The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Wednesday 28 July 2021

Much better!

I think we've finally rounded the corner with Charlie as he is much, much better today. While the fever and rash disappeared fairly quickly, he just wasn't himself and Jen was having a helluva time getting him to drink, which meant she/they were up half the night trying to coax him to drink something/anything but there was nothing doing. I had him all day yesterday and again he really was taking in very little, although to be fair I reckon he wasn't dehydrated, nor was he listless. Today he went back to the crèche in the morning but again he only took 60 ml of milk (as opposed to about a minimum of 150 ml we would aim for with each bottle). I went and picked him up at 1 p.m. and what a sophisticated place that is! I needed a code to get through the initial gate, obligatory mask, of course, then I had to put on "overshoes" before I could go in (fair enough, there are little ones crawling around), show my passport before they would hand him over to me, and finally as I left I had to punch in a computer screen to record  that Charlie B was being taken off the premises. Very sophisticated! When I got back to Jordan and Jen's place I offered him a bottle and he guzzled down 150 ml and then slept for three hours! Well that can't do any harm can it! He was just starting to wake up (albeit somewhat cranky) when his dad came home so I suggested another bottle as if he was still cranky it couldn't be because he was tired. So we went for it again and he drank another 110 ml and ol' smiley face was back with us again! Jen just sent me a message to say he just took another 180 ml tonight so she's relieved and I'm hoping he will get a good night's sleep so that they can get some rest too! I have to confess to the cardinal sin of plonking him down in front of the TV yesterday though to try to keep him awake for a bit while I was getting stuff together and he seemed quite taken with Scooby Doo - all the more so since Scooby pulled it off yet again and figured out who the bad guy was! Phew, it was touch and go there for a while!

I also spoke to my friend today and he thought he might be feeling just a little better also. Not great (he had to keep taking a breather just talking to me), but he had been able to walk the 500 metres to the baker's without taking a break and was also able to do a little work on the computer before his sight went whoozy again! So no, he's not great but hopefully getting there, if very slowly!

André gets the keys to his new place on Tuesday and when he mentioned to Max that he had better start thinking about furnishing it, Max told him he should get a move on because the sales were on but were finishing tomorrow (Tuesday). So with that André put in for the afternoon and shot off to the stores to take advantage of the sales - which nobody (except Max, obviously) had thought about, since I avoid those things like the plague. Well he came back having ordered all the "big stuff" - two beds, a dining table, sofa, coffee table, TV, balcony furniture etc. and today ran out and ordered smaller stuff like a vacuum cleaner, an iron (ha, what a joke), toaster, kettle and so on, so things are looking good! He's having it all delivered next Thursday and he's paid the extra to have it all assembled too. Some people don't know they're born!!!! Hell, when my ex left he took all the bedroom furniture so I ordered a new bedroom set but then nearly drove myself nuts trying to assemble it on my own (the bed collapsed a couple of times until I figured it out). But furniture was eventually assembled (and much wine was drunk) and I'm quite happy with the end result!

On Sunday he went white water rafting as Max had a spare ticket from someone who had backed out at the last minute. What he hadn't realized was that it was with an association of disabled people, since Max's girlfriend is in a wheelchair following a car accident involving a wild boar. She's quite amazing though, as she and Max go out cycling every weekend and Max can barely keep up with her. He's a plumber and so is obviously pretty muscular, but André said the strength in Elise's arms has to be seen to be believed and she leaves them standing. Apparently there were three boats, made up of able-bodied friends/assistants and disabled people from the association. In André's boat they had Elise (who had to sit in the bottom of the boat because she has no use of her legs), a young man who had lost a leg in a motorbike accident, and a young-ish man who had been in a helicopter crash where he had lost a leg, his left forearm, the sight in one eye and had extensive burns all over his body. I told André it makes me wonder if I would ever have the strength to come back fighting like these people have, but hopefully none of us will ever have to find out. Max apparently whacked one of the assistants' finger with his paddle at one point and she was complaining to him about it, but when she complained about the pain in her finger the second time Elise just pointed to her own crippled legs and said "really?" - and they all burst out laughing! After the trip they ate in a restaurant further up the mountain and are already talking about doing it again sometime. I know André will be up for it as he said they were such a great group of people! It does make you realize how much we probably take for granted though doesn't it. So next time I feel a whinge session coming on, I hope I can take a step back and think there but for the grace of God go I, right?

Thursday 22 July 2021

All quiet on the western front!

