The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Friday 31 December 2021

Happy new year!

I've been off-line for a few days (like most of us, I suspect) as there were things that needed doing, like family to see and food to eat, but first of all I'd like to thank all the lovely lady bloggers who sent me Christmas cards. It's such fun to get a Christmas card from half way around the world (mine were all from the US this year), but to those who received cards from me, I have to apologize for my handwriting. I think we started learning beautiful cursive writing pretty young - and then somehow someone forgot lesson two! Oh I write in cursive of course (I'm not that bad) but I have to admit my hand-writing is dreadful, so sorry about that!

Christmas Eve we had a small "raclette evening" at Jordan and Jen's (which I suspect will be where most of their festivities will be held while the babe is so small). There were only six of us plus the babe and it was really nice. After dinner we played a board game (can't remember the name), but I have to admit that I tend to zone out a bit after a while so I usually offer to take care of the babe (well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it)! It's hard to explain but we obviously play games in French so it can be a bit like asking a French person to mime "Cheech and Chong", or an American to mime "Eric and Ernie" (or anyone non-French to mime "Louis de Funes" - you have to have been brought up in the culture), so I guess you can see why my mind tends to wander. Or maybe we should stick to card games - now there's a thought! That being said, I used to zone out a bit playing Trivial Pursuit when I lived in the States because I know bugger all about baseball or American football (or Cheech and Chong, for that matter). Anyhoo, one time I decided I was going to cheat next time so spent a while memorising questions and answers for "the time when". Anyway, I can't remember what the question was now, but I remember the answer was Sandy Koufax - and I almost gave my father-in-law a coronary when I gave the Koufax answer to a question about baseball!

Getting home that night wasn't much fun though as it had frozen pretty hard by the time I left (the parking lot was dreadful) and I wasn't looking forward to the drive home. Basically you can go one way round the mountain through a place called Findrol (which is an accident black spot even on a good day), or you can go "the other way" down the Giffre valley which is well known for accidents involving deer and wild boar! Well actually you can go over the mountain past André's place but that goes back down the mountain on the side of a ravine so I decided to give that a miss! It seemed to me that everyone was taking it carefully on the way home though and thankfully I didn't run into any "strays". Once I got back down to Bonneville it was back up another mountain again to where I live (and where, again, you have to look out for the animals). There was a guy behind me most of the way from Bonneville to home and I thought I was holding a good speed, but when I got to my turn off point he blasted his horn and yelled something which I'm pretty sure wasn't Merry Christmas so I reckon I might have been driving a bit too slow for him, don't you (although that could just be female intuition)! Still I did get a little schadenfreude when the eejit hit a spot of black ice about 100 metres away and bounced merrily over the sidewalk a couple of times until he managed to get the car back under control!

Christmas Day was at my place and again there were just five of us plus the babe. I can't believe he's already nine months old and has had his first Christmas! I kept my kids' high chair all these years but when I dragged it up from the basement to clean it I couldn't find the table part for love nor money! I know I wouldn't have thrown it away and just kept the chair but .... Still, it worked out well enough as it was the perfect height for him to sit at the table with us and throw green beans around with gay abandon! Of course presents meant nothing to him but he got an awful lot of pleasure trying to eat the wrapping paper and any empty box he could get his hands on! I thought Jen was very good though because she made a point of saying that she really didn't want him to be spoiled (neither do I) and how did we feel about giving just a few presents in future and sewing gift bags instead of buying wrapping paper? I'm all for it - though I'm not sure how Jordan and André feel about the "sewing" part!

The next day Jen sent me a notice from their local Mairie. Apparently there had been a very strong smell in the surrounding area and along the river Giffre that had entailed around 100 firemen being called out looking for a gas leak, so they called André and asked if they could move in with him for a couple of nights if necessary. I told André they could come here but he'd have to have Leni the Horrible Cat! It wasn't necessary in the end but the smell did linger for a couple of days and everyone was asked to check their fuel tanks for a possible leak. I'm not sure what happened but I think it's been sorted now (or at least I hope so)!

Jen's mom very kindly invited me to her new place (she moved in two weeks ago) to spend NYE with her and her boyfriend, Fabrice, as she didn't want me to be alone. I thought it best to be honest and thanked her for her invite but told her that I genuinely dislike NYE and dislike being on the roads even more. That's when she said "but my friend Niko will be here too" and the dreadful thought occurred to me that she might be trying to set me up with Niko. Ehhhh, no thanks. I've met Niko and I'm definitely not interested, any more than I'm interested in being set up with anyone, thank you very much! So I'll be spending NYE all on my lonesome (and very happy about it too), while Jordan and Jen are having a couple of friends over and André is going to a friend's in Geneva and spending the night!

On another note, I'm now 14 lbs down (and very happy about it) as I still haven't really got my sense of smell or taste back. I had to laugh on Wednesday when I went grocery shopping because I walked out of the shop having paid just €14 for my groceries (I usually spend around €100), but nothing seemed to appeal to me. I'm guessing I'll start putting weight back on soon enough and goodness knows I'd like to be interested in cooking again, but in the meantime bread and cheese seems to be the extent of my culinary expertise at the moment. Mind you, I'm sure Weight Watchers is probably an infinitely preferable alternative to weight loss from catching covid! And to think of all that walking I did and got absolutely nowhere with the weight loss (1,200 miles in 2021 - definitely needs improvement)!

My nephew sent me an email the other day (after I'd been whinging about the state of British politics) giving me the name of a book - whose author he knew slightly - and which was quite a best-seller, telling me that it might give me a better understanding of just how dire all three political parties now are in the UK! I'll have to look it back up again when I've finished my current read!

Wow! I've almost gotten a
repetitive stress injury from bookmarking
pages and I'm only on chapter 3!

The book is hard-going and a bit like wading through molasses but occasionally I like to really get my teeth into something like this. I had hoped to get it in hard copy but apparently it's only sold in electronic format because at the end of each chapter there's a "QR code" where you can update your copy for more up-to-date information!

After a couple of hours of wading through that I decided I needed something a bit more light-hearted (ya don't say!) and ended up watching Being The Ricardos - the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz story - and I really enjoyed it. Man, they were a firey couple, but so well-suited - when they weren't scratching each other's eyes out. For some reason many people don't seem to like Nicole Kidman but I thought she was very good, and as for Javier Bardem (who played Desi), well that man could just stand there and not say a word and I'd be happy - but he actually can act!

And finally, I was chatting with my sister on Christmas Day and we got to talking about just how hard mom had it on Christmas Day (in particular) and wondering how on earth she managed with all those kids, that tiny kitchen, three pots and pans basically, and no appliances! We had a good laugh but I had to ask her if she thought maybe we were glorifying the past and oddly enough she said "no, I don't think we are. We were much poorer but I actually think we were maybe happier"! And I tend to think she was right!

So on that note, I'll wish you all a happy new year and hopefully 2022 will be kinder to us all!

Monday 20 December 2021

Time to change jobs?

I got an email this morning from the Direction Nationale de la Gendarmerie in Paris because apparently I'd been "caught looking at child pornography" on my computer. They kindly gave me 72 hours to respond to their email with all justification as to why they shouldn't go ahead and prosecute me! I guess it makes a change from the widow of the former Director of Finances at the World Bank in Ouagadougou who wants to put $10 million in my bank account right? I know I shouldn't, but more and more I write back to these jerks and tell them exactly where they can shove a cactus - and then I block them! I guess it might get me into trouble one day if I fire that off to the wrong person, but since I've never looked at child pornography I'd guess I'm pretty safe on this one! Which reminds me of my brief foray into online dating in 2010 after my husband left (and yay me, I'll be divorced 10 years next week)! As a woman of a certain age you do tend to get some guy who looks like a gorilla sending you his picture with the caption "I'm just what you need"! I guess they think all divorced women over the age of 50 are just gagging for it, right, and while it never happened to me I knew of other women who received unsollicited dick pics. An Irish friend of mine replied to one such gem with "that looks like a penis, only smaller", but I did see a text message which I thought was pretty good and saved just in case - although thankfully that never happened to me! Still, if it could get rid of World Bank widows and accusations of looking at child pornography I'm up for most things!

