The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Thursday 29 October 2020

And here we go again!

As we suspected would happen, President Macron confirmed a new, initial, four-week lockdown starting tomorrow. From what we know so far it will be pretty similar to the previous one. We will, yet again, need a time-stamped attestation to go out; exercising allowed for only one hour a day, one time, and within 1 km of our homes (good job I went walking yesterday then); and going out for "essentials" only, although what is now considered "essential" will apparently be defined today by the Prime Minister. The difference so far this time around is that schools will remain open and people in most (essential?) industries will be allowed to continue to work. Poor André has to cross the border tomorrow to sign his divorce paperwork, and then in the afternoon he has an appointment in France at the bank. I'm assuming the court case to sign his divorce would be considered an "essential" activity, but who knows about the bank appointment. Problem is, he still has Swiss plates on his car so will almost certainly get stopped both at the border and running around here in France while trying to get his paperwork in order (which will allow him to change his plates). So I guess he should expect a bit of "hassle" in the coming days!

That being said, when he moved back into France we put my address down as his temporary home, even though he has been staying at his brother's these past few months. To me it made more sense to put my address because he spent over 20 years living in this village and they know him at the Mairie, and also because should important paperwork be delivered for the divorce or his moving into France I would be at home to receive it. So as from tonight guess who's moving in with me again - yep, André! That's no problem of course but it will be weird having someone live here again as I've lived on my own for over 10 years now. There will be pluses and minuses re cooking. I have missed having someone to cook for but then it's been nice being able to just throw any old thing together when I haven't felt like cooking, so we'll see how that goes. It will also be pretty "full on" as he will be working from home full-time until further notice so we'll either get pleasantly reacquainted or have each other by the throat by this time next week. I'll let you know, but if you don't hear from me between now and then it will be determined to have been the latter! So with that said, I'm off to see if I can find where I threw my bra the day after I retired! Speak soon, and stay safe - it's getting nasty out there!

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Bad lip reading!

So now it looks like we might be heading back into a total lockdown. I can't say I'm surprised but we should find out tonight when the President speaks to the nation. I was at one of our local markets this morning when I saw the Maire of the commune where we have our sewing club and he was telling me that rumour has it that that's what's coming our way (again)! Not that it will bother me too much if it does happen, but then I know how lucky I am given my personal situation. I was in the local tobacconist's and two employees were having a back-and-forth about how "if a new lockdown hits this Saturday will she get paid for Saturday as it's her day off?" One was saying yes and the other was saying no - and I couldn't help but hear the distress in their voices. When you maybe aren't in a great financial position to begin with it has got to be so stressful! Tonight we have the AGM of the Amancy Leisure Associations and I have to go as the sewing club rep. I think the meeting will be short and sweet, with everyone handing over their club's accounts and, hopefully, the commune handing out the annual subsidies that they very generously give each club (in addition to making the venue available free of charge)!

When I woke up yesterday morning I saw that I had managed to sleep almost nine hours without a break! Crikey, I knew I slept well but nine hours is a lot even for me! I've pretty much always been able to just roll over and go back to sleep - as have my kids! In fact, I never met any other family where mom and dad had to go up and wake the kids on Christmas morning because they obviously preferred their beds to anything Santa might have left downstairs! I tell ya, if sleeping were to become an olympic event, we've got Team GB right there! So thinking that I really should make an effort to get something done I decided to pressure spray my terrace to get all the accumulated muck off it before the really cold weather sets in. I don't mind doing this at all, but it's quite a faff getting the hose and the pressure sprayer all untangled. Then by the time I've done the whole terrace I realize I'm starting to get very wet, so it's a good job it only takes me around an hour all told to get it done, as by that time I'm just about ready to strip off and take a hot shower to stave off the frostbite!

Earlier this week my niece posted photos on FB of what I suspect is their half-term break down in Cornwall and my how those photos brought back memories. They were in Tintagel and had taken the walk up to King Arthur's castle. What really drew my eye though was the most amazing sculpture of King Arthur. I never know how people can have the talent to create such works of art since I don't have a creative bone in my body, but I just love that sculpture. The bridge and the walkway weren't there either when I was last there (I was 15, I think) so we had to climb up and down the cliffs to Merlin's cave rather than take the "lazy way" round!

King Arthur, with his sword, Excalibur!
I just love this sculpture!

I couldn't resist including here these photos of André, when he had just turned seven, being picked by Merlin in Disneyland as "the only person with the magic to withdraw Excalibur from the magic stone"!

Tintagel, Cornwall!

If King Arthur actually existed it was towards the end of the 5th century/early 6th century. The castle referred to as "King Arthur's castle" was built in Tintagel in 1233, so not King Arthur's castle at all, but apparently the traditional seat for a royal castle in Cornwall!

"King Arthur's Castle"!

Merlin's cave!

In other news, with my yoga and pilates classes already cancelled until further notice and the gym also closed down - plus a potential new lockdown on the horizon and another storm looming - I decided to get back to walking for a while as there doesn't seem to be an alternative form of exercise available right now. So I took another trip down to the lake at Passy and managed to get my walk in before the storm hit!

The "sunny" end of the lake!

The storm about to roll in!

On the way home!

Saint Laurent - the next village to mine!


Getting back to the news, I've been picking up the US election news off Youtube lately in order to get just the highlights, rather than the whole caboodle, and I've been watching Obama campaigning for Joe Biden in Florida and man is he good! Like him or hate him, the guy's an orator, and he seems to be having so much fun laying into Trump as the two obviously hate each other! After I'd watched some of his speech, the next clip to come up was from a site called "Bad Lip Reading" and it is hilarious. One of the dubbed clips I watched was of Trump's inauguration and you get to hear what they were "really" saying (not)! Probably what they were really thinking more like, but those clips are funny. I didn't bother posting it here because it's easy enough to look up, but then I got side-tracked watching clips of Mock the Week and in the clip below you can see the talented British comedian, Hugh Dennis, doing a voiceover of world leaders at the G20 showing, perhaps, "what they were really thinking"! 

Monday 26 October 2020

A few visuals!

A few years ago I used to follow CNN for US news until I realized I was getting sick of reading about the news all the time in whatever country so I stopped. I also stopped reading a few UK sites also as I think I was beginning to overdose. For the period of the US elections though I've gone back to watching CNN although yet again I'll be glad when "I can stop" (as if I couldn't stop any time I want right)? But the other night the CNN weather report was on and I realized they were showing a picture taken from near where I used to work looking out over Lake Geneva towards where I live - and of course it was a beautiful picture. I couldn't find the exact picture but this one is pretty much on spot. While I don't live in the fancy homes right on the lake obviously, it was fun to see "my home" on TV all the same!

My home is off to the right, in front of the lower mountain!
Sadly I couldn't find where to attribute it!

By this time I guess we've all seen the reaction to Mike Pence's continuing to campaign even though at least five of his closest staff have tested positive for the coronavirus and despite the fact that he, himself, is the head of the Coronavirus Task Force! What can I say, they aren't even pretending they care any more are they! I guess I really have been overdosing on CNN though because last night as he was arriving in North Carolina for another rally it was raining and he started running as he got off the plane. Me being weird my only thought was ...

... oh, they look like Del Boy and Rodney (from Only Fools and Horses)! Time to turn the TV off I guess!

And finally, I saw this yesterday and since I'm gullible I thought I'd give it a try. Nothing happened the first time, but I definitely saw it the second time. Let me know what you see!

Sunday 25 October 2020

Very efficient!

I've just taken a look at my walking tally for 2020 so far (I'm keeping track of my km in excel and then occasionally check how many miles that works out at) and would you believe that despite a strict lockdown where I didn't go out walking even once, I've almost reached my "1,000 miles in 2020 target"! Yay me! In truth, I know it's not that much of an achievement because I should be capable of so much more, but I decided to keep logging anyway and I reckon I will get there in a couple of weeks! You can "self-certify" on the website, after which they will send you a medal and a certificate and you know what, I think I'm going to do it! I think I'll put that certificate on my bedroom wall next to my 25 yards breaststroke certificate, just above the cycling proficiency I got at school when I was seven! Or maybe not, I'll have to give some thought to the aesthetics of it first I guess. While I'm disappointed they weren't all "boots on" miles (i.e. deliberate mileage), seeing my mileage increase has indeed pushed me to walk when I wouldn't otherwise have done so. Not that I ought to be bragging about that though because today was beautiful and I should have been out there walking but chose to work in my garden and get my Hallowe'en decorations up instead! Hopefully next year will be 1,000 boots on miles (yeah, I'm going to sign up again). Some people have been just amazing actually and are really logging wonderful achievements, but the only rule is that there are no rules. If you want to aim for 500 miles, or 500 km or even just 100 it's up to you, but I have to say what a lovely FB group it has proved to be. I see some of them are signing up for 2,021 miles in 2021 but until I get my bionic legs charged up I think I'll give that a miss for now!

Taken from the home page of the "Walk 1,000 Miles" website

Stephen Fry: "Walk1000miles is an idea without flaw ...,
and you might find it brings 1,000 other benefits too!"

