The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Sunday 23 January 2022

Could do better!

I don't know what's come over me lately but I've been as lazy as hell and I don't like it one bit! I just can't be arsed to do much of anything right now. Oh I cook because I need to eat, and I keep things tidy (enough) but when I consider how much time I have I'm amazed at how little I'm getting done at the moment. I mean, I bought the paint to repaint the bathroom unit (love the colour), but I've only been plodding along at the rate of about an hour a day. I never was one to knuckle down and "just get the damn thing done" anyway as I prefer to potter, but to take this long to empty and paint a single unit? Seriously???? My bad habit is to get up and start listening to the news/podcasts while eating breakfast - and then I go down that bloody rabbit hole and before I know it three hours have flown by. So I have to admit I felt like one of the Enigma code breakers at Bletchley Park the other day when I realized I could actually take the computer into the bathroom and listen to podcasts while I am painting!!! I know, it's genius isn't it! I don't know why I've been so lazy lately but I'm hoping I can shake myself out of it soon because there really is so much I could be getting on with. Or maybe it's just that I don't have enough to do. That's possible too. I always preferred it at work when I had tons to do because I believe you get lazy if you don't have enough to do, probably because in my case I'm not particularly driven! That being said, I went and picked up the new, not so exciting sinks for my bathroom and Jordan will come over and instal them when he gets a chance. Actually I wouldn't mind asking him if he wants me to start removing the tiling from around the bath before he takes that out. There's no hurry but the more I can do myself, the less he will have to do when the time comes!

For Christmas this year, Jen's mom's boyfriend very kindly bought us all tickets to visit Alta Lumina up at a place called Les Gets (pronounce "lay jay"). Well actually he had bought them for last year but what with covid lockdowns and curfews we couldn't go. So yesterday we made up for lost time and the six of us (plus Charlie) headed up to Les Gets for 5 p.m. Now Les Gets is at 2,000 metres above sea level (that's over 6,500 feet) and although the weather has been glorious it was obviously going to be pretty cold up there. It sure was - turns out it was -5°C (23°F) - so I knew I'd have to be careful about what to wear as the visit involved a 45 minute light show outside in the forest. Luckily I hit it just right as I had on really good quality boots and socks, a pair of my ex's old long johns and sweat pants, and then about five layers on top with a heavy duty winter jacket. And it was perfect! Not too hot, not too cold - so much so that I didn't even wear my hat and gloves. We all looked a bit like the Michelin Man, of course, and I'm pretty sure none of us could have blown our noses if we wanted to (because you can't bend your arm at the elbow), but it really was just perfect. I tell you though, with the starting point being at the bottom of a very mild slope, I puffed up that thing just enough to realize that I have to get back out and start walking again - I'm so out of shape! Oh there was heavy snow, I had on layers of clothing and it was uphill and ... - nah, I've got nothing - I'm just out of shape!

Jordan had Charlie strapped to his front, obviously all dressed up for the cold with a big blanket over the top and he loved it, although not enough to prevent him from falling asleep by the time we got to the end!

They had braziers at the entrance while we waited
- and very welcome they were too!

The music man setting off in his
hot air balloon!

When we came out the sky was just spectacular (the photo doesn't do it justice). It was cold and clear and crisp and just so stunning - I wished I knew so much more about the stars. Jordan had an app on his phone so we were able to identify so much but it really is something I wish I knew more about!

Afterwards we were all invited back to Jordan and Jen's (so they could put the baby to bed), Jen's mom had very kindly prepared tartiflette (my favourite meal),  and we ended up playing board games until just after midnight. I got home at 1 a.m. and went to bed at 3 a.m. Ha, there's life in the ol' girl yet!

And finally, Scarlet I popped over to your blog after you left a comment on here and am I ever pea green with envy at your talent! I wanted to leave a message but I see you have disabled comments. Either way, you are one very talented lady!

Thursday 20 January 2022

Well that's a relief!

A few days ago I received an email from my American friend (who lives here in France), sending me a copy of yet another article on just how safe these covid jabs are. Now I know she did this from the goodness of her heart but the difference between where we stand on this issue is actually a chasm. She was lining up to get her third jab and I'm bound and determined never to get the first. Anyway, poor M, she caught me on a bad day!

