Christmas and beyond

I realised too late last month, that I forgot to wish you all a happy Christmas…and so will do now. Better late than never and I hope you all managed to celebrate in one way or another on the big day. We had our usual Christmas gathering at Hazels house where she cooked an amazing lunch for us and my brother…much the same as normal years. We are still benefitting from being in tier 2 and at the moment of writing this we are still able to meet up with Hazel thank goodness. I suspect that might change this week though….and I will not be happy about that at all…but at least we did get to spend a lovely day together at Christmas, eating, opening presents and playing silly games 😊 We were unable to go to church as we would have done in “normal” times which was a real shame as, for me, that is such an important part of Christmas really. We have been to church a couple of mornings during this month but frankly, it really is a bit dull not being able to sing any hymns or carols. Reading the words of the hymns aloud seems bonkers to me…I confess to singing quietly into my mask! Always the rebel, thats me! We did also try and sing some carols on our doorstep, as part of an initiative run by Radio Cumbria…but Im afraid we sang alone! One neighbour did say thank you though, so maybe we did bring a little bit of joy to someone!

Due to our continuing to be in a Tier 2 zone, we have been able to get out a bit more again this month. We have continued to eat lunch out every Wednesday and have eaten very well again at Upfront gallery (we really like it there!), The George Hotel at Penrith (just before they closed down due to lack of custom…what a shame), The Oddfellows Arms at Caldbeck, where we got party hats and Crackers to pull, and this week The Trout Hotel at Cockermouth. These lunches help to save my sanity as the diet continues and I am so bored with eating the same stuff over and over again. Im dreading them stopping again if we go into a higher Tier. I have also been swimming again and loved it. That pool at Dalston is a real life saver for me, especially as I am still having problems with my legs which means it is my only form of exercise just now. I have been back working in the Op Shop too…and once again managed to spend quite a bit buying little extra Christmas gifts for all the family! That shop is not good for my bank card!! I didnt get to enjoy much of the atmosphere of UK Christmas shopping again this year, as I had hoped. A combination of not being able to walk far and frankly the town centres being as dead as a dodo at the moment, put paid to all that. Most of my shopping was, unfortunately, done on line again this year but I did try very hard to support local businesses rather that give in to the big boys like Amazon etc. I did manage, however, to get an appointment to have my hair done before Christmas too which was a relief. Although this new hairdresser is expensive, I really like what she does with my hair. I`m a changed woman these days…blond streaks in my hair and & size 14 clothes! Who would have thought it!

Our car got through its MOT this month too without any bother. Mind you, seeing as though we have driven less than 4000 miles this year, we really were not expecting any problems. I still worry very much about our poor little Peugeot in St Aygulf which has been slumbering in its expensive garage for almost a year now. We keep wondering if we should keep it, but then again until we can get back out there again, we can`t do much about selling it either. Its all very frustrating!

I have enjoyed making the Christmas decorations again this year. I am so pleased that I brought all my flower arranging stuff with me from France, as I love doing this kind of thing. I made door wreaths for Hazel & for us, a table decoration for Christmas day and another indoor arrangement for our hallway & was very pleased with them. I did panic a bit at first, as I realised, I could no longer just go into the garden & woods and gather greenery, like I used to at Chabanol. The problem was solved one Sunday afternoon by taking a short stroll around the vast cemetery (where incidentally there is also a family of wild deer) near here, and where there are lots and lots of bushes & trees growing wild. I very carefully gave some of the lower overgrown bits a bit of a prune! Naughty…but Im sure the bushes were better for it! The children said they wouldnt come and visit if I got caught and sent to jail!

As we have been staying at home a lot again and as the days are shorter and darker, we have been watching a lot of stuff on TV and Netflix…like everyone else. I am now bang up to date with The Crown (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and we are watching The Queens Gambit…but Im finding that a bit hard going really. Geoff is enjoying it, so we will persevere. I am currently wading through the 8 series of Call the Midwife…much to Geoffs dismay as he hates anything remotely medical! I am really enjoying it though…but very dismayed to be able to recognise a lot of the equipment they use, even though my midwifery training was about 20 years after the time the first series was set in! Lots of the procedures are evoking long forgotten memories though…in fact I suspect if I was truly pushed, I could still deliver a baby…but Im sure I, and the poor mother, to be would prefer that I didn`t! We also enjoyed watching the Strictly Come Dancing series from start to finish. In France we did watch Danse avec les Stars, which was the French version, but it was a lot different to the UK. We were both very pleased that Bill Bailly won as we felt that he really deserved it.

