I got a slip in my mail box the other day for me to go to the Post Office to pick up a parcel and yay, the two sets of The Complete Far Side that I'd ordered over a month ago finally showed up! Jordan had mentioned to me how much he likes my Gary Larsen set so that pinged an idea into my head to buy both the boys a set for Christmas! Turns out they're pretty hard to get hold of (and pretty darn expensive - over €200 each!!!) but at least they got here eventually. I was a bit ticked off when the lady told me that there was a tax to pay on them though because I'd ordered them through Amazon, France, and didn't see where it indicated that the sender was located in the U.S., so I thought damn, this is gonna be expensive! One time I ordered $110 worth of patchwork stuff from the States and ended up paying €60 in import duty, so never again. Likewise I no longer order anything from the U.K. because I'd now be liable to pay taxes on that too as we're no longer part of the E.U. Still, I thought I'd just have to suck it up, buttercup, and pay whatever it took. Turns out it was ok in the end as it only cost me €15 but phew, I was expecting a helluva lot more than that!
Then last week Amazon finally reimbursed me the €700 I paid for the phone that went AWOL so I decided to take a look at what kinds of deals SFR - my phone carrier - had on their site. My two-year contract with them ended in May and I always allow it to run out because they are usually willing to make some kind of concession to get you to sign back up with them. Well lo and behold they were offering an iPhone 11 for €1 if I signed back up for a two year contract!!! That's a big saving over €700 isn't it! So I went online to fill in all the required info, stating that I wanted to keep the same number. Trouble was, when I tried to input another required code it wouldn't go through, so I ended up calling them. And wouldn't you know it, that offer was only available to new customers! Damn! The young woman told me she could indeed get me an iPhone 11 but not at that price, so I thought "oh here we go, how much do they want now"? Well it turns out they wanted the grand sum of €9, plus having me sign up for a two year contract at €40/month. Well that's pretty much what I pay anyway so I told her I was happy to go for it - and then she said "oh it's your birthday soon, how about I knock €5/month off that amount and throw in a free phone case at the same time"? Ha, so now I'm the proud owner of a much better phone than my old one, which is on its last legs anyway. Not that I really need a fancy phone because basically all I do is call, text and take photos, but at that price I'm not going to argue with them. So yay me!
In other news Jen's mom called me recently asking about my Monday morning yoga class, which is just round the corner from the new apartment she will be moving to in December. I told her how much I liked the teacher, what the cost was and that I was pretty sure she could have a couple of free lessons to see if she liked it - but she should be sure to tell the teacher that she has back problems, just in case. Anyway, she came with me a couple of times and is going to sign up as she felt it did her back the world of good. I mentioned to her the first week that I wanted to stop over at Jordan and Jen's to see Charlie as he doesn't go to day care on Mondays so we called Jen and the two grandmas got to play with the babe for a couple of hours. Jen suggested we get take-out from the little restaurant in town so now we've made a date to stop over every Monday/most Mondays to see the babe and eat together. Sounds good to me!
Then on Thursday I drove down to Annecy to meet up with my friend, M, who I haven't seen in about three years. She's American (and also French, through her late husband) and after her husband died about five years ago she moved to Ireland with her son when he got a job there. She's a fairly reserved person so ended up not liking Ireland at all, although goodness knows the Irish are a friendly bunch and easy to get to know! They lived in Cork and she never bought a car so I think her world kinda shrunk once they moved there. Anyway, since her son, his new wife and step-daughter wanted to move back to France (as did M), they set the wheels in motion to transfer back here and she's been in Annecy since July of this year. It's sad really because she and her husband bought an apartment in the most perfect spot in Annecy so that they could retire to it - and then her husband died at 59 and they never got to live out their dream retirement together! Just her, although since her husband was the love of her life I'm not so sure she now sees herself as living the dream!
And to be honest I found her sad, still grieving for her husband and since she's so terrified of this virus she's isolating herself even more. She asked me if I would agree to take a lateral flow test when I got to her place so I said "sure, no problem, let's both do them". Apparently they are available for free in the U.K. (or at least in England) and her daughter bought a whole bunch with her when she came over from London not so long ago. Well, you've never seen anything like it! I had to laugh in the end because M had on a big, industrial-strength mask and rubber gloves - I told her she looked like she was preparing for a moon landing - and she burst out laughing, which was good to see. When I handed her my swab she made such a pig's ear out of it, mistakenly trying to get two drops of solution onto the kit from the swab rather than from the solution bottle. I reckon she contaminated my test with all that fiddling around because absolutely nothing happened. Not positive, not negative, nada! I swear we both had a better chance of showing up pregnant than getting a covid result from that! With her own test the colours lit up immediately and then just left one line - thus proving she was negative. So I told her to give me another test and I'd do it myself this time and of course it came back negative because I don't really mix any more either. So after that she took off the astronaut's mask and we ordered in Moroccan food, and sat on her balcony with a couple of glasses of wine yacking away - as you do when you haven't seen someone in years! And it was great, although like I say, I found her to be "fragile" - for want of a better word. I guess losing her husband and then withdrawing into herself during the pandemic really did a number on her! She's also got hip problems so I told her we'd go out cruising and I knew loads of walks we could do on the flat because, as she said, when they lived around here they never went out exploring like we did. It's odd but my other neighbour said the same thing and yet my ex and I were constantly out looking for new places to explore - that is until the marriage blew up, but that's a whole other story. So I told her that I can either pick her up or she can catch the train up to me and we'll go out exploring together before the bad weather kicks in. I'll even get myself some lateral flow tests each time if she would be more comfortable doing that, so it looks like we have a date! She also lent me her copy of Thoreau's Walden, which I've wanted to read for ages. She said it's pretty heavy going and looking at the miniscule print I'll have to see how I get on, but it's one more book to add to the growing pile waiting for my attention!
Oh and I just finished watching Clickbait on Netflix and thoroughly enjoyed it, after giving up on The Queen's Gambit. Of course it was pretty far-fetched but very watchable and more-ish and I was convinced I'd figured out who the bad guy was by the last episode. But guess what, I was wrong, just like all those years ago when I would read Agatha Christie as a kid and feel sure I knew who the villain was - and then get it wrong every time. In my defence, Agatha Christie was a clever writer and I was a kid - but yeah, that's the best I could come up with!
And finally, just a quick shout out to Tania in Essex. I see that your blog is currently unavailable so I hope everything is ok with you and yours! Take care hon!