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Everything posted by cooperlola2

  1. I'm with you, Tegwini and others. There are a million jokes about the human body, male and female, and I've laughed at many of them, as well as telling a few - but they have no place here. As you say, the Internet provides recreation and enlightenment on every conceivable subject - but each in its place is best. France Forum would be much the poorer if ladies left because of this sort of stuff.
  2. Time for a bit of an update. Her cooperlolaship doesn't actually get as much time for this as she'd like - she really is a very busy girl in hospital, and weekends at home just fly by! Also, if truth be told, she feels more comfortable contributing to the life of this forum than talking about her own situation! Progress is slow but kinda steady. Cooperlola tends not to notice that she's moved on here and there, so isn't always as full of good news as she might be. Biggest event of recent weeks was the visit by the insurance company's doctor. You might have expected him to breeze in, look at whatever the hospital were prepared to show him, ask her how she's doing and be gone, to collect his no-doubt fat fee. Wrong! He spent two hours with Deb, getting her to stand, sit, turn, stretch, talk and basically use every part of her body to see how well absolutely everything is working. The hospital doctor had urged her to prepare a list of discomforts etc in advance, so that helped. We expect a draft (!) of the report this week, for Deb to comment. What he did point out, when Deb was being mealy-mouthed about her progress, was the increased articulation on the wretched right knee, which the hospital notes show to have improved markedly over the  - then - 6 weeks since she was allowed to be weight-bearing. Because this is France, the ambulance-chasing culture does not exist, so the compensation will be less than might have been the case in the UK - but then we don't know whether the marvellous facilities Deb is "enjoying" would have been available in UK, either. One other item - Deb's voice. She has lost a great deal of power in this area. When she raised the point with the hospital doc, an ENT specialist was summoned within days, and undertook a full exam, finding no evidence of damage on the voicebox. Deb will now receive voice-training. Full-width healthcare? Not half!
  3. We all have mixed feelings about zoos - I mean, whether the inmates wouldn't be a lot happier in their natural habitat, and all that. These pics - over 100 of them - at least seem to show animals, birds and the odd insect in good surroundings, if you can accept that is possible in captivity. Not all the pics are great, but the big cats - and their young - have an appeal proportional to their size. There are a couiple of shots of what I believe to be a white tiger - simply off the scale of animal attraction! http://www.wutic.com/photos/events/wildwednesday/  
  4. Is there any chance that this thread could have its title changed? While the ghastly Middle East conflict is a perfectly legitimate subject under Other Topics, it has wandered a very long way from Andrew Marr & Gordon Brown.
  5. I'm afraid that the website model makes some silly assumptions, ignoring the realities of rural life in France. For example, most French electricity is nuclear-generated, but the website model clearly thinks fossil fuels. I seemed to have a huge footprint, despite never getting in an aeroplane, or indeed travelling very far by car. How & why would I catch a bus or train here? I live in Rue de la Gare - but the railway closed in 1947! There are 3 buses a day each way - but only during school terms. Like all the green stuff I've ever read, this nonsense conveniently ignores the biggest cause of pollution - children. When I die, my carbon footprint largely goes with me. Those of you who have kids - and can't wait to have grandkids - are perpetuating the pollution for generations to come. Caring for the planet? I don't think so.
  6. I think, when I was 16, I liked Martha & the Vandellas. Since then, a bit of Temptations - only that must have been in the 70s - but really not much else. For once on a musical subject, cooperlola and I sing out of the same hymnbook!
  7. My clear recollection of recent years in the UK was that every time it snowed, and transport links got strained, if not breached, we were told by the meejah that this was gross incompetence on the part of UK plc, and that other countries in Europe were much smarter with their winter precautions. Hooey. Baloney. Load of tosh. At least in this part of France. We had about 2 inches of snow during Monday - the grass is still peeping through on my lawn. No drifting, or other worsening factor. Yet the headline in today's local paper says "Snow and ice paralyse la Sarthe". Pics and story of huge traffic jams, abandoned cars, public transport disrupted, a city of 200,000 on its knees - all the good things we beat our breasts about in the UK. Today, at midday, as I approached cooperlola's hospital, doing about 20 mph, I needed to brake for a car turning off. The ABS went mad under my foot. Sounds of cracking ice - and this on a well-used stretch of road which was until recently a Route Nationale! I saw no evidence anywhere of salt or grit being used, yet temperatures have still not approached freezing - that is, they're still well below! -5 at 15.30. Rather like the Continental Sunday, which we were assured was the model for opening the shops in Britain 7 days a week, the European answer to winter has not yet been found in Le Mans!