Oh and I meant to write about the North Shropshire by-election last week but somehow it slipped my mind. Wow and just wow! The Tories (Conservatives) have held the North Shropshire seat for almost 200 years so I guess you could say it was considered a safe Tory seat - until now! It came up for grabs when Bojo's crony, Owen Paterson, had to step down in a cash-for-influence scandal and I guess the Tories were so confident it was a safe seat that they ran a candidate who wasn't even from the local area and didn't know anything about it. So the seat went to the Liberal Democrats with a fairly convincing majority - and the Conservatives are running pretty scared, what with all Johnson's screw-ups in the last few weeks/months/forevers! Not that I think it will make much of a difference in the long run because there seems to be no front-runner candidate to replace Johnson - and no real opposition from either the Labour Party or the Lib Dems! God helps us, but it's the same thing here in France. Macron has not, as yet, declared as a candidate for next year's Presidential election and yet the other night he was on TV for over two hours patting himself on the back so hard for all his "achievements" he almost dislocated his shoulder - a move that pissed off the declared candidates because as a candidate they are all bound to have an equal amount of air time - and yet Macron, as an as yet non-candidate, is getting to use the airwaves as long as he wants! The elections will take place in spring but I have no real hope that we will get rid of him. I think it will be either him or his female clone, Valérie Pecresse, that will get in because they've got the big money behind them. It's sad as there are other candidates (and I know who I would vote for if I only had a vote - which I don't), but I suspect they won't be able to counter the deep pockets of Macron's backers! It's just awful to think we might be looking at another five years of more of the same - or even worse!

And finally, I met André at Ford this afternoon as he was dropping off his car to get winter tyres put on. When we got back to the house he told me that he'd just learned that yet another colleague had dropped dead last week of a sudden heart attack!!!!! Wow, if people were unsettled before I can only begin to imagine how they are feeling right now! Time to look for another job maybe?

Sunday 19 December 2021

A brief period of being almost normal!

I posted some time ago how a pass sanitaire was introduced into France about six months ago allowing unfettered movement only to those who had been double-vaxed, those who could show a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old, or those who had recovered from covid within the last six months. This pass was supposed to be in place until 15 November. Well we all know how that works because - in no particular order the pass was extended until 31 July 2022 (beyond the mandate of the current president????), the PCR test validity was cut back from 72 hours, to 48 hours and now stands at 24 hours and "fully vaccinated" is now taken to mean triple-vaxed (or however many more shots can be inserted into the definition of "fully vaccinated" before this house of cards comes tumbling down)! Those without the pass are not allowed into restaurants, bars, cafés, theatres, gyms, museums, on long distance transport or into hospitals for routine medical appointments! Hold on to that last bit as this is important because of what follows!

I went grocery shopping on Monday and bumped into J, who used to be the sewing teacher about five years ago when I joined sewing club. I think she's 78 years old - in any case, nearer 80 than 70 - and after I'd pulled my mask down so that she recognized me, we got to catching up on how she/we'd been over the past five years. I always liked J as I think she is a kind, gentle soul (who liked to practice her English on me)! Anyway, she remarked that I'd lost weight so I told her I'd not long gotten over covid and had lost my appetite, and that was when she told me she'd recently gotten over covid too, even though she'd been double-vaxed. Turns out she had pretty much the same experience as I did in that, while it wasn't pleasant, it really was no big deal and other than the tiredness, the symptoms were pretty much done and dusted in about four days. Then she told me that she had lost weight, though not because of covid, but because she had been having problems with her oesophagus and the doctors wanted her to go to the hospital in Thonon for more tests. She told me she was afraid it might be cancer as her throat kept closing up - but wanted to avoid her mind going down that rabbit hole if possible, as she was really worried!

Anyway, about a month ago this government, in its wisdom, decided that "fully vaxed" for anyone over 65 would now mean two shots and a booster before 15 January, otherwise the pass sanitaire would be deactivated! So everyone 65 and over was "invited" to get their booster shot and while initially it had to be done no more than six months after the second shot, it was then brought down to no more than five months after the second shot, and has now been brought down to no more than four months after the second shot! Oh, and that "invitation" has now been expanded to include anyone over 18! The last figures I saw showed around 400,000 people over the age of 65 had "politely declined" the government's invitation to get the booster shot since they were told "two and done" and are not at all happy to hear that "two and done" never actually meant that! This third mandatory shot seems to be making a fair few people rethink their stance on this issue, but who knows what they will decide to do in a few weeks' time - I honestly don't know!

Anyhow, back to J. She was telling me she does not want to get the third shot because she was so ill after the second, so I said but "if you've recovered from covid your pass is valid for at least another six months anyway"! Not so, apparently, since the third, booster shot apparently trumps the fact that she has recently recovered from covid! So all that is to say that she cannot go for the tests she needs at the hospital without that booster shot - oh and because the powers that be have now decided that they will no longer accept PCR testing either! Damn those bastards, what is this, Nazi Germany where you have to show a pass to see a doctor? This lady played by the rules and she is still being screwed over by being denied treatment because of decisions made by Pinnochio and his henchmen! At this she started to cry so I leaned over and hugged her - I mean, what else could I do? So now I'm fully expecting the Thought Control Police to be tracking me down via cc-tv for "intimate contact outside my mind control bubble"! Sorry folks, but can you see why I get so mad!!!!

Actually it will be interesting to see what happens with the "recently recovered" (which would include me) and the pass sanitaire! I mentioned before that my neighbours got covid around the same time as I did. The kids (16 and 19) sailed through it, the husband never contracted it, and Isa had pretty much the same experience as I did. I took a parcel in for them the other day and she was saying she was happy that she could put off getting her booster shot now that she'd got the "recently recovered" pass, but since she's in the same situation as J, above, I'll be curious to see how the overlords treat her!

Another lady from sewing club's partner is much older than her and recently contracted covid also (she never got it), so I called to find out how he was doing. She laughed and said after his 10-day self-isolation he had gone off cross-country skiing as he was just fine (thank God)! So there you have it, a group of people who have all recently had covid and, for us anyway, we've all had the same, fairly mild experience (all the others were vaxed, I would add)! I actually don't know whether I had Delta or Omicron, but if it was Omicron hopefully it might prove true that while Omicron is pretty contagious it's much less serious!

In other news André heard that his colleague who died suddenly (age 37) last month had had a heart attack and people are still pretty shaken up about it! What sad and weird times we're living in right!

Since I finally have a pass sanitaire (although for how much longer if they are now changing the rules? - oh what it feels like to be "briefly" normal), I was able to join a few colleagues at a restaurant in Geneva last week. While I was waiting for them to show up a retired Indian colleague came and sat with me and we got chatting about retirement and kids and so on. I had worked for her father-in-law when I first came to Geneva and while he definitely had his issues he was very kind to me and I thought well of him. She was telling me she would like to visit family in India but the situation being what it is there is no way she would even attempt it right now. So I commented that despite a fairly catastrophic start to the pandemic (because of their sheer population size), India seemed to have managed this pandemic well! At that she said that as far as far as she was concerned, Modi (their PM) was an angel, and had it been anyone else they would have been in big trouble! Isn't it nice to hear someone say how their elected politicians seem to have got it right!

