The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Wednesday 31 August 2022

More this and that!

Finally the weather broke last week, and while we've had some rain and the temperatures have dropped to between 25-30°C it's still lovely out - and a real pleasure to feel some oomph coming back! I generally feel bleh in the summer so I don't know why it always takes me by surprise! I felt like I had no energy or motivation to do anything other than sit on my butt but hopefully that will change now!

Mist settling over the mountains behind my house.
Scenes like this always make me think of my mom's
village in North Wales!

It's nice to be sleeping better with the cooler weather, although I've noticed my feet have been "restless" in bed - which I put down to being on them so much. Then the other day I spotted an advert for "detox patches" for the feet - I guess related to reflexology - advertising patches for "ionic foot detox and Meridian therapy" (containing various medicinal herbs etc.), claiming they could ease tension in the feet, help you sleep better and detox the body! The write-ups on Amazon were a bit "iffy" but for €20 for a 100 I thought "what the hell" and bought them. And would you believe it, by jove I think they're working for me! Now I wouldn't know if they're "detoxing my body", but when I woke up the next morning the aching was gone and that restless, heavy feeling seems to be kept at bay. Now it may be a load of old codswallop but since I'm interested in this kind of thing anyway, I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot - and I'm actually pleased with the results!

While I was on Amazon I also bought two 3-packs of Moston LED rechargeable lights since I reckon we're going to be in for a few power cuts this winter (we always get them), and thought I should get better prepared and not rely on the crappy flashlights in my drawer. I charged all six last night, put three in strategic places upstairs, one in the kitchen and two on the cellar steps/basement - and I'm delighted with them! I've made a note to myself to make sure I keep them charged, but what a good purchase they turned out to be!

Moston LED rechargeable lights!

Jordan had last week off as he wanted to do some final running around before going back to work and use the remaining few days of leave to redo their balcony. He took up the horrible wooden flooring and laid concrete tiling, redid the railings and set up a BBQ/fridge area. He did a great job of it, although I'm sure having Charlie help made it so much easier!

That's not their balcony - he's just
preparing stuff there!

I drove into Geneva last week to have lunch with a friend and crikey is that place all dug up! I was really glad I know Geneva well, having lived there for five years, because half the roads are blocked off and you're pretty much left to your own devices to figure out how to get around!

So with my new "zen" energy starting to come back I've slowly been decluttering inside the house and working on the raised beds in my garden in order to prepare for any autumn planting I might want to have a go at (lofty aims I feel, but who knows)! I attacked a couple of drawers the other day and they took ages to sort because one was full of receipts that I wanted to look at and the other was full of jewellery and odds and sods that needed to be gone through. I actually found a fitbit in an unopened box which I reckon I must have bought while the last one was on its last legs and then never gave any more thought to it. (Note to self, the walking is not going that well this year so it's time to put that fitbit to good use, methinks)! I also paired up and sorted tons of junk jewellery (I think the polite word is "costume jewellery", but we all know what I'm talking about) and boy did I have loads of pairs of dangly earrings - which probably looked quite nice when I still had a neck, but now - not so much! So off to the charity shop they'll be going!

In the garden, the damson bush has only produced about a dozen measly damsons this year, but the peach tree has gone nuts - I guess it likes the prolonged heat! The peaches aren't exactly eating quality, but are perfect for jam-making, so yesterday I cut a load up and set to making peach jam. Only problem was, I went and sat down outside to read "for a minute", forgot the jam and now I've got a jar of what can only be described as a solid, burnt, orange brick!

In other news, I got quite a shock last week when my oldest nephew (the son of the brother in Wales who died a couple of years ago), called me to say that his younger brother was in hospital after having a stroke. Say what???? The guy is only 52, doesn't smoke, hardly drinks and has a job that keeps him physically fit! The good news is that as it was a relatively minor stroke he was only in hospital a couple of days and they think they can handle it with blood thinners, but to say it was a shock all round would be an understatement! The oldest brother went down to visit this weekend and they drove past the house where I grew up before coming to Geneva at age 21. Now I thought they were going to demolish those houses but apparently they've been done up and the estate renovated quite a bit. The junior and infants' school used to back onto our garden, so if I was ever late for school I just climbed over the fence! Well apparently the school sports fields have completely gone and been replaced by new school buildings while about 200 metres down the road (where the filthy old River Cole runs), it's been done up and looks pretty nice now! The down side is that in the article my nephew sent me they were talking about still having to fish shopping trolleys and wheely bins out of the lake! Maybe it's not just England, but I have no idea why people can't respect these places - I certainly don't see that kind of behaviour in France where I live! But to destroy and pollute something that was intended to give pleasure is just beyond me!

