The other night I decided it was probably about time to turn my heating off. We've been having lovely weather and the heating kicking in first thing in the morning and last thing at night was becoming uncomfortable, so I decided to take the bull by the horns and get the instruction manual out for my new, state-of-the art heating system which was installed just last September. Crikey, that stuff is complicated - which only makes me take my hat off to my youngest son for being able to install and programme the bloody things! It took me a while because the computerized panel kept indicating that the heating was still working, even though I thought I'd turned it off. What was actually happening was the computer thingy showed that yes, it was indeed turned off, but it was still programmed to kick in in the event of the temperature dropping below freezing. I think my fear was trying to make sure it was still programmed to heat my water, so I kept switching from one programme to the other and getting totally confused. I'm pretty sure I've got it figured now though. Max had asked me to let him know what the fuel consumption was like since he had also switched my electric water heater over to the new fuel system. Well I'm pleased to say that it looks like I'm using the same, or maybe even a little less fuel than before, all while additionally heating my water with it rather than by electricity. So I guess Max was right then (he should be, he installed it). My fuel consumption is staying the same and my electricity bill should be all the way down since I am no longer heating 300 litres of water from 11 pm to 6 am. I'll take that!
I spent quite a few hours today potting up seeds and dragging my temporary greenhouses up from the basement to my back terrace. A couple of years ago I had placed the greenhouses along the side of my house in a lovely sunny spot, but what I hadn't thought of was when it's windy the wind howls round that corner and after finding my blossoming greenhouses thrown all over my driveway by the wind one time I kinda gave up after that. But this year I'm going to give them another try on my more sheltered back terrace. I didn't put any of my seedlings in there though as I still feel it might be a bit cold in the mornings for them, so they're still spending their nights in my living room for the time being. Between that and my sewing projects, plus all my books in my TV room I did think I might be starting to look like a hoarder at the moment, but hopefully the seedlings will go outside soon, I'm going to put away a bunch of fabric tomorrow and my books … well what can I say? They're not going anywhere in all honesty! Oh well, thankfully I live alone!
In the spirit of keeping in touch with friends I called an old neighbour up tonight from when we moved back to Switzerland from the States in 1989 and had a good long chat with her. She is Colombian and our kids were both two when we moved in, so we ended up just leaving our front doors open and letting the kids run back and forward between the houses to play together (and eat together pretty often). Like me she is divorced and now retired, and while I don't get to see her very often (she doesn't drive and it's a long drive for me) it was lovely to have a good long catch-up. She was saying that her little grandson tries to "cook" for her when she looks after him, and she laughed when I told her that when I was young - too young to get a Saturday job at least - I used to have my mom's lunch ready for her when she got home from work on a Saturday. I would guess that for 50 out of 52 weeks of the first year that I did that my poor old mom got my home-made cheese soufflé and salad, because that was the only thing I could make! The soufflé was pretty good even at that young age, but she must have got pretty fed up of it after a while!
And did anyone see Trump's meltdown at his last press briefing! Good Lord, it's not going to end well. I sat through the "video of justification of just how wonderful he is", with clips of different people saying how he'd "got everything right" about this pandemic, but when one of the reporters asked what he was doing about the pandemic during the month of February, which had been conveniently missed out of the video clip, he pretty much lost it. I mean, from standing over to the side all puffed up like a turkey cock during the video, to throwing all his toys out the pram when the reporter kept repeating her question it was actually embarrassing. As the figures can only get worse in the States before they get better I can see a full-blown public meltdown on the horizon. If it wasn't so serious it would be funny, but sadly it is so serious!
And talking of "consequences", I just read today that the Dutch threw away 140 million tulips this past month (their biggest earner) since they were not able to sell them during the pandemic. Damn! Something like €25 million worth! How sad, and just another indication of the dire economic consequences of this lockdown!
Again talking about consequences, I read in the local Geneva newspaper this morning that since the beginning of lockdown the French have refused re-entry into our region for 3,400 false frontaliers. A frontalier is someone who lives in France and crosses the border every day to Switzerland for work. The cost of renting or buying property in Geneva is horrendous. For instance my son and his wife pay SF 2,000 ($2,000) to rent a one-bedroomed apartment. My neighbours' son and his wife pay SF 3,000 to rent a two-bedroomed apartment, and to buy a small house you're looking at about a million. So many Swiss buy "secondary residences" in France and actually live in them full-time, while declaring an address in Switzerland as their permanent address. Of course since they "live in Switzerland" they have Swiss licence plates, so the French have been turning them back at the border in the evenings because the borders are closed to all non-residents. Practically speaking, taxes are lower in Switzerland, VAT is lower and inheritance taxes are much, much lower, hence these people don't want to "officially" live in France. So now, those that can't go home to their "secondary residences" in France after work in the evenings are stuck! So far they've had 50 requests to "regularize" their situation but, off the top of my head, that will involve paying around 12% import duty/VAT on their cars in order to import them into France, since the duty in Switzerland is 8% as compared to 20% in France, plus around triple that amount in fines. I don't know what the price of some fancy Mercedes or Audi is but I imagine that will sting. Then of course, if any of them inherited property in Switzerland the French would be looking to come after them for inheritance tax, and there would probably be a hefty fine from the tax man too. Part of the tax that is paid in Switzerland by French residents is passed back to the commune where that person resides to pay for schools and so on, so these people claiming to be non-residents have been getting away with murder for ages. Now the "haters" in Geneva (not all by any means) complain that the French come over the border and "steal our jobs" and the "haters" in France rant about the Swiss doing all this complaining while doing their grocery shopping in France and buying up the real estate, thereby pushing the prices up, so it's either a win-win or a lose-lose situation, depending which way you look at it. I know I would never have tried to get away with something like that because apart from the fact that it's just wrong, I even got antsy the very few times I belted up the bus lane because I was late for work. Either way, I suspect a few people have some stinking non-pandemic-induced headaches right now!