The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Sunday 20 August 2023

Summer's back!

Well after weeks of pretty crappy weather, summer seems to be back with a vengeance. It's forecast 35°C tomorrow (95°F) and while many places get it hotter, that's plenty hot enough for me. Too hot actually, but thankfully those temperatures tend to last only about four weeks before dropping back down. Still, at least where we are we (hopefully) don't get the awful wild fires that we're seeing (mainly in Canada and Maui right now) - my heart breaks for the people caught up in that nightmare! I don't like to have the windows open at night (bugs and other creep-crawlies) but it has been hellish hot without AC, so I might put my little mobile unit on until this heat breaks!

Last Tuesday was a holiday here (Assumption), although why the French have 15 August as a holiday and not Good Friday beats me - but then I'm not Catholic so what would I know! With that in mind, the people in the white house you can see across the field in my header picture decided to have a party last Monday night and were at it all night long! Not loud music or anything like that, but just loads of people screaming and yelling (though thankfully not fighting). I read until 3 a.m. and then must have fallen asleep until more yelling woke me at 5 a.m. and then I was done. I'm a bit surprised at it actually because the French have pretty strict rules about just how much noise you can make (or how long it can go on for) but I guess this one slipped through the net. Then on Tuesday (which was the holiday) my neighbour must have decided it was a good day to drill everything within a 10 mile radius so that was me done for the day! Still, it doesn't happen that often so I guess you have to go with the flow, even if it did feel a bit like this at times!

While I was making dinner the other night, I realized that the gas flame wasn't burning very hot, which must mean that my gas bottle was running out. We don't have mains gas here so have to buy those large gas bottles that you used to see on a BBQ. Man I know I'm getting old because lugging the empty bottle down to the supermarket was bad enough but getting the full bottle off the top rack nearly killed me!!! I always have a spare on hand but could I get the damn thing to work!!!! I've changed these bottles many, many times but this time I took the sealant rings off both joints - and then realized what a stupid thing that was to do, so put them both back on and decided to sleep on it. Well next day, as often happens, I decided that "the gauge" (looked a bit like this):

... probably needed to be in the horizontal position and bingo, it works so crisis averted! While I was running around I popped into LIDL for a few things. They'd got six crates of tomatoes for sale on an end aisle and I was pretty perturbed to see a couple bagging up the whole lot (all six crates) and clearing them all out! I guess they were going to be making a lot of tomato sauce at some point but I do think they might have left a few in case other people wanted some! Not me, because I don't buy my produce there but surely there has to be some kind of etiquette for that kind of thing - or maybe not!

Jordan and Jen arrived back from Brittany having had a wonderful time. They said the initial dismal weather didn't really bother them that much as they had so many places they wanted to visit anyway. They decided to stop off on the way back to spend a few days with Jen's grandparents, and wouldn't you know but Charlie - who had been great the whole time - decided it was his time to be cranky as hell! Maybe the heat was getting to him at this point but ....! While they were away Jordan received a job offer from the new firm starting up in this area and is going to accept it - starting work with his friend, Christophe, on 11 September, so they are both delighted!

I mentioned to my friend that La Clusaz were having a craft fair on Tuesday and did she want to go (of course she did), so we mosied up there in time to have lunch and then a wander round the fair - except we couldn't find it! I mentioned to a lady sitting next to us at the restaurant (who looked a "craft fair" kinda lady) and she said they hadn't found it either, so I'm guessing the advertising was messed up. Still, with La Clusaz being my favourite ski resort it's never a hardship to drive up there and it got us out the house (without spending too much money either)!

La Clusaz!

In other news, I was saddened to hear of the death of chat show host Michael Parkinson last week. Oh he was a fair age and hadn't been well for some time, but I remember as a kid really enjoying his shows as he allowed his guests to shine, rather than holding forth with some monologue of his own. Still, what an amazing life he had, and he had to have met some of the most interesting people over his 50-year career span!

And talking of going back 50-ish years, I wrote in a recent post about the young woman who has set up a mobile manicure unit with the help of a small grant from the local commune. Well in order to show solidarity I stopped in for a mani-pedi (only the second I've ever had in my life!!!) on Monday and it was wonderful! Her little caravan transports you back to the 1950s-60s and I came out of there humming the theme tune from Austin Powers (but with slightly better teeth)! I hope she can make this work for her, and if so I will definitely keep going!

I'll have to buy this outfit for my next visit!

Wednesday 9 August 2023

Ouch (again)!

I got a notification from Easyjet yesterday that I could now download my boarding pass for my trip to Mallorca in early September. After much faffing around I got it done and printed off the list of things I don't want to forget for my trip. It's been over four years since I was in Sri Lanka and that being my last big trip I'm obviously a bit rusty at this travel malarky! One of the things I want to take with me is my kindle as it's good to have something to read during the down times. About 18 months ago Amazon contacted me to let me know that my old kindle (bought in 2010 I think) was no longer supported by their system so I reluctantly bought a new cheapo kindle to replace it. I don't like it as much as my old one, but when I started downloading books onto it, I noticed that they were also downloading onto my defunct old kindle (?) so I'm still going to use that. What a rip off though right? When I travelled previously I also used to take my clunky old iPad as I like a bigger screen than my phone, so when I saw it sitting forlornly in a drawer I decided to charge it and bingo, it still works, so I'll be taking that too!

The weather here this past month has been bloody awful. Not cold exactly, but grey, wet and depressing for the most part. Last week La Roche hosted its annual Blue Grass festival and while it wasn't exactly rained out, I'm sure there would have been a much bigger attendance if we'd had better weather. It's such a shame as bands come from all over the world and the organizers put so much work into it, but what can you do? Nothing right?

Jordan and Jen are still in Brittany and they're having pretty much the same weather as we are. It hasn't mattered to Charlie much as there's still plenty to amuse him, but I feel so sorry for parents in particular who are hoping to amuse their kids with days at the beach and who then end up having to fork out hard earned cash on indoor attractions due to the bad weather! When I was on maternity leave with Jordan I drove home to England for a few weeks and the weather was so bad one day that we decided to take the kids to an indoor water attraction called Splashdown. I commented to my sister that it must have been so hard on one young family who were there with their four young kids - spending money they probably wouldn't have had to if they could have spent the day on the beach. I well remember back in 1966 (the last time England won the World Cup!!!!), my parents had taken us to the south coast of England and the weather was appalling! We were staying in a bed & breakfast and the owner very kindly invited everyone into his personal sitting room to watch the match - all the while it absolutely bucketed down outside! Another wet day mom and dad took us to the cinema (we saw Born Free) and while we kids probably loved every minute of it, I'm pretty sure it burned quite a hole in their planned spending money for our holiday! In fact I called my sister on Saturday as it was her birthday and it was absolutely bucketing it down. So summer in England then! At least this week weather here is back to normal temperatures but it's been a long time coming, I can tell you! (Katie telling it like it is).

On Monday I decided to have another shot at finding a store called Leclerc in the local town of  Annemasse. I hate Annemasse - it's like a rabbit warren, all one way streets, quite a few lunatic drivers and roadworks everywhere. I've tried to find this store a couple of times already and given up in frustration. Anyway, it was par for the course again on Monday and just as I'd decided to give up and go home, I realized I was right next to the entrance to the parking lot! So I finally got to check it out and I have to say the prices seem to be as reasonable as I'd heard and it was a very pleasant store to shop in (once you'd got the lay of the land I suppose), but I'm not sure my nerves could stand another round of trying to find my way around Annemasse so decided I'll just stick with the stores I already know!

Then yesterday my friend and I decided that we really wanted to get back into walking again (neither of us have done much of anything lately) and since the weather picked up we decided to head off for a "stroll" around the lac de Montriond! It's a beautiful lake but I hardly ever stop there since we always seem to just pass it on our way up to Les Lindarets (the village where the goats are allowed to run free!

Lac de Montriond
(Haute Savoie photos)

Les Lindarets
(France Comfort photos)

Anyway, we were almost there when we realized we (i.e. I) had taken a wrong turn and we ended up at another lake called le lac Bleu, so decided that was just as good as anywhere for a shortish walk. Everything was going pretty well and it only took us about an hour to walk from one lake to the next, but on the way back to the car we decided to try another route - and ended up going waayyyy out of our way, sloshing through mud and fallen trees, and coming out at a dead end and having to go back the way we came. I got bogged down in mud trying to get through one spot, and my friend went flying in another, but thankfully landed on her side rather than her dodgy knee, so after much cussing and swearing, putting in 20,000 steps and almost 10 miles, we finally made it back to the original lake looking like something the cat'd dragged in! So yeah, we wanted to start walking again, but I don't think either of us had bargained on that! My knee has been giving me some gyp for quite some time now and yesterday did it no favours, so today I tried out a few exercises that Dr. Youtube suggested and while at one point I thought I'd just moved the pain from one spot to another, since this afternoon the pain has completely gone! Isn't Youtube amazing! We've got another walk planned for next week so I'll see if my knee holds out till then - here's hoping!

le lac Bleu!

Part of the "obstacle course"!

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Proceed with caution!

