Getting Better Every Day

March proved to be another month of ups & downs for us but as we leave it, things seem to be on the up again for us both. My wrist is improving - slowly still – but definitely getting better. I have now finished all my physio sessions & although it is not 100% by any means, I have a lot more flexibility & movement in it now. I still have to be careful at times, as when I do something mundane like picking up a log for the fire using a certain grip, it lets me know in no uncertain terms that that was a silly thing to do. Yesterday was a bad day as I overstretched it doing something without thinking & I paid dearly for it all night. My physio said I could ask for more sessions, but she thought it was just a case of getting back to everyday life now. It is good to be back driving & doing things in the garden though, so I just have to remember not to push the boundaries too far I suppose. I have started back at my art class too which is great. I really missed being able to paint & have made up for it by finishing two watercolours, a pastel & am half way through a hen watercolour! I need to slow down methinks! Our art class is supposed to be painting an electricity transformer in the village, although none of us are really motivated about this project & I am definitely not! I think my poorly wrist might just prevent my full participation in this activity for as long as I can get away with it!

I had an unique experience earlier in the month as I found myself in the local IKEA store twice in the same week! We had made a decision that the gite was looking a little jaded & although I had originally thought I could get some new throws for the two bed settees & new cushions etc it soon became obvious that this wasnt going to be the answer. So, after a consultation with my friend Linda (alias IKEA guru), she, Muta & I went to have a look round & see what we could do. Muta & Linda love mooching round IKEA and usually turn it into a day out so we all met up for lunch & then started “operation Gite Makeover”. Having had the young couple in the gite all winter I have for once a bit of money in my account, so I chose some new curtains & fittings, & then looked at some of the settees, as I had almost decided that the big bed settees were going to go. After we had all visited all the sections we wanted to see, Linda, Muta & I had a cup of tea & I went back home to discuss things with Geoff. He was in agreeance with the new settee idea & also said that we needed to change the dining chairs as they were showing their age too. And so it was, that we made another visit to IKEA later that week, as I was not going to make all these decisions on my own! Geoff does not share the love for this place that Linda does, so we chose three settees, their covers & six dining chairs, paid for them, arranged their delivery & also for the collection of the two old bed settees in record time! So much of the rest of this month has been taken up trying to get the gite ship shape again. The new curtains are up (& look much better than the old ones), the three settees are assembled (my wrist didnt like that much at times) & I have just finished varnishing the dining chairs. We still have a bit of painting to do over there & we are still hoping that our electrician is going to reappear some time to put in new plug sockets in the kitchen & the bathroom, so we can install a heated towel rail in there, but we are getting there. Our first guests are due over the Easter weekend so it will be full steam ahead next week again to get it all tidied & cleaned before they arrive. Not sure the electrical work will be done by then but all the rest will be. It does look a lot better with the new furniture, I have to say.

We have not had any B&B guests again this month but I am not too sad about that really. It has given my wrist a good spell to recover before I need to start mega ironing sessions again. However, we have taken a few bookings for the B&B for the months to come so all is not lost. We have gite bookings for a lot of the summer now, so again, that is good news. I still need to sell a few more weeks to recover the money Ive just paid out on new furnishings mind you! Happily, Geoff has a lot of work at the moment (& more to start in May) so somehow pushing the gite & B&B does not seem so essential this year & Im very relaxed so far.

We have been having some fantastic Spring like weather of late & the garden is looking very pretty. The daffodils & primroses have out done themselves this year & it is so nice to be able to sit outside & admire them again. We have also installed a new garden feature, a rose arch seat. Ever since we came here, we have had an old wagon chassis complete with wheels as a feature in part of our garden. However, this had disintegrated over the time & I was a bit worried that the wheels were getting very unstable & looked unsightly. So, they have gone and a new arch with integrated seat is now in their place. We have bought two perfumed climbing roses & are now just waiting for them to start climbing! We are very pleased with it.

Before the good weather started though we did have a bit of a difficult time. We had a very strange wind storm which came out of nowhere in the middle of the day, with some very violent gusts of wind. After several “on & offs” the electricity went off completely as, as we found out later, several trees had been blown onto power lines. Our electricity was off for almost 24 hours & although cooking &eating by candle light might be romantic, after a few hours of no light or TV or radio, the novelty soon wears off! Although the power was restored the next day, the phone line was not, as a much bigger problem had occurred there. This meant our whole commune & part of the neighbouring one was without phone, & of course internet connection, for over a week. It was not a happy experience I can tell you. Our network here for the mobile phones is not brilliant at the best of times & so Geoff & I were often to be seen wandering around the garden & village trying to find network connections. I reckon I lost at least 2 bookings because of it as I was unable to reply quickly to enquiries. It drove me mad not having my radio too. I have it tuned to Radio 2 & Radio 4 all the time & it keeps me sane when I am here on my own such a lot. Needless to say, I was not a happy bunny in the enforced silence! Happily, all is back to working order again now thank goodness. Whatever did people do before electricity & phones became everyday necessities?

As well as the two trips to IKEA, we have been out & about a bit this month too. We have managed to fit in two “free” lunches – one which I “won” in a prize draw at Carrefour & which turned out to be a sales pitch for Aloe Vera & other “health “products such as memory foam mattresses & pillows. We got very bored with that one & left before the salesman was finished his spiel. The other was at the banks society member’s AGM & was much more entertaining as it gave us a chance to eat well & meet up with a lot of our friends. Mike & Linda came over one day too & we ended up enjoying some of Viviane’s pizzas at Le Margalou in the village. We also went to a “Soiree Country” in the village hall last weekend which was good fun. There was line dancing of course & we ate chilli con carne – very mild chilli, mind you, as the French really dont like highly spiced food. However, we were very amused as there were some hot sauces on the table for those who wanted to spice up the chilli & so a contest soon started amongst some of the older blokes (who should have known better) to see who could eat the hottest food! I bet there were some very gippy tummies the next day in St Etienne sur Usson…& not a lot of sympathy from their womenfolk!

And so, we head into April which is always one of my favourite months here. We have Easter to look forward to & our first guests in the gite & B&B for a while. I hope they like all the new stuff! I am hoping that my wrist continues to improve & that I can get out in the garden a bit more. We will see
A bientot mes amis