So who knows "what sauce they will eat us with next" (that's a French expression). As from January they are going to present a draft law to take the PCR test component out of the pass sanitaire definitively, but goodness knows where that leaves me as a "recently recovered"! I do see people baulking at this third shot though, even more so since the Health Minister is already talking about a fourth!!!! Who knows, maybe this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back! Either that or pushing the jabs on kids (with the attendant pass sanitaire being dependent on it for those over age 11) - that could well do it where people say "no more"! Oh and about 10 minutes ago I just read where the PM was in a vaccination centre set up for children in Le Mans (in the north of France) yesterday and they've just found out that they accidentally administered adult doses to six children while he was there! I tell ya, if I had a bottle of wine to hand right now ...  but I don't, which is probably a good thing!

In an effort to try to cheer myself up, the other night I watched The Greatest Showman on streaming. While it was good (and Hugh Jackman is gorgeous), when I found myself fast-forwarding through the song and dance bits I knew it wasn't really for me. Still, at least I tried right?

And I finally finished the book Wintering (I flit from book to book) and I think I get what she was trying to say. At the very least she went through a depression - if not a breakdown - and the book describes how she "gave herself permission" to practice self-care and lick her wounds, as it turns out during winter. Her basic premise is that animals give themselves permission to hibernate and just take care of themselves during winter so maybe we would do well to follow suit and allow ourselves time to heal and just "be" occasionally! Something to think about in these dark times perhaps!

Sunday 12 December 2021


You'll be glad to hear that the post title has nothing to do with Boris Johnson for once (although it's pretty appropriate, all the same)! No, the other day quite by chance I stumbled across a Youtube interview with a man called Randy Rush, who won $50 million (Canadian) in 2015 and has seemingly used that money to benefit many individuals and charitable causes. Google describes him as "an author and social justice advocate". Whether that's true or not, he certainly came over as a very likeable man. He wrote a book called 13 Billion To One describing his megawin, and while I've downloaded a sample I haven't actually gotten round to reading it yet. More interesting to me, though, is another book he wrote called Bloodsuckers. It is the story of how a couple called Jeremy and Amy Crawford - a couple he knew through Jeremy's father before he won the money - used him and his money in one of their many "marketing opportunities". According to Mr. Rush, this couple were con artists of the highest order and he outlines their various rackets in great detail going back as far as he can! They created businesses, pyramid schemes, luxury magazines that never published an issue and conned mainly "little people" out of money they could ill afford to lose. When Randy won the big one they must have felt they'd hit the jackpot and, I believe, did indeed con him out of a significant amount of money. I haven't finished the book yet but I understand he got some of it back and wrote this book to set the record straight and hopefully bring them down (if that hasn't already happened)! As I say, I haven't finished the book yet but it is just amazing the bare-faced lies this couple told to ordinary folk and got away with for so long! I'm not sure which televangelist it was that begged his stool pigeons to "send however many dollars you can because otherwise I fear God will call me home" (apparently God called him to prison instead)! It's a bit dry as a book, mainly just detailing the cons, but I go to bed to read most nights and think whaaattttt????? I probably shouldn't still be surprised that this BS exists - but I am!

It took a while but I'm finally feeling my energy coming back after covid and sinusitis. I'll whisper this but I think I may also be over the sinusitis too - but don't tell anyone as I don't want to jinx it! So with that I've started putting up my Christmas tree/decorations - something I hate doing actually - but needs must. I guess it says more about me that I prefer taking them down than putting them up, although I really do enjoy it when it's all decorated!

And remember my writing a while ago about collecting stamps from the local supermarket in order to buy bath towels at what turns out to be about half price. I lucked out when a gent handed me a whole packet of stamps so ordered grey and white (they only had those two colours) bath towels and hand towels for André and Jordan and Jen. Well I got a message from the supermarket to say that my order was finally in, but when I stopped in to pick them up yesterday the lady apologized and said that the truck had got stuck and only the grey towels had come through and did I want to wait? I told her I'd wait as it was easier to pick up the whole order in one go, but I had to laugh at the lack of tenacity - true grit, if you like - of the white towels seeing as how they just wimped out while the grey towels made it through!

I mentioned earlier that one of the side effects (of covid?/sinusitis?) was that I lost my sense of taste and smell. I have to agree that something might have been off with my sense of taste because I made two different soups this week and I reckon both of them were capable of either blowing my brains out with the chili in them or sending my blood pressure through the roof with the amount of salt I used!

Then yesterday I finally got to see the Munchkin. I'd put it off for a couple of days because of the snow but yesterday I decided to go over there and take the shorter, mountain route as I really think I was starting to become a wimp re driving on the snow. I'm glad I did because it was fine! Okay, you don't go belting round any bends if you've got any sense, but the road was ploughed and very driveable so I'm glad I didn't wimp out on that one. When I got there Charlie had just woken up from a really long sleep. Jen asked if I would hold him while she got on with some stuff but mentioned that he'd been a bit lethargic as he'd been constipated for a couple of days. No problem, we just sat and watched mom going about her business, when all of a sudden there was a humongous "ripping" sound and I reckon Charlie suddenly didn't feel quite so lethargic any more! One thing it did confirm to me, though, is that my sense of smell has very definitely come back! Ah, God love 'im!

Friday 10 December 2021

Letting off steam!

I was going to go over and see the Munchkin today but Mother Nature had other plans. It just wasn't worth risking it. It snowed overnight and while it's calmed down a bit now we're due more snow continuing until tomorrow morning. After that it's forecast nice weather so hopefully it'll melt! Still, there's one thing to be said about shovelling snow - it lets off steam, which is good for both my sinuses and my temper tantrum from yesterday! 

Down the road from here!

Out front - the plough had been round first thing though!

Out back - they weren't bothered!

And I know I've posted this before, but I needed to change the thoughts clattering round in my head so had a bit of a binge-watch of Only Fools And Horses! "Play it nice an' cool son, nice an' cool!"

Thursday 9 December 2021

Bloody hypocrites!

I guess it's a good thing I went to Annecy to do some shopping today because I reckon if I had written this post last night or this morning my blood pressure would have gone through the roof! I'm much calmer now thankfully - but then I haven't finished writing either have I?

So the latest example of Boris Johnson's assholery to hit the fan stands a chance, in my humble opinion, of being the one that brings the arrogant bastard down - eventually. Let's hope so, is all I can say! The problem is, he's far from being the only one who thinks he gets to dictate the rules but that they only apply to "the little people"!

There's a leaked video doing the rounds of Macron and a whole bunch of people having an unmasked, non-socially-distanced knees-up at the Elysée Palace recently (I can't be arsed to go looking for the link, but believe me it's out there)! Then I wrote a post recently about how the French PM had come down with covid - goodness knows where he caught it, but masking up and social distancing weren't his forte either!

Castex and the French Minister of the Interior recently!

Then what about California Governor Gavin Newsom who, while exhorting people to keep socially distant and wear masks, was caught out with his wife and a whole bunch of other people at the fancy French Laundry restaurant! See, the rules don't apply to them do they!

And of course they definitely don't apply to Boris Johnson and his cronies - never have, never will! Johnson likes to play the "loveable buffoon" but he's actually a callous prick who once set light to a £50 note in front of a homeless man! Yeah, loveable buffoon my arse!

