Well March…you really did a one didn`t you? I think this has to go down in the whole archives of this blog as being the most misery laden month ever with one thing and another. I will get the bad things out of the way first and then hopefully lighten up a bit towards the end as there have been a few things which have made us smile thank goodness.
My theory of never going near a doctor (or nurse in this case) unless absolutely necessary, was fully borne out by the blood results of last month confirming that I do indeed, have Type 2 diabetes. I was very surprised as I have absolutely no symptoms and feel very well indeed, but the blood sugar levels in my blood are very high, so I can no longer adopt my usual “head in the sand” approach to this health problem, unfortunately. Visits to the nurse (who it turns out is a diabetes expert) have resulted in my having to change a lifetime of eating habits, taking daily exercise, taking medication and some very sore finger ends as I have to check the levels frequently. All of which I hate with a passion. The diet is a complete pain…no bread, no potatoes, no pasta, no fruit juice, no biscuits or cake and of course no chocolate. All of those items were my staple diet…not in huge quantities you understand, but all the meals we love and cook frequently have now gone by the board and I am finding it very hard indeed. One of the big problems has been that although there is loads of information as to what not to eat, the information as to what you can eat is sketchy. I have spent most of the month researching recipes and filling my cupboards and fridge with stuff which I really don
t like, scrutinising food labels carefully for carbohydrate content and tearing my hair out! Although we are managing to get the evening meals more or less sorted now, breakfasts and lunches are hard. I can eat cheese, meat (until it comes out of my ears) and eggs, but cant have the bread to make a sandwich or toast. Cereals are out too and I hate muesli, as are croissants or anything really nice like that! I also have to be very careful with my intake of fibre as it affects my gut (always has) and so my choices are again limited. However, the good news is that my BS levels have dropped considerably since all this started although I am still experiencing odd blips in the readings with no idea why. I have also lost weight which is another goal of all this (theirs not mine!) as is evident by the way my trousers are falling down! And, of course, the shops are shut so I can`t buy new ones As you (especially those of you who know me well) can imagine, I am one really unhappy bunny with all this…but having had lots of emotional blackmail heaped upon me by my family (and the flipping nurse) I will continue and try to be good…for the time being anyway.
Geoff also found himself having to go to see the GP this month. After living in France for 13 years and visiting the doctor about 6 times in all that time it is a little ironic that both of us should be frequent visitors this month, Geoff had a problem with his ear and being dizzy which was diagnosed as “swimmers ear”…ironic also, as we have done no swimming for ages! It was quickly sorted with a spray so at least he is happy again now. He is also happy to have had his new toy (a folding bike) fixed and was enjoying cycling up to see our daughter (and the dog) on it. He does look a bit like a pea on a drum but he likes the bike very much, and although he was horrified that I insisted he buy a helmet, he does wear it, thank goodness. Sadly, the bike has been mothballed for now though, due to the Corona Virus restrictions but it was evidently fun while it lasted.
I should, of course, have been writing this post whilst enjoying some sunshine, sea views and swimming activities in the South of France, but as it became increasingly clear as the month went on, that flying to and being in France just now was not a good idea, we had to make the decision to stay here instead for the foreseeable future. I am not sure I am ready to try and continue this diet in France for a start and at the moment I still need the advice and moral boosting help from others. Also, the CV restrictions have knocked any travel plans well and truly into a cocked hat for everyone at the moment. Although we are really disappointed not to be taking advantage of our lovely little flat and getting a bit of sunshine, we are very pleased we had not gone and become stuck there. Our idea of having this flat, has always been to get out in the sunshine, swim in the sea and explore the surrounding countryside…all of which are very strictly out of bounds in France just now, so it wouldn
t have been much fun anyway. My only worry is that we didnt really mothball the flat as well as we maybe should have done in January, as we thought we would be back in a few weeks. We are keeping our fingers crossed that all will be good when we do eventually get back there.
Of course, the main misery for everyone his month has been our friend the Corona Virus. It has meant that we like thousands of others have had to put our lives on hold for the foreseeable future…and it is hard isn
t it? Happily, we are both well and although I now find myself being categorised in one of the “vunerable” groups because of the diabetes, we are treating the self isolating very seriously. It is very hard for us, as we were so enjoying seeing more of our family, having meet ups with our grandchildren and doing things that we had not done in many years. My long-awaited trip to the theatre in Newcastle to see the RSC was cancelled of course. My art group has also been cancelled as have our trips to church, where we were just getting to know a few people. We are lucky to have a few nice walks on our doorstep, so we are going out for a walk each day, usually separately and taking care to body swerve nicely when we meet anyone else. Also, we are lucky to have a small garden which has been great for getting outside the four walls of the flat! In fact, I suspect this little garden is looking the best it has ever done, as we have been lavishing a lot of care on it, buying planters, plants and a new fence panel to replace the one which was broken in the storms earlier. Geoff though, is really missing his long walks with Xena…and I am sure she is missing him too. Our big excitement is to go and do the weekly shop…sad isnt it? And even that has to be done alone now. We have been fairly lucky with our local shops and supermarkets in that we haven
t really suffered from the national silliness of other places and have been able to buy everything we need…including loo rolls! Just whilst on the subject of loo rolls…I even got one as a Mothers Day gift from my thoughtful SIL! Because I am not yet confident with food stuffs and still need to read labels, we haven’t opted for home deliveries. Anyway, I enjoy getting out a bit…even with my gloves on and standing in a well-spaced queue round the carpark the other day, it was a change of scenery!
