Tuesday 18 October 2011

A person of two parts

Being here on my own with kind friends visiting I am realising I am two people.

My wobbliness is much better, I am not deaf, am not in pain and have no tinnitus. I am fine. I have loads of the sort of food that you buy on a whim and then sits in the cupboard, that needs eating before we move and am doing very well on the sort of meals that I enjoy with the addition of some milk and fruit kindly brought by dear friends. I am doing well. Counting my blessings as Mum would say.

But if pushed by dear walking husband with too many 'No really how are yous' the person that is

angry because the only time I have been ill since we've been here, he's not here to look after me
lonely after 3 1/2 weeks on my own
fed up with being by myself
frustrated by being even more isolated because I can't drive
embarrassed having to ask for help
worried after googling too much 'dizziness'
tired because I'm not sleeping well
bored of my own company

comes to the fore and roars.

and then feels guilty...............................

Monday 17 October 2011


Thank heavens this morning the world is not spinning as much. First morning since it started when I haven't felt the need to hang on to things all the time.


Thank you anyone that reads this that has helped. You are all very kind indeed and much appreciated.

Friday 14 October 2011


Yesterday when I woke up and turned over in bed the world took a moment to respond. That's weird, feels like I've been drinking but I haven't had anything but other people's aperos since the walkers left.

Went carefully downstairs to get a cup of tea with all the thoughts of being on my own and falling over and breaking something and all the difficulties that that would cause. Of course I didn't, was very careful and by the end of the day the world had righted itself and everything was fine.

This morning, however, it is worse. Any movement that isn't lying down or straight up causes the world to tilt mightily. Then a sudden move caused me to be sick. OK enough.

Dear friend Jackie upset her day completely and arrived to take me to the doctor. Had to clutch on to her arm and go slowly. At the doctor's had to hold his arm to get from waiting room to surgery. He checked everything, gave me an injection - when asked what is was for he said it was for my ears - duh - only two sorts of medicine and told me to get a blood test and come back at the end of the week when the pills were done.

Just googled the names of the pills and they appear to be an anti inflammatory and something for vertigo and as you can see, as long as I just sit here in the sunshine, I'm fine. 

Debated with myself whether to tell the walkers or not. In the end sent an 'I'm fine but I thought you should know' text.

Thursday 13 October 2011


A friend of mine has blogged about her fear of flying and it made me think of people who don't fly because they have had a premonition that the plane would crash. Would I believe it?

I have only ever had one premonition. I was eight months pregnant with our third child and as I was carefully coming down the stairs I suddenly knew that it was a girl called Sophie. Absolutely definitely no doubt whatsoever. Sophie was not a name we had discussed because it is the name of a very good friend of our first child and seemed to have been 'taken'.

My mother always said that she knew the sex of the child as she went into the delivery room.

Now with all these things there is a 50 50 chance of being right. Mum had 4 so that ups the odds of her 'knowing' I guess.

From my life experience I didn't trust my premonition. Yes, it felt completely and utterly convincing, real Road to Damascus stuff and privately to myself I began to talk to her as Sophie but to other people I would only tell them in a 'probably isn't but' sort of way.

At that time, if you had had no problems with other deliveries you were allowed to opt for the Domino system which meant that you had no hospital appointments at all, just saw your doctor and your own midwife and took them in to the hospital with you. With the other babies, hospital appointments were things that took at least 3 hours of waiting in a crowded waiting room while you were herded like sheep from urine sample (peeing in an egg box) to blood test (done by the newest, least experienced nurse) to prod by a doctor, to make another appointment. So the idea of not doing that was great. (Him Outdoors was an emergency caesarian delivery so we always opted for hospital deliveries.)  Anyway this all meant that we had had no scans at all so had no idea of the sex of the baby.

Of course, as is the way of these things, my doctor was on holiday and my midwife not on duty so the ones that turned up were not ones I knew very well. But after a really positive delivery in which I felt totally in control and of which I have nothing but good memories, there was a girl called Sophie.

So, would I believe another premonition? Yes, if it felt as that one did, I would. I still think with my logical head that it was just the toss of a coin whether it was a girl or boy and however many babies you have it is still just 50 50. But, in my heart,  I KNEW it was a girl called Sophie :-)

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Another couple of classics

Bath time.

Defiant nine year old when asked to get in the bath:

"Make me" (I can still see the challenge in his eye)

Wrong decision.