Well on the the eastern front (of France) at least, things are pretty quiet here right now. Schools have broken up and I'm guessing there has been the usual mad dash down to the beaches of the south of France - although I wouldn't know because I haven't been following the updates on the traffic exodus as I'm not going anywhere. My friend sent me a message and asked if I wanted to go walking today so I suggested the Lac Bleu as a good part of the walk is shaded and she'd never been there before. Well it was a great hit! There are several lakes which seem to be designated as one for the kiddies (the Lac Bleu), one for the kayakers/pedaloes (not sure what that's called) and a third lake called the Lac aux Dames - which is where the fishermen get to fish in peace. And it was glorious. I guess because it's not on the beaten path, even now, in the middle of July, there was plenty of room for everyone. It was just as well we were able to walk in the woods for a good part of the way though because it was 30°C (86°F) and at altitude the heat hits you like a laser. Thankfully I remembered to put sunscreen on before I left so I don't feel too bad now, although I am a little burned, but as we were out from 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. I'm pretty tired and sweaty too. Still it was good to get a few km under my belt for a change!

The Lac Bleu

My friend has been very good about getting out and walking since she was hospitalized in February (with the pulmonary embolism) and she's managed to lose 16 kg (35 lb) by being both very disciplined and active. She puts me to shame actually because I have no willpower when it comes to dieting, but we've decided that we will keep up the walking now that the good weather has finally arrived and will aim for some higher altitude walks come September and the cooler weather!

Jen went back to work on Tuesday after her maternity leave and she said it was nice to be back. Tomorrow is my first day of taking care of Charlie and she just called because the crèche told her he had a bit of a temperature. She's not too worried because it's hot and he sounded really chipper and babbling away when she was on the phone. I told her she'll have to show me how to take his temperature when I get there just in case and she couldn't believe I had never taken my kids' temperatures, but nope, never, not once. In our house it was always "put your hand on the kid's forehead" and it was either "hot" or "cold". The French do seem to have an obsesssion with taking their temperature though and when someone would tell me theirs was "38.5" or whatever I would just stare at them blankly. Still, he's little and I will happily take his temperature if he's cranky, but I reckon he's also cutting a first tooth as he is chewing away on his fingers and dribbling up a river!

Then the other night I watched another short Sarah Millican clip on Youtube where she was talking about sex education for children. She makes no bones about the fact that she never wanted children so was trying to remember how "the birds and the bees" was taught when she was a kid. There was a well known nurse (at least I think she was a nurse) in the U.K. called Claire Rayner who published (amongst other things) a book called The Body Book around 1977 which was used many moons ago to explain to kids where babies came from. Of course she made a whole comedy sketch out of it but what really tickled me was one of the comments under the video. One lady said she was trying to talk to her little boy about "how you grow up to be a big boy or 'a daddy'" and she opened the book to a page that showed a drawing of a naked male child next to a naked adult male, complete with hair in all the appropriate places. When she finished the little boy ran to his room sobbing, so thinking he'd been completely traumatized she explained to him that it was okay and that all little boys grew up to be big boys. And that's when he blurted out "but I don't WANT to have a moustache" and was inconsolable for the rest of the evening! Tickled me no end!

My neighbours came round on Sunday with their granddaughter's old crib for me to have here for Charlie, so after washing the mattress cover I reckoned I could use the scrubby old sheet as a pattern and make brand new fitted sheets out of fabric that I'd bought. Well, it was ok but talk about a botch job! I'm apparently a great believer in "that'll do" when it comes to sewing but I did at least manage to make an elasticated sheet that fits the mattress with quite a few sins being hidden underneath! I also managed to screw up a new duvet cover. Seriously? It's a rectangle of fabric sewn together on three sides, but somehow I managed to cut it way too small and ended up having to sew strips back onto one end and hide that bit underneath too. Now all I have to do is figure out how to use the bloody press-stud inserter. It looks like a mediaeval instrument of torture and I've screwed up the studs on spare fabric three times already. I think at some point I'm going to have to admit I'm just not cut out for this sewing lark. Still, at least the bed is clean and fresh, and looks quite pretty, as long as you don't look too closely!

And in order to make room for the crib in the spare room I've been sorting out yet more stuff. Damn, I knew I'd got lots of sweat pants but seriously??? It seems like every time I went to England to see my mom I bought new workout clothes, because everybody knows all you have to do is put them on and you lose 10 lbs right? No? Crikey, if I lost 10 lbs every time I bought a new pair of sweat pants I'd disappear down a drain hole. They won't go to waste, of course, because I live in the bloody things in winter, but to have that many exercise clothes in drawers in the spare room - what can I say? Move over Jane Fonda, my time has come!

Saturday 17 July 2021

And breathe!

I had to laugh when I saw Marksgran's comment of "and breathe" on yesterday's post! Sorry about that epic rant folks but better out than in as they say!

So where were we? Oh yes, all over France today people are protesting peacefully against the proposed pass sanitaire amongst other things. What is really interesting is that the protesters are from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum as there is pretty much rock solid opposition to what Napoleon (affectionately known as "Nappy") is trying to do! I learned last night that apparently the U.N. has already pulled ole Nappy up and reminded him that France signed the Declaration of Human Rights years ago. The E.U. has also apparently reminded him that France signed E.U. Directive No. XXXXX in January of this year to the effect that people will in no way, shape or form be pressured into accepting vaccines against their wishes, and there shall be no legal, political or workplace comeback! I'm paraphrasing of course but .... Now Napoleon is a banker (that spelling's only off by one letter!), but you'd think he might have access to a lawyer or two somewhere in the building who could have pointed all this out to him wouldn't you! Then later I heard the Senator for Haute Savoie, who has already indicated that he will vote against this draft law on Wednesday, saying that he will also not authorize police to verify people's pass status at all, so good on you Mr. Hervé!