  8. Since the poor thing doesn't get as much 'net time as she might like, I thought a New Year Progress Report might be appropriate. As I type, Her Cooperlolaship is tucked up in bed with her semi-namesake - Cooper the large, soppy, ginger cat. I mean, he is lying half under the duvet, on his back, purring his head off, while mum watches Hill Street Blues. I periodically get summoned to make tea etc. We are now getting into a routine with the weekend furloughs - less stuff needs to be carried back and forth - and tonight near-neighbour Sheena will be attending for one of my iffy Bologneses. Deb managed to sustain Xmas lunch at the other end of the village - although allowing us to be in the same team for Trivial Pursuit Babyboomers afterwards was a mistake, as we did mop up a bit - and New Year's Day aperitifs and a bit of very French lunch at the house opposite us also proved possible. The early-morning visits from the nurse are a bit of a bore, but the ladies concerned do their injecting job immensely quickly. The right knee is a bit painful, as are all sorts of other bits after a vigorous session with the physio yesterday - he had just spent several days in London, clearly benefitting from Deb's patient coaching on "A pint of bitter, please!" in a Young's pub. He'd also risked maxing-out the carte bleu in Oxford Street with the family! Deb continues to improve in confidence and manoeuvrability - but the road is yet exceedingly long. She is to be seen by a doctor from our insurer on Thursday, who will confer with l'Arche on her prognosis. 2009 will be an interesting year in terms of how much Deb and the hospital team can attain - and how the compensation claim progresses. With the £ where it is, this money could be quite useful, I'm afraid!
  9. [quote user="sweet 17"] In 2000, when there was a flu epidemic, OH decided he'd catch the flu so that he wouldn't have to do the washing-up. So, after Christmas Day dinner, OH took to his bed; I had to take his cousin and her friend (they'd come for Christmas Dinner) back to their homes; then call the ambulance. The ambulance came and whipped OH off to the local district hospital; siren blaring, red light flashing and me following in the car. To cut a long story short, he was at death's door and yours truly got to spend the rest of Christmas Day and most of the New Year holidays in the hospital sitting by OH's bedside. In the end, I'd had enough of the histrionics and got him an early discharge and took him home and told him in no uncertain terms not to pull that stunt again! [/quote] Funnily enough, that same Xmas, I had flu. On Boxing Day, feeling absolutely ghastly at times, cooperlola insisted that we (i.e. I) drive to Kempton Park for the King George, for which we had bought members' badges. Next day was a friends party, and I got null points for arriving late and being a bit boring. On the Thursday, I found that the symptoms had lifted a bit, went supermarket shopping, found myself short of breath, but quite different from my usual - on such occasions - asthma. On Friday, flu gone, but breathing still not right, so went to Doc, who pronounced me to be suffering from "rather nasty case of pneumonia", sent me for x-ray. Radiographer very concerned when he looked at my right lung! Off work for a fortnight, but drugs did the trick. Man-flu has not been mentioned in our household since! Oh, and because I'm an asthmatic, France offers me a free flu jab every year.
  10. There are not many "big" players in digital SLRs. Canon and Nikon lead the field, having the vast bulk of the professional market between them, while Sony (was Minolta), Pentax and Olympus are among the chasing pack. You wouldn't put money on them all surviving the recession, but Canon is probably among the strongest in that respect. The 40D is pretty good, no doubt about that, and for general family and holiday photography, it will deliver pretty much everything you want. There are, however, substantial differences in the feel and handling of cameras from each manufacturer's stable. These are far more significant than the differences in image quality etc. You would do well to handle each model in your price range to see whether it feels right to you, or whether the control layout and design of menus etc make it seem daunting. The 40D also only has a 2.5 inch screen - newest models like the 50D and Nikon etc equivalents have the super bright 3 inch screen , with 4 times the resolution. Make sure this isn't going to disappoint.
  11. Cathy Given the warmth I have felt on here in recent months, it behoves me to wish you an early successful resolution of your little one's torment. I know a little about hospital visits, having made about 90 since August, but mine were/are to an adult making visible progress. I hope they twig the problem soonest and give her her life back pronto - thus doing the same for yours. Learning difficulties are bad enough, but they can be managed, or at least worked-round - this sounds absolutely horrible. Ian
  12. I think those would have to be classified as sidelights! It is illegal to drive on sidelights in France, I think!
  13. As cooperlola will attest, my digestive tract is not my best bit, and on that basis tartiflette ought not to be a good thing for me to nosh. Yet every time I eat it I enjoy it and it offers no disturbance to the cooperlola2 equilibrium. At the race at Le Mans, there is sometimes a chap with a huge wok-like thingie - maybe 2 metres or more in diameter - into which he hurls the tartiflette ingredients to huge effect. He truly does have the world's largest wooden spoon to stir the pot! It is then served in cardboard containers and is excellent. You can also get it in supermarkets frozen - or, on a good day, you can get cooperlola to make one, which is always successful. I think she made one alfresco last year on a campsite in Belgium - much enjoyed by  a dozen or more people - using someone's gas-powered wok. Cooperlola hankers after such a device herself, now! 
  14. Well! Thankyou all for your kind thoughts! An odd sort of way to spend one's 60th, but at least cooperlola and I had a couple of hours together at lunchtime. As she well knows, I'm not a party animal, and really another evening alone did not get me feeling depressed. Far more irritating was fighting off a PC trojan called Zlob, which AVG, our resident virus-checker, simply ignored. It hijacked my homepage and partly disabled search facilities - especially if I asked Google about it! All sorted now, but cost me a few euros in a new bit of software. As I said at the start of all this in August, you can now expect to hear rather less from me - la cooperlola is now well able to provide updates on her progress. Thankyou all for your support and ideas over the last 3 months!
  15. Deb is definitely better. After pushing her round the grounds for a bit - the afternoon was lovely, mild and sunny, in contrast to last night's heavy storm - we sat over a romantic can of pop (no alcohol in a hospital) in the lounge area, while wheelchairs passed in all directions, and then adjourned to her room. It was at this point that she commented how well my trews - beigy-khaki, with a hint of green - complemented my green jumper/fleece thingy. And immediately added that she was sure it wasn't intentional! Fine words coming from a woman wearing trousers intentionally three sizes too large - and wearing odd socks to boot! Such is 34 years of marriage, I suppose!
  16. I suppose the point about Armistice Day in France is that in WW1, it was the scene of unprecedented - and supremely pointless - carnage, while in WW2, it had the awfulness of 4 years of Nazi occupation. 'Allo 'Allo it probably wasn't. Certainly there is a keen sense of indebtedness here. Le Mans was liberated on 8th August 1944, but skirmishing continued nearer us to the North East on the 10th August - when a young US Lieutenant, Onias C Martin, lost his life near Bonnetable. [A local lady suggests he may have been the victim of friendly fire - an expression which, like "sympathetic detonation", conveys very little of its true import!]. Today the road into Bonnetable carries his name, regiment etc, and there is a lovely memorial, with a photo of the young man, at the roadside a few kilometres out of town. Well-maintained all year, on the anniversary of his death there are fresh flowers and the French and US flags fly over the memorial. Not bad for a foreigner who died before most of us were born!
  17. Deb has gained a little independence this week by being given a wheelchair that has a sort of paddle affair that she can use to get about, without needing a push everywhere. The chair she had before had those big hand grips outside the wheels, of course, but when you only have one hand that works, you tend not to do much but move in circles! The new one - it's anything but new, actually, but still a step up - has a sort of gear lever, enabling Deb to go forward, back, or into neutral for when a pusher is available. I've been attending for lunch this week. Deb cannot cut up meat or anything like that, so I've been pleased to be doing that, tearing up her bread roll etc. Yes, there are helpers who'd willingly do it in my absence. Deb is a somewhat fussy eater, so I've been offered all sorts of starters and other bits she didn't fancy - even though she'd had a chance to opt for foods that suit her better, some stuff still isn't to her taste. Embarrassingly, the staff, seeing me helping her out, have on every occasion provided me with a spare meal if one was available! Warm and generous people are all around, and being English is no bar to their kindness. Today Deb has other visitors at lunchtime, then a mature English couple are visiting for the weekend, bringing Deb's mum with them, so I have the chance of a few days off - very welcome. They are also bringing the replacement balance of the horsefeed that got destroyed in the crash, so that will ease feeding problems. French horse-owners only seem interested in buying the dobbin equivalent of rocket fuel! It kinda makes sense in a land where horses are eaten - the sort of retirement our two enjoy is simply less common here!
  18. Travel is no longer the immense issue it was for the first five weeks, i.e. when Deb was in Rouen. That was 120 miles, so 240 per round trip. Mixed D roads, N roads and Autoroute. Quite challenging. Le Grand Luce was much closer - 32 miles, and while it took 45 minutes, the roads were quiet and rather pretty in the Autumn colours, although a couple of villages with evil priorites-a-droit were a bit boring, needing too much vigilance for comfort. Now St Saturnin is 28 miles and 41 minutes via the main road, but can be reached via prettier cross-country routes as well. Darker evenings from tomorrow will inform my decisions on evening visits - fair weather is ok via the back roads, wet or frosty weather is not.
  19. Sadly, I have to vote with those who say the cheapo article is rubbish. Ours came from an Outiror lorry. For those who haven't yet lived in rural France, there is a regular flow of large juggernaut-sized lorries from several firms which park in your village once every few weeks for a morning or afternoon. You'll know they're due because you will have received their catalogue about a week in advance, offering all sorts of goods from garden to kitchen, with ladders and tools in between. Our steam-cleaner does indeed produce steam, but I think the average kettle produces rather more. I doubt that the cleaner could do much more than get a postage stamp off an envelope! Not our best buy!
