The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Saturday 23 April 2022

And the good news is ...!

I'm coming to realize lately how much I appreciate having days/weeks with nothing planned. I still seem to get plenty done but it's been at my own pace and as and when I feel like it. There's no yoga for the next two weeks due to the Easter holidays, so I decided I wanted to get in at least one walk (done, 10 km Thyez to Cluses) and one session at the gym this week (also done). I wasn't feeling too enthusiastic about the gym but by the time I got off the bike after 45 minutes I thought I may as well "give it some wellie" (as we say back home) and ended up really enjoying myself, on top of having the whole upper floor of the gym to myself!

I continue to play the old head game of setting my timer for an hour and just getting on and doing something - anything - and by gum it seems to be working. Maybe I've found my groove because I've gotten so much done this week in one-hour chunks and, more importantly, I've actually enjoyed it! The other day I got my French tax papers ready to send off, and then went online to set up my account with the local water authority on their new site. Just like the French naturalisation site, however, the water board site wasn't working so I decided to leave it a few days and bingo, I got that done this morning. I wasn't so lucky with the naturalisation site though because their newfangled site is still not working - or maybe it's just that they don't want any more of us becoming French! Who knows! Still, not to worry, it'll all come right on the night I suppose. So since I couldn't get that ticked off my invisible to-do list, I set to and scrubbed the large balcony at the back of my house for the first time in ages and it looks pretty good. I actually don't know what the point was in installing these balconys when they built the houses because I don't know anyone that uses them. I suppose a more pertinent question would be why don't I use mine because it has the best view, looking out over the farm and the mountains! I suppose it could be because I like to sit under the balcony in the shade rather than on the balcony getting burned to a crisp. Still, it's a great place to dry my washing, and I'm even thinking I might put one of my small greenhouses out there to grow some of my warm weather veggies. I'd have to think about how to secure it though because right now there's a storm blowing and the wind can and does howl round that corner!

While I was out there scrubbing I noticed a little hedgehog moseying around on my back terrace. I thought it was unusual because they're usually nocturnal, but nope there he was, all curled up having a snooze. It eventually struck me that he might be sick so I put some water out for him and decided I'd shovel him up with my snow shovel if and when he kicked the bucket. But he didn't 'cos when I went out there to do the deed he was sniffing around by my back door! I deliberately went out and stood quite close to him but as that didn't seem to phase him at all, I went back into the house and came out and scattered some crushed up cereal to see what he would do. And guess what, turns out hedgehogs like Special K!

I also finally got through varnishing the bathroom unit after I realized the paint chipped easily if I didn't varnish it. I haven't done a very good job but I'm happy with it and it's 100% better than it was! Just got to get the rest done now!

Before - God I can't believe I put up
with that for so long!

After - I'm rather pleased with this!

I've also got quite a bit done in the garden/seedling department, even if my living room still resembles a jungle as I can't plant out yet. The other day when I was checking on my tomato seedlings I noticed that several pots had something else sprouting in addition to the tomato plants. Then it hit me that I had just been dumping in whatever half-decomposed compost I happened to have handy when I was repotting and some of the potato peelings had started to sprout! Heck at this rate I might be able to grow an entire salad in one pot!

I got chatting to my neighbour earlier this week and she asked me if I had heard about the Ferme des Chenevifs (the cheese-makers just up the road). Turns out that a couple of their cows had tested positive (for what, I don't know) and the entire herd had been slaughtered and they have now closed up shop!! Damn, that is so sad! I barely eat cheese so I wouldn't have known about it, but they were a small, family-owned business and poof just like that everything they had worked for is gone! I just hope they were well compensated for their loss!

Two weeks ago saw the first round of the French elections. In order to stand you have to have the support of at least 500 French mayors. There were three candidates who I thought were excellent but who weren't able to stand because of lack of mayoral support (there's a whole fishy backstory to this), but one who did get to run was a former Macron crony named Valérie Pecresse - the richest of all the people running! She was an abysmal candidate who came over as totally phony and so, of course, hardly got any votes. The thing is, she had put €5 million of her own personal money into the €7 million campaign funds, but under an unknown-to-me ruling for French elections, any candidate who polls less than 5% of the votes can not request reimbursement of monies spent from their party's campaign funds. Pecresse polled just 4.8% (she was convinced she was going to win) so is out €5 million of her own money and then had the nerve to go on television asking people to send money to help her recoup her losses!!!!!! It was quite funny (to me at least) because a whole bunch of people mailed in cheques for €1 and an opposition candidate offered to lend her his Peugeot 308! But seriously, the nerve of her, asking "the plebs" to help make up her losses when they will never have one-tenth of what she has if they work their entire lives! Needless to say my cheque is not in the mail!