My kids are getting more and more pressure from so-called friends to get jabbed, despite the fact that they both recovered from covid at the end of November. Jordan's boss is not only his friend but they play in the same band together (they've known each other since they were about 15), but even he keeps making snide remarks about getting jabbed (he has also made other more crude remarks about Charlie's paternity - by way of a joke - but if I get my hands on him making that kind of "joke", I will rip his balls off)! Anyway he must have made one "joke" too many at band practice the other week because André hauled back and ripped into him. He told him EXACTLY what he thought of him and what a louse he thought he was when we all had covid. OK, nobody cares about the adults - we're all adults and we made our choices - but André let Max know EXACTLY what he thought of him as a so-called friend who couldn't even be arsed to call Jordan to find out how his seven-month old baby was after catching covid (perfectly fine, as it turned out, but Max didn't know that)! And with that, André walked out of practice. So yeah, you might say there have been a few tensions building up!

Then André was telling me last night that his friend spent 15 hours at the hospital last weekend with his gf - who is obese, a former drug addict (so not in the best of health) and who also has lupus. They spent 15 hours at the hospital after a lupus flare up and when André called to find out how she was his "friend" managed to call André a c*nt for not being vaccinated! Oh he knows it was tiredness and pressure, but André hasn't seen them for about six weeks and they live in Geneva, so André wasn't sure how it was his fault that the gf ended up in hospital. And as he said, anyone without a pass sanitaire has been unable to go anywhere these last six months so how the hell are we the ones spreading this virus?

Anyway, all that to say that when my friend sent me that article I blew a gasket and drafted a "both barrels" response. Thankfully I toned it right back down but to say it was direct would be an understatement. And I felt terrible after I sent it, but I also had no intention of recalling it - a "let the chips fall where they may" kinda thing! Oh I knew I would calm down eventually and in any case I had every intention of contacting her on Sunday before she goes into hospital on Monday for a hip operation. Anyway, she just contacted me to say that my email had gone into the trash folder but "message received"! And I felt like a real heel! So I wrote back to her and said that she should have left it in the trash folder, because that was where it deserved to be. I told her I didn't apologize for the content as I always say what I mean, but my diplomacy (or lack thereof) would probably have scored me a 1/10! 

I told her that I apologized for letting her have it with both barrels (even though watered down), I wished her good luck for Monday and promised not to ever write again when I'm fired up. And just like that we're friends again (although she was probably always too gracious to fall out over something like that). Just me being an asshole, I guess. I will always apologize when I'm in the wrong - rarely for content because I don't write or say things I don't mean - but I could definitely have done better on that one!

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Wow, it's started!

I'd heard quite some time ago that legal challenges were being prepared in connection with the handling of the covid situation - the vaccine mandates, mandatory mask-wearing, pcr tests, vaccine passports, etc. Reiner Fuellmich is one of the many prominent lawyers who has been working round the clock on these cases. In an interview he gave while in Poland last year he stated that legal proceedings had already been filed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the German-speaking European countries), but indicated that there were obviously many, many more challenges being filed. More recently groups from four European countries filed with the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Three of those were apparently rejected on technicalities, but the British case was accepted on 6 December and therefore given a file number. (On a side note, Dr. Mike Yeadon, former VP and Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer is one of the signatories to the complaint - I believe it's 44 pages long)!

As I understand it (and this is just my understanding), by virtue of the fact that they have a dossier number from The Hague, the British complainants were able to take their evidence to the British police where they now have a UK dossier number, and are therefore "requiring" that all vaccination centres in the UK be shut down immediately and treated as crime scenes. There are videos already on the internet of citizens taking this information either to police stations or vaccination centres in order to have these centres closed down and the vaccines seized as evidence. I think this started around 15 January so I guess it will have to come out in the press sooner rather than later - they can't keep it hidden forever!  There are already quite a few videos online if you are interested, but they all have a prepared script, giving the UK and International Criminal Court dossier numbers and the complaints contained therein. I guess we'll have to see how this pans out!

Sunday 16 January 2022

Last man standing!

Crikey, what a week it's been! As was expected, my favourite neighbour's mom died about 10 days ago. She was 93 years old and it was, as I say, expected, but the sad thing is she died a day or two before my neighbour got there. While I guess these things happen, I'm sure relations next door won't be improved one iota by the fact that they had to wait to leave until after a doctor's appointment for him, since, as I've mentioned before, he walked out of the hospital before his operation last time because he was "pissed off at having to wait"!

