The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Saturday 30 March 2024

This and that!

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and it's certainly seeming that way at the moment. We've got howling winds, especially in the evenings and throughout the night, and then the next day the weather is relatively stable - well stable enough for me to be out pottering in the garden anyway! And I'm really enjoying pottering about after a fairly hectic few weeks! 

I mentioned previously that life wasn't being quite as kind to a few people I care about. There've been a couple of incidents with people ending up in the emergency room, and while things are seemingly much improved they are not resolved as yet. Then my poor sewing teacher - you know, the lady whose son fell down the stairs about eight years ago and has had to be institutionalized ever since - well she and her husband have recently lost their home through no fault of their own. It's complicated, but despite being up-to-date with their payments, upon asking to switch their mortgage from Swiss francs to euros, the bank called in the entire loan - not just the outstanding amount, but the entire 100% of the loan so their house was sold as of last week! They went to court but seemingly the bank was absolutely entitled to do this (legalized robbery springs to mind) and while they should be able to recoup everything they've paid out so far (around €200,000) it will take a few years to get back so they've had to sell their home. While her husband can transfer further inland to a cheaper part of France, she does not want to leave this region as her daughter lives here and her son is institutionalized here (they're her children by her first husband), so they've had to move into rental accommodation. How is any of that fair, or even legal???? On top of that she told me about six weeks ago that she's just found out that her husband has been cheating on her for the last three years - and then her beloved dog died!!!! She always likes to play "tough" but she's really a big old softie at heart, though how she's holding up right now I have no idea!

Much closer to home my favourite neighbour's husband died about 10 days ago, and while it was probably not unexpected (lung cancer) in the end it took him so quickly I think the shock knocked her off her feet. He had been due to start treatment on the Thursday but actually died on the Friday, with a private funeral being held yesterday. She came in for coffee this afternoon and while there was no love lost between them for the longest time, she admits she wishes things could have been different. She and her children did right by him to the end, though, and can be proud of themselves! She knows there is such a lot ahead of her, both emotionally and practically, so I told her to reach out anytime I can be of help, rather than asking her kids to drive over. I mean that as much in the physical sense as anything (I know what it's like to try to shift gas canisters and heavy logs alone), and I can always help her on the computer, but I'm heartened to see that she is determined to make as much a go of things as she can on her own - after so many years of being afraid of her own shadow!

I told her I'd done her a huge favour though as there is a lady we call Mrs. Tupperware who called me today to pass on an invitation to lunch "for the old fogies" (being 65 I now qualify) and as she'd just heard about the death she said she would go over there to speak to my neighbour. I asked her to wait a little as my neighbour had expressed the wish to be alone for a while, but that I'm sure she'd appreciate a card in the mailbox. Now this woman can yack for France, and by the time you've finished the conversation you know all about her first cousin's second husband's vasectomy. She's also very opinionated and was telling me how scandalised she was that no-one was allowed to go to the funeral and that it was "in poor taste"!!! Thankfully I took this call rather than my poor neighbour as I'm sure there would have been fisticuffs! I told her that those were his express wishes and had been respected. Moreover, I personally wanted to leave this earth in much the same way. Thankfully that shut her up and she hasn't showed up at my neighbour's house - so far. Now this lady is not actually unkind, and has been through an awful lot - the death of her husband, the death of her 34 year old daughter and the suicide of her 28 year old son - but she is totally overpowering and I don't think anyone should have to deal with that while they're grieving, however well intentioned!

She told me she'd stop by with my invitation to this lunch so I told her to just leave it in my mailbox as I "was working in my back garden" - so of course that was a cue for her to tell me that now wasn't the time to be working in the garden, everything would freeze, the soil is still cold .....! You see what I mean? Mind you, these things go in one ear and out the other for me, so I'm glad it was me that got the brunt of it, rather than my neighbour!

But - and this one makes me really mad - my neighbour was telling me that she and the children were at the hospital with her husband and they knew the end was near. As the kids wanted to stay on she'd called my other neighbour - Mrs. Gossip - to see if she could pick her up from the hospital, which of course they kindly offered to do (I was out). Reception was very poor inside the hospital and once they realized that her husband had passed she went back out into the parking lot to let Mrs. Gossip know not to come. Well by the time she got back up to the room and they were unhooking all the tubes etc., her phone was ringing off the hook, including a call from a lady who had been on the village council with her husband, expressing her condolences. So in the time it took my neighbour to get from the parking lot to the hospital room, Mrs. Gossip had already spread the news!!!! I'm disgusted - this was the lady who let everyone know that my son was getting divorced (hence he'd moved back in with me) before we'd had chance to do it ourselves!! And the same lady who when her own husband had a minor stroke, swore everyone to secrecy!  Now I know this couple can be kind and would do just about anything for you, but to not have the decency to allow the family to grieve in peace for fifteen minutes - well, at least, as my neighbour said, she now knows where she stands on that score!

In more pleasant news, my sister and her husband were to head off to their house in Spain for two months the other day, but the weather was so bad that the channel ferry crossings were cancelled. Her daughter works for the ferry company and so was able to quickly get them on a crossing tomorrow as the places were selling like hot cakes! I'd call that insider trading wouldn't you! In any case she said if I wanted to fly down to Spain while they're there I was welcome, but I'm off to Corsica soon (overland and ferry) so I doubt I'll be able to fit it in!