Apparently Macron originally wanted the police to come under the "must vaccinate" umbrella also, but when they told him where to shove it they were exempted on the grounds that "they do not come into contact with vulnerable people" (that was the best they could come up with?), so now you have the incongruous situation of having firefighters and police attending the same incident where the firefighter must be vaccinated and the police officer doesn't have to be! Jen says the excuse that they "do not come into contact with vulnerable people" is complete crap because when they have a violent event in her psychiatric unit (about once a week), it's the police that come and remove the patient to secure facilities! Even more farcical, as one restaurant owner said today on TV, is that he will be put in a position of having clients in his restaurant and when the police try to come in and check their passes he will have to tell them to get out because they are not in possession of such passes themselves! It's getting less and less coherent by the minute - and is making the pompous little peacock in the Elysée Palace look more and more stupid, if that's possible! Moreover the truckers' union has warned that if this law goes through, they will be blocking roads up and down France as from 15 August, and if there's one union you don't want to piss off it's the truckers' union! And I really must point out here that people are NOT necessarily against the vaccination - they are against this pass as an infringement of their civil liberties, because once you accept losing one element of your civil rights, how long before they come chipping away at the next one? Many of the protesters are indeed vaccinated anyway. People are still working from home when they can, they are routinely wearing masks and they are social distancing, and since they have toed the line right from the start of this pandemic, they are not willing to accept further infringements of their rights under the guise of authoritarianism dressed up as necessity!

When it comes to spreading the virus, apparently, these guys aren't the problem!

Macron at the Bastille Day celebrations!

The Cannes film festival!

The Tour de France!

It's these guys!

The irony is, there's all this hoohah about these old guys sitting outside having a drink - do they have their pass? How can we check? - and yet when I had lunch with my friends in Switzerland on Wednesday and I mentioned it to the waiter he said "no problem, what would you like to drink"?

For the record, since I have to put this somewhere, years ago I had a violent reaction to a hepatitis vaccine that landed me in hospital 24 hours later covered in scabs all over my face and arms! Ever since then I've stayed away from vaccines where possible - never got the annual flu jab, you get the idea. More importantly though, my friend retired not so long ago from the vaccines unit of the World Health Organization. At the beginning of the pandemic she asked me what I thought about getting "the new vaccine" and I told her I didn't think anything as I simply didn't know. She said she was worried because new vaccines, i.e. being newly rolled out to the public, take around two to three years for their side effects to become apparent. So with that thought in mind I decided I wanted to wait. I'm not a gun-toting right winger. I don't think I'll be micro-chipped if I get the vaccine, nor do I think my arms will become magnetized or aliens come down to whisk me away for experimental purposes. I hope it really is a safe vaccine because for it to turn out to be otherwise just doesn't bear thinking about!

If the situation were really dire, and we truly were "all in it together", then fine, but as you guys in the U.K. know all too well, "in it together" means entirely different things to the rich than it does to the poor. Viz That Twat Cummings who drove over 100 miles to a beauty spot during lockdown "because he thought his eyes were playing up and he wanted to check them out". Or the equally twatty married Health Minister, Matt Hancock, who not only didn't social distance but was caught on camera being waayyy too "handy" with his equally married mistress (and who he employed in his office to work "two hours a week for £15,000 a year")! Or how about bug-eye Michael Gove, who had to fly to Portugal on "urgent government business" (to watch the football match), but did not have to self-isolate upon returning to the U.K. because he suddenly became part of a hitherto unheard of trial group of people who no longer had to isolate! Yeah right, do as I say, not as I do eh!

Regarding covid death figures going up, I have been checking the official figures for Haute Savoie for ages and I would say it's been about a month since we had even one death registered here. Bed occupation rates in ICU units are fairly static at about 10%, and that despite Macron's administration having closed over 4,000 hospital beds since they came to power, with 1,200 beds being closed in the first three months of this year during a pandemic! Jen has a friend who works in ICU at the CHAL hospital near here (the second biggest hospital in Haute Savoie) and she was telling Jen they haven't had a covid patient in ICU for months, so they could easily take in patients from elsewhere if necessary, but nope, nothing for a couple of months!

