We packed the car in warm sunshine, wistfully saying good bye to the house for a few months. This time, more than ever before I think, we did not want to go back to England. We travelled on 31st October, catching a late train on the Monday evening to avoid the busy weekend at the end of the UK half term. The journey was awful, this time because of the weather. It started raining when we got to Le Mans and it was torrential all through northern France. The rain didn’t stop until we go to Leicester. Driving in heavy rain in the dark on motorways is very hard work and we finally tumbled into bed at 2am.
We have certainly had some terrible journeys this year, there's no doubt.
Having emptied the wardrobe (I shall henceforth refer to it as the dressing room as it is indeed a room albeit a peculiar shape) we decided not to put much back until we have added more functional shelves and rails next year. There were boxes of old clothes and other stuff that had been stashed in there when we first bought the house eight years ago and had never been opened since. We decided to bring a lot of it back to the UK for sorting over the winter, disposal to charity shops as appropriate, and transported it in the trailer, packed into those blue Ikea bags. Most of them got wet. The bottom layer of clothes in every bag was damp so our first week at home was spent getting everything washed and dried before it became fusty. The washer and dryer were going full time.
Back in the UK the weather is what could only ever be November weather; grey, drizzly and miserable with just a few sunny days here and there. All things considered it's not been too bad - it's not unknown to get quite heave snow in Derbyshire at this time of year - but it has been fairly mild. We celebrated Nick's birthday with a walk around Clumber Park.
We rounded off his birthday weekend with a fish and chip lunch - but not as you know it - and a walk at Matlock Bath.
However, the Indian summer is most definitely behind us. A few leaves cling stubbornly to the trees in the wood behind the house and we’ve had leaden skies day after day.
We now have an Indian Prime Minister. Born in England but of Indian heritage, the wealthiest of all the MP's and married to the daughter of an Indian billionaire. Much of their considerable wealth is stashed off shore to avoid paying tax. It seems he plans to squeeze the public to wring out the cash needed to fill the "black hole in the economy". Today is budget day and the weather is as awful as it could possibly be on a day that is likely to herald bad news for most of us.
It seems to me that if the lower and middle income earners have money they spend it, mostly very locally. That benefits local businesses and jobs. If you give it to the rich they stash it off shore along with all their other dosh. If you squeeze the lower income earners they batten down the hatches to pay the bills, the only people benefitting being the supermarkets and utility companies.
For example, if in order to save money someone sacks their cleaner and window cleaner, visits the hairdresser less often and stops eating out, those people and businesses are all in a more precarious position. A multi millionaire who loses £50k a year will not freeze to death or starve.
Our new PM has dropped a few clangers already. It’s going to be a long, hard and interesting winter I think.
My brother was discharged home from hospital with initially no help at all. His mobility is still very poor. The first few days were rocky as he tried to get around the house and look after himself, having a few falls including one at the top of the stairs which was very worrying. At one point it looked like his twelve weeks in hospital, four of them in intensive care, might be a waste of public money if he then killed himself by falling down the stairs.
Gradually over the first two weeks he acquired various aids for living; a perching stool so that he can prepare food in the kitchen, a shower seat, a step to get up into his shower cubicle and a tray trolley/walker to enable him to carry meals from the kitchen to the table. A carer comes once a day to do things he still can't do and a physio twice a week, or thereabouts, mostly to teach him how to use the equipment rather than exercises.
Bit by bit and very slowly he is getting back to normal although he hasn't been out of the house since he was discharged and doesn't expect to be able to drive for some weeks.
I suppose we should think of him as one of the lucky ones. A report in my newspaper yesterday said that a third of all hospital beds are now occupied by someone who is medically fit for discharge but unable to leave because of the crisis in Social Care. The longer they stay in hospital, the more they deteriorate, losing their mobility and skills to look after themselves. This is what happened to my dad.
Grey and miserable here in Norfolk today too. But the pictures of the autumn leaves and exciting fish lunch have cheered me up! I do hope your brother is able to adjust to his new, restricted lifestyleReplyDelete
He is working hard to try to get back to at least as good as before he became ill. I forgot to mention that he is now WFH for two hours a day, three days a week. He can at least sit in front of his computer even if he can't drive to the office.Delete
It's a good start and in many ways better than we feared.
Lovely photograps of both France and the UK. We are very fortunate in more ways than one and will weather the financial storm, but your point meaning that cut backs will affect the livlihoods of local small businesses is an important one. We don't have a mortgage and our state pension increases have been preserved. I fear it will be a less 'merry' Christmas or 'prosperous' New Year for many. It is a good time to remember our neighbours (in the widest sense) who are less fortunate and make donations of food, money or time to help them through hard times.ReplyDelete
We've decided to sell our second car. At the MOT we discovered that in the past year it has done only 200 miles! It probably hasn't done more than 4000 in the past six years.
Good news about Colin and I hope his recovery continues and that he regains a bit more of his mobility each day. The episode you describe at the top of the stairs is indeed frightening.
Gaynor, we also feel fortunate but on the other hand, we worked hard for it. By the time I retired I had worked flat out, full time, for thirty five years and three days a week for the next five after that.Delete
One way we feel fortunate is that we had jobs that lasted that long, although Nick had suffered redundancy several times in his working life.
My brother has improved even more since I wrote the post. I went to take him to a doctor's appointment yesterday and he said he would like to try driving himself there with me to accompany him, just in case. He was fine and is thrilled to have that part of his independence restored.
Yes the weather has been awful here in North Yorkshire too, jumping from summer to winter in one leap and depriving me of that window of opportunity to prepare the garden for winter. Now we are surrounded by fields with visible signs of flooding whilst still being subjected to a hosepipe ban,not that the Brussels sprouts need watering anymore, of course. I hope you have a restful stay in the UK and better journey weather for your return trip next year.ReplyDelete
We have done such a lot of going to and fro this year and hope that next year will be much more settled.Delete
We always hope that the UK weather will be better than usual but it never is!