The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

I'll have what she's having!

As I mentioned previously my brother, his son and son's gf came out last week for a long weekend, and although rotten weather was forecast we actually didn't do too bad - for one day at least - and then not so bad on the others. As their first day here was warm and sunny I decided to head up to Lac des Confins. Despite appearances (see the snow in the background) it was actually beautiful and Lady Luck was yet again on our side as the restaurant I wanted to take them to was open for the last day before it closes until July. Their busy season (cross-country skiing in this case) has just wound down so they take a few weeks off before gearing up for the lesser, summer season.

Not the greatest picture of me and my brother but we were looking into the sun!

Linda, Darren, Anna and Phil
We then drove down to my favourite ski resort of La Clusaz and while it was also pretty much closed up for the season it was still very pretty. After that we picnicked a bit further down the road (Nathalie, sorry I couldn't get a picture of the "Thônes" signpost for you but traffic was diverted and we ended up taking the "even more scenic route" - i.e. we got lost), arriving in Annecy to spend a few hours walking round the old town before my kids were to join us later for a dinner-dance boat trip around Lake Annecy. It turned into a bit of a nail-biter as my oldest and his wife (that still sounds so funny to me to be saying that) were driving from Geneva after work and he called to say that the traffic was horrendous but he "hoped to make it before the boat set sail". Crikey, I mean there is no leeway in that is there - you either make it before the boat leaves or you don't! But as luck would have it, they made it with minutes to spare, and what a lovely trip that was. You know, I came to Geneva in 1980 and have been to Annecy many, many times but have never taken a boat trip. We always stay up one end of the lake when we visit - but what a mistake that was as the "far end" is stunning. As this was the beginning of the season for the boat operators there was barely anyone on board so we more or less had it to ourselves. The food and service was excellent - I can't say it was overly expensive for what we got, and when we reached the far end of the lake the little town was all lit up and very beautiful. I can't believe I have never done that trip before in all these years. After dinner, a lady got up to sing and again, it was a real treat. I hate to have to shout over loud music to talk and hate it even more if it isn't my type of music, but she was excellent, not too loud, and seemed to sing just the right combination of songs in different languages to keep everyone happy. When we got back to port we could have stayed on board to dance until 1.00 a.m. but since no-one was really up for that we all headed home.  My eldest and Darren talked "politics", as is their want, but it was really nice to see them all get to know each other better. I also took a few of those "helium balloon" photos of everyone so we all had a good laugh.  I'll try to post a few when I get my act together. But it really was a lovely, lovely evening.

Just before the boat sets off
Then on the Saturday we headed off to Lavey-les-Bains. It was raining so my concern was that if there were storms we would not be allowed in the hot springs, but again as luck would have it, while it rained there were no storms so we got to spend a few hours there. My youngest had suggested that instead of taking my usual route along the north bank of Lake Geneva it would be shorter to go through Chamonix and down to Martigny. At Chamonix we decided to stop and have some lunch and here it did rain quite a bit but we had a lovely lunch anyway and got to see the cable cars taking supplies (and a few hardy tourists I imagine) up to the top of the Mont Blanc/Aiguille du Midi.

Aiguille du Midi
Since this wasn't my usual route to Lavey I ended up going the wrong direction on the motorway for quite a while but we made it in the end, although I think we were all tired of being on the road at that point. So on the way back we decided to skip stopping off at Evian in favour of just getting home and getting out of our wet clothes.

On the last full day of their visit the weather picked up a little. It wasn't great but at least it wasn't raining so we were able to get out to Sixt Fer à Cheval and Cascade de Rouget.

This is what Fer à Cheval looks like on a good day

Darren and Linda - not so bad weather really!

At Cascade de Rouget

On Monday before I was to take them back to the airport we had a little time to kill so we decided to stop in at Yvoire, which is just starting to open up for the season, followed by a quick stop in Geneva's old town for coffee before heading out to the airport.

We almost came a cropper though because as we headed out for the airport we became aware of a strong smell of smoke, only to discover that one of the hotels being renovated in central Geneva had gone up in flames. Emergency services had closed the roads but luckily we were early enough that I was able to take another route (and no-one was injured in the fire).

This was my brother's first trip since he lost his wife last year and I think it did him the world of good. He and his son kept joking (I hope) about leaving clothes and toiletries behind for "when they move out here" - yikes! I told them Brexit was gonna be really, really hard and I wasn't sure the French were going to let any more Brits in ever again - not sure they bought it though!

After the excitement of that weekend last weekend was back to normal. I had driven up to my youngest's to get him to sign his US tax declaration and then my friend and I decided to take a trip out to a vide-grenier (car boot/garage sale) near him.  There wasn't much of interest there, to be honest, but I did pick up a nice little dish with a smaller dish embedded into it (you know, where you serve olives and there is a little dish to put the stones). After that we had heard that there was a "garden sale" up at Combloux and since we had tried to make it to Combloux several times in the past and got lost we decided to give it another shot - and WOW - just WOW! I had obviously been to/through Combloux years ago when I used to ski in Megève, but I had totally forgotten how spectacular it is.


