Friday, November 20, 2015

Cleaning marathon

Friday 20 November 2015

22 degrees

OH got to the UK safely but said it was a terrible crossing.  It is beyond me why he goes to the Lake District at this time of year, every year, with his mates.  I am not convinced they do any walking.  I think they spend all the time in the hut.  Or possibly in the pub.  The hut is on Coniston Old Man and is an old quarry man's hut, named after a man called Jack Diamond. He has been going there since he was about 12 - first with school and later with his mates and now they are all in their fifties and who will take over the Hut when they are too fat or knackered or too dead to go any more?  Certainly not our two offspring.

Crawled out of bed at six.  When OH is away I get to bed far too late, take ages getting to sleep and then wake up at the crack of dawn.  Dog has tapped into this and got out of bed and barked a lot.  Found him a bone from the fridge.  The fridge had new life forms in it. The oven was black.  There was dust and cobwebs on every surface.  It was very depressing.  

I started with the pantry.  That took an hour.  Cup of tea.  Lots of oven cleaner.  Put away the stuff that OH had littered over every shelf and work top.  Unloaded the end chair of its pile of coats and bags.  Sorted out the stuff pinned to the fridge.  Cleaned the windows.

Breakfast - Master crumble - how on earth can it have that many calories??? - scrub oven to get off stubborn bits.  The next time I am getting what my mother used to call a paralytic oven.  Turned it up to maximum heat to melt off the stubborn bits.  Smoke was terrible. Perhaps it is paralytic after all.  Nicola Sturgeon on Desert Island Discs.  If that is the sort of music she likes, I wouldn't like to be on the island with her.  Although if I was, I would fight her for the coffee machine she would be taking with her as the luxury item.

Carried on through the front room.  It must be the wood fire.  That much dust would take years to accumulate.  OK cant remember last time I dusted but it was definitely within the last few months.  Dog is down the road and barking at something.  Mop floor.  Get text from eldest saying that the Spanish housekeeper overheard our conversation yesterday and told the owners of the hotel that eldest intends to leave next year.  He has been called to the office. Oh crap.  Spend next hour being very agitated.

Eldest rings and says that the owner suddenly decided to start talking pay rise.  He hadn't been specific about how much this would be but is talking to the accountant.  Eldest considerably buoyed by this, although he still intends leaving in new year.  He is plotting how to get his own back on the Spanish housekeeper.  

For those of you who follow horoscopes, I will tell you that eldest is a Scorpio.  That should be sufficient for you to know all.  For those of you who don't, nobody understands a Scorpio like another Scorpio.  The rest of us just have to make it up as we go along.  And speaking of Scorpios, it appears he has a girlfriend who is the same sign.  He says she likes music and poetry and is studying criminology.  She is currently back in Mumbai and is coming back to UK in February.  She is tiny with raven hair and dark rimmed glasses and a pencil scrunched between her lips and her nose.  She looks intelligent.  Whilst we were talking on Skype, his phone was pinging with her messages.  I do hope he can work something out. No one should be on their own.  Especially with ear wigging Spaniards in the adjoining room.

Hang up and quick half pizza - didn't even bother looking at the calories on that one - and talk to TB from the crafting group - another hour gone.  Walk dog along the railway track and he spends more time sniffing than walking.  Back home and sort out diary and write some emails and am delighted to see that my decision to put my buttons and jewelry on FB page has actually resulted in some potential sales.  I may give up with Etsy.  Too big a pond.

Simplement dit...

Antoine Leiris

“On Friday evening, you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hate. I do not know who you are and I do not want to know, you are dead souls. If this God for whom you blindly killed cast us in his own image, each bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound to his heart.
So no, I will not grant you the gift of hating you. You have certainly sought it but to respond to hate with anger would be to yield to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, that I look at my fellow citizens with a distrustful eye, that I sacrifice my freedom for security. You’ve lost. Same player, shoot again.
I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, just as beautiful as when I fell madly in love with her more than twelve years ago. Of course I am devastated by grief, I will let you have this little victory, but it will be short victory. I know that she will be with us each day and that we will find one another in the heaven of free souls to which you will never have access.
We are two, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world. However, I do not have any more time to dedicate to you, I have to go to Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17 months old, he is going to eat his snack like every day, then we are going to play like every day and all of his life, this little boy will affront you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not get his hate either.”