As for Jen, I stopped in to see them yesterday and she had a big smile on her face. When I asked what that was about she read out an email that had been sent by the director of the hospital where she works saying that while she strongly recommended people get vaccinated she, the director, would not be stopping anybody's pay or firing anyone for not being vaccinated. Under Macron's master plan, anyone who is not fully vaccinated after three months would be fired for faute grave, but that again has been contradicted by legal advice that says he simply cannot do that. He can't make the frickin' rules up as he goes along (although I'm sure he'd love to). The irony is that Jen's unit is supposed to have 12 nurses and they are only eight so they are already understaffed. Given that at least three have already said they will resign (and potentially others - Jen doesn't know), I guess this lady knows where her loyalties have to lie if she wants her unit to stay open! But then as Jen said, vaccinated or not vaccinated, it's not like we walk onto the unit with cow shit on our boots having just cleaned out the barn is it! We're bloody nurses, we wear protective gear and we are on a psychiatric ward, not a sick-patient ward! So things are looking more positive on that front too, I'm pleased to say!

On a different note, a friend and I went out to the lake at Passy today, this being the first day of decent weather in months. It was glorious to see all the little kids in the water and people having fun after such a long hard slog. We did two circuits and then stopped for a lovely lunch, thus allowing us to catch up after not seeing each other for ages (and I guess allowing me to blow off steam right)! When I got home my sister called for a chat and as is the norm these days, we got off on the vax question. I never brought it up as we both know what the other's position is, but I did hear my BIL say "well I think you're a bloody idiot" (we never speak to each other like that), so I just replied "your opinion of me is noted, but I have to disagree"! At which point my sister said to drop it because he and I can get into it if we need to. Next thing I hear (again from BIL) is "I see the bloody French are at it again, protesting, that's all they ever do"! So I told him they were also protesting against reforms to unemployment legislation (which I know nothing about) and pension reform (about which I know a little). I'm not getting this totally straight but apparently under the current French system, your pension is calculated based on the last five (or maybe 10?) years' salary of your working life. Napoleon has now drafted a reform whereby your pension will be calculated using your salary from the day you started work and over your entire working life, so from 15 years of age in my BIL's case (he's now 73). So I asked him what it would do to his pension, and didn't he think he might, just might, be a little inclined to protest too! He had to admit that he would so I'm glad I pulled him up on that. Not everything is black and white ya know! And you're welcome!

Anyway, in other news, Charlie started at the crèche last week and it is going really well. He isn't one to look at toys but seemingly prefers people watching. So apart from when he's sleeping and eating, he gets to people watch to his heart's content and is totally unperturbed by his new surroundings. Jen said he is the youngest one there and there are four very nice assistants for 12 children who are really good with him! He's still a happy baby so that's obviously true and I think she's relieved to be able to start back to work next week knowing he's ok, with me taking care of him on Fridays starting this week! He's a little doll and is so used to being around people that it really doesn't seem to phase him!

The "cowboy look" he's got going there is due
to all the dribbling!

I heard this week too that a niece in Denmark has also just given birth. We have nothing to do with that side of the family sadly (my "Danish" sister's choice, not ours), so I had a peep on FB and he is another little doll. I didn't even know this niece had gotten married and when I saw her husband I have to admit he's a handsome guy. But then I looked again, and while he is indeed a handsome guy, one of his main pictures is of the actor Paul Walker, so I guess he obviously thinks he looks like Paul Walker. I mentioned this to my "English" sister and how another "acquaintance" had done the same thing and put a picture of herself next to a picture of Sharon Stone. Maybe it's me, but I think this is really weird - "hey, look at me, don't you think I look like Sharon Stone"? I also know someone who swears her 80+ something sister looks "just like Elizabeth Taylor". When I had a look, frankly, she looks more like Minnie Mouse meets Tammy Faye Bakker, but then maybe I'm not very good at this stuff! I told my sister I was going to post a picture of Sarah Millican on my FB page to see if anyone noticed. But you know what, I'd rather spend an evening with Sarah Millican than all the gorgeous Hollywood stars in the world, 'cos she's just magic!

Sarah Millican

Thursday 15 July 2021

Vive la Révolution!


I had to take a break from the internet for a while last week as I was so sick of thinking about things that I knew would do my head in if I didn't. I suspect this post is going to be pretty long so if any of you can't sleep stick around - I'll have you asleep in no time. Thing is, once I start not being able to sleep and moithering in my head I know that the only way to get things to calm down is to get it down in writing - in order to empty my head! Anyway, here goes!

I suppose what has been a big contributing factor to my (and most other people's) funks is this god-awful weather. It has been rain, rain and more rain, non-stop, with today's high temperature hitting a whopping 16°C (60°F). And that's how it's been for weeks! They may be talking about global warming but if it is happening it sure ain't happening anywhere near here. Add to that that both my immediate neighbours each have two pumps running in their basements 24/7 to keep water out - and the guilt trip (and relief, admittedly) that my place has stayed dry has been bothering me quite a bit! In all honesty, I truly believe that the fact that they have been getting flooded for the last several years is probably down to my immediate neighbour's handywork - or lack thereof. The area where I live, in French, is called Fields of Song, which refers not to birdsong but apparently the "singing" of the many underground streams as they make their way down the mountains. When my house was built they apparently placed a large drain towards the left-hand edge of my garden to deal with these springs - I can tell by the location of extreme dry patches in the lawn during normal summers. Additionally, a few years ago, a few of us neighbours got together to put extra piping in further up the gardens to channel excess water down to the drains on the main road. What I think happened is Mr. Handyman next door cut into the slope of the garden behind my hedge to build what turned out to be a very pretty small BBQ and seating area - and I reckon ended up diverting spring water into their two basements. So one of the upcoming tasks is to get professionals in to redivert water away from their homes (not at my expense of course, but still a hassle), but this bloody non-stop rain isn't making getting this done any easier!