Still just strong enough to pick him up fully clothed and drop him in.

But the best one was a friend of mine who was so tired of the bickering that went on between the children when they got home from school about what they were going to watch on the telly...............

She marched in, unplugged the telly, cut the plug off with a large pair of scissors, put the plug in her pocket and marched out again.

Love it.

The therapeutic values of loud music

Ever since I've been at home with small children there have been occasions when a really loud blast of rock music clears the tensions.

This morning it is Mark Knopfler. A good burst of really loud singing and dancing raises my spirits immeasurably. Thank you for the speakers that don't mind that dear twin.

Some mornings on the school run there would be a gloomy child that would be cheered by choosing their tape (in those days) and we would all sing along.

I do remember one occasion when the kids were a bit older when there was a battle as to the music. After a bit of argy bargy.

'No, it's my car, I'm driving, I'm choosing the music for once'

Elder son puts in his music and turns it on.

I take out the tape and throw it out of the window.

Stunned silence in the car.

Sunday 9 October 2011


It's cold! First fire of the season last night. More to do with it being very grey and gloomy when I got back from a jolly lunch. Very cheering.

The lunch was a thank you from the commune to all those that had spent months making flowers for La Felibree. A local restaurant has been taken over by a young couple and been given a revamp. I think it is doing well as an evening place too which the town needs. Looking at the relationships of the staff, I think that it is the son and daughter in law of the previous owner.

I sat at a table with all the usual ladies and was very much welcomed, which was lovely. Same old, same old for lunch. I'm so tired of garlic soup, foie gras, confit de canard and walnut tart and I've only been having it for 4 years, how tired must everyone else be? Noting Fly's comments about the frozen food delivery vans, I had a look at their usual menu and as she says, there is no way at all that any of it could be fresh. You just couldn't keep that many things going. Couldn't hear the pinging of the microwave from the restaurant because there was too much chat/background music.

I find it really hard to understand anyone when more than one person is talking. And I know I was nodding when I should have been shaking my head but they are very tolerant. They have got to the stage when they are wanting me to know details of their lives - my husband left me after 37 years of marriage and such like and I'm sure I'm not shocked enough because I have misunderstood. Managed to have a sensible knitting conversation with one of the ladies who is going to show me what I am doing wrong on Tuesday afternoon.

Today I got out early to go to the market and got to be the first car parked nearest the market! Never happened before, in August you have to park way back down the road. I love it early. All french people, food stalls in full swing, tourist tat just setting up. Lots of ca va, hand shaking, chat. My favourite stall was there so got lots of their veg/eggs/fruit. The season is always changing, more squash and lots of apples this time. Lots of winter clothes too of the fleece, thick jumper variety. And the flower lady had the most wonderful display of zinnias really zinging out.

Was intending to come back and take Sweety for a walk but passed loads of hunters on the way back and as I got the basket out of the car there was a lot of banging in the valley. Sorry Sweety you'll have to wait until these trigger happy guys have gone to lunch.

Tomorrow I am meeting the walkers for lunch. They will be at Montcuq which according to my book is about 380 km from the start. What an achievement. They are so full of stories of kindness, lovely people, lovely places, tired feet. It will be such a change to have a proper conversation rather than money running out, phone box ones.

Friday 7 October 2011

Change in the weather

At last we have had some rain. Yesterday we had the first downpour for months, the wind got up and the stressed trees shed their leaves by the million.

This afternoon I have been into the local tourist trap for a haircut and then taken Sweety for a walk down by the river. It is sooooooooooo beautiful.

The sun is shining, the wind is blowing, the golden leaves are swirling about, the already stunning yellow stone buildings seem to glow even more in the autumn sunlight. Because it's so windy you seem to be able to creep up on the cormorants (guillemots or shags?) egrets and herons before they notice you.

But the best thing is that the falling leaves reveal whole new vistas. Today you can see much more of the river than in the summer. You can glimpse chateaux that I didn't even know were there.
Lovely. And now I feel very virtuous and am quite content to sit down with a book that has arrived from Bookmooch.com. The ninth life of Louis Drax. Any good??

Wednesday 5 October 2011


Notes on  a house I have just seen while I remember it.

Things it has going for it: ancientness, just about in the town, garden, view from the garden, possibility of garage maybe.

