Thursday, 23 June 2011

Now this is really strange.

No soon do I post that it would be nice to be in a town and have neighbours to natter to than a lady I know who works out here in one of our Pays has posted that a new network is underway – a nattering network. This is where people volunteer to visit lonely people for a ‘natter’. No work, cooking, cleaning etc., is involved. Just to sit and have a chat and a cuppa with a lonely person.


I recently saw on TV under the series ‘Secret Millionaire’ a lady, Susan Stone, who is a life coach, she was very enthusiastic, so much so that I thought it would be good to get to know more about her.

Good old Google.

I found her and read about her.

Amazing how she changed her life around so I bought her book and started to read.

It is how to change your life for the better, and I had read the part of positive thinking and hey presto, there I am thinking I could do with someone to come and look at the house and some company apart from himself.

We then got a call from a Dear Friend that we haven’t seen for many months. She needed a place to stay for a few days.

Oh, someone to have a good natter with.

I could not believe it.


We caught up with all our news… you know, husbands, recipes, husbands, pets, husbands, politics, husbands catching up on gossip, husbands, other peoples husbands, our husbands etc… Good fun, lots of laughs – some tears, but soft shoulders to cry on.

We also had a viewing for the house, at least one agent is working for us.


I will go back to Sue Stones book and re-read and put more positive vibes out there into the ether.

I would like my man to do the same….

Now, talking about my man. Hmmm.

I gave him a bit of a talking to last week, the morning of the day that our D F arrived. I looked at the bank balance and flipped (again). I was angry about our situation. For heavens sake we should be enjoying our retirement and not counting the pennies. Or at least I should.

When my man reached 65 he stated ‘I have worked all my life for this, why should I do any more, it is time for me to rest!’ That was 3 years ago.

Well last week I spelled it out and I just hate to get angry. (OK he is recovering from surgery and just loves to relate to all and sundry a blow by blow account of what went on. But, life still goes on, he is part of it not just sitting on the edge watching it go by whilst everyone says ‘poor thing’.)

He has had more than three years sitting on his laurels being retired whilst I slogged my guts out running the B&B and the house, my God I am retired too and longer than him! It is time he got off his butt and did a bit of maintenance around the house etc. etc. I also said that he should have been harder on our daughter and her partner as they just walked away from a situation which has created a problem for us, and I also reminded him that his mother and father were always too lenient on him and his brother as they would shove money in their hands instead of guiding them in the way of finances which is what he (my man) would do behind my back with at least one of our daughters. He sat with his head in his hands and I just said it is pointless burying the truth and just face up to what is happening.

We either sink or swim and I would like his support in sorting it all out.

We have to confront what is happening, especially with our daughter. I am fed up with being ‘bad cop’ and him being mute.

He will have to back me up and do the ‘bad cop’ role for a change.

I will think positively and smile.

Dear God, I pray that it works. Amen

Well that's got it off my chest!!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I read other peoples blogs and I find them interesting and inspiring.

My blog is about me and my little life in my little part of France.

Not a lot happens here apart from my husband and his health, the children, the grandchildren, the dog, the cats, the garden and the local wildlife. I have a couple of neighbours. A really nice divorced French guy and English couple who keep themselves to themselves. I am also a member of an association for ladies who meet up maybe once a month or whenever for lunch and a chat. I may make some comments about some of them but not many…

We do not live in the village or on the edge of the village. We are out in the countryside and it is too far for us to walk into the village, which is very, very quiet except when the children go to and return from school.

There is the Mairie of course. We have two doctors and a nurse. There is a Pharmacy and a Boulangerie. The Boucherie has shut and he now just does the local markets. There is the Coiffeuse and a Garage, a nice little 4 roomed hotel with restaurant and also a restaurant under new ownership that now has 3 B&B rooms.

And we must not forget the Bar which also doubles as newsagent and post office. The Tabac/Presse closed their doors around 4 years ago and La Poste 3 years ago.

Our village is one of 4 that make up a commune of 4 villages that ‘fused’ in 1973 – there are a total of around 2500 inhabitants in the 4 villages. The mayor of our village is the ‘head honcho’ of the 4 villages, the others having their own ‘minor’ mayors who ‘bow’ to ‘M. le Maire’. M. le Maire was elected 3 years ago, he was a reluctant candidate who came into play at the very last minute and was voted in. The alternatives, well – best not said.

