The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Forgot to mention…!

I’m in Corsica right now. Absolutely beautiful but going over narrow mountain passes on a 50 seater bus is terrifying, even if I’m not the one driving! And talk about eat!!!! They could probably just roll me down to the port at this rate! Still it’s lovely and well worth the trip!

Saturday 20 April 2024

Ca ira!

"Ca ira" means "that'll do" in English, and I'm at that stage with my bathroom renovations. Well actually, I'm pretty much like that with everything (my attempts at patchwork can testify to that)! Anyhoo, the plumber came back earlier this week as he wanted to install the shower screen in the larger bathroom, leave the tiler to finish his bit, and then attack the smaller bathroom. I mentioned before that as my wall is not a perfect vertical, there is a tiny (less than half a cm) gap between the bottom of the shower and the wall which he said I should get the tiler to "fill in" to make it look better. Frankly at this point I couldn't care less about aesthetics and in any case I knew it would be hidden by the shelving unit I intended to put there so I told him not to worry about it as ça ira! He wasn't happy about that but seriously it would take another plumber to spot it (so Jordan will probably notice it), and of course if the tiler wants to do something with it so be it, but at this point I just wanted to start moving stuff back into the bathroom and getting things sorted. While it isn't completely finished (I have to get window dressings and clean up some of the paintwork) I'm so happy with my new bathroom. I had thought it might end up looking a bit like a sanatorium, but nope, I'm good with it. So now onto the smaller bathroom which hopefully won't take so long to complete - but in any case, as long as they put the toilet in immediately I can live with it because ça ira!

Before - excuse the mess but I
never used that bath!

After - could probably do with
a bit more colour but I'm working
on it!



In other news, when I was heading over to Jordan and Jen's last Friday to take care of Charlie, about five minutes into my journey an older lady flagged me down, asking if I had a mobile phone as there was "a man lying on the ground down in the woods"! She was coming up from a woodland path so I told her I would park up and headed back into the woods to join her. There was a man, probably in his 40s, lying on the ground. I tried tapping his cheek and speaking gently to him but got no response - and then we spotted that he was lying on top of a pile of beer cans! At this point another man joined us saying that he had called an ambulance and while it was seemingly quite obvious that he was passed out drunk, the ambulance came out anyway and, I presume, took him to hospital! Quite the drama, although I hate to think what might have happened to him if he'd still been lying out in the woods when night fell!

Getting back to Thailand, on our penultimate day a few of us talked to our guide about setting up a trip to an elephant sanctuary, rather than just spending the day on the beach. So she set that up for us and it was great. Being a sanctuary there was obviously no riding on the elephants and at that time they were only looking after four older females. They didn't work with males with tourists because they are more aggressive, but I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to meet any babies (like André did). Still it was fun, with about 30 tourists "sharing" three of the elephants who spontaneously wandered down to the stream when they realized we were there. We all made up a kind of protein ball (think something about the size of a baseball) and each fed two of them and a couple of bananas to whichever elephant took our fancy (they actually seem to inhale, rather than "eat"), after being given strict instructions that if the elephant wanted to go in x direction it was up to us to get out of their way, not the other way around - though seriously, who would want to argue with an elephant????

After that we got into the stream with them, caked them in mud (to help keep them cool) and when that dried we rinsed them off and scrubbed them down. From there we had to walk about a mile through the woods to a watering hole where we were invited to get into the water with them and "hose them down". I didn't bother going in the water with them as I figured, rightly, that a few people would monopolize the elephants, but I was happy anyway. I just wish I had been able to get a picture of our little group following the elephants through the woods to the watering hole - it was like a scene out of Jungle Book, but I wasn't quick enough - I just got a picture of the last elephant's bum!

When we got back we all headed out to dinner together and I finally dropped off my copy of The Power of Now in one of those freebie bookshelves they have in all the hotels. I tried four times to read that book and four times I failed so I decided to let someone else suffer for their sins. I was done!

Just one more day to write up on Thailand now, but that can wait until the next time!

Sunday 14 April 2024

Sometimes it feels like my feet never touch the ground - and I don't even work anymore!!!

Crikey, if I don't finish writing up the end of my trip to Thailand soon I'm sure I'll forget half of it - and I don't want to do that! That being said, I was away again this weekend and between coming back from Thailand and going away this weekend it feels like my feet haven't touched the ground! I went a bit mad and made a ton of appointments - you know, the kind that keep getting put on the "to do list" and then nothing gets done about them. Well eventually I get mad at myself and must have made 10 appointments (winter tyres, dentist, optician etc.) in the space of 15 minutes. That'll teach me to let things slip, I guess!

I had just gotten back from picking my car up when my gardener showed up for the first time this year. He comes and goes as and when possible and as long as I'm up for continuing to have him cut my grass, we just take up where we left off. I must admit everywhere looked really nice once he'd left as I had pressure sprayed the back patio area just last week. Then Jen asked if I could look after Charlie for a few hours on Friday as she needed to go out and Jordan hadn't arrived home from work yet. No problem there. We went out to the park and then were playing "balloons" on the balcony, when the inevitable happened and it ended up landing in the park below. But just as we were about to go down to pick it up, the older lady who lives on the ground floor yelled up that she would put it in the lift and send it up! I get the impression most of the older folks are enjoying having young children around playing in the park again (as one of them already told me), and I thought it was very sweet of her to send Charlie his balloon back! I'm also trying to keep up the English with him after their trip to the States, but I'm not sure how much is sinking in because every time I ask him something he just says "oui" so I don't really know how much he is understanding!

Anyway, Friday after work was our time to set off to enjoy the Christmas present that Jen's mom, C, and her partner, F, had bought for us all. Her mom paid for an air BnB for seven of us for two nights and F paid for us all to get into a lovely little theme park about 90 minutes away called Walibi! I've been to Walibi a few times but not recently, so it was a real treat to go there again. It's not big like Disney but I much prefer it, and even with some of the attractions being closed off or under maintenance, it was still lovely. So on Friday night we arrived at a very rustic air BnB about 15 minutes from Walibi which was really lovely. Very simple, dead quiet and seemingly capable of accommodating maybe 12 people if necessary. By the time we got there it was already quite late so we had dinner, sat around and chatted for a while, and then all hit the sack around 11 p.m. in order to be on form for the next day!

Now I'm guessing this was probably the first weekend of open season but the car park was pretty full, probably something to do with it being spring holidays in this region and great weather. Charlie was too small to do quite a few of the rides and Jen was also limited because of being pregnant, but everyone had a good time and what one person thought was "a great ride" others said would make them want to throw up, and vice versa. I wouldn't go on a roller coaster ride because I don't like being thrown forward, but anything that spins me round and round - no problem, although those bloody pictures that they take of you on the rides always showed me with my face screwed up and looking like I was facing a firing squad!

Charlie's favourite ride!

I would have gone on this one, but
nobody wanted to go with me at the time!

No way was I shooting up in the
air in that thing!

I did the log flume with my two sons.
I was sitting at the back and they both
ducked when we hit the water so I got soaked!
I seem to remember saying something derogatory
about their parentage! (Photo curtesy of google)!

Charlie did this one with us - he wasn't too
sure at first but he hung in there! Again, a
google photo!

Jordan did this one on his own. I
probably would have thrown up!
Another google photo - it just went
by so fast I couldn't catch it!

We stayed at the park until closing time, went home and ate and since I had missed Charlie's birthday when he was in the States, the kids brought his French gifts with them so he got to blow candles out a second time and play on his new bike! We left after lunch today and while we were only away for two nights, it feels like I was gone for a week, so maybe a change really is as a good as a rest. It did bring home to me, though, that you really don't have to go very far in France to be able to get off the beaten track and still enjoy some beautiful scenery! I'll have to give some thought to maybe booking a small place a bit later in the year - but first I've got to repack shortly because I'm off to Corsica at the end of next week. Having all these trips one after another was beyond my control - but then I wouldn't have it any other way!


Saturday 6 April 2024

So, getting back to Thailand ...!

Anyhoo, the next day - whenever that was - we left the islands and made our way back to mainland Krabi, where we would spend our final few days in Thailand. While Krabi was not nearly as pretty as the islands, it was more of a resort town so I guess if you were looking for entertainment this was the place to be. Our tour company was offering a tour of the Phi Phi islands, but C and I decided we wouldn't bother as I think we were pretty tired by this time. Later that evening we went out to dinner with R, who had taken the tour but he said that while it was indeed very beautiful, it was sooooo crowded it just wasn't worth it. Too many boats and too many people in the water trying to snorkel. This was where they filmed The Beach and not long after the film was released they temporarily closed down trips to tourists in order to preserve the islands! From what R was saying, I can see why! So I would say that while some of them enjoyed the trip, a few thought it was not money well spent, given the overcrowding!

R's photos, not mine, obviously!

C and I had a wander round the town and were surprised to see how many places were advertising cannabis for sale. It's legal for the time being, but there is talk about making it illegal at some future date. I'm not sure what the sellers will do in the event it's outlawed, though in the meantime I'm not surprised the people are so "smiley"!

Our guide had told us we should check out the night market, but unfortunately the first night we turned the wrong way out onto the main road and found the market to be nothing special. Turns out we hadn't actually found the real market but when we did, man was that an assault on your senses. The heat, the smells, the noise were all so intense! A couple from our group spotted a whole crocodile roasting on a spit (wish they'd gotten a photo of it) - and the entire place was just heaving. Well worth the visit but I was glad to get out of there too!

A google picture - I couldn't get anything worth posting!

After that we had just two more days left, but I'll leave that for another time as it's already quite late here. Back home the weather has been picking up and I finally got around to doing my annual pressure wash of the back terrace. It's a bit of a faff but I quite enjoy it really as it's so satisfying to see the crud being washed away after the snow has melted. I was working on the moss in the front driveway when my neighbour wandered over for a chat and a coffee. Now while I know I must have looked pretty grim after almost two hours of power washing, when I caught sight of myself in the mirror I was mortified - Worzel Gummige had nothing on me!

Wurzel Gummige!

And finally, the kids arrived back from the States today after spending two weeks with my ex's family. They said it went well and I'm glad Ammy got to see both my kids and Charlie, of course. I suspect I will hear about a few tensions later but on the whole it went well, and I'm happy for that. I thought I'd surprise them by shooting out to the airport to meet them, even though they'd already got transport arranged. Well I stopped off at the baker's to buy bread and croissants for everyone and then sailed easily through the border to arrive at the airport about 15 minutes after they'd landed. So I sat there people watching, and I sat there, and I sat there - and after about an hour I sent Jordan a message to ask where they were. Turns out they were half way home as they must have whizzed through immigration, customs and baggage reclaim in less than 15 minutes. Damn, I reckon I missed them by a matter of minutes, if not seconds! Well you know what they say about best laid plans? Man makes plans and God laughs, apparently!