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2014: Jan  Feb  Mar   Apr   May   Jun   Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec  Xmas

January 12 Letter
Hi, Right after I put up the last update, cousin Madeline died. (see this month family Wight and Memories or some of her poems) She will be missed by so many. She was a dear friend to us.
Harry went to the "ancient's" lunch which the village put on for its pensioners. I did not go because I rarely eat away from home these days. Either I cannot eat anything or I put people to a lot of trouble preparing glutin free dishes. Anyway Harry said I didn't miss anything.
We had a very quiet Christmas and New Year. But just before New Year, Ginger chased the neighbour's car and got hit. Harry and the neighbour got her to the vet who amputated her leg. Now she is home and almost recovered. She was a very good patient and let the vet and us poke her with needles and clean her wounds. After about 6 days she could hop about every once in a while without help. Shortly after that her bandages started to sag and slid down and no amount ojokef tape would keep them in place until we made a duct tape harness. It was two layers stuck together by their sticky sides, so that it was strong by didn't have to rely on sticking to her fur - very Red Green-ish Canadian. I hear that New Zealanders have a contest for what can be made with duct tape and #8 fencing wire. The photo shows the harress. Ginger also brings you a linguistic doggie joke (below). We expect her to be completely healed and as mobile as ever by the end of Jan.
With weather, coughs, and poor dog not much has been done on the house. (see house)
Now that there is a local bread supply, I have started doing the 20 min walk there and back for Harry's bread in the morning - if I am up before him and it is not raining. It gets me some exercise now that I am not taking the dog for a walk.
Here is a link to some of Harry Nicholson's work, Green Linnet: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/113466

February 12 Letter
roseThe dog is recovering. We are going to have to make something to help her walk because she has to use her one back leg awkwardly and we are afraid she may be putting too much strain on her hips. We want to make a sort of carrage under her so that she can balance easier. Harry is looking for junk to construct it out of.
We got our eyes tested locally but the optician suggested we go to a specialist so we did. My retinas, lens, pressure etc. are OK. I don't need a new prescription for glasses but I am going to get a new pair because mine are old and scratched. Harry does not need new glasses but has AMD and slight cataracts. It is depressing to have to worry about your sight.
Very little has been done on the house because of how cold it is. I don't want Harry to died of pneumonia. (see house) This is the longest and coldest cold snap we have had since we arrived in France. 14th Feb was the first day with a high above freezing. In the news: the Danube has frozen - a once or twice in the life time event.
Zena and Mark came for a visit (see visits). It was nice of them to come down for the day from Paris while they were there.
The photo is of our very last rose of the year. There were a few buds on one of the bushes. It took ages for each to open. The last one started to open mid-January. When it was clear  that we were going to have a definite freezing night with more than a few degrees of frost, I took this picture on Jan 30 when it was still unharmed. On Jan 31 the bud was frozen enough to be brittle.
Web stats for the last two months and back are below. Bye until next month, Janet

March 12 Letter
Spring is arriving although it has been a colder than usual winter. The first blue bell appeared in the garden in the first day or two in March.  Just a few days ago, spring sprung and we are now getting sunny warm days - even 20C today. The little lambies are froliching in the back field and the almond tree is in full bloom.
Here are some interesting links. Zena has a record of their Europe trip during which she and Mark visited us:
neighbours http://zenasnow.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/12-feb-paris-bengy-sur-craon/ yard
Ciara has a video on youtube about her trip to Montreal to give her presentation on arctic foreign policy:
And we have had contact from the Parkers. Daughter Di is doing a silk road trip and has a blog on it, a great one:
I found that I was about to put in a quote that I had used before (pensioner's memory and all that). So I went through old updates and found the quotes I have used. As they were not kept on the site, I made an archive of them which can be reached from the sitemap page.
The French presidential election campaign is getting nasty. The right-wing parties are fighting over who is going to make it to the second ballot so none are courting the center vote yet and all are crowding to the right.  Not a great time for foreigners, muslims, LGTs etc. Sarkozy has been threatening that France would leave the Schengen passport-free zone. When the election is over we can get back to reasonable politics.
Harry is doing the plumbing. (see house) It is another new code to get a handle on.

