because they want to retain complete control of the way they run things. They are a wonderful institution! Anyway, a few days after the rescue, the child's parents sent the RNLI a bill for £7 because they hadn't brought the kid's airbed back!!! One of the rescuers said "if they feel like sending us the £7,000 to cover the cost of scrambling the chopper we'll send 'em the £7!" Funnily enough, I remember some years ago a case where firefighters rescued a young child from a burning building and one of the parents gave them some "lip" because they had torn his coat! Can you believe the nerve of some people!
Also in the news quite a bit lately are stories of older women (usually) getting taken to the cleaners by "dashing suitors" they meet over the internet. We all know the stories, and people inevitably comment what idiots these women are. Well maybe, but my feeling is that these scammers are very good at what they do and prey on vulnerable people. Just as an example, about eight years ago I met a young Nigerian lad who was studying here in Geneva at the American University. I can't remember how we met (maybe since I worked with these schools as part of my job), but it definitely wasn't over the internet - I'm pretty sure I wasn't looking for "romance" with a 25 year old Nigerian!!! Anyway, I actually knew him and once gave him a ride back to the uni since it was on my way home. A couple of times we had a coffee while I was hanging around waiting for someone and I also went to his graduation ceremony as he had no-one from his family who could be there for him. Anyway, he "fell in love with me" (yeah, right, I know - don't laugh). I was 51 at the time and my oldest was the same age as him. Now, I'm not daft and wasn't the slightest bit interested in a Nigerian toy boy, but he became very persistent. And I mean, really persistent! He started calling me up, telling me he loved me, he told a couple of students in front of me that he intended to marry me! Oh boy! In the end I got fed up of his whitterings and told him point blank to sod off and maaan did that little viper turn! He went back to Nigeria after he got his degree and a couple of months later I got this "panicked" call from him at work saying that his dad had thrown him out and he had nowhere to go and nothing to eat. Now, my Nigerian friend, Stan - remember him, the café owner - told me that was a crock of sh*t and that you would never be allowed to starve to death in Nigeria. Although, to be honest, I didn't need Stan to tell me that! But he kept pestering me, I had to marry him because he was in love blah, blah, blah and in the end he asked me for 5,000 Swiss francs (that's $5,000) to "tide him over". At which point I told him I had two words for him and the second one was "off"! But my point is, he was very persistent and after months of pestering someone vulnerable over the internet, I can kinda understand how these ladies can get taken in! Played for a sucker and then humiliated! I should have asked him if his uncle had $3 million he needed me to place in my foreign bank account!
Anyway, on another note, a woman I worked with and quite liked retired about eight years ago and went back to live in Cornwall with her American husband, G. G was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago and has been going backwards and forwards with treatment for ages. I only met G a couple of times so don't claim to know him at all but from what I have seen on FB he has borne his "up and down" treatment with amazing grace and humour. I don't keep in touch with them but today I spotted a post on FB where he said he was being "chauffeur-driven" (i.e. pushed by a hospital porter) in his wheelchair down an empty hospital corridor having completed his final radiotherapy! On the way out he passed "the bell" that patients get to ring when they have had their final treatment, so G asked his "chauffeur" to stop and allow him to ring the bell three times in the empty corridor - at which point a bunch of doctors, nurses and technicians who were in nearby offices cames out and they all clapped! How lovely! Well done G, you've been very brave!
And finally, I stopped in at the whole foods shop yesterday as I really fancied some good quality, wholegrain sliced bread. When I got there they only had one loaf left so I took that, but it was so heavy and didn't look that appetising. Anyway, this morning I thought I'd have a couple of slices for breakfast but when I went to slice it it was - how do you put this - well, it felt like trying to cut soft soap with goat's droppings in it (sorry for the visual, but I couldn't think of a better way of describing it)! Moreover, the taste was beeerrrrkkkkk so I threw it out for the birds. But then I had a thought, so I fished the plastic wrap (yeah, plastic wrap at the organic store) out of the bin and saw that I should have put it in the oven for XXX minutes at 180°! Crikey, no wonder it tasted bloody awful! Actually, I think I saw a couple of magpies with very poorly tummies flying past my back window just now (they're probably intending to leave a little "gift" on my car), although judging by some of their offerings lately I can only thank the good Lord that cows can't fly!