And then I was going to list the pros and that gets more difficult because the feeling you are left with is an overwhelming net curtained brown/orangeness :-)

Proudly shown by young woman whose husband is a pompier. In her eyes it has a little apartment for her daughter at entry level, a main living room and kitchen at ground level at the back and 3 1/2 (already I can't remember whether it was 3 or 4 and a half) bedrooms at first floor and a big attic. Lots of cupboards all over the place. And is therefore worth 300,000 euros.

It actually has a damp smelling (after the biggest drought ever) cave, then stairs up to ground level space then a first floor space, everything is panelled, tiled or wallpapered with three feet thick walls probably just where you don't want them. Some of the house is actually in next door's house in the way of old buildings. It would have to be gutted and start again.

But it did have this:

which was a surprise. Its back courtyard is charming. Much lighter/brighter/larger than I was expecting with a niche of a fountain in the back wall. And stairs up to quite a large garden which if it hadn't been the first foggy day of the autumn would have had a lovely view.

Have arranged for Him Outdoors to see it when he gets back.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Estate agents

Why do estate agents make me so cross?

Our purchasers are pushing for us to confirm a completion date. I email agent to ask a couple of questions about timescales and to confirm the details of what happens if the vendor of the house we have our eye on dies mid deal.

After half an hour of conversation during which I managed to drop in that I am going tomorrow to see a house that a neighbour has told me will be coming on the market, he admits he doesn't know the answer to the questions I asked. But would I like to go and see a couple of totally unsuitable houses?

And ended up with. would I like to come over for an aperatif with him and his wife. Sure I say, that would be lovely. Oh, says he,  I'm fully booked for a while but I'll let you know when.

I think I've answered my own question.

Monday 3 October 2011

Being the youngest/smallest

Thinking of dear daughter.

It seems odd now when I have spent all my life being the tallest (6ft), but growing up, in our family, I was the smallest, and only girl.

I have just been dusting an old chair that my grandmother had that is really on its last legs now and is seeing out its days as my bedroom chair. When I lived at home, it had been handed down to my parents and was in the hall next to the grandfather clock and was fairly rickety then. Nobody sat on it, it was just there.

But when there was a family meal that required all our chairs, I, as the smallest, had to sit on the wobbly old chair. Dusting it, I remembered the feeling of having to sit very still because if it moved it might break. Not that I might get hurt but I might break the special chair.

Dear daughter is the smallest in our family and it is always her (she?) who has to sit in the middle in the back seat of the car, take the smallest bed, smallest chair. It makes you feel that you are the least important somehow. Now, as the grown up, I can see that it is just what happens, your older brothers won't fit in these places but it hasn't taken away that feeling.

Love you dear daughter.

Saturday 1 October 2011

Commenting on other peoples' blogs

I have had so many problems with this that I have given up. But today I have gathered enough energy to have another wander around the internet and hey presto!!

Of course I changed two things so I don't know which of these it is or both.

Uncheck the stay signed in box when you sign in.

Go to tools, internet options, privacy, advanced privacy and uncheck the box that says that you filter out third party cookies.

And this time it works. I am not optimistic enough to think that it will next time but who knows :-)

The market

You'd think if there was only one of me to get sorted out and I didn't have to be at the market to meet a friend until 10.30 I could get myself there. Well wouldn't you. But life conspires against me :-)

First Sweety has to be walked because it will be too hot later. So get up in plenty of time, feed dog and off down the field. Remembered to take the carrier bag so that we spent quite a long time digging about in the long grass under the walnut tree on the corner, and gathered a good haul. Sweety enjoys the digging about and if she finds one she crunches it up but doesn't seem to be able to find them. (All plans of being a truffle hound don't look promising.)

Back home, check emails and texts to see if there is anything new from the walkers. Answer their questions. Discover I could have killed the dog by walking immediately after feeding (gastric dilatation and volvulus who knew). And suddenly it's 10 o'clock.

This is the first morning ever that I am shopping at the market just for what I want to eat. Slightly complicated by the main stall that I like not being there. And what did I come home with: milk, eggs, mountain of grapes, a melon, avocado, courgette, shallots and aubergine. I am really being surprised about how little interest I am taking in food of any sort. I knew it would be lovely not to produce a 'proper' meal twice a day and make sure the stuff for breakfast is there but I didn't realise quite how much I wasn't interested. I wonder how long it will last.