Margaret and Poppy take a dip

With temperatures topping 30 degrees today – combined with over- indulging at the delicious barbecue offered by Hans and Margaret, we were wilting by the afternoon. My hand means sadly no dips in the pool before 26 June.  Margaret and Poppy however spent a refreshing and (for Poppy at least) energetic hour in the bassin.

The pleasure of the bassin is the harmony with nature and its surroundings.  The water lilies have started to spread and flowers to come out. To early for frogs bu already there was a giant dragonfly circling round.  The tilleul (lime tree) has also blossomed and is buzzing with hundreds of bees (to fast for me to take a proper picture).

Rinascenza concert

In the early evening I went to a concert given by the choir I used to sing in.  Many of the songs were familiar, but I thought the choir had improved a lot. My two favourite composers, Pergolesi and Monteverdi, continued to be a challenge. And I still find the Russian stuff tedious!

First guest to take a dip

My blog is likely to have an inordinate number of entries featuring my new bassin.   This is because it is so beautiful and enticing!  Today David and Jenny Kerridge, English friends with a house in Avèze, came to lunch (made the lunch, given my one handed state!) and Jenny tested the water with much pleasure, accompanied of course by Poppy.


My bassin complete !

For the past week the completion of the bassin has been tantalisingly close. The only thing holding us up was the pipe to bring water from the source several hundred metres away.  In the end we could not wait any longer and filled it from the tap.. This took two days and will cost, mais tant pis.

Jacky  had some final adjustments to make.   I was very touched:  yesterday he arrived at 9 in the morning to turn the system on, as he wanted me to see it in action before I set off to the hospital.

It is more beautiful than I ever imagined and the sound of water is sheer bliss.  Jacky is an artist.  His wife, Marthe, is a sculptor and painter;  he works with water, stone and plants.

Un GRAND MERCI  mon ami.

— and if you would like to hear the music of the cascades, watch this

— and  Jacky inaugurates the swimming pool


One handed – again

Here I am once again sitting in a hospital. But this time une experience beau coup plus banal. I can afford to be positive because the morphine has not quite worn off.

Today it was the operation to enlarge the carpal tunnel – le canal carpien – which protects the median nerve going to the thumb and first to fingers. This nerve has been suppressed since my shoulder op. Fingers crossed (and moving…) that it will now work.

The whole experience was very well handled by the hospital. It was not their fault that I got increasingly anxious as the afternoon progressed.

All staff were extremely friendly. Not always the case in French hospitals. I was taken up to floor for day surgery and shown my room – which I shared for 15 minutes with a young woman in for ivf. Then the usual shower in Bétadine (disinfectant) – my third, following showers last night and this morning. (I was very impressed indeed by the levels of disinfectant barriers as I entered the operating zone.)

And dressing up in the exigency paper garments. This is the same hospital where Chris, similarly attired, was looking out of the window when two nurses entered and the woman murmured “Quelles jolies fesses” (what nice buttocks). He turned round and saw a nun… …

At 2.30 I was wheeled down to the operating floor. It was nearly two hours before the op, which took less than quarter of an hour! I always find lying flat on my back at this stage both uncomfortable and intimidating. I feel powerless. But great injections, including generous doses of morphine and relaxants.

Preparations included injecting under the armpit, so the entire arm was numb. It was placed on a table beside me and made orange with a vigorous Bétadine scrub. Then a paper curtain was place between me and the scene of action. And we waited, and waited, for the Big Chief to arrive (Teissier is a big shot in the world of surgery here.)

Once he arrived the op started without delay. Why had I been so scared. All I could feel was the hand being put into some sort of harness, some vigorous tugs and suddenly it was over.

Now I have a simply huge bandage I must wear till Monday. Then smaller bandages to be replaced every two days till the end of the month when the stitches come out. And meanwhile the hand must be kept completely dry.

Hans and Margaret are once again being sterling friends. Hans has just gone down to get the painkillers (luckily my chemist knows me and I can send the paperwork later). And Margaret is staying the night as I’m not allowed to be on my own.

Here’s a selfie of my hand, which is normally in a sling:

Spa railings

I decided to give parents greater tranquillity by completing the railings round my jacuzzi..  These were made and installed by des jeunes de salagosse (in this case a friendly bunch, all from Francophone Africa originally).

Bird burial

June has started wonderfully, with clear blue skies and temperatures warm-to-hot.

Sadly I had yet another bird casualty.  My bedroom sliding glass windows seem like a magnet to young birds.