Spring edition – Pollen, hospital crepes and bricolage.
As I type, my man is performing a very delicate operation. With spec’s perched on the end of the swollen pollen nostrils, breathing heavily, with Hugo and Narla waiting in anticipation and doubt, JS is about to attempt a first for a Vet. To install a washing machine into an unknown pipe in the garage.
We have had all the 1984/1986 editions of The Reader’s Digest DIY manuals laid out on the kitchen table. The local Belgian engineer and swimming pool expert advising, another friend clearly was not going to attempt such a delicate procedure, but, my man was fearless. “Simple” he said after one whiskey and two glasses of the finest Chateau neuf de pape, “if I can perform a colostomy on a dachhound,I can certainly plumb in this little number. Think how much it will save us Nessie!!! “
“It’s dripping Nessie”.
“It’s not JS, its absolutely pouring out”.
“Turn off the tap”.
“Which tap? There are 6 that I can see”.
“Try any or all of them”.
Hugo is swimming for his life, the most exercise he has had for years. Narla wants to live back in Welly road and I want to call jean Pierre. But, like all famous surgeons, JS fiddles with the outlet, inlet, whatever, and the flood ceases. (He should have been a urologist)
“See, I told you I could do it!”
No washing machine working, but the garage has had an excellent clean out.
Onwards and upwards… we are about to have our guests bathroom transformed from a Mary Quant 60’s affair to something that Olif can respect and boast about. Naturally we have waited to do this until Tash was courting a suitable man, Cedric, an electrician, and whose father happens to be a builder…bingo, move in quickly Olif, before they change their minds!
Preparing for the date of bathroom transformation, I decide that we must clear the decks of the old sanitary ware, including the bidet, and 501 wall tiles exactly!
We borrowed from Jill, an expert on demolition work, the largest tool Olif has ever had the pleasure of using. A Hammer Drill. My mate Colin C says, every female should have one in the house, you just cannot exist in a French house without one, and he’s absolutely correct, except I need Colin or Guy to balance the machine. It’s so heavy, even for a physio.
Four days later, tenosynovitis, sacro iliac subluxation, rather too much swearing, and two Belgian 70 year olds lifting a 675kg cast iron bath, (I can tell you they make them tough in Brussels) we have the remorque (trailer) full of sanitary ware. Off to the dechetterie (the Tip ) and the job is done.
Enough of the DIY.
JS has more allergies than anyone else on this planet, Allergic to:
Dogs, cats and particularly guinea pigs.
Rabbits, the extra fluffy ones nearly finish him off.
Dust, therefore housework’s out.
Smoke (strangely, when he smokes his Romeo and Juliet, this has no affect!)
And finally more and more frequently. ME!
So, he administers himself daily a concoction of anti-histamine tablets, nasal inhalers, eye drops, chest anti-inflammatory inhalers, creams for the sore nose and wears the anti-snoring device every night to try and quieten the inevitable noise. This really is some medication. The result being, he is as high as a kite, snores all night, but keeps the pharmacy’s yearly profits well up.
Despite all these allergies, it is always a good excuse to suggest a sunny holiday for us both in the depths of winter (we have had a lot of snow this year I might add!) So it was Egypt. Perfect for such an allergic man, all he had to worry about this time was diarrhoea or a possible revolution.
Sharm el sheikh, Luxor and Cairo…..sun, blue skies, the pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, the Egyptian Antiquities Museum, The Temple of Karnak, the Luxor Temple and of course the valley of the Kings. A very early start, 4am, (I am not good at this time of the morning, as both Tess and Tash can vouch for, bottle feeding soon came to end when they realized Mummy was not coherent or more importantly incapable of such simple tasks as nappy changing or warming the milk!)
However, the early start was well worth it, and we were escorted for the entire day by a highly informative Egyptologist totally at our disposal, there are so few tourists nowadays.