Then there's the rest of them - in no particular order:

Matt Hancock, the then Health Minister, not keeping at all socially distant recently with his side-piece, something which eventually cost him his marriage and his job!

Matt Hancock

Or what about ol' chipmunk cheeks, Michael Gove, who flew to Portugal to watch the football and then claimed he "didn't have to self-isolate" on his return because he'd suddenly become part of a never-before-heard-of trial to see how people travelling overseas got on if they didn't self-isolate!

Chipmunk Cheeks Gove

Or there was "My Brains Are Too Big For My Head" former Johnson "bestie" who "thought there was something wrong with his eyes" so got in his car and drove 100 miles to "test them out" (as you do) while the country was in strict lockdown!

Dominic Cummings

Or how about Hooray Henry in Chief, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who inherited £180 million when his father died (do any of them ever get anywhere on merit?). There's a video of him somewhere around the age of 14 speaking with an accent like he's got a poker up his arse while being driven to school in a Rolls-Royce! This is the genius whose solution to the U.K.'s truck driver shortage was to make the test easier by "cutting out the part of the test where they had to reverse"!!! No kidding, that was the solution poker arse came up with????? And of course, the only time Rees-Mogg was ever seen "socially-distancing" was when he felt it appropriate to have a lie down when Parliament was in session!

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Anyway, what bought this rant on is that a couple of days ago news/videos were leaked of (I think) three Christmas parties that were held at No. 10 (Downing Street - the home of the Prime Minister) this time last year while the whole country was in strict lockdown. People were banned from having contact with anyone outside their immediate bubble, they couldn't be with their loved ones in hospital or as they were dying alone in nursing homes. And then of course they were obliged to have "zoom funerals". What the bloody hell is a "zoom funeral"? - where all but immediate family were prevented from seeing off their loved ones in person!!!! On a side note I'm glad both my mom and brother died before this shit happened because I can't even begin to imagine how devastating it would have been for them (and us) to have them die alone!

So back to the plot. Boris Johnson and the current Mrs. Johnson (they say when you marry your mistress you create a vacancy and he does have form!) live in the apartment above the PM's offices at No. 10 Downing Street, where last year definitely two, if not three, parties were held. Last week E.T.'s big brother, Sajid Javid, categorically denied that any parties had taken place - categorically!

Sajid Javid, the new Health Minister

Things then started to go pear-shaped and Dominic Raab - ah yes, Dominic Raab ... He used to be the Foreign Minister who once, when talking about increasing covid cases in Réunion (which is French) made some comment words to the effect that "wouldn't it be terrible if they got on the metro in Paris and the numbers exploded" and someone had to explain to the poor dolt that Réunion is an island in the Indian Ocean so the likelihood of them catching the Paris metro was little to none! Anyway, after he categorically refused to come back off his fancy holiday when they started withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, leaving some poor underling in the British Ambassador's office to get as many British citizens out of there as possible, Dominic Raab was transferred to the new position of Justice Secretary????? Just a couple of days ago Raab said he "had no knowledge of any parties going on at No. 10, but if they did (what? they were banned!!!!) he was certain protocols had been followed! Say what? Then he tried to say that as it happened a year ago the police wouldn't look into it as it was "old news". Again, say what??? They are still prosecuting the plebs at the moment for holding parties last year, and if there was any doubt in Raab's mind that parties actually took place at No. 10, why didn't he ask the police officers who are permanently stationed outside the front door?

Dominic Raab - light's on, nobody's home!

Anyway, as rumblings got louder and leaked videos found their way into the public domain, not a single Conservative Minister was available to talk to mainstream media. Apparently Javid was scheduled to be intereviewed by one media channel but pulled out because there's not one of them that can find a single pathetic excuse for what happened at No. 10!

So why is this all coming to light now, after a year? Well it's obviously politically motivated. Someone waited until Bojo was flailing more than usual and leaked the videos the day before Prime Minister's Question Time (PMQs) so that he'd have less time to come up with an excuse! Oh he tried to bluster his way through it of course, saying that "he had no idea this was going on" (he lives in the flat above the office and didn't hear 50+ people having a party???) but he would ask one of his flakies to "look into it" and he would take "appropriate action"! What's the betting more leaked video comes out actually showing him at one of the parties? Not saying it will, but I think that's where I'd put my money!

Keir Starmer, the new leader of the Labour Party, is a lawyer and a smart man, and he, and the Scottish MP, Ian Blackford (and others) did a good job of pinning down Johnson who was squirming like bait on a hook. And oddly enough, while it was expected that Conservative MPs would avoid PMQs, they didn't and it was they that were yelling out "hypocrite" as Johnson was denying all knowledge of any parties! (On a side note, the former leader of the Labour Party was Jeremy Corbyn, who was so unpalatable as a leader that Johnson was elected to power because there was basically no opposition. My nephew is a life-long Labour supporter and works in the Labour Party archives and I think even he has hope for Labour at the next election)!

You might not want to watch the whole video, but if you do, Ant and Dec (see 15 seconds) are two British comedians who picked up on the brewing storm even before the papers published anything. At 1.40 minutes you see Allegra Stratton, a Johnson adviser, and a whole bunch of other people a couple of days after one of the parties joking about how they would respond to questions if "it ever got out", and at 2.30 minutes you have Mr. Poker Up His Arse, Jacob Rees-Mogg laughing and joking about what a "jolly jape" they were all having and "of course they were all socially-distanced because they only had to be two inches apart didn't they"?

Allegra Stratton has already been thrown under the bus and has resigned, but methinks Boris will have to order a whole new fleet of buses for all the other people he will throw under the bus while he desperately tries to cling to power!

Today, as I was leaving home to drive to Annecy I drove past the village primary school, where a whole bunch of little kids were running around outside playing with masks on, thus solidifying the idea that the rules only apply to "the little people"!

Rant over, I'm going to bed!

Monday 6 December 2021

A good move!

I wish I'd thought to take a picture from my balcony first thing this morning, as the sun was shining, it had snowed heavily overnight and the farmer had his sheep in the field behind my house and it was all so pretty, with the sheep looking like miniature snowmen - albeit horizontal snowmen!

And no surprise here, but I've spent the last however many days at home until today as while I was over covid (three negative tests, including the last one today) I was still really, really tired - which seems to be one of the most common side-effects! Then on Friday morning I woke up with a pain in my ear and a blocked nose and somehow managed to have contracted sinusitis! Damn, I haven't had so much as a cold in years and this year I'm definitely making up for it! I expect it's got a lot to do with being run down actually as I had no energy and decided to spend however long I needed just sitting on the sofa reading. I also had no appetite (still don't really) and on a positive note I am down 10 lbs this morning from when I tested positive for covid! I was still drinking gallons, mind, but I just couldn't be bothered to eat (another common side effect apparently). Anyway, in view of the sinusitis I thought I'd better get back to the saline solution and the ginger and honey tea so I'm kinda hoping it'll be gone in a day or two! I knew I'd seen somewhere that someone mentioned dabbing the inside of the ear with a drop of hydrogen peroxide to disinfect it and I'm hoping that will have helped also (or maybe I'll just go totally deaf - who knows)! When I spoke to Jen on zoom she told me that she'd seen a home remedy of someone cooking an onion (in a microwave), wrapping it in a cloth and placing it on the ear and while I'm sure it works (I believe onions and garlic, in particular, have wonderful healing properties), I could just imagine the neighbour letting herself into my home and finding me passed out on the sofa with an onion in my ear!