Meanwhile we have new neighbours who bought the old house that had not been modernized. They have gutted it back to the stone on the inside. All of the insides are now in the front and back yards. They also bought the attic space above our shower room from our landlady. The photos are of the new door and windows going in the front and the front yard. Bye for now. Janet

April 12 Letter
Hi, Harry is still dealing with water, electricity, phone and bits of construction that make them easier. (see house)
Early April is flowering trees and bushes time. My favourite is forsythia (see yellow in photo). It reminds me of spring in Austria. It was cold with no signs of spring when a friend brought a bunch of branches and said "put them in water and in the morning it will be spring in
forsythia your house". The flowers opened in the night. We have bought some fruit trees and are planting them in pots until next spring.
Our neighbours moved in during the first week of April. They have a small child and many friends and relatives helping with the renovation and the move. Also they seem to have a black cat - Ginger has taken offence to the cat.
I notice that while the rest of the world is suffering, the prairies are doing OK. The Globe & Mail site says that Regina had the biggest rise in GDP of all the Canadian cities at 6.1% in 2011. Saskatchewan's growth was 5.2%. Saskatoon was the second highest city in Canada.
I have new glasses now and the world is clearer, the old ones were scratched - not big scratches but thousands of tiny ones.
Yesterday (15th) we had company. Ron and Carol stopped for a short time on the way to the sun - 30 years since we have seen them. (see Visits) Bob follows them in 10 day and overlaps one day with a visit from Merrilee and Aydon. This is Aydon's first visit.
Ron's other daughter also has a blog http://bigfamilytrip.blogspot.co.uk/ of 10 month round the world trip.
Web stats to end of March are below.  

May 12 Letter
Hi, It rained for weeks, but this week it has cleared.trees
Not a great deal got done on the house (see house) because of rain, visits from Bob and Merrilee & Aydon (see visits), a robbery and having to get some replacement tools. Bob helped Harry place the water heater and get a new compost thingy. The robbery was not too upsettinew treesng until we found out that the tools were not insured.
Ciara was at a conference in Montreal while the visiters were here and we were all a bit nervous about the demos there - but all went well. When Harry took Bob to the train he got a speeding ticket on the way back from an automatic radar/photo setup. He misread the ticket and went to the police to say that he could not have been passing through the local speed trap because he was in Nevers. The police lady put him straight on where he was speeding - 90 euros and a point on his licence.
The neighbours have more or less moved in. Harry has been over for a beer. I have been over for a coffee. The lady of the house has brought us cookies she baked; I didn't have the heart to tell her that I couldn't eat any.
After all the rain and with the sun coming out, it is keeping up with the grass time. We brought some trees on sale (2 euros each) and will plant them in the new yard later. They are a peach, plum and black current. Regards, Janet

June 12 Letter
Hi, This has been a quiet time with very little to report. Harry did some work on the house but it is going slowly. (see house)
They are going to put the sewer line down our road and have started at the other end from us. This means we will not need a septic tank but will need a smaller holding tank, a one way valve and a pump. We will hire someone to put it in.
The photo is our new neighbours' cat. Ginger finds her very suspicious, like in the picture where she is blocking the path. But she s
kitteneems a nice cat to me.
I had a colonoscopy - sort of. They had to abandon it because of a narrow place in my colon that the scope would not go past. So
I have be booked for some sort of scan (MRI, I think) to see what the block is. The French health system has so far been good. No problem getting the referral to a specialist even though I did not have that many symptoms and previous tests were clear. I had only two periods of pain, each a couple of days and a month apart. It didn't sound like much to me but I didn't have to say much except that I was worried and wanted a specialist. There was no long wait to see him, no long wait for the procedure and a very nice hospital. They phoned the day before to make sure that I was doing the preparation right, and phoned the day after to make sure I had no problems in the canenight. The scan will be in about 10 days.
Ciara has a place in Law School in Saskatoon which is convenient for her and Ryan. And she should soon have her
Masters from UofR as she has just finished her thesis on Arctic Governance. Everyone is proud of her. Cheers Janet