I am sitting here in the flat surrounded by flower sat the moment. As well as my beautiful Christmas flowers from Geoff (white chrysanths just like my mother used to get every year from my dad and then us, after my dad died), a neighbour has just brought me a fabulous bouquet to say thank you for helping him yesterday. He lives in the flat complex and has MS which means he has very little mobility. Yesterday, as he was transferring from his wheelchair to the car he slipped and ended up on the cold wet ground, unable to get up again of course. He is a big heavy guy, so there was no way I or Geoff could lift him, so his friend called an ambulance. I was very worried about him getting cold as it was a very raw, damp day so I stayed with him, wrapping him in blankets and hot water bottles to try and keep his spirits up and keep him warm, until the ambulance arrived (an hour later) with their special inflatable lifting equipment. I was frozen, so he must have been doubly cold, but apart from that he was fine. For me, it was nothing…there is no way I could have left him there on the ground, but he was so grateful and as I say brought me a huge bunch of flowers today. Lovely :blush:

I am conscious that we have now lived here in the UK for over a year now. It has not been the year we had expected or would have liked in many ways due to this ruddy virus. One of our main aims for returning was to see more of our family and whereas that has been achieved as far as our daughter is concerned, seeing and helping with our grandchildren remains frustrating. So near…and yet so far. Manchester has remained stubbornly in a practically no- go zone since March and while the odd meet ups outside have been achieved, they are not really what we had hoped for. We have been able to explore this lovely region and some of Scotland a bit, but again not as much as we would have liked. We are happy and cosy in our little flat and have adapted much more easily to a smaller space and garden than I would ever have predicted and I am thankful for that. We still don`t have many friends here in Carlisle, which is a shame but all the avenues for making new friends, such as church, interest groups etc have not been available to us this year. But all in all, life here is quite good and can only improve when we are able yet again to move around freely.

And so, this miserable year is coming to an end. We have just heard that we are now in Tier 4 restrictions which means the end of our lunches out, swimming and my charity shop work yet again. I am very annoyed at this…these lockdowns are awful and I am not convinced they are doing any good at all. As I have said many times, this ruddy virus is not going away and we all just have to learn to live with it and keep ourselves safe, not continually lock ourselves away from it. It will still be there when we all emerge once again. I am totally fed up now, at being told who I can see or where I can go. I know a lot of you wont agree with me, but that’s how I feel today. Just to end this year in true 2020 fashion, I am off to the hospital for my second round of eye injections this morning…youpi! I suspect that tonight will be the first time in all my life, being teetotal, I will be blurry eyed on New Years Eve! I suspect also that I wont make it to midnight either, so I`ll just wish you all Happy New Year now! Surely 2021 has to be better…fingers crossed my lovelies :blush:

A bientot mes amis

so the answer is for ever isolation

Don’t despair Christine, with the vaccine coming this will hopefully be the last lockdown and we will soon all be back to normal with just a few extra tweaks to our lives. I hope the eye injections go well today.
All the best
Izzy x

Thank you. I am so fed up today. I too hope the vaccine will prove to be effective but Im not convinced it will be the panacea everyone is hoping for. We are longing to get out to our flat in France but I cant see that happening anytime soon.

1 Like

Hi Christine, I hope the injections went well.
We heard that the Eden Valley had a high infection rate even though it was in Tier 2.
We now have a 6pm curfew here in 71.
I think that the mutation seems to be worldwide, so we are being extra careful.
Stay well.

Yes. I dont hold much with all these figures to be honest. Frankly the more people who catch this virus( so long as they dont get too ill…& I know thats always a risk) the better. I still believe in herd immunity to a certain extent…which of course will be what the vaccine gives us after all. The injections are not pleasant but at least they are done for another month now :slight_smile:

Noooo…that is disastrous for so many people.