The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Monday 30 November 2020

Keeping busy!

There's not a lot going on around here, for obvious reasons. Even though lockdown has eased a little since Saturday, we still can't mix with other people, although we are now free to go out shopping, as non-essential shops are slowly opening up. Bars, restaurants and gyms will remain closed until 20 January at least (ouch) and my various classes are still off limits until then, although the yoga teacher has sent round classes for us to do and I can log on to do a pilates "zoom" class if I want to. Trouble is, I don't really want to - zoom just doesn't seem to do it for me! From what I understand they are hoping to get our Italian classes going again shortly via remote - there's not really much else they can do is there but at least they're trying! So since we're still in semi-lockdown I thought I should get my act into gear and tackle some of the UFOs (unfinished objects) that have been hanging around here since forever!

So with that I pulled a card table up to one of the sofas in the TV room and finally opened up the "wasgij" puzzle I bought about six months ago. If you remember, a wasgij is "jigsaw" backwards, which means the picture you see on the front of the box only slightly resembles the finished puzzle. It's a bit painful to start with but it gets more interesting as you get more pieces in. Actually, André and I were having lunch yesterday and I saw him sidling over to the wasgij and try to find a few "obvious" pieces, so I'm thinking I might buy him one for Christmas, although who knows if he will ever give it a shot. I doubt it somehow!

Knitting bag - finally finished!

Quilt - unfinished - a recurring nightmare!

Jen would like me to make this bag for her - 
not even started!

Darn it, I have so many things I could be doing (should be doing, really) that if I don't do it now, during lockdown and with winter on the horizon, when will I do it? A friend and I also bought a couple of cross-stitch projects about three years ago, so I pulled one of them out to finally get started on it. What a nightmare. You start in the middle of the fabric with cross-stitch so I stitched in the letters "O", "P" and "Q", but now I've started on the teddy bear in the car it's starting to look like a big ball of knotted thread plonked on top of a car. It's much trickier than it looks!

Sorting the thread!

There are three sheets like this. Already
the teddy driving the car looks more like a cow pat!

I've just finished reading a book called One Man and His Bog, which was written in 1986 and describes the author's hike along the Pennine Way in England. It's extremely well written and very funny, but to be honest there's only so much you can say about trudging through 250 miles of bog isn't there!

So now it's on to Michelle Obama's book Becoming (I've had it for a year already)! I've only just started it but I very much like the fact that she came from a poor background and made her way in life through intelligence and sheer grit. Of course marrying Barack didn't exactly hold her back either but I sense that she is a woman who was always going to be a success even without Barack in her life!

In other news, the oven that I bought just over two years ago started playing up (I bought it 30 months ago to be exact, so no longer under guarantee), so I dashed out today and ordered a new one, which should be delivered on Monday. The old one was a Whirlpool and I have to say I wasn't at all impressed with it from the very beginning, so the fact that it's just conked out after such a short time just confirms to me that I won't ever be buying Whirlpool anything ever again!

Other than that, there's not an awful lot new here. We've been keeping the walking up every day, if not all four of us then at least me and one other person, so that's a plus. Then today I saw John's post over at Going Gently reminiscing about Christmases past and what were your best/funniest memories of Christmas? We first moved to D.C. in 1985 after we got married and the Marine Corps shipped my furniture but it took over four months to get there so my then-husband and I spent four months with no furniture. I remember on Christmas Eve we went to the cinema to see White Nights with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines, and featuring Lionel Ritchie singing Say You, Say Me. It was a great movie and when we came out it had started to snow - something that didn't happen that often in D.C. It was a truly magical evening. For Christmas lunch we had spag bol on paper plates sitting on the floor. We had nothing and yet we were happy! Funny how that works isn't it. Another Christmas, when I was just a little kid in junior school, unbeknownst to me my parents had bought me an upright piano and hidden it in the garage at the back of the houses. Now these were council houses (subsidized rental for poor families) and the garages were not attached to the house but round the back and down a sloping road. After I had gone to bed that night they tried pushing my piano up from the garages but it had started to snow. My sister's description of my dad and my brothers trying to push that bloody piano uphill in the snow was like something out of The Keystone Cops but it's a sweet memory nonetheless!

And finally, about 10 minutes ago I got a call from my ex to tell me that his cousin, Danny, died yesterday from covid after a four week stint in ICU!!! Bloody hell! The expression "only the good die young" certainly applies here as he was one of the kindest, gentlest men you could ever wish to meet. The sad thing is that his wife and family hadn't been able to sit with him all the while he was in hospital and like so many others he died alone! His daughter just posted that when they were clearing out his papers at the hospital they found a note to them saying "Peace and love, see you in heaven"! RIP Danny!