Since 2008, there have been subtle changes in the commune. It seems that M. le Maire is being progressive and is working well for the commune. There seems to be more happening, not a lot, but more. The staff in the Mairie’s office seem to be happier; there is an ‘air’ about them. Hard to put a finger on it but something is changing.

Shame that I want to move, will probably hear about changes second hand.

I want to be in a town, not on the edge of a village that is trying to grow up. I want to be in a town where I can take my shopping trolley (heaven forbid but it is looming in my mind), walk into a mini-market and buy some potatoes, carrots and a newspaper, get to know the Boulanger, the Boucher and the Poissonier instead of asking my husband to drive me into town. I want to be in a town where I know I have some English friends and where I can also make some new French friends. I want to be in a town that I know has a doctor, nurse and good social centre and also where they have events throughout the year. I know which town it is. It is not too far from here and everything a woman needs, well maybe, is all in one street.

Hopefully I will have a couple of nice neighbours to chat over coffee with. I have been told that in this particular town that the locals are nosy. It seems that they like to know who they are dealing with. Information about family, health etc seem to be required by them. I don’t mind as I could always conceal or bend the truth.

I must admit that I do miss having a good natter be it either in English or French. If I am not sure of many French expressions I am sure I can learn whilst having a good natter.

And I am talking about a good ‘natter’ not ‘gossip’.

I think that when we came here and opened up our Chambres d’hote we forgot about truly integrating with our French neighbours. We got on with opening up and taking in business, looking after the garden, growing and preserving fruit/veg etc. etc. Yes, we had a couple of neighbours but then when one died and his wife sold up to English then things changed, the French (language) came second. I did get a lot of input from our French guests and it was absolute fun but now that we have retired and closed the Chambres d’hote things have changed. I need to communicate more and being in the middle of, almost, nowhere then that proves difficult.

I don’t want a lot do I?

I think it is going to be a long haul to sell this property.

Now that the French government are in the process of introducing a new tax on non-resident home owners it seems that maybe a lot of properties will be coming on the market. Maybe people will ‘panic’ sell – if they do then there just won’t be the buyers. It is all still in the pipeline and if and when it is all decided and the law is passed then it won’t come into force for another year or so. From what I have read it will be a minimum amount of tax anyway.

It will be interesting as I am sure that there are those in the U.K. that have their nice little holiday homes out here who pay their fonciere etc. declare the minimum but don’t declare on the private lettings that they make to their friends, friends of friends etc. it is not only the French taxman that is being diddled but the English taxman as well.

We will wait and see.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Again, I feel like writing things.

I must be feeling better, I have all sorts of things going through my mind which need to be put down, not in the veterinary sense I might add!

Weather has changed. The heat of the last few weeks has gone - along with the lethargy. Maybe the heat was the cause, I don’t know, but I do feel better.

Himself is on the mend. Yes, he does huff and puff and give a groan when he rises from his favourite place on the settee. He is eating a little more, but also he is drinking more!

Now, my man has a blood sugar problem. Our lovely Dr. D. told him he must take care of his sugar intake. She also told him, a few months ago, that ‘un verre de vin’ each evening should be enough, Hah!

He needed to see the doc this week for a prescription renewal. She asked if he was on a regime for his blood sugar. Now, my man, being who he is avoided the question. Maybe he should have been a politician. He told her that he had been in hospital and had been on a limited diet….. It seems that she did not press the case! Another blood test in August – we will see.

As you can imagine when he told me I just flipped… I am sure you now know what I am like! My response was, ‘so why didn’t you tell her that I am trying to feed you the right stuff and that you undo all I am doing!!!’ No reply. (he is now helping himself to some ice cream)

We have a friend who lives locally. He is in his 50’s, a very nice guy. A little overweight but also has a blood sugar problem – hmm, should I be saying type 2 diabetes? Talking with him recently he admitted that he will not do a sensible diet, he would rather take the tablets prescribed.