July 12 Letter
Hi, There are three photos this time. Harry made himself a cane a while back from a bit of old ivy vine. A number of people have been taken by it. A friend's parents were asking Harry about it and he pointed out that it was the same shape as he was. The machine pictured just outside our gate is putting in the sewer. They have been using a number of BIG machines. The picture of clouds has its own caption.
I have had my scan and it seems I have a hairpin turn in my gut and damage to the large intestine in the area of the turn  (diverticles) but no polyps.  I can live with the occasional flare ups of the diverticles so no treatment necessary. However
sewerduring the scan the doctors became worried about one of my adrenal glands so I had another scan about 10 days later just to look at it. The verdict is that it is 'bizarre but not evil' - probably OK. I will have another scan later in the year to see if it is stable or changing.  The good news is that  everything else is good and there is no cancer anywhere.
Harry has been fine working on the ceiling. We were pleasantly surprised at how well his body was taking it. Until ... about a week ago he hurt his neck and shoulders with some movement and now is in real pain for much of the time. Doc says it will pass eventually.
Compared to what we see the TV, we are having a good summer in central France, neither too wet or too dry, neither too hot or too co
ld. cloudsCheers Janet
Mammatus cloud over Regina June 12
Saskatchewan people will have seen the cloud or pictures of it and it will be old news, but those that do not reside under the 'Living Sky' may be interested in these odd clouds. They are rare and form on the underside of the anvil of the thunder cloud. They are sinking air peeping out of the cloud.  The photographer was Craig Lindsay.

Aug 12 Letter
More on Harry's weird canes (photo last month): He lost one some time ago. The other day, someone in a store asked if he had lost a cane like that because they had found one. So he got it back just because it was so unusual.  His neck took its time getting better but it has healed and he is back working on the kitchen.
I have had to stop taking Ibupofen because of my intestine problem and I sure do miss it.
Ginger seems to like the hot weather and moves easier. We have had a hot dry spell and it looks like it is not yet ready to rain.
The sewers are now in the road and there is a point for us to hook into at the road side. Because the road is hi
cartoongher than the house we will have to have a pump affair.
We have been enjoying the Olympics. I always think I'm not going to enjoy it, but in the end I love watching a lot of it. There is something about watching real skill that is entertaining.
Ryan is quitting his job up north and starting a business. It is still repairing heavy equipment but in a mobile, 'we come to the equipment' mode.
There is no photo but a cartoon ( by Rajay Mahtani I think) this month. It is so sweet and sad and true, all at the same time.
Updated webstats are below.
cheers, Janet

September 12 Letter
by bankWe had a very hot spell in mid-late August. The trees took damage from the heat with no rain. The mail lady told all her old people to take great care because the heat is bad for the old. Very nice that the Republic is watching over us. The weather was on orange alert for a few days because of the heat.
Photo is the crazy roof line across the way from our bank in Bourges. I guess it is safe - it has been there a very long time. There is some humour on this page below Ginger's spot.
Not only do I have to get by without one on my medicines but now I find out that I have to give up my large raw veg salad. No more ground up carrot, cabbage, tomato, pepper and anything else I find - not good for me 'cause my veg must be cooked. Damn.
There is some house progress - follow the house link. But also, 
I am going to share an email Harry sent to the DIY forum he visits. "I needed to install a floor covering in a new kitchen. The area is 4m x 6.5m, the material is a pvc surface with a felt-like fibre backing, and very heavy. The problem: 1. Only a 2cm clearance between the room width and the covering material. 2. The rolled up lino was not a perfect cylinder, that is, it was very slightly spiralled, so that the width of the roll was greater than the width of the room. 3. The end was not cut perfectly square. The effect of all this was that in unrolling the material it wound up climbing up the walls, some kinks in it, and total exasperation. The material weighed as much as I do, and even on a smooth MDF under-layer, completely unbudgeable. And then a light came on. I connected the hose of the shop vac to the blowing end instead of the sucking end, and with one extension tube on it, pushed it under the lino towards the centre of the room, and turned it on. It didn't float the whole thing like a magic carpet, (my imagined outcome), but it did create a pretty big bubble in the middle of the floor.  With a big push broom, (I used a yard broom), I could move this bubble around, and with a little perseverance it all came flat, even borders at the sides, and just the ends to trim. I expect that this is an old trick, used by floor covering guys for years, but if it isn't, I pass it on."
A few years ago we tried to buy the neighbouring lot (not the pretty orchard but the empty one on the other side). We were told it was not for sale. But now it is and we bought it at a good price. 
Some things could only happen in Canada! The Globe and Mail reports, "Quebec police are on the hunt for a sticky-fingered thief after millions of dollars of maple syrup vanished from a Quebec warehouse." And it was part of "the global stategic maple syrup reserve."
Some things could only happen in Scotland! The Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, which advertises itself as the "birthplace of the world-famous deep-fried Mars bar", has been warned by Mars against claiming special status for the fatty treat, because it goes against the company's commitment to promote healthy lifestyles. So no application for a protected geographical indication will be filed. The deep-fried Mars bar has been said to be the second most famous Scottish dish.