"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right!" 
Henry Ford

The French finally got the website up and running on Monday for we Brits to request our residency permits and I have to say after many jarred nerves things seem to be working out ok for most of us. There are still a few people in very particular circumstances who don't seem to be able to find answers to their status questions, but on the whole the French site has been very informative, the British Embassy in Paris have done sterling work, and within 10 minutes I'd got my request sent off and received back my confirmation ID that shows I have done the necessary. I actually only provided them with three pieces of paper so I'm expecting the dossier will be forwarded to Annecy who will then want to see proof of income and proof of medical insurance, but all in all it really has worked well. André is in a different position to Jordan and I in that he only moved back into France in July (the 20+ years he lived in France previously don't count), but once I'd provided him with a copy of my passport (as the justification for why he came here as a minor), he sent off his request tonight and within 15 minutes had also gotten his ID number/confirmation. Dixit André: "if all admin in France is like this it's gonna be great"! I told him that was a big item to tick off his "to do" list and that he could now begin to think about looking for a place of his own to buy. He's pretty stoked about it and is going to take a few days off at the beginning of November to get caught up with the rest of his admin. I told him I was looking forward to going apartment hunting (and then furniture shopping) with him and spending his money - and it's true, I am. Oh, he'll have to make do with a lot of second-hand stuff to begin with but I know that at the large charity shop up the road from here, while there's a lot of tat, you can also find some great buys too!

Finally I actually saw in the British news this week an item about a yodelling competition in the Swiss canton of Schwyz which has been blamed for a huge spike in covid cases in the canton. While there haven't been any deaths (thankfully), I have to admit the visual of a yodelling competition being a superspreader event is quite mind-boggling isn't it. I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere, but I bet you never thought you'd hear the words "yodelling competition" and "superspreader event" in the same sentence did you?

Yodelling competition in Schwyz!

Friday 23 October 2020

Well that was weird!

I guess like most places the world over, we're just now getting hit with the second wave of the pandemic. Last week the government imposed a curfew on Paris and eight other major cities and now, as from midnight tonight, it's also being imposed in Haute Savoie. Well actually in another 38 départements (states/counties) affecting 46 million people. As from tonight, and for the next six weeks, there will be a curfew from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. with fines starting at €135 for anyone caught outside during that period without the appropriate exemptions. I already received a message from my gym saying that they have been obliged to close down for the duration (again) and I just feel so sorry for them. They're a new gym that was set up by a group of young people so they're getting hit hard - as are restaurants, bars and pubs etc. If I think I've had enough of bloody covid I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it is for so many others! In fact my neighbour came round for a coffee yesterday and burst into tears. I think that's more to do with her marital situation than anything, but I can't imagine being confined with someone you so obviously detest makes matters any better. I've said it before, but damn I'm glad I'm going through this on my own!

My friend arrived back from a month in Spain on Sunday, and I reckon it's just as well she came when she did because who knows what's going to happen in the upcoming weeks re borders and so on. She and her sister bought a house in southern Spain so that her sister can take up residence there before 31st December. It was an 18 hour drive back for her and I bet she was feeling the cold when she arrived here as it's turned rotten again. Oh the leaves are just stunning but I haven't been able to get any decent shots of the mountains because it's pouring so hard. It was interesting to hear her saying how cheap Spain is (that's why so many Brits move out there - well that and the weather of course) and how you could have an excellent set menu in a restaurant for €5!! And here's André saying how cheap France is because he eats his lunch most days in the restaurant near Jordan's place for €10! I guess that's because he lived the last 10 years in Geneva of course. Then again, Spanish prices reflect Spanish wages also, and not everyone is lucky enough to have a Swiss salary or pension!

In other news, on Wednesday I went out to lunch with Jen's mom and she took me to a relatively new vegan restaurant just 10 minutes up the road from here that served the most fabulous food. They seem to be "all in" with the vegan lifestyle, giving yoga and pilates classes, as well as courses on meditation. I'm thrilled to discover this place because they will also be doing vegan cookery classes come January and it's something I've wanted to get into for a long time. They have vegan restaurants and cookery classes in Geneva of course but then again you're looking at Swiss prices, and the longer I'm away from Geneva the more it's brought home to me how truly expensive it is!

When I stopped in at Jordan and Jen's the other day I saw that she already had a kind of baby walker/baby seat with wheels in the living room. She said she'd been to a local vide grenier which was specifically aimed at selling children's clothes and equipment and picked it up for a couple of euros. There are some things she wouldn't dream of buying second-hand but I'm so glad she's not precious about it and is happy to buy "gently used". Heck, my kids pretty much grew up in hand-me-downs (as did I, having two older sisters) as most of my friends had older sons and I see nothing wrong with it. At least that way they were free to play and get dirty and nobody cared that much!

I had my car at Ford this week too as I wanted to get my snow tyres put on before the inevitable rush when it has already started snowing and everyone gets "taken by surprise". I also had it serviced and the bloody bill came to over €800 (ouch - but that did include new tyres). Crikey, it's a good job I budget for this stuff. While I was there Thiery told me that next spring would be another "ouch" moment as although I don't have the km on my car it will be 10 years old and I will need to get the courroie de distribution changed. Thiery speaks pretty good English and he thought that was called "the timing belt" in English but wasn't sure. Either way, if it goes you can pretty much kiss your car goodbye as (apparently) the pistons will destroy the engine, so there's that to look forward to come the new year!