Vendredi soir vous avez volé la vie d’un être d’exception, l’amour de ma vie, la mère de mon fils mais vous n’aurez pas ma haine. Je ne sais pas qui vous êtes et je ne veux pas le savoir, vous êtes des âmes mortes. Si ce Dieu pour lequel vous tuez aveuglément nous a fait à son image, chaque balle dans le corps de ma femme aura été une blessure dans son cœur.
Alors non je ne vous ferai pas ce cadeau de vous haïr. Vous l’avez bien cherché pourtant mais répondre à la haine par la colère ce serait céder à la même ignorance qui a fait de vous ce que vous êtes. Vous voulez que j’ai peur, que je regarde mes concitoyens avec un œil méfiant, que je sacrifie ma liberté pour la sécurité. Perdu. Même joueur joue encore.
Je l’ai vue ce matin. Enfin, après des nuits et des jours d’attente. Elle était aussi belle que lorsqu’elle est partie ce vendredi soir, aussi belle que lorsque j’en suis tombé éperdument amoureux il y a plus de 12 ans. Bien sûr je suis dévasté par le chagrin, je vous concède cette petite victoire, mais elle sera de courte durée. Je sais qu’elle nous accompagnera chaque jour et que nous nous retrouverons dans ce paradis des âmes libres auquel vous n’aurez jamais accès.
Nous sommes deux, mon fils et moi, mais nous sommes plus fort que toutes les armées du monde. Je n’ai d’ailleurs pas plus de temps à vous consacrer, je dois rejoindre Melvil qui se réveille de sa sieste. Il a 17 mois à peine, il va manger son goûter comme tous les jours, puis nous allons jouer comme tous les jours et toute sa vie ce petit garçon vous fera l’affront d’être heureux et libre. Car non, vous n’aurez pas sa haine non plus. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Surprises with my Wamblis, sorting out SFR and I ate til I could eat no more...

Wednesday 18 November 2015
Coolish 14 degrees

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Sunny 22 degrees

At 5.30 am the phone rang and an automated message informed me that there was a problem with my health insurance and I needed to press 'one' to be put in contact with an advisor. I hung up and passed out again. Apparently OH didnt. Not good; he has a huge drive ahead of him.

We were both up for 8 am and final stuffing of things in the car and then he roared off in a cloud of dust and gravel and dog and I settled down in the front room and I uploaded properties and replied to emails and drank lots of tea.

At two pm I went down town and met a couple who had recently bought and took an electrician to their house. Their phone circuit is the most recent and it is more up to date than the modem supplied by SFR. The electrician poked about and displayed 'builder's bottom' and the lady and I tried to avert our eyes. She, as usual, was dressed fabulously in black and had kitten heeled slippers in leopard print. I had made an effort and painted toes and nails and done something with my hair.

Oh yes, had a lovely surprise! When I was getting ready, I picked up some earrings which I had recently made and thought I wish my ear piercing had not closed up... I tried an earring and was thrilled to find it went in, no problem. I tried the other ear. Again no problem. I havent been able to wear earrings for about six months and have been too chicken to go and get them redone. The local shop is called Wambli piercing and the man is covered in tats and has a shaved head and he scares me. Hurrah, my wamblis have regained their piercenesses on their own! Was also too mean to pay 20 euros for one ear.

I then took them into town to sort out their mobile phones. It took forever so whilst the shop assistant was helping them to get their Lumia's sorted out, I popped into the florist opposite. Someone has contacted me to ask if I can make a pendant necklace for her granny. Her favourite flower is lisianthus. I thought there is no way in hell that my local florist would have some but actually she had three colours so I took the white one which was in the most perfect condition. I still have no idea of how I am going to get this looking good for a pendant. Why on earth cant people just buy what I have made? Someone else wants earrings from the tiny hydrangea flowers. Must make them too.

Back home and quick walk with dog, during which he was beeped at by my horrible neighbours, and then out for dinner. Everyone else I know has absolutely lovely neighbours. Mine are shy, unsociable, bee keeper, autistic, Benny Hill creepy and utterly horrible. That is, I have six neighbours....

The lights of town were bright and my 'date' was waiting for me on the steps of the Casino. One of the NZ ladies who is over supervising the renovation of the wonderful turn of the 20th villa. There was only one restaurant open in town – a former railway station café which had been taken over by some Spanish bar owners who had attempted to introduce tapas and cocktails to our town. It was just too foreign for the locals. They dont get out of town too often and regard a trip to the big city as an occasional excitement. My Benny Hill neighbour has never been out of the Departement and he is nearly 70. Anyhow, the restaurant was taken over just recently by some French cooks and I had heard good reviews.

We were early and the staff were eating so we sat on a flower box and waited. The salle was long and narrow with the kitchen at the fatter end. The lady I was with CLB is vegan and chose pumpkin soup followed by cep omelette and salad and then pear poached in red wine with vanilla ice cream. I had pumpkin soup followed by suckling pig and chocolate and banana nems.

It was the best meal I have had in a long time. The soup was a deep orange with a profound depth of flavour and served with lardons and tiny wafer deep fried bread. The pig was tangy with BBQ seared skin and melted in the mouth. The nems were crunchy with exquisite chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. I ate til I could eat no more. I deeply regretted wearing my jeans.