I've been reading in the news that Netflix has apparently lost thousands of subscribers in the last couple of months as people, for whatever reason, are turning against them. (Could it be that nobody could give a sh*t about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's angst and the documentary Netflix is paying them millions to film)? I have to say, though, that I'm definitely getting my money's worth out of Netflix even if I won't be watching the Ginger Whinger's documentary! The past couple of nights I've stayed up late to watch the documentary on arch paedophile Jimmy Savile and it truly was stomach-turning. I remember as a young girl thinking I didn't like that creep and then one day my mom said the same thing. Oh there were rumours about him floating about for years, apparently, but since he raised millions for charity - in particular for Stoke Mandeville spinal injuries unit - the guy must have felt untouchable. Indeed he certainly seemed to be just that! When some of the victims were finally able to get their stories out (with the aid of an intrepid investigative reporter), they numbered in their hundreds - 400, in fact, according to the documentary - and while the pervert seemed to prefer young girls, he wasn't averse to assaulting young boys either, the youngest being a five year old! While "justice" (if you can call it that) was served in the end, it's just a shame that the bastard had already died when that justice was dished up!

Pervert-in-chief, Jimmy Savile!

Poor Charlie has been sick again! (again???)? It started off with conjunctivitis and an ear infection. When he got over that Jen reckoned chickenpox was on its way because they have an outbreak at the crèche. Well it turns out the rash all over his body was actually roseola, but, not to miss out, he then started a couple of days ago with chickenpox blisters. Poor little soul! That being said, he's actually fine, not miserable at all, and I guess we can only thank the powers that be that all these childhood illnesses have hit him while Jen's been at home and able to take care of him. I went over yesterday to see him and Jen was all bubbly because guess what? She's got a job! She'd been on parental leave until 31 March and was then suspended (along with the other 70,000 medical staff) for refusing the jab. She said the lady in HR was really nice about it and said she would have done the same if she could find another job but .... In fact, she told Jen that their small local hospital is now short 80 nurses because of the vaccine mandate and they are struggling! Anyway, Jen has applied for five jobs outside of nursing and last week went for an interview at a crèche just down the road. She said she loved the place and the atmosphere was great and she found out two days ago that they wanted to offer her the job - oh, and can you start on Wednesday? They were also happy to accommodate her need to start later (she needs to get Charlie to his own crèche first) because she could do the 7 p.m. closing instead - something the others didn't want to do. The pay is pretty abysmal compared to what she was earning as a nurse but she reckons they can manage financially. Also (and I think this is extremely positive), the woman told her that she understood that she will have been applying for other, higher-paying jobs (she has - she's waiting to hear back from the other four) and so offered her a trial three-month contract to see how she liked it and how it worked out for them! That, to my mind, is a definite plus in that it shows that this lady is human. And so, my blogging friends, for the first time in over a year I saw Jen really smile and all that pent up tension fade away! Who knows what will happen because if Marine Le Pen gets in on Sunday she has already stated that she will reinstate all the medical staff that have been suspended because of the vax mandate. Sadly I don't think she will get in because Napoleon's backers' pockets are just too deep, but who knows. So what that means is that I will be taking care of Charlie on Fridays and Jen is going to ask her mom to have him on Mondays (my yoga day), although she did say she didn't think her mom could manage a whole day so who knows if I will get roped in for Monday afternoons too. We'll see how it works out but I'm delighted for Jen and know she will not only enjoy her new job but she will be good at it (it's in a day care centre and she loves kids)!

AAAAAANNNNNDDDD (you thought I'd finished didn't you), the other day André spoke to his neighbour who works in Geneva in a hardware store selling plumbing supplies to professionals and asked him if he knew of any openings through his contacts. The guy told him the plumbers he dealt with couldn't find qualified plumbers to work for them for love nor money and to have Jordan get a résumé to him as soon as possible. So if this works out for Jordan he will be raking it in compared to what he is earning now. Minimum wage in Geneva (unskilled) is already almost three times what he's making now so as a qualified plumber who knows what that figure might be! So there you have it, a hopefully positive update on the roller-coaster ride that has been our norm for the last year. Fingers and toes duly crossed!

Monday 18 April 2022

It's been a while!

I see it's over two weeks since I posted but even though I've been somewhat busy, things haven't been that exciting so I guess there was not much to report really! I fell into a bit of a slump for a few days the other week and got very little done, but I've come to realize if I allow myself that slump it only takes a short while for the energy to get going again. I've always known I'm a tortoise rather than a hare, so I guess it's best to go with your natural flow, isn't it!

So what's new, apart from the fact that my ex has been and gone. As I said previously I didn't think he looked very well when he arrived, but that could initially have been put down to jet leg. As time went on however (he was here three weeks), I thought that he looked less and less well, and on his last day here I thought he looked terrible! That being said, things between us were fine, there were a few run-ins with my sons, but at least he has now met Charlie and seen his boys for the first time in three years. There's a whole other back story too, which I may or may not write about in time, but when I was talking to my sister this weekend and I went on a breathless rant for what seemed like about 30 minutes (but probably wasn't), I realized I  haven't done that since we split up! I guess it goes to show where my stress came from, right?