Since I haven't had much excitement in my life recently I decided to live dangerously and try out the new minibus service that has been set up in the local villages. The "L" bus goes from our village to right outside the Ford garage in town and only costs €1.50. Trouble is it seems to visit just about every little hamlet round here before getting anywhere near town, so although it was cheap it was a bone-shaking 45-minute trip back up home. And I mean bone-shaking. I actually realized that 18 months ago I was all over bumpy little roads in Sri Lanka in a comfortable minibus and here I was having my teeth half rattled out of my head back in France! On the way back to town to pick my car up I thought I would try out the app that goes with this bus service but what a palaver that was. Download the app, put a bus ticket in your cart, input your bank card to pay for it, then take your photo and when you see the bus approaching scan the barcode. But oh my word, what a bloody photo! I reckoned once the driver saw that picture he wouldn't let me on the bus. Talk about looking like a battle axe! Still, I figured it out eventually, managed to scan the barcode on the front of the bus and I was all set for another 25 minute bone-rattling ride!

My photo looked something like this!

In other news, did anyone else see the recent comment by the Pope where he stated that he "supports same sex civil unions"? Wow! I know as the Pope he can only do/say so much but apparently this Pope has long voiced his support for same sex civil unions - not marriages of course - but I was very pleased to hear him say this publicly all the same!

And finally, I was getting ready to go into Geneva today to have lunch with some friends when my phone rang. When I answered (I don't always, I usually let it go to the answering machine if I don't recognize the number) the lady called me by my married name, so I knew it was someone who didn't actually know me. So then she asked me if I was Spanish "because you spell your name with 'll' at the end, and 'll' is very common in Spanish???? Say what? I figured she was just making chitchat before moving on to trying to sell me something but nope, that was it. She must have seen my name in the telephone directory and decided to call me and ask if I was Spanish because of the 'll'! So I explained that that was my ex-husband's name and he is American, and in any case I had gone back to my maiden name many years ago. And that was it! She apologized for bothering me and hung up. What was that all about do you think? The odd thing is, my maiden name has "ll" at the end of it too but nope, it still doesn't make me Spanish!

Monday 19 October 2020

Just lovely!

When Jen and I got back from IKEA on Friday Max was still at my place working on the heating system. He reckoned he had finally got it all figured and explained to me that there was a clapet de non-retour in there that had no place being there. Yeah, that's what I was thinking too! The closest I can get to it in English is a non-return valve? (I'm sure Dave will correct me), but once that was removed it now seems that my heating is up and running smoothly again. He also agreed that it was better to let the heating system run continually for most of the day on a low temperature rather than have it set on a timer as the system would have to work harder to get the room temperatures back up after continually stopping and starting. So that's where I'm at, although he still needs to get his supplier out to look at the water heater. And talking of water, I asked what the water was all over the basement floor and he explained that he had purged a few litres of water into a bucket and when he picked it up the handle had broken off, so all in all I guess he was having another bad day at my place! The water in the basement is no big deal as it's a stone floor and it dries easily, but I sense Max will be glad to see the back of me at some point (as I will him, of course)!

It's weird though because as time goes by I'm picking up more and more technical words/phrases in French that I have no idea how to translate back into English because I never had my own home in England. My dad used to roll his eyes when we were all together because my sister has lived in Denmark for over 40 years and comes out with things that sound like "hurdy, gurdy, wurdy", and then I get stuck on a French word and he would say "does anyone speak English round here anymore?" and we'd just laugh. It's even weirder because my mom's first language was Welsh so I'm sure he'd crossed that bridge more than once right?

Today is the first day that the online application for resident's permits is up and running, and taking a quick look at it, assuming the site doesn't crash, it doesn't look too onerous. André will have to provide a few more papers than Jordan or I because although he lived in France for 21 years, he had been living in Switzerland for the past 10 years so will be treated as a "new resident" I guess. Still, he should be able to provide everything pretty easily too!