Babbs Mill Lake

And finally, for some years I've been following a blog dealing with narcissism. It fascinates me, having had the misfortune of working with the narcissism poster girl. I'm not on there very often now but occasionally pop in to see what's going on. Well one lady wrote about how the cheating narc she had once been married to got a job with Zambian Airlines after their divorce. He was a flight attendant but she described his uniform as "all gold braid and chains" and which wouldn't look out of place on a five-star general! Anyway, she and the children were living in a small mining village in Yorkshire and one time her ex came to visit the children. She described him as a man who wouldn't walk 20 metres if he could drive it, but the first night he got all dressed up in his "military uniform" and found a pretext to walk the mile into the village twice in the same evening! Knowing a little about "dour" Yorkshire people (Steve was a Yorkshireman) and having seen a few episodes of Last of the Summer Wine, the visual she described tickled me to bits!

Last of the Summer Wine!

Sunday 21 August 2022

That was nasty!!!!!

I've been offline again for a while because quite frankly there's not been much going on (well, not in my part of the world anyway). Oh apart from the exciting stuff like getting Jordan's US passport application sent off and his US taxes prepared (he is severely dyslexic so I'm happy to do it)! We'll see how long it takes to get his passport back and I'm not worried about being late for the IRS. He earns a pittance and at least he files, right! On Friday I kept Charlie for a few hours for him to do some running around and must have left around 5.30 p.m. - and that was when the heavens opened, the drought decided to end and the most awful storm hit out of nowhere. I'm usually quite level-headed but it was that nasty I was starting to get scared. Grey sky, sleeting grey rain, grey walls on both sides of the highway at the worst part where it was just single lane traffic. I thought briefly about stopping but then reckoned I'd get slammed by someone unable to see coming from behind, so I crawled along with my hazards on as slowly as I dared - and somehow made it out of there! But I just saw on the news that Paris, London and Spain (Menorca, I think) also got hammered, and of course where there are underground rail networks they are the first to get flooded! I haven't heard of anywhere else but I'm sure they can't have been the only places. I'm just glad I made it home all right!

La Roche held it's annual Blue Grass festival a few days ago and luckily the bad weather held off for that. The musicians come from all over the world and are so talented it's incredible! I believe it was originally only meant to be a one-time thing but it was such a success that it's now held every year and is very popular!

Another "roaring success" (depending on your point of view) would seem to be a grass roots scheme that has started up in the UK in protest at the massive increases in energy prices scheduled from October. As I understand it, energy prices were capped up until now but that cap will be increased horrendously come October - and all the while the energy companies are announcing record profits! I first heard about it from a US vlogger who described it as "Don't Pay UK", thinking that people were being told not to pay their bills. Turns out that's not the case at all - people are being encouraged to cancel their direct debits which allow the energy companies to debit whatever they like in the name of "estimated bills". One Scottish lady vlogged about a young man she worked with who had just bought his first place. The electricity company quoted him a direct debit amount of £56/month (if I remember correctly), then a few minutes later raised that to £86, then thirty minutes later to £150 and a few days later to £250/month!!! He was totally panicked so this lady told  him to cancel his direct debit and call his actual consumption in every month and pay that way. Now I have heard that the energy companies give a reduced rate for direct debits but those kinds of increases are just insane. As far as I know 108,000 people have so far followed suit and they are hoping to have a million people on board by October! Damn, what complete and utter madness! I think I read that Germany's electricity prices are going to go up by 23% and France's by just 4% (France kept it's nuclear power plants running), but to see these projected price hikes in the UK - well I think they could have a revolution on their hands soon!

But as I say, not much has been happening here and I haven't been going out much because it's still too hot, so I was at home this afternoon when the most God-awful argument broke out next door! Worse than anything I have heard in the 30+ years I've lived here. Their daughter was there (I presume come for lunch with her husband and daughter) and eventually got it calmed down enough for the wife to jump in her car and disappear for a few hours. Damn, that used to be us - we were the neighbourhood "entertainment" for so many years. I can tell you, I don't miss that at all but I feel desperately sorry for a couple who so obviously can't stand each other but yet are seemingly trapped together!

Finally, just because I spotted it this afternoon, I thought I'd post this Spike Milligan clip from years ago. It's making fun of the Irish - but then nobody does that better than the Irish themselves. I just love their sense of humour and Milligan was Anglo-Irish anyway, so no offence meant! Oddly enough years ago when I was young I didn't find him funny in the least and now, like so many things, I can see how clever he actually was. And a fitting story to remember him by - apparently he had "see, I told you I was ill" inscribed on his tombstone!

