Tuesday, 25 December 2012

'tis Christmas Day and not a thing is stirring except my fingers on the keyboard, well at least in this house!

Have not done a lot, had a basic breakfast and sorted left overs for lunch.

Decided this year to dispense with the cooking of culinary treats and ordered our dinner from the local supermarket caterers, first time for us!

We had flambe'd crayfish tails followed by Ostrich with a Sauternes and Mirabelle sauce, taters and mushroom dariole and confit of chestnuts. Washed down with a locally sourced champagne (not Cristal!) and it cost less than 35 euro for the two of us.... No room for Christmas pud afterwards! Will keep that for later.

It would have cost a lot more for me to source the ingredients and cook and an awful lot more to eat the same in a restaurant...

All in all it was delicious....

I have seen what others have prepared for this holiest of days. It seems to be that people out here, at least, want to outdo others. Personally I just cannot stand pretentious people. Why do they give this air of being richer and better when they are on their uppers (in my opinion). One day they will get their just desserts, flambe'd or not.

My lovelies in the UK are fine, at least that is what they tell me. No 1 is OK, her children are OK, all is good.

No. 2 has her 'not quite ex-husband as he has not signed the final papers' back in her life. I am concerned about this. He was kicked out as he was not pulling his weight and spending money on his 'drug' needs. Daughter has sorted out all debts and got her and her children's life on track and suddenly he is back. Yes I am concerned.

No. 3  has split with the father of her children. All I can say is 'thank heavens they never married.' There have been a lot of issues and he is now with his father. His family is totally dysfunctional as far as I am concerned. Dad married young, did drugs, wife left him with two children, died of overdose. Daughter is unable to establish a long term relationship with any man of her own age, goes for men of her fathers age. Son is into cannabis, cannot do without. Brother of father lives with girlfriend and has done for many years - no children. girlfriend will not marry because of family history... Dad is locally respected councillor(?) So why did my daughter get mixed up with them??

In spite of all my grandchildren seem very well adjusted....

I am looking forward to the new year. 2013 will be a turning point for me I am sure. I will not be downtrodden any more, say what I think to the person closest and tough sh*t if he is not happy about it. I have a get away 'clause' in my life now and will take advantage of it as and when.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Looks like the UK has well and truly gone to pot, except for young William and Catherine who are expecting – felicitations!

Not only are there past celebrities and notable politicians being accused of child molestation in the past but it seems that the homosexual lobby have taken over and want their proclivities to be included in the education of children in primary schools – no doubt nursery schools as well.

I cannot understand why the minority want to impose themselves so strongly on the masses. The cases of respectable Christian B&B owners being sued successfully by these people who wish to indulge in practices that are not the norm really annoy me. Why aren’t the judges and politicians doing their job properly and looking after the general populace.

Here we have had persons protesting vehemently in the streets opposed to the idea of gay ‘marriage’ and also a couple of homosexuals wanting to set up a mosque for like-minded Muslims.  Heaven help the heterosexual population.

A lovely French friend sends me all sorts of emails, some are decidedly pornographic so he gets a good telling off by return, some are terribly twee PowerPoint presentations that seem to go on forever with the most appalling musak as accompaniment, then there are the political emails.  

Poor president Sarkozy and dear sweet Carla, how they were caricatured and insulted over the couple of years they were in the Elysee palace. Mr Hollande is now taking the brunt of the no-sayers, along with his life long love Segolene and his new squeeze Valerie… A lot of it goes over my head but they are butt of many a joke . Most of my French friends would rather have petit Nicholas back in power….  
Says a lot..

There are also the anti-Muslim emails. Islamaphobia rules OK! 

We are little people in (very) rural France and the locals are worried.

But, it seems that there has been a lively ethnic community living not too far North of where we are for some years. My ‘dear friend from elsewhere’ (now there is a description!)  came for a short and very sweet visit and took us to a very nice town North of here. 

We have visited said town many times in the past, either for the very large DIY store or the Polyclinic where the ‘ologists’ hang out for consultations – you know the cardi, pneum, proct, opthalm, gynaec, & etc. there are probably ‘icians’ there as well but have not had cause to visit any of them.

My dear friend took us to the market – wow! I have never been to such before – except in Turkey. It seems that there is a large population of turks, & etc in this particular area and the market was, to my eyes amazing! The most beautiful djellabas, leather goods, shoes, and such a large choice of spices, pulses, vegetables . 

I loved it! It will be on my itinerary in the future.

Forget politics and racism, winter is edging its way into our lives and there are only three weeks  to Christmas… I wonder what that will bring?

Friday, 9 November 2012

I know my last posting was a bit dire, that is how I felt, really dire.

Generally things are fine. There are positive notes from our children and our grandchildren are doing very well.

Little TJ is gaining weight all the time and is looking so pink! His mum is coping very well, I do not know where she gets the strength, obviously there is a deep resource somewhere.  

No 1 daughter is fine, she is doing what she just loves to do, messing around with chemicals and teaching students her craft, this is in the absence of the tutor who is off sick.

Youngest daughter has decided, at long last, to leave her partner of many years. He has been a waste of space as far as I am concerned and she, and their children, will fare better without him in the equation.

Motherhood can be difficult. You do your best for your children and hope that they do the best for their children.

So, this year has seen some changes.

I have taken Himself to various corners of the world in the hope that he may come out of himself and start to enjoy life.

No joy. Friends have asked, ‘how was your holiday?’ his reply ‘the flight was crap, couldn’t stand the airports, seats were awful & etc.’ eventually he will say how his actual holiday was but you really need to winkle it out of him. He only looks at the negative.   

This is not good for me as I love the positive part of life. I suppose we cancel each other out and end up neutral. What a laugh that is!

He has said though that he would like to do a cruise!!! Something to look forward to, maybe..

Generally he goes to bed around 9.00 pm – he starts drinking early and 3 or 4 hours later all he wants to do is sleep… I have really boring evenings.

Maybe I should go into chat rooms and find someone to talk to, but then I think that could be the slippery road to heavens knows what.

I have joined a keep fit class and fortunately know a couple of like minded ladies to go with. Had my first session last week, left home 6.30pm got home just after 8.00 pm and instead of getting home to a nice meal I arrive to someone who admitted he was completely drunk!!

I wanted to leave.

I cooked the meal that was basically prepared, and very nice it was too.

I was very disappointed and annoyed.

I said very little – what is the point when you will only get verbal abuse.

Oh dear, it is not as bad as it seems, mainly mental not physical.... I do have to tread so carefully with him, bearing in mind we have been married so very long and know what his reactions can be. I only give him a bollocking (good word!) when he is sober in the morning. He says he takes it on board but, hey ho, does he? 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Alcohol dependency

I know I haven’t posted for a few weeks, lots of things have been happening in my life and in the world generally.

Where do I start?

Me, I am fine, am saying what I feel and doing what I want to do. 

Time for me.

Children are fine, grandchildren are fine, I thought about using the word ‘kid’ but I am not a goat and neither are they … just hate that word when it is being used in the wrong context.

Since my last posting we have also been to another friends birthday celebration. He was very good, did not drink to excess and I was happy to be driven home by him, I did suggest that we book a taxi but that was poo-pooed as you can imagine.

I recently took a trip to the UK, a friend offered a lift which I gladly accepted. Bit annoyed though, she has, this time, asked for payment when in the past when I have offered she has said no problem… some issues there methinks, maybe something to do with her offspring!

A dear friend out here invited himself to dinner one evening. She told me the other night that she was a bit concerned that he would get home in one piece considering the amount he had drunk…

So what happens now? I will speak with our doctor and let her know how booze is taking over his evenings.

He starts at around 5.00 pm and then decides to go to bed 4 hours later and he is putting away around three full glasses an hour, and when I say full, I mean to overflowing!  Over 2 bottles of wine an evening? 

He is as fresh as a daisy in the morning – no hangover at all - and as far as I am concerned that speaks volumes.

I thought it would be nice to stay in the UK for a few weeks or months or maybe forever....


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Truth Hurts

It seems it does tonight…

I haven’t written about my ‘intimate’ life on this blog before but I feel the need to do so now.

A few weeks ago, prior to our holiday, we went to celebrate the birthday and also housewarming of a lovely French friend. Himself imbibed too much and almost fell asleep at the table. I thought we should leave and go home, how we made it into our door I don’t know – he could barely keep the car on the road and French roads being what they are, we went the very rural route, I clung to the seat as we swerved through the lanes. Fortunately we got home unscathed. He did not remember any of it the next day.

Last week we celebrated another friend’s birthday. By 9pm he was ready to leave, dozing at the table, again. We left and just made it home, no shortcuts this time. Thank heavens the gendarmes were not around, he would have lost his licence.

Tonight, we were supposed to be at another French friend’s, for the evening, again celebrating a birthday. 

He had forgotten to tell me so it was not pencilled in. (grrr)

He was bemoaning about missing this event and I said “At least I won’t be driven home by a drunk tonight”.

Ooops, you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife.

Truth hurts…. He did not like what I said – he didn’t have an answer and has gone to bed slamming the (his) door.  

He has a drink problem and won't acknowledge it. I live with him, I don’t have to but I do.

We sleep in separate rooms as his nocturnal 'behaviour' disturbs me too much, he does not snore, he just shouts and sometimes screams in his sleeps. His conversations, well one side of, are amazing but I cannot stand being woken three or four times a night and having to listen. He also kicks and punches so I am best out of the way. As far as he is concerned he has had a good nights sleep. He is obviously disturbed about something or maybe his medication has a play in this.  .  

Maybe things will change.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Have just come back from another amazing holiday, 2nd one this year, which is a record for me as I normally do holidays close to home.

Last year our daughter said that she was off to Sharm el Sheik for a couple of weeks, I offered to babysit and thereby hangs a tale.

My offer was taken up, and when we looked at the costs for me it would not be a lot more for another person to join me for double occupancy. So I said to Himself, why don’t you come – response was, “yes why not!”

Fortunately we had a little spare cash so that paid for the holiday, just needed to find ‘cool’ clothes for the trip. I umm’ed and aah’d about a swimming costume as I don’t swim, just sink, and also my middle has expanded and I am conscious of it, but I found shorts and skimpy tops which were fine and I just exposed the bits I was comfortable with and developed a gentle tan (factor 50 came into play) as I did not want to burn and end up with skin like blistered leather.

Himself had a pair of swimming trunks from when I first knew him – they should be in a museum of the 60’s, at least they contained what was necessary to contain.

We all assembled at glorious Gatwick for the off.

Oh what fun doing a package holiday, first one for us…. And probably the last!!

We paid for extra legroom on our seats so that we were closer to our children, not that it made a lot of difference. There was the jump seat for the hostess just the other side of the aisle and another guy was in the seat opposite her. He was absolutely enormous. Not tall but his girth , to me, was unbelievable. His thighs were like my waist which is not small….. he was shoehorned into the seat and had an extension for his seatbelt. His family were elsewhere on the plane and normal size….. I just cannot get my head round it.

Arrival was late to our destination. Stepping out of the airport into 40+ degrees of temperature was unbelievable. Like walking into an oven.

We got to our hotel quite late but there was food available for a little supper.

Our room was on the ground floor overlooking a couple of pools, one quiet and one a tad noisy during the day. At least they were quiet at night.

The bathroom is just how I would like ours done and himself agrees – yeah, one step in the right direction. It had a walk in shower, superb basin arrangement and, of course, the obligatory loo. We had twin beds, and they were huge! In fact the whole layout was good.

Our days were spent lounging around the pool, drifting into the bar, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only thing missing was bacon to go with the fried eggs in the morning…

They had 5 a la carte restaurants, Lebanese, Indian, Chinese, Italian and English. The Lebanese was OK, not like I have had here at all. The Indian was excellent, Italian passable, English – well what can one say, very English. The Chinese just had a certain ingredient missing, so no ribs to be had.

We took a short shopping trip into Sharm el Sheik, it is like a building site. There are some lovely looking places but others that are in the process of being finished. I couldn’t find anything untouristy as souveniers. There was just a load of tat in the shops.

