A month of `M`s

May has been quite a busy month & seems to have been filled with (in classical eye spy game rules) a lot of things beginning with M!

First off was Mayday which was a bit of a washout as far as we were concerned. The weather was not good & we were still having to light the fire every evening…sometimes even during the afternoon as it was really cold. I managed to scrape a little bunch of muguet together but as predicted the nasty frosts of last month have really put paid to a lot of my garden this year & the lily of the valley patch has suffered greatly. The following weeks public holiday (May 8th) was not much better & for the first time in many years we had no guests over this weekend despite it being the Trail daMethyste weekend too. Usually we have a full house then but not this time. We had to keep Xena confined to barracks as the runners went past our house in case she decided to join in with the run! But apart from watching a few stragglers run by it was a very quiet day for us for a change. We did go up to Le Margalou on the holiday Monday for one of Viviane`s delicious lunches, but that was as wild as our holiday weekend got really!
We have had some guests this month though. The first B&B couple were staying here so they could eat at Le Bergerie, our local Michelin starred restaurant where they had a super meal as always. The next couple arrived on mobylettes - what we call mopeds in English. They were a recently retired who had decided to take a slow journey down to their holiday apartment on the south coast because they now had the time to enjoy all the countryside they usually missed by using the autoroutes. They were having a great trip, doing just short hops each day & staying in B&Bs each night. And then this last weekend (another holiday one here in France) we had a lovely family in the gite for four nights who had a great time & loved the countryside & all our animals. It is always amusing for us to see children who arrive & profess to be frightened of dogs & then want to take our dog home with them at the end of their stay! We also had both B&B rooms full on the Friday night with a group of friends from Brittany who were setting off on their holidays further south. Our second full house of the year :blush:

Now that the presidential election is over (thank goodness) we are hoping that the reservations will pick up again. I was very relieved that M Macron won. I can’t say I can see how all his plans will come to fruition, but I think it will be a very interesting time for politics in France in the coming months & it is good to see a fresh young (ish) man taking the centre stage for once. Good luck to him I say :blush:

One of the other Ms this month has to be for medecins…or doctors. My visits to the medical cabinet at Vernet la Varenne have continued this month much to my horror. Having got the wrist more or less sorted now (although it still continues to hurt especially when I forget & do some movement it doesnt like!) & having finally got the crown finished on my tooth, (the dentist is in the same building) I now have a sore knee. I tell you this getting old business is no fun at all! I hate going to the doctors as you all know but my knee was giving me so much pain that I eventually gave in. Tendonitis was the verdict (I suspect it would have been called housemaids knee in times gone by) & I emerged with a course of anti-inflammatories & gel, plus an ordonnance to have the knee x-rayed to make sure nothing else was causing the pain. I tell you, after 10+years of not having used my carte vitale here, it is red hot with use just recently! The x-ray showed nothing greatly amiss & the knee is getting better but still hurts. I am not keen on taking the pills on a long-term basis so am hoping it will sort itself out eventually. To cap it all off I have just been for a routine mammogram this week…all good…& Im hoping the carte vitale can go back to its dormant state again for a while now!
Geoff has been visiting medecins this month too. Because he has history of early male death caused by heart attacks running in his family, he had decided to get himself checked out. Following a visit to the doctor for a physical examination & an echograph of his aorta, he had a consultation with a cardiologist last week. All is good, thank goodness, but she wants to do a final heart test under exertion later in the year. I am pleased that he has had these tests done…his dad died aged 67 & his grandad aged 57 having had sudden heart attacks & its best not to ignore all that history. Geoff is after all officially a pensioner now (in theory anyway), having received his first UK state pension payment this month!

As my birthday is approaching, & as we have now decided to have a trip away somewhere instead of buying birthday presents, we treat ourselves to a mini break of a night away. We went back to Vals les Bains in the Ardeche & had a lovely relaxing weekend. We chose to drive there & back, taking small roads through some spectacular countryside which we really enjoyed. We learned a new French word too after following a tourist sign to a “potence”. Turned out to be a viewpoint viewed through what was originally a castle entrance…but it was the shape of a gallows…hence “potence”! Nice view, not so nice reference! Our hotel was lovely & I had booked a room with a balcony overlooking the river which I loved! Simple things like sitting on that balcony listening to the river gurgling away made my weekend! Although I love living here, it is nice to have a change of scenery & to treat ourselves now & again.

My final M for this month has to be for Manchester. We woke up on the morning after the atrocity to a message from our son, who lives in Manchester with his family, to say they were all fine & not to worry. We were lucky ones – so many families were not waking up to such news. I can never say that I love Manchester – having lived just outside the city for several years before moving here, I never really got to love it. I always got lost in it…& still do, much to my sons dismay! However, nowhere & no-one deserves to have such a tragic incident like this. They were mostly children enjoying a (for many of them) first concert. I vividly remember my daughter gong to her first concert & how excited she was. She went to see Kylie at Whitley Bay ice rink (those were the days eh?) with her Daddy (he was excited too, but not for the same reasons methinks) & her eyes were shiny, she couldnt stop smiling & was so thrilled to be seeing her idol. This was all I could think about when I heard the dreadful news…all those young girls would have been just the same. I can`t even begin to imagine the horror for all those families who were involved in this terrible, senseless attack. I have to say that I was proud to see the reactions & the respect paid by the people of Manchester in the aftermath. My heart goes out to anyone, parents, friends, emergency service workers, doctors & nurses who have been involved in any way. It must have been the night from Hell for all concerned…& what does it achieve? In my humble opinion…nothing.

Although May began wet, cold & miserable, it is going out on a high. The last few days have been very hot & sunny…& yes, we have been able to stop lighting the fire at last! We have had our first swims in the lake – the water was warm at the surface but it was best not to put your feet down really! We have also had out first moules frites of the season at the buvette there. And of course…the final high spot…today is my birthday!

A bientot mes amis…