The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Wrapping up Corsica!

On our penultimate day in Corsica we headed for Bonifacio - which I think was probably my most favourite of all the towns we visited. Expensive too, by all accounts, but since I wasn't looking to move there it didn't really matter. My friend and I wandered round the citadelle and then back down to the port where we stopped in at a shop selling goods made of cork. I love that stuff so gave in to temptation and bought myself a lovely wallet for just €30, which is much lighter than the one I was using. Interestingly, when we had our visitor over from the States and took him to Yvoire, we stopped in at a gift shop there and the identical wallet to mine was selling for €59 - so I'm so glad I bought it in Corsica rather than Yvoire!

Bonifacio (a google picture)!

After that we headed out to a place called la Casa di Roccalpina which was a museum set in the house of the former cantonnier. There doesn't seem to be an easy translation for that, but it would appear to be the man responsible for maintaining the roads! Nowadays I'm sure it's all centralized but back then it must have been a very important job as when the locals brought their animals down from the mountains for the winter, if the roads weren't passable it meant taking the much longer route through dire terrain! Most of Corsica is covered in scrubland called maquis and interestingly (or not - depends on your point of view) "Maquisard" was the name given to resistance fighters during WWII, since I guess they knew their way through the maquis and were able to hide out and/or disappear relatively easily!

While waiting for the museum to open we got to take in the amazing rock formations along the coast opposite and I loved it. You know how you can sometimes make out images in clouds, well these rock formations were something else!

A 25 minute walk down to that little beach
would definitely be worth it. The climb back up?
Nah, not so much!

A man with a big nose?

The elephant!

A giant with a big chin lying on
his back!

Cooking facilities at the
shepherd's hut!

The shepherd's hut from the outside!

The lion?

I believe it was our last day when we stopped to eat at a wonderfully rustic restaurant in a place called Tizzano! The name of this place jogged my friend's memory and she said she was sure that was where her former colleague, M, lived. She was originally from Corsica and when my friend looked on the map, it was indeed the same village. Wouldn't it have been a hoot if she had walked in while we were having lunch!!!! It wasn't about to happen though as she apparently spends more time "on the continent" (as the Corsicans say). Referring to it as "the continent" didn't shock me at all because when I was still living in England we also talked about "travelling to the continent" (as though Britain wasn't part of the continent of Europe eh)!

Santu Pultru equestrian centre and

After that it was on to Ajaccio for a wander round before catching our ferry back home. And that was when it decided to pour down. Not that we minded too much as we were about to board the ferry, so we really were very lucky with the weather all round!

Ajaccio (another google picture)!

In fact, it turns out there was a massive storm brewing on the Med so we were delayed - and delayed - and delayed again, but I suppose better to be delayed than to be thrown around somewhere in the middle of the sea! We were supposed to leave at 8 p.m. and ended up departing Ajaccio at 6 a.m. but since we were able to have dinner in the onboard restaurant and then settle down in our cabins, it wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds (thank you Kindle and Audible, all the same). This was where two kind teams of two ladies each ran a relay looking after Mimi so that mom could rest in her cabin. It had been a long week!

It poured with rain all the way back home, with us arriving back at the depot around midnight. Since I've been back I've tried out two Corsican recipes (a chestnut mousse and a lemon and ricotta dessert) and while they both tasted good, presentation left a lot to be desired (and then I wonder why I'm fat)! Oh, and to top it all, as of yesterday morning I finally got hot water back. Seems my heating system needed a new electronic thingy (although I'm sure that's not the technical name), so I can now get up in the morning and throw myself into a scorching hot shower after two weeks of doing without. Sometimes life is just a peachy, isn't it!

Sunday 26 May 2024


So where was I? Oh I know, heading off to Corte the following day, although I'm not overly sure what the highlights of Corte were since my friend and I chose to wander off on our own again. It was quite high up so we took the little tourist train up there, but after that we just wandered!

I'd love an olive tree in my
garden, but although they sell them
here I'm not convinced they would
stand up to our weather!

Town centre - Corte!

After lunch we headed up to a small church where a two-man group called Fiuminale sang to us in the Corsican language (which sounds more like Italian than French to me). They specifically asked us not to film inside the church but rather to be present in the moment. The church was lovely and their voices amazing, so definitely a detour worth making!

