We’re doing OK

Everything is fine here – we are both working, and so our weeks are busy. Mr FD holes himself up in his study, I hole myself up in mine, and we meet briefly when one or the other makes a hot drink for us both, or over lunch. I’m busy because I’ve actually got a couple of new students, and also because working from distance means I need to write a follow up email to the students – which I wouldn’t do if we were meeting face to face.

On Monday morning I plan my lessons, and prepare the lesson summaries as much as I can; then from Monday afternoon onwards I’m teaching, or doing admin work. Although I’m finding it tiring I am very grateful to have work, as I know that so many self employed people are facing financial problems. We also are saving money as I’m not travelling to Clermont every day. In fact, Soozy (which we collected the Saturday before the lockdown) has hardly moved since she came home!!

Our treats involve going next door, to the restaurant-turned-takeaway to buy something. The people only opened the restaurant a couple of weeks before the lockdown meant restaurants had to close, so we’re supporting them as much as we can. We’ve had pizzas, burger-and-chips, and the most delicious chocolate/apricot gateau. That was so rich I had to eat my slice over two days! Today they’re cooking Cantonese rice and Spring rols, but we forgot to order, so we’ll probably just have a pizza.

As we’re out in the country confinement isn’t affecting us too much. We get out most days for a walk, but we have to remember to take our Attestation. You aresupposed to print out a new one every time you go out, but so far I’ve been tippexing out the date and writing today’s date. It seems remarkably wasteful of paper and ink to keep reprinting, and tippex shows that one is not trying to cheat in anyway. I’ve not been stopped any way, so I’ll plead ignorance if I have to.

Shopping is reasonable, with most things available. We are definitely using local businesses now, and trying to spread ourselves around.

But confinement has been extended to mid-April, with most people expecting it to continue to the beginning of May. One of my students, who is the director of a small company, has said the Government is warning businesses to prepare to be closed until the end of May, or even the end of June!

However, we know it’s the right thing to do – unlike many people in the UK, it seems! Our local GP, and the head of the school have both succumbed, with the GP being in hospital for several days. I’ve not heard how he’s doing. Tonight I’m meeting Friend Alison for a virtual apero – FriendCathy, in the UK at present, was invited but she thinks it’s possible she has the virus too.

The cats know what to do!!

Actually our cats love having us round, especially Jasper and Millie, who follow the sun around Mr FD’s study. I get Bib coming to meeow at some of my late afternoon students!

 

And we’re off! 40Acts :: 1

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”
(Proverbs 3:27 NIV)

 

This is the verse to hold onto through this year’s 40 Acts.

I think for me the last part “when it is in your power to act” is important: I need to recognise that I can do more than I think I can (monetarily, as well as giving time or talents) I have a tendency to think “I can’t afford it” and to keep my hands in my pockets…but we probably CAN afford it.

This always makes me pause for thought:

It reinds me that while I don’t feel wealthy, I am indeed richer than 92% of the world. That is a sobering thought, when I tell myself I can’t afford to give to a charity, or help someone, or buy a trteat for a friend…

So, this verse will be with me through 40 Acts

(Most of) the year in pictures.

On the last day of the year (decade!) I thought I’d show you one photo for each month…However, with a new computer, I find that I don’t get a display of the photos, but just a IMG number for each one. So for each month I’ve just literally picked a random photo, from its number, and posted that.

JANUARY:

I have no idea where this lake is! I suspect it was the fishing lake/bird reserve lake in Roanne, where I sometimes go for a walk, but I can’t be certain!

FEBRUARY:

I know this one! It was on a walk not too far from here. This was when I was still keen on getting my 600 km walked before my 60th birthday. That didn’t last much longer!! I think I was ill, and lost momentum, and then couldn’t be arsed!!

MARCH:

Fairy cakes made for the family next door as part of 40 Acts. The family have now moved on, not having had much success in the hotel, but there’s a new family moved in. We await developments…

APRIL:

Not the best photo I have of me with Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, but it was the one that I picked at random! This was at the weekend for the consecration of Mark Edington as our Bishop. A wonderful weekend!

MAY:

The card I made for my mum’s 90th birthday – before deciding it wasn’t “special” enough, and making another!

JUNE:

We visted the caves at Lascaux with the Cycle Club, on our weekend away. Happily, this was one of my favourites of the wall paitings. I love the “fat ponies”!

JULY:

The “infinity” card I made for Flynn, the son of Friend Alison. I never got round to giving it to him though!

AUGUST:

On holiday with Mr FD, we visited the town of St Guilhem le Désert. It was rather too crowded for our tastes, being labelled as one of France’s most beautiful villages. A victim of its own success, one can’t help feeling….