I then heard that the farmer had also died (pancreatic cancer). I only found out after the funeral but I would have gone if I had known. He was definitely "a character". His son died about four months ago and never had any intention of taking over the farm anyway, so I'm assuming the girls will sell up. I thought I saw him about 10 days ago, but it was obviously someone else taking care of the animals. I don't know what will happen but I already miss the sound of the goat bells in the upper field and, of course, the beautiful donkeys in the field at the back of my house!

After that I heard that a former colleague of mine had died at the age of 78. She had been ill for a few years, so again it was expected, but I do remember her fondly as I took over her job in HR when she retired and had nothing but respect for her professionalism. A funny story she told me - although not funny at the time - she was English and married to an Italian from Naples. One time when they went to Naples to see family, they were staying in a hotel and as it was hot they had the window cracked just a little. When they woke up the next morning they found they had been robbed during the night! Apparently the thieves had pumped sleeping gas into the room through the crack in the window and must have had a small child go in and take their valuables! The police reckoned they were followed to the hotel since they had Swiss plates. You would have thought, being a native, that he would have known better about sleeping with the window open, but she said it was a hard lesson well learned!

Then my friend sent me a FB message regarding her return trip from Spain today (I was to pick her up at the airport) and told me that her cousin in England had just been found dead at home at the age of 60. They were thinking it might have been a diabetic coma but the family have asked for an autopsy so that they can be sure. I didn't know him, but 60 still seems young to me to be dying so suddenly! Anyway, my friend had a PCR test booked for the day before her flight and wouldn't you know it but it came back positive - despite the fact that she had no symptoms whatsoever! So flight cancelled, pick-up cancelled and she's stuck in Spain for at least the next 10 days, not only because of having to isolate but also because it will depend on when she can get a flight out. Mind you, being "stuck" in Spain doesn't strike me as such an awful thing to have to endure, although having to isolate would be a pain. On the positive side, she and her sister own their home over there so she won't be running up horrendous bills, except for extending the cat's stay in the cattery!

Moving swiftly on, Jordan showed up at the depot for work last Monday to find no-one there to open up. Max has been off for a while as he broke his arm skiing and as Jordan waited for his brother to show up, he found out that A, the brother, was also off sick after throwing up violently all night (it only lasted a day though). So that left Jordan stuck with no way to get into the depot or load up the van. The two apprentices were also off with covid - one quite seriously (although better now), and the other just a mild case, like Jordan's, so Jordan was well and truly on his own. When Max's dad showed up to open up they had already agreed that Jordan needed to have a key to the depot and they are apparently getting him his own van - so some good news came out of it. On the down side, instead of asking him to head to the site near me where he has been working for a couple of months, Max asked him to go to the Chamonix site as it was more urgent. Jordan told me he had no idea what he was supposed to be doing up there so he just picked up the jack hammer and started "jackhammering"!

Also last week Max's gf 's dad had to be helicoptered off the mountain when he'd been out skiing (turns out he had injured his back - hence the helicopter, but it was not as serious as initially thought), and then the gf broke her own arm while out skiing - this being the young disabled woman in a wheelchair. I know, she goes skiing???? More power to her but I'm sure she could have done without breaking her arm! So Max and his gf only have one pair of hands between them at the moment. Somehow I don't think I'll be going skiing much in the future, and for good reason!

I stopped in to see the Munchkin this week and he was on fine form, but when I left there it was already starting to get dark and the fog was horrendous! As I got up nearer to home I was so grateful that I knew the roads because I could barely see 10 feet in front of me. No street lights, winding mountain roads and even a couple of idiots out running - wouldn't you think they'd wear reflective jackets if they wanted to stay safe????

On the positive side, I finally got an email from the French authorities for me to upload the rest of my documents regarding my citizenship request - just 30 months after I started! So I had a look at it this afternoon as I already have all the documents, but bugger me if my bloody scanner has stopped working. After a couple of hours doing other stuff I decided to just give up for today and then luckily googled "the best scanning app to download onto an iPhone". And that was when I found out that iPhone has a handy little app buried in the "notes" section that allows you to scan documents into your notes and save them. Old dog, new tricks I guess!

And finally, after the horrible fog we've had, this weekend has been just beautiful, so Jordan and Jen decided to take Charlie on his first sledding outing with their neighbours, who have a little boy about six months older than Charlie. The weather was glorious, the skiing crowds haven't started to arrive yet and Charlie and his buddy had a whale of a time!