In other news, the kids had told me to reserve 18 October for a birthday surprise. It turns out they were taking me and Jen's mom to the hot springs in St. Gervais for the afternoon! These are true hot springs that have been used for therapeutic purposes for many, many years and there is a slight odour of sulphur when you first walk in, but that soon abates. The springs are right at the foot of the Mont Blanc and with the weather being cold but gorgeous it was the perfect day to go. When we got there Jen told us that she'd booked us all massages (say what?), so she went off first for a "pregnancy massage" and then her mom and I were taken to another room for a joint massage session. We had the option to insist on individual rooms but we both just said "what the hell" and went in together, although I have to admit it's a bit weird to be getting semi-naked with a woman I hardly know but hey, what can I say. So we got to have a lovely massage also, and then André and Jordan went in for theirs. We spent about four hours there all together and I have to admit it was great to spend time with my kids again. I had forgotten how funny they can be and how they really spar off each other. A very helpful older employee was explaining to the group in front of us that they should take note of the number on the dressing gowns they had been provided with in order not to mix them up. When I said that we didn't have a number on ours he explained that we had been given grey gowns because that meant we were getting a spa treatment also! So André does this routine about "move over there if you don't mind, grey dressing gowns coming through" and we just doubled up laughing. The only "down" side was that I washed my hair in the shower before we left and only then found out that we weren't allowed to use the hair dryers because we couldn't be blowing hot moist air around. They had also closed down the Turkish baths for the same reason, but everything else was open to us. So I left there with wet hair thinking "damn I'm going to get sick tonight" but it was fine in the end. As we were heading back towards home, Jen told André to "park up over there" and that was when we found out that we were also going out for dinner. Now pretty much the only restaurants open on a Sunday in France will be the "immigrant" restaurants, so the Chinese or the Indians, and that's where we ended up, having wonderful Indian food and all paid for by my kids! What a great way to spend a (belated) birthday!

You can just about make out the Aravis mountain
chain from the parking lot!

The hot springs at St. Gervais

That's not my picture but the little "gypsy caravan" barrels
are saunas for up to six people!

The Indian restaurant!

This morning I contacted the Mairie in Amancy regarding our sewing club and the new covid restrictions that have been reintroduced in order to try to contain the upspike. All things being equal we can still continue to meet, but masks will be mandatory everywhere, with the limit of six people being allowed to meet up at any one time only applying to outdoor events. But as soon as I'd got off the phone with them I received an email notification from the gym I signed up at to say that Ben (my trainer) has tested positive for covid19 and that they would be closing down until 26th October! Looking back at my dates, the last time I actually saw him at the gym was 12 days ago (when I just said hallo) so I will stay away from anyone until this Wednesday as that will complete my 14 days of no contact with him. I'm really glad I didn't find this out yesterday though before setting off to St. Gervais. I don't have any symptoms anyway so I'm sure everything is fine, but I hope he's ok, and in any case I will give sewing club a miss tonight also, for obvious reasons!

Thursday 15 October 2020


Would you believe it was 7°C (44°F) today and windy and I've been without heating since Saturday! I know, that's what I was thinking! I know Max's company is flat out (Jordan's been working weekends) but thankfully he sent me a message yesterday to say he was on his way over to have another look at it and he still couldn't figure it out! I've been solving the problem by meditating and drawing on that British stiff upper lip (nah, not really, it's called loads of layers and keep moving)! For the most part I can deal with it because I have a couple of small electric heaters and I only need to put a few layers on and embark on getting stuff done to keep warm, but I must admit it's "nippy" (to say the least) in the mornings. Well after yet more cussing Max ended up face down inside the bowels of the "mechanical bits" of the central heating/hot water system and suddenly I realized the radiators were coming on. I called down to the basement to tell him and he said that couldn't be right, but when I confirmed to him that they were, indeed, heating up he figured that somehow the water heater pump had been hooked up to the central heating pump and the fact that he had turned the water heater off on Saturday because of the leak was what had caused the central heating to stop working! So he has to come back and redo that and bring the supplier back with him to sort out the leak in the water heating system. I also need them to look at the timing programme because while I had heat from 6 a.m. this morning until around about 9 a.m., it didn't come back on again until 6 p.m. and went off again around 8 p.m. so I think they really have to reset the whole bloody thing back to the manufacturer's settings and start again. In the end I thought "sod it" and for the first time in 10 years I lit a fire in my fireplace and have had that roaring away for the past three hours. I checked online first about the "no more open fireplace edict" (I'm still waiting for the quote to get the cassette insert for the fireplace), but it seems that we are no longer allowed to use open fireplaces as "our primary source of heat", and since my fireplace isn't my primary source of heat (hardly, right, if I haven't used it for 10 years), I got a rather nice fire going this evening and very pretty it was too. All I was missing was a couple of bottles of wine and some good company!

Today I had my pilates class in the morning and I have to admit that it is probably my least favourite class, although I do get what it's trying to achieve. Finally, after four weeks of consistent attendance at my various classes, I'm starting to enjoy them more - or "get the point" of it all I guess. I know myself well enough that it usually takes about three weeks of "oh bloody hell, I really don't want to do this" before I get to this point and begin enjoying it and, hopefully, seeing some progress. I say "progress" because my weight has barely moved but I definitely no longer ache after the classes and I actually feel rather good - which is the whole point really, I suppose. Losing weight would be great, but feeling well and able to do whatever it takes to live my life easily on my own is more the point. The picture below pretty much sums up my whole logic of why I'm doing all this! I'm still making it to the gym at least once a week, although I suspect Dave is going to leave me standing on that one, but I'm already at the point of wanting to push myself a bit harder, so I guess consistency is starting to pay off!

