Sunday, 20 November 2022

Well the boy is back tomorrow.

 First time we'll have seen him up-close in 3 years. I wonder if he'll stay longer than the few short weeks we had between Whistler and New Zealand?

Anyway, we have space for him to sleep, so I guess we're sorted. Now to get used to having another adult in the house.

Monday, 26 September 2022

It's almost the end of September

 And we still haven't identified an alternative church to move to.

But, in the words of the song "I don't wanna go back to Egypt".

It's taking time, and we needed a break. Visiting a few different places isn't doing us any harm, and we are getting to see what others do (and don't do) when they meet. This last Sunday we went somewhere that's really active, doing LOADS of things, really friendly, probably good theologically, tick a lot of the boxes. 

What's that 'wacka-wacka' sound? Oh, it's a holy helicopter - be careful not to get caught up in the rotas. :-)

As an observation, apart from the local Anglican church which is very firmly embedded in the book of common prayer, none of the places we've seen have been noticeably less charismatic in their meetings than where we've come from. I find that interesting, but not surprising.

So the search continues for now.

Monday, 22 August 2022

Happy birthday darling

You would have been 33 today, probably a mum by now with kids at school and all the tears & joy that goes with this stage. 

Friday, 19 August 2022

A wandering nomad I

 We negotiated a 3 month break from church back at the end of May with a view to a little time out, possibly to look around, only for my mother to get sick & die. Since the start of August we've made ourselves make the effort to visit other churches, not least because the likelihood of completely detaching was increasing (it's been great NOT having to do stuff) and because we felt under pressure to come to a conclusion.

It's curious how so many (esp Gen Zers) treat church like a hobby that doesn't matter, yet it can also become a weight and a drain if you're the kind of people who - like us - see the seriousness of it and commit. For me, it's long been a drain - a thing that takes more than it gives, leaves me feeling frustrated, cross, tired, wanted for what I do more than who I am and not a place I can discuss the struggles I have. Worst of all, for a long time it's felt like we've just been going through the motions with no reality behind what we're doing - If I'm going to do formula church then let me go somewhere I can just sit in a pew without needing to engage and be challenged to a mission I don't want to participate in.

Interesting - that took on a life of it's own while writing.

So we've been looking at other churhces in the area, unfortunately during silly season when everyone is on holiday and stop-gaps get arranged until normality resumes in September.

We've seen 3 so far, not including the village church here (that's tempting, simply because pew-sitting is the main requirement). One, we had a sense that there might be quite a bit I could do to contribute with my particular skill sets (we can see where that's going!) one felt immediately comfy but seemed theologically chaotic and one was both extremely intense and also deeply formulaic at the same time. We may well re-visit some or all, because I'm going to extend our time off. 

 So we still wander. 

Saturday, 9 July 2022

It feels like a longer time

 For those who drop by occasionally wondering what's going on, my mother's funeral takes place next week - details here.

 In my last post I suggested that life goes on, but that is demonstrably not always the case.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

And so does another (pass by)

Covid - not the long variety, but certainly an extended variety has been hanging on. Energy levels are back more now than a moth ago, but not 100% and my head is still fuzzy at times.

Mortality - my mother is almost 90, and no longer able to be independant. Those who think a loving God doesn't allow his children to come to harm need to spend time around old people near end of life when it's not going so easily. This isn't going how she expected it to, and it's certainly not what we would choose for her.

May - isn't a good month for us. This was less problematic than sometimes, with a shift of attention elsewhere.

French - is slow to learn, hard to understand. I had a phone call this week from a firm about doing some work, and was painully embarrassed not to undersand much at all despite so much study.

Life goes on.

Monday, 2 May 2022

Another month flashes by.

 Well it's good to be post-covid. 

Chris recovered within a couple of weeks, but I'm still not there yet even now. There's a lethargy that's hard to shake, and a fuzziness of thought which is difficult to overcome. Or I may be making excuses. ;-)  The sciatica which developed in the first week of illness is still present, sometimes less & sometimes more, making every day life a bit more difficult, leaving me feeling old and stiff, hobbling to keep up. I. Don't. Do. Squats. 

We're just back from a week at the house in France, and are pretty pooped TBH, allowing ourselves just 1 day off for leisure. It's also an 11 hour drive, give or take, including tunnel.

I'd say we're getting down to the point where our project is defined now, more or less, which is a good thing. If you want to fix one thing then it may be necessary to identify all the other stuff that's in the way of sorting that. So we want to fit a kitchen, but need to be able to drain waste water from the sink. That may mean having to re-work a bathroom first. We also want to attempt revovery of the old tiles found under the flooring in the kitchen, but that may require many days of labour because it's a big room. 

I need to get quotes and agree plans with plumbers, electricians, decorators and heating engineers. In French. Google translate is a real boon. 

We did some good work too. There are now only beds in bedrooms, the oil stove has gone from the middle of the kitchen and the house can be lived in a little better than just camping. But it IS a project, and more so than we hoped - many bad previous design choices are having to be un-picked, which is a drag. It'll be nice when it's done.

