A month of not going out much … again

This year really has been pants hasn`t it? Thank goodness we are coming to the end of yet another month spent in lockdown – how I hate that word! November was never one of my favourite months when we lived in France but I had high hopes this year of getting out and about, enjoying some pre-Christmas cheer in the shops and eating out – traditional British Christmas lunches etc. Then in stepped good old Boris & we were back to on line shopping, Skype calls with the family and home cooked food yet again :frowning:

We did manage to sneak away before we were locked down and spent two wonderful nights in Peebles staying at the Hydro. We have stayed there before…40+ years ago, just before Hazel was born. It was a pre baby treat and I loved it then. I remember trying to play “golf” on the putting green, 8 months pregnant! Not much bending done I can tell you! Anyway, having ascertained that we didnt qualify for a “frequent” visitor discount, we thoroughly enjoyed our two days in the Borders. The scenery was just beautiful, with still lots of autumnal colour…and Ive never seen so many pheasants in my life! I loved the hotel and we made good use of the pool there, which was lovely. We felt pretty safe throughout the trip, staying away from people as much as possible, buying pic-nic stuff for lunch but still managing to enjoy our meals in the hotel and coffee breaks in the lovely little Border towns. We sneaked back into Carlisle just before the lockdown started for real and were so pleased that we`d been able to get away from the confines of the flat for a few days.

Since then, of course, we have been pretty much confined to barracks like everyone else. No nice outings for lunch any more or trips to the pool for a swim – something Ive been missing big time as my sore leg still is preventing me from walking very far, so my taking exercise has been minimal to say the least. My charity shop work also went on hold and although Ive only just started doing this, I have missed it very much. I am champing at the bit to get back in there the week after next. Remembrance Sunday came and went and we missed the ability to join a ceremony at the war memorial…although we did go to the memorial in Rickerby Park on our own in the afternoon to pay our respects. We watched the programme from the Albert Hall on the Saturday evening & the ceremony at the Cenotaph on TV…something we havent done for many years and got very emotional – especially as the poppy petals fell from the roof. Id forgotten just how moving…and important these ceremonies are here in the UK.

Our internet has at last been sorted after many weeks of turmoil. Even after it was supposedly “fixed” last time, it still kept cutting out far too frequently for our liking. The final straw for Geoff was the total collapse of a zoom meeting with the French conversation class he runs. At last, we actually got a BT engineer (who incidentally happens to live in the flat complex here) to come one Saturday morning and he eventually tracked down the problem, having worked on it all morning, to a wrong connection in a nearby junction box. Since then it has been much better…still not perfect…but a lot better. The U3A French conversation sessions are back to being run smoothly once again. Talking of these sessions we had one of those “small world” experiences the other day when Geoff did an exercise getting the group to choose a person to describe. One of the ladies (Nan) described her brother Bob…a tall Scottish person who was a pastor in France and who was married to an Irish lady called Lenore. Our ears went up, as we had for many years attended and participated in an English speaking carol service in Clermont Ferrand run by a couple called Bob, who was a free church pastor and his wife Lenore, and had got to know them quite well. It was indeed them. Now what are the chances of a random conversation with a lady in Carlisle,turning out like that! What a very small world indeed eh?

Our purchase of the flat has now been completed and so we are no longer squatting here! Our bank balance looks a bit meagre now too! Hazel and Phil were very pleased to have the money in their bank…although I suspect a lot of it will soon disappear as they are having their bathroom redone this week! It is good though that we have at last bought our flat…we do like it here and it was a very good move for us really :blush:

Geoff has now received his new passport…one of the blue ones much to my disgust. His application to renew his passport went fairly smoothly, apart from the specially taken photograph being rejected at the final hurdle. Anther trip to the photography shop sorted that out, but it was a bit galling after we had helped so many UK citizens local to us in France take photos for passport renewal without a single rejection! I am not impressed with this new passport I have to say. It feels very lightweight and a bit shoddy really with the important laminated information page having been stuck in… and not that well really. I am really pleased that I still have quite a few years left on my red one. I shall be very upset to have to give that one back.

My health problems have continued this month yet again. I am beginning to despair of ever feeling right again at the moment. My leg is still sore but is at long last starting to get better, thank goodness. We were good people and went to have our flu jabs done…much against my better judgement as I am still not convinced they are effective, or necessary. I had another diabetic review with the practice nurse last week and although I have lost more weight and my blood sugars being now almost within normal ranges, they are wittering on now about my having protein in my urine and that I might need medication for that. Youpi…not! However, the biggest breakthrough this month, was after having a massive foot stamp with the eye department at the Cumberland Infirmary, about just when I could expect an out patient appointment (I was referred in June remember and my vision has deteriorated since then) I at last got the said appointment, last Saturday. And it was not good news. I have Diabetic Retinopathy or as they prefer to call it Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO). I left the clinic a bit shell shocked but fairly satisfied at having at last obtained a good explanation for the problem, and expecting to be called for an angiogram of the eye to ascertain how much damage there has been. So, you can imagine my horror to receive a phone call on the Tuesday morning telling me I had an appointment for Thursday to have an eye injection! Talk about total panic, not to mention being totally scared stiff! I, like most nurses, am a total wuss…I dont even go to the dentist let alone wanting someone poking needles in my eye! Anyway, I went, had another long chat to the very patient doctor, who reassured me (as much as he could) that they felt it best to get on with the treatment as soon as possible, as my eyes were quite bad. Yes, I did say eyes…I had injections in both eyes done that afternoon. It was not pleasant, but was not as horrific as I had imagined. The staff were wonderful, gentle, gave lots of explanations and although I was there ages, I felt very well looked after. Which is just as well as I have many more of these injections to come at regular 4 weekly intervals. As I said above, this year has been a total catastrophe for me…I have gone from someone who rarely saw a doctor to having more medical interventions than Ive ever had in my whole life. I am certainly not enjoying any of this at all.

I decided to cheer myself (and a lot of friends too who had asked me to do it again) to resurrect the Lockdown Music Challenge on my FB page. It has been a great success yet again and I really love the way people respond to the daily challenges with some fantastic music. I ask them to put a link to the music they choose and so I and everyone else can listen to songs we sometimes know well and sometimes have never heard before. What I really love though, is the way people, who are all my “friends” but who really don`t know each other chat to one another and comment on the choices they have made. It has helped to cheer me up a lot this month and I know that others have enjoyed it too.

So, my friends…what on earth will December hold for us all. We come out of lockdown on Wednesday and we are going into Tier2 restrictions here in Carlisle. At least we might be able to get out a bit more and we are hoping to get back to our Wednesday lunches out again. I start back at the charity shop next Monday, all being well and I plan to go swimming again next week. After that like everyone else…who knows??

A bientot mes amis