October 12 Letter
The photo is of the neighbours' cat looking in the window and facing off with Ginger. Ginger wants to get out and get her. cat and dogBut that cat is no push over. And we want good relations with the neighbours. He has been showing me how a prune roses - a great help with the overgrown bushes we have.
Harry is currently fitting the kitchen. (see house)

We are going to change our health care top-up to a different supplier. We don't need insurance for our ordinary care - the amount above that the government pays is not much. But we do want a top-up for serious illness and so we are looking at a mutual for just that at about half the cost of our present insurance.
After the heat of summer, it is now cold and damp - more wet then damp.

The webstats are updated below.  Janet
ny dog joke
November 12 Letter
Hi, This has been a quiet month with not much happening.
Ginger is much more spry than she used to be - getting used to being three legged. Below Ginger's joke is an interesting look at hurricane paths.
Harry has been doing kitchen stuff, plumbing and sewer (see house). We are really hoping we can move in a month or two.
Winter is getting closer with fewer warm and dry days and more cool and wet ones. (No snow or floods like some of our friends in other places so I guess we are doing OK.)
We had some cranes come past. It is nice to hear and watch. They don't fly as high as the Sand Hill cranes but fly a lot like them and sound very similar.
I am another year old and Harry almost is too. I for one feel a little older this year unlike the previous few years. I became noticably wrinkled this year.
Bye bye Janet

December 12 Letter
snowThe photo is Dec 7, a snowy night. It has been cold or wet or both. See the house for Harry's progress. We have our Christmas box from the commune for pensioners so we are all set for Christmas dinner.
My doctor is on holiday and is replaced by a just qualified and eager young doctor who has arranged a specialist for cardiac function and blood tests for most everything.
Below is our Christmas letter (in case you have not received one) and below the
letter is the web stats graph. Janet

January 13 Letter
Hi, This morning it snowed! We are trying to get the house to a point where we can move in but it is slower than we thought. Our notice is in for the end of March. I had started to help more, but then I had a little accident (not serious) and pulled a muscle. I had to take a couple of weeks off, with no bending and stretching. In any case we really want to be there in April when we expect visitors from Canada. Harry is getting on with the bathroom. (see house) Although it is cold, we have a heater in that room.
Harry had arranged to have the telephone hooked up in the new house with the same number as the old house. He thought the order was to have book phones working. The man came and was going to hook up the new house and disconnect the old. We sent him away and then had more discussions with Orange. Apparently it will be done on the day we move  - fingers crossed.
I am taking a holiday from my blog for a month, but I still did this website for Jan although it is a bit thin. Sorry.
I saw a replacement doctor when mine was on holiday. He had only just graduated and was extremely thorough and up on all the guide lines. He decided I should go to a cardiologist and I will in March.
This is not news, but I just heard about it at Chrismas. Dorothy Irvine, Mel's cousin in the Stordahl side, died in Weyburn at the end of September, aged 76 and was buried in Lang.
The picture is by Australian cartoonist Michael Leung. I found it on Facebook. So real!  I know them all: Secret happiness which is steady but beautifully delicate, Three minutes of happimess borrowed from a dog, Traditional lying down happiness, The happiness which comes from staring at a rock, Happiness blended with mysterious sadness, The strange happiness assiciated with seeing a meteorite or shooting stat, Diffuse, residual happiness resulting from shythmic domestic tasks such as washing the dishes. Janet


