…of deer, December and doing things

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We see deer often on our walks in the late afternoon and early evening. Himself snapped this one a couple of days ago. We live in France and so of course it has probably been shot by now.

I know hunting is part of the french life style and culture and we might be overrun with deer as they have no natural enemy here, but for the life of me I will never understand how some people really enjoy, get their kicks, whatever you want to call it – out of killing another living creature.

It’s december and sometimes it’s almost been too cold to walk our usual route, -3.5°C. That’s a minus…Brrr!

But I’m glad to say most days I get a walk however short, and the views are lovely – whatever the weather. Reflections and the mist rising make we want to be a real photographer.

and as for the doing things? Hmm…I have joined a knitting group – hardly a group since we are just three, but I have to speak french and of course, knit. So I have made a shawl for my English speaking french friend who puts up with my stilted conversation and who gave me the confidence to contact the group…

…and a case to keep my needles in.

And so the ordinary life just keeps on keeping on – and isn’t that wonderful?

I often wonder why I write this – I try and believe I am ‘practising my craft’ so that  one day before I croak, I will have this idea for a fantastic story…

and as the American playwright and journalist, Elaine Liner said:

‘if writers stopped writing about what happened to them, there would be a lot of empty pages.’

 

‘don’t let your dreams die, while you are still alive’

…that quote is by some philosopher or other called DJ Kyos. I don’t know who he is and really the quote has nothing to do with the rubbish I am about to write – but I do like it. So here goes, more wafflings from an ordinary life.

What with all the hoohaa about Brexit and no one knowing what’s going on, or what may or may not happen to Britain in the future, and the instability in the £, and whether or not I should become a french citizen, and whether or not it will stop raining before dark so I can take the dog for a walk….then really its only dreams that seem real and so he’s right, they shouldn’t be allowed to die..

And yes it is raining and so look what I achieved this morning…img_0699

A vey neat and tidy drawer.

Oh what a sad person I can hear you all shouting at my tidily placed and colour coded underwear.

My excuse is – apart from the fact that I felt like doing it and it is very therapeutic, well sort of…my excuse is – it was raining – and I haven’t got a single idea in my head for a poem or a story…I am so good at excuses – maybe I could write a book on ‘the excuses I have used for NOT writing.’

What a wonderful holiday we have just had in the UK seeing the family and friends.

Tarn Hows –  where we went to The Drunken Duck pub for lunch with a cousin, and the beach at Bridlington in the late afternoon sun, where we went for a walk with the dog.

We went to the theatre – being an expat, immigrant – call it what you will – has lots to commend it – but oh it is so wonderful to enjoy an evening of live performance. This was an excellent production of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Man who would be King.’It was good to catch up with our friends too – although we could have so easily not got there in time due to us country bumpkins not being used to the big city traffic; something called ‘The Loop,’ the left hand drive car on British roads, and just generally always being in the wrong lane.

Well worth it though, and thanks m’dear, for organising it.

And I went with one daughter to see Louden Wainwright  – so a night of live music too.

What a great time – not to mention lunch with some old work colleagues, being with  the daughters and grandchildren, and some friends I hadn’t seen for years…and oh yes, a little bit of retail therapy…

Back to the calm tranquility of the cottage, speaking french, the odd tractor passing now and then, home made parsnip soup and…

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…crocheting leaves.

Why?

Because a daughter asked for some. I can crochet granny squares, only granny squares, like my mother before me – I’ve been a knitter all my life – leaves –  this is a whole new ballgame. Always up for a challenge, that’s me…if you believe that…

Its always nice to feel you might be still useful in old age – himself will be wood turning Harry Potter type wands for the very same reason – and yes we do enjoy it.

And now its Autumn

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There’s plenty of bracken around here

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…and does this mean its going to be a harsh winter?

My quote for this week is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe born in 1749 – another one you all probably know – but yet again, another one I like…

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture,and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.’

I’m off to read a poem – ‘The Water Mill’ by Sarah Doudney – as good a place to start as any.

I have a mind to learn it off by heart so if I ever wasn’t able to see the words I could say it to myself in my dotage.

Onwards, readers of my rubbish – there’s a poem to be read out there.

 

 

 

 

still happy…

well this old granny is still in the land of living and has survived another surgical intervention!

Out came the old, and judging by the size of the stones, defunct gallbladder!

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I am a bit bruised and still a bit sore but thinking back to the other surgeries I’ve had before the invention of keyhole – this is a piece of cake!

Things are not quite so straightforward in french – my second language skills are not nearly as good as I would want them to be, but we managed.

The september weather is truly glorious, a cosy fire at night but warm enough for lunch on the terrace. The prospect of getting fit again to walk the dog down the country lanes, and to enjoy food again and leisurely lunches with friends.

What could be better?

Certainly here is one contented old lady.

 

 

 

 

Sister

My sister – I only have the one – has been to stay for three weeks.

What an excellent time we have had. Me, perhaps because of the company and the speaking English, for my husband a rest from me chunnering on at him all the time, and for her, perhaps the wall to wall sunshine – a change from the west coast of Ireland where she lives.

And for us both, a week of sun and sand and swimming in the sea down in the south of France.