So yeah, I guess this bloody weather is having a huge effect on everyone's general malaise right now. But the malaise seems to be never-ending doesn't it! And I've been thinking more and more about what a nasty, spiteful world we seem to be moving towards, whichever side of any particular argument you choose to be on. Take the US elections and the never-ending fall out from them. Whether you are on Team "Trump is the only one who can save us" or Team "Watch out for the lunatic at Mar-a-Lago", the downright hate and violence it has engendered has to be seen to be believed!

Then we Brits got Bojo, and the nastiness depending on whether you're Team "Boris is the man for the job" v. "Get this philandering AH out of there" is a sight to behold!

And of course, 31 December was the "final" date for Brexit, the date by which those of us who are expats had to be legally resident in our E.U. country of choice before we lost our Withdrawal Agreement rights. Again, it was Team "Rule Britannia and now we get to control our own borders" v. Team "How ya liking not being able to get your harvest in fellas?", and while here the nastiness has calmed down a little - perhaps - Brexit engendered divisive hatreds, often between family members which it has sometimes not been possible to patch over. Anecdotally, someone on our FB Brexit group recently posted that he ordered a £95 kilt from the U.K. to wear to a wedding here in France and ended up paying €53 in import duty on it!!! So how ya liking the prices of them apples now folks? I never order anything from the UK anymore for that reason, but why anyone should be surprised that this kind of thing would be one of the consequences of Brexit is beyond me! It for sure isn't all sunshine and daisies in the E.U. and the pandemic has probably muddied many of the issues - good or bad on both sides anyway - but it's just one more thing that has had my head spinning!

I ended up watching the final of the Euros the other night, with England playing (and losing against) Italy. I can't really say I'm particularly interested in football. Oh it would have been nice if they had won, but in the end pfft, to me it didn't really matter. What really upset me though, was at the end when it went to penalties, and the three young English players that took - and missed - the penalties were all black, my immediate thought was "oh my God, I wish that hadn't happened". Because, of course, had they won they would have been "wonderful examples of fine upstanding English lads", but because they lost they were subject to what I assume is more than the usual amount of racist abuse that they normally have to put up with! When did that ever become acceptable - to hurl racist abuse at someone because of the colour of their skin? What the hell is the world coming to when "oh she's a Karen" is easily understood to be an offensive bigotted woman (with apologies to all the non-Karen Karens out there - I'm sure you're lovely)? I don't know, it just all got to be a bit too much for me last week so I decided to get off the internet for a while to give my mind a break!

But the real humdinger for us here in France this week has been President Macron's introduction of a draft law (to be approved by Parliament) which we are referring to as the pass sanitaire (PS). Under this new law, if approved, a PS can be obtained by anyone who has either been fully vaccinated or who has a covid test less than 48 hours old (about €50 and not reimbursable). As from 21 July, anyone not in possession of a PS, can not go, for example, to the cinema, the swimming pool, museums, cafés and restaurants (whether sitting inside or outside on the terrace), shopping malls or to any place where more than 50 people might be expected to congregagate. So, for example, you won't be able to attend your son's junior school football match, for instance. NOR WILL THEY BE ABLE TO ENTER MEDICAL/HOSPITAL FACILITIES!!!!!! Moreover, young people from the age of 12 up will need the PS in order to be able to attend school in person!  Anyone who comes into regular contact with the public will need to be fully vaccinated - so McDonald's workers, restaurant workers, train drivers, ticket collectors, bus drivers and all medical personnel! I'm not going to go into all the details because to be honest I'm sick of thinking about it, but it will mean if you don't have a PS you cannot catch a bus, a train or a plane! Doesn't bother me too much as I can live without all of that, but what about those that need to have a PS in order to work? Sieg Heil, Mr. Frickin' Macron, can you guess the last time anyone issued that kind of edict?

Whichever way you lean regarding the vaccine, a person's fundalmental right is to the freedom to exert control over their own body (as defined at the Nuremberg trials), a right which is not superseded by the "greater good of society"!

To be forced to ingest something into your body against your informed consent is considered a crime against humanity - the Nuremberg Code still stands!

So that is why instead of celebrating Bastille Day on 14 July, the French were out protesting in cities all over the country. And they were peaceful protests, apart from the usual small band of professional rioters in Paris. But what happened on 14 July will be nothing compared to what is going to happen this Saturday, as the "real" protests will in no way be a celebration, and if not heads, then at least hopefully a President and wannabe dictator will be brought down!