Charlie's hidden under a huge snow jacket
and of course his orange binky!

Saturday 8 January 2022

This and that!

Things on the home improvement front look like they might be starting to move around here. By that I mean that hopefully I'll be able to start working on my bathrooms soon, as goodness knows they're in dire need of a facelift/total makeover! I found out the other week that Jordan had bought himself tools in order to do a side job that weekend for a friend. He was always up for working side gigs but as a plumber you need tools to fit every eventuality and while he can borrow some from work if Max and his brother aren't using them, if you have to buy them yourself they are expensive when you're starting out! Anyway someone had asked him to move a couple of radiators and I think it bought home to him how much more money he can make working for himself than working for Max. He's happy enough working for Max and has learned an awful lot, but as a trained plumber/heating engineer he knows there is so much more work for him out there if he wants to work for himself. Goodness knows people are crying out for tradesmen! So I asked if he would come with me to pick out a couple of bathroom sinks for my larger bathroom and install them as a way to make a start on the bathroom renovations. I figured the large mirror above the sinks could stay, and as the unit was made to measure I would keep it - it just needed repainting. Unfortunately I'm going to have to stick with more or less the same sinks as I already have if I don't want him cutting into the made-to-measure unit, so I ordered them and then went out and bought a lovely charcoal grey paint for the unit. It is already such a great improvement over the insipid grey/pink colour it was before, I wonder why I didn't do it 10 years ago! We figured he would take out the bath in the large bathroom and install a douche italienne (an "Italian shower"? - a large, doorless, walk in shower), then get rid of the shower in the smaller bathroom, replace it with a hand basin and install a new toilet that doesn't look like it's seen service on a building site for 10 years. With that I'm good to go - all I need is a tiler! I had a couple of names/recommendations and apparently the young Kosovan tiler that did work for my neighbours is up for it so it looks like things might finally start to move on my crappy bathrooms!

Talking of my neighbours, Jordan asked me if I would watch Charlie for a few hours this afternoon as he wanted to go to band practice and Jen was helping her mom clean the house she has just sold before she hands over the keys. Of course it was a pleasure to have the Munchkin as he really is an easy (and fun) baby to have around. I had shovelled snow and put down salt earlier today as we'd had quite a snow fall last night, and I was watching out the window for them to arrive when I spotted a wisp of cigarette smoke coming from by my neighbour's front door. So I leaned out the window and told her that I'd spotted her but not to worry as I wouldn't tell anyone. This is my favourite neighbour (with the "difficult" husband), who had quit smoking three years ago when she ended up hospitalised with pneumonia. For some time now she's been back to smoking a couple a day "when she's stressed" so I asked if everything was all right. Turns out it isn't because her mom is 93 and they just called from the nursing home 800 km away to say that they might want to get there sooner rather than later because they felt the end was near. So she's packing and wanting to set off immediately but they can't go until Wednesday because her husband has medical appointments this Tuesday. Turns out he finally got his legs operated on on Monday (after messing the hospital around on more than one occasion and walking out the last time before they could operate because he was pissed off at having to hang around when the surgeon got delayed)! Yeah, that guy! Well he went in on Sunday, was operated on on Monday and called his daughter to come and get him Monday afternoon, without waiting for the doctor's go-ahead! Thankfully she told him off as there was no way he was leaving hospital yet again "against medical advice" and said he would just have to wait until the next day and the all clear from the surgeon! Then he apparently found out on Tuesday morning that he was cleared to leave and called his wife at six in the morning to come and get him! The guy is nuts, because even if he knew at 6 a.m. that he was going home that day he would still have to wait until the admissions office opened up later to do the necessary paperwork. But how selfish is that anyway, to wake someone up at 6 a.m.? The more I think about it the more I guess he was so used to being "important" at work all those years that he seems to think he's still important, when in fact he's just another nobody like the rest of us!

