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Opening proceedings

Posted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:07 am
by Denise
I keep looking at this site in the hope that maybe somebody might have posted something in response to the rather refreshing Welcome text. It seemed such a great idea to be able to log on and chat about the sometimes amusing challenges of having to cope on your own. Funny how something kicks in which makes you face up to the fact that you either have to sink or swim. My darling husband did everything practical in the house, so for me I can always hear a very big "well done" when I successfully overcome a huge obstacle in my eyes and some of them not so small. But I've learnt that the tv remote only works if the battery works! I now know what triple A's mean! I now know how to change light bulbs and how to turn the mains water on and off, backwash a pool, the list is endless! Chimneys need to be swept, gutters need to be cleared, central heating boilers need servicing; the exciting list of things that now fill my diary are endless! I often wonder what would have happened if the reverse were the situation and my husband was left alone to cope? Well, he would certainly not have had any problems maintaining the house, but as for day to day paperwork and all domestic chores he also would not have had an absolutely clue!

One of my main issues with living alone is the total disinterest in food. Am I alone? Cooking has always been an absolute passion of mine but it doesn't hold the same enthusiasm when just cooking for one. I just can't seem to be bothered and end up with egg on toast! Sometimes I have the urge to make a huge chilli or lasagne and then I've got meals to put in the freezer for when I get to feel eggbound! Oh, but then all the clearing up after. It all just seems like too much hard work. Now here's a point: is there anybody out there who may like to share their culinary expertise in preparing dishes for one? It would be great to get some new ideas. Mind you, it's always great to meet up with friends for a plat de jour and that solves the problem of food for the day!

I thought it was such a lovely idea (as muted in the Welcome) for people to be able to get together online and also to arrange to meet up and maybe form their own sub-groups when we can discuss the trials and tribulations of sorting our new lives out. As it says, not to be sat crying over our coffees but, yes, dare I say it, learning to laugh again and mostly now at ourselves! Being a very keen gardener I recently had the brainwave of replacing some gravel that had almost disappeared. Of course, this would have been a job for hubby, but nothing daunted I trotted up to the said supplier with six large empty compost sacks and a supply of pegs! The young lad filled them for me with a lot of huffing and puffing (but midday was looming!) and put them in the boot. Then as I was driving away feeling quite proud of myself, I began to hear the horrible sounds of gravel escaping. When I got home I didn't know how I was going to open the tailgate without a mountain of gravel rushing out. One thing my husband would be so proud of now is my new found patience! Never has been a strong point with me, but then there was always somebody to fix it! Now I have to learn to be patient because if I break it I've got to find and pay somebody to fix it! So I sat and made a coffee and thought things through (what me!) and armed with a wheelbarrow I managed to gingerly open the door and successfully transport six sacks into position. But that night I definitely needed a couple of muscle relief pills!

So in closing, is there anybody out there wanting to communicate but won't because nobody else has opened proceedings and posted something?

Can't we give it a go and see how far we get?

Fingers crossed,

Re: Opening proceedings

Posted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:35 am
by diparkin
Hi denise

I so enjoyed your post, so vividly and clearly expressed.

I am not in your boat, as my bereavement was of my daughter (aged 43) almost 2 years ago. Lots of people say to me that losing a child must be the worst cancer death. But it is of course not a competition and, even though I have all the stuff about her dying out of time (i.e before me) I dont have all the meals for one stuff you describe.

I met someone yesterday who moved to France 8 years ago and lost her husband to Parkinsons 6 years ago.
Something she asked me (I moved here a year ago) resonated.

"How do you fill your days?"

I realised that "Cleaning behind the bathroom taps" and "Watching the Tour de France" wasnt quite enough of an answer. She was saying that in the UK she would be able to assist at Charity shops, with the National Trust, the University of the 3rd Age and so on.

