Tuesday, 23 December 2014

So that was 2014 then...

Firstly I would like to wish all my readers a merry Christmas. I hope you all have a wonderful time. I'll be starting work at 6am on Christmas day, selling booze and perfume to all those last minute shoppers.
I'll be thinking of the extra wages and the mince pie that awaits me when I get home.

Nearly the end of 2014 and I hope it has been a good year for you too. As we ponder our new years resolutions , I thought I should have a look at the ones I made last year:
  1. Finish that second book. Done, Published Something Short in April and Language in the blood 2 will be published shortly, just a few things to finish.
  2. I don’t want to, but I better get a good CV out there. Done, must have written a good one as I got 2 job offers by February.
  3. Do reviews of self-published free books. I believe in paying it forward, if I’m expecting people to do reviews of my book during a giveaway I’d better do a few myself. Not done so well on that front, would like to do a few more in 2015.
  4. Weather permitting, have a daily swim. I did have a swim on most good days even in the early spring. This Autumn has been awful and rainy, so resorted to a gym membership instead. Going about 3 times a week, so pleased on the fitness front.
  5. Actually use some of all my cooking books and try some new recipes. Tried about 3 new things, mostly recipes taken of the internet as that is a lot quicker than searching through cooking books.
  6. Read all the blogs I’m now subscribed to as there are some good ones out there with some great tips for writers. I've just not had the time but I need to develop a strategy for promoting the first book. Haven't had time, still at a loss for a strategy.
  7. Figure out how to improve my blog and what the hell Pinterest actually is and then linking the two. Need to get more web savvy. Oh dear, I'm about as web savvy as I was in 2013, but ask me anything about perfume.
  8. Unrelated, but I really need to throw out some of my make-up. I know my bronzing pearls are at least 15 years old, how could they have lasted that long????? I did throw some out, but my stash of make-up has now doubled due to all the free samples I now get from work. But thankfully, some of the really old stuff is gone.
  9. Improve my French.(I say this every year and I'm sure there is improvement, but my inner teacher keeps telling me: 'must do better!') It is still nowhere near perfect, but communicating at my work is going fairly well. However, sometimes it is better not to know what is being said. With so many people working together a conflict is never far, ignorance can be a good thing:)
  10. Let all good intentions go to waste by getting a kitten which will no doubt distract me from doing all the things I set out to do.Oh yes, Clicquot has definitely been the biggest cutest brake on productiveness, but he has also been very inspiring. I'm currently working on a series of short stories featuring a ginger tom....but I'm not making any resolutions this year, I'll just plod on and see what I'll get done in 2015. Que sera, sera.Happy new year.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Now I'm really ill

Common sense dictates that if you're ill from flu or a heavy cold, you should crawl into bed until you feel well enough to go back to work. But common sense is not always the French way. When my husband took ill last week he fired off a barrage of emails and phone calls. Surely that would be everyone who needed to be informed, be informed. Just to be sure he added to call or email if anything else was required. Exhausted he crawled to his bed.
He had a nagging feeling that things couldn't be this straight forward, we had heard that doctors notes need to be presented a bit quicker here than in the UK. He checked his emails at regular intervals and therefore didn't get the rest he so desperately needed.
At 4pm we received an email outlining all the hoops you have to jump through if you have the misfortune to be ill.
1. You need to visit a doctor within 48 hours.
2. The doctor will give you a form and tell you until which date you are signed off.
3. You need to fill out this form and dispatch a copy to your employer and the CPAM (The state health care department)
My husband could therefor not go into work the next day, but instead had to visit the doctor. She gave him a bewildering array of pills and potions.
"What! All that for a cold" I exclaimed when I got home from work. My husband was now very ill indeed, stressed out by the trip to the doctor, the pharmacy and the filling out of forms. Just as well she signed him off for an additional day. He's now back at work although still under the weather, but I think another trip to the doctor and additional forms would just about kill him. Dragging yourself into work seems the easier option.
Then I did some more digging and cheerfully told my husband all this was just for the sake of bureaucracy, the first 3 days you are off here in France are unpaid anyway. (It's just so all your social securities etc continue to be paid)
So in France one doesn't take to ones bed to get better, you take pills and fill out forms. No wonder there is a pharmacy on every street corner.

Monday, 1 December 2014


During my visit to Holland I was talking to one of my relatives. I was updating her about my life in France and to finish off I turned to her boyfriend and added:
''So you'll have to come along next time and see where we live too."
He looked at me for a brief moment before adding dryly;
"Well I can't have made that much of an impression on you that you don't remember me visiting you last year."
I wanted the ground to swallow me up and mentioned jokingly something about old age and onset of Altzheimers, meanwhile wracking my brain about the when and how. They had stopped by on their way to Italy and we had gone out to dinner, but even now I'm a bit hazy on the details. When I asked my husband if he remembered he replied bemused;
"Of course I do and we went there and then to dinner."
I forget things, always have, always will. It isn't something that concerns me as it isn't due to old age, it is just the way my brain functions. Something new needs to be remembered, so an old memory gets wiped.
When I taught jewellery classes I had to learn 45 new names each term. Wiping the names of old students from the memory bank was almost instantaneous. Very embarrassing if I walked into a former student just a few months after the course.
Now my brain is trying to get to grips with 5 different professions in 4 years. A new language and the names of all the new colleagues I need to know. How do people have photographic memories and remember everything to the smallest details? (Are they maybe not using their brains to their full potential?) So apologies to my friends, family and acquaintances; my in-build memory card leaves something to be desired.