We discussed importing craft type items and also higher value items.  Very interesting.  Came up with a name which encapsulates the business.  This could be the new direction I have been looking for.

Home again.  Depression gone.  A new project....  my absolute favourite thing.  Rang OH and he had just arrived at Caen.  Stormy crossing forecast.

Shiny, shiny!!

Tuesday 17 November 2015

18 degrees lovely sunny day

Decided I needed some retail therapy and took myself off to our local big town to look for glitter. If you think you are too old for glitter, I can assure you that you are not. There is something inherently joyful in shiny things.

I went into Foir'fouille, a pun on farfouiller (to root around in) – a wonderful French verb which has no English equivalent. I have to say, it was fearsomely festive. The shine and sparkle of a thousand decorations was like an injection of energy. The staff looked much brighter than normal. The shoppers were smiling and trying on Santa hats. OMG there were snow shakers. I LOVE snow shakers! I found myself smiling too.

I found two triple packs of glitter – very fine, teeny tiny cubes and larger cubes in tones of white with rainbow overtones and greys to black. I could see them in so many little earrings and even a big bangle. Also as pendants with half painted another colour in a matt shade and sealed with a shiny resin topcoat. Also found some stud earring sundries. In French they are known as fixations.... and, speaking of fixations....

Had a coffee and looked at Instagram. Oh dear now I have a very bad Instagram habit, to add to my bad Facebook habit. Thank God, I manage to avoid Pinterest. Gave some keys for copying to the taciturn cordonnier and took my badly stained suede coat to the cleaners. She said it would have to go away to be cleaned and gave me a huge quote. It must have been the glitter; I said just do it.

Back home and OH was in manic running around 'I cant find stuff' mode. His normal technique, when looking for items, is to go to the drawer which actually contains them, and whizz it out with great speed. If the item is not immediately visible, the drawer is then whizzed shut. Repeat with all drawers at least three times before assuring me that the items are not there. Superman would have trouble seeing the items in the short time the drawers are open.

Open drawers, extract items and put in bulging bag whose zip doesnt work. He stuffs it into the car and we have kippers mash and beans for supper. We know how to live, us.

Tiny seeds and flowers and shells of joy

Monday 16 November 2015

cool and cloudy
13 degrees

Felt terribly depressed.  Went down town and revisited the town house and flat with the NZ ladies and their colleague.  She really seemed to like it but is worried about the garage. Had coffee and bumped into the lady whose husband had killed himself following his drink driving accident where the person he hit subsequently died.  What to say?  I gave her a big hug.  Poor lady.  Such a tragedy all round.

Looked at my resin pieces.  Must reorganise and rephoto them and try A Little Market, the french version of Etsy.

Yarrow flowers and grass seed head

Two sea shells

Lichen heart with silver wire wrapped bail

Heart of the Ocean pendant

Dock seeds - themselves little hearts

Monday, November 16, 2015

Evil comes in many forms...

Sunday 15 November 2015

Sunny spells 18 degrees

Spent fair portion of the day today battling with the brambles.  They are well entrenched and it took a number of hours to start making an impression.

Saturday had been a busy day.  I had started at 10.30 at a nearby village.  The lady had asked to meet me in the car park by the entrance to the cemetery and I was early and looked at the gay display of chrysanthemums on the dull grey stone graves and thought of the Paris atrocities.  The lady arrived, smartly dressed, and we walked up to the house and she knocked on the door.  If this was a divorce, it wasn't going well.

The door opened and a slight man with a firm hand shake stood there.  We toured the house, the man following and saying very little.  His eyes were little chips of coal, pared down clothing, close clipped hair.  Very cold demeanour.

The house was delightful and country style.  Two small children - a little girl with a gappy smile and two wriggling cats - a boy doing his homework, serious face and lined paper filled with his careful text.  

I measured up and the man said he had to go and could I come back in the afternoon to do photos.  Lovely.  I just adore spending the whole of my Saturdays working.  Said OK and walked back to the car with the lady.  She said I may have noticed that they were not getting along well?  I said I had.  She said they were divorcing because he hits her and had started hitting her during her second pregnancy.  I was shocked but she hadn't finished.  What had finally 'closed the circle' (her words) was when her 16 year old daughter had slapped her in the face whilst they were having dinner at the grand parents.  Something had snapped and she had finally moved out.  She glanced away and her eyes were full of tears.  I was looking back at the house and thinking 'you evil, cowardly bastard'.  He is a school teacher.  I decided to write an anonymous letter to his school, once the house was sold and the money shared out.

Back to my town and did a revisit on the Friday property with the NZ ladies and their friend. One spanner in the works is the garage; integral to the building but not belonging to it.  Had a coffee in the sunshine and then to our local big town and saw a wonderful house which I realised was already on my colleague's books.  We have an agreement not to take one another's properties.  Like something out of a house magazine.  18th century but tastefully done for once.  All of the original features in place, including wonderful cast iron radiators from the early 20th century.  I thought back to a similar house where the new owners had put air con units, like giant moths, on the mellow stone walls.

Dizzy with hunger.  Had a croissant filled with cheese and cherry tomatoes as the only other alternative were baguettes the size of barrage balloons.  Why is it, in a country famous for its cheese, all you ever find in sandwiches is the evil Emmental?  Drank lots of fizzy water and told myself I was not exhausted.  I am going to have to go back to the doctor for this terrible fatigue.

Took photos of the mornings house.  The man had decided to do the housework so there was stuff thrown everywhere, chairs on the table, beds still not made.  Fortunately I am used to taking pictures around the crap.

Back home and had ginger tea and sat in the garden.  OH gone fishing but came back early and made wonderful cod with herbs and stir fry veg.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A universal hatred...

Saturday 14 November 2015

13 degrees

Terrorist atrocities in Paris

Last Thursday, the Marseillaise was sung in quiet squares and towns around France.  We remembered the dead who had fought for our liberty against an oppressor.  Against a regime filled with hate and ambition.  A regime without mercy for the weak, the ill, the people who stood in its way.  Who would not hesitate to murder and burn and bomb and destroy in the name of victory.  The first world war was called 'the war to end all wars' when it finally came to a close at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month but within just 21 years again the world was plunged into a bloodbath by another despotic leader with a 'world' view. A world with himself at the head.  And there were so many people ready to follow him.  He was loved by his people.  Looking back now at video tape of Hitler, you wonder what on earth people saw in him.  What made them follow him into Hell, to rip their country apart, to lose their young to the guns and their people and cities to bombs.  It was a collective madness and the World had to rise up to stop him.

And again, we find ourselves facing an insidious hatred but this regime has many faces. And it does not just centre its hatred on a religious group.  It hates universally.  It hates everything that is not itself.  And instead of using bombs, it uses people who believe in the 'cause' more than in their own self preservation.  Who are led to believe that by going into public places filled with people, ordinary people living ordinary lives, but who have committed the sin of having a different belief system, that they are fulfilling their part in a 'holy' war against 'infidels'.  

At the Bataclan theatre, which suffered the worst casualties, one man described what happened.  The gunmen were at the back of the theatre, dressed totally in black, carrying assault rifles.  They were unmasked, showing that they intended to destroy themselves before capture.  They fired in systematic bursts, spraying the people in front of them.  The theatre is small, holding about 1000 people.  There was pandemonium as some tried to run away and many threw themselves on the floor.  The gunmen then started shooting the people on the ground.  The man said he hid under some bodies and then, when the gunmen stopped to reload, ran up on the stage and into a side room.  They were horrified to find that there was no exit.  They waited for the gunmen to reload again and ran out, over many more bodies, to the side exit.  It was a bloodbath.  He said, as he hid under bodies, he watched the nearest gunman.  He was perhaps 17 or 18 years old.  Face completely impassive.  

The full report is here Paris Murder Attacks - Guardian report

I was also touched by this report Where else has ISIS been active  - The simple fact is, Muslims are far more likely to die at the hands of other Muslims – or more to the point, Islamic extremists who bear no resemblance to average Muslims. They’re also more likely to be killed by Westerners, who are seeking to kill Islamic extremists. The difference is, they’re unlikely to see an outpouring of grief in Australia, or most of the rest of the world. But unlike Parisians, they already live in a state of perpetual terror. That’s why many of them have fled the Middle East for Europe. Westerners are finally being given just a small taste of the constant fear that people from other nations have endured for generations. So solidarity with, and compassion for, the French is a good thing.  But solidarity and compassion for the victims of terrorism everywhere is even better, in particular those who’ve fallen victim to the terrorism sponsored in all our names.

These gunmen would call themselves followers of Allah and say that they are conducting a holy war.  They are also known as extremists and militants.  But the cold fact is that they have murdered thousands of people all over the world - most of them Muslims, so how does that work? France is being targeted because of its involvement in Syria.  Islamic State has millions of dollars at its disposal and a fund of disaffected young men and women who are ready to die for the cause.  It is virtually impossible to stop gunmen with twisted ideologies but what we can do is watch our young people - who they are associating with, are they becoming radicalised, who are they talking to on the internet?  Cut off the supply of human weaponry at its base..  And we can refuse to let back in people who have been out to places known for Islamic extremism.  We need to toughen up and contain every suspect - one of the gunmen was a known sympathiser.  Why was he running around the streets?  Did their families and friends not know what they were doing?  This is a very old plant with very deep roots, said a friend of mine, it needs a new approach  It is no longer the time for keeping quiet.  We all need to raise arms and start digging away at the roots.