The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Friday 21 June 2024

This and that!

There's not much going on round here at the moment - that is if you discount a snap election being called in the UK, the recent European elections and Macron's dissolution of the National Assembly as a result!! I didn't get to vote in the Europeans as I haven't received French citizeship yet, but if I had I would definitely have voted for a small party called The Patriots. I like their leader as he goes up to bat on most issues (manning the barricades, so to speak) but they are still so small they haven't yet made much of a score. At the moment both the left and right are trying to form coalitions so who knows what will happen when the French get to vote again at the end of the month. One thing I have seen talked about recently, though, is the potential for Macron to invoke Article 16 of the Constitution which would basically give him dictatorial powers without the need to consult on anything (Article 16 "provides the President of France with 'exceptional powers' in times of acute crisis")! I'm not sure if this would ever happen but it has been mentioned - watch out for the fireworks if it does!

A couple of days ago I finally received my postal vote for the upcoming UK General Election and finally, after almost 30 years of not having the right to vote, I mailed it back in good time for the July 4th ballot! To paraphrase whoever - "if allowing the plebs to vote changed anything they wouldn't allow them to vote", but I feel very strongly about doing so, and indeed had to go out of my way to get my vote back, so once again, thank you to British in Europe! I can't vote in local elections - which makes sense - but if I could I would vote for the Heritage Party as I really like their leader, David Kurten. They weren't on the national ballot so I guess we'll have to wait and see how things pan out after July 4th!

Other than that, there's not much going on here. The weather is still pretty crap with almost constant rain and while I don't mind the rain, I am chomping at the bit to get out walking in the mountains again without being swept away in a mudslide. For about 18 months though I've been having problems with my left foot - sharp shooting pains which feel like an electric shock - so with that in mind I made an appointment to see the handsome young podiatrist I used to go to in Geneva. He sorted out some kind of gizmo which would block nerve endings in a couple of toes and so far it seems to be working so I can't wait to get back out walking to give it a trial run. His office is in a part of Geneva known as the prostitute area. I don't know if prostitution is legal or just tolerated in Switzerland, but the women were sitting out on the café terraces plying their wares in the bright sunshine. I hope they are doing this of their own free will, but seriously, who would want to submit to that as a way of making a living. Maybe they don't see another alternative!

In hopes that it will one day stop raining and with my foot feeling better, I was recently looking into geocaching as a way to maybe get out and get some walking in. If you don't know what geocaching is, it's basically an outdoor treasure hunt where you are given gps coordinates for hidden treasure and your job is to find it and sign the "autograph book". Now I'm crap at gps coordinates so I'll wait until my friend gets back from Spain, but I see that there is a hidden treasure just up the road from here so I'm hoping to give that a go, if someone can explain to me how it works!

We had our latest board game evening the other Saturday night and since I had noticed that Charlie was pretending to take photos (through the windows of his bus) when we were at The Medieval Times, I found the cutest little camera online and bought it for him. He was delighted with it, has got the David Bailey pose down to a T, and now has maybe 50 photos on his camera already - all of people's noses, his own toes or someone's knees! I think it'll need some fine-tuning, but it was definitely a good buy!

Only €28 from Amazon!

Since it's been stay at home weather, I've been trying to catch up on a few Netflix series but I'm really struggling. I'm finding so many of their series are very "formulaic" (is that even a word?), in that they all seem to follow the same script. Brooding characters, dark sets and dramatic music. I was on my third series of Netflix adaptations of Harlan Coben books and they actually had the same actor in all three series, although playing a different character each time. Don't get me wrong, he was very good, but when I noticed the same piñata-style llama in two of the series I reckoned the props department must have been on a very strict budget! So nah, I'm finding it all quite boring, to be honest and will probably cancel my subscription!

On the other hand, I decided that I wanted to set to and get some of the hundreds of books littering my house either read or passed on and I've actually had a pretty good run so far. The first four books I read were very good, in particular a new-to-me author, Faith Addis, who I'm guessing must be nearly 90 now (if she's still alive). After that though, I ended up with what I call "Sex and the City" copycat drivel and only made it through two chapters before getting rid of it. You know, where the impossibly beautiful red-head (who is obviously Irish because her second cousin three times removed visited Dublin once) is working a lowly job in New York and really can't get along with the good looking guy who has just started working there. Turns out he's the boss's son and loaded and eventually they learn to like each, fall in love, and live happily ever after! Eh no, thanks, I'll pass!

