I last left off wittering blog writing, somewhere in the South of France, the Ardeche to be precise. My summer became ever more exciting and full of music, friends and wild times peppered with the usual health dramas. Also some extra weight to be shifted, NOT Thyroid related. Our camping holiday in France took on special holiday elastic time, one moment things would feel endless and balmy, the next all speeded up in the direction of the UK again. I now feel that we have been back for years not weeks.
Our long lazy days abroad, started with brunch, where we appeared to consume our own body weight in cheese sampling, washed down with coffee and various seasonal fruits. I remained gluten free, but of course could have done with my jaws being wired together. The afternoons were spent walking, or rather ambling and exploring, including the local Artisian luxury ice cream parlour. once visited, twice addicted and three times, culminating into a daily occurrence for everybody staying at our friend's house, with 16 people practically ready to gallop there by midday. The days would then stretch into a long evening dinner outside, where we all collectively cooked and sat amongst the tents and chalets, having what can only be described as banquets, candle lit under clouds of ferocious mosquitoes. I managed only one bite for the entire holiday, as my insect surveillance services were running at full pelt.
I was also very amused by my friend's mother in law, who is best described as 'Ab Fab' a very wild and exotic older woman who delighted in telling me that she had several boyfriends set up in convenient locations all over the place, and her cougar like tendencies were unstoppable, she was very pleased with what I did to their national loaf as the French don't really eat garlic bread, well they do now, (I made ten loaves for a party we had, with enough garlic in it to sink a battleship), and she was further pleased with my mountain of roast garlic potatoes after sampling these. My husband before his sudden escape from her clutches, was definitely on her menu for dessert. She did manage to convey to me in French, with my limited understanding of the conversation, that she wanted to find out about English cheese, I have invited her to stay in the UK for a cheese eating trip, I intend to let her loose on my local snobby town.
Naturally after being there one day and deciding how drama free everything was, my daughter's partner suddenly had a life threatening asthma attack. Before anybody could say 'snails in garlic butter', we were on the road to the nearest facility. The local about to retire French GP, was most on the ball, he was a no nonsense Gauloises smoking (not during the appointment), red wine drinking fine specimen of the area, who understood my diabolical French and who was only too ready to agree with me that the English GP who had taken the young man's mediation away was truly and definitely an idiot. He literally spat in annoyance. His swift reaction to the situation helped avoid hospital. My own faint cougarish tendencies lent me to giving him a diplomatic hug. The young guy had been told, recently in the UK at a planned check up, that the Asthma he had had since childhood was a thing of the past. I had not agreed with this. The write up for the now ex surgery is currently glowing hot red. Meanwhile an infection I had brewed all the way from England in my bladder disappeared on the D Mannose and I was able to escape antibiotics again.
Once the Asthma had passed away and the correct inhalers were installed a family day with our friends was planned canoeing down The Ardeche River. I could not have even contemplated this one year ago. Off we went 5 canoes in yellow and pink, use of my terrible French again, some instructions as to how to negotiate the weirs and rapids, which of course I did not listen to correctly. Also some firm lacing up of life jackets. My friend Hairy legs was in fine fighting mode and was already thinking ahead of rapids and weirs to cool French beer and frites, on the riverside beaches.
I do actually own a double canoe and spent my youth paddling around the coast of Devon in this for many years. As a clue here, my husband did not do this. As a rule of thumb the person in the back yells instructions to the front, and they are supposed to co-operate. For the first hour of this trip, our husband and wife bickering kept hundreds of people amused, I am quite incapable of being quiet if irritated, and he is incapable of being told anything at all. So straight down the first weir, where we capsized immediately, off floated my neon pink sandals, my water supply, all sun cream and my glasses. I was at this stage too hot anyway and it was good to get our inevitable drenching out of the way. Our squabbling reached a hysterical point of no returns and then we settled into marital bliss with the paddling in sync and made a very good job of negotiating the rapids, in fact so good, that we did not fall out at all, either with each other or out of the canoe. We even took it in turns to be bossy boots, and I had to sit in the front and be bossed around by him, although his half baked instructions making no sense brought on temporary murderous thoughts. I loved this trip, and can't wait to go back and do another 20 K, that is the plan for next summer. I really like the French, very matter of fact, warm and friendly and I do like their nosh and wine.
The river itself, very warm and deep in parts, plus full of shoals of fish varying from small to really quite huge. we stopped every so often and all had a swim and worked up a big appetite in order to help with dinner and the large quantities of planned red wine. I enjoyed spotting the various piles of shoes and clothing, cameras, glasses and food parcels, left drying on rocks, clearly the result of various other capsizings, I never saw my stuff again, but was not bothered in the slightest. If anybody further down the River had a Cinderella moment, and found their feet in my shocking pink Birkenstocks, all washed and fitting nicely, I can assure you they will have had a ball, as my feet go places and have adventures.
We departed back to the UK at a leisurely pace, deciding not to try and do the drive to the French ferry in one go, we stopped over night in a dire hotel, that gave me goose bumps of horror, due to mould behind bathroom doors, and a concierge with about as much charm as a curiosity of taxidermy, the only thing that stood out about his character was his extreme halitosis that practically pinned me against the wall, as I tried to negotiate in my pigeon French regarding the whereabouts of 'loo paper' He understood perfectly well, but seemed reluctant to open the cupboard of supplies that I had located behind his desk.
