Friday, 28 January 2011

Our motor car packed up on Boxing Day 2010.

Himself was going to the dechetterie to dispose of a few bottles, cans and plastic and also pick up a couple of baguettes in the village for lunch. We were expecting some good friends to arrive in an hour or so.

Himself had driven around 300 metres and ‘crunch’ the car stopped! The cam belt had broken…..

In the process of the cam belt breaking the pistons continued their journey and totalled the engine…….

Himself stormed back into the house, steam pouring from his ears and his face purple. He was not happy.

I stood and looked at the purple rage and said ‘calm down, I will phone our friends and ask them to pop into the boulangerie on their way. We will think about the car later!.’

And so from then until now we have had no car. We have a tame mechanic (English I hasten to add) who was in the UK at the time so we had to wait for him to come back to his home and job. He came to look at the motor car. Not good!!! I ordered new cam belts and when he arrived to check the engine etc. it was found that the engine was beyond economical repair!!!

Now this cost us 300 euro! New cam belts and consultation……

And after paying out over 650 euro for our ‘total’ diagnostic on the house, I, as the banker was not very happy!!

So there we are 1,000 euro down! And I thought that I was on top of financial things….

I left a financial headache (in my working life) in the UK and thought that things would be better out here. Noooooo.

In the UK, prior to relocating to France, I was checked for irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers as I was being so very ill all the time (Jeez was that job stressful!). I am having the same symptoms now… For heavens sake, I shouldn’t have this, I should be enjoying retirement and living a relaxed, organic life, but no!

Fortunately, we have some very good friends that have come to our aid… God bless them!

Today we have found a car, via le Bon Coin, we had a look at a couple of cars but one really took our fancy, we also had to deal with a new guy in the bank as our lovely Mme Sourire has since left but jeune Mr Huile is not too bad… shame he doesn’t speak English!

So, in a couple of days we will have a motor car that can get us from A to B… what a joy, and, it is a French car (Renault Megane Scenic) and Himself, as the chauffeur, quite likes it!!

Monday, 24 January 2011

January blues....

Just something to say,

Am fed up with the ex-pat community here, except for a couple of couples…. I sometimes feel as though I am out of the loop although I am here.

Is suppose it is because I am not a motorist who does coffee mornings or gossip……

I hear a little here and hear a little there…. But am still out of the loop.

I suppose I would like to be included but I do not want to be ‘central’ to all, like some and I hate to appear to be 'nosy'.

I am happy that I have some really wonderful reliable friends (both English as well as French).

I find that our French friends have no axe to grind, they accept us as we are and, it seems, that our very reliable English friends out here are the ones that have only had one marriage partner (usually of many, many years). Now I am not being ‘marriage-ist’ but it seems that those who have had multiple marriages/partners seem to be the ones that are ‘not on the level’, are up for gossip, and putting down and ‘gossiping’ about their ‘friends’. My experience shows that those who have just have had one marriage are the truest friends (there are, though, exceptions to the rule as in most things – and you know who you are!).

I have done favours for people and a good friend has said that she has done the same but then there are those that who do not reciprocate – funnily enough it is in within the same group..

Incidentally I hate American spell check – favour or favor? – I will go for the English and re-educate my computer.. even down to the number of full stops I put!!! Or even exclamation marks, yeah!!!!!

After nearly 10 years here in the country I love, I am inclined to drop acquaintances and just let them get on with their own devices and live my life without them. When I come to think of it, there were very few people in the UK that I would count as ‘good’ reliable friends, I should follow my instincts as I did then.

Although, coming to think of it, what I hear (discreetly) could make a good book!!

Something to think about……

Friday, 21 January 2011


I mentioned in my last post that I am on the trail of my mothers ancestry.

Now this is proving difficult.

I have been in contact with Barnardo's and also a genealogist in Ireland. I have been given the necessary contact name. I have written to the contact name, twice, and have been waiting for a reply... Oh this is so difficult. It seems that the people who have the information that I need are reluctant to give me the necessary.

My dear sweet Mother gave me an address that was given to her some time ago. It was an address in the county that we lived all our lives. In fact we probably passed the address when we went to the coast for our annual bank holiday trips.

I researched on-line and found the name of the family that lived at the address. Mr Xxxxxxxx was married to Miss Xxxxx - the same maiden name as my mothers....

I researched a bit more and found out that they had 5 children, three sons and two daughters. All of the sons have since passed away and also one of the daughters (aged around 16 yrs) but one sister was still living, unmarried and around my mothers age, some 10 years ago..

I have written to the address (to whom it may concern) asking if they know of any family members of the original family at that address in relation to my mother... I am waiting for a reply.

Bless my Mum, she did say, 'Why didn't I give this address to you years ago?' It seems that my Dad didn't think it would be a good idea to follow up the address when it was first given to Mum.

Had she been able to go to this address 30 years ago, it would have answered a lot of questions that she had.. She is now nearly 90 years old and would still like to know why she was given up to the Nuns..

I am hopeful...

Apart from all of that, things are fine... Need to find a new motor car... ours is dead and only fit to be buried.

Another year another vehicular problem!! (third year methinks!)