Wednesday 25 November 2020

A right pea souper!

I'm so glad my neighbour set up our little Whasapp group for a few of us to meet up to go walking. I've been out every day this week and am loving it as I love walking in the cold weather. Today we ended up plodding through the woods for around 90 minutes. Don't tell Mr. Macron as it's supposed to be for an hour or less, but as my neighbour couldn't keep up we ended up taking longer than we thought! It's been cold and sunny, if a little foggy early in the day but that soon picks up and it's just perfect to my mind. And would you believe it, on 19th November I actually passed my 1,000 miles in 2020! I'm dead pleased because it hasn't been easy with all the restrictions. Since I knew I'd make it I sent off for my medal and certificate a while ago - and I'm going to hang the darn thing on the wall right next to the cycling proficiency certificate I got when I was seven!

I wore my medal to go out walking with my neighbours today and they cracked up laughing!

It's just a bit of fun really but I'm definitely signing up again next year and maybe aiming for 1,500 miles (2,000 would be wonderful, so who knows)! As I was about to head out I mentioned to André that it's around this period that the firemen stop by to sell their calendars for next year and if they did happen to come by while I was out I always leave cash in a bowl by the front door just in case. It's always one of the local lads that knocks on my door and he's an old friend of my kids. So I told him if "Zoreille" ("Ears") knocks, to take that cash and buy one off him! I think he's kind of hoping Zoreille does stop by because they haven't seen each other for years!

There isn't much on TV that interests me at the moment (or ever really) but last night I was watching Saving Lives at Sea, which features rescues carried out by the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Association). They are my favourite UK charity, are self-funding (because they want to organize themselves as they see fit) and manned by volunteers. Well last night they featured an incident where an idiot had gone out surfing during Storm Ciara and got into difficulty. The Hastings' lifeboat was launched and after over an hour searching in horrendous conditions they got word that the surfer had somehow washed ashore some six miles down the coast. All well and good for him, but then the lifeboat had to try to get back ashore during a storm and avoiding an approach to the beach that was known as "the washing machine"! It was stomach churning to watch their attempts to get back to land, and at one point a massive wave knocked the boat onto its side - and all this while the men were wearing bodycams and we could see what they were experiencing! Thankfully the boat righted itself and they ended up making it safely to the lifeboat station in Eastbourne. They made me laugh though because at the end they said the reason they were desperate to get back into Hastings was because they knew they'd have a cup of tea waiting for them!

Hastings lifeboat!

The idiot who nearly cost the lifeboat crew their lives!

I mentioned recently that I've finally signed up to Netflix and have started watching The Crown. In the episode I was watching last night the story developed around the 1952 "pea souper" smog that hung over London for three days killing thousands of people. Using Churchill's inability (or unwillingness) to deal with this crisis (remind you of anyone?) they tried to introduce a vote of no-confidence to oust him. Britain is often foggy (I'd say that's an understatement) but a convergence of unusual weather conditions and the fact that most people heated their homes using coal meant that the acid smog was basically trapped over the city and many thousands of people died. They refer to these fogs as "pea soupers" and at best they are depressing. At worst, as they saw, they can be deadly! Mind you, as André said after having been to Delhi, we in the west have nothing to complain about compared to some parts of the world where you can actually taste the sulphur in the air!

A "pea souper" in London!

The 1956 Clean Air Act was passed as a result of this incident, but even so when I was growing up these were pretty normal. I will never forget one time, though, when I must have been about 13, we had the densest pea souper I had ever experienced and to top it off all the street lights were out. I remember having to walk the couple of miles from the school bus back up to home by feeling my way along hedges and railings in the dark, dark fog. I knew that route inside out, of course, but it was so scary nonetheless! Not that you would have guessed it by my mom's reaction, which was more or less "oh there you are, what took you so long?" but then, as Bill Cosby used to say, "our parents walked five miles to school each day, uphill, both ways", but I do remember being so frightened! We were asked to write a story about it in school shortly after that. What I wrote was crap but my friend wrote a beautiful short story which ended with "and a blind man walked me home"! She went on to become a teacher, as you might imagine!

In other news President Macron went on television last night and since the rate of infection is heading in the right direction he will cautiously allow all shops to open as from this Saturday, although attestations will continue to be required and masks, of course, remain mandatory. The big difference as far as I'm concerned is that we can now travel up to 20 km from home to exercise and can take up to three hours to do so. It's pretty selfish that that's what I'm concerned about but .... Then, on 15 December, if things are still going in the right direction, cinemas and so on will be allowed to open up, although gyms, restaurants and bars will remain closed at least until 20 January!!!! I guess it's a start and much as I hate it I do feel he's right to be more cautious this time round, however much the French call him an idiot who doesn't know what he's doing! Frankly would any of you want to be responsible for making that call? I know I wouldn't! He also stated categorically that although the vaccine should be available shortly there will be no mandatory vaccination. Thought as much, although how any (democratic) government could force over 60 million people to be vaccinated is beyond me anyway. Just scaremongering I guess!

