Dreaming of France…yet again!

As you may well gather from the title of this months post, we are not basking in the balmy temperatures of the Cote dAzur as planned, but are “loving” the autumnal chill & mists of Cumbria instead. We decided, yet again, that going to France for October was really not worth the risk…there is such a lot of uncertainty around both here and in France, with rising numbers of infection (not that I believe all these stats mind you), proposed local and national lockdowns and general mass hysteria about this ruddy virus. It is impossible to make any sensible plans at the moment isn`t it? We, like everyone else are tending to live week to week, as far as planning goes. It is getting to be a total mess. We are of course very disappointed at not getting to France again this year and are still hoping that all is well with both the flat and the car. So far, we have stayed the grand total of three nights in our little bijou apartment this year. Its been a wonderful investment! We have managed to transfer our flight to next March, but if the Covid clouds lift a little, we might sneak in a mini visit before then. Who knows?

We have remained as positive as possible here in Carlisle, despite all the gloomy news around at the moment and have been trying to get out and about as much as we can, while we still can! We celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary by treating ourselves to a 2-night trip to Ayr, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Our hotel was lovely and we felt very safe there due to all the precautions firmly in place. The hotel had a small swimming pool too, so we were able to get in a couple of swims and soaks in the jacuzzi which was a bonus. We also had a really nice tour of the area, visiting all the Rabbie Burns stuff of course, but also driving up the west coast and doing a bit of ferry hopping to visit Bute and other parts of the Firth of Clyde peninsula. I got very excited at actually taking a couple of CalMac ferries at long last! They are such a pivotal part of a lot of my current reading matter (Peter May and Ann Cleeves Shetland books) and I have been longing to visit some Scottish islands for a long time! How sad is that?? – getting excited about taking car ferries! Anyway, we did have a wonderful time and we enjoyed the trip very much. Even the drives there and back were great, with some beautiful scenery, sights of red kites, sharing a pic-nic bench with a red squirrel, screeching to a halt in the middle of nowhere as Geoff had spotted a sign to a place where he knew there was an Andy Goldsworthy installation (he`s a big fan of Andy Goldsworthy and was thrilled to be able to visit one in person) and of course there was the inevitable detour to check out yet another stone circle in the middle of nowhere too!

We have also done a few walks and visits around here too…although the walks have been curtailed a bit lately due to me having a problem with my leg which is making walking very painful just now. More of that later. We did get in a nice short walk with Xena at Silloth where I saw some turnstones (birds) for the first time. Hazel and I went to the big (although I am told it was much smaller than usual!) Potfest event at Hutton in the Forest which we thoroughly enjoyed. There was such a variety of pottery ranging from big garden ornaments and statues to tiny delicate dishes and jewellery. I didnt buy anything, but really enjoyed helping Hazel spend her money! Im very skilled at doing that!

Geoff and I went on an English Heritage open day visit to the Corn Mill at Warwick Bridge too, which again we really enjoyed. It was very interesting to see that the mill is still working and that there is a new business developing there supplying flour to local places and now actually doing some baking themselves on the premises. We combined this visit with a trip to one of the exhibitions involved in the Eden Art Trail at Castle Currock. As a consequence of admiring some of the art on display there, I have been inspired to pick up my brushes again and have started to paint again. I really have been lacking in inspiration since my art group stopped meeting, due to lockdown, but am pleased to be back painting again now :blush:

We have also had a few meals out…but not so many as last month now that the government “Eat out to Help out” scheme has finished! We met up with our friends Linda and Mike this week and enjoyed a lovely meal at the Lakes Distillery Bistro together, before Mike & Geoff went off for a walk and Linda and I carried on chatting at their cottage. Mike loves climbing the fells and brought a rather knackered Geoff back home eventually…he headed straight for the bath when we arrived home!