Well how about that global warming then! So far I think we've had the crappiest summer I can remember in a long time. While we've had a few hot days, temperatures in general have been much cooler - which I really appreciate, of course - but couple that with grey skies and peeing down rain and it's not much fun. Oh and a serious hail storm last week! Jordan and Jen are in Brittany on vacation and while they've had a few good days, the sea has been too cold to swim and the wind is blowing a hoolie. I don't think they'll mind too much though as they must both be glad of the break! Just before they left Jordan had an interview for the new position (two-man team) being set up in this area. He has reason to be more than hopeful as Christophe (his previous supervisor) has told the new guy that he wants Jordan on his team. I asked Jordan if he ever found out what the €1.5 million debt was for his previous company and he said he thought it was just pure mismanagement/theft to be honest. Apparently at one point the owner somehow (allegedly) managed to transfer €300,000 out of the business acount with no apparent paper trail, so I guess his house of cards is now coming tumbling down, so much so that when administrators were called in they found him at the Pont de la Caille! There's only one reason anyone goes to the Pont de la Caille, but thankfully they caught him before he did anything stupid - for now, I suppose!

Pont de la Caille!

Also before they left I got a call from Parchet, my heating system service group where Jen is now working. She spotted that they hadn't done a service for me in over two years so booked me in before she left. I told her it wasn't a problem as I had cancelled the last one since my new system had just been installed. Anyway, "the guy" come out last week - so there went another €300 I hadn't budgeted for. Still, you can't let these things just drag on, can you! Then the roofing guy I mentioned in my last post showed up to do some of the repairs he had talked about. When he took one look at my chimney he told me how dangerous it was. I knew this was true because I'd been told about it before, but when he showed me pictures the entire "hat" was cracked and if it had flown off it could have done serious damage. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at that because it's the original chimney from when the house was built in 1979, but I think I just kept putting it off until .... well who knows until when! He then showed me pictures of the top tiles that must have been lifted up slightly in the dreadful storm we had about a month ago, so I took a good look, and sure enough at the front of the house the tiles had become dislodged too. Well of course it all had to be fixed, and I give him and his young assistant absolutely 10/10 for hard work as they were up and down those ladders in the scorching heat, and the main guy was certainly no spring chick - all the more so since they were dodging wasps' nests to boot. When he got round to fixing the front tiles he pulled out one of the wooden slats that the tiles sit on and told me that they were pretty much all rotten. Now since I'd had the roof re-insulated only about 18 months ago, wouldn't you think they would have told me about it????? Well the end result is that he put in a new chimney, a few new tiles, and new slats where he could on the understanding that he would stop by this time next year and see what he could do then (i.e. when I can afford it). So again, another €2,500 I hadn't budgeted for, but I suppose needs must! Add to that I'm waiting for my dentist and gynae bills to come in and my poor bank account must feel like it's on life support! Still, it could have been worse (it always can can't it) because the other morning when I went to unlock my front door I realized that while I had actually locked it, I hadn't closed it properly and the front door had blown wide open during the night! So while I suppose I could have been murdered in my sleep, they'd have been  disappointed at this point if they'd thought I was worth robbing. Ya see, every cloud has a silver lining for an eternal optimist!

I also saw last week that political figure, Nigel Farage, announced that his bank accounts with Coutts Bank (the rich people's bank) had been summarily closed in May due to his "having insufficient funds" (you need at least £1 million)! The next day these details were announced (???) on the BBC so he furiously put in for a kind of "freedom of information" from the bank which, when it was eventually supplied, turns out it was never a question of funds but more that they didn't like his political leanings. Well I'm not too keen on a lot of his political stances either. However I very much admire a person that doesn't take it lying down and since Farage had the clout and the audience, he did indeed come out swinging, so much so that he is now in the process of renegotiating with Coutts (I'd tell 'em to get stuffed, but then that's just me), the head of Coutts has resigned from her £5 million per year job, and the BBC have had to issue an apology. And I should think so too - I mean, who the hell did that woman think she was, discussing Farage's banking details at a dinner party! But Farage isn't stopping there. He's now set up a website to help other people who have been debanked with no reason given and is receiving tremendous support from the public (you can read about it here). Way to go Nigel. I guess they messed with the wrong man this time!

And finally, I woke up feeling like crap about 10 days ago and reckoned I'd gotten a dose of sinusitis. Me being me I thought I'd just let it run its course and keep using the saline solution in the hopes it would eventually disappear - except it didn't! After almost two weeks of feeling like crud I happened to spot a Youtube video by one of my favourite doctors, and he mentioned that oregano oil was very good for getting rid of sinus pain. In the comments someone pointed out that it tasted awful but he had gotten used to taking two drops in hot water every morning and it worked wonders! So I ran out and bought some oregano oil and as it said to add five drops to a drink that's what I did, adding it to honey/lemon tea to hopefully take the taste away. Well I don't know about taking the taste away - that thing almost blew the top of my head off. Seriously! But, about two hours later I was already feeling much better and by the next day I was almost back to normal. So much so that after almost two weeks of doing bugger all I managed to sort two bags of clothes for the charity bins, take a crate of food down to the food bank and a carload of stuff out to the big charity shop about 30 minutes away. So as far as I'm concerned that stuff works. All I can say if you decide to give it a go is please proceed with caution! It's explosive!