Like everyone else's I'll be glad when (if?) we can get back to a more normal life and am really looking forward to next spring. That being said, I took some stuff up the garden to my composter and when I came back to the house I caught sight of myself in the window. Damn! The legs of my sweat pants had ridden up over my socks and I looked a dead ringer for Eminem! Ha, I always thought his name was "M&M" so I did wonder who "Einaman" (as I called him) was that I read so much about in the papers! I put André's baseball cap on sideways and fished out my 1,000 miles medal and André burst out laughing. I think it's time I got out of these four walls before I go completely insane!

Sunday 22 November 2020


My bloody computer seemed to have screwed up my "favourites" file today, it was just such a mess to find anything. At one point it seemed to indicate that I had 563 "favourites" - no way! So after lunch I started messing around trying to get everything back into some sort of order and managed to get them back in an alphabetical format so I thought I'd just start deleting those I hadn't looked at in ... well, forever I guess. I reckon I deleted about 100 files and now I'm much happier with how things look. Then just as I was finishing up a neighbour sent me a Whatsapp request. She's decided to set up a "lockdown walking group" and so three of us ended up going out for an hour's walk together this afternoon. The weather is glorious, if cold, and it was so lovely to just get out there and breath some fresh air!

Like most people I have certain blogs and FB groups that I follow. One of the FB groups I got into after my husband left me so you can imagine the kinds of stories that are on there. Today, however, one of the male members of the group sent round a post basically saying "ok, so you got dumped after how many years of marriage, but what is it you are soooooo thankful that you never have to put up with again?" OMG!!!! By the time I'd finished scrolling through over 350 comments only about five of them were from "dumped husbands" as far as I could see. Some of the comments were so gross I wouldn't write them here but .... The guys tended to write "she would make a cup of tea and just dump the teabag on the kitchen cabinet", or "she always moaned at me about the state of the house, all the while sitting on her backside messaging her affair partner"! But the comments from the women!!!! "My ex only used to brush his teeth once a week. When I commented one time that it wasn't fair to his employees he just said he was going to drink coffee before he got to work so they wouldn't notice". Then the guy that only took a shower once a month, having to wipe snot rockets off the shower wall, the toenail clippings on the kitchen counter (if she was lucky and if he hadn't already eaten them). Another lady's husband was a lay preacher and as soon as they opened the front door he dropped to his knees and said "thank you God" and other prayers, but he had to say each one 10 times and each one lasted about a minute. Never mind that she was struggling to carry in the baby or the groceries and that the older children would have to step over his splayed legs to bring their school stuff in. Given that this guy was also screwing around I guess it gives a whole new meaning to the words "lay preacher" doesn't it! Oh they were so gross - but the ones I've posted here are tame compared to the worst. Makes you wonder doesn't it. And oddly enough it would seem one of the main reasons that your spouse just had to cheat on you was because you stack the dishwasher all wrong. I was guilty of this apparently so it's no wonder I'm still single isn't it!

Anyway, all this to say, I was on zoom with some old friends this afternoon and we were chatting about scam phone calls/emails and so on, and I mentioned the "die boomer, die" troll doing the rounds in blogland at the moment. Well it turns out my friends didn't know I had a blog (why would they?) and asked to read it. So under strict confidentiality conditions I'm going to send them the link. Say hi to Janet, Patters and Maureen if you get a chance!

Saturday 21 November 2020

Not sure how I feel about that!

I had a call from my old friend yesterday for a catch up - not that there's much to catch up with at the moment is there. I mean, if you're not going out and not seeing people! G was the girl I met at the hotel my first night in Geneva when our employer flew us both out on temporary contracts. She stayed with our employer for a couple of years and then moved to the World Health Organisation, from where she retired a few years ago. She had gone ahead and requested French citizenship way before me and had her final interview about 18 months ago so I asked if she had had any news. She said not (not that that's surprising at the moment as everything is delayed), but said "she was slightly concerned about the proposal to make the new covid vaccine mandatory and how it might affect future administrative decisions"! Say what? I hadn't heard that, but then again I don't have French TV so ... again, no surprise there. When she asked how I felt about that I said I wouldn't like it at all. Heck I never got the annual flu vaccine which was offered free at work because it's just not my thing. Thankfully I've only ever had the real flu once in my life so maybe that's why. So I looked it up, and apparently a French politician has proposed making it mandatory and has received support from several others. When I started reading about it, for me personally, I think the French will have another revolution if they try to make it mandatory and I honestly don't see it going too far. I mean, Liberté, égalité, fraternité starts with "liberté" doesn't it!  So I asked G why she felt the same way. She said that when she retired she had been working in one of the "vaccine units" of WHO and knew that it took two to three years for the side effects of such vaccines to be known! And I'm with her on that one. So I mentioned it to André (who had already heard) and he said "yeah, that's why the CEO of Pfizer sold off over 60% of his stock when the vaccine was heralded a success"! Make of that what you want - and I'm not saying anything negative about it - it's just that I feel it's too much of a new vaccine for me to want to rush to the front of the queue to get it as yet, even if it means continuing to live the way I live for a while longer!