I saw an interview on TV with Loïc Hervé who - and I didn't know this - is actually the Senate representative for Haute Savoie (this region) and he was saying that despite being vaccinated himself, he intends to vote against this law as a complete infringement of people's human rights - you know, what Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité is all about! I'm paraphrasing here but if, for the greater good of mankind, mandatory vaccination is enforced, well won't that be all well and dandy folks! All in the name of freedom. But then what happens in a couple of years' time when they find out that too many disabled children are being born? How about we just enforce abortion/euthanasia for these children for the greater good of mankind and in the name of freedom? Won't that be fine and dandy as we'll all be beautiful and free. But then, in a few years time, what about the gay people, or the ..... you get the gist of it. If we allow our rights to be infringed for the greater good of mankind and in the name of freedom - well then we will never be free will we! (On a side note, I wrote to his office and congratulated him on his stance - wonder if he'll write back)!

Also on Wednesday, I was invited to lunch with some friends (who are all vaccinated) in Switzerland, so I called the restaurant and said that I didn't have a pass sanitaire (not vaccinated yet and not going to pay €50 for a test) and should I not come? His reply "Madame, this is Switzerland, such things as the pass sanitaire law would have to be submitted to the people's vote (they vote on everything in Switzerland) so you will never need a pass sanitaire here, ever. We look forward to seeing you!" (I could have cried). If that ain't a democracy I don't know what is. Oh, and of all the United Nation Member States guess which two countries have imposed similar pass sanitaire laws? Can't guess? Norway and Denmark? Nope. Portugal tried to impose it and was forced to withdraw it after just one day. Still can't guess? Well, the answer is Pakistan and Saudi Arabia - so ya see, we're in good company!

So I guess finally it comes down to which team you are on, yet again. Team "it's everybody's civil duty to get this wonderful vaccine" or Team "ya ain't gonna stick anything which is a trial therapy and for which there is no recourse against the manufacturers if (when) everything goes tits up in two years" into my arm! Again, on a side note, legal efforts have been made to obtain copies of the contracts between the drug companies and the E.U. governments (all to no avail so far). But one thing is for sure, in each contract there is most definitely a "no recourse" clause in the event this trial therapy has to be withdrawn in two-three years. And just as a BTW, I saw it mentioned that "you might want to look at your mortgage insurance small print for anything referring to your insurance being nullified if you participate in 'trial' anything". My house is paid off and I couldn't be bothered to look but, that was something else I guess most people hadn't thought of. Or how about the fact that the SARs (I think it was) vaccine trial was called off after around 53 deaths were linked to it, and yet, worldwide there are already thousands of deaths and "adverse vaccine reactions" to this trial therapy and yet they are still pushing it!

Well done Sen. Ron Johnson for at least saying these people need to be
listened to. (The original video is over an hour long)!

Sure covid kills, but then so does this "therapy" (it isn't a vaccine apparently, but they started referring to it as such because it's something they stick in your arm)!

Anyway, and finally, I promise I will shut up afterwards, but I was always leaning towards not dashing out to get this "vaccine", mainly because, even though it has indeed been in the works for many years, it is still in trial phase, and will remain so until around May 2022 unless they withdraw it beforehand. No, I reckoned my lifestyle of being pretty insular, with the highlight of my week being grocery shopping and walking in the mountains, it was easier for me to say "nope, don't want it"! That being said, I do keep an eye on the official statistics for our local town - which have been at "less than 1" for positive tests for ages and 11% of hospital beds in Haute Savoie being occupied at this point in time! I know many of you won't agree with me, but two days ago I saw a presentation by a Canadian doctor indicating that 62% of his patients having received the vaccine within the last seven days, show indications of blood clotting. He pointed out that these effects are cumulative with each successive shot, and explained why he feels that deaths as a result of right-sided heart failure caused by pulmonary hypertension will start to skyrocket within two to three years because of this. He isn't the only one saying this and these are experts - not Sean Hannity from Fox News either. I'm pretty sure you can find an expert for whichever side of this particular fence you sit, of course, but this video in particular, ending with him talking about the deaths from right-sided heart failure, sent ice through my veins!

When I went to lunch with my friends there was only one (friendly) comment about me not being vaccinated (yet) but all I could say was "you're vaccinated, so surely I'm the only one at real risk here"! But you know, I don't want to get into this with my friends. It's something we're gonna have to agree to disagree on. In a way I hope I end up with egg on my face in a couple of years as my belief was wrong, because honestly the opposite just doesn't bear thinking about! And by the way, I'm not an anti-vaxxer. My kids and I are all vaccinated with all the required vaccines that have been in use for decades. I just don't see being used as a human guinea pig in somebody's clinical trials and against whom I have no recourse if something goes drastically wrong! (If you're interested, the video was of Dr. Charles Hoffe on the Laura Lynn show. There are plenty more, including regarding the lawsuits being prepared by the team that took down Volkswagen in the "Dieselgate" case. They are preparing "Nuremburg crimes against humanity" lawsuits as we speak)!