Whilst we were there other holidaymakers arrived, lots from ‘oop North’. No disrespect meant but overhearing some conversations I got the impression that the Northerners were financially better off than us Southerners. They honeymooned in exotic places and holidayed regularly in hot ‘package holiday’ places. I always thought that they were poor ‘oop North’.  There was a lot of ’lard’ being barely contained in swimsuits and bikinis giving rise to red peeling bodies. What I did find disturbing was the number of obese children there and watching the families filling their faces at mealtimes it is no wonder that there is a future health timebomb.

Then the Russians arrived!  Bigger, bolder and very inconsiderate, greedy and rude…    Apparently they are buying this particular complex and most of the staff are being laid off to be replaced. Won’t be going there again!

A trip to Cairo was booked, by bus, for three of us. Himself decided he couldn’t do 7 hours on the bus so I went with daughter and granddaughter leaving the men to look after the grandson, or was it the grandson looking after the other two, I’m not sure.

Off we went, early start of 1am, trundling into the dark desert with a lot of strangers.  I just sat and wondered what the hell I was doing that ungodly hour. I had an Egyptian guy sat next to me, and for the whole journey he snored. I didn’t really rest. I saw the sun rise and a very bleak outlook. 

Question: Jungle or Desert – Jungle every time!!

We went through the Suez Tunnel and into Cairo. Our guide gave us a potted history of the city and I found it quite interesting but also depressing as he was so proud of it all. I thought that Cairo was overcrowded, dirty, noisy and the air grey with pollution.   There had been riots a few weeks back and you could still see the burnt out buildings.

First stop was the Museum to see  King Tutankhamun’s  treasures but unfortunately it was a whistle stop tour as the Museum would be closing early due to Ramadan. The artifacts were absolutely incredible. I felt in awe of them. The detail was delightful to see. I recently saw a programme about the use of gold in art and apparently in ancient Egypt dwarves were goldsmiths as they were assumed to have magical powers, if that was the case then yes they definitely did have amazing powers to create such beautiful objects.

Our next stop was Giza to see the pyramids. What I found off-putting was  travelling along the main route to the pyramids and passing a canal that was full of bags of rubbish as well as a couple of dead horses. When you consider that water is a precious resource it isn’t a good advertisement for the area!   

I felt small and insignificant against the pyramids, yes they are awesome and I am glad that I have seen them at last.

We didn’t get to the Valley of the Kings or to see Petra in Jordan, an excuse to go again but will be more selective as to which company I go with or even go independent. I even have someone who would like to go as well and I am not talking husband – he does not want to fly again!!

The day we came home we had to wait at Sharm airport – Ramadan put everything on hold. Also the airplane was 1 ½ hours late taking off and the big guy was squeezed into a regular seat . Didn’t get into bed at our daughters until 5.30 in the morning. Such a long tiring day, no wonder Himself does not want to fly again, me? I can hack it.. 

Sunday, 8 July 2012


There is a growing British community out here in France, this influx is quite frightening as well as interesting.

For this part of France it is the accessibility via the budget airlines to Nantes, Poitiers, Limoges and La Rochelle that has made the difference. When we first arrived we didn’t even think of flying here, it just wasn’t an option!

I don’t know if the same is happening in Normandy, Mayenne, the Loire or Brittany or even places further South, although it probably has over the past 20 years as those areas were de rigueur then. I remember holidaying in not only Brittany but also the Charente many years ago and there were Brits wishing to invest in those areas and also as far down to the Dordogne.

It appears that the majority of British ex-pats in the South of France are of the thespian, or musical, variety with a penchant to writing cookery books whilst holidaying in their villas overlooking Carcassonne or Port Grimaud, “Ah Daah,ling, such fantastic views, very nice my lovely, have another glass of The Widow, and have you seen ‘xxx’ lately Mwah, Mwah”. Thank heavens that I did not move there!

There are now lots of ladies in their early 30’s to mid-50’s who have arrived in my neck of the woods with their aspiring spouses, some of whom are working either in France or commuting from the UK to their homes here.

These ladies need to keep themselves occupied if they are not tied down with children, so they go into selling their crafts, consumables, company products or even selves.

I do not want to buy skin care that comes in fancy bottles and cost the earth. Products that are not tested on animals it seems,” Ha!” I say “were you bothered about animal testing before you started selling this expensive stuff?”. No, I will not buy these products – I will stick to my simple cream that has been around for a very long time!

And as for wonderful paints that will cover every, and any surface. No thank you. ‘Shabby chic’ French is not me at all, even the French in this region don’t do ‘Shabby chic’.

Twee things that a made and put into galleries etc., and as for the chutneys, pickles, marmalade, etc., Not at those prices darling!!

Pork sausages and pates… are these people for real? Nic nacks, bibelots and charming things for babies.

The invasion is amazing, and in truth, alarming. I didn’t realise how many of my English compatriots are here and that it is only the tip of the iceberg. I have gleaned this information through a social networking group…. And I know a lot of Brits that are not members of this group so the implications are daunting.

No wonder the French are concerned about the influx of immigrants.

There are Artists and Authors, Beauticians, Corporate advisors, Dieticians and Dressmakers, Egg producers, Fancy cake makers, Gardeners, Hairdressers, Immobiliers, Jewellers, Keep fit teachers, Ladies who lunch, Masseurs, Number crunchers, Organisers, Pedicurists, ‘Quality food’ sellers, Reiki practitioners , Scarf sellers, Tea Shop owners, Translators and Therapists of all sorts, U, V, W, X, Y & Z… and then there are the spouses who are Architects, Builders, Carpenters, plasterers & etc.. They all either have or know a man who can.

I know a lovely French guy who sends me regular emails about the threat of Islam in France – he should be worried about the threat of Englishwomen selling their wares.

Quelle horreur, le plus recent invasion anglaise.

Thursday, 31 May 2012


Generally I am a relaxed sort of person, but sometimes I get a little riled.

I have a grandson who will be 8 years old this summer. His name is Terry. He was born with cerebral palsy. He is also quadriplegic and has epilepsy. His mother has been his sole carer as her husband could not cope with the fact that he has disabled son, and they have since divorced. They have a daughter who is coming up to 10 years old and my daughter has a son aged 14 years. (there were issues between son and stepfather which are now ‘resolved’ hmmm).

Terry went into Kings College Hospital for a routine operation the beginning of December 2011, it was to change the ‘gastro’ site through which he had been fed for the last few years as he does not have a swallow reflex, more of that later!