In other news, I learned yesterday that a former colleague and friend died on Tuesday at just 56 years of age. She wasn't a close friend but we were friendly enough to go out to lunch or dinner on occasion. She'd been retired on disability for over 10 years and while she suffered through a devastating illness, she was always laughing and joking and never let on how bad things were, although I'm sure a few of her closer friends had a better idea!

And then on Monday at sewing club we were planning our last meet up before the summer break and organizing who would bring what in for an end-of-year dinner. One of the ladies, Viviane, must be retired almost one year now and while I'm not sure of her age, I doubt that she's actually hit 60 yet. She's a "nature freak" in that she's always out hiking (on her own) and just last week cycled all the way round Lake Annecy (just the thought of it makes me break out in a sweat). And then yesterday she sent us a picture of her first tandem jump off one of the mountains above Annecy!

Way to go Viviane!

Who knows, maybe she'll talk me into it! I'm so happy for her that she is loving her retirement and so sorry that Sue's health prevented her from living her retirement to the fullest. RIP Sue!

Thursday 6 June 2024


I took a few days' break from social media again as I found all the "election excitement" was starting to do my head in. We have European Parliament elections going on right now, a General Election in the UK in July (I'm still waiting for my newly-acquired postal vote - after almost 30 years of being exempted from voting) and then of course the US elections gearing up, and while I am generally interested in politics I thought it was time to give it a break for a while. From social media in general actually as I feel I'm still wasting too much time online! Mind you, the weather could have something to do with it as it's been abysmal for the longest time. It's thundering right now actually, so I might have a look on Amazon to see if they've got any second-hand arks for sale! I feel sorry for the tourist resorts actually because "summer" is when they need to make their money and this one ain't been great so far!

I've been feeling a bit tired too lately but then I know I need to learn to just do bugger all sometimes and not think I have to be on the go all the time! That notwithstanding, I had a bunch of people over for Jordan's birthday on Friday (to give Jen a break from hosting it) and we have another board game evening on Saturday so I'm going to have to learn to pace myself!

That being said, Jen asked some time ago if we wanted to go to a Mediaeval Times show on 19 May at a park I've been to before, but never seen the show. As luck would have it it was one of the few days we had good weather (too hot in fact) and it really was spectacular, so I'm glad I said yes. When I went before I probably spent maybe six hours there. Well this time Jen had it all planned out which shows we should see and we ended up spending 13 hours in the park!!! No wonder I'm tired - I don't have the stamina I used to have (and with Jen being around 26 weeks pregnant I'm surprised she did either)!

I guess most of this post will be picture-heavy, from here on. Sorry about that!

So many people were dressed up
and the volunteers were very helpful!

The first and longest event we went to see was a mediaeval joust, which of course the good guy won and then rightly was able to ask for the princess' hand in marriage! Phew, thank goodness! That being said, Charlie was more fascinated when the evil guy's horse (who was standing by us) decided to take a dump - fascinating stuff!

I thought this man (and his dog) did
amazing controlling those geese!

The flame throwers were wonderful!

Flag throwers from Italy!

After the parade came the joust (circus acrobats I suspect) and when the show had finished we walked round to where they were cooling the horses off. The "good guy" was really nice with Charlie and waved and spoke to him, but the "bad guy" stayed in character throughout!

The bad guy!

The good guy!

We stopped for a while to eat and to be honest the food wasn't very good so we'd definitely be wanting to take a picnic if we go again (the wine and beer were fine though)!

Next we got to see a birds of prey event, which I'd seen before, but they were so quick I wasn't able to get any decent photos!

We did see a random wolf
(with a handbag) at the cafeteria though!

We wanted to stay to the end because the last event was a pyrotechnic show and when I heard the music I figured I was in for a real ear-bashing! The fireworks and flame throwers (again) were really good though, but the best event was an Egyptian man "dancing" the tanoura! A tanoura is a skirt in Arabic and this is a traditional spinning dance that they do. I couldn't film him but as he started spinning they lit the edge of his skirt and he had to keep spinning in order to stop the flames from spreading. He must have spun for around 20 minutes I guess, but the presenter told us that this gent held the world record for spinning for over three hours! It was really impressive!

The flame throwers!

I had to Youtube this video, and of course they weren't dealing with fire!

As we left the heavens opened and we got soaked. So I drove home cold and soaking wet and when I pulled into the village I realized the road was barricaded off because of the village fête, so I had to go half way up the mountain, in the dark and the pouring rain feeling pretty sorry for myself after a lovely day. And of course, to make matters worse, I still had no hot water at that point! Still, while I probably wouldn't go again (not to the Mediaevel Times at least), I was a great day, and I'm glad I went all the same as it was a great experience!