From today's Sky News

Yet again last night André forgot to lock the door when he came in from outside so yet again I told him we could have been "murrrderred" in our beds. At that he did his impression of Private Fraser from Dad's Army. I can't win with this kid!

There's a big hoo-har in France right now about whether we wait until 1 December to ease the restrictions, because businesses are pushing back, saying that they would at least like to be given the chance to make some money from Black Friday if they can - although I never thought Black Friday had caught on much over here. Well it certainly hadn't when I was in Italy this time last year. Aaahhh Italy - seems like a dream to me now! I know what I want to get for the kids for Christmas so I'm looking forward to being able to go out and get that sorted, plus I want to get myself a chainsaw at the local DIY place before my 10% discount offer runs out. But more than that, what I really want to go out and buy is new socks. Mine have pretty much had it. The thin ones aren't suitable for walking and the thicker ones are all starting to look like this (the legs too)! Never thought I would get so excited about the prospect of buying socks!

Picture courtesy of

I made garlic mushrooms yesterday and as there are some left I'm going to use them up to make stuffed baked potatoes for lunch. After that off for my walk and I'll try to do a bit of sewing, although I really have lost my mojo there. There's bugger all on TV that interests me so I might sign up for Netflix in order to watch The Crown, and other than that I'm back to reading and trying out new recipes. Even Words with Friends on Facebook is getting a bit boring for me now as all I seem to get is a load of vowels. E-I-E-I-O! Pity that isn't really how you spell "farm" isn't it!

Thursday 19 November 2020

Feeling better already!

So in a bid to start as I mean to go on, tonight I decided to give myself a manicure and a pedicure (it's been a while). While I was in the middle of the pedicure André came in and asked what I was doing, so I told him I was shaving my feet. His response - "what are you a hobbit?" Damn I'd forgotten how quick he can be. When he's on form - which is most of the time actually - he can be so much fun! Since he's planning on going in to work tomorrow I asked what time he planned on getting up, to which he replied that if he couldn't get out of bed in the morning he would work from home in the morning and go in in the afternoon. "And that's one of the disadvantages of working from home, you get out of a routine and you end up working from bed". So I suggested that if that was how he preferred working the only alternative occupation I could think of for him was prostitution, but he might need to have a shave occasionally! Said he'd give that a miss - well he definitely will in my place anyway!

He's been binge-watching The Crown lately (I must start watching that as I've heard such good things about it) and said that if he watched much more he'd have to start speaking with a British accent. And oddly enough I'd just come across this clip on Youtube not five minutes before. Sandi Toksvig is actually Danish (but lives in England) and did this brilliant clip of how Donald Trump is possibly just misunderstood - in the literal sense of the word!

Time to get back in that saddle!

We're into week four of this lockdown and while the government said it would be "reviewed" on 1 December they're not giving any indication that much will change then, even though they've managed to bring the R number down dramatically to less than one. Trouble is, I guess, we can't keep going into a severe lockdown then lifting it and having people start taking silly risks and we get hammered again. Maybe there's a chance we might be able to start going to DIY places or garden centres - who knows, because at the moment all of those are off limits. And everyone seems to agree that it's much harder this time round, maybe because we're heading into winter rather than spring, maybe it's because ... who the hell knows anymore! We're just so tired of it!

I was doing ok with the walking but just like the last lockdown I resent the hell out of having to carry a "permission slip" on me every time I leave the house, being limited to how long I can go out and how far, so the walking just started dying a death here - which was silly because I know how much good it does me, however cold the weather. So tomorrow I'm going to get back at it and start trying to get a few things achieved round here too. Heck, I looked tonight and I've only got four miles to do to achieve my 1,000 mile goal, so if I give up now I might as well give up 100 metres from the finishing line right! I've also been pretty lax about cooking, not making much effort (although we eat of course) and housework too, although again we don't live in a pigsty. So tomorrow, as André is going in to Geneva to the office I'll try to get the house sorted and make something more interesting for dinner!