Despite our early start, and gruesome breakfast washed down with coffee that had never seen a bean, we still managed to miss the ferry. The satnav failed in both cars and we drove around in circles noticing our Ferry departing out to sea, from the wrong part of town, compared to where we thought we should be. Once at the right place, and ready to do battle with the front line of bureaucracy, regarding our now redundant ferry tickets, my husband, grinning inanely, poured out his best, 'oh dear how stupid I am look what has happened to us charm', and they let us straight on the next one with no questions asked. We then bickered our way back to Blighty with perfect weather and a true Vera Lynn horizon.
Once back home the usual settling in routine came about, including old and cross cats who had been annoyed we had left, but nevertheless been spoilt rotten by the teenagers I left in charge of them and the garden and the house in general. They do sit and watch films and give my ancient mogs some attention. I might stay behind myself the next time, such is the level of tlc. My man then prepared to leave again, and quite rapidly disappeared counties away to stay a non speaking retreat. I knew he had settled into this, once whispered messages had stopped arriving via their receptionist to my telephone, with urgent instructions for me regarding all the clients he had forgotten about.
Once back from that, we embarked on more live music, the high point of my summer was being well enough to play my violin again...and be part of the band. After one or two or three too many, at the dead of night in France, I had astonished myself with my busking, (I blame it on my memory banks improving on the NDT), as we started to play Somewhere Over the Rainbow, from out of nowhere instead of my usual jazz style for it, I burst into a fully orchestral version, not played since I sat in an orchestra pit some 35 years previously. I frightened myself and all the guests. Since that moment various other tunes have emerged and I refer to them as a soundtrack to possible menopausal sobbing. My daughter has half moved out, so I have the beginnings of empty nest syndrome, the two worst tear jerkers so far, regarding retro film watching with my children when they were small, so far are, 'somewhere over the rainbow', and 'feed the birds', Mary Poppins and 'a spoonful of medicine' etc. The slightest hint of those tunes causes a menopausal welling up to take place. I supposed it beats gnawing on twigs at dusk in the half light.
I am sure something dreadful is afoot with hormones, and of course I am correctly guided by Dr BDP on the correct dosage and slathering of bio identical hormones creams. I have of late, had the most frightful dreams. One brought on by reading all the sensationalized Daily Fail type reports of bites people have had in the UK from false widow spiders, and an actual incident when my man was away on his non speaking activity. I had gone to bed quite early and was really looking forward to my lap top and some decent crap telly. I became aware, as I sat bolt up right in the quiet of my bedroom, tea tray and everything just so for maximum relaxation, that something was making a scratching and clicking noise, on intrepid inspection something black and hairy and the size of mouse was descending my bedroom curtain. Not long ago, my cat would have had it straight away and eaten it, but she is 92 in cat years and blissfully unaware of her surroundings beyond treats. I had to engineer the vile thing into a vase and chuck it out of the window. The next day I had a lot of sweeping up to do, and in fact even hoovered my patio for broken glass fragments.
The next night my dream was even worse, I think partly as on social network I have been in touch with my old art teacher from school, he remembered me in neon detail which made me very pleased, including my wild character and tendency to be out of the box etc. After a long and hilarious chat with him, I had drifted off into bizarre dreams. I was desperately negotiating my old school which I might add theses days resides under a pile of rubble with several housing estates on top. The school in my day was reigned over by an anaemic head devoid of character, substance, humour, intelligence in fact anything at all rather than misplaced religious zeal which went straight over my head due to special ear plugs I wore during school assemblies.
In this vivid dream I was wearing the most dire wedding dress, a white rigid and layered meringue of a dress, several feet wide, which was made of nasty scratchy material and was scraping the walls of the corridor as I scratched my way down to the art block, the noise the dress made was similar to nails on a blackboard.
A) I refused to get married for years and B) being an ex tom boy when I eventually did marry my lovely man, I wore purple with a fushia pink velvet jacket, and C) at age 9 I already knew I would never be dragged up any aisle in a puffy white dress. So most peculiar, but interesting that as my sleep improves on the NDT I am dreaming more.
As autumn trots along with so much sun, I have twice managed to mow the lawns again, something I could not have done months back, and to add to our wild displays have put in another 15 giant purple Allium bulbs along the front of our house. I like being out at the front, as I do meet new neighbours. One set are as persistent as the mosquitoes in France.
They have an annual hedge cut that brings on some sort of horticultural OCD, even under the hedge is swept and individual leaves that have escaped up the road are grimaced about, and hints are dropped about weeds in my lawn. Leaflets dropped off about products with names such as 'Garden Guard' or Hypervigilant Weed Exterminate, or Bee Nuke-up etc. My approach is dig the weed up and protect the bees, no matter how many times I am marched around to survey their sloping acres of bowling green perfect grass, I will not be budged, it will be a nice treat for them the planned Delphinum and Lupin beds housed in cast off giant tractor tyres...
The autumn is panning out well, our loft it due to be converted so I shall have to keep the dust down somehow and all our health ticks along. I spent quite some time sorting my son out who had a sudden admission to hospital with pneumonia, but even that was sorted swiftly, it gave me a chance to see that all the paper work I constantly cross reference to all medical staff who deal with myself and the children was working very well, no stone was unturned and I had only praise for the hospital, which is a change completely from a few years ago. I have nominated our paediatrician for an award, the care of my children has been outstanding, and mine has improved in leaps and bounds also, all brought about by my persistence to have a fair hearing and some practical action and help when needed.
Now as I list my plans for next week in case of memory bank failure, top of my list is to test my T3 via the recommended labs, via TUK, Second on the list is stockpiling logs and kindling, a job I really like, I went out in my local woods today and gathered 3 carrier bags of kindling to dry out.. for those days when he will not chop any wood to order.
More nonsense soon.
ps since removing my holiday eat all you can plan, my weight loss is steady again, around 1 per week!