After pilates I dropped some stuff off at the recycling plant and then dashed off to buy a new gas bottle as the old one just ran out. I remember last year - 1 July to be precise - was when I first hooked up this gas bottle. It was the night of the horrendous storm which knocked out my electricity for 24 hours just three days before the wedding, the same day as my family were flying in from England and with all my shopping for 10 people for 10 days loaded up in my slowly-defrosting freezers, and my gas cooking bottle decided to conk out. It was laugh or cry at that point (thankfully I laughed) but I would say that bottle lasting from 1 July 2019 to 14 October 2020 wasn't bad going for €34 was it!

After that I headed out to do my weekly shop. While I was at the supermarket I wanted to get a tape measure for my sewing kit because I seem to have lost mine, but when I looked at the cheap little retractable tape measures for €6.20 I thought I'm not paying that! About a km up the road is a small "sell everything" type of shop and I got the exact same tape measure for €1.50! Pretty much everything is cheaper at that shop, so when André's closer to getting his own place I think that will be where we will head to first to get the basics for his apartment. Talking of which, he and Lily have an appointment at court to sign off on the divorce on 30 October (how sad is that!) and then in the afternoon he has an appointment at the bank to look into how much he can borrow to buy his own place. I'm going to go with him as he's not used to French banking, after living in Switzerland for the last 10 years, but it'll be interesting to see just what he can afford on his own!

I'm in the mood to cook at the moment, so if I have time, tomorrow I will run out to the large Asian store near here to get everything I need to make mapu tofu. My mouth just waters when I see some of these recipes, but when I get looking at too many I end up making none of them so I'm going to try to go with just one and actually make it. After that I'll pick Jen up as she is off this week and wants to go to IKEA in Geneva as she has her eye on a few things from the catalogue I picked up last week. I'm happy to go back anyway as I may well buy a few fittings to start the business of changing my bathroom sinks and buying a hand basin for the toilet, but I guess it'll depend on how much we can fit in the car. Haven't we all done that - gone to IKEA with a a car the size of a mini and come out with enough stuff to fill a small moving van? Or bought the biggest Christmas tree we could find and then wondered how the hell we were going to get it home? Or is that just me?

Anyway, in a rather serendipitous coincidence, I received a notification two days ago from a local DIY store called Bricomarché saying that as I'd now spent over €500 in the last however long (it must have been over a long period as I hardly ever go there), they were offering me 10% off everything in the shop bought on one ticket and within three months so I may well go back there and look for bathroom fittings if I don't find what I want at IKEA. To my mind many of the DIY stores round here are much of a muchness, but I have always been really happy with the service I get at Bricomarché. In fact a few years ago I wrote to their head office to commend the staff at my local store saying that they may not be the biggest store round here but they were certainly the most helpful. Credit where credit is due I guess! If I do decide to use this 10% I will probably get quite a bit of the bathroom stuff from there and a chainsaw, as I have loads of wood downstairs in my basement but once the new cassette is installed in the fireplace I will be limited to smaller logs. I guess it's right what they say isn't it, a woman's work is never done!

Oddly enough, I can't tell if this picture should be attributed to
Mike Peace or Mike Pence (do you think he has a side gig going already
 for when he gets kicked out?)

Monday 12 October 2020

Feeling a bit blah at the moment!

I know it's completely normal to feel down sometimes, especially in these difficult times, but I really don't like it and get annoyed at myself actually because I realize just how good I have it. I know - whaddaya gonna do? Well I know what I need to do and that's get out and start walking in such perfect weather - cold but sunny, so perfect walking weather. It's hard to give yourself a virtual kick up the butt though isn't it. Talking of cold, I finally got through to Max that he needed to come and look at my heating system/water heater as it is still leaking. He came over on Saturday morning with a new part, but four hours later he was cussing and swearing and he now reckons that there is a fault in the water heater and he's going to need to have the supplier come out and take a look at it. As luck would have it, when he switched me over to the fuel water heating system I hung on to my electric heater as it was only a year old and I reckoned Jordan and Jen might take it if/when they buy a fixer-upper. So now my water heater has been switched back to the electric heater but, since Saturday I no longer have any heat at all in my radiators! Bloody hell! As it stands right now I have two electric heaters running and hopefully Jordan will be showing up any minute now to take a look at the heating system. I suspect it's just a minor thing but since that stuff is all Dutch to me (as yet), I'd rather have him look at it than have me potentially screw it up!