Ms Moon mentioned today that she'd had the sweetest dream last night and all I can say is lucky her, as I had yet another nightmare about my ex-husband. It's always him (not that I get nightmares very often) and I think I read somewhere that they can occur when the body is overheated or run down. Could be true because when I get them it's usually early morning, which is when I tend to feel too hot. Anyway, last night "he" had yet again come into my house while I was out and rearranged my entire kitchen - moved the oven, switched everything around in the cupboards and so on. And then "a friend of his" came over and I couldn't get either of them to leave. They don't last long but I think it tends to prove that my ex can still bother me (even if only subconsciously) if I have to think about him for any reason! He did, indeed, have a Drunken Asshole Friend/drinking buddy (DAF) who was a complete waste of space, always wanting to go out drinking in Geneva and perpetually broke - but then DAF was a single guy who rented a room in Geneva (when he managed to pay the rent) and had the rest of his salary to go out boozing with my husband. While none of this excuses my husband's behaviour, this particular DAF definitely intruded into my family life and was the biggest pain in the butt!

I remember his employer was contacted by a court in Germany for non-payment of debts over there and I ended up spending my entire weekend drafting letters to his creditors offering for him to pay lesser amounts if they would accept it. With two young kids and a full-time job, I mean, it's not like I had anything better to do, right? Came to find out many months later that he never even bothered to mail the letters! Then one weekend he was yet again sleeping off a hangover at our house when my husband came to me and asked if I would drive into town and buy DAF a carton of cigarettes - it had to be me as DAF had no money and ex-asshat had no driving licence! What a pair of winners those two were - a real pair of Chuckle Brothers. So folks, I guess if you ever want dating/lifestyle advice you know who not to come to!

In other news the Munchkin has finally figured out how to crawl forwards and since Jen has put me to shame and actually got her Christmas tree up I guess she's gonna have to watch out now! I stopped in at the pharmacy to get some more saline solution today so then decided to head off on my first outing in goodness knows how long. I knew a walk would be the best thing to get rid of the cobwebs and gunk in my head and it certainly helped! I walked around the lake at Thyez, which was only a 30 minute walk and just five minutes from Jordan and Jen's place, but I thought better of stopping in as I didn't want to pass my sinusitis (or anything else) on to them after they've had a rough few weeks! I guess I'll have to wait a few more days to see the Munchkin and his forward-motion crawling achievements!

And finally, I saw that someone had recommended the Netflix film Red Notice so I decided to give it a shot last night. Frankly starring Dwayne Johnson didn't really do it for me as I figured it would be all "bang, bang, you're dead" and him walking through 1,000 bullets with just a scratch on his cheek (I was right), but after I made it through the first couple of minutes I have to say I enjoyed it. It was, of course, ridiculous and silly but Ryan Reynolds (who I didn't know) and The Rock played the silly dialogue to the hilt and I ended up enjoying it. So I guess you really shouldn't judge a book (or a film) by it's cover, should you!

Tuesday 30 November 2021


It's two weeks today since I tested positive for covid so the kids and I did another test yesterday and we've all come back negative so that's good. We were told we only had to self-isolate for 10 days as long as we didn't have a temperature (I never did anyway) but since I had nowhere to be I decided to give it two full weeks and just stay home. That was probably a good idea because I have been pretty tired but feel I might be turning a corner on that too now! Funnily enough, right at the beginning of covid, my trainer at the gym was one of the first people I know to get it (March 2020) and when I saw him last I asked how it had been and he just said exhausted for two weeks. Now he's a youngster and extremely fit - everything I'm not - but I have to agree on the tiredness part. And, I lost my appetite (another common symptom apparently), although I've always drunk gallons so I wasn't too worried about that! One thing I am looking forward to though is going down to the lake at Passy (on my own) for a good walk to get rid of the cobwebs cluttering up my brain for the last couple of weeks!

That being said, we got our first snow dump on Monday - quite a lot of it in fact - so going anywhere didn't have much appeal anyway. And then 24 hours later all the excitement has calmed down and we can enjoy the snow and the bright sunshine once again. While I'm always more careful on the snow, I have to admit I just love this weather and will be glad to get back out and about again. I obviously don't do too well being cooped up!

Thursday 25 November 2021

Guess what!

Remember my saying a couple of posts ago how I'd spent a few days helping out with Charlie when he was cranky as hell and Jen was exhausted? Well I was cried on, dribbled on, puked on and pooped on but eventually we got there, although not before Jen had taken him to the doctor's who confirmed rhino-pharangitis (or whatever that is in English). Jen kept blasting saline solution up his nose (much to his disgust), thereby managing to prevent him from getting gunk on his chest and in about four days he was over it. Well Sunday night I got a message from Jen to say that they'd just received notification from the crèche saying they would be closed this week as one of the babies in Charlie's group has covid! Needless to say Jordan, Jen and the babe got tested Monday morning and all three of them came up positive! So it was off to the test centre for me and guess what - I showed up positive too (and Jen's mom, as it turns out). So yeah, there you have it, all five of us got covid via Charlie/the crèche, all the while thinking we had just contracted colds! But I'm happy to say, it's been perfectly fine. Seriously, in all our cases, it has been nothing to write home about! While I know that's not the case for many people, we've just sailed through with what I can only describe as a seasonal cold!

I've mentioned before that I don't really mix anyway so I've never been too worried about catching it, but then of course I'd never be in circumstances where I'd be that close to anyone other than the babe! Thankfully, other than going between their house and my house I didn't go anywhere last week so I never unknowingly infected anyone else either. It started with a very low-grade, all-encompassing headache, which I put down to having my bedroom too hot, and then a bunged up nose and that was it for the duration! Oh I had a bit of an ache in the back, which I put down to not going to yoga for three weeks and, in retrospect, I realize I was probably tireder than usual and had lost my appetite, but it was nothing to make me suspect covid! When I told my sister her first reaction was "well if you'd got the jab you probably wouldn't have caught it" (nope, I don't believe even a jabbed individual would be safe getting vomited on by an infected person), and then she tried "well it wouldn't have been so bad" (what, less bad than a bunged up nose?), so in the end I told her to let it be. She made her choice, I made mine and I'm good with it - but that still doesn't explain how my triple-jabbed neighbours have all come down with covid either does it (nothing to do with me, thankfully). So there you have it, hopefully one and done as far as we are concerned! It also means we will all now get the ubiquitous pass sanitaire, which is only available to people who have been triple-jabbed or who have recovered from covid! It won't make an awful lot of difference to my life anyway as I have no intention of going out night-clubbing, but it will be nice to be able to sit on a café terrace for a coffee, something we unjabbed have been banned from doing for the past however many months!

I have to say that the French securité sociale (the medical system) kicked in very quickly and efficiently after my positive test as I was bombarded with messages telling me what to do and asking if I needed financial help, medical help, assistance with my living arrangements or food shopping and so on (all of which was a "no thank you", of course), and then today I got a call asking for more details of my movements and who I had had contact with. I told the young woman that I was fine and that she didn't need to contact Jordan and Jen as we were all aware and had all tested positive, but she told me she had to call them for recording purposes so that was fine too!

Now while I may not have chosen to get the jab, I have been following quite a few online doctors/experts who have been giving advice on what to do if you get sick. Here I have to say Dr. Eric Berg is just wonderful (although not the only one) and as each doctor gave their recommendations I looked up the product they were recommending and put it into my online Amazon basket. Not that I ordered everything of course, but I accumulated what I thought were the most helpful videos/recommendations and watched how you go about making sure you can clear mucus from your airways (not that it happened in my case anyway) and so on. But the most common recommendations seemed to be for Vitamin C, D3, Zinc, K2, Quercetin, Glutathion and NAC (N-acetyl-L-cystein), which, I understand is kept on hand by many doctors in the case, most commonly of Tylenol and/or alcohol poisoning. Basically it's a potent anti-oxidant and detox (or at least that's my understanding). So a few weeks ago I dumped everything out of my Amazon basket except those things and luckily for me I had them all on hand when covid caught me out and started taking them as soon as I was confirmed. Maybe they helped, maybe they didn't, but I have to say none of us have been any sicker than a regular cold, except that it maybe lasted a bit longer than a seasonal cold would by a couple of days!

