Saturday 25 July 2020

Catching up......

So I have come back from shopping. It is Saturday.

Last Monday I had a trip out in Bluebell. It was a solo trip, the first time on the road for longer than ten minutes driving our new car. A town called Whitchurch was where I was heading. It was an easy drive, I knew the route, and it was early so no 'speed merchant' drivers had got up yet.

Drive done, parked up. Now into town, first to a shop which I had espied when on a recent trip with my OH, and which I had thought might sell some large ladies garments which I am sore in need of because most of my clothes are still in France. They did, and I was very enthused about purchasing some items to supplement my wardrobe, but it was when the lady showing me the items which 'I might like to possibly buy', and that included some special support tights, some granny-type underwear, some older-folk crimplene type cardigans, and some thick, ever- so-sensible trousers, that I became without enthusiasm and realised that people assess you by how you present yourself. And it came to me that I needed to redesign myself, that my 'anything goes' French farm look was going to make me look old, and although I am over seventy I am not willing to feel ancient just yet.

With these thoughts in mind, off to the bank I went to change the address on my bank account. Then off to a charity  shop to  buy some bowls and plates to supplement the 2 plates, 2 bowls, and three mugs which I brought with me from France. No masks in the shops were worn, but social distancing was maintained. And I noticed that the town was quite merry, with a good atmosphere and people stopping to talk with each other, still with social distancing maintained, but it was affable.

And lo! People sitting outside a coffee shop, and there I took of a lovely large cup of coffee and the most delicious slice of chocolate cake. I looked at the passers-by, and noticed how relaxed they were. And I though of how this lock down has suffocated and changed people, but how they were coming through it.....I saw this in their faces, and it moved me to tears.

All in all a joyful visit to Whitchurch, although the drive home was not so good because the 'people who do road works' had blocked off all the familiar roads, and had 'thoughtfully' made diversions, which had me going round and round along unfamiliar roads like trying to follow a tangled ball of wool. And then the joy of driving down an unknown lane and suddenly finding myself in the vicinity of Stanton village, which is where we live.

Off to the hairdressers on Wednesday. Made me feel better. DIY hair cuts belong to a French country life style.........

Just come back from our local village shop, which has been my favourite place to shop since I came here, but now I shall go up to larger supermarket in Whitchurch. We now have to wear masks again, according to the 'wisdom ?' of the UK government. I felt claustrophic in that small shop environment. For some reason social distancing was forgotten, the wearing of the masks seeming to make people think that they didn't have to keep their distance anymore. I also don't like breathing in my own carbon dioxide, so I shall forego that village shop until I can shop there without a mask on.  In a larger supermarket I can lift the mask up to breath some air now and again.

Have been looking at houses for sale, and found one which we liked, but was thwarted by news from our bank that we have to be resident in the UK for 6 months before they will enter into a transaction with us. Ah well, that house was not meant to be, and if it was then it will still be up for sale when our six months are up, which isn't long because we have done two months already. But for each day I am in the cottage I am becoming more and more at home in it. I think it has been a good transition place for us, and the wrench  of leaving our French farm is daily getting less and less, so I am glad that we are not moving on too soon. Leaving France was the most difficult move I have ever had to do, and has cost me a lot of anguish. When the time comes to leave the cottage then that anguish will hopefully be behind me. As I say, the cottage has been a good place of transition for both of us, and I feel blessed that it came into our lives. Now all I have to do is keep adjusting to this new chapter in our lives, although I don't think that new chapter will begin properly until we move on from the cottage. As I say, I am in no hurry.

I have new boots! So I have started my walks round the village, day one being yesterday. My new mobile phone, which was supposed to be also for taking photos for the blog, is not working. It was, but now is not, because BT (the phone company) fiddled about with it from afar and now it doesn't, and hasn't been for over three weeks despite daily calls to the BT engineers from my OH. Something to do with Covid and the lock down, which seems to be a good excuse for inefficiency. We can't exchange our French driving licenses to British ones, which are shortly going to be out of date, because no one is answering our emails our phone calls from  DVLA (driving license people), because of Covid lockdown apparently. I can't contact the Government tax office ( for national insurance (health), pension, and tax) because of Covid lock down......and so on. Not to worry, I have new boots, and sooner or later all those organisations which have become even more less efficient than what they were before Covid, will come and find us. I have new boots!