On Friday I drove into Geneva for my two-yearly mammogram (aren't they fun ladies?) but I have to say I don't find it the least bit painful and I had the lovely South African lady doctor I had the last two times who is a blast. Last time she was telling me she was hoping to take a solo trip through Morocco in a camper van and maybe even chuck it all in and hit the road for a couple of years to enjoy her freedom. Well that didn't go according to plan since the two young Scandinavian women were murdered by "terrorist" thugs while out camping in the Atlas mountains (in Morocco) shortly before she went to book and as of Friday at least she still hasn't chucked it all in. She had planned to go back to South Africa for a vacation this summer too but obviously with the pandemic that was cancelled. She said she was lucky that Air France refunded the international portion of the trip but the domestic flight on South African Airways was lost since they have gone bust (I didn't know that)! Anyway, she told me that everything looked fine and she would send my results to my gynae the same day. And I was struck once again by just how luxurious this clinic is. It was where I had Jordan and it really was a pleasure to be in such a nice place, but then as I've mentioned before, it reflects the difference between Swiss health care prices and French prices I guess! After that I drove on to IKEA to have a look at the bathroom set-ups and it was actually ok. Not too crowded at all with everyone wearing masks and plenty of hand sanitizer available all over the shop. I held the lift doors for two women as I was going back down to the parking lot and the older woman and I laughed when we both took off our sweaters in the lift because the whole shop was just too hot. Or maybe as the lady said "ain't hormones wonderful"!

On Tuesday night I stopped in at the food bank in town as I had a case of goods to drop off. One of the ladies there knows I'm English and has started keeping English-language books for me and on Tuesday night she came running over with six nursery rhyme books for me! And I'm thrilled. Ok I won't be reading nursery rhymes to anyone anytime soon but it has been lovely just sitting looking through some of the old stories anyhow! Then on Sunday I stopped in at Jordan and Jen's as I wanted to give Jen her birthday present and have the three of them sign a birthday card for Ammy (grandma in the States). I thought it was sweet that Jen printed off a picture of her latest baby scan with the baby "waving" and put that in with the card. She was telling me though that her doctor is already talking about signing her off sick as she has been getting contractions caused by stress!!! Apparently they had another "incident" last week where they had to call security in. She works in a psychiatric hospital and some of the patients can be aggressive and even violent, so I guess if they can't take her out of that environment for the duration of her pregnancy she'll be signed off as a precautionary measure! Then she asked if she could ask me a favour (of course). When the baby is here she wants to drop down to working 80%. She would be allowed to take Mondays off and "would I be willing to take care of the baby on Friday mornings until Jordan gets home at lunchtime?" That way they could put the baby down for a place in the local crèche just three days a week. Would I??? Damn, I thought they'd never ask! I wouldn't be willing to look after the baby full-time because (a) I live too far away and (b) I've worked full-time for 40 years and this is finally my time and she/they absolutely agree with me on that. That being said, I told her I'd be free on Wednesdays and Fridays and obviously any time they needed help for whatever reason. I think it was a relief to her because she was saying that taking the baby to a sitter would cost them around €600/month and the crèche would be around €200 - probably less - and she was more inclined towards the crèche because she had heard horror stories about some sitters. Now I know I'm biased because my neighbour took care of Jordan and it was a wonderful experience all round but I think all things being equal I'm more in favour of a crèche too. That being said, heck, you can sure tell the difference between socialist France and non-socialist Switzerland. I found a place for André in a Swiss crèche when we moved back here in 1989 and even then it was over 700 Swiss francs a month. The going rate when I left work was around SF 2,000/month and I've seen up to SF 3,000/month too, so €200 doesn't seem that much to me!

As I've been sitting here typing this I've just listened to Kamala Harris' speech at the SCOTUS hearing and I have to say she impresses me more and more, putting it out there and saying it like it is. I also recently saw a few Youtube clips of Pete Buttigieg and damn he's impressive too - and young - and while it didn't work out for him this time round I definitely reckon he's got a future in politics that's for sure!

And finally Facebook reminded me the other day that this time three years ago I was in Rhodes with Steve! Damn, that brings it home to me that he's been dead over a year now. I guess that might have had something to do with my feeling down the past couple of days!

That's actually Steve in the left hand side of the picture talking to an older couple in a restaurant in Lindos. To my mind they had the perfect set-up. He lived in the south of England and she lived in Scotland and they used to fly up and down the country to see each other regularly and head off on holiday together a couple of times a year. Had he lived, I could have seen that kind of relationship working for Steve and me. We were both very independent and neither of us had any interest in living with someone again, but we got along so well. Sad really, I wish he had had many more years to enjoy his retirement!

