Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas letter 2010

We have made a big decision this year about where and how we want to live. After 14 wonderful years in Rieux Minervois we have decided to move to an apartment in a larger town. We are both in our eighties now and our backs aren't what they used to be so we had to give up our gardening, first the large one down by the river and now the garden opposite the house. We sold our house in October and plan to move to Narbonne before the spring in 2011. We have found a spacious apartment overlooking the Canal du Midi that is only a few steps away from the centre of the town. Within a short walking distance are French style shopping conveniences and restaurants, theatres and medical services. We can walk to the train station where we can the TGV high speed trains to anywhere and its a short drive of less than 30 minutes to visit with our friends in Rieux and in nearby towns, or a drive over the hills to walk along the wide beaches that stretch along the Mediterranean shore.

In the past 18 months we have had many friends and family visiting with us, too many to list without this letter looking like a phone book. And you know who you are. In addition we have many friends here both, French and those like us who have settled here plus others who split their time here with their home country.

Christmas Letter 2009

The year started with a bang. A violent 200km wind blew down our chimney and also left a big hole in the roof. It also tore up trees, damaged power lines and blocked highways as well as damaged thousands of roofs throughout the region. This gave politicians an excellent opportunity to temporarily resolve the high unemployment problem in this region. Being able bodied at the time I was recruited by my neighbour, who is a stone mason to assist him by climbing onto the roof ( 3 stories) to remove the debris and to undertake repairs. Being unskilled I was assigned the lowly task of taking the smashed bricks and tiles down to the basement, a big bucket at a time.

A slight slip and I felt a stab in the back. I then realized why there aren't too many 79 year old stonemason's helpers around. Anyway it was down hill after that until I finally in June went to Toulouse and had it operated on. As you know you can't replace a backbone the way you can hips and knees so the recovery is slower. Its December as I write this and I'm finally getting back to normal but don't expect to be managing my big vegetable garden any more or taking up tennis or skiing again.

After the disaster in Copenhagen we can expect as the planet warms up an increasing number of environmental disasters. The good news is this will greatly increase employment opportunities to administer to the suffering and to clean up the mess and will limit the numbers available to run off to other countries to shoot mostly civilians and a few enemies who don't seems to like us.

A brief comment about health care services here. In short they have been outstanding throughout, highly professional and without delays. The American public are being deliberately lied to by the health industry and their paid congressional representatives. At a fraction of the cost, I can choose my health service professionals ( doctors, home care nurses, physiotherapists, clinics and hospitals), Insurance companies provide a vital part of the service, and clinics and many hospitals are privately run.

We are fortunate here. Irene and I never tire of the beauty of the Languedoc. Rolling plains of vineyards and olive groves bordered by forests, mountains and the sea. Its a rare day when we don't utter at least a few ohs! and ahs!

For no particular reason here is a picture of our fabulous dog. our friends who live here, family and many friends of all ages from half a dozen countries sharing time with us we are never lonely. This year my grandson Jack was the first family member to arrive at School Break followed by son David while I was under the knife. Soon after son Peter with grandchildren, Ben and Sami for three weeks and then David again and Brenda