Life has slowly been getting back to normal at my place - well as normal as it can be with the plumber and tiler trying to work around each other. To be honest it's been fine as the plumber comes for a few hours and then leaves, while waiting for the tiler to do his bit before he can carry on! And I have to say how impressed I am with how clean they leave the place. Of course there's dust but both pick up their mess as they go along and so far it hasn't been half as stressful as I thought it would be! It's gonna be slow getting things finished of course, but I can live with that - heck I ordered the fittings in January so I guess there's no rush is there!
Yoga started back up a few weeks ago but I wasn't able to go because of having workmen in. That is until this Monday and boy was I glad to be back at it. After two months of no yoga I really missed it and even just one lesson a week sets me up for days on end. Sewing also started back up last Monday and it has been good to see everyone again, with two sisters who took a year off now rejoining the club. The last time I saw Marysette she was asking me about my solos trips (although I never really thought she would do anything about it) but lo and behold, she just sent us all a photo of her at Niagara Falls as part of her solos trip to Canada! I'm so pleased for her that she took that leap! There was a bit of a blip with flight delays and possibly missing her internal flight, but in the end it all worked out well, so I really hope she has a good experience. Then I bumped into the young lady manicurist (she of the dinky little pink caravan) at the recycling centre and she was asking me for more info as her mom is my age and very interested in doing something similar, although again with a French-speaking group! And again, I hope she does it. I've only heard one person being really negative about her solos trip but then this lady is negative about pretty much everything so I take that with a pinch of salt!
The weather is a lot cooler but still glorious and as expected my energy started coming back. The summer heat knocks me back every year so I really don't know why it surprises me. Hmmm, maybe I should start spending my summers back in the UK to get away from the heat - now there's an idea! Go back home and visit all the places I've missed over the years! The state of the house has been bugging me again so I've started setting my timer and trying to get in at least a one hour stint of decluttering/putting the garden to bed every day and it really does seem to be a system that works for me. It's amazing how much you can get done in just one hour, even to the point that those annoying little jobs are also getting done when I reach minute 50 and have to find something to fill the next 10 minutes! It's silly really, but as I say, it sure is working! I've taken so many trips to the recycling centre/charity shop that even my cluttered up basement is starting to look a little better. You know, getting rid of all those plastic plant pots I was keeping because obviously every spring I'm going to have a lush exotic garden full of organic fruit and veg! Nah, not gonna happen. I think I'll just buy it at the health food store next year! But, for the second year running I see that a local environmental group has set up a small wood-chipping truck that will come to your home and put all your hedge trimmings etc. through it at no cost to you and leaving you with all the free chippings and/or mulch. They've also set up a scheme whereby for the month of October people can try out battery-assisted bikes for free to try to encourage more people to use them and the local bus service is free to everyone, again for the month of October! Great initiatives all round, but one that really cheered me was a scheme called Pedibus, where for a very small fee children can be signed up as part of accompanied groups from the local villages walking to and from school. Over here walking to school is very feasible for the most part, so I really hope it takes off!
Jordan started his new job a couple of weeks ago, working in a two-man team for the director of his former company (you know, the one that's going bust because the owner has seemingly "disappeared" a lot of money) and who started up his own company in the local area. He enjoys working with Christophe and they pretty much have carte blanche to order any equipment they need - the boss just tells them to go ahead and order it and send him the bill! And talking of career plans, Jen has so much patience with Charlie and spends lots of time reading, playing and working with him and it's really paying off. She routinely has him sitting on her lap while she's cutting up vegetables and just last week bought him a "trainer knife" for children (I know, I was thinking the same thing)! Apparently they cannot cut themselves with it but it allows them to develop knife skills, so now Charlie is mainly responsible for all veggie prep in the evenings. They could be on to something there!
|Move over Jamie Oliver!|
Finally, thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes. I must admit 65 felt a little weird as this would be the birthday by which I had to retire from work. In fact, tomorrow would have been my last day had I not decided to retire five years early (still no regrets). As I've mentioned before, the fact that I'm now 65 fulfils the final condition for me to request French citizenship via ascendency (i.e. through Charlie), which is pretty much a given, assuming I haven't spent more than six months in prison (I haven't, I got divorced instead). So the other day I printed off a list of all the paperwork I would need and it wasn't too bad actually as I had most of it anyway, and already translated into French. The only two documents that I have to request are (yet another) copy of my divorce paperwork, and a copy of Charlie's birth certificate. I still find it confusing that documents issued by the French authorities have to be less than three months old. I mean nothing changes the fact that I got divorced on 23 December 2011 right? Well Jen was explaining that apparently French administrative papers are actually a "living" document, I guess drawn from a database, so if I were ever to get remarried in France (not gonna happen), my new marriage certificate would state "formerly married and divorced from P on dates X and Y"! She finds it strange that our administrative documents are "static" documents, but in the case of my divorce paperwork I'm guessing a more recent copy would also reflect any subsequent marriage. Confusing isn't it!
So last night I filled out the form to request a more recent copy of my divorce paperwork - which was pretty easy and only took about 10 minutes. In order for them to send it back to me I had to include a pre-paid envelope so then I set to to print a stamp off the French post office site (a system introduced in January of this year) but what a nightmare it was. I had also ordered a bunch of labels suitable to print stamps on (rather than having my stamps split over two labels), but when I went to pay for them and they asked for the delivery address, the web site kept spitting out that my village was "unknown to the post office"! Say what????? I spotted that the next village over was also missing from the list and yet they've been delivering my mail to me at this address for the past 33 years! After about an hour I was pulling my hair out so I'm guessing it was a simple case of "computer sez no", but eventually I got the bloody thing printed and mailed off. On the positive side, they don't charge for it, unlike the Swiss who charged me SF 33 for a copy of Jordan's birth certificate this morning!!!!
So slowly but surely I feel like I'm getting somewhere and who knows, maybe by the time the next General Election takes place in the UK I will have my voting rights reinstated (British in Europe are working on it) and maybe, just maybe, I'll even get to vote in the next French and European elections. A girl can dream, can't she!