After the ‘op’ things went a bit awry. Dear Terry had to have many surgical interventions and also further surgery which also involved opening his abdomen completely (imagine a cross cut into your abdomen – north/ south/ east/ west!). There were also infections that he caught and have been cured. Over the months that he was in Kings he was well looked after in their intensive care unit. We can only have praise for the care that they gave to Terry. Amazingly enough Manuka honey was used for the healing process… We can only thank Kings for the care that they gave to this little chap of ours.

During his stay at Kings it was discovered that Terry had a problem with his throat. It seems that the back of his throat is totally relaxed which is why he has had problems swallowing. Yes, he is now being fed directly into his stomach (but now bowel) but any other naturally produced fluids were being directed to his lungs as well as stomach. He used to get so many lung infections that he needed extra antibiotics for the infections. My daughter, his mother, would ask for this problem with his throat/lungs to be investigated and she was always shrugged off as a paranoid mother…. Oh you know what I mean.

To help this little chap he has had to have a tracheotomy. That is a breathing tube to help. As he now has a breathing tube he needs care 24/7….. having the tracheotomy has solved the problem of the lung infections, he is so much better!!

Therein lies the problem, Terry now needs 24 hours a day care, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year . Nurses are needed to help overnight.

My daughter is in a small 3 bed house with a teenage son and pre-teen daughter.

Terry has recently been moved to his local hospital which is nearer his family. So much better for all concerned. My daughter now would dearly love to have him home but there is a problem, and what a problem it is proving to be…..

She has a small 3 bed house. Terry now needs 24 hour care with carers coming in to help. He used to share with his older brother, upstairs, but that is not sensible. Terry is putting on weight (at last!) and there are problems lifting him. He is not tiny after all and a hoist is now needed. It seems that ‘the powers to be’ have decided that Terry could go to foster carers that have the necessary equipment in place and that his mother can go visit him there…….but they will not arrange for the equipment to be put in place in his own home!!

OK, so what the fuck is going on here please??? (excuse the language)

As a grandmother I am angry.

I did send an email to no. 10 but you are limited to the amount of letters (including spaces and punctuation) and eventually got a standard reply.

I will send the above to no.10, The Daily Mail, Telegraph and all and sundry (with a little extra added) until I get a satisfactory response...

It is the cost of all the agencies involved!!!!

Just had a thought.... will contact his other grandparents - don't hear a lot from them!!!! About time they got involved....

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

I have noticed on various forums and social sites the poor grammar from some of the English people I know, am acquainted with and just do not know.
The one word that seems to be overused in the wrong context is ‘of’ – ie: “I am fed up of the weather.”   “I would of taken the short route” “you could of told me earlier” &etc. the ‘of’ word seems to have taken place of ‘with’ and ‘have’…. Now I also noticed that most of the offenders are under 40 years old, so have deduced that it is either the fault of the education authorities dumbing down their English lessons and examinations, or the dumbing down of the spoken word. I must admit I enjoy the English language and have always tried to ensure that my spelling and grammar is correct – possibly to do with my strict teachers!
Oh dear, when I wrote the above I was, as you can imagine, quite appalled with the English education system (or even ‘of’ the Education system).
But progressing from the above, I have, since, seen Mr Sarkosy depart from the offices of French presidency and Mr Hollande arrive to take his place. Heavens knows what will happen to la belle France, I wait with baited breath.
Will I have to move back to the UK or stick it out in the country I have come to love??
Meantime, reading the news from the UK I have been absolutely appalled at some things that have been happening. Young girls ‘groomed’ by Asian men for their sexual needs… Why, oh why is this happening?  We have reports of ladies in their 90’s brutally attacked. How and why has this dis-order occurred over the last few years?
I do love the country of my birth but I cannot understand how it has changed so much. Is it just the press reporting on the worst? Surely there are good things that happen so what has happened to the feel-good factor?  
Why should the worst of the world be reported to the expense of the good.
I see TV programmes  like ‘Rip off Britain’  ‘Watchdog’ etc… they are always knocking the country – and are  too negative. There do not seem to be programmes that are positive about Britain which is such a shame.
It is also the same with the British press. Why are the English/British continually knocking the country they are living in?
I just cannot understand it.
Young TJ is now in a hospital nearer his home, he is on the mend at last..... There are other things going on, will tell all later.

And why has the blogger layout been changed.... might have to move elsewhere!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Have just read about a lovely 15th century church in Somerset, the bells would chime every quarter hour as well as on the hour. It seems that incomers were not too happy with the quarter hour chimes and made complaints to the local council and asked that they be turned off between 11pm and 7am. A reasonable request but it seems that it is not possible to turn the chimes off at night so the bells are now silent.

 All day and all night.

 You get used to hearing about Nimbys in England, a bit like those townies who move to the countryside then complain about cockerels crowing or cows mooing or sheep bleating or even tractors on the road.

 I didn’t think that they had Nimby's in rural France.

 It seems they do.

 How would ‘not in my back yard’ translate - ‘pas dans ma cour’ no – it doesn’t work.

As we are now in a new house in a new location we take different routes to different shops. We spotted a lot of groundwork being done just outside of town and wondered what was being done.

 Over the weeks we saw a beautiful large barnlike structure being erected with the most beautiful wooden frame. Maybe a new sports –hall or a ‘cathedral', it is far too big for a regular barn. Hmm what could it be?

 We watched the roof go on then the walls with huge ‘door’ openings. Still no idea what is could be.

 The grounds outside have now been tarmaced and posts have been placed at the far end of the site.

 Then, one day, talking to a friend we have found out what is going on.

 On the edge of the town, in another direction, there is a Sawmill and timber yard.

 The business has been family run for 3 generations.

 Around 40 years ago the landowner next door got permission to build houses on his land and a small estate was constructed. The residents knew that the Sawmill was next door and they weren’t bothered, after all it was there first and the machinery was only used certain hours.

 One of the, now elderly, residents decided to sell up and move into a retirement home, the house was sold and everything seemed fine until the new owner decided to complain to the maire about the noise from the sawmill.

 The proprietor was advised that he must reduce the noise of his machinery and the hours of use were also restricted.

 Over the past few years he did all he could to comply to the maire’s requests.

