The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Monday 26 December 2022

And so time moves on!

Greetings earthlings (which is what I'm told Santa's elves say). I've been offline again for a few days so missed some of your recent posts (but am hopefully all caught up now)! I'm glad everyone seems to have had a good Christmas and is looking forward to the new year. Oh and I wanted to say to Ms Moon - I'm so glad Mr. M's latest ER escapade turned out ok (I had missed that post while offline)! I also want to mention that I spotted a few comments in my spam folder the other day so I apologize if anyone thought I was ignoring them - well anyone except "Rehana" who seems to be trolling his/her away round blog world again!

As for me, I guess not much is new although the past few weeks have treated me kindly! I bumped into the newest member of our sewing club at the market just before Christmas and she was rhapsodizing about how happy she is to have found our group. She's an older lady and a novice at sewing but is so enthusiastic and told me that she had never met such a friendly group and was having such fun. It's nice to hear, isn't it - and I get exactly what she means about our group. We all seem to have found "our gang" and are indeed very, very friendly and welcoming!

On the good news side I got word from the French authorities that they will reimburse me €2,000 (of the €4,500 cost) when I get my fire insert installed on 16 March. They do this in order to encourage people to get rid of their open chimneys, so while I won't have to demolish my fireplace (I wouldn't have anyway as I like it), by getting the insert it effectively puts the open chimney out of commission. That's surely better than a poke in the eye with a wet fish, right?

On the not so good news side, I haven't done nearly as well with my walking this year and don't really know why. Maybe I just lost my oomph, but I know the excruciatingly hot summer didn't help. Anyway, I've pretty much limped my way to around 900 miles for 2022. I really want to do better in 2023 so I'm going to sign back up to the FB group in order to keep my mind focussed!

This next I mention for no particular reason, but I've yet again been getting quite a few "hallo dearest, I'm the dying widow of ..... and would like to leave you $10 million in my will" or "this is UPS Wisconsin and we're having trouble delivering your parcel" (not surprising really, considering where I live!) and I inevitably respond by telling them to "go shove it where the sun don't shine" and then block. Well the other day I got a strange message from new-to-me email address "movasin" and was just ready to do the same when I took a closer look and it turned out to be the bill from my gynae (whose name is Sina Movarekhi). Damn, I'm glad I didn't have an attack of trigger finger on that one!

Then last week I went to our retirees' association lunch and was delighted to end up sitting next to a few of my favourite retirees (there are some everyone tries to avoid like the plague, of course)! Anyway, I ended up sitting next to Tony - who I was supposed to be going to André Rieu's Zurich concert with pre-pandemic ("for a dirty weekend" (not), as we put it) and we talked about looking up his latest dates now that he's touring again. Well it turns out Zurich is sold out already so it doesn't look like it will be this year for us, but for some reason I also spotted that my favourite comedian, Peter Kay, is back touring after taking a few years away "for personal reasons" and I'm delighted! All of his gigs so far are in the UK (although I know he'd sell out Geneva), so I'm debating asking my sister if she wants to book a date on his new tour to go see him together. I watched 18 minutes of him on Youtube this morning and he had me in stiches as his insight into life in Britain is absolutely spot on!

Peter Kay!

On the Christmas front, Papa Noël again visited our village earlier this week, but I guess Rudolph was having a rest pre-Christmas because yet again his arrival was somewhat unconventional!

I also bumped into Stan and his wife for the first time in ages and was pleased to see him looking well, even though his wife quietly told me that his health was still very much up and down!

With Stan and his wife, Martine!

On Christmas Eve we were invited up to Jordan and Jen's but Jen told us to wear something warm as we were "going somewhere first" - well that is if the landslide she had heard about hadn't blocked our route! Turns out we ended up at the ski resort of Samoëns, which is one of my favourite little towns,(I've written about it a few times already - Samoëns), so that was a nice surprise. We were there to see Papa Noël coming through (again), but this time his sleigh was being drawn by a rather beautiful shire horse. Everyone complied with the request to stay away from the horse and parents were very good at standing back and letting all the little kids go to the front. But wouldn't you know it, I held up my phone to start taking photos and the bloody battery died! Damn! But at least we got to see him for real, although to be honest Charlie was pretty non-plussed (he's still little as yet). After that they let off fireworks in the Botanic Gardens, and while the display was short it was very, very good! I heard an awful lot of English spoken - not sure if they were tourists here for the skiing or imports like me - and even a bit of Welsh so that was nice!

Samoëns (just before my phone died on me)!