And talking of FB, I've mentioned before that I play Words with Friends with quite a few people. It seems to be etiquette that you don't chat back and forth with people you don't know, except I do chat occasionally with a chappie in New York. Anyway, a couple of days ago, "handsome" popped up and asked me to play a game. Immediately I get kinda suspicious because mostly I'm playing against women, so I'm already expecting something funny. Well sure enough after a couple of moves I get a message "Where are you located? Are you married? Do you have kids?" etc. and I'm thinking "oh oh, here we go again", and sure enough today I got the old "Can we try communicating on Whatsapp as it's easier?". You may remember I mentioned the guy in Texas who wanted my email so we could "get to know each other better". It's happened about four times now, so I sense I'll be blocking someone later. Judging from the things women have said in some of the groups I'm on I'll either be getting a request for money at some point or receiving an unsolicited dick pic! Yeah, that'll be fun!

One of the ladies made me laugh because she got the dick pic and this is what she sent back to the guy!

Pure genius huh!

Saturday 3 October 2020

Autumn's cancelled due to lack of interest!

2020 has been such a weird year I guess somebody forgot to mention to Mother Nature that autumn is supposed to come between summer and winter! But nope, it looks like we're heading straight into winter just for the hell of it! Or at least, that's what it looks like according to the weather forecast for the next two weeks. Rain, rain, and guess what, more rain! That being said, at the moment it isn't raining all day long. For instance I've been able to get out and work in the garden for about an hour each day so it's liveable, but in the evenings it pours down and right now the wind is howling! Oh well, there's nothing we can do about it is there!

Today I decided to take a run out and have a look at a few bathroom supply places, and to be honest I haven't been very impressed. The two I went to are the places that Max deals with with his company and while they're expensive I'm told they are quality suppliers. Hmm, I'm not so sure though! A bit too pricey and not appealing enough for my taste maybe! On the way home I thought I'd take a trip out to a big DIY place here called Leroy Merlin and then I had the inspired idea to maybe take a trip out to IKEA, Geneva, next week and have a wander round. I don't know about you but I really like IKEA. I think they have bright, fun and well-coordinated stuff and while I'm not too keen on their sofas, everything else seems to hit the spot for me, at far lower prices than the places I went to today. There's no rush but if I do find anything I like there, I would have to order it from IKEA, Grenoble (France) as I couldn't get the €€€€€ amount of stuff I would need to order through the border duty-free. Still, if I do go ahead with IKEA Grenoble I'll have them deliver it too! I did that when my husband moved out (he took our bedroom set) so I had them deliver it all and carry it upstairs for me. After that, it was assembly time (I did it all on my own). I was telling my old boss that I probably would have gotten it assembled quicker without the wine but he told me that IKEA and wine go hand in hand just like IKEA and meatballs (he's Danish, so he should know)! Still, I'm in no rush anyway, and once I narrow my selection down I might get Jordan to take a trip out there with me (I'm sure he'll be thrilled)!

In other news I've almost finished the "sunbonnet Sue" baby quilt I started a year ago! I guess it was wishful thinking, but I had wanted to make a baby quilt for ages so I downloaded three pictures off the internet, cut and quilted all the little individual pieces and really had fun doing it. I started sewing the border on it last Monday but wasn't happy with it, so what you see here is just tacked on, but that'll soon get done. I would also like to sew a photo of Jordan and Jen on the back of it, but I haven't got round to it yet!

You can't really see it from the picture but things like the skis, the leaping fish, the cow, the lollipop and the dog are like buttons that I sewed on, and if Jen decides to use it for the baby (rather than just for decoration), those will have to come off, but that will be up to Jen!

On another note, I saw in the newspaper today a story about a young woman (university student no less) who had had a few drinks with her mates when one of them bet her she wouldn't fit her bum in the dryer (as you do)! Yeah, that's what I was thinking too! So apparently she managed to get her legs and hips into the machine, crossed her legs at the knees and got stuck! I mean, who couldn't have seen that coming? So her mates ended up having to call the fire brigade out, and they spent 20 minutes freeing her from the dryer while her supportive mates filmed the whole episode. Now quite a few comments were of the type "she should be ashamed of herself, wasting their time like that" and so on, but the firemen were actually laughing and I got a good giggle out of the video too. Hell, if you don't do stuff like that when you're young, when do you do it? I'm sure it's a story she'll be able to dine out on for a good few years!

This young woman got her head stuck in a drying rack.
I don't think the fire brigade were needed this time though!

Which reminds me (of course it does, I couldn't let this one pass could I)? When I was 16 I went hiking/youth hostelling with my friends in Cornwall. It was a hot summer's night and my friends and I spotted a bunch of other young people sitting round a camp fire on the beach. They invited us to join them and someone offered me a glass of scrumpy which, little did I know, is pretty lethal Cornish cider. After a couple of glasses of that we all started packing our things up when I commented to one of the young lads that I was feeling rather hot. And that was when he pointed out that I was sitting on the embers of the camp fire that they'd just kicked sand over! So no more scrumpy for me then right! But oh to be young and foolish again!