 The resident continued the complaint and now the Sawmill has had to move, every last splinter I think, hence the new site that we have seen being built.

 So the Nimby won. And the Nimby is French.

I expect he will complain when another housing estate is built behind him.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

This is something I should have posted around my adventure!!

Isn’t it strange how things, (life) revolves?

Little TJ was recovering incredibly well. He was in the HDU (High Dependecy Unit) after spending so many weeks in ITU (Intensive Care Unit), the little chap was doing very well and the powers that be were now talking about care for ‘when he is home.’ Such good news!

But, for every positive there seems to have been a negative.

My dear mum was in hospital.

My brother went to see her on a Sunday morning as usual, and he found the door locked, milk, bread and potatoes in the porch. It was during the very cold weather in February. Mum had given him a key, it was the wrong one! He knocked on the neighbours door and gained access to mums house through the back garden and proceeded in breaking down the back door.

He found mum laying on the floor in her living room. Now, our mother, being an indomitable lady, said ‘hello’ when she saw her son. My brother was expecting the worse, and as you can imagine he was shocked, surprised and all those other emotions because he did not expect anything from the person he found lying on the floor, he was expecting the ‘worse’.

The ambulance service was called and they arrived within 20 mins. Mum had all the necessary checks done. She was cold but not hypothermic. She had soiled herself and the female paramedic helped clean her up. An e.c.g. etc. was done and cups of tea made. Mum seemed to be ok, but naughty woman, she was not wearing her alarm.
Later Sunday evening her alarm was tripped. My brother again went to mums house and found her in the hallway. Again the ambulance service was called and mum was taken to her local hospital.

Now this dear lady was 90 years old, she has been very well and has all her ‘marbles’, but her legs give her problems. She cannot get about as she used to and her weight has increased too much. She has cellulitis in one of her legs and that was the problem. Her leg gave away and she did not have the strength to get up!
So she was in hospital, being looked after by some wonderful nurses and on very high dosage of antibiotics for her leg. According to my older sister she was also not taking any nonsense from the nurses – good girl! “

Since this posting, my lovely mum has recovered and is now at home. She has had the usual agencies in helping her for a short while.

I gave her a call once I arrived home from my ‘trip’. (my sister was there)

Me “hello Mum, how are you?”

Mum “I’m fine, did you know I was in hospital for 10 days whilst you were away?”

Me “Er, mum, you were out of the hospital before I went away”

Mum “Was I? (she calls to my sister and asks ‘wasn’t she away when I was in hospital?’ – no mum!) Oh yes of course you were here”

Bless my darling mum, she is fine of course and has since made 91 years!

But our dear little TJ… there are still problems. He has in the last week had a tracheostomy to help with his breathing.

It seems that at the back of his throat, a place that we all take for granted, does not function properly. This is due to the fact that the back of his throat is so extremely relaxed that it just does not work. I suppose the only way to explain is that the swallowing and breathing can become ‘confused’ and fluid that is produced naturally will go into the lungs instead of the gullet which eventually causes congestion and infection.

His mum has raised this concern about his throat over the past few years and it has been ignored by the professionals, at last she has had confirmation of her suspicions.

For nourishment he is being tube fed through his bowel as his stomach is too sensitive.

This little chap has had a lot of invasive surgery over the past few months and is still in for a long haul at Kings. We are not sure when he will be home with his family but what we do know is that our daughter will be having to learn even more new procedures to look after her son and will have to find suitable accommodation for his needs once he is discharged from the hospital.

She is one strong woman.

Our trip - Part 2

After our jaunt to the Caribbean we returned to our lovely hosts and after a little chilling out, I (we) decided on our next outing. Himself was not giving a lot of input at all, just going where he was taken, a bit like a puppy I suppose.

I eventually found a B&B on the Pacific coast that did not seem to be surrounded by too many ‘touristy’ places.

Our trip was, again, by bus but unbeknown to us the road (tarmac) petered out after around 45mins and became a rocky dirt road. What fun! We had almost three hours of being bumped, rattled and shaken before we reached our destination. I am sure we both lost at least an inch in height by the time we arrived in Quepos. We noticed a distinct difference between the east and west coast. The further west we went the drier and dustier it was.

The mountains (big hills?) seemed to be denuded of trees. There were obvious terraces where plantations had, no doubt, been flourishing. On these hills there were cattle grazing, mainly Brahman which are obviously used to the heat and bred for a supply of beef! We noticed a distinct lack of trees!

When we were fairly close to our destination we passed many pineapple plantations, and as we dropped closer to sea level we noticed other plantations in the distance, we just could not work out what the trees were! Eventually we came to a tarmac road! Hurrah, smooth travel again. We were soon going through these other mysterious plantations. There they were, miles, and miles of palm trees bearing fruits for palm oil; amazing to see. The only time I have heard of palm oil is its use is in a certain soap, how my knowledge has grown!

On arrival at Quepos we found a taxi and gave the driver directions to our accommodation which, unbelievably, is in Londres.

The B&B I had booked is run by an American who is into all things green and organic and on our arrival we were greeted like old friends with all embracing hugs and kisses.

Our first day was just chilling out, I think that the very dry journey took it out of himself, meanwhile I went into Quepos on an ancient bus with Elena and took in the sights sounds and smells of the place. Elena went off and did ‘her thing’ whilst I wandered around, looked into shops bought a couple of things and eventually found my host who had also made her purchases including a pussycat from a local ‘american run’ cat charity. Great fun smuggling a cat on the bus coming back – livestock is not allowed, phew, we got away with it!

The following day we were introduced to another American who had settled many years before and was in the process of replanting a mountainside after it had been used by ranchers and completely stripped of foliage. We were very impressed at what he had achieved over the last few years. His garden is amazing and he is gradually replacing some of his temporary plantings with permanent plantings. Some species of plants need a very long time to get established and he is not rushing the process. Now there is a guy to applaud! We stopped off at a place where chicharrones were prepared along with yucca, delicious!

We enjoyed our stay on the Pacific coast. We met some lovely people, both Costa Ricans and Americans, maybe we will visit that area again!

Our last couple of days were with our hosts. Lovely people that we have known for, well, not a long while, you know, the sort of people that you just ‘click’ with. It was so good to see them and their new environment and, hopefully we will do the visit again in the near future.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Our trip - Part 1

We did it!