Flights to Cairo and Luxor were definitely an experience, having missed the runway twice on our approach back to Sharm, after the Luxor adventure, the gentleman next to me calmly told me that the pilots usually allow the co-pilot to land at night, because he is too drunk to coordinate!! C. C. told us later that the pilots were rarely licensed to fly passenger aircraft!
Back at St Blaise, a rather scary evening was spent meeting all the French neighbours at our French professor Mathias’s house. They are all French, we were told that no-one could speak English, and we were expected for drinks at Dix sept heure.
JS offered me a stiff drink before we departed for the soiree, and away we went. All 10 were gathered in the lounge waiting to meet the Roast beef’s. Not sure if I was to shake their hands or go for the kissy thing, I offered my right hand, but it was ignored and away the kissing went, they even kissed JS twice each, times ten! No wonder they all get the flu at the same time.
Well you have been proud of me Bernard, of The Birmingham language school, after 3 glasses of champers, a glass of white and a glass of red, I was well into Passe compose, imparfait and occasionally a bit of plus-que-parfait du subjonctif apparently, although I didn’t know it. And do you know after 4 hours of getting to know these charming les grenouilles, everyone of them could speak English!!
Tash and Cedric continue to improve their mobile home, reaching standards well beyond any other mobile home on the site. It stands out a mile, perfectly manicured garden, with all the latest plants from the garden centre that Tash is being sponsored by, a BBQ, awning, garden lights, hav’nt seen a gnome yet, but it will only be time!!
My best mate Chantal’s husband Jeff, has recently been taken into hospital, with further heart complications. We visited him yesterday at Frejus hospital ITU cardiology ward. His condition was stable, and his only complaint was that he was starving, and the nurses were old and ugly, except for the night nurse! So he sleeps during the day and stays awake at night! Jeff is 90 years old! He asked for an apricot crepe, and a large shot of whiskey, and sure enough in the hospital foyer was a lady making fresh crepes, with or without Chantilly crème. Does this exist at the Q.E.? he didn’t get the whiskey.
As from June 2012 French Law dictates that every driver must have the following easily accessible in his/her car.
GB sticker or number plate with EU logo.
Motor insurance certificate.
Headlamp converters for driving on the right.
Both paper and photo card parts of UK driving licence.
I have found that the new Ryanair inflight holdall is the perfect size to fit all this lot into, along with a separate zipped area for the 100euros cash needed to bribe the Gendarme, the pocket sized French/English dictionary, glasses so you can see the small lettering, and it doubles up if you do actually fly with this airline, cos it has a plastic bag for you to wee in during your flight to save you from paying an extra 5euros to use their loo!
French Politics. Hollande will win, not good for the filthy rich!!
Finally, I must leave you all. JS has got bored with the washing machine and is on the roof adjusting the satellite dish!
All my love
J &J A. How is the star patient coming along?
TJ. Have you treated Mrs Smith recently, she has been waiting a long time. Missing you toooo.
R.P. Thank you so much for the finding, purchasing and posting the paint, we now need some plastic plumbing glue??
M & M. My graphic designer extraordinaire and computer boffin. Thank you so much for all your help. Now, Mike get on and check the grammar of this little recital! (Done – Gerbil).
DD & A. Where is the paint we ordered 2 weeks ago???
P & A. Can I challenge P to a game of golf yet?
JJ. KK xx.
K and Big man. Trees to be cut, curtains to hem, whiskey at the ready, can’t wait to see you. Xx.
C.E.D. and G. it’s time we skyped again soon.xxxxxxxxxxxxx.
S.E. Is it going well? Love the tooth fairy. Xxx.
J&J B. Spuggies struggling on without you, glad to hear the DIY is progressing well, and Mathias is missing his star pupil.
C&V C. Do you need the Cavalry yet?
Mathias. I shall translate all this lot next week at our French lesson. Love the Teachers Pet. Xxx
A & C K. Could you Chris come and cook us a curry? Sooooooon. Xxxx
J,C & J. Have you got your posh frock yet?