After that we headed to Porto Vecchio where we had a wander round the town again, followed by another boat trip, before heading out to our final hotel of the trip!

Porto Vecchio!

My hotel room!

So that was about it for the next day. The weather was starting to turn slightly but it still more or less held out for the remainder of the trip. I'll probably try to write the rest up tomorrow but right now I'm delighted to be settling down to watch more episodes of season three of Clarkson's Farm! If it's anywhere near as good as the first two seasons I'll be well pleased. Jeremy Clarkson may be the "star" of the programme, but he's made stars out of some of the most unlikely locals too!

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Les Gorges de Piana!

The following day we headed out to what turned out to be the worst "goat track" of the whole trip. I remember in Mallorca our guide describing the mountainous road we'd just been over as the "Ay Maria" gorge because it was so bad - well frankly that had nothing on this! I'd guess we ended up covering about 50 km over fairly narrow roads over the Col de Vergjhu, through the Forest of Valdu'Niella and finally the Gorges de Spelunca - all very pretty and a bit hair-raising but definitely worth the trip. We eventually ended up at Porto, from where an even worse goat track was to take us up to the little mountain village of Piana - and this one was really nasty! The road was so narrow as to be unbelievable! In fact I couldn't see why they would ever allow tourist buses up there, but our guide explained that in high season they had people stationed at both ends of the pass alternating traffic. Trouble was, it wasn't yet high season, so we crawled up that thing at snail's pace - and even had to pass another bus coming the other way but which was thankfully able to pull over into a passing point!

These are not my photos, but I picked out this
google photo to show what it was like!

Our driver was wonderful but when I asked him if the guide had told him what he was in for he said she had explained it would be "interesting" (the understatement of the year)! We had lunch in the village of Piana, which was pretty enough, but no more so than many of the villages round here. I guess what made it "interesting" was the drive up there!

The village of Piana!

At lunch we sat with Mrs. "Saint Sixt" and her husband, Robert (who was great fun). They must have been mid-70s and had been travelling with this particular company for almost 20 years, with Robert himself organizing trips for their local old fogies association on many occasions (although I'm sure the proper name was probably something like "senior citizens association). Anyway, Mrs. Saint Sixt was exclaiming how she "only had to look at a slice of bread and she gained 2 kg" - and then went on to finish her husband's lunch, ate his cheese platter and finished his dessert! As I say they were pretty nice and I got a real kick out of both of them!

Unfortunately for us the only way out of Piana was to go back down the way we came up, so after another 45 minutes (where I had to desperately clutch the armrests to stay awake in case the driver needed me!), we made it back down to the town of Porto, where we were booked on short-ish boat trip to visit the Unesco heritage site of the Calanques de Piana!

Les Calanques de Piana

Also on the trip were a mother and daughter duo with mom being, I guess, in her 60s and the daughter, Mimi, being maybe around 35. Mimi wasn't her name - that's just an affectionate name for a young woman - but Mimi, sadly, was severely mentally handicapped and poor mom had one helluva time trying to cope with her throughout the whole trip. She was given to temper tantrums and in the hotel the staff had to follow her round in the dining room because she kept picking up food from the buffet, sniffing or licking it and putting it back!!! They also sat at the front of the bus and when it was time to get off, Mimi would make a big show of putting on her jacket, taking ages to do so, and holding up the entire bus! Mom said she did it deliberately and while mom was very, very good with her, you could see that she was very hard work! The husband had apparently done a runner shortly after Mimi was born leaving mom to raise their daughter. By this point Mimi lived in full-time residential care, with mom taking her out as and when she could, but even so it was quite obviously exhausting! People on the trip were very good with her though and even on the return ferry journey (where mom was seasick) two groups of two women took turns looking after Mimi so mom could rest. I sat with her for a while looking at pictures of jigsaw puzzles and in that short space of time I could only begin to appreciate just how challenging it must be for mom! 