Anyway, we're all over it now and can come out of self-isolation as from tomorrow. Now André's peeved because he said if he realized that was all it was going to be he would rather have caught it and got it over with, but then he would throw a wobbly if he ever thought Charlie was going to spit up on him so maybe he'll never catch it!

While I didn't need anything (another reason I'm eternally grateful that I keep a well-stocked pantry), André (who has repeatedly tested negative) did a bit of running around for Jordan and Jen. He was telling me that he stopped in at the pharmacy for them the other day and was flirting up a storm with a pretty assistant when Jordan called him and asked him to buy some diarrhea medication (I guess that was one of Jordan's side effects) - which kinda put the kibosh on André's flirting!

Oh, another bit of juicy news is that France's vile Prime-Minister, Jean Castex, has just tested positive for covid also! This is the guy who has been banging the gavel about how we needed to be strict about obeying the guidelines and if we didn't there would be stiff penalties to pay. The same Jean Castex who categorically stated in July that if you were double-vaxed it was impossible to catch or transmit covid (WRONG), so the guy is either lying about his vaccine status (which is what I believe) or he doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to listening to medical advice. More to the point, Mr. "We all have to follow the guidelines or there will be consequences" was filmed at a recent Mayor's Congress fraternizing with mayors from all over France, not wearing a mask and shaking hands with everyone! He then travelled to Brussels where he met his Belgian counterpart just one day before being declared covid-positive and the French media are having a field day!

Castex and the French Minister of the Interior at the
recent Mayors' Congress!

When questioned about this behaviour, Gabriel Attal, France's chihuahua in chief official spokesman said it was just "a human lapse of judgement". Such "human lapse of judgement" would get you or I a €135 fine but then I suppose the rules only apply to the little people, don't they! Do as I say, not as I do!

And finally, around lunchtime there was a knock at my door so I leaned out my window and told the elderly gent that I wouldn't open my door as I had covid but could I help him. Turns out he was from our village Mairie bringing Christmas baskets to all the "elderly" people in the village (and yeah, he'd got the wrong address - he was looking for Mme Mugnier). Normally they have a Christmas lunch for everyone in the village over the age of 65 and since it was cancelled yet again this year they were distributing hampers instead. But I thought it was sweet of him to stop back a couple of minutes later and ask if I needed any help. I don't, of course, but it was nice to know someone cared enough to ask! So stay safe everyone and happy Thanksgiving to my friends in the U.S.!

Saturday 20 November 2021

And here we go again!

One of the neighbours in our little housing unit has just got a totally new roof installed. Well quite a few neighbours have been doing that recently actually. Last year I got all new insulation put in and my roof treated (come to think of it, that might be part of the reason why my heating bill has gone way down, don't you think), but these people got a totally new roof and man are those guys hard-working! They've been showing up really early and working until it gets dark (I guess they have to work while the weather permits, right?) and while a crane has been depositing the tiles on the roof, these guys are the ones humping stacks of tiles to wherever they need to be before installing them! As I say, that's damn hard work!

Talking of hard work, for the foreseeable future Jordan is working just down the road from me where they are building several new apartment buildings. I kinda like these apartments and might have been interested in one of them on the top floor except that they don't have a lift, so nah, I won't be going there! Anyway, when I've got time I've been making a cake and taking it down for the guys to eat with their lunch and I have to say he looked exhausted the other day. After Charlie's operation he managed to get a cold, followed by a cough and neither Jen nor Jordan got much sleep last week as the babe was crabby. Oh Jen's been pumping serum physiologique (saline solution?) into his nose to make sure to get that gunk out and he seems to be pretty much over it now, but that was a rough week for the three of them. But talking of the babe's operation, immediately after the procedure he pretty much stopped dribbling like a water cannon and - something we noticed this week - he can now actually tip his head back and look at the ceiling - something he seemingly hadn't been able to do previously, as I guess it pulled on his neck too much! So all in all, despite being unpleasant, getting that procedure was a good move! I spent a few hours over there on Wednesday to try to give Jen a break and the little devil managed to pass his cold on to me, but 24 hours later that's over too!

Anyway, as I was driving down to Jordan I saw my friend going to the supermarket and she had walked there. It probably takes about an hour to walk down and maybe 20 minutes more to walk back because it's uphill, but hats off to her for being so dedicated. I sent her a text message to see if she wanted a lift back but she said she was good, so now she's putting me even more to shame!

I stopped in at the supermarket to pick up a few things and noticed a little Asian food pop-up in the parking lot. André and I had eaten his take-away food before and it's pretty good so I decided to treat myself to lunch for a change. I have to say that's one thing covid has really turned on its head. More and more pop-ups are springing up everywhere, as is take away food, which really wasn't a thing round here before. Still, it's all well and good if someone can benefit from these crazy times we're living in!

As I say, last week was rough for Jordan and Jen so I decided to make dinner for them and take it over. I felt like eating gratin (I make a good one) so I made three - one for them, one for André and one for me - and bought pork steaks and fresh broccoli to go with it. André was out when I stopped by to drop it off but as I have a key I let myself in and dropped off some mail at the same time. He was really pleased when he got home so called me to thank me and that was when he told me he was kinda in shock because a young woman he works with was taken ill on Sunday night and died Monday morning of an "unexplained and unexpected" event. She was only 37 (I think - well certainly under 40) and in good health, so even though work may never know what happened to her, I seriously hope they do an autopsy so that her family can find out what happened. It won't bring her back of course but ...!

I don't want to sound smug (nah, yeah I do) but I've pretty much done all my Christmas shopping! I hate crowds so have been picking things up as and when so except for another gift for André I'm done. I stopped in at my local beauty salon as I wanted to buy a gift voucher for my friend and that's when I decided I was finally going to start going back to them again! So on Wednesday I had my first facial in about two years and it felt wonderful (I think my skin was screaming with relief). I asked her if she wanted me to do a covid test beforehand and she said no, but I figured I'd do one anyway and showed it to her when I got there, so all's good!

I also finally got round to calling the travel company we had booked with to go see the tulips last year and asked for a reimbursement as it is now 18 months since they cancelled it (the legal limit). I mentioned to my friend that the cheque would be coming to her as she was down as the principal traveller and she told me she'd totally forgotten about it so it would be a nice Christmas bonus for her! Heck, if someone owes me €1,200 (about $1,500) I promise you I won't forget about it. I mean, that's what they have insurance for isn't it!

