t believe July has gone past already. It seems to have flown by & has brought lots of new experiences with it. In spite of my fears of last month we did get busier as the month progressed…well the chambre dhote side of things did at least & that posed us some problems when I had my cataract done…but more of that later.
The month got off to a fine start with the visit of Matthew, Susie & the grandchildren. It was lovely having them all here again. As the gite was empty we created a playroom space in there & brought the family heirloom farm (which Geoff
s dad made for our kids) down from the attic & set it out for Ethan & Hadley to play with. Ethan loved it & it was great to see him playing with the animals & tractors. We also enjoyed playing with Ethan & Hadley in the garden. Ethan climbed trees, picked raspberries, played hide & seek & lots of other things too. Hadley loved the hens & both of them loved finding the eggs. We visited the childrens farm at Montpeyroux - a big success for Hadley who loved all the animals & the Michelin museum in Clermont Ferrand - which was not so popular. However, the highlight for me was Ethan playing in the fountains in Place Jaude in Clermont Ferrand. The looks on the faces of the folk watching him from the bar terraces were a picture, as he splashed & played with abandon! He had so much fun…& got soaked to the skin…naughty Grandma was in charge too! But that’s what grandmas are for isn
t it? We were a bit disappointed to discover that “our” lake at Vernet la Varenne had been closed as there was a high bacteria count in the water, but it did lead to us having our very first (in the 12 years we have been here) swim in the small pool at Sauxillanges…just as it started to rain. Matthew reckoned that experience transported him back to being 8 years old, as this was a regular family thing when we went camping apparently! The only downside to their visit was that Ethan didnt really take to Xena as he found her at bit too boisterous for him, which was a shame. Poor Xena had to be shut out of much of the garden fun which she hated. However, we all had a great few days together & we were really sad to see them all set off for the west coast to continue their holiday at the seaside. I really do miss them all so much.
As I said at the start of this post, the B&B has been very busy. Most of our guests have been really nice as usual although I did get very cross with one family who booked late, needed an extra bed made up in the family room & then who rang from the motorway to say that they had made such good progress with their journey they had decided to continue to their destination & therefore wouldn’t be coming after all. Very annoying to say the least! One of our other “returner” families also didn`t make it either, but with them I understood, as their car broke down en route & they were really upset not to be able to get it fixed, so had to cancel. We were disappointed not to see them…& so were they. Poor Michael was almost in tears when he rang…it had been a very bad day for them. I have been using the gite occasionally for B&B too as it seemed silly to leave it empty when we had demands for B&B. It is really hard work though, so we have decided not to be too silly with this, as it wears us out taking all these one nighters. We have our really lovely English returner family installed in the gite now though for a whole fortnight. Karen, Charles, Emily & Matthew are back for their 4th visit & its so nice to see them all again. On Sunday night we had a very rare experience here as we had a full house of English folk! We had an English family in both B&B rooms & in the gite too. It was lovely to be able to speak English all evening for once!
We have started our Summer date days again. For new readers, this is our way to get a day off, away from the computer, phone & people & as we are usually busy at the weekends in summer, we try & go somewhere different each Wednesday for lunch & a swim in lakes around here. So far, we have been to Culnhat, Chaise Dieu, where we ate the most amazing Thai food – practically unknown here in the Auvergne, & last week, as I was still banned from swimming, we went to Lavaudieu & had lunch & a paddle in the river there, instead. We do so love these days & hope to continue exploring for the rest of the summer.
And so, to the main event of July…well for me anyway. Following the appointment with the anaesthetist, at which I was given the all clear health wise, I was admitted as a day patient to the clinic in Clermont Ferrand & had the cataract removed from my left eye. I was quite anxious…I
m a nurse after all & we nurses never make good patients…but all went extremely well. I had to disrobe completely, was given a delightful paper gown, some paper knickers (what fun!) & after a short wait was walked down to theatre. I was given local anaesthetic drops in my eye & best of all, IV Valium (youpi!) & as I had been told, I remembered nothing much after that! It all went very smoothly & I soon found myself being wheeled back to the little day patient ward, where a pretty skimpy breakfast of a bowl of very strong black coffee, two biscuits & a pot of apple compote was offered. I had been prewarned about this & had taken in a flask of coffee as I find French coffee undrinkable. I had to wait for an hour or so afterwards, had the venflon removed from my arm, discarded the gown & paper knix with joy & then Geoff came to pick me up. I had a lovely clear plastic shield over the eye which was removed back at the clinic the next day. And then…I could see again. People had told me that the difference in my vision would be great … and it was! Suddenly I can see colours so much brighter & the definition of things like leaves & flowers is amazing. I hadnt really taken on board full just how bad my vision was before the op. Apart from a bit of grittiness in my eye for a few days everything has been wonderful. I was told not to lift heavy things, not to bend & not to get dust in my eye, so the busy weekend we had doing he B&B as usual was a bit difficult, but Geoff managed to make the beds & clean the rooms quite well…under supervision of course! I also had not been prepared for how tired I felt in the week after the op. My nurse brain could find no reason for it, but I felt totally worn out…maybe due to the stress beforehand. This did not help with coping with the B&B either. However, I have now been given the all clear by the surgeon, so it is business as usual again…& after a bit of persuasion, he also said I could swim so long as I didn
t put my face in the water. Fat chance of that…Im a definite “old lady” swimmer…my head never goes in the water & I even wear sun glasses when I swim! I have drops to put in my eye for another week & an appointment to have the right eye done in October. Can`t wait now…bring it on
It was our Resistance Memorial ceremony at St Etienne sur Usson last Sunday & we were able to go to that after the B&B guests had gone. There was a big turn out as usual & it was very moving. Afterwards everyone went up to the salle de fetes for a drink & some finger food nibbles…which had been made by our friend Viviane (of the Le Margalou) & which were delicious!
We are also back swimming in the lake at Vernet where the water quality has been declared safe again, so we are very happy. Ususally, we tootle up there for an hour or so at the end of each day if we can. It has been a life saver recently as the days have been so hot…way too hot to sit on our terrace most days. Thank goodness we have had the Tour de France to watch! It has meant we could sit inside in the coolness of our living room with no regrets about being inside! This hot weather is due to continue for at least another week we hear. The garden is looking awful…totally dry & & the grass is burnt to a crisp, but the veggies are thriving - courgettes galore as usual – & our first ripe tomatoes today
And so, August is upon us. Once again, we have a very busy few weeks ahead with the B&B & we still have our lovely English family in the gite until the 11th. It is good to see the gite occupied & children in the garden again. I have Matthew observing & recording butterflies on the buddleia tree just now, not to mention keeping Xena very occupied. The poor dog is worn out! I have also got Emily sitting in the sunshine, knitting some baby hats for me which she is enjoying! All is well at Chabanol for the moment. Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone…& think of us poor souls who are still working!
A bientot mes amis