Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sometimes There Just Isn't Anything You Can Do

It is depressing  to consider the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's momentous speech coincides with the present day horrors in Syria that dominate our television news. Where is there a leader that can uplift the hearts of humankind. We are caught in a web of suspicion compounded by concern for our fellow men and women being used by world powers to ensnare our better natures toward goals that lead us we know not where.

I do not believe that military action by super powers will accomplish anything other than to make matters worse. But that doed not help resolve the pain and suffering of those people caught in the bloody crossfire of political maniacs.

I hope that those mighty "powers that be" will allow the United Nation's team time to do the investigation they have begun and to back off the posturing and threats until some kind of determination can be ascertained. I do not  believe the answers to the problems in the middle east can be found by western military intervention.

I do believe, however,  that it is essential that we in the west support the countries bordering Syria as they try to cope with the onslaught of war-weary refugees.l

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


August is perhaps my favourite month. It's the culmination of everything I love about summer, with the bitter sweet chill scent of autumn's approach. The flowers are now at their peak as the warm days were slow to come this year. The fruit has reached perfection, the melons are in abundance -- our plums ripened for August this year and not mid-July.

Here in the Lot the tourist season has reached it's peak, but many are still here ready to leave en masse to head refreshed and brown back to their jobs, their schools -- normal life. In the evening the sweaters come out and one thinks how nice it would be to have a fire in the fireplace. The last two nights I snuggled down into my duvet -- but still left the windows wide open...

In New England we had a maple tree that would have  begun to turn the scarlet that used to so abundantly cover the mountainsides of Appalachia. And the sky would be a shade of blue crystal clear and beautiful. By the end of Labour Day weekend we'd be putting summer away and getting ready to go 'back to school'! It was amazing how the weather and the school calendar coincided. At least in New England!

Here it will be beautiful probably into October. The tourists will mostly have gone home. Rare will be the restaurant serving an evening meal on Sunday! Visitors will be retired or have pre-school children. The terrace at our house will be in the shade most of the day and most evenings will be too cool to eat outside. 

But August is still summer and all that is to come -- after we leave on September 1st. Tomorrow is Wednesday and we begin to pack up the house again till next summer -- when, God willing, we will make another long trek and have another summer of sunshine and friends.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Upping Sticks is a Brave Move

It is so interesting to meet other English speaking people who have homes in this part of France. We have friends in town who have opted to commit themselves to France and have made the big decision to live a French life. Others, like us, have a 'maison secondaire' and I think for many of us we live a French 'fantasy' life.

Part of my wish not to live permanently in France is, I suspect, because I have already moved countries once and I don't feel like going through the trauma of re-establishing roots again. I also have, over the years, developed a commitment to my adopted country and realize that re-establishing yourself in a new country is a long time coming! One of the difficulties for us, however, is that our chosen French getaway -- is not convenient for visiting more than once a year -- being 900 miles from Southport. Once upon a time, we had a second car, but that has still not been repaired. The nearest airport we can access is 100 miles away and it's complicated to get from there to our little house. The Man is not one for renting a car!

It intrigues me how many people choose to live here and never really learn to speak French. There are French people in the area that can speak some English, but by and large this is not an area where you can depend on people being able to speak English -- even limited English. But there is quite a reasonable English community in these parts and they rely very much on each other for friendship and often for work when they are renovating their houses. Friends of our have a most beautiful house that they have done a beautiful job renovating -- almost all the materials for the kitchen, the bathroom and utility room came from the UK. The main reason being that it so much cheaper. Other friends of our, however, bought the materials for their home in France -- but had a great deal of the work done by an English carpenter.

All of us ex-pats have English television! Some things are just not for giving up!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

At Last I'm F'eye' ne!

It's been much longer between postings than I expected! That was in mid-June and now it's  August and we are in France again -- for an all too short 6-weeks...

The eyes are now 'healed' and with the second operation I found it problematic to do certain things -- like reading, for example. But particularly I found it quite a strain to spend much time on the computer.

After the first operation it was easier -- only one eye was under strain while the other was completely comfortable. But it was quite a change when both had been done with only two weeks between. Monday it was six weeks since the second eye was done and I now am feeling much more back to normal. But, unfortunately, we have no Wi-Fi at the house and I now rely on either my phone mobile data (very expensive!) or coming into town to the Wi-Fi Centre and a few hours of Internet Bliss!

I now have great vision -- and only need spectacles for reading and the computer. But it's very strange being able to 'see' from first thing in the morning. Now I cannot do any close up work or reading without specs -- a small annoyance, but still takes some getting used to... There was one close call about four weeks ago. I was outside taking the washing down from the line. Since the 'line' is a rope tied onto the house at one end and a tree at the other, it is necessary to have a long pole to bring up the middle and allow the laundry to 'fly' in the breeze. As I was taking down the last t-shirt on the line -- right next to the pole -- the pole suddenly sprang forward and hit me about 1 mm clear of the left eye, the one operated on about 10 days before! I saw stars, I can tell you. And it did jar the eye and there was for a few days deterioration of the vision -- what a freak accident!

But now all is wonderful -- I can wash my hair without worrying about getting water in my eye and I can even dare to wear mascara!