And finally, I mentioned before that my neighbour had asked me if I would drive her husband to and from hospital sometime this week for his latest operation to put stents in his legs as she is afraid to drive out there. No problem, I told her to just let me know when! Anyway, it turns out her daughter had taken him to hospital on Wednesday night, with the operation being scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday. Around 6 p.m. I popped outside to take over a parcel I had taken in for another neighbour and M, my immediate neighbour, was also outside so I asked if the operation had gone well. Just as she was telling me that she didn't know as she couldn't get hold of him, her daughter called to say that papa was pissed off because his operation was supposed to take place a 1 p.m. and he had waited until 6 p.m. and told her to come and pick him up!!!!! Damn, this is now the third time he has pulled this kind of stunt, although I wasn't aware of the first time. Apparently he walked out the first time at the major hospital near here because something got up his nose I guess. Then the last time he was rude to the nurse the night before his operation and then checked himself out of hospital against medical advice a couple of hours after the operation. And of course he started bleeding at the scar site - which was when my nurse friend gave him hell for being so selfish as he could have started haemorraghing and left his wife in a real mess. So yet again he's "done one"! Good luck with getting any surgeon round here to take you on next time, after them doing all the scans and prior blood tests necessary for the op! Her daughter told her to keep her mouth shut because if she said anything to him when he came home he would use that as an excuse to lay into her as to why it was all her fault. She stopped in yesterday and was wound up like a spring but said she was managing to keep her mouth shut and he was prowling round like a caged tiger just waiting to pounce! She also thanked me for letting her come round to chat as she couldn't afford a shrink's appointment, so I told her while I was no shrink a cup of coffee with me or a glass of wine certainly wouldn't do any harm, would it!

Actually I've had a few thoughts on whether his new (to me) aggression had other causes, but she said he'd pretty much always been an asshole to her, but was previously able to hide it better from others! She also thinks it's something to do with him "no longer being Mr. Big" (the director of a large bank round here) and that he is not dealing with being just another "little old man"! She might have a point there as I know so many who find it difficult no longer being "important" - I'm just glad I've never been important!  And apparently he really is letting his mean side slip in front of others now, although not in front of me so far. He was extremely rude to her in front of my other, younger neighbours one time and they just turned heel and walked back into their house without saying anything. Then when they were over on the west coast dealing with elderly mother problems, their basement, yet again, started to flood in the heavy rain and two of our other neighbours spent six hours jack-hammering a drain into the basement to stop it from flooding - with one of these men being 83 years old! What was the thank you they got? Something along the lines of "it was a crap job and not necessary anyway" - which is complete BS because the 83 year old is an absolute whiz and couldn't botch a job if you paid him to! So the reaction from the other neighbour who helped was that next time he could deal with a swimming pool in his basement himself when he got back 'cos he was never going to help him out again!

She also told me that when they had been to the nursing home to see his mom, obviously only so many people were allowed in the room at once, so she stood at the door and just waved at mamie (who died a couple of weeks later), and was subsequently thrown out on her ear by him in no uncertain terms! Since her own mom was in the same home she went to see her and when the doctor came round she asked how Mme. R. was, as she was her MIL. And that's when the doctor said "oh you're the one with the rude husband - we've all heard about him"! She said she was mortified but I told her the shame wasn't hers to bear. If he's an AH, let him deal with it! Of course when that incident blew up he "never said that" or he "never did that", selective amnesia being pretty strong in narcs (my ex was very gifted in that domain), but his BIL just turned round and said "well next time don't behave like an AH in front of so many witnesses then"! She also told me a very dear friend of hers in her 90s recently told her that her husband has always only opened his mouth to eat and to say "je, je, je" ("I, I, I"), and she was stunned that others saw him so clearly for what he is! Now I freely admit I'm not a good judge of character - never have been - but I told her I felt that it's probably easy to see from the outside, but not quite so easy when it's up close and personal is it! What to others looked like massive red flags for so long were probably looking like a day at the carnaval to her! Anyway, she breaks my heart and I don't know what else I can do for her, except listen. She did say that she is so bitter because she will never let anyone get close again (she's a lovely woman), as he's sucked out her life blood up and spit it out so many times. I told her not to worry as I was now a bitter old crone too but hey, we could maybe get a place together later - and in the meantime, how about that glass of wine?

Tuesday 16 November 2021

A boring week!

I have to say it's been a pretty "bleh" week round here. Maybe it's the grey weather and, of course, the fact that I can't be arsed to get out walking, but I'm not exactly full of the joys of spring right now! I haven't done an awful lot except potter around home and read quite a bit, but then again I reckon that's allowed right? I mean, seriously, do I have anywhere else I need to be right now? I mentioned some time ago I think that I'd stopped reading the newspapers (online) on a daily basis and limited it to just one time over the weekend. And you know what, turns out that's enough. I don't need (or want) to be bombarded with all the negative stuff that sells papers and attracts clicks. Oh I see all the dreadful things going on in the UK (and probably everywhere else too) but in the end, there's not an awful lot I can do about it is there so why not just drop it from my day-to-day life? I get a lot of what's going on in short bursts on Youtube news channels (which has been very helpful for me to get to know more about what's going on in France), but to read all the "gory details" every day - nah, I think I'll pass! That being said, I do follow a Youtuber called Phil Moorhouse re British politics and I have to say I really like his analysis of all the shenanigans going on there. Last week has been all about the "cash for influence corruption scandal" (you know, MPs selling themselves out to the highest bidder - shocking, I know)! Dear old Boris - instead of having the "corruption committee" investigate the latest thief in a top hat, tried to get the committee disbanded all together! You can't make this stuff up can you, and if it wasn't so serious it would be laughable - not that I see many people laughing about it right now. I guess most of the wheeler-dealers aren't too worried though are they, since they're the ones with the money and can "buy" all the votes and influence they need! I was glancing at something else while listening to Phil yesterday and I had to laugh when I heard him say (of Boris) "if he could just stop being a prick for a week or two maybe things might start to calm down". My thoughts exactly Phil, my thoughts exactly, but Boris stop being a prick? Nah, impossible!

Because I've been rather less connected lately I only just found out about the attempted bombing of the Remembrance Day ceremony in Liverpool and the actions of a very brave taxi driver! I haven't caught all the details yet but from what I can gather the driver picked up a young man who wanted to be taken to the where the services were being held, but the driver was getting a bad vibe from him. I'm not quite sure how he did it but he ended up driving away from the ceremony and up to the front of Liverpool's Women's Hospital, where the young man attempted to detonate his belt. Apparently it stalled for just a split second, whereupon the driver was able to lock the man in the back of the cab and jump out himself. He was taken to hospital but released the next day as his injuries were relatively minor and I'm happy to say the only casualty was the deranged lunatic in the back of the cab! I hope he gets a medal for his bravery (and someone starts a Gofundme to help the driver get back on his feet)!

Then last Tuesday I took a crate of stuff down to the food bank in town, this time concentrating mostly on buying baby stuff, having seen how expensive baby formula and nappies and so on are because of Charlie. I got chatting to the staff while they were unloading my crate and the lady was saying that they've seen a three-fold increase in the number of families requiring assistance over the last six months! Times are hard right now but I suspect they will get worse before they get better, right?

A couple of weeks ago Jen asked if I would be free to drive her to a doctor's appointment for Charlie in Geneva yesterday, as I lived in Geneva for five years and know my way around, whereas she doesn't. No problem of course! Turns out the babe is "tongue-tied", where the strip of skin connecting the baby's tongue to the mouth is shorter than usual. This probably explains why he dribbles so much and would also, apparently explain why he wasn't able to breast-feed! Her paediatrician told her she could wait to see a doctor in France but since there weren't many locally she could recommend a doctor in Geneva if she was willing to pay out-of-pocket to see him. And of course the answer was yes so the two grandmas, Charlie and Jen set off to the appointment yesterday morning. Talk about luxurious! As we were early, a very handsome youngish man came over and asked us to wait until the therapist arrived and then came back with coffee for the three of us. I'm guessing from their names they were Greek (or maybe Cypriot) and the therapist explained that as I spoke English she would be happy to have me come in with Jen as her English was better than her French. This lady really took her time examining the babe and said she agreed that this "tie" should be cut in order to make life easier for him in so many ways. She also said that this should have been picked up in the maternity hospital, but what can you say about that now? She took her time to explain the whole procedure to Jen and said that he will definitely scream because he will basically be put in a straight jacket but that it would be very quick and almost painless! Turns out "handsome" was the doctor who was going to perform the procedure and since Jen didn't want to go with Charlie, her mom (who is a surgical theatre nurse) went in with him and in about five minutes it was all over. And yes he screamed (and Jen balled her eyes out, but what can you do when it's your baby)?