As we were getting back to port, our driver asked us all to use the bathrooms in the port rather than the toilet on the bus if possible. So everybody did as asked except Mimi, who ran ahead, jumped into the bathroom locking herself in, and stayed in there for about 15 minutes. Without going into too graphic detail, she totally blocked the toilet, and then for good measure put an entire toilet roll down there as well! By this point people were getting very tired of Mimi (and somewhat vocal) and I get it to a certain extent. Everyone was very patient but then as they said, we're actually paying for this vacation too. I wonder if maybe mom will rethink next time! Still, if you've never walked in someone else's shoes ...! The net result of the blocked toilet was that our driver later pulled off the road at a scenic spot so that those that needed to could dash into the bushes for a widdle. Thankfully I managed to hang on, but given that much of Corsica's livestock is not fenced in, we were slowed down even more so on our route back as the driver had to keep stopping to avoid whichever animals were casually wandering along the roads!

Potty stop central!

As for the lady whose husband was in hospital, well she and her friend sat in front of us, so my friend and I got a play-by-play account of what was going on. I know you can't judge someone's outside against what might be going on inside but she seemed surprisingly un-hysterical about her husband (who ended up staying in hospital for a week and then being life-lighted back to Lyon)! Even as much as my husband and I were at each other's throats at the end, I would not have left him in hospital on his own "abroad". Hell I might have unplugged his life support to charge my phone (just kiddin') but I would not have left him there alone no matter what. As I said before, there's nowt so queer as folk, is there!

Saturday 18 May 2024

Day two in Corsica!

The maintenance technician came out yesterday morning to look at my heating system and after about 45 minutes showed me something they call a gicleur (nozzle/spout?) which was blocked and thus not allowing fuel to flow. He changed that to the tune of just €20 so I figured I was all set to go - but I'm not totally convinced as yet. I asked him to turn the heating off for me as the programming on that thing is probably similar to the dashboard on the space shuttle (in my humble opinion) but I still don't seem to be getting the hot water kicking in. Think I'm gonna have to call them out again if it doesn't kick in tonight! Anyway, thinking everything was going swimmingly I set off to go to Jordan and Jen's yesterday afternoon as I was going to take care of Charlie for a few hours while they were out. Only problem was, when I went to lock the front door, it wouldn't lock!!! This isn't the first time this has happened, so taking my trusty can of DW40 (which I just happened to have handy) I hosed that bugger down and set off with fingers crossed as I didn't want to be late. I'm thinking I may have to get the lock changed, which in and of itself isn't a big deal, but sometimes it's the little things that really get to you isn't it - or is that just me?

Anyway, day two of our trip was spent heading north to Ile Rousse, which was where we spent three nights in our first hotel. It was "founded by Pascal Paoli - considered to be the father of the country - in the 18th century" and while our guide went into his life in great detail I find I tend to tune out if I'm standing at the back of a group and someone near me is yacking. That being said, he seemed to have gone into exile on more than one occasion, having spent 21 years in London alone the first time, so me being a peasant I often wonder how people can "win wars" by being out of the country. I'm guessing he was more of a statesman/politician, but more than once I've wondered why de Gaulle was so revered when he spent much of the war in London - but then I guess a dead general is no use to anyone, is he!

Our first excursion this day was to the hilltop village of Sant'Antoninu, which was very pretty indeed but where my friend and I preferred to wander around on our own rather than follow the pack. After a few hours everyone headed back to the bus and guess what - the driver blew into the alcohol monitor and the bloody bus wouldn't start! He was a local driver and was mortified that he couldn't get the bus to start because of the alcohol monitor as he swore he'd had nothing to drink, so he asked our own driver - who was along as a tourist this time (talk about a busman's holiday) - to blow into it too and he confirmed that it wasn't working. So that meant waiting about an hour for the bus company to send someone out to take a look. Turns out there was something wrong with the monitor and after about 15 minutes we were on our way to lunch. Here we ended up at a great little restaurant but where our driver had to reverse the bus down a narrow winding goat track in order to be able to get back out again! Sometimes it's best just to keep your eyes shut!

Balagne - where our first hotel
was located!

(a google picture - it was impossible
to get a picture from the bus)

Sant'Antoninu - another google picture!