 I have gone on a bit, so thank you for staying with me. I sort of needed to talk myself out, and this I have now done! So, thank you.

Bye for now,

Sunday 12 July 2020

An Urge brings Blusbell

It was 5 o'clock yesterday morning, and I was woken up by An Urge. I often have Urges, when I am led by an instinct to do some task which has no prior thought or plan. An Urge arrives as its own self, so no Saturday morning lie in for me as as The Urge said "Go look at cars for sale on the Internet" ...and thus it was that an adventure was born.

We need to change our French van to an English car because it has a left hand drive and English cars have a right hand drive, and there is an urgency to this change because the MOT will be non valid in August and to renew it we shall had to take the van back to France to have it done. We love our van. It has served us well both as our farm car and then on our journey up to England, we are sad to see it come to its end in our lives.

We have decided on a Citroen Berlingo, because it has room for Maz in the back of it. It is a boxy looking car, rather like a van but with windows all the way round it, which is a relief because our Renault van has dreadful visibility. This is Lester's project, and he has spent many happy hours searching for a Citroen Berlingo on the Internet. So why, now, did I an urge come upon me to do a search myself....... anyway when An Urge arrives it is best to obey it otherwise it will stay on my mind until it is satisfied, and I found a Citroen at a 35 mile radius, thought that would satisfy the urge, went on to do other more interesting things relevant to myself as a woman, time to wake Lester up, said that there was a Citroen Berlingo quite close by, he sprang out of bed (which he never does), asked where the car was, "somewhere in Cheshire (which is north of Shropshire )" I said,  he looked at the car on the internet, said it looked alright, by which time I had gone right off the car as I had seen where it was on the map and it was in Stoke on Trent which meant town driving which meant lots of navigating and possible disaster as wrong turnings were inevitable taken, but Lester was now being governed by his own urge and that was to work out a route to go see the car, by which time I was thoroughly off the idea.

Then into my head came the words " Confront your fears". Over and over it kept coming. Now I have other Projects which I thought these words were relevant to, so I pondered on which of these Projects they were applicable to while we started driving. Lovely countryside ....... but near to the towns lots of navigating of roundabouts,  queueing at loads  of traffic lights, and the general mayhem of Saturday morning shoppers all out in their cars. Quelle horreurs, not a place for us.

"Park by the church" had been the instruction from the garage man, so did as instructed. Walking along the path to the garage. Out front was the car. It was duck egg blue, but it was the number plate that had me transfixed, it being ' PE55 FVM ' . 'VM' being my first and second names of 'Vera May', the '55' being the numbers of three houses in succession all of which carried the number '55', and 'PE' and 'F' being given to me but which I am too embarassed to say, just that they are relevant to my spiritual pathway.

Into the garage man's office, Lester not looking too sure about the car, me knowing that it was the one because of the number plate signpost, onward with the sale....... and the garage man was a gentleman, did all the insurances, road tax, etc, ....I listened with half an ear, but "You can take the car now" was being said, and me saying " Are you going to take the Citroen to Shropshire for us while we follow you in our car", "No" the garage man and Lester said in unison, "You are"..........

And thus it was that Lester was sitting in the Citroen, I was sitting in our van, and I was supposed to be to follow Lester through all that chaos of Saturday morning traffic, ....... so what would you do if you were me, and this was going to be a sticky experience and one which might end in disaster.... well, all you can do is put a prayer upwards to the Universe (God) for save travel to you, Lester, and anyone else who might come your way on the road on the road. You then visualize a ribbon of road ahead, and bless it. You then take hold of yourself and remember the morning message of "Take hold of your fears" which must have surely been meant for this experience, and to see it as another of your adventures in life, and be brave. 

Lester pulled out onto the road, and I followed. I never name cars, but 'Bluebell' came to me as her name. I don't want to make an drama out of this, but.........
- having to hurry to make sure that I got through the traffic lights which were at green for Lester but might be at red by the time I got to them. There were a several times when I went through the lights when they were just about to turn red.
- to follow him on roundabouts I had to push in to the traffic flow when I shouldn't have, but I had to keep him in my sights. I must admit to having to raise my hand in apology to several drivers, and sent a blessing out to them hoping that I did not cause them an irritation.
- and going round and round a very busy roundabout because Lester could not find the right turning off, with him switching lanes hither and thither, with me doing the same as per his signals. It was manic.
- of having to pull out onto a very busy slipway to keep up with Lester, and really, really, having to be very apologetic to the driver who had to be inconvenienced big time. A huge blessing to that driver.
- of going down a steep hill in a huge snarl up of traffic because temporary traffic lights were in place,  and it was now the afternoon so the boy racers seemed to be out and about weaving in and out of the traffic. Then having to go back up the hill again as Lester took a wrong turning. Then having to come back down the hill again as he realised he hadn't.
- and then the long lane which had speed bumps every few yards, which had the van jolting from side to side, and me starting to feel sick. By now I wanted the loo, needed a coffee, and was generally not wanting to be doing this adventure any more. But the message on that number plate kept me going, as did the name 'Bluebell'. She didn't seem like a car, she seemed more like a friend.