My little haul!
And finally (gosh don't I yack on!) on Monday night I had my weekly sewing club. One of the ladies showed up late as she "there was a radio programme on about sex toys and she wanted to listen to the end of it"! Now all of these ladies are older than me so you can imagine how that was greeted. The other ladies were in uproar and the conversation definitely took a "turn for the worse". I won't go into great detail but to say it was ribald would be an understatement. And you think men are bad - they ain't got nothing on little old ladies! In fact, in a previous post I had mentioned that sometimes when I go to my local fabric store, if I can't get a parking place I have to park round the corner at the Easy Love sex store! Well I think the evening ended with a kinda "Charlies' Angels pact" where all us little old ladies are gonna go to the fabric store together and then do a "granny sortie" into the sex store (the subject of another post I imagine).

And last night, was my final - for this year - once-a-month patchwork lesson in Cluses. The ladies there got to talking about the French Presidential election. To be fair it was really interesting as I didn't know much about all the candidates and these ladies had some interesting views. But eventually they got to discussing the new (39-year old) President, Emmanuel Macron, and his 64-year old wife, Brigitte. The discussion was more along the lines of "like him or not give him a chance to actually do something" and for the most part the conversation was cautiously optimistic. But, of course, inevitably, the conversation got around to the 24-year age difference with his wife. These ladies were all for it, even if the conversation, yet again, turned somewhat ribald in the kinda "I'll have what she's having" kind of way. And this being France and a sewing class, the new First Lady's outfit was put under the microscope. For me the colour was beautiful but it was way too short (she's got knobbly knees) and to be honest she ruined the look as she struggled to walk in six-inch stilettos over the cobbled stones of the Elysee Palace. (On that note, I once saw a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker in killer heels hobbling like a cane toad over an icy New York pavement and she looked ridiculous - and I love SJP)! 

France's new First Lady
Yeah, yeah, I know, women always get judged on their looks and nobody ever comments on the also 24-year age difference between the tangerine buffoon with the haystack hair and the US First Lady! But like I said, these ladies' comments were pretty darn positive, though I'm not sure I'd like to be 64 years old with a 39 year-old husband and subject to all that scrutiny! Could someone pass me my fluffy slippers please!


  1. Beautiful photos! Sounds like you had a great visit and sight seeing with your brother

  2. It was really nice and like I said, I think it has done him the world of good and gotten him out of his shell a little. A

  3. Great buy on the flowers! What a beautiful area you live in.

    1. I have to say the flowers up at Combloux certainly looked healthier than some of seen. And yes it's a beautiful area. Been here knocking on 40 years now and still never tire of it!

  4. How nice that your brother was able to come visit and enjoyed his time so much. Do you think he was serious about moving there?

    Thanks for thinking of me and about taking a picture of the Thônes sign, even if it didn't come to pass :) Did I mention that I have a "Thônes" sticker on my SUV?

    I so wish I had known about the dinner cruise around the lake of Annecy before I took the kids there. It'll be something to try next time I'm in town. It all sounds lovely.

    Your picture of the Aiguille du Midi brought back memories of going up there with friends and 2 of my kids in June 2015. My son and I do not like heights at all and didn't really want to go but my dad insisted that we should go and I'm actually very glad we did. The trip up in the gondola (and then back down again!) wasn't something we appreciated as we couldn't wait to be on solid ground, but the views from up there were truly breathtaking. The glass platform was closed for repairs when we went, something that made me happy as my daughter was insisting that she wanted to go on it. We were also supposed to take the smaller gondolas to the Italian side and back, but it was very windy that day and they kept on closing them, and when I saw how tiny they were, I told everyone that there was no chance at all of me going on board :) Still, a great experience overall.

    Lastly, I actually think Mrs Macron is a beautiful woman with lovely legs. What knobbly knees? I sure wish I looked like this at 49, even more so at 64! Not sure that I'd want a husband quite that much younger than me, though. My husband is a little over a year younger than me and I still wince when I think that I married a "baby" born in 1968, lol.

    Have a lovely weekend! Can't wait to hear about your foray into the sex shop :)

    1. Nah, I don't think my brother was serious about moving out here but you never know. And his son - well I guess anything could happen. My brother asked about my friend, Steve - he seems to have me paired off with him - would Steve move out here. When I told him, that wasn't an issue as he was a sociable animal and was full of banter and you just can't do that immediately in another language, so life wouldn't be the same for him. Brother's response was he could learn French. They just don't get it how long it takes to get the intricacies of another language because they haven't had to. I had a degree in French when I came here but I had an awful lot more learning to do after that AND it takes years to be able to use repartee in another language, so NO, while it is beautiful life just wouldn't be the same if they moved out here. Having said that, I had at one time considered Spain (I speak Spanish and love Spain) and even Bulgaria (willing to learn the language) but while life might look greener on the other side it is not without its challenges, as you well know.

      Oh, the boat is La Libellule and definitely worth it, although probably better out of peak season like we did.

      And as for Chamonix, God luv em but I got my ex in-laws up to the top too though not on the gondola - on the train. I'm not too sure about the glass platform tough.

      As for Mrs Macron all I can say is good luck to her. There were some unfortunate photos of her at his inauguration as she was hunched over trying to walk in those heels. I don't think she is attractive and she definitely looks her age but what I think is neither here nor there. They seem happy and if she has the strength to put herself out there (a) in public life and (b) as a much older wife then I can only admire her. In any case, she takes a much better picture than Hollande sneaking out on his scooter to meet up with his fancy bit, doesn't he.

  5. Oh my I enjoyed all your pictures. Something about beautiful sun and grass, but with the echo of snow in the back ground on the mountains. You live in a beautiful part of the world.

    1. Hi Sam, I am really very aware of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place but I think wherever you live you can find much beauty. I happen to come from a large industrial city in England so I guess that's why I rhapsodize so much!