Lunch was excellent but the ceilings in the restaurant were very low, and as I'm sure you all know, some people are just extremely loud, especially with a few drinks in them. There were about four people in our group who fit the bill, one in particular being a bald guy who, while nice enough, always managed to sound like he was yelling through a foghorn! I went onto the terrace to get some fresh air, only to be joined by about another 10 people from our group who were having the same reaction!

From there we headed off to Calvi, which was, I'm guessing, a small town rather than a city, and quite a few of us chose to do our own thing here for the next few hours. There was a lady on the trip with very glacial-looking pale blue eyes (I found her eyes fascinating) and as we were sitting having a drink we got chatting. Anyway, she started telling me about how one time she had been hiking in the mountains when she and her friends came across a man hiking naked!!! I don't remember if she said he was Swiss German or Norwegian, but being a group of women you can imagine what the comments were like - we were in stitches (which was more than this guy was wearing)! Apparently he was picked up by the police and told to put some clothes on - so it would seem it was not a case of naturism as it wasn't allowed there, but rather a case of exhibitionism!

For some reason this lady and I ended up chatting for quite a long time, and she ended up telling me that "her son-in-law had killed her daughter"! I was shocked, thinking that he had murdered her, but she said that no, he was an arrogant bastard and a speed merchant with a big motorbike - hence how her daughter had been killed. Her daughter had substantial life insurance and she was fighting him in court in order for funds from that insurance to be put into trust for her grandchildren, since SIL quickly took up with a new woman and was going through the money at a rate of knots! Luckily for her, her daughter had worked for a firm of sollictors and they were taking up the case on her behalf so she was praying that she would be able to claw back at least some of the money for the children before it was all spent!


Since my friend and I couldn't possibly learn everyone's names on this trip, we got into the habit of giving everyone a nickname. There was "Maggie Smith" (who was nice enough but had an opinion on everything), "Saint Sixt" (the lady who had worked at the château there as a nanny), "Baldy" (for obvious reasons), "Mimi (a story to be told later) and "Madagascar", who, as my dad used to say, always had a face like a smacked arse on her (my dad came from the Bard's own country, as you can tell)! The blue eyed lady knew Madagascar from her time working at the Post Office and disliked her intensely. Apparently the man we took to be her husband had met her through the internet and brought her over to France. She was definitely no looker (I'm being polite here), was probably the only unpleasant person on the trip, bitched about everything - waiters, food, the hotels etc. - and talked to her husband like he was a piece of sh*t in front of everyone! There was hardly any difference in age between her and her husband, so she wasn't ordered from an internet bride catalogue, from what I could see! One night at the hotel our guide took a beautiful shawl to the hotel manager and said that someone had left it in the dining room. Madagascar had walked in wearing just a t-shirt and when she claimed the shawl was hers, Blue Eyes almost had a fit, saying that she was stealing the shawl. Turns out she was, as the true owner came back to reception and asked if anyone had handed it in, so Madagascar had to hand it back! Blue eyes disliked her because she had worked at the Post Office when Madagascar would come in, dragging the husband behind her and "demand" that the Post Office look into money that was disappearing from his account. So of course the PO did - the first time, the second time, the third time and so on! But of course she was spending him out of house and home and when he asked where the hell the money was going she blamed the Post Office every time! The things you hear on a bus trip eh!

Anyway, after that it was back to the hotel where after a stroll along the beach my friend and I came back to the hotel to find emergency services ferrying not one but two of our group out to waiting ambulances. Turns out the bald headed guy was having chest pains so they took him in and one gent had not felt well right from the beginning of the trip so they took him in too - with blood clots as it turned out! The bald headed guy was allowed out the next day and was able to continue on with the trip and the other guy - well they kept him in for a week - and his wife continued on the trip without him???? There's nowt so queer as folk is there - but that's a story for another time!

Thursday 16 May 2024

Headless chickens - and things that go bump in the night!