Yes, we took our trip –an amazing experience for the both of us.

The last time my man flew was 1970, and that was a very short flight from Gatwick to St Helier, Jersey, when the airport was just a tin shed and runway!

I have made short flights, France to UK and back, and also a flight to Turkey so was not too phased by the airports etc. Himself though, he could not believe the changes. Poor man, stuck in the past – well he has now been thrust into the present and being pushed towards the future. But in spite of being out of his comfort zone he coped with it all.

Our flight was due to leave Nantes airport at 7.35 am so we left home nice and early, needed to be there 3 hours before flight, according to instructions, there was no-one there, not a soul, the airport was an empty shell so we thought until we saw another couple wandering about wondering where to go.

Eventually some staff arrived and we were told that our flight desk staff would not be around for another 2 hours, unbelievable!

Our journey from Nantes took us to Madrid, it was amazing to fly down the west coast of France and see Arcachon and the Dune de Pilat from above. The Pyrenees were amazing. We loved it!

From Madrid we had a direct flight to our eventual destination. And what a destination! I had been wanting to take this trip for a long time and, yes my planning was a bit haphazard as I was not sure what to expect.

We arrived in San Jose just after 4pm and navigated our way through the airport and eventually picked up our cases and went outside to find our dear friend.

What clamorous sounds greeted us: men offering to help with our baggage, find us a taxi, the hooting of cars and shouts of people. Thank heavens for those who know the ropes, otherwise we would have been totally lost.

We took a long tortuous route around mountains in the fading light to reach our friends home. I am glad I didn’t see it all on that first journey.

The following day was taken with catching up on news and absorbing the whole atmosphere of the place. The views were amazing, the plants and colours were a feast for the eyes, and the sounds were so unusual from the birds and the insects.

We had a look around San Jose, found the central Market – amazing place, shame there isn’t one like it locally! The buildings in San Jose were a mix of the old Spanish colonial, 60’s, 70’s and thoroughly modern. There are small squares where you can just sit and relax and ‘people watch’. Street vendors are on most of the corners selling veg and fruit, and I have never seen so many shoe shops in one place.

We arranged for a day trip on a tourist bus to see Poas volcano, a coffee plantation, Sarchi where they make ox carts and Grecia (Greece) to see the metal church.

Our mini-bus had only 7 of us plus guide and driver. Now this was fun, slowly making our way up the side of the volcano, travelling though the most amazing scenery and eventually rainforest. And, yes, it was raining! We arrived at Poas and made our way up to the summit, buying plastic ponchos for protection as it was so wet. We could smell the sulphur but it wasn’t too strong. When we reached the viewpoint we could not see a thing! The whole place was shrouded in a heavy mist, we were so disappointed as the day looked so promising.

Our next stop was the coffee plantation, 12000 hectares in all. There was so much that we did not know about coffee, the fact that it takes 4 years before you can plant the young bush out, it doesn’t get its first pruning until it is 20 years old and that it lives for up to 80 years. All beans must be hand picked as they ripen at different times, the drying process is started in the sun (mornings only) then finished in a large dryer. Something that is taken for granted is complicated to achieve! After the tour of the coffee plantation we had a delicious lunch then back on the mini-bus and then to our next destination of Sarchi. At one time the only form of transport in Costa Rica was the ox cart. Sarchi has many artisans where they make ox carts in many sizes – from tiny ornaments to the largest ox cart in latin America. The workshop we went to still has the original buildings and water operated machinery with wheels and belts working away. I think that the Health & Safety lobby in Europe would have a fit and take the whole lot down!

Our last visit was to Grecia to see the metal church which was shipped, in pieces, from Belgium to Grecia in the 1890’s. It is a beautiful, well respected and looked after structure.

I had a look online for somewhere to go and stay on the Caribbean side and eventually found a nice place to stay in the town of Cahuita. We had a four hour jouney by bus going over mountains (again) and through a rainforest. We had a ‘p’ stop at Limon and then continued on our way through banana plantations on our right and the sea on our left. The bus had the windows open and I kept getting the odd ‘whiff’ of a certain substance. Hmm, what could that be….

Our ‘cabina’ was basic, could sleep 7 people all in one room, it had the usual facilities and a small kitchen with table and chairs. Everything one would need for a short stay. We explored the town, unmade roads though.

We were just a 2 minute walk from the National Park which stretched many kilometres bordering the sea. A beautiful, quiet haven and we only saw a couple of butterflies, lizards and one yellow snake. There was a path to follow – no straying in the jungle! It was free but we could have had a guide for ‘megabucks’ so decided against that. There was a large group of European tourists with their cameras doing the Park and blocking the pathway. A bit of a nuisance but hey ho, it is a free world.

The restaurants were excellent offering a good choice of Caribbean food. Would recommend it all.

Only downer on those couple of days was that it decided to rain, and rain, and rain….

And so back on the bus, picking up the ‘whiff’ of ‘spliff’ en route and back to San Jose.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Things seem to be working out well for us at the moment, I just hope that the positive element keeps going and going.

The only setback has been the horrendously cold weather that has been hanging around for nearly 3 weeks. We were lulled into a false sense of security by the balmy weather during January.

Apparently we live in a micro-climate similar to that of the south of France, well, for most of the year, but at the moment it is a microclimate similar to Scandinavia. The snow is persisting on the roads as well as paths and gardens. Snow has fallen onto ice and has made things very dangerous out there. Oh, and I do miss my wood burner! The radiators just do not do the job properly at the moment. We do have a chimney so during the summer we will source a new wood burner and have it installed before next winter.

I have heard nothing but complaints about the cold weather from the English fraternity (sorority); they are the same that complain about the excessive heat in the summer! For heaven’s sakes girls, it is winter, it comes every year, sometimes with a vengeance sometimes without. Get used to it, it’s not like the television programmes you know, sunshine, wine, croissants and coffee all the time.

I was originally planning our trip to Central America for the end of January but because of my surgery I had to delay. Maybe I should have waited until end of February to have it done but then we would be in the warmth and sunshine worrying ourselves silly about pipes freezing.

And, there was also the problem with TJ, but he is now on the mend proper.

