Summertime and the dogs are barking

As I sit here typing, the dogs a few houses are barking, as usual, it’s annoying but at least they’re quiet when their owner’s home. Also at the moment is a squawking magpie because Wallace is terrorising its fledgling. Otherwise it’s a quiet hamlet or “Lieue Dit” which translates as “place said”.  Delia has a constant battle to stop Siena running down the bottom of the garden to bark at ramblers, dogs barking in the distance, or what ever it is that Siena thinks she has heard!  Delia’s never had a dog that barked much. Me? All of them.

Just some photos from a sunset foray a few weeks ago

The cherries have passed now, I actually asked my neighbour if he would mind me taking some from his tree. They’re small but juicy. I have a cherry stoner I bought when we lived in Leicester where the house was built on an old cherry orchard. Delia can’t eat cherries she has discovered to her regret, but not me, my porridge was even tastier. Then came the blueberries. Our blueberry bush is protected (mostly) by the fact that the nearby cherry tree fruits slightly earlier giving plenty of distraction for the birds. Not a huge crop this year but still very satisfying for us both to grow our own.

I had hoped to talk of my health woes in the past tense but unfortunately my shingles continues. The disgusting rash is healing well but it doesn’t reflect the extreme sensitivity and pain of the nerves still affected. The best way I can describe it is like very bad sunburn, I can’t wear a shirt and the pain only lessens when I sit still, slight jarring (like walking) has to be done carefully or the pain is excruciating. The plate-sized affected area seems to be moving back towards where the shingles first showed as a line of, what seemed to be, insect bites;  my theory (hope?) is that it’s going vanish where it started.  In addition, the kidneys flare up when I am lying down and the pain killers wear off during the night it wakes me up. At least Delia recovered from her tummy bug fairly quickly and is back to slaving away doing everything around the house (and out.. she mowed the lawn last week for the first time ever!). She’s been great, I feel guilty about all she has had to be doing without my help.

Welcome to the house of sickness! 14th July 2018

What an interesting couple of weeks! As you will all know Pat has unfortunately been ill. Thankfully the pain from the kidney stones has lessened and his medication is down to pain-killers and 1 tablet a day for the shingles pain. You do realise how much your partner does when they are ill and you have to do everything. One thing I did do was cooking 2 meals in one which this week I was very, very thankful for as I got ill. Yep, on Tuesday after lunch I started to feel slightly off and it appears I had some type of stomach bug. Thankfully it didn’t last too long – but I did have to stop eating for over 24 hours (which is where those extra meals came in handy for Pat’s dinner, he just had to reheat), but on Friday I had some toast (with vegemite of course) for breakfast and had no ill effects, however this was after a trip to the chemist for some drugs of my own.

Me with my Venice painting
With my flowers (mine is the top painting)

I was glad that I was feeling much better as I had my student exhibition opening on Friday evening, and event I do look forward to each year and I loved the pictures I had in this year. See the photos below. Pat did come with me, which was nice as I wasn’t sure he would be up to it, but he took some pain killers and survived the hour, with a couple of drinks of orange juice. We also invited some new friends to come, which was great as they ran into some people they knew and really enjoyed themselves.

This morning I’ve been out into the garden, mowing the lawn. Usually one of Pat’s jobs, but he really isn’t up to it, and because of the glorious weather we’ve been having (with the occasional rain shower) the grass has gone berserk. So I was out there with the new lawn mower (I did have to get Pat to fill it with oil and petrol and explain how to start it), unfortunately the rain started (it wasn’t due to tomorrow) so I’ve only got it half done. The rest will have to wait until tomorrow. Hopefully the rain will clear this afternoon as it is Bastille day and there will be lots of firework displays happening this evening. If we are up to it, we may go to one, but they don’t start until late – generally around 11:00 pm – due to it not getting dark to around 10:30 pm.

So for now, à bientôt, from our wonderful part of France – Delia

Life’s a beach

Life’s a beach

Shingle and stones, unfortunately this week it’s been shingles and kidney stones.

As Delia blogged last week we had a fascinating visit to Aubusson with my language class. It was a two and a half hour drive in a school bus but it was worth it. The tapestry museum had been modernised since we visited some 12 years ago and was now a modern multi-media centre.  Here’s a few of my photos of the visit.

Delia mentioned we were going to a picnic on the Sunday. The weather was glorious and the location ideal. It was actually the grounds of one of my website clients ( and was a perfect shady spot. We all gathered and chatted, some new faces, some familiar, all very convivial. Until I started feeling a bit off. We went home and things got worse – pains in my back and side – until so bad we decided to go to the St Junien Urgences (Casualty or ER).

I was seen within a few minutes blood pressure taken and a cursory examination by nurse and a doctor (triage I guess). Hooked up to a line and administered a saline and a paracetomol drip which eased the pain somewhat. Though I found just staying still helped. Anyway eventually they brought Delia in and soon wheeled me off for an MRI where they found several tiny kidney stones (calcules renal).  Finally, armed with a prescription for 5 different medicines we left for home. I didn’t sleep much that night feeling like I’d been beaten up in an alley by steel-toe-capped boot wearing skinheads. The next morning we got the prescription and things were a bit better.

I had had what I thought was a row of bites from a busy mosquito on my back. I had also had an area of skin with a sensitivity to touch that I had attributed to the kidney pain, but it started to spread and pop up into blisters. A trip to the doctor and a return to the pharmacy to cash in my new prize – treatment for shingles. I won’t show any photos of this because it’s disgusting, and just looks like what it is… a pox.

So now I have so many different drugs to take that Delia drew up a table for each day. This shows when and how many of the 27 total pills I have to take. 8 different although one has paracetomol, caffine and opium. Yes opium, which whiles relieving the pain from the shingles, in the dose they suggested made me nauseous and I had to reduce it. Weirdly the doctor told me I had to take the painkiller for the shingles or else the nerves remember the pain and it can with you for years. Perhaps he’s just a drug pusher?

Anyway, the kidney pain is now just very uncomfortable and the shingles are scabbing over (lovely!). I am still indisposed and poor Delia is doing everything. At the moment she is waiting by a broken down car where she took the dog for a long walk and returning to the car it wouldn’t start. I have contacted the insurance rescue service and it should be there soon. But I’m getting hungry and my maid isn’t here to prepare my lunch! 

Delia has returned  2 hours later than expected but after I prepared my own lunch.