Jen came to pick Charlie up around 5 p.m. and after he had eaten she was getting his stuff together when there was a knock at the door and it was my neighbour (the wife) asking if Jen could move her car as they were going out (Jen's car was sticking out slightly). So Jen said to just "give me a minute while I get Charlie's coat on" and my neighbour said "well the sooner the better because he's getting pissed off as he wants to leave right now!" Wow, now I knew this wasn't her being difficult it was him. They were only going over to their son's for a visit so an extra minute or two was neither here nor there while Jen got the babe ready, but nope, there he was sitting in the car revving the engine making his point (whatever that was)! And this from the guy who routinely parks in my driveway in front of my garage!!! I was pissed off at first but then I just thought "oh to hell with him, he's just a miserable man who can't deal with no longer being king of the dung heap"! Sad though, isn't it, but at least I don't have to live with him!

Maybe I'm so zen because I went back to yoga on Monday for the first time in seven weeks (what with missing classes because of catching covid and then the Christmas break). I tell ya, by the time I walked out of there I was going to sell up and move to an ashram, that's how great I felt after what was, to be honest, just a namby-pamby warm-up class! Even if I never feel like going beforehand, I'm so glad to be back at class!

You may or may not have heard, but Macron is turning the screws even more now as he intends to swap the pass sanitaire for the pass vaccinal on 15 January. What that means is that we are moving from having a valid pass by virtue of being (now) triple-vaxed, having a negative covid test or having recovered from covid (so that's me), to them only accepting triple-vaxed and no longer accepting the negative test, although those of us that have recovered from covid within the last six months still get to keep the pass. It's madness because to my mind, if you are going to force people to show a pass to go anywhere (sieg heil, Mr. Macron), (say, to a restaurant, or a bar, or a café, or a library, or a cinema, or .....), surely it would be better to have to show a negative test rather than proof of vaccination, which frankly proves nothing? When they introduced this legislation some bright spark (the Prime Minister) stated that not only did you have to show the pass vaccinal to enter a bar, but you could not stand at the bar and have a drink, you had to sit down - because apparently the virus only circulates over four feet off the ground. Also, you are no longer allowed to eat or drink anything on long-distance transport, nor will you be allowed to eat or drink in the cinema! I guess you can imagine the memes that have been flying round after that one! Anyway, not having the pass is the reason I haven't been to a restaurant (or anywhere else) in about six months, but then of course it was possible for all that to change (not that it did) once I recovered from covid and got the pass. That was how I was able to meet with friends in a restaurant in Geneva just before Christmas. Not that the restaurant owner asked for my pass but at least I had it! Anyway, André asked me if I had downloaded the Swiss app before I went to Geneva and when I said no he said "well you ought to", because when I downloaded the Swiss covid app and uploaded my French "recovery from covid QR code", I see that in Switzerland it's valid for a year!!! And I'm tickled pink because while my French pass is valid for six months (or probably even less time in the future once they start pushing the fourth jab on people after three months), the Swiss recognize natural immunity for a year! But please God tell me we won't still be on this merry-go-round a year from now!!!

Pre-covid, I would very occasionally meet up with friends in Geneva for lunch (about once a month) and went to the cinema there to watch a film in English maybe twice a year - if that - but since I have been a social leper for the past six months, and haven't been able to go anywhere, I subscribed to Amazon Prime and Netflix - and I honestly don't see why I would bother going to a cinema in Geneva again, paying $25 a ticket, when I've been able to watch whatever I want for the past six months for about $15/month!

And finally, talking of movies, I started watching the new Leonardo di Caprio movie, Don't Look Up, the other night. My first thoughts were "oh this isn't for me", but when I read the background to it I realized just how clever it really was (I should have known, what with it being directed by Adam MacKay)! It's about a pair of astronomers/scientists who discover that a massive meteor, capable of destroying the entire planet, is headed for earth and how they desperately try to get the powers that be to take action. It's got an all star cast with Meryl Streep not being particularly stretched to play a US president who seems to be only "in it for the glory", and Jonah Hill as her equally disinterested Chief of Staff. The cast were all brilliant, of course, but for me Mark Rylance playing Peter Isherwell, the insane, megalomaniac tech billionaire with dollar signs for eyes, well he just stole the show. As I say, if you believe it, it's a metaphor for a massive catastrophe coming to destroy the earth, with the brave scientists trying to get everyone to put their damn phones down and "look up" to see the danger they are facing, while the powers that be are holding rallies with the slogan "don't look up" so they can pull a fast one on everyone while making themselves richer and richer! I won't give away the ending but it was very clever and I actually ended up quite enjoying it. A clever plot, great acting and a not-so-subtle metaphor!