Ever had the feeling you've been running around like a headless chicken for the past while - well that's been me over the past week or so! As far as I can remember my heating and water heating system started playing up about 10 days ago, in that I'd get up in the morning and would have neither heat nor hot water. So it meant running downstairs and kicking the thing into overdrive every morning. Well this went on for about eight days until this Monday (which was the day I was to have my naturalisation interview in Grenoble) when I got up, jumped into the shower and nearly laid a square egg when the water was not only not hot - it was glacial!!! And of course, I needed to get showered and wash my hair before heading down to Grenoble. That is not fun, I can tell you, all the moreso since it is still pretty cold here - but what else could I do at that time in the morning? Anyhoo, the situation is still ongoing in that if I can get the heater to kick in it might work for about 45 minutes, at which point I might get a slightly less glacial shower than expected. Fortunately Jen works for my heater maintenance company and I have a technician coming tomorrow morning, but then I suppose I'll probably have to wait a bit longer if he needs to order a spare part! Oh well, cold showers are supposed to be invigorating, aren't they!

As I say, that very important shower was connected to having to drive to Grenoble for my interview after having whizzed into town to hand over the keys to the sewing clubroom for them to open up in my absence. The trip went well fortunately, all through pretty mountainous country and I found the Préfecture easily, although I was dreading driving round a large unknown city. I must be getting chicken in my old age!

The Préfecture is that lovely building at the top!

The lady that interviewed me was very professional but friendly enough to put me at ease. When I had previously tried to apply for citizenship as a private person I seemingly had to have a million documents (translations of everyone and his uncle's birth, death and marriage certificates, proof of having passed the language exam, that I had sufficient income, health insurance, owned my own home, and an extensive knowledge about France - as taken from the citizens' information brochure). This time, however, as I was applying by dint of being the grandmother of a French child, while I did indeed still have all those documents it occurred to me as I walked in that I hadn't looked at that citizens' brochure in about two years and hadn't got a clue about French philosophers, poets, film stars etc. but then had no choice but to just walk in and "wing it"!

Moreover in this case it stated that if I didn't speak French I could bring someone with me to interpret!!! Talk about a different set of rules! In the end, she wasn't interested in any of that, just proof that I am integrated into French society and what my relationship is like with Charlie - to whit I was able to provide proof that I am the president of the sewing club (even if I can't sew), that I set up board game evenings with my neighbours, have enrolled in plenty of courses locally and am the treasurer of our little homeowners' association (one cheque a year - tough job)! Then I showed her videos of me and Charlie cracking up while playing hide and seek so she was happy with that. One thing I thought might go against me was that I had never studied or worked in France but I'm pretty sure that won't matter in the end. She told me it could take as long as a year to find out the result, but if I'm accepted I will be invited to a swearing in ceremony in Annecy. Fingers crossed then! I even managed to find may way out of Grenoble, but I just might have driven up a tram street - not sure on that one though!

Tuesday André called me in a panic asking if I could pick him up at the Ford garage as he had just realized that his contrôle technique (a routine road-worthiness test) was three months out of date so that meant meeting him at Ford and then driving him back home, the subtext being that I would have to do the whole operation in reverse the next day for him to pick his car back up. Luckily it passed but it kinda buggered up my timings a bit as later I was to go over to Jordan and Jen's as a family member from the States was over for a few days and we were going to take him to Yvoire and then out to dinner. Bloody kid of mine, how can he be so organized at work and so lackadasical at home? Still, I made it and even though the weather forecast was grim, we managed to get through virtually the whole visit without a drop of rain - and then the heavens opened when we got back to the car!

(A google picture)

John is married to my ex-husband's cousin and she couldn't make it this time, but he is now talking of asking for a transfer either to Switzerland or France so is desperately working on his French. He is a nice guy and was a real pleasure to have as a visitor!

So the rest of the week has been spent trying to catch my tail, what with the heating engineer coming tomorrow morning and then having to take care of Charlie in the afternoon. Then this morning I realized I had the reflexology appointment that I had booked when I won those vouchers just before Christmas. I had always wanted to give it a try but just never got around to it. And OMG did I ever love it. I was feeling pretty tired after a busy week but I kinda bounced out of there like Tigger and feel pretty sure I will be adding reflexology to my "list of essentials", along with my yoga class - and a good glass of white wine!

Monday 6 May 2024


After coming back from Thailand and knowing Corsica was shortly to follow I pretty much just washed the clothes in my suitcase and then repacked them. I thought maybe a pair of shorts were looking less than stellar so decided to see if I could find another pair to replace them, maybe in a different colour (i.e. not white for a change). So I nipped into a local clothes store and saw a nice pair of green shorts and matching top which I thought were okay. Well that is until I put them on at home. Oh man, I've got to lose some weight - I looked like a green pepper on legs - so needless to say out came the trusty old white pair which are veterans of a few trips!