Last week the surgeon opened him up completely and checked his internal organs. They found that he had adhesions in his small bowel as well as a couple of perforations. They managed to remove the offending part and re-join his bowel. They also had to repair a small perforation in the delicate stomach tissue. After 10 hours of surgery, he was put into a chemical induced coma for 5 days and was then slowly brought back to ‘the world’.

He has since had two of the 4 drains removed and is responding well to treatment as well as the nurses, doctors and of course, his mum and dad. His gastro tube now goes straight into the large bowel as his stomach is too delicate for it.

They are using Manuka Honey to help with healing and apparently it is very effective. Brilliant stuff, apparently it is made from the pollen of the ‘tea tree’ plant! It shouldn’t be too long before all the tubes and needles in his body are removed. It all seems too invasive for a young child but it had to be done.

As you can imagine we are all as pleased as punch. It has been a long haul for such a fragile child. He is unable to say how he feels verbally but his eyes say it all and at the moment he is OK.

Our electrician neighbour has been in over the last few days increasing the electric sockets, no more extension leads trailing all over the place inviting you to trip. It looks so much neater. His next job is to sort out the exterior lighting which needs a complete overhaul. Will be glad when it is all done and dusted.

Arrangements have been made for a new balustrade on the steps into the house and a cat flap for the two felines. Slowly it is all coming together.

The dog is having a holiday with friends and the cats are in situ but being cared for by a friend who lives nearby whilst we are away. Electrician & plumber will be keeping an eye on the boiler and pipes for us.

Not long now, am beginning to feel a little nervous and maybe apprehensive.

Neither of us are regular fliers, well he definitely isn’t and I haven’t that often.

An adventure!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Time for a few words I think.

Am getting used to this new ‘puter, it is fine at the moment, I haven’t bothered with the voice recognition over the past few days, it was fun while it lasted!

Since having my elbow ‘fixed’ my man has been taking care of my culinary needs, almost 4 weeks now!

I do have problems (still!) holding an onion for chopping or a potato or carrot for peeling etc. you just don’t realise the movements you make with your left hand/arm when preparing vegetables with the right (or vice versa), even slicing bread is painful.

Oh no, I do not mind the help in any shape or form, my own personal chef!
We have sat and discussed why certain processes are used in the kitchen, the alchemy of cooking, and he is beginning to understand why I have insisted on doing various things certain ways.

Yes, I know his mother encouraged him to make various things to eat, but then, did she encourage him to do it properly? Or did he just watch and assume that he was learning? I know I seem a little critical but he has had the habit of extolling the virtue of his own culinary skills to our friends but when push comes to shove he is a little clueless.

Strangely enough I do enjoy his attention, maybe this elbow will; well you know …..

I am still thinking about colours for the house. I have seen in a local restaurant the exact shade of grey for the hallway/corridor, must ask them who decorated and what the colour is. It is a lovely dark grey, on the blue spectrum, and I would like a soft dove grey above. The idea is to have wooden wainscot so that any dirt from a wagging dogs tail will be easy to clean up with the lighter grey above. I have lots of pictures and photos to make a gallery on the upper part of the walls. Himself seems to be in favour of my ideas. I have also found two shades of lichen green for the lounge which should work well, again within the blue spectrum.

Methinks I will be busy after our lovely holiday.


Young TJ is not doing well at all. He is still in Intensive Care.

There have been many problems, one after another. Currently he has candida internally which is being treated. It also seems that he has had peritonitis and it seems to have recurred.

His mother is going through the motions. We do talk daily, sometimes twice a day. Thank heavens for free calls and skype.

His older sister (9) has developed psoriasis (stress related).

His big brother (14) seems to be in denial and refuses to go to the hospital.

Us, well, we wait and wonder whether we should go back to the UK… it is all very difficult at the moment.

Monday, 16 January 2012

I have a new computer, a new laptop.

I have discovered it has speech recognition.

What initially came to mind was that secretaries would become redundant or just be asked to make tea or coffee for the boss.

It is absolutely hilarious and I cannot, so far, get a recognisable sentence out of it.

It seems that you have to train your computer to understand all the nuances of your speech. I must admit that himself said that when I am talking to the computer I am talking clearer. I am fine when I am going through the training of the thing but when it comes to asking it to type for me, well, that is a totally different matter.

The following is an example of me reading what is written above:-

It tight her guy had any computer then you laptop
The there are good and that the got a had discovered in her speech recognition
Would like her what initially came to mind was that secretary’s would become redundant or just he asked them at are on the or cr
It is absolutely hilarious and I cannot so far get a breath ignited will stand and at a
Into names that you have to train your computer to understand Orlando wants is of your speech crossed of the Identifying when I’m going to retraining of the game but when it comes to a asking it to for me well that is a totally different.

I think it has a lot of things to learn…. At least it is stopping me from getting bored and making me laugh!

I am also working on windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010 starter edition. I have lots of new things to learn. But, it is a nice machine, fast and easy to use with a proper numeric keypad as well. I am happy with it.

Our grandson TJ is getting better, slowly but surely, he is being treated for thrush in his gut, no doubt too many antibiotics over the last few weeks had a play in that infection. At least he is on the mend. His mum has also been to see her own GP to put him fully in the picture and she is now being helped. TJ’s problems have had quite a knock on effect on the family as a whole and, in truth, the family’s GP should be put fully in the picture. She is now feeling a lot more positive which will have a good effect on TJ as well as the other two.

For some months now I have been planning a trip to see a very good friend in Central America. Now that my elbow is very much on the mend and I have a little money in the bank I am in the position to arrange and book the trip.

I found the ideal flight, date and time. Yippee! Discussed it with himself and he is happy with the arrangements.

Booking has been done through a French travel website. I found it a lot easier that going through the likes of Skyscanner, Trip advisor, e dreams etc.. And, as a bonus, the flight is from an airport just 1½ hours drive from us, and it is via Spain avoiding America so only one stop.

I booked on the Thursday, happy me.

BUT!! On the Friday, late afternoon, they contacted me and said that the payment had been stopped by the bank… quelle horreur! I immediately (as one does) phoned the bank and told them to authorise the payment, sending copies of the email that I had received. It was no go. I demanded that they send a direct transfer which they did. This payment was not received until the Monday after lunch…

As you can imagine I was on tenterhooks over the weekend wondering whether the money had gone into the ether and that I would never see it again.