Then today I received an email from the André Rieu group to inform me that the concert that had been postponed from October to January (for obvious reasons) was now being postponed again, but this time until January 2022. So knowing that the friend who was going with me has serious health issues I decided to just write them back and ask for a reimbursement. I don't know what will happen, if they're allowed to hang on to the money for 18 months like here in France or what. We'll see. So I wrote to T and told him that I had asked for a reimbursement ($200). He responded saying he was having a hard time in this lockdown too, had been in a bad car accident (although uninjured thankfully) and was missing his new grandson. And then he sent me another email and said "you know what, if we get reimbursed why don't we just give the money to a charity of your choice"! Isn't he great! So I replied and said that was a wonderful idea and that I donated to the local food bank every week and had given them money before so would he agree to that? It'd be a nice gesture (and frankly pretty typical of him)!

Then, in an effort to get more forward motion going, I went online and bought the pattern for a bag that Jen had told me she liked ages ago. I seem to have lost my sewing mojo and when I hear about what others are achieving I could kick myself. I know you can't be "up" all the time but you've got to start somewhere haven't you!

And finally, I saw that our FB walking group has a subgroup aimed at walking to lose weight so I joined up. Again there are no rules and you can go as fast or as slow as you want, but people are getting impressive results. Heck even half a pound a week would give you 26 pounds wouldn't it. Apparently you send in your weight loss (hopefully) to the lady that runs the group (and only she sees it) and she keeps a tally, so I'm going to start logging that in January along with my walking miles again, as I obviously ain't capable of doing it on my own. So with a view to hopefully getting off to a good start I've decided to see if I can go "wine free" until Christmas. Admittedly the wine has been flowing rather ... ehhmmm freely these last few days, so here's hoping!

Sunday 15 November 2020

I think they may have got it right!

We've just completed our second week of a four-week lockdown and I see in the news that France's R number is below one - which means the virus is in recession. From what I've heard we're still going to be obliged to stick with the lockdown for another two weeks but if that's all it takes, I'm on board. Oh I'm under no illusion that this damn virus won't come back roaring once we're all allowed out again, and I definitely get the pushback from smaller businesses that have been obliged to close. To my mind though, that is where the government steps in and helps them out. As for the rest, wear a damn mask. It's not much to ask to kill this damn thing off!

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Do they ever just go gently into the night?

So André and I have almost completed two weeks of lockdown together and it really has been ok. He has to work anyway so I just do my own thing and he does his. Yesterday he was complaining that his feet were cold while he was working so I mentioned that I had bought a pair of slippers that you can heat up in the microwave and did he want to give them a try? Ha ha, with his baggy sweat pants and steam coming from his slippers he looked a real sight! I don't know if I mentioned it before but he actually works for the World Health Organization (in one of the units dealing with covid, no less) and when I commented on the difference between what he looked like and what he was working on he just said "WHO, here to help"! Actually I was able to help him a couple of times because he has been trying to put together large documents for publication and since that was what I was doing before I retired I've been able to help him figure things out on occasion - or at least stop him from pulling his hair out! This morning I told him to bring his washing down as I was throwing a load in, and when he emptied the pockets of an old jacket wouldn't you know he pulled out an envelope containing $700! He reckons he hadn't used that jacket since he and Lily were in Korea and hadn't realized he still had that cash hanging around. I swear if he fell in a barrel of sh*t he'd come up smelling of roses that one!

Then yesterday Max sent me a message to say he was coming over to take another look at my water heater. Found out later that André had bought him some tobacco in Switzerland (apparently it's cheaper there) so now I know how to get Max to come over a bit quicker! He switched my water heater back from the old electric system to the fuel system and when he came back into the house he showed me a tiny rubber washer, about the size of a ring, that had a cut in it and he thought that was where the leak was coming from. All that damage from such a little washer! Anyway, he's coming back over in a couple of days to check it out and put everything back together so (hopefully) that has now been sorted! Then yesterday my nephew sent me a message to ask if he and his girlfriend could come out next April (covid-willling) because flights to Geneva are currently going pretty cheap (the prices will soon go up again if lockdown is lifted and the ski season starts). I told him to go ahead and book because I can always work around them if and when, and you know, it actually lifted my spirits a bit making plans for the not-so-distant future! Fingers crossed!

I've been pretty good about going out on my (limited) walking escapades and as my yoga teacher sent round a link to a 90 minute routine I also gave that a shot yesterday, although it's not as good as doing it in person. As I was coming home from my walk today my neighbour's daft old dog came down to the mailbox to greet me, and then started to follow me home. I turned round and very sternly told him to bugger off because he wasn't coming with me - but as you can see he took no notice and just rolled over in the middle of the road waiting to have his belly scratched! I have to say I'm a sucker for that old dog!

