January blues

I have never been a fan of January. Since we moved here it has always been in January that disaster strikes & things go wrong. This January has not seen any major disasters (she says crossing her fingers) but it hasn`t been the best of months either. I will not be sorry to see the back of it at all.

The month started fairly well with us being taken out for a lovely meal by our friend Bernadette. She is such a nice lady and she wanted to celebrate her 10 years of English lessons with Geoff on the date of the very first lesson. Now I have at this point to explain that Bernadette is a very complex lady and has led a rather complicated life, going against her father`s wishes when she was young and taking herself off to university to become an archaeologist. She spent her youth in Alsace, so she speaks French, German and English quite well. However, she loves her lessons with Geoff and whenever he feels he is making good progress with her, she goes off to spend a month or so in Alsace with her friends …and comes back speaking German again! So, it is back to her translating the English via German into French again and vice versa! She will be a perpetual student for him for as long as we stay here, I suspect…and she really does not want us to move. She is a great lover of our garden and is always bringing me plants saying that we need to stay here to look after them! We went to Viviane’s in the village for our meal which was delicious as usual.

We have had no guests this month, something I am for once quite pleased about as the weather has been pretty dreadful really. We often get snow here in January but this year we seem to have had an awful lot of it. We no sooner get the garden and road clear when we get another lot blowing in and some of the snowfall has been quite significant. We have both found that as we are getting older our confidence in walking and driving in the snow is waning, and so we have not been so keen as we once were to venture out much. Geoff even cancelled lessons…something I have never seen him do before. The roads are kept pretty clear and the snow plough has been arriving each morning as usual but somehow, we have got into the mindset that if we really don`t have to go out, we stay put and keep warm. At the moment, we are snow free but we are being told that more is on its way again. Youpi! The garden is looking a bit sorry for itself but there is hope! The snowdrops are through as are quite a lot of the crocus clumps and the daffodils are pushing up quite well too. I am not kidding myself though…February is often bad here too so Spring is still a way off yet. We did make it down to Issoire last Saturday for the Foire de Sainte Paule and I did get my big bunch of mimosa so the house smells wonderful as usual. I love to dream that if we ever make it and go to live in the South of France, I will have mimosa on my doorstep…well maybe on my balcony anyway :blush:

Talking about our possible move, we have at last managed to get a valuation for our house from an estate agent in Issoire. The two ladies there were very efficient with their measurements and taking photos etc but we were a bit disappointed with the valuation. Being realistic I suppose it is the price we may have to sell at, but it means that we are going to have to rethink our plans a bit and although the dream of the apartment in the South is still alive, it is only just! The apartment will have to be smaller and a lot further into the town than we would have ideally liked. It is a bit annoying that although we will not be getting a lower price for the property than we paid for it, all the improvements we have made or the new roof etc have literally gone up in smoke financially. It is all a bit disappointing. We have had another estate agent visit this week who was very nice and who will come to give us a valuation on Friday, but Im not hopeful the price will alter very much really. We have also arranged for someone to come next week to do the dreaded diagnostic survey which we have to have done before we can put the house on the market. It wont be good I suspect and personally I regard this as more money down the drain but it is the law so we need it done. I am really going to hate all this house selling stuff!

I know that I am not the only one but I am thoroughly sick of all this Brexit malarkey now. I just want them to get on with it now - not that I support it one iota like most people here. However, it will be good to know at last exactly where we stand. We have sent off our dossier to the prefecture in Clermont Ferrand to start the procedure for obtaining our Cartes de Sejour (residency permits) although our paperwork looked very thin in contrast to the stuff people in other departments have had to provide. We (or rather Geoff) followed the list obtained from the website by our helpful girls at the Marie. So, we will have to wait and see now. It will all probably change again after Britain actually leaves knowing our luck! We had a very interesting (& alarming) chat with some British friends here who are so into the French life & system that they have paid no notice to the Brexit shenanigans at all. They have made no steps to sort out any paperwork and have even let their British passports lapse. We have advised them to start to apply for French Nationality…they will qualify but they need to get off their butts now, I fear. Its all such a mess isn`t it?

Although we have not had any real disasters this January – Sylvie car even sailed through her CT (MOT) this week – the same cannot be said for a very good friend of mine. We were best friends at school and she was my bridesmaid when we got married. Although we haven’t seen a lot of each other for years now (she went to live in Amsterdam, married and still lives there with her family) we have always kept in touch. She sent me a very distressing e mail saying that her husband had taken very ill, just after Christmas and had spent ten very distressing days in ICU before he finally died last week. She and the girls (one of whom is 34 weeks pregnant) are totally devastated as you can imagine. I have tried to be as supportive as I can be from this distance but it feels like a drop in the ocean really. It has upset me greatly too as this is the second friend of mine who has lost her husband recently and it has made me realise that we are now in “that” age group. It’s a very scary thought and it has made me realise that life is oh, so precious, and needs to be lived to the full. Geoff has had many more hugs than normal over the last week as I realise just how lost I would be without him. My heart is breaking for my friend and I can only hope that the birth of her new grandchild in the next few weeks will help to cope with her loss.

To help us get through this dreary and often very boring month, we have planned and booked our next trip to the UK. Geoff goes back every spring to go to a PNE football match with his school friends so I decided to go to - not to the match you understand…Im not THAT fed up – but to meet up with the lads, see the family and then stay on for a few more days in Carlisle, where hopefully I can meet up with some of my friends too. It gets a bit expensive for us both to go over at the same time, but Ive decided life is too short to worry about money any more.

I am ashamed to say that I am now well into my winter sloth mode. I don`t get up early any more, and am delighting in printing off my cryptic crossword every morning and going back to bed for a peaceful hour of solving, sometimes devilish, clues. It keeps my little grey cells ticking over nicely! Also, since I was introduced to a great crossword “hints” website by one of Geoff’s friends (thanks Dave) I seem to be getting better at finishing the puzzles too. All good for the moral :slight_smile: I have also completed a very difficult jigsaw my daughter gave me for Christmas, and am making my way through some boxed set DVDs – also Christmas presents. So far, I have enjoyed The Bodyguard (although I didn’t totally follow all of that so may need to watch it again!) and have just started watching The Crown. Again, I am enjoying this but am deeply ashamed at my lack of knowledge regarding British history – dates, politicians etc.

So, February…I hope you are going to be a bit more eventful and that we can have an improvement with the weather please. I am really fed up of the snow now…another indication that it is time for us to move to somewhere more clement weather wise. We do have Geoffs birthday to look forward to, Valentines Day of course and I have a B and B reservation - that will be a shock to my system eh? We also have more “decluttering” to do as we try to reduce the stuff in our attic and outhouses. So far Geoff is trying to take something to the tip each Friday…under my supervision of course! Im not good at this decluttering malarkey really but I am trying!

A bientot mes amis


November is the worst month here in the Clunysois
When are you thinking of going to watch Preston Christine?
I know you said that you just want it to be over, but if there is No Deal, I hope you will be back before the 29th March.

We will be back! Going over on the 15th March & I will come back on the 23rd. It is so scary though not knowing how we will all be affected by this nonsense.

You’re wise to get back before the 29th. :astonished:

Watching PNE isn’t that bad is it

Oh yes it is! Mind you these “boys” have been watching them for years so they are well used to all the dramas! I shall have lunch & do some shopping :slight_smile: