Well, Alleluia...praise the Lord, and pass the biscuits! I'm back online. I have a serious problem with computers. I think it's something to do with my aura (goes into hippy mode here!). Either that or I should just stop fiddling with technology and stick to basics.
So were were we when I took my enforced sabbatical from cyber-world?
Ah...the Rugby World Cup. Well the less said about that the better. It was just a pity France and England weren't able to be up against each other in the final,but hey.....the Six Nations is about to start( or should that be are...the absence of daily writing has sent my grammar awol!)
Christmas has come and gone. Apart from the shops being full to bursting with foie gras, chocolate, sea food and champagne the festive season is nowhere near as festive as in the UK. The official holiday is just Christmas Day, and as the French indulge in their eating orgy on Christmas Eve (traditionally after Mass, but how many of them actually go to Mass in the 21st century?) Christmas Day is as hung-over as Boxing Day in the UK. All very hushed and with an overwhelming feeling of bloatedness.
I do really miss the Christmas build-up. OK I can, and do, thankfully give up the mass hysteria that overtakes the average UK High Street but I would like just a smidgen more atmosphere. The local Christmas markets are quite a good source of pressies, but oh how I yearn for a brass band or even some buskers playing carols while I'm there.
But there was some snow on the mountains, and if we had ventured into Tarbes or Toulouse there would have been ice rinks and chestnut sellers. I guess we don't want to travel for our festive fix. A sign of old age, no doubt !
France, being a republic I suppose, has definite lines of de-markation between church and state, therefore priests are not allowed in state -run schools. This is fine as far as it goes...no sinister infiltration of young and susceptible minds...faith coming only from the family etc...all very upright and worthy but it also means that there are no nativity plays in the village church, no Carol services (candle lit or otherwise), no Christingle (well, not here at any rate) e.g ...no community feel about Christmas.
Oh well, moan over! It's 2008 so time to look on the positive side.
a) we haven't had any snow down here in the village, but a nice lot fell early in the Pyrenees, so that will cheer up the ski stations no end. They had such a bad year last winter they deserve some luck.
b) the french government has re-thought it's position in health care for immigrants. Not too sure what the new measures are but there was such an outcry from the Brit expats in particular that
people power seems to have had some clout. It was all very complicated and involved immigrants having to provide their own top-up care under the national health scheme, where as previously they were able to claim various benefits after their initial cover by the British Government expired (after 2 years I think) Anyone thinking of re-locating to France should go onto www.totalfrance.com . It's all discussed at length there on the forum, and they know a lot more about it than me.
c) the daffodils John planted in the lawn are coming up a treat, as are the miniature tulips and the crocus. the primula have been out since early January, and the nights are really pulling out...sunset 6.02 pm I see from the Meteo.Can spring be far behind? Well maybe...we've still got February to come, and although lots of friends down here have said February is their favourite month I've yet to actually witness it. I'll stick with October as my favourite.
Yes, all in all,positivity has returned.....roll on the Spring