Istanbul trip goes ahead

After much soul searching, the proposed trip to Istanbul is on.

Reactions were evenly divided between those who thought like me that one should not go to a country with such appalling breaches of human rights, and those who felt like me that the political climate in Turkey was not going to improve in my lifetime and I should seize what might be my last chance to see Istanbul. After all, I have already left it too late to visit Damascus and probably Petra.

So, on 18 October I fly to Istanbul, with Jude and family arriving two days later.

Meanwhile they are enjoying some splendid sun in France, where the recent excesses are over; instead we have the usual daytime temperatures just topping 30 degrees and then cooler nights.

Interestingly now the normal weather pattern is restored, insect life has woken up: for the first time this summer we are being besieged by the usual visious Insects which the locals call moustiques (mosquitoes) but which I would describe as a hot weather cousin of the Scottish midge.

Hot and rainless

The last two weeks have been dominated by the weather. First we had a return to breathless temperatures hovering around 40 degrees in the afternoon; then the temperature plummeted nearly 20 degrees and the cold was accompanied by a restless and irritating wind.
On one of the hottest days, Odile and I had lunch with our Parisian friends, Francis et Mireille. It was so hot we did not even take apéritifs in the shade outside. Instead we retreated to their invitingly cool old house. The thick stone walls combined with all shutters, windows and doors firmly closed made the house wonderfully refreshing. As we came out later, the heat hit us again. But we kept to the afternoon programme, a visit to the exhibition on the impact of the First World War on this corner of France. Francis had had a central role in organising this exhibition and it was as professional as the one he mounted a few years back, on his grandfather’s photos of life in Avèze in the early twentieth century. Professional and moving. But we had to stop eventually, literally dripping with sweat. Thank goodness for my lovely bassin.
Now the cold has also retreated, and we are in a curious unstable period with sunny days intermingled with ones when the clouds gather in the west, threaten rain – but invariably retreat, having at most deposited a couple of minutes of pathetic drops.
I reckon that we have had about an hour’s rain in the two and half months since early June.
The land is burnt brown, the trees, in particular the hazel and chestnuts, are looking autumnal. A vegetable grower in the market yesterday told me that watering plants had been a tough task this summer. Amazingly we have had no big fires here, although we have seen the planes passing overhead to deal with a huge blaze in la Forêt de la Dourbie, in the mountains above us.
Now of course, with the family here for the next three weeks or so, I want sunny days, with the odd refreshing rainstorm confined to the night.


Animal life round my bedroom

We are still sweltering under the hot weather, little inclined to do anything other than observe life around us.

My bedroom not only has wonderful views, but plenty of activity.

Biceps Tenodesis or Tenotomy? Update

When I saw my GP, Maelle, on Monday, she explained that I already have a tenodesis: when Marion Bertrand, the surgeon, put in the shoulder replacement, she attached the biceps tendon to a bone further down, hoping this would enable the damaged tendon to function.

So now she is proposing to cut the tendon altogether, which would mean the biceps would have to function with only its other, shorter tendon attaching it.  Sounds scary, but Maelle assures me that she has at least two other patients with only one biceps tendon.

If that is true, can’t wait for it to be cut (a very minor op) and be able to resume relatively normal life anad maybe – nearly a year too late, try to get as much use of this right shoulder and arm as possible.  I will have to wait till I see the surgeon in September to discuss the options.