Some days are just so much rougher than others aren't they. I know the weather has a tremendous influence on people's psyche, but sometimes it seems that bad news really does seem to come all at once. I'm not talking about me personally, thank goodness. I'm doing fine, André and I are getting along famously (telling jokes at the moment - it's nice to get reacquainted with my son), and the weather is glorious - no clouds, bright sunshine most days and the stars are so pretty right now! But the rotten news just seems to have kept on coming these last few days!
The first thing I heard this week was that one of the ladies in our FB walking group "lost her battle with depression" recently. I didn't know this lady, of course, but I'd seen some of her posts and like many people, I think maybe she was trying to use the walking challenge to help her emotional well-being. Sadly it didn't work. We all get "down" sometimes, of course, but real clinical depression must be hell, and while there are treatments/therapies that can help, how sad for this lady that she just wasn't able to make it through!
Then the other day I knocked on my neighbour's door to let them know that they'd left the car window open - not good when snow is forecast and the temperatures are well below zero. When she opened the door I asked if she was okay and she said yes. I just said "so that's why you're crying then" and she smiled. I didn't want to intrude but invited her to come round for a coffee if she needed to chat. She didn't immediately but I'm sure she'll want to get what's bothering her off her chest at some point. It could be the tension in the house, I know she's missing her grandchildren in Switzerland, or it could just be this damn pandemic getting on everyone's last nerve! Who knows!
On Saturday André met up with the others for band practice at Max's house and said he would be back before curfew (6 p.m.). By 6.30 p.m. I'm starting to think something's wrong, because maybe the police might forgive 15 minutes, but 30 minutes past curfew was definitely pushing it. Thankfully he called me shortly after and said that he was going to stay the night at Max's. Their friend, Alexi, had set off to make the short drive home after practice, lost control of his car on the snow, hit a guardrail (above a drop down the mountain side) and called them to come dig him out! Damn! André said Alexi (and his car) were okay and "it wasn't such a bad drop", but even so, who really thinks skidding into a guard rail on the side of a mountain "isn't so bad"!
Then yesterday I had two messages pop up. The first was from our retirees' association announcing the death of a former colleague and while I knew of this colleague (you get to know everyone's personal details when you work in HR and do payroll), I didn't really know him. But he was only 61 and retired about six months after me, so he got to enjoy just 18 months of his retirement and then bam, gone! I know I've said this before, but I really would encourage anyone to retire as soon as it's financially feasible (if that's what they actually want), because cases like this colleague's bring home that nothing is a given!
The second message was from my friend, Marilyn, who is currently living in Ireland to be near her son and his wife. She wanted to let me know that her older brother in Texas had just died of covid. They are all devastated, as you can imagine. He was the brother who very kindly welcomed André into his home for a holiday when he was just 10 and André had the most wonderful time. I last saw him a couple of years ago at Marilyn's daughter's wedding here in France. He and his first wife had divorced, he subsequently remarried, and as an English-speaker I was sat at the same table as them. They were a lovely couple, even if I found the wife's first comment to me that "we're from Texas and voted for Trump" a strange way to greet someone you've never met before. I just said I'd heard it was rude to talk politics or religion at the table so I figured we'd be fine. Sadly she was also a "covid-denier", stating (apparently) that it was just a bad case of the flu - and now just a few weeks after he got sick, and despite excellent medical care, her husband is gone, killed by the "hoax"! I talked to Marilyn today and she said she and this sister-in-law have not been particularly close, mainly because of vastly divergent political views, but that she reached out to her during her brother's illness and since his death but SIL hasn't been much inclined to respond. So now, sadly, it looks like there will be additional distress for his three children from his first marriage (he has no children with the second wife) and it could get pretty unpleasant! It's so sad - another person taken early by this damn virus!
On the positive side, Marilyn's son and his wife desperately want to move back to France (as does Marilyn) and since she also has French citizenship it should be relatively easy once the issue of medical coverage can be sorted and they can find somewhere to stay. They're looking at Annecy, which is just down the road from me, but of course first her son has to get the job. I can't wait as I know Marilyn and I will have so much fun together! And you know the other day when I was talking about getting caught out looking like a slob, well Marilyn can go one better (not that she's ever looked like a slob). Years ago her husband's job saw him responsible for sales in certain Asian countries and at one point, just after the birth of their son, they were staying in a hotel in Hong Kong (I think it was). Anyway, she was in the elevator holding the baby and had baby spit-up on her shoulder (a permanent feature for new mothers), when the elevator door opened and guess who stepped in! You can't guess? Piers Brosnan - James Bond himself! I know!! I would have passed out!! And she said that while he's still an absolute hunk, 35 years ago he was even better looking in real life than in film! At least I only got caught out by Stan!
And finally, as I was scrolling through looking at what's on tv (nothing, basically), I saw that Fifty Shades of Grey was on. I know!!! I never bought the book (I thought it was a sample book for you to pick your paint from)! But I clicked on the film anyway for the hell of it and landed right on a "juicy bit" - just as André came into the room laughing. Damn, I felt like he'd caught me watching porn or something - and I wasn't even interested in it to begin with. But whatevs, as they say! Anyway, he started to tell me something he'd just read about a couple of guys who were out fishing on a frozen lake in Estonia when they spotted a half-frozen dog struggling to get out of the water and back to dry land. Somehow they managed to fish it out, wrapped it in a blanket and placed it in the back of their car in order to get it to a vet. When the vet came out to take a look at it he told them they'd just driven 20-odd km with a slowly defrosting wolf in the back of their car!