And then the joy of less busy roads, and the town traffic now behind us. Home. With Lester saying that he felt silly driving a duck egg blue car, and that he thought that it was not a manly colour, and me pointing out the number plate signpost and that she was called Bluebell, that it was the morning urge with found her, and that she was meant to come home with us. Bless him, he copes well with me.

No  other driver was harmed by my efforts to keep up with Lester and Bluebell, and neither did Lester and Bluebell receive a bump to their rear when I had to race to catch up when the traffic lights changing from green to red, or when Lester had to brake sharply when he didn't notice a speed bump in the road.

Signposts, Urges, all these are useful for giving me direction in life. They can also be called 'intuition', and if listened to can produce marvellous experiences some of which can sometimes stretch me beyond what I think is my limit..... 

Will do some photos when I find out how to use my camera phone. My other photographic equipment is still in France.

So bye for now, hope you have a happy Sunday....


Wednesday 8 July 2020

Only as old as you feel.......

The Cottage....... it is small, as is the manner of most cottages. It is not an ancient cottage, but nevertheless quite old, and built for long ago people who were much smaller in stature than us folk of today, and therein lies a difficulty with certain parts of the house.

We have stairs in the cottage. I haven't 'done' stairs for thirteen years, because the French farmhouse we were renovating remained unrenovated upstairs because the downstairs was big enough to live in. A loo, of course, was the first thing we included in the renovation. But over the years my legs forgot that they could climb stairs, and became lazy.

The loo is upstairs in the cottage.  We don't have a handy downstairs loo, for when things are of an urgent nature. Instead we have to climb quite steep stairs, therefore we can't linger until the last moment but must be alert to the warning signals of an imminent 'call of nature'.

So......what would you do if you were me, and your legs have become lazy?

Well, you could always get a porta potty and put it in the downstairs larder, but it is quite a small space, and the brooms and boots underfoot, and the coats hanging over head, would make it impossible to be comfortable.
Or you could see the stairs as a challenge, and put it to your legs that this is something which will benefit them, even if at first they don't agree, after all it is easier to be lazy is it not?

The good thing is that the stairs have two hand rails, one each side of the staircase, therefore the arms can also be put into use, which is a good thing as the upper arms in particular also need to be pulled out of their laziness and put to useful purpose. 

My legs, my arms, and myself, were not much of a team in the beginning, and if had not been for the need of that loo I would have probably let the Stair Project be put on hold until my next lifetime came around. It was the call of that loo, and even the urgency when I had dallied too long downstairs that kept me engaged with the Stair Project.

Four weeks on and today I have just managed to go up those stairs with a good stride, and no need to hold on to the banisters, and with not much heavy breathing.  Coming down, I still hold on because of the steepness of the stairs but my legs feel more secure in themselves.

Hooray! I'm on the move again! Now the next Project is getting me walking again. I have just had a look at the 'Shropshire's Great Outdoors'  and the 'Ordnance Survey Maps' websites and I have been filled with an enthusiasm to get some walking boots and 'let's go do'........ France doesn't have footpath trails, and they were the first things I missed when I arrived at the farm.

But I wouldn't be able to do much mileage on my legs as they are at the moment, but I can do a 'round the village' circuit, although I do have to stop now and again when my body complains. I have only just started the 'Walk the Village Project' because I needed the Stair Project to get my legs moving again. I also have another project on the go, which is getting up and down off the floor, but that is for another day.

France was a lovely place to live in, and the experience of living a farm life for a while was the best ever, but after the 2017 health blip I had I seemed to not have recovered as much as I should have. It would seem that changing my life direction has woken me up to the fact that you are as old as you feel, no matter how old you actually are.

Bye for now,