Jen's grandparents had come down for Charlie's birthday so one day we all took a trip into Geneva to visit the Natural History Museum (something Jen's grandparents enjoy very much, apparently). We spent a couple of hours in there, but to be honest when you see some of those sea creatures wouldn't it make you wonder why on earth you ever set foot in the ocean again! There was one exhibit which I can only describe as looking like a huge, fat squid and boy if I ever came across that in the ocean I think I would faint (although I expect the squid might feel the same way looking at me in a swimsuit)!

On my ex's last day we met up over at Jordan and Jen's place for lunch and then sat in the little park belonging to their apartment building waiting for Jordan to finish work. The babe explored his new surroundings, André played guitar and my ex pretty much slept for about three hours lying in the grass. Jen and I each had a bottle of Tourtel lemonade and at one point I looked over at Charlie only to see him playing with an empty bottle. What on earth the neighbours thought seeing us giving "beer" to him goodness only knows!

Other than that I've been pottering around and it's been quite satisfying to be slowly moving things forward in chunks of about a couple of hours work a day. André had given me a €100 gift card for a large garden centre near here so I headed out there one afternoon, fretting slightly because what if I didn't spend the whole €100? Would they give me a credit for the difference? Ha! What a joke! Since when could I not spend €100 in that place? I felt a bit daft at one point, though, because I've been looking for a watering can with a "daisy-thingy" spout for ages but could never find one. I mean, ages and yet while I was in the garden centre I picked up a whole bunch, looked inside one of them and there was the detachable head! Well of course, they put them inside the watering can so as not to lose them! I swear if I had half a brain I'd be dangerous!

Picture of a watering can - just in case!

Continuing on the gardening theme, I saw a youtube video claiming to show you "how to easily cultivate coriander (cilantro) seeds". Basically he soaked the seeds in water, crushed them slightly, wrapped them in cloth and put them away in a warm, dark place for three days. All well and good so far, of course, but do you think I can remember where I hid them? Nope, almost a week later I still haven't found them so I'm kinda waiting for yet another triffid to start making it's way along the shelves and out the door of some cupboard or other soon!

I'm not sure what's going on with the farm since the farmer died, but I was delighted to see the other day that there are now goats, sheep and about a dozen cows out in the fields behind me. But given that they have the whole mountainside to themselves, I can't help but wonder why the cows all huddle together in one spot!

I was also delighted to see that our village is going to hold its first village fête in four years this year. They were doing some rebuilding work at the community hall for the first two years and then of course covid intervened, but I can only imagine how everyone will be looking forward to it this year. It is very rural, something akin to la France profonde, very sociable and it remains one of the most popular village fêtes around!

My friend and I went out to our first vide-grenier last week-end, both of us dreading buying more junk that we didn't need (we didn't), but it was so lovely to be out and about again after so long. It was gloriously sunny but by golly the wind was fierce on that plâteau so we stayed just long enough to have a wander and then hightailed it back to the warmth of the car!

When I got back I was sitting watching my latest Netflix goodie (Anatomy of a Scandal) when the bloody phone went at 11.15 p.m.! I'm getting more and more of these telemarketers and I know it's randomized computer dialing, but do they really think they're going to get any money out of me at that time of night? I don't answer, of course, and they never leave a message, but still, time to unplug the landline at night, methinks!

And finally, I talked briefly over Easter with a friend who is going through a very unpleasant divorce. So unpleasant, in fact, that she found out he had placed what seems to be voice-activated recorders in her home - which is her home that she bought before marriage! Man oh man, there are so many ways you can be spied upon it's unreal. But that brings to mind a story on a site that I follow where one lady discovered that her soon-to-be-ex had placed a GPS tracking device in her car, after he'd run off with his mistress but before their divorce was finalized. So she got her own back on him (and probably drove him mad in the process) by getting her neighbour to place it in his car until the divorce was final. He was a travelling salesman!

Saturday 2 April 2022

Oh dear!

Someone on FB traffic alerts posted a meme to the effect "ha ha to those that took their snow tyres off last week" - and boy was it appropriate! It started snowing yesterday evening, snowing all night and day to leave about an eight inch dump on my car by yesterday morning. The roads didn't look too bad but since I didn't have to go out I thought I may as well stay home. Then this morning I set off to meet up with Jen to go to a bourse for children's stuff as she was looking for a child gate and me - well I just wanted to play with Charlie and drive him nuts (it worked)! I pushed all the snow off my car with a large broom and the roads were pretty much ok - or at least until I got almost to their place and my rear end (the car, not me) spun out on a sheet of black ice as I was going round a traffic island. It shook me up a bit but all was hunky dory in the end when I got the car straightened up, so no harm done. When I got to Jordan and Jen's place I mentioned that I would stop up at André's place afterwards as I had received another letter from the bank for him, and that was when Jordan mentioned that dad hadn't made it to Portugal on Friday as planned and that things were maybe a little "tense" up there! Oh dear, so a leopard doesn't change it's spots then. I might write more about it tomorrow but again, did I ever mention how glad I am to be divorced?

Out my window when the snow started yesterday evening!

About 30 minutes up the road from here, in the ski resort
of La Clusaz!