SEPTEMBER:

The inside of a card made for Friend Huw, after the untimely death of his wife. I actually made, and sent, a different one, but with the same sentiment inside.

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

I think that as a result of my depression I wasn’t in the mood for much photo taking. I certainly failed to download any onto the computer! Hopefully that will change now.

Here’s to the start of a new year, and a new decade. We don’t know what’s ahead, so let’s just trust that it will all be alright in the end. And if it’s not alright, it’s not the end!

And what of them…?

“A Day to Myself” by Clifford T Ward: I post this song every Remembrance Day – I love it as a song, but it is appropriate for this time as well.

It’s a beautiful, poignant song, but it’s important to me because it brings to mind the fact that, more and more, the fact that we do forget – or just not realise – what the young men and women who have died in conflicts to serve their country gave up.

And what of them, …Who died so far from home, No last farewell kiss…

We don’t really think of the individual: we are concerned with our busy lives, and even at this time, we scarecely pause to think of what was given up for us. Somebody posted this on Facebook:

A reminder to pause, to reflect, to remember… I’ll be joining the village memorial tomorrow at the War Memorial, here in France – because the young French men and women remembered thereon also fought bravely for our freedom. I’ll be wearing my poppy (slightly battered as the cats found it!) and giving thanks that there are those who gave up their lives to stop xenophobia, hate, fascism and injustice from taking over. I will also be grieving that these evils are once more becoming stronger in our world, and praying that it will not take another world war to stem the tide. What can I do? What is my battle to be fought?

DAY TO MYSELF
Clifford T Ward
 It’s all so different now
From just a few weeks ago
When April was about to smile on England
And I had to go

So here I am again
Far from where the blackbird sings
And lanes I love to walk along
Lost in my thoughts

And what of you my love
Though you’re so far away
Yet so close to me in all I do and see

And so on my day off
I could have chosen monuments
Historic chateaux, palaces
Or finding ways of improving my French

Instead I wandered out alone
Here where woods and fields abound
And in a quiet corner found the resting place
Of English soldiers killed in war

And what of them my love

Who died so far from home
No last farewell kiss
All that remains is this

It makes me so ashamed to feel alone
Whatever would they think of me
For I shall see my love again

It’s all so different now
From those few years ago
When April smiled so sweetly still
And they had to go

Complaining about plastic…

I didn’t hear back from M&S, after their anodyne answer (and my response to it!) Can anyone in the UK tell me if they know whether this promotion from M&S has been stopped/ has been successful? I would be interested to know.

On the subject of useless plastic, I bought a jar of instant coffee recently.

I took it off the shelf not really looking at it very closely. Until I got home: note the way the label goes right up to the top of the jar: it’s a plastic covering, which encases the entire jar in plastic. Encouraged by Kezzie, who is trying to persuade us all to think about our plastic use,  and taking on board her encouragement to think about the eight Rs for the environnment (one of her additions was: Research:  Not happy with something to do with waste?  Research a way to solve it! )

Well, I wrote to Carte Noir with the following:

Je m’excuse mon français, mais j’ai une question: en ces jours où nous essayons de réduire l’utilisation inutile de plastique POURQUOI Carte Noir Bio est-elle enveloppée dans une seule couche de plastique, qui ne peut pas être recyclée et est immédiatement jetée? C’est ironique que c’est bio café – essayer de consommer des choses qui sont bonnes pour notre santé tout en ajoutant à la montagne de plastique. Je suis desolé, mais je vais arreter d’acheter Carte Noir, jusqu’au vous arrêtez d’envelopper vos pots de café dans cet emballage en plastique inutile.

TR: I apologize for my French, but I have a question: in these days when we are trying to reduce the unnecessary use of plastic WHY is Carte Noir Bio  wrapped in a single layer of plastic, which cannot be recycled and is immediately discarded? It’s ironic that it’s organic coffee – trying to consume things that are good for our health while adding to the plastic mountain. I’m sorry, but I’m going to stop buying Carte Noir, until you stop wrapping your coffee pots in this useless plastic packaging.

I quickly received the stock answer:
C’est avec attention que nous prenons connaissance de votre message et nous vous remercions de votre intérêt pour la marque Carte Noire.
Nous prenons compte de votre insatisfaction et la  faisons  remontée auprès des services concernés.

TR: We have carefully read your message and we thank you for your interest in the Carte Noire brand. We will take your complaint to the relevant department.

Who knows what will happen. But at least I made a noise about it.

Is Carte Noir coffee in the UK wrapped in this single use plastic too? If so, could you write to the Customer Services dept to complain? It certainly doesn’t need to be wrapped up like this – it’s still got its foil seal at the top of the jar, so it isn’t to keep the coffee fresh!