Both my kids are now in the States so Ammy (great grandma) finally got to meet Charlie for the first time. I spoke to Charlie yesterday and he was telling me had had a gros gros g√Ęteau (a huuuugggge cake) as he celebrated his third birthday on the 28th. I then got to speak to Ammy and she was telling me how much she was loving having them all there and that she would keep them if she could. Once Charlie got over his shyness, he has taken to all of them like a duck to water and is even coming out with a few words in English!

As for me, as I said, I'm appreciating just pottering and enjoying the arrival of spring. You can tell spring is on the way because the lambs are in the fields, everyone is contentedly wandering around the farmers' markets, someone cut the grass on the island yesterday ... and the lead up to the Mont Blanc tunnel (which goes into Italy) is backed up for about three kilometres! Happy Easter everyone!


14 comments:

  1. That’s rugged to lose ones house in that manner. Some people have tough times. I’d love to spend some time in Corsica. I’m going on a Mediterranean cruise next year that calls in there.

    We rarely head anywhere over Easter. Traffic is made here too.

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    1. I've wanted to go to Corsica for a while so I'll let you know (and get the pictures)! I understand it's very beautiful though. And I'm with you about not even going grocery shopping over Easter. The Swiss get Good Friday off (the French don't), so half of Switzerland hits the road on Good Friday! I'm glad those days are behind me - no more school vacation dates for me!

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  2. Overpowering - that's the word I've been missing in discussing my anxiousness with my in-laws. They all know more than anyone, and stick their noses in business that's not there's. But, then act ignorant when something was shared, explaining what I'm experiencing.

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    1. I know a couple of people who don't talk TO you they talk AT you, and Mrs. Tupperware is one of them and everyone's usual reaction is to run a mile, so I knew my instinct to "head her off at the pass" was the right one. Hell, my friend told Mrs. T one time that her cat had thrown up. Before she knew what was happening Tupperware had called her daughter whose neighbour was a vet and went into great detail about how my friend should deal with her cat!!! So I feel for you. It must be difficult to deal with overpowering people when you don't want to be rude but are fragile yourself!

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  3. There's nothing wrong with keeping funeral services private, things are confusing enough when dealing with a death in the family, and all those yammering voices aren't always as sympathetic as they think they are.

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    1. Couldn't agree with you more Dave. Plus having to explain over and over and over again ad nauseum what happened must be so hard. Once she's ready she can speak to everyone as and when she wishes, but just one day after the funeral - no way!

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  4. When you said a lot was going on around you, you were so right. Wow!! Prayers for each of them. Intrusive, rude and gossipy people are not people I handle well. I avoid them like the plague. That's so nice that the other side of the family finally were able to meet Charlie. I'm sure he's having a wonderful time. Have a good week!!

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    1. I find Mrs. Tupperware easier to handle than Mrs. Gossip and frankly am more than disappointed at her lack of consideration. The two ladies are friends and have coffee together regularly but I hope now that my favourite neighbour has finally realized that Mrs. Gossip can't be trusted! I doubt it will ruin a friendship but it would certainly have soured it!

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  5. Listen, I love a good gossip. But there are some things you do NOT discuss, and I would not bother keeping someone's secrets if they can't be bothered to keep anyone else's! I feel for your neighbour, was she the one with the super nasty and mean husband? Nothing wrong with a private funeral, I am sure her grieving is complex - but isn't it always. So glad your boys and daughter in law are visiting Ammy!

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    1. Yes this was the lady with the spiteful husband so as you say, the grieving is complex. Probably relief to be free of him and guilt for feeling relief! But you're right, there are some things you just don't gossip about. Heck, when my sewing teacher told me her husband had been having an affair I assumed she'd also told the other ladies, but nope. After she'd left one evening Bernadette commented that things didn't seem quite right between her and her husband, so I just said it was probably to do with the stress of having to sell the house. Hell, it's not my business to tell is it!

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  6. I had a friend in hs that called me every Sunday afternoon. By the time I got to Sunday night church, she had gotten there early and shared all my news with everyone there. I was so annoyed and had to quit talking to her. I imagine she is a terror now.

    So, this couple had to pay the whole of the loan, not just what they still owed and lost their home. How can that be legal?

    These stories you tell are the kinds of things I hear that are the springboard to stories I write.

    Cute about Charlie. Can Ammy understand French?

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    1. It's funny how one thing can trigger another isn't it! And no, no-one in the family speaks any French although one of the cousins is married to a lovely Brazilian man and he is trying very hard to learn it. As for the loan, if I understand it correctly, when you commit to supplying XXXX amount of Swiss francs to the French bank over time, that allows them to make long-term investments in Swiss francs without worrying about the exchange rate. If you break your end of the agreement (i.e. by wanting to give them euros instead) that can put the bank in difficulties with their long-term commitments so they can claim the entire amount back. I may be wrong, but that's how I understand it. I always took my loans in Swiss francs but then I had a stable job and was paid in Swissies so no worries there. This lady should eventually get back what she had paid off the house but it would never be in time to save the house from "foreclosure"!

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  7. You are going to adore Corsica - sensory sensation with views, scents and tastes around every bend in the road. I shall await the blog posts with anticipation.

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    1. I've wanted to go to Corsica for a long time but the bus company that we are going with only do this trip every two years and I kept missing out, for one reason or another. I'm sure I'll flood the blog with loads of photos though. Can't wait!

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