Archive for November, 2009

Carte Vitale and Glasses

November 24, 2009

It’s not often Jay and I go out but today was not the most enjoyable jaunt.

We both had an appointment at the Opthalmologist – mine for a post cataract check-up and Jay because he hasn’t had his eyes checked for years.

It is expected that you will wait at least an hour afer the alloted time before you see the great man. Some people accept this with varying amounts of good grace but others complain loudly.

Today, we sat in silence for the first half an hour and then people began to moan.  Jay and I had already sat in a long queue at the Caisse Primaire (kind of medical social security office) because I’m having problems with my Carte Vitale.

Two months ago they sent me a letter saying mine came from a faulty batch and it would have to be replaced with the new version, complete with photo. They invited me to return the old one  and use an “Attestation”  ( a piece of paper printed with the necessary details) instead, but my neighbour warned me not to part with one card until I had received the other.

Wise advice indeed because my new card still hasn’t come and so I thought it would be a good idea to go and see about it before my appointment in case there was a problem.

“No, no problem”, said the young girl, as she brought up a picture of my new card on the screen.

“So why haven’t they sent it?” I asked.

“Oh, these things take a long time”, I was told, but she did agree I could keep using my old card in the meantime.

We went in to see Dr T –  only an hour and a half late – and with less than five minutes left on the parking ticket.

Jay could see very well with his usual glasses but was given a prescription for sunglasses ready for next year.

My examination was not so good. The right eye has become weaker and needs laser treatment  before he can give me a new prescription. Meanwhile  I’m probably the wrong side of  the borderline for driving until this little problem is sorted out.

It was getting on for five when we went to see the secretary to pay the bill – guess whose card didn’t pass muster?  Jay’s!

He hasn’t used it for yonks and probably we didn’t update it last January.

“You’ll have to take it to the nearest chemist and update it.”

Off we toddled at a much faster pace than I’m used to to find a chemist at the end of the road.

But the wretched machine wouldn’t accept the card.

Afer waiting ages for “Communication”, the first time it said “Authentification” before cutting out and the second time it refused to do anything at all.

We went back to the secretary.  She agreed to do it manually but said we should go to the Caisses Primaire and sort it out as soon as possible.

Oooh, there are better things to do in town than sit in a queue or a waiting room for ages.

The Garden

November 22, 2009

We had some help to clear the garden ready for Autumn this year but with the rain and unseasonably ‘warm’ weather, the weeds are beginning to rear their ugly heads again.

The mustard that was planted as a fertilier cum weed preventer is growing still but there’s no danger it will come into flower (unless the weather really does go mad!) According  to the directions it should be grown early enough to flower before the end of  Autumn. You then cut off the flowers and crush the stems ready to be dug in before the Winter – or in the Spring.


On the subject of gardenig I was rather surprised and shocked to read that Monsanto, who apparently make Roundup weedkiller have recently been fined by a French court for lying about their product.

It seems it is not the relatively harmless product they say it is. It does not leave the soil ‘clean’ but deposits toxic chemicals that remain.

It makes you wonder about their ‘Roundup resistant’ seeds which allow farmers to spray their fields with the stuff.

Anyway, I shall certainly not be using it any more in my garden.

Tipping Time

November 12, 2009

It’s that dreaded time of year when the sound of the doorbell of an evening probably means someone wants some money.

First it was the ‘Ebouers’ – dustmen. They haven’t been round for a couple of years,  probably because when a separate charge for refuse collection was introduced people were rather cross, and may not have responded well to a request for money.

Well,  they don’t actually ask for money:  they sell you a calendar. The going  rate for this rather small apology for a calendar is 10 euros, but as they come out twice a week whatever the weather and don’t grumble when we have five dustbin bags full I think they deserve it.

In the same week we had a visit from the ‘Pompiers’ – firemen. They also get 10 euros and their calendar was a series of firefighter related cartoons.

The only calendar worth having is the Post office one, which is full of  useful information – even maps of local towns – and is big enough to put on the wall and use. Our postlady leaves a packet of calendars in the letter box so we can choose which picture we like and then we put the package back in the box with 10 euros in an envelope for her to collect the next day.

Besides these worthy causes we had a visit from the Blood Doners Association yesterday but they only received 5 euros because that’s all we could muster. It’s a shame because they give a small gift instead of a calendar and this year it was a really useful bag, just big enough to carry a phone and a purse, with an adjustable strap.

Someone delivers the newspapers at some unearthly hour every day except Sunday. He or she deserves a reward but I wouldn’t be too pleased if they rang the bell before daylight one morning. I suppose we could stick an envelope  on the letter box one night . . .


‘Flu Vaccine

November 5, 2009

For those who are fed up with me banging on about swine ‘flu and the vaccine please  don’t read on, but for anyone interested, I can recommend watching these videos:

They are in Catalonian Spanish but with English subtitles and, unfortunately are a bit longwinded.

In essence, a highly qualified (medically and scientifically) Benedictine nun takes us through the unusual facts surrounding the ‘flu virus and the vaccine.

Here are the most important findings:

1) The H1N1 virus is not new. It has appeared before in previous epidemics.

2) It is a mild virus and the death rate is not as bad as most seasonal ‘flu outbreaks so why the push for a mass vaccination programme?

3) In the Spring a batch of vaccine was sent to the Czech Republic and, by chance, a lab technician tested it on animals. They all died because the vaccine contained a toxic mix of live vaccines: bird ‘flu which is lethal but not very infectious and a non-lethal but highly contagious strain. Baxter admitted this but claimed it was a mistake. If this mistake had not been discovered it is highly likely that a deadly mutation of the virus would have spread by now – thus making the pandemic much more of a reality.

4) The WHO have changed the definition of a pandemic so that a level 6 can be declared even for a mild illness. BUT this gives them powers to control all world governments regarding the way in which they deal with it.

5) The swine ‘flu vaccine could become mandatory but the drug companies are immune from any claims against them for serious side effects or even death caused by it.

6) The vaccine  contains adjuvants that have never been used before and which could stimulate an immune response ten times higher than normal. This could lead to autoimmune diseases.

7)There could be further examples of  ‘accidental mixing of live viruses’ which could lead to many more deaths.

8 In this case, the ‘flu vaccine wouldn’t be any use in combatting a new version of the disease.

9) She asks why these anomolies have not been mentioned by the media.

10) She deliberately avoids getting into the ‘conspiracy theory’ argument  so what she says is based on scientific findings and she gives many references to follow up.

These are the main points as I remember them but it is well worth watching what she has to say before deciding, for yourself and your family, whether or not to say NO.

P.S.  Perhaps this relates to #7?

This and That

November 2, 2009

Thinking of a topic for this post is proving rather difficult, so I’ll just ramble on a bit and see what happens.

The most interesting news is that we have a visitor from America, a friend of Jay’s, who has finally made it over to see us. She stayed with us in England about ten years ago but I haven’t seen her since. After the first two nights in Paris, where Jay and CC  packed in as much sightseeing as they could,  they all came back here on Saturday to recover, eat and sleep.

Fortunately it was this weekend when the much needed rain came down  but it didn’t spoil any plans.

Bear, who grumped at the thought of someone ‘invading his space’ was far more  charming  than I’ve seen him in years for our first meal together on Saturday but, by Sunday, he had reverted to his old self, refused to eat with us and sat watching telly with the volume at full blast while we ate a lovely meal prepared by Jay and our guest –  carrot soup, followed by salmon in a spicey coconut sauce with basmati rice laced with caramelised onions. For dessert we finished off the chocolate pudding CC had made the day before.

We are trying to think up local recipes for our visitor to taste and Francine, who comes in to help with Bear brought a surprise in her basket this afternoon. It was a joint of boar. Her husband goes hunting and they had shot the animal and divided it up on Saturday.  She gave me instructions for cooking it (slowly with a little white wine but not marinated beforehand) so I’m looking forward to trying it. The Ardennes has the boar as its symbol but it’s not easy to find any meat unless you know a hunter or are on good terms with your butcher. Otherwise you have to ask in advance and then pay through the nose.

The bad news is that the washing machine has packed up AGAIN! iI’s  the third time the spin drying cycle has decided not to work, but, at least, it’s still under guarantee. The only problem is that  even though the engineer is coming out tomorrow morning I know from previous experience that he won’t be able to mend it on the spot; it will take weeks for the necessary part to arrive and I will have to ring up and beg on a daily basis before they arrange to lend me another machine and then they will squeeze it in the laundry room beside the offending object that has let me down.

It looks as though I’ll have to ask my friend Yvette, or my neighbour, Claudine if our visitor can borrow their machine to do her washing, while ours piles up to the ceiling!

We’ve all had strange colds these last few weeks – or rather dry coughs and sore throats that won’t go away. According to the chemist nearly everyone round here has a similar problem. Now, at the risk of being accused of spreading conspiracy theories, I did notice thick white trails in the sky recently.

At first, one could just put it down to normal vapour trails. But have you noticed how they sometimes criss cross and last longer than you’d expect – and also become wider? A little research on Google brought up the information that they sometimes appear when the conditions are not right for vapour trails.

Are they spraying pollutants in the guise of ‘weather experiments’  or such like? What and why are they spraying? Do they have the right to interfere with nature in this way?

It smacks of science gone mad like the recent ‘experiment’ of bombing the moon. Did you see it on the news? Fortunately it turned out to be a bit of a damp squib as their huge explosion kind of became a feeble whimper. But what if they had destabilised the moon in some way? It makes you wonder if they know what they’re doing – or if they do really understand the risk – WHY are they doing it?