The weather these past few days has yet again been lovely - in my opinion at least. Cold, of course, but sunny and that's when I start thinking about spring and all the seeds I'm going to be planting (and killing) in my garden shortly. I was in LIDL last week and stopped to look at the veggie/flower seeds on display and got chatting to an older gent, who was doing the same and telling me how much he was looking forward to getting back out in the garden! I laughed and said that I was too but in reality I think I spend way too much money and time to get those "free" veggies and plants from my garden. Ain't that the truth! We chatted for a little while and he told me to pick up a couple of packets of zinnias as they seem to do really well in this climate! I tend to plant most of my veg in a few raised beds at the top of my garden and don't actually have much decent soil for flowers, but I'll give it a shot and see if they actually do turn out well under my regime of total neglect!
On Saturday Jen arranged for a few of us to meet up for dinner at a Lebanese restaurant in Cluses. As I was about to get into my car I heard a cracking sound and dived back under my porch just in time for a fair sized dump of snow to fall off the roof right where I was standing. My first thought was that it would have been quite funny if I had gotten clobbered but when I saw the solid sheets of ice that fell, I'd say I had a lucky escape as they would have hit like razor blades!
I was chatting with André over dinner and he was telling me that his work trip to Istanbul has been cancelled (although it was cancelled before the earthquakes) and he would now be going to Bangkok in March instead. He leaves on the Sunday and the conference finishes on the Friday, so he's going to ask for a week's leave in order to spend some time in Thailand. He's been before and loves it, and the jammy devil is flying business class with Emirates so I think he's really looking forward to it! He also told me he'd met a young woman who, it turns out, is Portuguese and works at the UN. They've been out for drinks a few times and he really likes her, but she doesn't like the UN so who knows what - if anything - will happen there! Still I'm glad for him that he's met someone he likes after the bitter blow that was his very much unexpected and unwanted divorce!
The neighbours a few doors up are in the process of moving out as the young woman who owns the house is selling it. When we first moved in that house was owned by M. Lesoeur, a divorcé with two teenage kids called Diane and Vincent. Vincent was 17 and as soon as he turned 18 he got his driving licence, bought a motorbike - and was killed a week later in a motorbike accident! Dad moved out and Diane has been renting the place out ever since - well until now, that is! The neighbours seem to have overlapped leaving this place with moving into their next place as they are taking their time to move (and seem to have loads of friends helping), but seeing all that work yet again makes me determined to keep getting rid of as much stuff as I can!
I've actually been on a roll again this week, spending every day painting in the bathrooms before the plumbers/tiler come (in early March, all being well) and I've also been either down in the basement sorting stuff for the tip or pulling kitchen cupboards out and throwing anything that's way out of date! I suppose I'll crash and burn in a couple of days, as that would seem to be my pattern, but even though there is loads more to do, I actually feel like I'm starting just slightly to break the back of this stuff!
In other news I would guess there is unbridled panic in some quarters where now bankrupt FTX (Sam Bankman-Fried) are demanding the return of donations made by Bankman-Fried to "numerous political figures and action groups" prior to FTX's bankruptcy in November last year (see here). Then tonight I started watching the Netflix series on Bernie Madoff. I'd always heard he ran a massive ponzi scheme but didn't know much more about it than that, so I'm interested to learn more about the whole fiasco! While I know many of the Madoff victims were smaller investors who were scammed out of relatively modest nest-eggs, boy am I glad I don't move in those kinds of circles!
And finally, seeing the horrific pictures coming out of Turkey and Syria after yesterday's devastating earthquakes, it hammers home just what is important in this life, and it sure as heck isn't the Bernie Madoffs and the Bankman-Frieds of this world. (And T'Pol, I really hope that by now you've gotten word of your family and that they are safe)!