The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Saturday 17 February 2024

More this and that!

Well the world's slowest renovation project is still ongoing and I'm starting to get really fed up of it, to be honest. I had thought that at least the big bathroom would have been finished last week but unfortunately the plumber couldn't install the shower door pane as he needs the tiler to come back in and build him "an exact vertical" on which to attach it (I'd guess none of my walls are particularly straight). Unfortunately (for me) the tiler had to dash home to Kosovo for a few days so that's where I'm stuck at - so close and yet so far! On a positive note, I now trust both these men enough that if I have to dash out I know I can leave them in the house alone. I was telling the tiler that I'd just gotten back from the charity shop and he asked me if I always took stuff there, rather than dumping it. When I said of course, we were poor when I was growing up, he smiled and said "good, because that's the way we live in my country"! I guess if people want to try to sell stuff that's fine too, but the thought of putting perfectly good items in the trash horrifies me!

In the family next door to ours in England there were 10 children, and not long after I'd come to Geneva one of their older daughters came out to Geneva to work as an au pair for two physicists working at CERN (the European Nuclear Research Centre - think Hadron Collider). When I met up with her one time she was telling me that when the children grew out of their clothes they just dumped them in the trash (!!!!) so she spent half her time climbing in the trash to get them back out again and take them home for her brothers and sisters! She also said that they would buy a whole, large salmon, take what they wanted from it - and then dump the rest! While they obviously made good money, I will never understand that mentality, and nor do I want to!

Anyway, I know my tiler would like to buy a house and he was asking me about next door's place and another neighbour's place - the Jehovah's Witness couple who are having to move out because of old age/frailty. He'd done some work for next door and liked the house and they keep their garden nice too, but the other neighbour (who introduced me to the tiler) had also told him about the problems with the basement flooding, so I don't think he would want to take that on. One thing I also mentioned to him though is that living in Annecy, his three kids would probably hate it out here - too rural and you can't just pop into town and go shopping when you feel like it. Absolutely beautiful of course (but then so is Annecy) but no public transport and I felt that his teenage daughters, at least, would hate it. We were lucky because André was just two when we moved here and Jordan was born here, so they never knew anything else, but tweens would probably hate it. I would be happy to have him move in next door as he seems very nice, but (a) I honestly don't see next door ever selling and (b) you have to take into account all the inconveniences too. I think I gave him food for thought, at least!

On another note, I follow a FB group who post on burglaries/break-ins in the local area, and I don't know if they are actually increasing or if I'm just more aware of it, but in any case I called back a company who had come round in the summer and within 24 hours I had a complete security system installed and with a monthly payment will have a 24 hour emergency contact too. They installed five sensors downstairs (doors and windows), an internal camera, two external cameras (front and back) and even a "smoke" alarm - you know, a bit like the artifical fog you get at a pop concert. It's very easy to use (once I got the hang of it) and so far I've only set it off briefly twice. I also gave my neighbour a disc that will cancel the alarm if it goes off when I'm not here, and will give the kids one each when I see them. So job done then!

In other news, there seems to be an awful lot of product recall going on in France right now due to the "detection of pesticides". Hmmmm!!! Several such products that also hit the news, although only in a "small" way, were various bottled waters produced by Nestlé. It seems that they have been treating their bottled waters in the same way as regular tap water is treated, and while this doesn't necessarily make the water "bad" (for want of a better word), having the label spring water means it shouldn't be treated at all! Thankfully when this was discovered Nestlé's reps dashed off to Paris and managed to get a derogation before too much harm was done. Oddly enough the executive working at Rothschild Bank who was put in charge of the sale of Pfizer's infant nutrition division to Nestlé was none other than ...

... so I'm sure they had good contacts!

The other day I was in town and spotted the most beautiful baeckeoffe dish (earthenware dish), and despite my decluttering efforts I knew I just had to have it (I know, I know)! I promptly bought it home and cooked a large chicken with tons of garlic and potatoes. Of course I couldn't eat it all so stripped the chicken and threw the gravy, garlic and potatoes into a soup I made yesterday. While it was lovely, somehow I think if I'd realized I'd used that much garlic I would have eaten it on Friday night - that way I probably wouldn't have had to pay for a business class seat to Thailand on Saturday as I'm sure no-one would have wanted to sit next to me!

My baeckeoffe dish! I love it!

And finally, I brought my suitcase upstairs to start packing and pulled out a nice shoulder bag that I only use when travelling. While I was rummaging around in the pockets I found a lottery ticket I bought for 24 December and when I checked it I had won €50!!!! I have no idea why I dropped it in that bag and as it was almost expired I went into town today and cashed it! All good stuff then, as I'm off to Thailand on Saturday and it would have expired by the time I get back. I doubt I'll be able to keep in contact much on my phone, so if not, take care and "speak" when I get back!