And I am reminded of the quote by Christina Rossetti

‘for there is no friend like a sister, in calm or stormy weather;

to cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray,

to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands’

Why bother?

Some thoughts on those two words

Message to self…

Those are the worst words in the English language, without a doubt.

They are followed by who cares? who knows? why try and snap out of it? They are the harbinger of self pity and shouldn’t be used…

Why try and be upbeat and why not just sit and fester and moan and let the black dog that’s yapping at your heels come and sit on your lap or next to you on the sofa or in bed. Why not?

I’ll tell you why not, that way self pity and madness lies. You have eyes and ears and feelings. You can do something for someone else for a change, make someone smile and feel good about themselves and stop moaning for a start…

OK, so life is not perfect, but how could it be, and why should it be?

OK so you are old and tired and crotchety, your knees won’t bend without hurting,  you seem invisible and everyone else is younger than you – but suck it up -just SUCK IT UP. This is as good as it gets.

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Mirrors…

As many of you know, and are bored by the fact, we had the bathroom refurbished recently.
IMG_0350and the point is?

Hmm… there is now a well lit mirror I can see into…before it was fine for himself but not for five foot two me. IMG_0579

‘It can’t be true,’ was my first thought. The face that stared out at me was all the things I never thought was happening yet!

It was so OLD looking. ‘I am really old,’ I thought, a real honest to goodness  old woman…

I find that thought a little dismal – I should be giving thanks that I managed to get here at all.

The next time I notice someone’s eyes glazing over when I am telling a tale of the ‘olden days’ and I realise I’ve said it all before, I will definitely keep quiet. Or maybe if they are younger than me I’ll bore the pants off them just for fun, and if they are older…well they won’t remember what I’ve said anyway.

Wrinkles – well I’ve always had those but the really deep lines – those little feckers just appeared overnight!

Not having wrinkles – a pome

Not having wrinkles

may enable you to look younger,

but your conversation

will give the game away

and your experiences will tell on you.

 

Not having wrinkles

will not help when you need

to see a doctor

and find your worst fears

have come true.

 

Not having wrinkles

may help you get

the younger person’s job

but your feet will ache

trying to keep dancing with the piper.

 

Not having wrinkles

may help your self esteem and confidence –

But what for?

 

Not having wrinkles

does not enable you

to

cheat the grim reaper.

 

And where did those knobbly feet come from?

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At least they still keep me upright.

The thing is: no one expects a 69 year old to want to cycle miles, to walk all day or to tackle Ben Nevis or Striding edge, or to jog, or run upstairs without getting out of breath.

I write that and wonder if it’s true?

No point in giving in to old age – no point in wondering what will happen and when, no good wanting to be younger, healthier,  fitter…no good wanting to have more ahead than lies behind.

Very difficult to rationalise, isn’t it?

Unless you don’t think too much. (and maybe have the odd glass of wine and sit in the sunshine)

The black dog can so easily start growling and yapping menacingly at your heels.  The bottomless pit that is the  Slough of Despond beckons, if you are not careful.

Keep on keeping on – and think on – can you make an older person smile or be glad to be alive today?

I feel that this real world is often uncomfortable for an elderly person and unbelievably hard and possibly horrible for an old one.

My quote for this week – maybe its tongue in cheek and maybe not…

‘I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.’ the late
Herb Caen –  a gossip journalist in San Francisco

IMG_0522And donkeys in the mist on our local dog walk…

IMG_0577…and a stormy sky.

 

I know what to say…

…next time someone asks me what I do all day. Next time I will not be at a loss for words oh no – I will not mumble something about knitting while quickly thinking how I can change the subject…

I shall say I am working really hard at being retired.

And that is so true. I am proud of it!

After a lifetime of working at a variety of jobs, including physiotherapy, lab technician, cinema usherette, shop worker and teacher, after bringing up children, trying to be a all things to all people…friend, mother, lover, daughter, sister and  and rushing hither and thither – retirement and the art of choosing when to do something, or not, as the case may be, takes practice. As everyone who is working knows – choice doesn’t come into day to day living…

Now with no aged parents left, children grown up and lives of their own, himself and me can enjoy this time in our life – not that all the previous 39 years were anything but lovely… these final years are different and are savoured in a different way.

This week the winter wood was deliveredIMG_0565

It’s about 28°C now and it seems strange to think we will need so much wood…The changing seasons are fantastic here and quite dramatic. Once in the winter, it was down to minus 10 during the day for over a week!

And also this week I made a cake for a french friend who is recovering from having a new knee and isn’t that mobile  yet

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Home made apple and quince jam (last year’s) and buttercream went in the middle – so even though it looks a bit burnt on one side, lopsided  and not terribly professional – I think it will taste OK.

And the ordinary life continues with me finding an app to make sketches from my photos and to make them look like watercolours…

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and for someone who can’t draw or paint – and believe me there are numerous teachers and night school folk who will confirm that – these apps are indeed a bonus.

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And for my children’s story about a teddy

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I haven’t quite got the hang of this app yet… and also this teddy is drinking gin and tonic and eating crisps…

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Here he is baking a cake – maybe this is slightly more in keeping for a children’s story…

So you see, this is what I can choose to do while I’m practicing retirement – lovely ain’t it?

Ah well ‘On verra’ as the french say.