He had had a rough night the night before and she told them that he had a temperature that morning and a blocked nose. Turns out he must also have had "tummy trouble" because what came out the other end a bit later was just evil, so all in all the poor little soul had a very rough day of it. Jen's mom had to leave so I went back home with her to take turns trying to console a tired, hungry, stuffed up baby who wanted to eat but couldn't, presumably because his mouth was hurting! Man was that hard work, walking around with him looking at the trucks and the cars in five minute bursts before he would get cranky again! I know we all go through it but I think you forget just how exhausting it can be don't you! Anyway, for the grand sum of around $600 it's all done (yeah, Geneva is expensive), and she has a follow-up appointment in two weeks to make sure it has all healed properly! I just checked in with them today and he's had a much better day, although Jen has an appointment with her own doctor tomorrow as she thinks he's coming down with bronchitis. Poor little sausage! Still, he's going to go through it one way or another isn't he - either via the crèche or when he starts school, but I'm just glad Jen is able to spend his first year with him so that she can keep him home when he needs more TLC!

So anyway, enough doom and gloom for one post right? As I said, I haven't been doing an awful lot this past week but I see that East Idaho News's Nate Eaton is back on his Secret Santa mission and I'm hooked yet again. Someone in East Idaho is playing Secret Santa and giving away a large sum of money (in small-ish amounts), helping Idahoans in need with anonymous donations. Nate Easton has the perfect personality for the job so since Secret Santa is back I don't suppose I'll get too much done today either. So just another Feel Good Friday (on a Tuesday)!

East Idaho News' Nate Eaton playing Secret Santa!

Saturday 6 November 2021

This and that!

Yet again, there's not an awful lot going on around here right now, although the weather continues to be beautiful and the autumn colours are just glorious! I always decorate a little for Halloween (nothing over the top) even though I don't get that many trick or treaters because it's not such a big thing over here. I did do a great Mutley impersonation though, muttering under my breath, when my doorbell went on Saturday night and I opened it to two "witches". Thankfully I was gracious when I explained to them that actually Halloween is tomorrow 'cos the oldest said "oh I know, but we won't be around tomorrow so we thought we'd come early"! Right you are then! Then she asked me if I was American, to which I said no, my husband was American, although technically he still is American he's just no longer my husband (note, I didn't go into all that detail 'cos let's face it, all they wanted was candy, not my entire life story, right?). Then she said, "yeah, but you're Jordan's mom and Charlie's grandma aren't you?". When I said I was, she went on to explain that her mom was Jen's best friend, so boy was I glad I didn't yell at them to bugger off and come back tomorrow night! On Sunday I got a couple of visitors in the early afternoon (all the while muttering yet again that this is going to be a really long evening), but when I opened the door to see a really little girl (and her daddy) I was glad that once again I had managed to stuff my inner Mutley back into his cage! All in all, I didn't get too many visitors and it turned out to be quite a pleasant evening all told!

The granddaughter next door, plus Isabelle's
daughter and her friends!

The Dutchman called to see if I wanted to go walking earlier in the week so I at least managed to get in one half-way decent walk, all while he whinges about how far it is to drive to my place and I whinge about having to listen to him whinge, so nothing new there! We lucked out too because although it was bitterly cold we managed to dodge in between the rain drops and got in around 8 km all told, even if it was on the flat!

We got snow down to about 1,000 metres earlier in the week (I live at 800 metres, so it's definitely coming closer) and it is so pretty in the sun with the autumn colours. The Dutchman hadn't realized I live so close to the Plâteau de Glières (where a big resistance battle took place in WWII), so he asked if I would be up for driving up there soon as it's a place he would like to visit. To be honest, the visitors' centre isn't very big, but there is some lovely walking up there - on the flat, it being a plateau, of course - so hopefully we can get a couple more walks in before the heavy snow comes!

All the houses round here have shutters on the doors and windows so I've started shutting them at night as it makes quite a difference to the indoor temperatures and fuel consumption. Actually it's been really good to see how relatively little fuel I'm now consuming since Max installed my new heating system. I'm now heating the house and the hot water by fuel and consuming less fuel per year than previously, when I was just heating the house! I suppose that's to be expected with a more efficient heating system, given that my previous furnace must have been about 40 years old. Still, it didn't owe me anything did it! Mind you, given that I shut all my shutters and I have a fire guard in front of my fireplace, I got the fright of my life the other evening when I was sitting reading and a terrified sparrow whizzed past my left ear! Somehow he must have managed to come down the chimney (dodging the plastic that I put up there to keep the cold air out), weave past the fire guard and was then frantically trying to make his escape while I was jumping up and down attempting to get a window open to let him out! 

At the moment Jordan is working just down the road from me on a block of 28 new-build apartments, so the other day I made what must have been the flatest Victoria sponge cake and took it down to the site for him and his friends to have with their coffee (I told him if they didn't like it to tell them Jen had made it, but it all went anyway). They have a Senegalese refugee who just started an apprenticeship with them and who Jordan gets along well with, but the other day Max pulled the "new guy stunt" on him when he asked how he knew that the cement mix was ready. So Max dipped his finger in the mix and licked it (or licked another finger) and told him that's how he figured out the right consistency. Poor sod, got a mouth full of cement mix before he realized they were having him on! They also told the other newbie that when he was cutting metal he needed to collect all the metal splinters as they rounded them up and sold them on to the scrap metal merchant! Ha, in my day they used to send the poor buggers out to buy a "bubble for a spirit level"! Still, they took it in good part!

Talking of DIY, I got the sealant product out that I'd bought the other day to see how it worked on my shower room window and man is that window in worse shape than I thought! Well three of the velux windows are actually, so I think I should get someone in to see about changing them at some point, even if there's never a great time for incurring more expense is there! I got up the ladder and cleaned and sanded the window and then applied the sealant and while it's a definite improvement I reckon I should be thinking about changing them sooner rather than later!

In other news, it's starting to look more and more like Brands Hatch round here, what with all the delivery vans constantly driving round our little island. I want to say "Amazon" delivery drivers, but obviously they're not necessarily all Amazon deliveries, of course, but boy are they busy and, I have to say, hard working! The other day I saw a cute little toy for Charlie for Christmas, ordered it in the evening and it was delivered the next day! Man, whatever you think about Amazon, they are (for the most part) damn efficient! I offered the young woman driver some Halloween candy as a thank you and she just laughed and said she'd forgotten her outfit!

Brands Hatch

And finally, have you noticed how prices on everything seem to be increasing? Petrol, in particular, I noticed had gone up 20 cents a litre the other week over a period of about a month (that's almost $1/gallon). So of course there are continuing protests in France, not only against the vaccine passport but also about the price of petrol (plus the reform of the pension and the unemployment systems, to name a few). I found out quite by chance (thank you Facebook) that it would be a good idea not to head into town today as Jean Castex, the French Prime Minister, was coming through town to head up to Le Grand Bornand (a local ski resort), so all the roads were closed off and the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) had prepared a warm Savoyard welcome for him. Now Jean Castex is to charisma what Cheez Whiz is to real cheese so all I can say is it couldn't happen to a nicer man!

Jean Castex