Playing dead!

In other news, about 18 months ago I discovered a US blogger that I quite liked. Her blog was called something like "adventures with D" or "retirement with D", but the more I read I reckon it should be called "rollercoaster ride with D". She's pretty abrasive but I quite like her all the same, and she talks sense for the most part. She had a previous blog which she took down for some reason but I see she's back again now. This is a lady whose father came to the US from Europe as an impoverished immigrant, made good on the American dream and she inherited around a million dollars when he died. With that she was able to buy a place in a wealthy part of the US and start her own business which, unfortunately, went bust in 2008. Her house saved her because she was able to sell up and buy something cheaper. Then along came another business, then another bankruptcy - and she's a real rollercoaster to follow. Last week I thought she'd closed her latest blog down but now I see it's back up again and on Saturday she was going to divorce her husband because "just look at how messy he leaves the kitchen"!!! Now (or at least yesterday) she was going to apply for a European passport and move permanently to that country because "America's a shithole and people are awful and now that Biden's been elected we're all going to have our property taken off us, and if we do have gardens we're gonna be told what we'll be allowed to grow, and the state and big business are gonna be listening in on every aspect of our lives"! Wow, but you know what D, they're already doing that. Just the other week John over at Going Gently wrote that "alexa" (Amazon) wished him "good night John" one night and he swore he'd never mentioned his name when setting it up. And André and I were looking at beds on the IKEA website the other day and now that same bed keeps popping up every time I open FB or a news site! So ya see, we're already being spied on and I'm not sure how keeping the orange buffoon in power in the US would change any of that - you know the guy who looks like he's becoming more of a national security threat himself as each day passes!

And what is it with these wealthy/powerful/important men who can never let go? A couple of years ago I remember seeing a retired former, very highly placed colleague in my local supermarket pushing round a shopping cart with at squeaky wheel. Now this guy was an internationally-known person and would have been featured in the newspapers, although not particularly prominently, and here he was pushing his cart around just like every other unimportant person. Just like Rudy Giuliani! How did he go from being "America's mayor" to the caricature that he is today, having an unintentional staring role in the new Borat movie and then ending up giving a press conference outside a garden centre located between a crematorium and a sex shop (although they would appear to be fitting book ends for Giuliani)!

When is enough enough for these people? I know money is a big factor, but when you're a multi-millionaire (or at least pretend to be), don't you have enough? How much more do you need? But I think it's about more than just money for them. It's about power for sure, but I wonder how much of it is about "staying relevant". They don't seem capable of just going gently into the night and enjoying what's left of their lives while they still can. Or maybe the thought of walking round a supermarket pushing a cart with a squeaky wheel is truly more than they can bear!

Sunday 8 November 2020


It's seemed a very long week here this week. So much sameness and yet different because we've been staying up half the night watching the elections. At least tonight (or maybe tomorrow) I'll go to bed a bit earlier (it's already 1.30 a.m. here)! 

I bought some lovely meringues the other day thinking André and I would enjoy them, but so far it's only been me!!! "Luckily" for me, as I was putting the groceries away I managed to put a knife into a small carton of cream so thinking "waste not, want not" I had a rather lovely dessert of meringues and cream tonight - and now guess who's feeling a bit sick!

I mentioned to André this morning that my yoga teacher would be sending me links to ongoing classes that I could do at home and would he like to join me? Nah, didn't think he would! Trouble is, the best place for me to practice is in my living room and I think that's where he'll be setting up office as of next week when he's back to work. I'm not sure he'll be wanting to see me attempting to do the "downward facing dog" though so I'm going to have to figure something else out!

Illustration by Mark Armstrong

Today again I was restless and chomping at the bit to get out so I told André I would run into town to pick up a few groceries. He said that he would like to take his car out for a run too so believe it or not I ran into town and got a bunch of celery and an avocado and he went afterwards and picked up some goat's cheese. If you add in the price of the petrol I guess that makes for pretty expensive groceries doesn't it! Dave mentioned on his blog how nice it was not to have to do a health check because he was off work, and I feel the same - I'm starting to get a pissy attitude about having to take a whole two minutes to download an attestation in order to leave home. It's silly really but I think it's the lack of control which gets to me, although I understand the reasoning behind it. I mean, it's designed to prevent people from going out and mixing as much as possible, so I guess I'll just have to put up and shut up! I did go for another walk today which did me good, although always walking in and around the village gets old. After my "strenuous" 45 minute stroll around the village and feeling the "need to rehydrate" when I got home, André just handed me a beer. I guess he's got my number huh!

