Added on Sunday 16 May 2010

Photo: barry paton. At long last the spring time has come. At long last I have managed to get round to writing this update from the depths of France. Profound! After a month plus of snow and sleet, very unusual for this part of the world, the sun has begun to put its hat on! Even the cats have felt it with all the wet and white bits about. However, hopefully that is all past now and with the population poking their noses out and about, ourselves included, things seem to be springing back into life. And I am sorry for that pun!

It is at this point I must apologise for not having updated this for so long, there have been many and various reasons for this including a red wine spill over the keyboard, broken gutter repairs (not ours but a house that we look after ). This one has turned into a very long saga, originally starting off as a simple job but ended up taking several months and with many people involved. All this for a few tens of Euros and we still do not know if it has been done yet! The other thing about this is that how do you know if it has been fixed and there is no rain? Rain (and snow) have been falling in the last few weeks but no-one has been able to see if it has been fixed! It reminds me of that one about fixing the roof when the sun shines......How do you know it is fixed? Apart from the few excuses above many more things have got in between me and writing this which are all too tedious to start repeating here.

I am glad to say that Fiona's progress is going fairly well, albeit slightly slower than she would like. She has been attending the kine every 2 days and although slow it does seem to be working for her. The biggest problem that she seems to have is when lifting or carrying things then it affects her greatly. I suppose these things do take so much time to get over and I am doing my best to be understanding. My progress is going by leaps and bounds suddenly after a slight change in the nursing care that I have been getting for over a year! Does no one listen? I doubt it at all! Of the four nurses that have been attending me and my wound for so long now, each one has had a completely different take on the situation and consequently a different treatment/bandages every time. I have finally put my foot down (not meant as a pun) and we have standardised a procedure as far as the dressing is concerned and thankfully this has been agreed on, thank God! And, I am glad to say the progress has been remarkably good since we started this regime!

Photo: blue vehicle. A New Car in the Offing?

Or is it, I ask myself? A couple of months ago I got a letter from a firm of solicitors in England to inform me that I was one of 12 people to receive a legacy from someone who I had only vaguely heard of. This means that I will receive a few squid from his estate and therefore will be able to buy a new(ish) car. The only snag in all this is that he apparently died in 2005, the solicitors finally sorted it all out in 2009 and only informed me (and the others) in Jan 2010 so I am left wondering will I see this money in my lifetime? The unfortunate thing is that I have seen a car locally that I like but I cannot commit to as the vendor wants to sell asap! So we have to wait and see when the money comes. The extraordinary thing is that the gentleman who died was a descendant or relative of my mother's mother who died in 1914 and the lawyers that I am now dealing with I had dealings with in the 1980's. And they do not seem to have speeded up in their reaction to clients since then! So maybe I shall be able to buy an old car by that time!

The unusual thing is that every time I have bought a car before is that I have had the money in my pocket when I have come across a car that I decided was the one for me. This time I have no money as yet and so have the problem of making up my mind as to which will be the right one (and when), what colour, what size etc. . And now I can't decide!

Photo: convent salignac. Houses in Salignac.

The other day I was idly thinking about our road (sorry rue) and realised that we are the only permanent residents in our (admittedly very short) road between ourselves and the convent there are 4 houses that are not permanently lived in on our side of the road. The other side of the road has only 3 houses which are lived in all the time. The ones on this side of the road are all holiday homes although the house next to us is lived in every weekend because they are local people but the rest are owned by British and northern French people while one house remains empty all the time. When I first came here some 10 years ago all of these houses were lived in all the time and I just wonder what has changed since then that has made them more desirable as holiday homes? Have I maybe pushed everyone away? No I don't think so at all!

The photograph here shows the ground floor of the ancient convent (12th century) where Sophie and Phillipe live with their daughter Elise. Fiona teaches English to Elise and a friend of hers every week. As we are in the row of houses slightly further down the hill towards the Chateau in a way we are connected, certainly as far as the centuries are concerned! And the reason that I mention this is because Fiona was asked to look after their chickens and cats while they were away on holiday last week. Nice fresh eggs, though.

Rural France, I do love it. Honestly!

Barry Paton (c) May 2010. Salignac