So finally (if you're still with me here you've got quite the stamina), I don't feel that Herr Macron's law has a snowflake's chance in hell of going through. If it does, all hell will break loose. That being said, as a nurse Jen would be the only one amongst us who would have to get the "vaccine" and since she is following the same discussions as we are you can imagine how she is reacting. It will be a case of "get your vaccine or get fired". Since they need her salary to keep their home/family going she has eyes like a deer caught in the headlights. Already she knows of five nurses where she works who will resign if it goes through and they are preparing to take a photo in front of their hospital to post on social media saying "these are just some of the people you will lose because of this"! At a hospital north of Paris one doctor has said he will lose at least 40% of his medical personnel, not only because of this but also because last year's "heroes of the pandemic" have this year been told "here's your €20 pay rise, now get back to work"! Moreover, fire stations in France are usually manned by a few paid professionals, with the rest being made up of volunteer firefighters (these are actually the paramedics that would bring you to hospital if needed). Many of them have already indicated that they will resign if mandatory vaccination goes through. Hell, why would they stay? They are volunteers after all! Oddly enough, that crafty fox Herr Macron excluded the police and the military from mandatory vaccination requirements. Why? Surely the police, in particular, will be coming into contact with large members of the public when they are checking everyone's pass sanitaire (in addition to all the other stuff they have to do). Could it be because he knows they will also revolt if he tries to impose it on them and then he will lose control of the police and the military?

Anyway, yesterday after lunch I stopped in at Jordan and Jen's for a family powow (Jordan was off, it being Bastille Day). As we're very open about finances, I thought, let's get straight to it. I asked them how much they needed to cover their monthly expenses. They sat and worked it all out and on just Jordan's salary they come up way short (she earns more than him, although as a professional nurse and a qualified plumber, their salaries are disgustingly low)! It had been moithering me for ages and then it finally hit me that I couldn't in clear conscience keep putting money into my savings/holidays fund when my kids need help.To cut straight to the chase, if they insist on mandatory vaccination for Jen she will first take the final six months' parental leave (very reduced pay) to which she is entitled, and then she will resign. I told her I will give them the amount of money that used to go into my savings for as long as it takes them to get back on their feet (not far off the amount of her full salary). They will not lose their home. I also told them I was giving them this money, not lending it. I mean, what's the point in them inheriting any assets I have many years down the road (hopefully) when they need help now? Since I hadn't said anything about it beforehand (because I'd only just thought of it anyway), it must have come as a shock to both of them and Jen just put her head on Jordan's shoulders and cried with relief! But dammit, there was always going to be a solution (for them at least - not for some other poor buggers who have no other option but to keep their jobs). We had gone through worst case scenario - they sell the small home they had worked so hard to buy. Next best - rent out the apartment and move in with either André or me! Jen called me again this morning saying she couldn't believe I would do that, but then why the hell wouldn't I? So now she's got time to retrain and they can move forward without worrying about money. When she asked me what she could do for me, I told her to get me a bunch of flowers - or sneak into the cemetery late at night and nick a bunch - but not to forget to take the card off! I also told her Jordan should tell Max (his friend and boss) that he is looking for work in Switzerland. That gives Max a chance to up his wages to a level consistent with his skills, and since Max knows he'd be in the shit without Jordan because he has tons of work lined up and they can't find another plumber for love nor money, hopefully it should shake Max up a bit too. Damn, I don't get mad often but when I do I'm like a dog with a bone. I will not give up, especially if I think there is injustice. When I got home I starting looking at plumbing/central heating job offers in Geneva, and in less than a minute I came up with one just over the border which would already triple his income. I told Jordan the one thing he had to do for me was call that company - that was all I was asking - and in addition to talking about their requirements/his skills, to stress that he is bilingual - which is a big advantage in Geneva! We'll see what happens I guess. It may already be taken but there will be others anyway and at least it gives them some breathing space!

So there you have it, what's been bothering me this last week and why I haven't been online and commenting on your blogs. I don't want to argue with anyone about vaccination. God knows I hope I'm proved totally wrong and end up with egg on my face (assuming any of us are alive at the end of all this). But my feeling is you stand as much chance of dying from the vaccination as you do from covid (only it'll happen a bit later), so I'll take my chances with the virus!

Stay safe everyone, whichever way you choose to do that. And tomorrow something a little less "heavy" huh?

Thursday 1 July 2021

Plodding along!

Things haven't exactly been quiet here but nothing particularly interesting has been happening either. The weather continues to be pretty crappy - moderately warm but with daily rain and even violent storms several times a week! I went to my Italian lesson the other night and as we walked out the most god-awful storm started so my teacher and I hung back for a while to see if it would pass over. When it didn't we realized we had no choice but to make a run for it - but man was that an interesting 45 minute drive home! It was lashing down rain and between that and the darkness it was really hard to drive. The person in front of me was going particularly slow and the eejit behind me was getting his knickers in a twist, revving his engine like crazy, obviously convinced that was all that was needed to make everyone go faster! It's not like he had to wait more than about five minutes before he could pass anyway, but I guess that's one person who has never heard of hydroplaning!