So my conclusion is that it is really hard and we all just have to keep on keeping on with as much courage as we can muster

Re: Opening proceedings

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:13 am
by KarenVM87
I have just read your post Denise, and similarly we are in the same situation. Cooking for one? I used to cook from scratch when there was two of us and now I tend to eat more processed food. Not good I know. Fortunately in the summer there is so much salad stuff and fruit. In the winter I force myself to cook a huge pot of bolognese sauce, or chilli, or curry and freeze.

In previous summers I have had a veggie plot and was able to make so many different soups or chutneys and dry fruit, herbs and vegetables for the winter. That was good to do, but this year I have decided not to grow veggies as I am able to eat at work and its extremely good value. But in the winter I do make myself have a roast dinner (Istill love roast potatoes) as we brits do.

I am also fortunate in having good friends who often invite me to dinner and I always try to reciprocate. I also love eating out.
Again Denise, you with your gravel reminded me that my builder put a lot of stones and rubble at the bottom of my garden and this year I decided that it had to go, so with plastic bags I filled as many as my boot would hold and took it to the d├ęchetterie. I felt so good, mind you there is still more to go. Maybe you already know but I find youtube a great place to find out how to do the little maintenance jobs around the home.

Its the car, I know how to fill it with diesel, wind screen wash, and anti freeze, but I have never pumped up the tyres! I have a good mechanic that looks after it for me.

My main problem was that I spoke very little french, the usual merci, bonjour, au revoir. So that was my handicap, and i needed money, so I had to work. But I have survived now speaking french and working and my family are always saying how proud they are of me and you too should be proud.

Re: Opening proceedings

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:29 am
by KarenVM87
Hello do I fill my day?
I work, I am very involved with my charity. I also am a councillor in my commune and at the moment I am trying to find the time to go around each area with the cadastral plan to number each house. Its going to be difficult. I also serve on another committee.
My day off is spent doing the usual housework (which I detest). I would sooner be in the garden working.
In this part of France there are several English charities Hope, Twilight Old Dogs, Phoenix or Rainbow that are always looking for volunteers to help. Perhaps you could pass this information on.

Re: Opening proceedings

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:33 am
by Denise
I had to smile reading Karen's post. Pumping up tyres - quelle horreur! Being very clumsy (and the bane of my husband's life!) this seems just a step too far for me. Visions of all that air coming out of all those tyres is just too much to think about, so I have found a local garage where a lovely lady "does" for me. It was always very difficult getting my husband to come shopping with me, particularly after a trip to a large Leclerc's to buy a new suitcase. "This one looks fine to me" I said, reaching for one that was on a shelf over a display of bikes. Yes, you've guessed it, I managed to dismantle the display of bikes - but the suitcase was fine! However, I have now learnt to tread on eggshells as I don't have that very patient man of mine next to me to put things right anymore.

But I do agree with Di in as much as I don't think we realise and take into consideration the sheer size of this country and how we will cope if left on our own. As I always say, I am thirty minutes drive away from anywhere and it is easy to feel very isolated. I am going to search out the three charities Karen mentioned to see if I can volunteer my help, always hoping it's not too far to drive?..... I think this is where this group could prove a lifeline to some who just want to have a chat over a cuppa. I live on the borders of 82, 12 & 46 so always happy to meet up with a few likeminded people.

Now off to kill some weeds and my dog has taken cover!

Re: Opening proceedings

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:54 am
by KarenVM87
Hello Denise,
So no video for your moment with the bicycles, would have been good for "it will be alright on the night ". I bet you could have run a mile with embarrassment.Yes thats me too deflating the tyres instead inflating.

I don't really think anymore about llving alone. I live in a small hamlet of about 15 houses, so there are always people around. Mainly tractors and trailers through the village at the moment.I am about 10 minutes from the nearest Spar and bakers, but about 25 minutes from a town. Yes if there is something on the news which I don't agree with, it would be good to discuss it with my husband. He would certainly have an opinion about brexit.
I live in department 87 which is roughly in the middle of France, so no where near you and the charities I mentioned.

Must go have to ring my garage to see if the car is ready, no my tyres are fine, i have a small oil leak.