Saturday 3 February 2024

A brain like cottage cheese!

So the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos is finally over, having accommodated up to 150 private jets per day in order for a group of unelected billionaires to tell the rest of us how we need to cut our carbon footprint. Yes I'm talking to you, little old lady at the back there - how dare you expect to be able to heat your home and eat. The nerve of some people, eh Klaus!

In other news, I'm not really sure what's going on with next door's divorce, although it is apparently common knowledge now as the husband has seemingly told everyone. As for him moving into his daughter's empty apartment, well that seems to be the world's slowest move out I've ever seen. I saw him putting one chair into his car this week so now I'm assuming he has one knife, one fork, a cup and a chair to be going on with. He's obviously still living here so I'm thinking life is just as miserable for both sides, but to be honest, I don't actually see this divorce ever happening, no more than I see the house going up for sale in spring. I could be wrong of course, but I just don't see it happening somehow!

My poor friend from sewing group is not having the best start to 2024. Her husband managed to injure her foot by driving off before she'd gotten out of the car completely, he got covid, she got covid and then 10 days ago she fell while putting some dishes away and broke her arm!!!!! She's already been operated on and is slowly on the mend, but I bet she wishes 2024 would just hurry up and bugger off already, the poor thing!

The weather has picked up again so much that you would think it was spring - which of course it isn't, but I'll take it while it lasts. To that end, my friend and I managed to get our act together and took several bags of stuff to the charity shop on Friday, and followed it up with a celebratory lunch in what turned out to be a very good Indian restaurant in town. To be honest I don't eat out very often, so that ended up being a real treat! I follow several walking groups on FB of people who go hiking in "74" (which is this area of France) and with the gorgeous weather the photos they are posting are just stunning. I know for the most part I couldn't do many of the hikes (if any) but this one tickled me - can you imagine if I'd just tagged along thinking I was going on a "little hike"! They're obviously not all anywhere near as hard as this but .....!

His tagline was "and the guide
said it was an easy one!"

I was planning on checking my car over yesterday (oil and windscreen fluid) but when I opened up the hood I found two slices of brown bread sitting on the engine! No joke - and since it's not the first time this has happened, I looked and the bloody fouines are back in the engine nibbling away at any rubber tubing - to go with the brown bread, it would seem! Fouine translates as "weasel" but I always thought weasels were much bigger than these little buggers. Either way, they're back to doing as much damage as they can while keeping warm on the inside of my engine. I gave it a good spraying with the anti-weasel stuff I bought ages ago, but now I think I'll just keep a can in my car and spray it every couple of days until/if I can find a more permanent solution!

Our friendly neighbourhood fouine!

My first reaction to finding the brown bread was that I must be losing my mind, or my brain is turning to mush, until I realized that I'd seen it before. That was kinda reassuring about my mental state but when I popped into my local supermarket for a couple of things later that day I found people wandering around like something out of a zombie movie. Not quite bumping into each other but nobody knowing what the heck they were doing and shooting off in all directions. You see, they suddenly decided to tear the whole place apart, change the entire layout and nobody could find anything they wanted so in the end I just gave up and left. Maybe there's some intelligent reason why they do this - make people wander round more so they end up having to look more closely at what's on the shelves - but I'm not sure how many sales they made that day because people were just giving up and leaving!

So I ended up stopping off at another supermarket, the one where I drop my books off at the book exchange, but much to my shame I ended up picking up a rather lovely Jamie Oliver cookbook so it was a case of drop off five and pick up one. After that I stopped off at the cash machine, withdrew the cash I wanted and when it asked if I wanted a receipt I pressed "yes", only to find out when I got home that I'd not only forgotten the receipt but had left the Jamie Oliver book on the little shelf there at the bank. Then when I got home I couldn't find my house keys. I mean, how hard can it be to find your keys in your handbag, but I searched and searched, panicked a bit and then searched some more. In the end I had to give up and was just wandering down to my neighbour's to ask for my spare key, when I reached into my jeans pocket for a hankie and there were my keys. I don't think I've ever been absent-minded so many times in any one day so I really was beginning to worry if my brain had started turning into cottage cheese!

When I finally got in the house I decided to assemble a simple towelling rack that I'd bought for my almost-finished bathroom. It was really easy to assemble, just four small screws at the top and four larger screw at the bottom. But when I opened the packet of larger screws I searched and searched - but nope, there were only three of them. They were of a very specific size and I didn't have anything equivalent in my somewhat extensive screw collection. So off I trotted back into town to the hardware store to buy one bloody screw!!!! Still it was a relief to find my brain hadn't actually turned to mush - I just have a screw missing!