In other news, the other week my friend came over with a thank you gift for looking after her house while she was in Spain. It was all closed up initially but has now started to flower and it is just beautiful!

It's a beautiful amaryllis - I just have to
figure out how not to kill it!

Then after dinner tonight the film Outbreak was on TV. I enjoyed the film the first time I saw it but wondered if the timing of putting it on now was coincidental or not. It's very pertinent to today's situation don't you think. Scary stuff, and just getting worse, sadly!

From the film Outbreak!

And finally, the obvious closing thought has to be just the sheer relief that the elections seem to have been finally decided. Of course they're not final as yet but certainly looking like it. It was lovely to see people celebrating in the streets today, although I guess there were many that weren't! When I bash on Trump it's not because he's a Republican. I'm more liberal-leaning and would most likely have voted Democrat had I ever got US citizenship. No, I bash Trump because he's an odious human being, his latest statement issued today being just as ungracious as you would expect! So while I doubt that Joe Biden was the best person the US could have gotten for the job, and God alone knows what a horrendous mess he has to try to get a handle on (starting with the pandemic) I, like so many, am just relieved to think Trump and his toxic family will shortly no longer be front and centre stage. It's encouraging that Biden will apparently be naming his covid team on Monday, as that has got to be the most pressing issue, well that and a million others. I can only wish him good luck!

Saturday 7 November 2020

God I think this guy's great!

It's like a bloody roller-coaster here at the moment, but not for the reason you might think. Jordan and Jen phoned last night and Jen mentioned that Jordan had been off work for three days with dizziness and vomiting and that she was "glad she'd got her ob/gynae appointment tomorrow" because she was again having contractions! She's not a panicker by any stretch of the imagination (and thankfully neither am I) but I was moithered last night I reckon because she's only 18 weeks pregnant! Bloody hell! Anyway, the good news is that Lily's covid test came back negative, Jen's midwife wasn't worried about her or the baby and the work's doctor saw Jordan and confirmed it wasn't covid either, but did not make a diagnosis. By Thursday he was better and back at work but - and I'm not sure if this makes sense since I'm not a medical person - but his symptoms sounded to me like some of those that can be associated with problems of the inner ear. So then I got to thinking about the (frankly god-awful) music they play in their band at heaven only knows how many decibels and even though they all wear ear plugs I was wondering if that could have similar effects at some point. My ex would be in the living room playing music with his headphones on, I would be in bed with ear plugs in and I could still hear it and he is most certainly pretty deaf, although of course he denies it. Thankfully that is no longer my problem. His gf can enjoy the delights of constantly having to repeat herself and listening to the TV at full blast. Anyway, all that to say, at least we had somewhat "calming" news today chez moi!

Since the weather was glorious I decided to take Monsieur Macron up on his kind offer of a one hour walk. I walked along the railway line down towards the church, but very conscious of making sure I didn't go over my one-hour limit or further than 1km away from home as the crow flies, (but since I'm not a crow I can't be sure I totally conformed there)! As I was walking I noticed a man a little further down on the other side of the tracks walking his dog about 10 metres one way, turning round and walking back 10 metres and so on, so I reckoned this business about "not being more than 1km from home" was definitely getting to him. Ha, when I got up closer I saw that he was mowing a strip of grass running along the side of the railway line! Methinks I might be overdue a new pair of glasses! When I was about 50 metres from home I bumped into the neighbour whose garden backs onto mine. Well, basically most of the field you can see in my header picture belongs to her. So she asked me in for a coffee. When I explained to her that Monsieur Macron said I only had another 10 minutes of exercise time left she just laughed and said "have you seen the size of my garden, we can keep a distance of about a km between us and then you can skip through the hedge back home". So I stayed and had a coffee with her and guess what, I didn't get caught! Talk about living dangerously - a bit like the Englishman who eats his After Eights at 7.30! Since I don't have French TV she was telling me that there was a more than likely possibility that the French would extend the state of emergency until mid-February! I was horrified but then as my son explained to me, it simply means that the possibility of maintaining or imposing covid-related restrictions remains within their remit, not that they would necessarily be doing so! Still, at least when Macron spoke to the nation he reiterated that it was his decision and j'en accepte pleinement la responsabilité! Now this is pretty difficult to translate into English because you hear it so rarely, but basically it means "it's my decision and I take full responsibility"! See what I mean about it being "difficult to translate"!