Then to add to my angst didn't I finally get a letter from the immigration and naturalisation people after five years, fixing my appointment with them in Grenoble for Thursday, 2 May - smack bang in the middle of my trip to Corsica!!! Damn, you wait five years and it gets scheduled at the worst possible time! The letter stated that the appointment was impérative, i.e. changes could be made only under exceptional circumstances, but what could I do? I was leaving the next day!!! So I wrote back to them immediately with a copy of my travel booking and crossed my fingers - and lo and behold they pushed it back to next Monday. Phew! So I've just spent the last hour getting together some additional paperwork that they requested (although why they couldn't request this the first time round I have no idea) and hopefully (again fingers crossed) I'm good to go!

Anyhoo, we set off for Corsica at 6 a.m. on the Friday morning, stopping around 9.30 a.m. for a picnic en route provided by the bus company. After that it was full speed ahead direction Toulon with another stop at a restaurant for lunch, again included in the price of the holiday (all meals and drinks were provided, actually - my kind of holiday)! The driver warned us ahead of time that there would be a film crew in the restaurant as they were making a documentary about the owner but the crew would respect anyone's wishes not to be filmed if they let it be known. I didn't particularly want to be filmed but a few of our group spoke to the crew, complimenting the food and so on, and then last night I saw the documentary on TF1 (a national TV channel) and caught a glimpse of my friend and myself but only from a distance, thank goodness. It was actually quite interesting because the owner had been an engineer who chucked everything in to open an all-you-can-eat restaurant, got it all set up - and then covid hit. But ever resourceful he went into providing take-out food (not particularly prevalent here pre-covid) and then on to fine tune his set up down to the last centime by having the food for his now two restaurants cooked in one central kitchen, from scratch and wasting absolutely nothing. He may not have trained as a chef but he was obviously a helluv'an entrepreneur!

After that we were to head on to the port of Toulon to catch the ferry, but as we were way ahead of schedule, the driver volunteered to drive us up over the route des Crêts to take in the scenery - and that was when our bus stalled half way up a mountain!!! Talk about nail-biting when you're on a bus at 45° on a narrow winding road! It may have seemed like ages to us, but in reality it was probably more like 10 minutes that we were stuck there. Turns out the bus's automatic gears didn't like the sudden climb and blocked the driver from switching it into manual and first gear. It got sorted in the end but what a great way to start your holiday!

The port of Toulon - a google picture,
mine was crap!

When we finally got to the
top of the route des Crêts!

We eventually boarded our ferry where we had dinner in a rather nice restaurant and then headed to our cabins for the overnight journey. Next morning my friend and I ended up sitting next to an older Swiss couple (he was 86 and she was 82) and found out what an interesting life they'd lead! The lady had been a ballerina back in the '60s and '70s and had travelled all over the world with her dance company, including to Iran (where they had been invited to a dinner with the Shah), Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan and so on - all places that would probably be off limits today. At the time though she said they had no hesitation in getting into a taxi and taking off to visit the sites. The people were wonderful and they felt completely safe, which goes to show what a sad world we have become! Anyway next morning we sat with them for breakfast and they started bitching at each other - "have you taken your tablets?", "those aren't your heart tablets", "yes they are" and so on but I found it amusing to think that such an interesting couple could be bitching about their tablets. I like people watching and generally like most people, and this holiday more than fulfilled my "people watching" quota! As we were about to get up I thought my friend was kicking my foot under the table regarding their shenanigans but when I looked down I saw that my bloody tennis shoe had finally given up the ghost and the sole had come off!!!!! Now I have plenty of hiking boots and tennis shoes but I only took this one pair, and to make matters worse, the flipflops that I had packed were in my suitcase on the coach - and we weren't allowed to go down to the car deck of course! So my friend was doubled up laughing as I limped along like Hopalong Cassidy with one leg now shorter than the other and making farting sounds to boot - but what else could I do?

At least the inner part hung on
for a bit longer!

