Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

I have been known to say before in this blog, that the best thing about February is that it is short! And this year, yet again, this is so true. When we were still doing the B and B in France, February was always a difficult month, as no-one really wanted to go away for a break, unless it was to go skiing, so we were always very quiet. And often we had lots of snow to contend with, as my FaceBook memory photos continue to remind me. This year, though takes the biscuit as the lockdown boredom is now hitting mega heights. I always jot down ideas for the blog as the month progresses, and frankly this month`s list is awfully short and not terribly thrilling. Sorry folks! Anyway, here goes…

We have been continuing to try and keep in touch with family and friends via phone calls and zooms. Our French conversation group for the U3A is continuing and everyone seems to be enjoying it. We now have a French lady who lives in Bourges joining us every month too, which gives everyone the chance to hear French as it should be spoken, as opposed to our good French…but with a British accent! Geoff is chatting on a weekly basis with his old school friends which is nice for him. I zoom with my friends from nursing days once a month - we call those meetings The Golden Girl zooms as we have been friends for 50+years now :blush: I also arranged a lovely zoom with my good friend Rose (who is also one of the Golden Girls) and a fellow colleague of ours, from when we trained to be midwives in Edinburgh in 1974. We have both kept in touch with Madeleine via Christmas cards etc, but it is many years since either of us has actually spoken to her. It was a lovely session reminiscing about our year training together and all the laughs we had, our lives since and catching up on our respective families. We will definitely do it again. One slightly sad thing to come out of that call, was that Rose and I realised that neither of us had received a Christmas card this year, from Alison, the girl we lived with during that time, which prompted me to investigate further and sadly I found her obituary in the Scotsman newspaper. She had died last February. Sad to see but at least now we know.

I have continued to catch up with a lot of TV series that I missed, when we lived in France. I was a little bereft when I reached the end of the Call The Midwife seasons available, but quickly replaced that with the Unforgotten series which I enjoyed. We also discovered the Emily in Paris series which we both loved. It got totally panned by the critics in France…cant think why!! It was such a great portrayal (if a little stereotyped!) of how the French can (especially Parisians) treat “foreigners”. We found it very funny as we recognised several things that had happened to us when we first arrived in France! We have watched a few of the current TV series too recently. We “enjoyed” (if that is the right term to use here, as it frightened me to death at times) The Serpent and The Drowning…although the ending on that was poor, we thought. I was very pleased that I had not known about The Serpent before our kids went travelling in Asia after university, I can tell you! Geoff also managed to stay up and watch The Superbowl…it’s a family tradition with our kids…although I think he wondered why he had done it, as I understand it wasnt a great game. I went to bed!

Talking about TV series…I have to say how much I am missing that “great” French TV soap opera, Plus belle la Vie. I started watching this when we first arrived in France, where it helped me to improve my spoken French and got totally hooked Im afraid. Now I only see spoilers and snippets on FB and have realised Im very much lost! Fortunately, Geoff is still teaching a student via Skype and her mother is a fan of PBLV, so I keep having to ask questions regarding who is who and where do all these strange new characters fit in etc. Sad or what?? I can`t wait to catch up again for real when (or if) we ever get back to France.

We did manage to celebrate Valentines Day and Geoffs birthday this month…but not in our usual way of course. I got some beautiful flowers, a handwritten poem and a lovely card from my Valentine (he is still a big romantic) and we had a nice meal in the evening…chez nous of course. We repeated the nice meal scenario on Gs birthday and look forward to the birthday trip away for when we get released from purdah! We did manage though to have a special treat meal cooked and delivered by one of Hazels friends who does this for a living, a few days after the birthday. It was delicious and we will do this again as we really enjoyed it. I recommend Choice Catering highly if anyone lives locally.

I manged to get my next lot of eye injections done this month. I have now completed the initial séance of 3 injections and the next step is to have a review in a few weeks’ time, to see what progress has been made and then to continue with the injections for a longer period, I suspect. As before, I don`t really enjoy going for these injections, but cannot praise the care and treatment I get each time at the eye clinic, highly enough. The biggest news of all though this month is that both Geoff and I have had our first Covid vaccinations. We received our letters asking us to book an appointment via the NHS website, but having looked at that and discovered the nearest centres were a three hour round trip from here, we contacted our GP surgery and were given appointments for last Sunday at a surgery 5 minutes’ drive from us! All was very well organised, very efficient and we both emerged clutching our little cards telling us we had had the Pfizer vaccine. We were not given a date for the follow up jab though, but we were assured it would come soon. Both of us had slightly sore arms later, but nothing to worry about. Small steps towards freedom :blush:

I am continuing with my daily self-inflicted challenge to recite and record a poem every day. I am still really enjoying this, as it is making me research poems …some of which are old friends and some which are completely new to me. I seem to have a steady little following on Twitter, who are enjoying the poems too, which is the main thing for me :blush: I am also doing a bit of a strange book challenge on FB with a few friends. Some of the categories are a bit stupid, so I am not really taking this one too seriously. It is nice though to be getting some new ideas of new reading matter from people. My Kindle will be filling up soon!

And so, February 2021 is at an end. I can see signs of Spring everywhere here now…snowdrops galore both in my garden and in the wild, crocus flowers too, buds on the trees, a few brave daffodils flowering (it is still cold despite the sunshine) and the birds have begun to give meaning to the dawn chorus again. The weather is improving and the sunshine has tempted us to get the garden chairs out…although the cold wind means we dont stay outside in them for long! Geoff has been debating whether to put his shorts on for the morning dog walks for a few days now…it hasnt happened yet but I suspect it won`t be long! We are looking forward, big time now, to reaching the first dates outlined by BoJo for getting out and about again. We even put some petrol in the car the other day…a very rare event these days! Our son has the flags ready for celebrating the return to school for our grandson …and of course, the end of home schooling! Hopefully by the time I write the blog next month we will all be a little more “free” and enjoying life a little more. Fingers crossed!

A bientot mes amis

1 Like

We are having a wonderful end of February here in the Clunysois.
We had our first barbecue the other day and lunch outside again today. We can’t help but feel that we will pay for it with frosts down the line.
We feel very aggreived that the AZ vaccine is receiving such bad press and, as we are in the 65-74 age group, we have been put down the list.
Germany will be forced to use the AZ vaccine and France too if they want to keep with their vaccination programme. All political hot air and bad feeling that the UK moved ahead so quickly and left the EU trailing so far behind.
It looks as though the figures in France are on the up and we are bracing ourselves for another cofinement if 71’s infection figures become unacceptable.
I can see France’s borders remaining closed for some time to come.

Yes …we are very pleased to have had our jabs…although I still have reservations about just how effective they will be in the long run. Its amazing us that France, with its wonderful health system is lagging so far behind in the vaccination tables but the reluctance to use the AZ vaccine answers a lot of questions I suppose. We are so wanting to come over to France again…but it seems unlikely we would be welcome just now :frowning: