24 January 2021

Well, it’s been another quiet week – quelle surprise! I am pleased to say, though, that the village is medicated (the local drug dealer visited numerous properties during the week), the bike keeps us both busy, (in my case up steep and never-ending climbs from le Tour de France), we survived the worst that Storm Christoph could throw at us, we had a pleasant walk along a nearby canal on the one calm, sunny day we had this week and joyfully witnessed the departure of the stench of Washington and the inauguration of a new, more grown-up President of the United States. And, we celebrated Burns’ Night with a Zoom dinner last night with the rest of the village. So, for it being another quiet week, we seem to have been pretty busy! How does that work?

I had a lovely quote from my sister Susie which pretty much sums up our lives at the moment:

Hey Alexa! What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?
What the hell do you care? You’re not going anywhere!

We watched the inauguration on Wednesday and were delighted to see it pass off peacefully. We even enjoyed a celebratory meal that evening and toasted the new President. And, what about Amanda Gorman’s poem? My goodness, what a masterpiece!

“We’ve braved the belly of the beast . . .

Someone shared the following with us which seemed imminently appropriate.

We gather Nick’s birthday also passed off peacefully on Wednesday but so far we’ve no corroborating evidence.

This week on the bike it’s been the Col de Colombiere, one of the iconic climbs of le Tour de France. My goodness, it’s relentless – on and on and on and on. Every time you come to a corner you think, “It’s got to give me a brief respite any time now, surely!” And it never does.

Yesterday, I finished the climb up the main route – this morning, I got to do it from the other side! Comme c’est magnifique!

Storm Christoph ripped through the UK on Wednesday and Thursday. In our part of the world, lashings and lashings of rain with gale force winds but thankfully no floods or damage. Further north, though, especially in the northwest around Manchester, there were floods which affected thousands. Bad enough to have your home flooded at the best of times. But, during a pandemic? Where are you supposed to evacuate to and how to maintain social distancing while doing so? I gather that folks were put in a number of empty hotels but what a miserable, miserable experience and weeks and months ahead trying to get things sorted.

Friday, in contrast, was a lovely day – a merely modest breeze, sunny with bright blue skies – so we took advantage and had a little stroll along a nearby canal. On reflection, we should have anticipated the quagmire masquerading as a footpath but thankfully neither of us lost our balance and fell into the mud. Or the canal. Sadly, no pubs or coffee shops open for a quick reward at the end.

And so on to this week’s You Could Not Make It Up selection. Again, far too many to choose from.

Brexit continues to provide us with lots of unintended consequences. As well as UK hauliers not able to get goods into Europe because of the new raft of red tape required, it now seems that EU hauliers are simply refusing to deliver to the UK. As well as too many burdensome forms to complete, hauliers also have to now provide a financial guarantee that they will be responsible for the new import duties and taxes if necessary. For many hauliers, apparently, that’s simply too much hassle and financial exposure to make it worthwhile.

And, another group of folks pretty upset with the new arrangements are musicians. Previously, they could tour Europe as often and freely as they liked. Now, as with all things Brexit-related, there is a raft of paperwork to complete and restrictions on the amount of time anyone can travel in the EU. Apparently, the EU offered an exception – a “Musician’s Passport” – but the UK rejected the proposal. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

And so to the “world-beating” response to the Covid pandemic. Ever since the first lockdown in March, the government has committed to providing laptops and fast internet access to those children who do not have the capacity to carry out home schooling. The response has been disappointingly (and perhaps inevitably) piss poor. Very few laptops have been provided and now it turns out that those which have been provided are riddled with malware.

You could not make it up.

A couple of cute cartoons I ran across this week:

And finally, today is Max’s third birthday. Happy Birthday Max and keep enjoying those chocolate cupcakes!

Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating as much as you can, wear a facemask when you go out and keep your distance. And keep safe.

Lots of love to you all,


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