When we arrived in Bastia we picked up our guide (who turned out to be wonderful) and had a wander round the old town before heading on to our first hotel. There was quite a bit of "go home you French bast@@@rds" graffiti as there is a fairly strong separatist movement in Corsica, but then if the French really do stay away how will the Corsicans make their money? Certainly not from agriculture! I get it, to a certain extent, and can see why many feel the "mainlanders" are pricing the locals out of their own homes, but to my mind isn't it better to stop second home owners (as they are trying to do) rather than discourage tourism from the mainland altogether?

As we were walking round one of the ladies said to me "oh you're English, I have a friend who is English. Her name is Wendy, do you know her"? I laughed because I didn't like to point out that the population of England is around 56 million, but bugger me if I didn't actually know her friend!!! Yep, we had met years ago when our kids took skiing lessons together so I guess the joke was on me!

After that we drove up through the tiny villages of Pinu and Nonza, and then along the Golfe de Saint Florent to arrive at the first hotel in the north of the island. It had been a tiring journey but guess what - things were about to get worse!

(A few of the scenic pictures below are google images because you really can't get much of a shot from a moving bus on a winding goat track!)


Pinu (thank you Mr. Google)!

Golfe de Saint Laurent

Sunday 5 May 2024

This and that!

I made it back from Corsica this weekend, but only after our ferry was delayed 10 hours, meaning we got home at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, so we're pretty tired here. What's more, I still haven't finished writing up the last days of my trip to Thailand, so here goes before I totally forget!

On the last night in Thailand our guide took us to a lovely restaurant high up in the hills above Krabi. I wasn't particularly hungry so got distracted by a young man leading his girlfriend to a lovely vantage point, then getting down on one knee and asking her to marry him. She gasped in surprise and we all cheered, thinking how lovely that was. Well turns out there was a photographer just out of our line of sight and apparently they weren't happy with the "spontaneous shot" so went through the whole thing maybe another 10 times over the next 20 minutes, surprised gasp and all! C and I wondered aloud at what point it would be appropriate to no longer cheer and I had to laugh when C said the photography session would probably last longer than the marriage at this rate - but maybe we are both just old and jaded!

The Hilltop Restaurant!

The next day I flew from Krabi to Bangkok where the Novotel Hotel very kindly upgraded my accommodation from a standard room to a suite - it was just a pity I didn't get to spend more time there to enjoy it, I guess, but by this point I was glad to be on my way home. Thailand was lovely and I only saw maybe two "dubious" couples of a very young Thai girl walking along holding the hand of an older pot-bellied western man, so that side of things was better than I originally thought it would be!

Anyway, after a few days back home I was off again to Corsica (which was just lovely), but I want to sort out my photos etc. before writing about that! So in other news I had to be up and out again the next day as I had accepted an invitation to an "old fogies" lunch starting at 11.30! It was a lunch organized jointly by my village and the next village over and as a fairly newly minted 65 year old I was now on the invitation list. And you know what, it was really good! The two associations had worked really hard setting up tables for around 150 people. The food was excellent and they had a group of young kids (the local village youth council) running around with the aperitifs, collecting plates and generally doing a great job!

The youngsters did a wonderful job (and
don't they look cute in their French sashes)!

My elderly neighbours who recently moved into more secure accommodation were also there, but I don't think it's going too well! They gave up a house and community which they both loved to move into a very small apartment in a seniors' living community, and all this for the not insignificant sum of €2,300 per month! He is very definitely missing his workshop, his beehives and his garden and she is missing the contact she had with neighbours they have known for over 40 years. I hope things work out better for them as time goes on but so far it doesn't look great. And then to top it all I heard that one of our younger neighbours kinda insulted another set of neighbours (the Bs) by saying that rather than doing all this renovation work on their home maybe they should just sell up and move into an elderly community like the first couple!!!! The B family are maybe not even quite 70 yet, are extremely fit, go cross country skiing and hiking and K (the younger neighbour) had the gall to try to compare them to two 90 year olds with dementia. I must admit I burst out laughing when I heard that because if you were going to pick a fight with anybody in this community, they should be the last couple on that list. I found it funny and hope they do too (eventually). If not, watch this space! Things just got interesting!