Well what a mess! Johnson's wife having an affair...hmmm.

Andy Coulson resigning... hmmm.

Tony Blair and his excuses.... hmmm.

'nuff said - it is the UK after all!!!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I have been reading the English press of late, yes, the gutter press.

I read of Elton John and his partner having a child.

I read of Nicole Kidman and her husband and ‘gestational carrier’

What is wrong with the world and its babies??

Elton John and David Furnish both ‘contributed’ to their son…. Oh my Goodness, it makes me feel so, well, nauseous…. The pair of them put their ‘contribution’ (one can only guess the procedure!!) into a pot and it was mixed with some-ones ova to create a foetus then put into another female and then allowed to gestate to full term before being ‘born’. And they want to do it again……

I feel for the child and subsequent children. Will he/they ever know his mother or father??

Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban already have a daughter but they have decided this time to use a ‘gestational carrier’ for their second child. What on earth is that????? Do they mean a surrogate mother, do they mean that they combined his sperm with her ova and then implanted into another person??? Confusion reigns…..

I read of Patsy Palmer and her new son….

Patsy Palmer though (Bianca Jackson in Eastenders) has recently had her fourth child. The little boy was born prematurely and is now home with his mum and dad and brothers and sisters. No surrogacy, Patsy bore the child and gave birth naturally and the pictures I have seen make me smile. She looks wonderful, baby is beautiful and there is no hype….

Dear Lord, thank you for some normality.

Now this is dear to me. I am into genealogy in a big way. I have traced my father’s family back to the 16th century, my husbands’ family, paternal and maternal, back to the 18th century but am stuck with my mother’s family. My Mum was taken into care by some Nuns in Ireland when she was around 6 years old. She would love to know the whys and wherefores of this and I am now on the trail. Mum would love to know her history (she is almost 90 yrs old now), and so would I for my children.

This is why I find it so abhorrent that rich celebrities can ‘buy’ infants, through ‘rent-an-ova’, ‘rent-some-sperm’, rent-a-womb or from a third world country.

I have also read of a devoutly Christian couple who run a B&B in Cornwall who only take married couples in double rooms.

A homosexual couple booked to stay at the said B&B, when they arrived the owners refused their booking and turned them away because they were not a married couple.

The ‘visitors’ took the case to court and have now won their case for sexual discrimination.

Now this is a dodgy arena.

I have run a B&B, albeit in France.

Sometime ago I had an enquiry for two couples for two nights. I took the booking, it was for a local wedding. The guests arrived on the day and they were four men!

I was not aware at the time of the booking that it was anything out of the ordinary, they asked for two double rooms, my natural assumption being two heterosexual couples…

Hmmm, I was a little surprised. I could not, though, refuse to accommodate them.

They took their rooms, had their breakfasts, paid their dues and enjoyed their stay.

At no time during their stay was there any problem. They were really nice guys and I would happily accommodate them again.

Now if I had been a ‘devout’ Catholic instead of ‘selective’ Catholic it might have been a different kettle of fish. It would have been a dilemma for me.

I also remember a young woman booking a room and say that her 'companion' would be joining her later. Yes he did. Twice she booked and twice he arrived later. Some time afterwards I found out that her 'companion' had a wife and many children….

You takes your money and makes your choice!!

Oh thank you Pope John XXIII for giving me the options of a diverse religious life.

But, I do have a problem with people who are ‘in your face’ and push their views. I accept all people and their lives but I don’t want, or will not, be browbeaten into accepting the rude and aggressive, be they black or white, straight or gay. They can go jump!!


Got that out of my system….

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

January 2011

It has been about 5 weeks since my last post.

How are things??

No different.

We did receive a cheque from our insurers - tick box.

We have had credit from France Telecom - tick box.

I became ill Christmas Day - don't tick box.

Car broke down Boxing Day - don't tick box.

Mechanic came with necessary to mend car - seems it may be beyond economical repair - don't tick box.

Mental breakdown on the way - tick box.

Breaking any mirrors 7/8 years ago - don't tick box.

Why is this going on??

I wake with a positive attitude in the morning.. but it soon disappears... hmmm.

I do pray and ask "why is this happening?" but I don't seem to get an answer.

We are wanting to sell our house and from the 1st of January this year it is obligatoire to have a D.P.E. (Diagnostique de Performance Energetique) done, so we had a local company come to do ours along with checking for termites, woodworm, lead, asbestos and insulation - tick box.

It took two guys around 2 hours to check our house (250 sq m) the part conversion next door and our barns. They did the lot in one hit and it saved us 100+ euro. Any further visits will be free. Fine, we have no problem with that at all - tick box.

We received the report, all 35 pages, and when I got to the DPE, well, I flipped!!
They estimated our fioul consumption for just central heating and hot water to be 3 times more than it actually is!! - don't tick box.

I contacted our immobilier who arranged for them to come and told him exactly what I thought about their report. There is a set formulae for these guys to follow, laid down by the government, but their result was way out. If my bills had been the amount they had quoted I would have had the whole lot ripped out and other heating installed.

I am waiting on the outcome of my 'complaint' about their findings... will be interesting I am sure...

Maybe a few boxes will be re-ticked.