André is getting excited about the possibility of getting his own place and has another meeting at the bank next week. So tonight he's been rattling on about furnishings and decorations and I convinced him to start looking at various stores online to get an idea about what he might need and how much it would cost. Of course what he might like and what he eventually gets will be two different things but it's good to see him so happy. He's been bobbing up and downstairs getting himself a beer, then another one, and then ..... so last time he passed me I told him I'd had a lightbulb "time and efficiency" idea and suggested that if he just took the bottle of beer and poured it directly down the toilet it would cut out using him as the middle man. It doesn't look like he was too impressed though!

And finally, because I couldn't sleep again last night (bloody elections - like everyone else I wish they were over), I got to listen to Trump's verbal diarrhoea at the press conference. I hadn't realized that all but two networks actually cut away from him after about 20 seconds, but I heard the whole 17 (I think) minutes and lord was it terrible. It was also very noticeable that he referred to Joe Biden as "Mr. Biden" and "Joe" - I wonder whatever happened to "sleepy Joe"! He then stormed out like the coward that he is and I think it was Jim Acosta that shouted after him "are you such a sore loser"? After that Donny Jr tweeted something about "daddy it's time to declare war" (not sure if that tweet is still up) and then I heard about Bannon "musing" about the possibility of beheading Dr. Fauci!!!!!!! Don't those tweets constitute incitement to violence? Dear god, what is this election coming to! Buuuuut shortly after that I saw Anderson Cooper describe Trump as "an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun realizing his time is over" and my anger at what I'd just heard just went up in a puff of Anderson smoke. I've always liked him anyway, but now? God I think he's great!

Anderson Cooper!

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Meh! I'm ready for this to be over!

By "this" I guess I mean the bloody election, the lockdown, the pandemic, you name it. Oh, and I'm sure I'll find a few more things to whinge about if you give me time!  Yet I know I have nothing to be complaining about but here we go again. There's a lack of energy - a sadness - in the air this time round. I suppose having the colder weather here doesn't help and then not being able go out into the mountains when we do get good weather since we're limited to one hour and 1 km from home yet again. Still see the positive I guess, we're almost one week in although how much does anyone think that we will be let back out on 1 December? I'm not sure I'll be betting on it! I think this time though I'll have to start walking locally because I'm getting cabin fever and I can sense it in André too, but then I realized he didn't go through the first 12-week lockdown because he was in Switzerland. He's been a bit "prowly" and has indeed taken himself off to walk in the woods a couple of times already. It's kinda sad when the highlight of your week turns out to be going grocery shopping with your mom to Lidl isn't it! Well that and getting out of your sweatpants. At least we had a good laugh this morning when we realized we were both dressed like a his-n-hers version of Vicki Pollard from Little Britain!

I have quite enjoyed cooking for someone again though, but he has never been difficult anyway. I bought a "first night" gift for when he arrived - although we could probably both have done with laying off the wine judging by the headaches we had the next morning!

People have been panic-buying a little I would guess but it hasn't been too bad this time round because everyone knows the stores are staying open. Traffic was horrendous when we first got locked down, with people trying to get where they had to be and back to their families. I'm just glad that Jen is on sick leave, André can work from home and just poor Jordan is still putting in all hours God sends at his plumbing job. Still, his last pay cheque was pretty nice, so I guess you can't have it all can you!

People trying to get out of Paris on Thursday night!

Wouldn't you know though that sod's law would dictate that André and Lily had their appointment at court on Friday to finalize their divorce - yeah, the first day of lockdown! There was some concern about whether he would be allowed to cross the border but everything went okay for that and within a month they should get their papers. Then on the afternoon he had booked an appointment at the bank to find out how much he could borrow if (when?) he decides to buy a place and it's looking very healthy - as long as he sticks to his budget because there won't be a second salary there to split the bills with this time. Still, he's seen a place being built that should be available next summer, so as soon as we're allowed out again he's hoping to go see a show home. He knows exactly where he wants to be, which is on the side of a mountain called Le Faucigny so that narrows things down a bit and is exactly where this second wave of buildings is going up!

Le Faucigny and the Arve valley!

We both stayed up half the night last night to watch the US elections - which was pretty stupid really because even now, 24 hours later, they still haven't called it. Then he saw that he had two missed phone calls from Lily and damn it but didn't she just find out that one of her close colleagues has tested positive for covid and she has been trying to get a test ever since - although thankfully not suffering any symptoms at the moment (and hopefully never). They hadn't seen each other in months and wham, they meet up again in court and that's what she finds out. More worryingly I saw that my ex has posted on FB that a lovely cousin of his is in hospital and on a ventilator??? I haven't seen D for years, of course, but on their 20th wedding anniversary they threw caution to the wind and treated themselves to a trip out to see us. We had a great time as they are such a lovely couple. God I hope he makes it through this. So no, seeing what other people are going through, even at a distance, makes me realize that I have nothing to whinge about. Two-by-four to the head duly applied!