I usually take the low road home but even when I was on my way to my lesson it had already started to flood so I stuck with the motorway all the way. Damn, I hate those kinds of storms - and I hate eejits like the one behind me even more! I mean, you don't only have to worry about floods, what about the trees they bring down huh? Crikey, what happens when you find this thing in the middle of the road as you're roaring past overtaking everyone - you'd end up with a pretty severe headache right!

One of the uprooted trees in town!

At yoga on Monday she told us we were going to work on "our abdominal muscles" - all the while trying desperately not to look at me! It didn't feel too bad while I was doing it but I definitely knew about it later that afternoon. Damn, it's amazing how quickly you lose momentum when you take a break from exercising isn't it. On the way out Sylvie, who does the Monday and Tuesday yoga classes with me, mentioned that she was thinking about organizing a hike this time next year to cover the Traversée du Jura! The Jura mountains are to the north of Lake Geneva (the alps are to the south) and while they are very different to the alps and not as high, they are still very beautiful. So thinking "oh that might be something to look forward to" I asked her how long the "hike " was. When she said 400 km I nearly fell off the bench where I was sitting putting my shoes back on! My first reaction was "well that's a definite no then", but in the spirit of not saying no right off the bat, I think I'll save that for next week! I just know I could never get fit enough to do that in a year but ..... never say never, I guess!

One of the routes for the Traversée du Jura!

I have also been back to the gym trying to get back into the swing of things but damn, is it hard work at the beginning. I made a fool of myself last week though because I went in the afternoon instead of the morning and as I walked in I called out bonjour to the guys behind the desk - only to realize that a group of ladies were in the middle of a yoga lesson right there and I hadn't spotted them! Then, since the changing rooms have opened back up, I thought I'd go use the bathroom before heading upstairs. I thought something had changed when I went in, but only discovered what it was when a young man from the front desk came running after me to say I'd walked into the men's changing rooms! Damn, I may be getting older but I hadn't thought I'd reached that stage just yet! They have an expression in French which basically translates to "I hadn't taken the straw out of my clogs yet" - or, as we say in the UK, "you can take the girl out the country but ...."! I told André that on the programme of machines/exercises my trainer had set for me when I initially joined up, he had asked me to start doing a plank to see how long I could last. Frankly anything longer than a minute I count as a success, but André said I could easily cheat if I just rested up on my belly and boobs!!!! Hell, I reckon I could take both my arms and my legs off the floor and someone could just "spin me around" if we wanted to make things a bit more interesting. Still, I'm doing more than Mr. Critical over there aren't I. Actually he said once he gets settled into his apartment he might come with me and enrol at my gym, but since this is someone who considers exercise to be taking a bath then pulling the plug and fighting the current we'll see how that goes, I guess!

On Saturday some really fit people will be coming through here again as the Tour de France will be heading down from le Grand Bornand to Cluses through the local town of Bonneville - and clogging up the traffic quite nicely again, I would imagine. I saw in today's news that a local sheep farmer has nighttime footage of a wolf attacking his sheep so if Mr. Wolf shows up at the Tour de France that could make things interesting. Farmers have always claimed that there are wolves in these mountains (well something is attacking their livestock), but it is usually denied by the authorities, who probably don't want to admit it. Doesn't make sense to me since if there are wolves and bears in eastern Europe what's stopping them from moving in to western Europe also? Nothing right!

In other news, France has dropped pretty much 99% of its covid restrictions as from today - everything except masks when in indoor public places, and it's a nice feeling, I have to admit. I watched the England/Germany football match the other night in the Euros and surprise, surprise England actually beat Germany 2-0! Now that doesn't happen very often I can tell you. I'm not that bothered about football, to be honest, but it made a nice to change to watch England actually win something. I didn't find it to be the most exciting match though, but then I guess that would make me just one of thousands of expert couch potatoes wouldn't it, lying on the sofa eating crisps while doling out my opinion of where they went wrong!

Couch potato!

Prince William and Kate took Prince George to Wembley Stadium to watch the match - which was nice - but I do wish they would dress him like a little boy occasionally, and not like some young schoolboy in starchy knickerbockers. Still, again, I don't suppose they care what I think do they!

And finally, I'm really moving on with sorting and decluttering - and it's now getting quite motivating. I'm still going through loads and loads of linens, sorting what's decent (and even still in its package) in case my son wants it, putting stuff in the recycling bin and ripping up more stuff for rags. I would say over 50% of it is what my ex left behind when he hightailed it back to the US in 2015 and left me to empty his rental. One thing I can't figure out though is how he had three beds and seemed to need 85 sets of bed linen for them!!! Damn, it's no wonder I had my work cut out for me!