February 13 Letter
Greetings, waterWe thought we would be moving in Jan but it turned out that we would have to pay rent until the end of March and that we would really be making life difficult for ourselves by moving in the cold and snow in Jan with the house as far from done as it was. So it is March. I had thought I would leave the internet alone during Jan because of the move. I sort of did but not that strictly – only the holiday from posting to Thoughts on Thoughts happened but it still passed the million mark. (see webstats below) I was not able to help Harry as much as I intended because of my painful muscle in the chest which is now better. (see house progress)
The road in front of our house is terrible. We have a collection of hubcaps and bolts & little bits of trucks. In the last year the road was dug up by the electricity people, then the phone, then the sewer and now the water (photo below). Each time the road was patched but it settled under traffic. Every once in a while, the commune comes with some asphalt and men with shovels and they fill the holes. The road is scheduled to be completely repaved this year.
In the Jan sales we bought a ride-on mower (which we would need with the bigger lot) and an exercise bike for Harry and maybe me.
France had a census recently, so we are now recorded in French historic records. We had a sweet and helpful young girl collecting our information.
It has been a very wet and cool winter. But not as bad as it was in Canada, US, and UK. The early bulbs have stuck their leaves above the soil in the last week. But we can still complain a bit.

March 13 Letter
Greetings, Well,  the water people have finally got the work done after weeks of disruption (we hope). We thought they were done twice before. The last time we found one day that we had no water. It was off for hours and hours, we and our neighbours were not prepare and scrambling for bottled, well and rain water. The workmen were not concerned which made our neighbour very mad. At one point one of them said that we had been notified and we said no we hadn't. We got the notification the next day - a notification that the water would be off for 8 hours on the 7th arrived on the 8th. And then some time after the water was back on, the neighbour came to see if we knew when the water would be back. The next two days the workmen were back fix him up. What I think happened was that they missed him and another team came to fill in the holes and the take away the barriers and they assumed everyone was done. So they had to redig the hole, wait for the pipe to arrive and then hook him up and make good. The man driving the digger put the digger bucket through the windshield of their van. This is not the sort of thing we expect from the utility crews.
The move is going slowly, but we are committed come what may. Ready or not, we must be caught.
The cardiac doctor upped my medicine and said cut the salt. But he says I am  'OK', don't worry - so I won't.
Spring is springing and one daffodil is trying to bloom ahead of the other bulbs, the ones that are supposed to be earlier but have no buds yet. This lone flower is having a hard, slow time. I noticed the bud more than 2 weeks ago and it is a little closer to blooming every day, but s-l-o-w. It has been snowed on, in freezing nights and yet it continues to look like it intends to bloom. Photo below.
The software that runs my blog has been changed. I was warned but not given a date and then a few days ago I logged in to write a post and found myself in a new place. I had to find a manual for the new software and am now reading it.
Best to all Janet

April 13 Notice:
News -  I cannot do an update for April - the move is too hectic. I will just notify you of change of address. We have moved across the street. The phone/email etc. are the same and so is most of the mailing address except the street number has changed from 11 to 10. .... And also tell you that Mel Quale has died.The tentative burial date is 8 June in Lang. (if snow and flood is over). I will come in from France then. I will put more in this site about Mel when I am able.