  20. L’Arche is a quite different sort of place – different from any hospital environment I’ve encountered, anyway. Take lunchtime, for example. As visiting hours are 1200-1400, I quite expected to sit in Deb’s room while she ate. Wrong. Deb was wheeled down to a large refectory, where all the patients – or at least a large percentage – ate together! Imagine a large room with plenty of tables, around which are gathered, in the main, people in wheelchairs, some with limbs missing, but all talking and enjoying a communal meal – a very humanising experience for people who may have been through quite horrid times recently! After lunch I pushed Deb around the grounds a bit – this is a big place, with big grounds and a very pleasant lake with perimeter path. Lots of trees, too. There is a basketball pitch, a football pitch, a room with archery targets – all classic stuff for getting unfit people limbered up again. Deb had had an initial session of physio in the morning, and twice a day is the expected regime. The physio building is well-equipped with physios and assistants, as well as all manner of the usual kit. There is an interesting debate about painkillers – which, remarkably, Deb has not taken in 6 weeks, since shortly after she woke up in Rouen. It is possible that the right knee might yield more movement sooner if Deb had an artificially-high pain threshold, so she may be encouraged to take the tablet before a session.
  21. Deb arrived at l'Arche about 14.30. As at Le Grand Luce, I’d been and chatted up the admin lady and so most of the formalities were already done. She has a nice South-facing room to herself. The place is very modern – e.g. electric remote control blinds on the windows – and by the time I’d left at 1700, Deb had been seen by a nurse taking all sorts of supplementary details, including the layout of our house, the hotelier who discussed the week’s menu and took amendments as needed to suit Deb’s palate, and the physiotherapist, who checked all her limbs and pronounced himself very pleased with the shape in which she had arrived. This hospital sees some awful cases – paraplegic etc – so a patient with a fighting chance of true fitness is obviously a joy! She will typically receive 2 physio sessions per day – so the visiting hours are a bit unusual, being 1200-1400 & 1700-2100 weekdays, 1200-2100 at weekends. Moderator Cat has contact details.
  22. 26429. Must try harder! One of the more interesting things about my endless trips to Rouen was on the return run down the A154/N154 near Evreux, where there is an old airliner parked, presumably on or near an airfield. The plane is rather ponderous looking, and may be a French Breguet, I think. I have a similar game concerning the new map of Europe - reflecting all those new countries that emerged after the collapse of Communism. Has that featured on here? Does everyone know their Slovenia from their Slovakia?
  23. [quote user="ali-cat"] Everyone turned and stared at the blonde guy's wife. The blonde's wife said, "Don't look at me. He makes his own lunch." [/quote] I don't know whether he was blond, but I do recall a couple of colleagues who had had to meet a supplier on site. Lunchtime came, and the guy opened his lunchbox, only to say "Not spam again!" My colleagues offered the obvious solution - asking 'er indoors to vary the fare a bit. "Oh no," he said "I make them myself!" My colleagues were giggling about this all afternoon when they got back to the office!
  24. Tomorrow, Thursday, Deb is to move again. This time it is to L’Arche, a rehab centre NW of Le Mans, in the village of St Saturnin, well known to the Brit LM enthusiasts – every year the village hosts a spectacular exhibition of sportscars on the eve of the race. The facility at L’Arche is much more about rehabilitation than convalescence, which is the forte of Le Grand Luce, where she has passed the last 3 weeks. Nevertheless, the increased mobility as a result of yesterday will enable much more work to be done than could have been achieved at LGL. I will provide full amended contact details to Cat when these are known.
  25. As Forum Members will appreciate, 8 weeks ago, after the phonecall from the gendarme, and before the reassurances from the medics, I had cause to wonder over a period of some hours whether I was about to be bereaved - it goes without saying that the first return trip from Rouen was a lot more pleasant than the trip there! Every relationship is different, although most of us with a few years of marriage tend to "wear" our partner like a comfortable pair of slippers, perhaps. We know their foibles and fears, and have learned - mutually, hopefully - to work around them. My parents were very close, although the rows and distinctly animated discussions could be a bit disturbing. I am like my father, but Deb is a bit stronger than my mother was, although equally popular with most people she meets, so full and frank discussion is part of the repertoire here! When my mother died at 62, my father was pretty cut-up, but managed to find female company in the form of a divorcee who had been present on the evening my parents met in 1938, and who had been a family friend ever since. The relationship didn't endure - he said other women "don't measure up" - and he met someone else a while later, being on good terms with her until his own sudden death 9 years after mum. My brothers and I had no difficulty accepting these ladies, and wished Dad well with each of them. We feel that all debts are repaid on death, and you owe your deceased partner nothing more. Keeping up appearances is a matter for the bereaved to sort out for him- or herself. Some will never look at another person, others need the company or the excitement. It is very sad - but also very common - that family members are scandalised by a new relationship. There is no simple right or wrong here.
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