 Flies are an issue in that part of the world. In the attic was the worst, with the large floor area generously carpeted with small and the occasional large crunchy black corpse. We found a small carrier bag full of dead flies up there too. The agent who sold us the house was probably responsible for sweeping the floors before we visited, otherwise we might have baulked at the carnage. She has continued generously helping us with stuff, and I wonder if there isn't a small twinge of guilt.

It wasn't all hard work. 

The wild flowers are lovely in the spring around the Morvan, and the light too. There seem to be rivers and springs everywhere, and often one can hear running water without being able to see it. Neighbours were also very friendly and kind - hopefully that will continue when the novelty wears off! While I suspect this will never be a permanent home for us, I could imagine living there for several months at a time when retirement final arrives.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

It's positive to be negative

 This morning I had my first negative covid test result in 2 weeks, which is good.

It's been a bumpy ride, feeling very up & down with it, coughing deeply and frequently, feeling really fuzzy-headed and having no energy at all. And that despite being fully vaccinated and having neutralising antibodies. This has not been fun.

To cap it off, I also have sciatica in my left leg & buttock, making it impossible to stand straight and providing an extra challenge to find a comfy position in bed. Nice.

Back to work next week. 

I'm mildly jealous of the ability our cat has to sleep >20 hours of the day. OTOH she's deaf, blind, senile and no longer able to move well, so she probably deserves all the opportunity to escape that she can get. Guess I do have the better deal right now. ;-)

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Not dead yet

That could be referring to the blog and me.

But it's been a while.

But before anything else, we're in what I hope is the middle of our covid infection. 

For me it started last week, when I did a short 3K run and coughed as usual, but didn't stop the next day. A test came up negative even though symptoms were strong and clear, and at least one of our other guys who was a couple of days ahead with similar symptoms was also testing negative, so I assumed it was the first cold in a while. A re-test Sunday morning gave a really intense positive result, and here I am. Chris is also suffering with the same infection, though has been testing negative desoite feeling really poorly. LFD tech still has a way to go for sensitivity.

In other news, we completed on the house, spending a long weekend there (but staying in a B&B nearby). It's in worse condition than we remembered, and there was no water or electricity - just 3 degrees Celsium inside. The previous owner hadn't finished clearing the place for various reasons, and there's simply lots to do: electrics, heating, kitchen fitting, some replumbing, redecoration. It's not a rebuilding job, but not trivial either. The house also has three cellars, but we could only access one. I have at least managed to get a date for the power to be restored.

 The area IS lovely, and we're looking forward to seeing more. 

As for today, the weather is beautiful outside right now, temp around 18C with warm sunshine and clearish skies. Makes me feel sympathy for our friends trapped in a world of ice and now still. 

What else?

Life goes on. It feels like we're in the waiting room preparing to die. That's not being said morbidly, but having seen my mother aging and changing over the last 15 years, it's hard not to have that sense of just trying to stay entertained while every gradually falls apart. There's lots of good things to enjoy despite what is going on in Ukraine, but it feels trivial in a way.

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Exactly 1 month later

I still feel fat.

But that's not really the point of my posting. 

 In the next week or so we should finally complete on the French house. In some ways it felt like this point would never actually arrive, and that's made for a very relaxed build-up to this stage. However suddenly it's here, we have a date and suddenly all those really important things like transferring euros, French bak accounts, electricity, water, insurance, covid tests et al have to be sorted. I've frankly no idea what to do about internet yet - the village has broadband running through, so it may just be a case of speaking to Orange or Bougeytel or someone to get them in when we're actually present. As for heating, there were some electric convectors upstairs, plus a couple of stoves (one may be oil fired) in the kitched and a solid fuel stove 1M out from the wall in the livingroom, but what works? Who knows?

We last saw the house in mid October, just long enough to have a good idea what it was like and decide that it was for us. When we next see the place we'll need to measure, photograph, dig a little, decide what should go where and how the place can work best for us as temporary visitors. There are no plans to move in (or indeed move country) as yet, though if we fell in love with it, maybe. It's not the home I imagined we would buy, but I think it should be a good place.

So here we go. Another adventure.

We're both spending about 5 hours per week trying to learn French, and that's curious too. Can't remember if I mentioned this already, but it seems to be 2 languages, with the spoken langauge and written language diverging. In speech it's all about flow, and I'm sure the concepts of masculine and feminine were introduced to rationalise the le and la prefixes (and a bunch of other stuff) that helps it roll off the tongue. but then things developed and there seem to be a bunch of word endings that are completely silent in speech, but ESSENTIAL in writing. Cue much eye rolling, though I *think* it's making sense somewhat. 

Chris is much better than me with French. Given the choice I'd have bought in Italy despite the earthquakes, and just started from scratch learning, but c'est la vie. This has to suit both of us, and I'm not sorry we've gone this way. If we ever did want to move out, at least we could do so thanks to my Austrian nationality.

That's enough rambling for now.