Les poissons en France

Friday, August 26, 2016

Falling apart at the seams

I think that some one is trying to tell me something!
A month ago I had a strangulated hernia and was operated on at 3 in the morning.  So yesterday morning I had a follow up consultation and everything is fine ... except now that the intestine can no longer come out there, it has decided to push through at the site of the hernia which was repaired some 20 years ago.  I am scheduled to go for this to be operated on 23rd September!

But more ... I hadn't felt 100% on Wednesday but nothing drastic until at 2 am I was shivering uncontrollably and just could not get warm.  During the course of the night I was having very high temperatures but seemed to control it with paracetamol.  I felt well enough to go for my hernia consultation but back home I wasn't getting any better.  So Sue took me to our GP who told me I had a temperature of 39.8 C and he sent me to Emergency for a blood test and a chest xray.  Only one doctor on and waits of 2-4 hours.

At about the 2 hour mark a couple arrived and the lady was Cecile who we play Bridge with ... and she had exactly the same symptoms as I did!
I was then taken through to be examined and the doctor said virtually without looking at me
"Oh it's Bronchitis"  He then proceed to go off alarmingly saying that my GP could have treated me at the surgery, and he even phoned him and left a message!!!  Once he'd calmed down and read the letter about my previous history which my GP had included he decided he would give me an xray "in the next few days"

The doctor gave me 3 pieces of paper, all totally indecipherable.
Fortunately the Pharmacist was able work out that one was the prescription for my meds, one was for the xray and one was a letter for my GP.  Goodness knows how there aren't cases of the wrong drugs being supplied.

I am therefore at home, feeling grotty, and waiting for the medication to start.

Still more ... this afternoon Sue took me for the xray.  Obviously we had no appointment so were given the first available ... next Tuesday at 15.45.  I'll either be better or dead by then!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What a catastrophe

After Sunday's hectic catering exploits we were still not able to relax.  We had accepted an invitation to have lunch on Monday with some French friends and then go with them to play Bridge with 4 other people.

So ... after Sue had dutifully watered, she fell in the shower, hurriedly got ready and we went off for lunch ... finally starting to chill.

The hosts for the bridge live in the centre of Belvès, a medieval bastide.  Their house has elements from the 14th, 16th and 18th century, is decorated with lots of antiques but has a lovely secluded garden.  There were two tables for playing bridge, set up in the salon.  We were happily concentrating when suddenly there was a loud crash.  One of the ladies from the other table had got up and then turned round and head-butted a glass chandelier which was hanging from a beam.  Normally there is a table beneath the chandelier to avoid this sort of problem.  The result of this accident was a headache for the lady and a broken glass 'bell', part of the ornamentation.  In hindsight the host acted extremely nonchalantly and made no fuss at all, but we did subsequently hear him talking to our friend explaining that the chandelier was Bohemian glass dating from the 18th century!!!!!!!
 (The chandelier was similar to this but not sure if they have the right date?)

Sue felt very uncomfortable, even though she had nothing to do with the incident, and couldn't understand how the lady could 'Carry on regardless'

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Vive La France

Well, we have been here almost 10 years and this is our 1000th post. Some may have wondered whether we would make it to this milestone, but not us. Firstly we must thank all of you who have been with us all the way. Well done for putting up with John waxing lyrical about the same clump of violets each Spring and me going on endlessly about the garden. We must also not forget those who have joined us along the way. We enjoy writing this diary and trust that it enlightens and, from time to time, amuses you.

This significant landmark inevitably prompts reflection. We can honestly say that the last ten years have been among the best in our lives. Of course our health problems were not foreseen but they have become part of the success story. We have more than tasted the French health system and we cannot praise it enough.

By far the most important part of our french life has been the friends we have made, both French and English. We will never forget the English friends who looked after me when I was bedridden and John was at the Heart Rehabilitation unit. We had not known them long and they formed a rota to look after me day and night. We have equally made wonderful French friends. Our neighbours, Jean-Jacque and Nadine have been like family from day one. We have never been treated like "foreigners" and have French friends from across the full spectrum of society.

Yesterday we joined a guided tour of a medieval town about an hour away. As the group assembled we were a little hesitant that we would be able to follow the guide as he spoke quietly and fast!! However by the end we were congratulating ourselves that we had understood virtually everything. My grammar remains atrocious but John is much better and enjoys himself translating his poems into French. My written French only goes as far as writing out recipes for friends, and that is challenging enough.

We have also gone 'native' as far as drinking wine is concerned.  Wine seems not to be considered as alcohol and often copious glasses are consumed at meal times.  In fact we can't keep up with them!  Yet, before the meal, their 'apéros' are usually strong and sweet ... and not to our liking.

Of course everything is not perfect here. We have our own political ideas  about the way the government should run the country - don't we all. However such aspects impinge little on our rural life, but things such as politely greeting every one you meet, whether they be in a lift or guests for dinner, certainly does.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Foot in mouth again

Two years ago Sue became exasperated at the poor quality of catering for the meal after the annual tournament at our Bridge Club.  So, in 2015 we did the catering as we blogged at the time. 

One unexpected consequence of this happened when a couple from the club asked us if we would do the meal for the Baptism of their grandson.  We agreed (difficult to say no!) but we hadn't realised that it would be for 60!!
So Sue began to get organised over the past couple of months, but then from last Wednesday the cooking began in earnest.  It reached fever-pitch on Saturday when we were cooking till 10 at night, then on Sunday we were up at 6. 
It would have been easier if it hadn't been nearly 40° when we were taking the food to the venue, an old chateau which is being restored.  Unfortunately the chateau doesn't yet have plumbing or water and Sue had to finish off the dishes in a small room next to the hall being used for the Baptism.
None the less, I'm pleased to report that everyone was satisfied with the meal, even Sue.
We were kindly invited back in the evening and we were then able to sample some of the left-overs!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Flying Visit

Guy (our son) who is now working in Taiwan, has returned to Europe for 3 weeks to see all of his friends (as well as us).  He's out here with us for a few days and last night we went with some friends to a Marché Gourmand at St Pompon, one of the many little villages in this part of France.
You have to take cutlery and crockery and be there fairly early so you can claim one of the tables laid out for 'customers'.  You then choose and buy your dinner from the range of vendors offering anything from, Duck and Foie-gras, chicken, paella, sausages, steaks etc and then pastries and crepes.  So you can make up a 3 course meal if you wish to!
As the evening progresses and the wine flows, discussions can get lively.  There were more people than tables, so an old French couple sat on the end of our table, and I ended up having a good discussion about Brexit and European politics with them!!!
A nice warm evening and a lovely atmosphere.