He was brought up on an unhealthy diet as his mother would not, or even could not, cook. Pie, chips and baked beans was his basic diet when young and then he went into the army and had their culinary delights. He has eaten at ours, a good, tasty, nutritious menu and he said ‘yes, it was very enjoyable but given a choice I would eat pie, chips and beans. He admitted that he knew what he was doing to his body was wrong but - he knows his preferences…. His wife just raised her eyebrows!

So I wonder if my husband is following that course….. He has had more years of my cooking than his mothers yet he still resists the healthy stuff.. I know he likes the tastes and textures of healthy foods – but he still wants to indulge in the wrong stuff….

My thoughts now are, if you want to shorten your life get on with it…. You are an adult and responsible for your own health, it is not my responsibility.

Am I being an uncaring wife or a sensible woman?

Monday, 6 June 2011

So Mr. Ryan Giggs has had an alleged affair with his brother’s wife.

So Mr. Wayne Rooney has had an alleged hair transplant.

So a British celebrity has had his name exposed allegedly in the Irish press.

So I have been down to the vegetable patch and really dug some potatoes.

So I have really swept, vacuumed and mopped.

Oh what a world we live in.

There are adulterers throughout the world, there are vain young men with more money than sense that would like to have a full head of hair and there are those who would like to keep their lives secret.

Makes one wonder.

Footballer loves his ladies, whether they are married or not and whether he is married or not - at least he allegedly is keeping it in the family.

Man loses hair – male pattern baldness – genetic problem – let’s rectify by transplanting – live with what you have got or not!

Play away from home and be found out – if you don’t want to embarrass your children then don’t do it!

We all need vegetables and to live in clean surroundings. Would rather live my life than theirs - at least it is real.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Curry and Friends

Curry went down a treat tonight!

Drool away if you dare!

Starters: Vegetarian Samosas and Spicy Prawns, with a yoghurt mint dip….

Main course: Pork Dopiaza, Sag Aloo, Rajma Dal and Basmati Rice… with Cucumber Raita and Tomato/Onion/Coriander chutney

Dessert: Spiced Peaches with vanilla ice cream

All accompanied with wine (Lidl !), intelligent conversation, silly conversation and lots of laughter, especially as we were watching the finals of Britain’s Got Talent (Hah!).

This evening I cooked for two couples who have been constant in our lives for the past 8 years. We do not see them often as they do not live too close but, as I have said, they are constant. This is what I call friendship. We can count our total friends out here on maybe, two or three hands, we have many acquaintances and people that we know but our friends are select and small in number – reliable and caring and constant.

These friends are in our age group and, like us, have seen those that come to La Belle France and then go elsewhere because they could not cope.

We can talk about old films, television programmes, rock stars, politicians etc. without getting blank looks.

We can laugh about the past, present and future.

We can discuss our pets, children, aching bones, prospective by-passes, types of coffins (just in case!) current medication etc..

We can compare our grandchildren and their schooling, their teachers and teaching methods, how our elderly parents are coping and whether one should bend over when you have a little wind!

We can laugh about the E-mail jokes that pass between us that are now related to either the past, elderly health or even our demise.

What joy!

Thank you J & D, L & C you brought some sunshine into our lives this evening.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Yes, I did feel lousy yesterday.

I feel better today, woke early, 7.30 (far too early for me), if it had been 8.30 then yes, no problems so I shut my eyes and buried myself under the duvet and woke around 9.00.

I have a couple of ‘new age’ books and had a look in them last night. I saw that if you wear a blue stone around your neck/throat, at the 5th chakra then it will help with emotions, sleep, and a myriad of other things, I can’t remember which. I knew that I had bought a heart shaped blue gemstone pendant many years ago. Oh what the hell, find a chain, root around and find the pendant and put it on and see what happens.

I found the stone, found a chain and put them around my neck.

I slept well.

Today I had a close look at the gemstone, it is Lapis Lazuli, which I had totally forgotten about. Now this is a special stone and it, as they say, ‘did what it says on the tin!’

I do feel better today, had a moment this afternoon when I began to ‘wobble’ but on the whole I seem happier in myself.

I will persist, maybe crystals are the answer, I don’t know. There is something in it I am sure, along with various therapies including acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, reiki, angels (?), meridians, etc. all of which are abounding in this particular department at the moment (especially as practiced by non-French residents!).