Before we were all locked down, we did have a bit of fun. I had a great meet up with my old nursing pals in Hexham one day, where we all enjoyed a lovely lunch (this was before the diet restrictions kicked in!) and a great catch up with family news and setting the world to rights as we always do when we meet. It was a bit sobering to realise that it will be 50 years this October since we all first met in the nurse’s home in the RVI in Newcastle. 50 years…OMG! By chance, I was in the RVI the other day for the first time for many, many years and couldn`t recognise anything, except Peacock Hall which still is unchanged. Peacock Hall was where, in our day, the senior nursing sisters and matron had their offices and as I looked at the beautiful wooden staircase, I remembered the only time you went up those stairs, was to get a telling off because you had done something wrong or been naughty. I hasten to add I was not a frequent visitor! Honest!
We also just managed to squeak in a visit to the NE before isolation, to meet up with a group of old neighbours from the days when we all lived in Seaton Sluice. Although we have kept in regular contact with one of the couples (Gill & Charles), we haven`t seen the other two couples for many, many years. We all met up in Whitley Bay and had lunch together in the recently refurbished Spanish City building, which is now a really nice restaurant. It was good to see everyone again and swap stories of our children (who all once played together in the cul-de-sac) and now, of course, our grandchildren. It all seems such a long time ago when we all brought those children home as babies & shared a communal bag of baby clothes which did the rounds to everyone in turn! I always smile too when we visit Gill & Charles & see photos of their daughter wearing the same dresses as my daughter wore in her photos a couple of years later! Those were the days Geoff and I also took the opportunity to do a mini nostalgic tour of the NE on this trip driving along streets in Newcastle, Jesmond (past the pub where we first met) along the Coast Road past the Formica factory (where G worked for many years) into Tynemouth and along the coast to Whitley Bay. On the way home we drove along to Seaton Sluice, then past Seaton Delaval Hall and finally we drove back to Carlisle via the Military road passing all the Roman Wall places that my Dad loved to visit so much. It was a very good day
Our last outing before isolation was to go with Hazel to a Rotary do organised by Phil
s club. It was a sounds of the 60s,70s and 80s night and we had a lot of fun dancing away to the very good music played by one of Phils Rotarian friends. Apart form the buffet meal – mainly sandwiches, quiches, sausage rolls and crisps - none of which fell into my dietary allowances – it was a brilliant evening and we enjoyed it very much.
So now…total misery has arrived with all the self isolation and social distancing rules and restrictions, so all of this frivolity has come to an end. We are really disappointed to have had to put all our socialising and plans to meet people here on hold. I am missing being able to go to church again where we had just started to get to know people. The same goes for my art group and Geoff has had to stop his guitar lessons and his Pilates class, both of which he was enjoying. He is still playing his guitar and doing Pilates at home but it is not quite the same. We are trying to keep busy but, I am seriously regretting having sent all my jigsaws to our flat in St Aygulf! I am even missing the regular bags of ironing which my daughter was bringing me. Yes, I know …that is really sad! But worst of all, like everyone else, we can
t see our family which is very hard indeed. We had really begun to enjoy seeing a lot of Hazel and Phil and meeting up with Matthew and the grandchildren…and now we are back to square one ☹ We are “seeing” them through the media of Skype like everyone else but it is really not the same. I am only thankful that we do actually have all this technology these days though. We have also used Skype to chat to other family and friends who we dont see very often, so that has been a good thing to come out of all this. We still are in touch with many French friends and they are also having a tough time …with mega fines if they breech the restrictions too. I am so pleased we retired and got out of France before all this happened as I suspect our businesses would not have survived and that we would not have seen anyone where we lived for weeks. We are both going out for short walks as is permitted, but Geoff is missing his walks with the dog, big time. We are lucky to have the river so close to the flat and there are nice paths there, where it is possible to keep everyone else at a distance, so we tend to walk there. We are also lucky in having a small garden where we can sit outside when the weather is good. It is a real pain though all this isn`t it? I suspect it will go on for a long time too. Goodness knows what I will find to write about next month!!
So, on that cheery note I will finish. Please all of you stay safe and stay well.
A bientot mes amis