If you have all been wondering what has happened to our blogs this year then this is to let you all know the reason, as we started off this year in our usual fashion of woes!  Yes another one! January again! Following on from broken wrists, dislocated shoulders, gall bladder operations, compressed discs, all in the past few years and all in January, 2010 has been no exception.

Pic. of Meg, our border collie


First of all we sadly lost Meg our beloved border collie, which broke our hearts.  We know she had a wonderful life and an interesting one too both on the farm at Endon, in the Staffordshire Moorlands, before she came to France and then here sharing good times with all our friends and guests, and we know seventeen was a grand old age for sure, but you know how it is, it’s taking a long time to get used to not having her around. Our faithful friend gone forever but she is never absent from our head and heart, we can never forget those happy times and pleasure she gave to us all!  Although he never says much I know it has deeply affected Brian.  They were never far apart both from working on the farm and more leisurely here in France. We buried her alongside Sam, her old working partner, and we hope they are both racing around grassy hillsides in doggie heaven with big smiles.

Rest in Peace ‘les deux’!!

Following on from that, would you believe it was my turn again to do my ‘Calamity Jane’ thing having a bad accident, by slipping on the black ice during the coldest, most bitter winter in living memory – it’s all the fault of global warming apparently!  I fractured my vertebrae which necessitated an emergency, rushed journey to the Urgences in Saumur and hospitalisation.  It was the most incredibly painful time.  That morning the hospital was chaotic being full of people like me who had had the bad fortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As normal in the French health care system I had first class care and attention from everyone.  Just one strange feature which I doubt you will find in many countries.  The hospital in Saumur is partially surrounded by vineyards.  The wine made from these vines is sold and the profits go to the hospital.

I have been completely immobile  for two months, not even being able to leave the house, having to wear a rigid plastic corset with a spike on the front up to my neck, not a pretty site!  Poor Brian has once again been running himself into the ground conducting his nursing duties together with everything else but, it has been even worse this time round, as I could not even wash or dress myself, or cook or do anything like that at all.  Anyway, after visiting the hospital last week, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as the ex-ray showed the bone has healed and  I can now start to walk outside again (albeit at snailpace at the moment), climb stairs and ride in the car for short journeys, also starting to gradually reduce the number of hours per day I am strapped into my corset.  It is a big step forward especially as after being so stressed it also culminated in another added misery for me of developing Shingles!  Brian is still trying to work out what can be done for us to eliminate these yearly disasters.  Even the nurse who has visited regularly has given me a new name of Madame Catastrophé!  What’s to be done? We are thinking of having a cooker put into the bedroom for next January, food can be delivered through the window and we can stay cocooned there until the first day of February.

Many apologies for the lack of communication, and a big, big thank you to everyone who knew about our difficulties and kept us going with their good wishes, texts, telephone calls, get well cards, cheery visits, and especially ‘Meals on Wheels’ from Elaine and Rob, Emma and Steve, Jo and Frank and Nicola. Thankyou to Katherine (Aide Soignant) and Jocylyn (Aide a Domicile).  You have all been incredibly fantastic and have no idea how much that meant to both of us in helping to keep our spirits up during this dismal time!

And now moving on …… it’s Eastertime! Hooray! My favourite time of the year with the lovely colourful daffodils, tulips and primroses beginning to bloom, the sign winter is over and summer just around the corner.  So, as we were unable to wish you all a Happy New Year, we are taking this chance to wish you a “Very Happy Easter and Springtime” and we look forward, as ever, to warm doses of sunshine and a truly great and relaxing holiday season to come with special greetings for all those valued guests who, for some unfathomable reason are content to put up with us year after year!!

Joyeuse Paques!!

Sheila and Brian