The joys of getting older and more decrepit and just how the bollocks is it only six weeks until Christmas?

Let me think, what has happened since my last blog, some two weeks ago? It’s unusual for me to miss a week of blogging, I can’t even genuinely say that I have been exceptionally ‘busy’ of late, though I suppose, for me at least, I have been busier than normal.

 

 

My brilliant step-daughter passed her driving test first time with just 3 minor faults noted, after completing a 40-hour intensive driving course in just a week. It was a far cry from the numerous and often pointless lessons that I had at just one hour per week some two decades ago. I remember it would take me almost half of each lesson to start to feel comfortable about being back in the driving seat. I wish I had possessed the opportunity to undertake an intensive driving course back then, I might even be a more confident and less crap driver now  if that were the case.

Halloween came and went completely unobserved in our house. Not a single ‘trick or treater’ in our quiet French rural hamlet, which was good in as much that it made for a pleasantly uninterrupted evening but it did mean that the small stock of sweets that we had purchased for the possible eventuality of any visitors were lurking in the house and as you can imagine, we eventually succumbed and scoffed them all. The French, in the main, don’t tend to go in for all that Halloween crap, though in recent years it has started to become more of a ‘thing’. Instead they tend to do things with a bit more style and class and rather than zombies and ghouls on all Hallows Eve, they reserve the 1st November each year as a very well respected national holiday, All Saints Day or La Toussaint, where they focus on honouring their dead and paying their respects by visiting cemeteries with huge colourful Chrysanthemums. The cemeteries truly are an abundance of colour on All Saints Day, against the grey of the headstones and the November skies.

This year, La Toussaint fell on a Wednesday which also happily meant an entire week ‘working from home’ for my husband, since with only two working days either side it would be nigh on impossible for him to travel to and from customer sites (which generally are an average of six hours away by car) and still have sufficient time in which to achieve any work. Mostly, his work , the long hours, the long drives and the time away from home is something to be continuously grumbled about but very occasionally he is rewarded with a bonus week at home. He is obviously expected to work, of course, but the sheer delight of spending ten consecutive nights sleeping in his own bed and eating in his own dining room really is something to genuinely be excited about, a notion perhaps only fully understood and appreciated by people who travel frequently.

As is normally the case with the arrival of November, it is decidedly like flicking a switch that says ‘WINTER-ON’. The relatively consistent 22 degrees we had been enjoying during the days in October suddenly dropped overnight to single figure temperatures, the flip flops were packed away until next year, the log burner and chimney had it’s annual prod to ensure it was safe to use and the preliminary fire of the season was lit. The first in what will now become a daily routine until probably early April that will see us burn through approximately ten cubic metres (€500) of firewood, in addition to our electric ceramic heaters in each room. We are lucky in that our house is south facing and with the log burner chugging daily and the electric heaters ticking over, we manage to maintain a reasonably comfortable temperature during winter but some of our neighbours have twice this amount of wood delivered to see them through a single winter and trust me there is nothing glamorous or romantic about a log burner when it is a daily necessity. Forget those cosy images of a crackling log fire on the front of a Christmas card, fetching two big heavy baskets of logs a day from the wood store across the road, cleaning out the previous days ashes each morning, getting numerous splinters, dust everywhere and sweeping the floor eleventy-billion times a day, it is a right royal pain in the arse.

This is most definitely not the reality!

 

In addition to the added expense of Winter, the end of October and first week of November also saw fit to necessitate some expensive dental treatment for my husband, various annual tax bills were due (always a shock no matter how much you are expecting them), the car was taken for it’s Controle Technique (like an MOT) and with the inevitable gearing up for Christmas, it seems our current account is endlessly haemorrhaging money at the moment

So, yes, a fairly steadily busy and expensive couple of weeks.

Perhaps this could explain why my husband is now suffering from Vertigo.

It started about three weeks ago, when he complained occasionally about the odd bout of dizziness which we put down to a lack of sleep and generally being exhausted from all the long drives up and down France and only short weekends in which to recover, but when he almost fell backwards down the stairs on Monday morning, I decided enough was enough and packed him off to the doctors for an emergency appointment as he was due to set off on yet another six hour drive and a long week away from home and despite his obvious wobbliness, he still fully intended to do so. Not on my watch!

He is a hardworking and conscientious chap, so I can certainly understand, to some degree, his initial reservations at not being able to immediately continue with his work schedule and yet another long, boring, 600 kilometre drive to a customer, especially since he was going to be test-driving his new Compression socks, recently prescribed to him for his leg pains and cramps that he experiences after every long journey but I did, however, feel that in the interests of his longevity this sudden and more frequent onset of dizzy spells should really be checked out by a medical professional.

Thankfully the doctor managed to fit him in on an emergency walk up appointment, he arrived at the doctors surgery at 10.58 am and was told that he could have an appointment at 11 am, there generally are not too many plus points to living in rural France but being able to get a doctors appointment at the drop of a hat is certainly considered to be one of them!

Thirty minutes later, following a fairly thorough examination and after he nearly went over several more times in the doctors office, she rather sensibly concluded that he should be signed off work for at least a week with no driving, and no excessive physical exertion. My husband was also prescribed some tablets to help alleviate the symptoms of his vertigo. He has been given an appointment with the hospital to see if they are able to determine the cause. He suffers from tinnitus already, which has recently worsened so that could certainly be a contributing factor but until he has an appointment with a specialist we are none the wiser as to the cause. Unfortunately, his appointment with the hospital is still six weeks away, so he will either be very much worse by then or perhaps completely over it and we will be none the wiser as to the reasons for its sudden onset.

It’s odd that it has come from seemingly nowhere and in fact the symptoms worsened after a full week at home but as is so often the case with ailments, they seem to wait until you are relaxed to take their full effect. How often have you heard of people complaining that within days of being on holiday they came down with some bug or common cold? Almost like their body waited for a practical or convenient time in which for it to be ill. It’s referred to as ‘leisure sickness’ and apparently is quite the global phenomenon these days.

Whilst I am certain that my husband would rather be without the constant dizziness and to be staggering about feeling like the room is swooshing passed him, it has, on the other hand, been another bonus week at home and this time on ‘sick leave’ which means every excuse to just hole-up and recuperate and whilst he generally likes to keep himself busy and does not do well ‘being bored’ I have to admit that our days have been somewhat shorter this week, choosing to spend countless extra hours in bed in the morning and then also some early nights watching Netflix. Some days I think the most taxing objective we have performed is to choose what film to watch. I recall, rather disgracefully, that one of our days was not quite even ten hours long after staying in bed until 11 am that morning and then returning to it before nine o’clock that evening.

I’m yawning now just thinking about it and a quick look at the clock tells me that at 6 pm, we only have to wait another three hours until we can crawl back to bed.

Honestly, this week we could ‘out lazy’ a pair of dedicated benefit cheats.

So until next weekend, when hopefully life will have returned to something a little more normal, I’ll bid you farewell and good-night! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Our favourite place ever…..our bed!

The Virtual Recluse