Well, Christmas is over and we have all, just about, recovered. We were of course, struck down by the annual bug that always seems to hit when I down tools for the holidays.
This year it was something akin to the Black Death and I spent several days convinced that I was going to die. Husband cooked a fantastic Christmas dinner, that I was unable to eat, before succumbing to the lurgi himself. The kids swiftly followed suit so I was forced to leave my deathbed and attend to the needs of my nearest and dearest. This I did but I have to confess, that sympathy was in short supply.
Middle child was the least affected ( which makes a change as she is usually the most affected, if you get my drift) so she was soon kicked off the sofa to help with the household chores.
Its at times like this, that rural French life on the bread line, really loses its thrall. If indeed, it ever had any.
Collecting eggs from your hens on a sunny summers day is all very lovely. Braving arctic temperatures when you have a raging temperature yourself, to go and shut them up at night is less appealing. Especially as the bloody things haven’t laid an egg for months now.
Gathering round a roaring log fire is lovely. Staggering outside to load up the log basket for the umpteenth time that day, is less than lovely. When you sit by the fire and are finally warm enough, your face takes on the reddened glow of an old wino. Move away from the fire to let your blood vessels recover and the rest of your body starts to freeze.
Deciding to make do and mend because you are ‘downshifting’ is all very well in theory. The practice is a little harder. I can sew up holes in clothes but when the printer needs mending, it is beyond my capabilities. And I really can’t imagine that the man in the printer shop, will be happy to be paid in jars of home made chutney.
And, why do gas bottles only ever run out when it is cold, dark and you are at a key point in the culinary process?
When you are tired, ill, miserable and still having to carry firewood, feed animals and prepare yet another meal from ingredients left in the store-cupboard because you can’t afford to shop until the end of next week, the lack of money really does get to you.
With the current economic climate, I really can’t imagine that our position is going to improve anytime soon. I think I had better spend the first part of 2009 trying to find some form of money making activity of the paid, job type nature. Unfortunately, I suspect rather a lot of French people will also be trying to do this.
And they will probably be better qualified than me. Still, looking on the bright side, being so ill and stressed about money, does mean I have lost shed loads of weight. The bad news is that my jeans are now too big and of course, I can’t afford to buy new ones.
Maybe I should try one of those ads in the back of Private Eye - “Impoverished young woman urgently needs money for clothes” - sort of thing. I suspect any responses might be rather dubious but maybe it is worth a try?