There is a ‘pamper’ day being organized locally. I saw the ‘ad’ and it says “Fred Smith Renovations” “Pamper and Rejuvenation Day” – (I have changed the names of course) but what I want to know – will the said “Fred Smith’s Renovations” be in charge of the pampering and rejuvenation? My mind boggles.

Cooking more tomorrow for Saturday’s curry.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Am going through a bad patch again. I think that I have a darkness that creeps up and embraces me. How on earth do I explain.

I was fine when I woke up this morning. Prepared my shopping list, we have friends for dinner Saturday night and I am making a curry, so off we went to the supermarche to get some bits and start preparing today. They did not have all the necessary that I needed, sometimes they have them on the shelves and sometimes they don’t and this was one of the don’t times.

Bugger, will have to go to bigger town instead of small town. Bugger, am trying to economise but will still have to use more diesel….

Anyway, himself was pushing the trolley, slowly, I just parked him in an aisle and said ‘Wait there, I will shoot off and get what I need’. He did just that. It was much quicker for me than having him trundling behind me and complaining. I did suggest that he wait in the car – I got a black look! Also seems that he was a little bit deaf, turns out he had water in his ear from his shower earlier so I was getting a lot of ‘what?’


We eventually arrived home and found members of the ‘God Squad’ at the door, well at least two of them, and hey, not American! They come later on in the year…

‘Hello’ said the taller guy (English), ‘we came last year, do you remember?’

I wanted to say ‘Hell yes, and I told you I wasn’t interested so kindly F*** O** and don’t bother me again!!”

But, I said, with my best Christian attitude, ‘Oh yes, I remember, thank you for coming to visit again but I am really not interested, I do have my Catholic God and my husband is still an atheist, we do wish you well with you ministry, good bye and have a good day!’

I couldn’t believe that I could get such a sentence out in one hit!

(I have been reading Susan Howatch lately, lots of religion!)

He smiled (the English one) and said ‘thank you, have a good day’ and, with his little French companion, left the premises.

My dear husband didn’t get a word in and just looked, well, amazed.

I went indoors and gave the dog a ‘telling off’ – “why didn’t you growl and show them that you are a proper guard dog?” He just smiled and wagged his tail. Continuity from the hound at least.

I unpacked the shopping, don’t want himself doing weights yet, sorted it all into its relevant places, freezer, fridge, pantry shelves etc. and then, well, I just wanted to go and hide away, in a corner, and not come out until I felt better. This feeling suddenly descended on me, I don’t know why, it just happened, so on and off all day, since shopping, I have felt like crap.

I had lunch (pigged out on a pizza) had half an hour catching up with emails etc. then scrubbed our bathroom and then came down to make some Samosas for the weekend (first time making these). Throughout this process from catching up on emails, cleaning bathroom and preparing recipe I was streaming tears… I kept it hidden from himself as he cannot fathom a woman’s emotions, never has, never will. He had his feet up and was taking his afternoon siesta.

Thought I would give it a go and try to make the planned curry as authentic as possible. I have a stock of whole spices and now grind my own as I need them, garlic and ginger is readily available but have a problem finding green chillis and mango chutney at the moment.

I will be making milder curries for the weekend as I do not want to upset a delicate alimentary canal!

Was originally going to make a Pork Vindaloo but have toned it down to a Pork Dopiaza. Either way it will be tasty!!

I seem to be going from me, to curry, to emotions….

There is a lot of negativity in this house. I do my best to be positive but it is always negated by ‘shhhh, you know who’.

The animals are positive. Jensen, is happy, bouncy (a bit of a Tigger really) and gives off such positive emotions.

Bisto is a truly erotic cat, if that is the right word, he is sensual especially when he winds himself around my legs, like a pole dancer, in the morning, during mid-day, the afternoon and evening etc. purring and gazing up at me with his lovely green eyes.

Bisto oozes love! (Hmmm, I wonder who he used to be?)

I am sure that the negativity is bringing me down. I try my best and I have explained to himself that he needs to be more positive in his thinking.

‘Yes’ he says.

End of conversation.