Being a total novice at this great travelling lark I also learned that if I do that trip again I will go direct to the airline, a lot cheaper!

So all is well.

Next month I am off on an adventure, and taking himself with me.

I can’t wait.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Life is taking a funny turn at the moment.

Things here are working out well, little bits that need doing are being done. Himself is being more pro-active and looking healthier.

I am muddling along with an inactive arm and supervising the cleaning, laundry and culinary department although, I must admit, there have been a couple of faux pas dans la cuisine. Mind you he is on a learning curve after all. A long time since he has had to take charge of cooking!

Nurse comes to visit 3 times a week and so far all is healing nicely. I have quite a nice scar, with stitches, on my elbow at the moment and I hope that with time it will fade away and I will have more movement.

Have sort of decided what colours to which rooms and that we are also going to put ‘wainscot’ in the hallway, just to protect the bottom of the walls from the dogs tail! That will be a ‘fun’ undertaking. I have checked the best way to do it all but whether he takes it all on board is another matter. We shall see!!

Won’t be decorating though until at least end of March, got another thing in mind before then.

Our fragile grandson TJ is not doing too well at the moment, he seems to have a fungal infection (Candida?) not enough protein in his system and still suspected ‘puncture’ in his bowel. Yes, he always has been delicate and prone to minor health problems and they (the hospital) were confident that he was healthy enough when the first procedure took place, I just cannot understand how it has come to this.

His mother is just holding it all together…as we are.

Saturday, 7 January 2012


We have a grandson, who is now 7½ years old. We did not think he would make that age!

He was born with cerebral palsy and also, discovered later, epilepsy.

He is also quadriplegic, has no swallow reflex and is also unable to cough.

He needs constant care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year.

TJ is a lovely boy, he has beautiful, dark, expressive eyes and smiles a lot in spite of his ‘lot’ not being a happy one.

His mother has done a wonderful job of caring for him as any loving mother would.

The second week of December he had to go into hospital for a routine ‘intervention’.

Due to his growing he needed his ‘gastro’ site moved.

Simplified, the tube into his abdomen through which he gets all his nourishment and medication was not up to scratch and needed to be moved.

The operation went well, but, the ‘tube’ put into his throat to help his breathing throughout the procedure caused a problem. He ended up with an infection in his upper airway, and bearing in mind he can not readily cough, fluid collected on his lungs. His stomach also herniated up past his diaphragm…..

Poor little chap then had to have another ‘intervention’ to alleviate this problem and was put into ITU with one to one care.

He seemed to be progressing well and was put back onto his ward where he promptly picked up an infection and was transferred back to ITU.

It then appears that the original surgical procedure caused adhesions which had to be sorted out and then he started to develop fluid in his abdomen as well.

It is almost 5 weeks since he went in for a simple procedure.

Our daughter and her estranged husband have been at their wits end with the worry of it all.

She lives a good 90 mins travelling time from the hospital and it is taking a toll on her financially as well as physically and mentally, she also has two other children to consider.

We are been out here knowing that if we were in the UK there would be little we could do to help. It is all down to the medical profession and their expertise. We have daily phone-calls with our daughter, being sounding boards and giving constant love and encouragement. It is heartbreaking… and I pray a lot.

Elbows and the case of the disappearing cat.

We have had Christmas, a very subdued affair in our house due to the fact that the children did not want to come and stay; we were still unpacking and really didn't feel like entertaining.

I did splash out on some excellent wine and champagne, a good start to any menu, found a nice ready stuffed poularde in the chill cabinet of the local supermarche some excellent little individual mixed vegetable dishes, some smoked salmon for starters and no room for pud. It suited us fine.

We had friends over just before New Years Eve - they, like us, just like to 'slob out' on the sofa and go to bed at 00.01 New Years day... You get past the desire to jump into fountains and forget which strangers you kissed (snogged??) and heaven forbid what else.

So onto the 3rd January, Elbow Day, forever etched in my mind.

I arrived at the hospital at the prescribed hour of 07.30 having not had a cup of tea just a little water to wash down a prescribed blood pressure tablet. "Prendre a 6.30 Mme" the anaesthetist said.. "oui d'accord" so I did.

I had a lovely shower, got dressed into the car and off to hospital.

On arrival I was shown to my room, given a hospital gown, towel, gant (French equivalent of face cloth) disposable knickers and disposable 'footwear', you know - the sort that you see SOCO's on TV put on their feet over their shoes at a crime scene - I wear size 4 shoes so you can imagine the size of this 'footwear'. I was also asked to take a shower using an iodine based product.... 2nd shower of the day and before 08.00.... a first for me!!

Ablutions done, I sat and waited, and waited, got bored and waited more. Then in they were, drip in arm, blood pressure taken, name tag put on wrist... at last things were happening!

I was taken down to a 'prep' room and had my arm checked using an electric shock thing... it was funny watching my arm dancing away without any control from me. Wasn't painful in the least - the anaesthetist was checking something, don't know what but he was checking. Then the anaesthetic was pumped in so one dead arm. I think that the drip they put in had a sedative as well as saline because I was quite relaxed throughout it all. Conversations went on in a mixture of French and English. The surgeon spoke perfect English and we made a few little jokes whilst surgery was underway. He re-sited the ulna nerve from the outside of my elbow, where it was being pinched by a very arthritic joint, to the inside of the elbow. During it all it felt as though my arm was floating above me, quite bizarre.

When it was all over I was taken back to my room and I just rested and slept, that is whilst I wasn't being checked by the lovely nurses who did their very best to speak English to me. I learnt some words from them and them from me. A fair exchange.

I have been home now 4 days. My elbow does hurt at the operation site but I now have proper feeling in my fingers.

The nurse came to visit yesterday to change the dressings.

Our black angora cat, who absolutely detests strangers, was in the salon.

When the nurse came in I shut the door so the dog did not disturb us.

I saw the cat moving about the room trying to hide, he was flattening his coat and he appeared to become smaller and smaller. I don't know how he did it but he seemed to disappear completely, just like the fabled Cheshire Cat although the smile was nowhere to be seen.

After the nurse had left he suddenly re-appeared.


He has done this on more than one occasion, is my boy a magic cat?