Christmas Day was at my place, with Jen's mom making a wonderful sauerkraut lunch - a speciality of her region. I think we all hit it out of the ball park with our gifts this year - me especially with Jordan's self-heating coat. He was thrilled and couldn't wait to get the battery charged to try it, although he was a bit concerned that Jen might steal it from him (no chance) as he knew she would love it too, even if it was too big for her! I bought several gifts for everyone but at one point Jen was scrambling about looking for an envelope I had given her (a gift voucher to a craft shop), which seemed to have gotten lost in the fray - and which actually made me think of this quote from Very British Problems!

At one point Charlie was bouncing along one of the couches and Jen's mom smacked the sofa hard while playing with him. Well I'm ashamed to say a dust cloud flew off that thing and when Charlie emerged from it he looked like something out of The Hound of The Baskervilles! Talk about embarrassing! So this evening I have had my very heavy couches pulled out, scrubbed down and vacuumed thoroughly and yet I still didn't find Jen's voucher. As I moved the heaviest couch out I noticed a plug socket on the back of it??? Say what? Since when has my couch had a plug socket? Well it turns out it doesn't but it had been pushed up so hard against that wall that an old, unused socket cover had stuck to the back of it (I guess it really was time for a good clean then, right?)! Then I spent the next 30 minutes trying to put it all back together again but I now seemingly have one large cushion too many! Ha, so now I'm trying to find a picture of my couches to find out how they go back together. How dumb is that!

Both my kids are pretty funny and while I'm used to them, they often have Jen's mom in stitches. Anyway, André came out with this one last evening and we all burst out laughing!

"What are the three things an American can just never say?




While the first two are obviously not true, the last one is pretty spot on, in my opinion! So after my epic ramblings (you can see why I don't post often, can't you), I hope you have a lovely New Year's Eve and that 2023 is kind to all of us! Meilleurs Voeux - or Namaste from France!


Monday 12 December 2022

How bloody sad!

It's been a strange sort of week this past week. After the big snow dump the other day I spent some time outside shovelling. Not a lot, to be honest, but it's so much easier to get it cleared when it's fresh rather than wait until it's frozen solid! When I'd finished I closed up the garage, walked through the front door and "poof" - no bloody electricity! I knew immediately that it wasn't anything to do with my house because you get that "pop" sound when a fuse blows. No, I reckon this was a local problem, most likely heavy snow bringing down some cables. Who knows! It was already getting dark and if you remember I posted recently about buying six magnetic LED lights and installing them at various spots around my home. So I went round and flicked four of them on and viola (as no-one here in France says), let there be light! Damn I felt invincible, a bit like a cross between Bear Grylls and Ray Mears! I'd even made a point on the first of the month to ensure they were fully charged! How's that for smug. I knew I'd be ok as my stove top is gas rather than electric, but I figured bread and cheese would do for dinner anyway. 

The roads were clear this morning
but we're expecting more snow starting tonight!

So I was bundled up reading on my sofa with a magnetic light behind me when my sister called to thank me for their anniversary card. She and my BIL celebrated 50 years of marriage on 9 December and went away to Dublin for four days as a treat. She said Dublin was bitterly cold and wet (I'm not sure that ever really bothers the Brits) but they had a wonderful time anyway. A wonderful time, that is except for the Albanian illegals! Their taxi driver was telling them that they fly in to Dublin, dump their passports and any other ID and then take off running. Parts of Dublin are now practically overrun and particularly dangerous because of knife crime and just generally filthy. I see what's going on on the south east coast of England with the illegals coming over from France by dinghy (though not all are Albanians), but hadn't realized they were actually flying into Ireland and doing the same over there. Albania is not in the EU and so while they have every right to enter EU countries they are not supposed to stay more than three months. Well good luck with that! I see the new Swedish government has just informed Brussels that (a) they will no longer be spending the EU-required percentage of GDP on foreign aid, and (b) they will automatically refuse asylum requests from anyone found to be Albanian on the grounds that Albania is not at war! Damn, talk about importing more problems!

As I was finishing up snow clearing my neighbours pulled in and as fate would have it, they also just "celebrated" their 50th wedding anniversary, having gotten married the exact same day and year as my sister and BIL. As she got out the car I wished her a happy anniversary and she "shushed me" and told me not to mention it! He's pretty deaf anyway but she told me later that, as she knew would happen, he hadn't wished her a happy anniversary and, in fact, hadn't spoken to her all day! How sad is that!

In other news, I'm still making (admittedly very slow) progress on sorting and getting rid of stuff. The other day I came across a bunch of cards and going through them I found a birthday card from Steve (who died about three years ago) and Brian (who I met in Turkey and I'm guessing died about the same time), from my brother and his wife (both also now dead) and my friend H, who died in Australia almost a year ago now! I finally felt able to get rid of most of the cards but have hung onto those few cards for the time being until I might feel able to get rid of them too!