Saturday 6 August 2022

This and that!

Well the weather finally broke just a little and we had a mild storm last night for about an hour. It brought the temperatures down slightly today but the ground was so dry I doubt it did any real good, that is unless it rains again soon - which doesn't seem to be on the cards right now!

It's been so hot (38°C/100°F yesterday) that yet again I haven't felt like doing much, although on Monday I did manage to make a trip to the tip and also to drop some stuff off at the big charity shop. Since I was out that way anyway I took the back road over to Jordan and Jen's place to check in on Leni, The Horrible Cat! Their neighbours are taking care of him while they're gone but I thought I could take a book and read for an hour or so, in order to open up the place and give him some time on the balcony. In the end I spent 90 minutes there and he seemed glad to get some fresh air, although you wouldn't know it because he still treats me with complete disdain!

I mentioned some time ago that I had received an email from "the gendarmerie in Paris" indicating that they had evidence that I'd been looking at child pornography and to call them pronto if I didn't want the matter to go any further". Well I saw an article in Le Parisien this week where one of their reporters followed up on these scammers and was told he could "pay an immediate fine of €7,000 if he didn't want the matter to be taken any further". So he called them back pleading poverty and they kindly offered to let him pay an immediate amount of €3,000 (with the balance to be paid later) and gave him the bank account details where it should be paid. So they tracked down the female owner of the bank account and as a result up to 100 arrests were made! Well done that reporter! I suppose it begs the question why someone would pay anything to these bastards if they were completely innocent, but I can actually see that some people might be confused or just frightened thinking they might accidentally have landed on a site like that - I don't know really, but all I can say is that I'm glad at least some of them got caught. Now if they could just catch the slimeballs who are "holding my parcel until I make a payment" or the people from McAfee (whose email address reads something like and let them know that I haven't used McAfee ever so no, my coverage isn't about to run out, I would be really grateful!

In other news, I called my fuel supplier this week to order 800 litres of fuel and thought the lady was very decent when she asked if I could hang on until I needed to order at least 1,000 litres because I'd get a better rate! It's expensive either way you look at it, but I thought it was kind of her to mention that. She also told me that the price of fuel is currently going down so to keep an eye on the price at the pump and try to time my order in accordance with that! Huh, there are some nice people about aren't there!

I don't know if any of you play Words With Friends but if you do, you'll probably have noticed that after every second play you have to sit through advertising blurb before you can continue. Well I noticed this week that the advertising at the moment seems to consist entirely of a sales pitch for the game Family Farm Adventure and I just realized how awful it is! In one scene a young woman runs in to show her partner her positive pregnancy test and next thing you know he's physically throwing her out of their home into the snow! Then in another scene Mr. Macho is just about to hit his partner (for whatever reason) when the dog jumps up and bites him on the arm! Damn, I hadn't noticed it before, but I can tell you I'm mad as hell to see that these game developers think that kind of crap is a good idea for a game! So guess who's going to be writing them a stinking review!!!

And talking of abusive AHs, I saw a book review of My Daddy Is A Hero - the story of Chris Watts, the murderous pig who killed his pregnant wife and two very young daughters! I've only gotten to the part where they have just discovered the bodies but the book is written to ask the question "are psychopaths made or born?" - which is why I bought it in the first place. That is something that really interests me - but how that monster could murder his entire family because of his infatuation with a skank is beyond me - or probably beyond most of us, I suspect!

In other news Jordan and Jen left Brittany today and are heading south for a few days, and André - as far as I know - is now in Slovenia and they will be making their way back to France via Bulgaria next week. It's all right for some isn't it! That being said, I'm going to check out a few of the "solos" holidays available between now and Christmas and see if there are any European trips I could join up with by driving to meet the group. I've got the travel itch starting up again!

And finally, my friend spotted that there was a pottery market taking place this weekend up at Grand Bornand - which is about 30 minutes from here. Since we both fancied a trip out despite the heat, we headed up there yesterday morning, knowing full well we would most likely ding the bank cards pretty hard but ,,,,! Well the market was pretty small so it didn't take long to wander round but their stuff was beautiful. I spotted a large salad bowl that I fell in love with and intended to go back and buy it after lunch, but my friend trotted over there and bought it for me as an early birthday present (she'll be in Spain for the next two months)!!! Did I need it? Not in the slightest! Do I love it? Absolutely! How lucky am I?

I just love this sculpture!

Made out of recycling materials!