Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Last week ended on a bit of a do. I’ve had really bad sciatica recently – so that I could hardly walk – and I finally heaved myself to the doctor after my kiné (physiotherapist) said he wanted me to have an MRI scan. She was a little mystified as to why I’d struggled around in huge amounts of pain, self medicating on paracetemol and codeine for a week. Put like that, I kind-of wondered myself. Anyway, she gave me two really strong painkillers (each one a slow release over 12 hours relief) and a prescription for a scan. I dutifully took my painkillers – hey! they worked! – and the next day drove into Clermont for a meeting about the work situation(for those who don’t know, I work in Clermont Ferrand, some 80 km from home). I had lunch and afterwards, started to feel really dopey – my head was full of cotton wool – and so I put my head on the desk and dozed for half an hour.
Then we went to the meeting, and I was feeling odder and odder – my head was whirling, I was getting waves of hot sweat, and I couldn’ t concentrate. Finally, it just seemed easier not to bother trying, and I let go – my head went bam onto the table in front of me and panic ensued. I could hear what was going on, apparently from a great distance away, as everyone rushed round wondering what to do, and I was vaguely feeling guilty about it all, but again, couldn’t be bothered lifting my head up. It all seemed like too much effort! The emergency doctor was called – he wanted to speak to me before he came out. Yeah, right, as though I was in any state to be talking French! – and he gave me an ECG and said that one of the painkillers was probably the cause, and yes, it affects many people this way. Poor Mr D had to rush round trying to find someone with a car to drive him down so he could pick up me and the car – even I admitted that I couldn’t really drive back in this state!
So on Friday evening I certainly didn’t feel like cooking. I had a slice of bread and went to bed. I slept for 12 hours, and yesterday still felt a bit out-of-it. I’m better today, but I can’t look at computer screens or TV for very long without feeling a bit wierd. (Though I managed the marathon 3 hour Coronation Street omnibus yesterday afternoon!
Yesterday evening we were invited to go to clients of Mr D for aperos. In this part of the world, we’re never quite sure whether aperos is just drinks or more. In fact, on thinking about it, Mr D agreed that possibly Alicia had said “aperos-diner” so we went prepared to eat – so I took my painkillers to have mid meal, as instructed (these are the “good painkillers” not the nasty evil make-you-fall-over painkillers, which I had taken back to the Pharmacy)(where they also said, “Yes, they affect a lot of people that way” – so why the heck are they still being prescribed?!)
I was also relieved that Mr D had brought a pack of creme de marrons back from Shopi-soon-to-be-Carrefour-Contact.
Why? Because I don’t like it…which meant I decided to make a cake to take with us, full of creme de marrons. And I discovered that everyone else who had been invited (another 5 couples) all brought something along -a savoury cake of ham and olives/sliced sausage/little madeleines/apero goats’ cheeses etc. I don’t think this is obligatory…but I was sure glad that I had something to offer as well! We had drinks, and nibbles and then a guided tour around the house that they are restoring to become a very upmarket Chambres d’Hotes. After, Cedric produced some little verrines with a mixture of smoked salmon, cucumber and creme fraiche, then sausages, andouillettes and pancakes full of vegetables. I’ve never been a fan of andouillettes but with a good spoonful of mustard, I managed to swallow them, much to the admiration of other French people who refused them!
Finally, there were two more little verrines, a chocolate mousse in one and a layered dessert of speculoos biscuit, apple and creme fraiche in the other. Very nice. Coffee, and marron cake, and peach-and-almond cake (that someone else brought) . And then out came the liquers …this is where I don’t do very well. I don’t like the strong eau-de-vie type liquers that are very popular after dinner drinks here – mostly homemade! So they were drinking some fairly noxious mix of eau de vie/banana/cinnamon/cumin and then the Poire Willem came out…
It was almost midnight and I was dropping. I could make the excuse of my medicine causing me to drop off – next time I won’t be so lucky! Around here, I’m afraid folk love a late night, chewing the fat over liquers until two, or even three in the morning. I remember a friend’s birthday party that went on until 6.00 am the next day (we’d left a good 5 hours before that, and had missed the cutting of the birthday cake which happened at about 2 am!) We plead the “we’re English light-weights” card, but I always feel it’s rude!
Today, I’m just relaxing and not doing much. We did a bit of cleaning between us (Mr D did the heavier stuff. I just dusted, weilded the vacuum cleaner and then sat down moaning that my leg hurts.
So that’s been my weekend. How’s yours been?