I also showed a bit more enthusiasm in the kitchen this week and made "chocolate crinkle cookies" (a complete disaster, they would make better frisbees) and a very unusual parnsip and apple soup (from "Oh Crumbs!" blog) which was surprisingly good! Then last night I was at a bit of a loss so decided to flick through Netflix to see if anything good was on. Turns out there wasn't so I ended up watching a Norwegian film called Troll and my goodness, I don't know if it was meant to be a comedy or what, but it was bloody awful, even if the special effects were halfway decent! When I see something like that I often wonder if the actors - assuming they become famous later- are embarrassed by it or if that's just par for the course! Heck I believe Courtney Cox advertised tampax before finding fame on Friends!


Yesterday I had some running around to do so decided to stop in at the local library to drop off my books. I wondered about the road up to the library, what with all the snow, but it was ok getting up there. However getting out of there was another matter altogether! The two main routes out of the old town are cobbled stone and steep so as the one had been blocked off I followed the car in front of me over to the other exit. However, I hadn't seen the "diversion" signs and he and I ended up blocked on a little back street in the old town with seemingly no way to get out! In the end we decided to take a one way street the wrong way - well it was about 10 metres the wrong way - and we were able to get out that way and follow a few other cars down through the fields back into town! Yikes, I don't think I'll do that again and it certainly put paid to any quaint idea I might have about moving into the old town!

Where Jordan and Jen live there are three young families on their floor, each with a young child. The youngest is Charlie and the oldest is Tia, who is a year older, and the three families often get together for pizza and play dates. Anyway, dad next door is a volunteer firefighter so the three Munchkins got to sit in a fire truck the other day before going up the mountain to go sledding! Jen said they had a blast!

On the bad news side, I was sad to hear Céline Dion's dreadful news that she has been diagnosed with "stiff person syndrome", an incurable auto-immune disease with a dreadful prognosis! I'd heard of it before but ....! It must be awful to be diagnosed with any kind of illness, especially since she has young children, but how sad and frightening for her. And to think I almost got to see her in Nice a few years ago, except my ex did his usual and staggered home sh*t-faced at 4 a.m. and it was too late for us to leave for Nice! She's bravely talking about being excited to get back to singing again but honestly, I don't see it myself! I wish her luck though, as goodness knows she's going to need it!

And finally, my nephew sent me the press release about the six little kids that had fallen into the water at Babbs Mill lake in Birmingham. At the time of writing, three had died (8, 10 and 12 I believe), a six year old is in critical condition in hospital, and two more are missing! Bloody hell! I have written briefly about Babbs Mill before (here). It's about 200 yards away from where I grew up and we used to play down there all the time, although it wasn't so much a lake back then as just the filthy River Cole. Apparently adults were calling out to the kids not to go near the water but somehow they all ended up on the ice and then disaster struck. It's sad any time, of course, but so near Christmas - I don't know how anyone could ever get over such a tragedy! My heart breaks for all the families involved!

My house was where the red flag is -
48 Dunton Road. As you can imagine, we kids
would always be either playing in the woods
or down at the lake!

Thursday 8 December 2022


As so often seems to happen, I ran out of steam last weekend so ended up taking a couple of days off from being Bizzy Lizzie! It wasn't too bad though as I still got a lot done! On Friday I picked Jen and Charlie up from the Ford garage and they spent the day here while her car was being worked on. Since she loves putting Christmas decorations up and I hate it, we traded - I cooked and played with Charlie and she got my tree decorated, so we're all happy! I made a rather good split pea and ham soup for lunch - which was a darn sight better than the butternut squash soup I made the other day - or maybe the problem is that I just don't actually like butternut squash! I guess that begs the question "why buy it", right? Don't know really, but I do keep trying!

That's the nice thing about autumn and winter though, isn't it. There's not much that can't be improved by making "bottom of the fridge" soup or quiche! That being said, it's so mild here it's unbelievable. Facebook keeps reminding me that "on this day xxx years ago" the back garden was covered in snow, and while the snow line is creeping ever closer, so far we've mainly just had sunshine and what I would consider above average temperatures! Long may it last!


Jordan is still working up at Flaine (altitude 1,600 metres) and was saying that they have to put snow chains on every morning and evening. Sooner him than me! I remember one time years ago it had snowed overnight and as I was going grocery shopping my friend asked if she could come with me. So the two of us spent the best part of an hour farting around trying to get snow chains on my car - and this despite the fact that the bird in the adverts manages it in about 10 minutes in a pink cashmere sweater and with immaculate false nails (my eye!!!). So we rolled about in the snow for an hour and finally got the bloody chains in place, turned right out of our little subdivision and about 30 metres down the road the snow had all melted!!!! Anyway, all that to say that Jen was talking about Jordan wanting to buy a Milwaukee self-heating jacket. I'd never heard of them but seemingly you insert a battery (shaped like a stick of dynamite) into the jacket and it heats the entire thing up for xxx number of hours! How neat is that! So of course I went online and two days later both the jacket and the rechargeable batteries had arrived! I'd already got all my Christmas shopping done but what the heck!