We have also met up with Matthew and the family a couple of times as we are really trying to fit in seeing as much of the grandchildren as we can…just in case further bans on meeting up come into place soon. We are still finding all these restrictions really annoying, as seeing more of our grandkids was, after all, one of the prime reasons for coming back to the UK after all. However, we enjoyed seeing them all last weekend. Ethan is into the gappy mouth stage now and is trying to bankrupt the tooth fairy at the moment! This development is great to see, as both our children inherited the genetical Hypodentia condition (his side of course!) and so had very few adult teeth to push out the milk teeth. They later went on to need lots of implants and bridges to fill the missing teeth gaps. Seeing Ethan losing his milk teeth normally, indicates that the condition is skipping a generation yet again(Geoff and his brothers also skipped it) and is very reassuring for me to see :blush:

My continuing restrictive diet continues and I am still losing weight. Consequently, I am also having to buy a new wardrobe as nothing fits me anymore. I tried on a favourite dress I wanted to wear for our anniversary…and it looked like a sack :frowning:Also all my trousers no longer fit, and I need some new jumpers now as the weather has turned very chilly lately. I have never really enjoyed clothes shopping at the best of times, and with all the restrictions now, such as not being able to try stuff on in the shop, it is proving even more of a challenge than normal. As well as losing the weight, my body shape has changed too, so heading for all my normal comfort styles which I know suit me well, no longer works either. This has resulted in several visits to town to try and get some new stuff…some trips being more successful than others I hasten to add. On one of these trips, I was heading through The Lanes shopping centre in Carlisle, resplendent in the mask of course, when I heard someone calling my name much to my amazement, as we really dont know many folk here yet. It turned out to be my Twitter pal @Rattycastle (Sandra). Now, we have met once in person before, but that was quite a while ago and in a dimly lit pub, so how she recognised me hurrying past, complete with mask astonished me! Anyway, we went for a coffee and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to her again. She has been so great at keeping me informed about local events and introducing me to all sorts of Cumbrian folk on Twitter, that I feel Ive known her for years. We chatted so much, that I`d almost run out of parking time for the car by the time we parted! That was one of the less successful shopping trips as far as getting new clothes was concerned, but so nice in actually meeting up with a friend instead.

Talking about meeting friends, my nursing friends and I had a meet up planned last week, which we had to cancel, due to most of them living in the newly locked down NE region. It was a big shame, as this week sees us celebrating 50 years since we all met up in the hallowed Nurses Home of the RVI to start our nurse training. Where, oh where, have those 50 years gone??? Anyway, we did sort out a Zoom meeting instead…bet you are all impressed, knowing that Geoff and I, who are totally techy challenged… did that! Zoom meetings are great, but it was still disappointing that we couldn`t actually meet to celebrate that 50 year milestone. Geoff also talks regularly now to his old school friends using Zoom and that works really well. They are all over the country and so personal meet ups are rare for them, but being able to be in regular contact is great for them. Geoff is using Zoom now to run a French conversation group for the U3A too. He has quite a few people wanting to join this group but has had to limit numbers in order to make it work efficiently. It seems to be working well so far and its nice for him to be speaking French again. I might join in next time too.

My medical woes continue. I am so fed up with this year health wise! I have been suffering from a sore hip and leg for a few weeks now and thought at first that Id done something whilst playing tennis…not that I move a lot doing that mind you! It is particularly sore at night in bed as I just cant get comfortable and so Im not sleeping well either of course. Walking is becoming a problem too and because Im walking badly, we cant go far at the moment. As you all know by now, I avoid any contact with the medical world if at all possible, but I gave in and rang the surgery the other day. I had a very good telephone consultation (with an actual doctor at long last!) and between us we decided that I have Bursitis - no I hadnt heard of it either! It totally fits all my symptoms though. Not much to do except rest the leg, take pain killers when necessary and try some anti-inflammatory gel. I have to recontact the Dr in a week or two if no better. This is though putting paid to my exercise plans now…no walks and no tennis for a while.

And so, we come to the end of September. Autumn is now well and truly with us as is evident from the drop in temperatures especially at night time. We have switched on the radiator in the living room already. I do like Autumn though as I love the tree colours and the scenery takes on a new beauty in autumnal light. We drove home the other day through the Lakes and the scenery was stunning. The trees are just beginning to change colour so there is a lot more beauty to come in the next few weeks, and I suspect we will be making he most of our good fortune to live where we do. I am already plotting the next trip away, Covid restrictions permitting…:blush:

A bientot mes amis

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