At yoga on Monday we worked on the "salute the moon" set of exercises (as opposed to "salute the sun") and boy did I feel like I'd been hit by a truck afterwards! Since I was on a roll I also went to the gym for a short-ish workout on the old bingo wings and now I'm discovering aches in places I didn't even know I had places!

Then on Tuesday evening I went to a course at the library in a neighbouring village on how to make your own cleaning products. While it was good, as Jen said, it seemed to call for quite a lot of different items. So the next day I went online and found a recipe for homemade fabric softener - which cost me about 40 centimes to make and gives my laundry a pretty nice smell too!

While I was at sewing club the other week the Mayor of the village that gives us the use of their village hall (and gives us a small subsidy) stopped by to say hallo as he was coming from a meeting in the same building. I got chatting to him and what a nice guy he is. One of the ladies mentioned that I'd just driven to Thonon to pick up a new serger and he told me to "remember to put in for my mileage". Huh? I had no intention of asking for petrol money but he said they actually had money in the accounts and to make sure I put in for it. When I checked out the mileage, turns out I was owed almost €40, so I'm glad he was kind enough to mention it! I was all the more glad I put in for it yesterday, though, when I received a speeding ticket for €45 related to my trip to Thonon! I don't use that road often and had forgotten that there are radars all along it, and while I was only 8 km over the limit I still got done! Don't suppose the accounts would run to covering that huh - nah, didn't think so! Oh well, no good deed goes unpunished, as they say!

Then on Monday afternoon I had another appointment at the gynae's. I'm having to go every three months at the moment but it's nothing he nor I are particularly worried about - just something he wants to keep an eye on for a year! As I was about to leave I mentioned my recent mammogram (I go every two years) and he asked when I'd had it done as he hadn't received anything. When I said about six-eight weeks ago he was steaming mad, saying that he didn't know what was going on with that clinic but mine wasn't the first mamo that he hadn't received and that it was unacceptable! I told him the doctor had told me that everything was fine, but as he rightly said, if things hadn't been fine we had just wasted two months when he could have been following up on it. He was right of course, but then - rather strangely, I thought - he said he didn't know about me, but he was finding that in his profession at the moment the "I don't give a shit" attitude was becoming all too prevalent! The weird thing is I had to agree with him! Not because I'd been on the receiving end of poor treatment myself - not at all - but I've been seeing more and more people commenting about poor attitudes and service in the medical field! How funny that he should say that! Anyway, his office is in the centre of Geneva and I always park in the underground car park that serves the hospital and I hate it! This time half the lights were turned off and even if it was with a view to saving on electricity, I felt very uncomfortable down five floors in the dark on my own! Then, I hate pulling out of that car park because I find the winding exit ramp so tight! And I'm sure I'm not the only one because while Europeans generally tend to drive smaller cars due to our petrol prices, not everyone drives a mini either! And wouldn't you know it, as I was pulling out, for the first time ever I heard a screeching sound of concrete against metal! Bugger! When I got home I took at look at my car and it doesn't appear too bad. It seems I didn't hit the wall as much as scrape my low-slung Ford along the sidewalk leading out of the parking lot! But again, "damn and bugger it"!

On a more positive note, I received the annual cost-of-living adjustment notice from our Pension Fund and while it's a measly 3.3%, I guess that's better than a poke in the eye with a wet fish! The 3.3% represents the cost-of-living increase (average, I guess) in Switzerland because even though I live in France I take my pension in Swiss francs. Interestingly, I saw that had I been taking my pension in euros I would have gotten around 8.5% (France), with the highest quoted being Germany at nearly 10%!!!!! But the swings and roundabouts part of it is that the Swiss franc is so strong compared to the euro at the moment it all more or less evens out in the end!

And again on a positive note, my friend sent me a message to say that GAL Voyages (who we've travelled with a lot) sent her a notice to say that the trip to Holland to see the tulips was back on for April and would we like to pre-book (since that was the trip we had to cancel due to the pandemic), so we're going in to town tomorrow to reserve. From memory we'll be driving up to Belgium and then over to Amsterdam for a few days, on to Keukenhof to see the tulips and then on a cruise for a few days before heading back home! We've always been very happy with this company and I'm about ready for a vacation after three years without! Now if they put the Corsica trip on again this year as well I think I'll be in heaven!


And finally, a thank you to Bobi in Maryland for my Christmas card (in Anne's Christmas card exchange). It came today!