May 13 Letter
Hi, I am sorry for the ragged communication this spring. This is another skimpy update. I found some things I had collected/written months back and not used - so there are some articles in the view section. Things will improve in late June.
We are now installed in our partially built house. Things are not perfect but it is liveable at least when the weather is warm. We are working hard to get more of the house finished. When conditions get me down, I just think of all the money we are saving (rent, and one rather than two sets of utility and insurance bills). I also think about how well things work in the new house compared to the rental: the shower, the dr
ciaraains, the frig etc. The kitchen is starting to look great. (see house progress) I worked so hard during the move that I lost 8 kg or 17 and a half pounds. Right now Harry is clearing some elms that are diseased and in the way of a workshop. You can't take the lumberjack out of a Canadian. We still have not found all the little things in daily use, but most have surfaced.
I first thing I had to do when we moved was to sit on the bed and do the taxes.
We had a visit from Ciara and Ryan. (see visits) It was so good to see them after a long gap. Ciara now has her MA in Political Science and Ryan's startup business is going OK. Photo is of Ciara. I read her thesis and it look real good to me.
I am going to Canada 4-19 June. Bob McIlwaine did his usual magic finding a good flight plan. Mel Quale is being buried on June 8 in Lang and that is the main reason for the trip but I also hope to do some visiting, shopping and business. There is a piece on Mel in the Family section.
My blog has been acting oddly since it has been 'upgraded'. I don't know if it is good news or bad. (see stats below).
Regards from a very disorganised Janet

June 2013 letter
Hi everyone, I am a little late this month but may stay near the end of the month with updates for a while.
Following our move we were really trying the get comfortable as a full time job (see House). The big thing then was my trip to Canada (see Visits). One thing I noticed in Regina was that Dutch Elm disease seems to have got a good hold on the street trees in the city. That is a shame. I can picture the city being windy, hot and dusty in the summer if the trees are gone. The photo is of one of the oldest elms in Regina which is right by Merrilee and Aydon's house. The trip out was a little over 26 hours awake and the trip back almost 29 hours awake. I enjoyed the comfort
elmof both Merrilee and Aydon's place and Marcia and Ken's - could not ask for better places to stay. I didn't gain weight, thank goodness.
Melvin is now buried in a plot adjacent to my mothers and with a shared headstone. His obituary from the Leader Post is below. It was not a great day to be out in with a fair amount of rain. I was a little suprised that I was expected to conduct the burial but all went well.
The dog is learning a new skill - how to deal with things on the street. She is to bark a bit but then stop, sit and watch the action. She is not to run up to the road or going on barking forever. She is learning and is very comfortable in the new yard.
We are having a cold spring but we cannot complain when we look at what others have been putting up with. Janet

July 2013 letter
Greetings, We have had some bad weather and some very hot weather, even one bad storm - but mostly good.
Many cars stop for a short time along our street - a favourite place to change drivers, look at maps and the like. They usually stop for a short time and then are gone. The dog has learned (pretty well) to not go after people who park along the road, neighbours or the mail lady but Ginger does bark and then when whoever the intruder goes on their way, she sits there proud that she has chased them off - another notch for the dog. Ginger sits up straight, wags her tail and looks about for the applause.
Harry is getting a carpal tunnel operation soon on his other wrist.
The picture shows the stones on the mail box. Harry told the post lady that it was a Canadian thing - a method of signing. So when she puts something in the box for us, she puts the one stone on top of the other. When we empty the box they put them back separat
postely. She loves it and you can see her smile to herself when she does it.
I have ordered a Twizy for delivery in Sept. It is a tiny one person car for which you do not need a driving license. It is electric.
We have just finished the cherries from our tree. We had some every day for about two weeks. The blackberries are a good bunch and they will be ripening soon. I can also see some walnuts coming along.
We now know what to call ourselves - residents of Bengy are to be called Bengyciennes et Bengyciens.
Have a good summer. Janet

August 13 letter
Greetings, It is August and nothing happens in France in August. Our Doctor says 'never get sick in August'. Don't have any sort of problem. Harry's carpal tunnel has to wait until September.
Now we are near the end of the month, people are returning with their suntans. Years ago we were camping at the beach at Rochelle and it was extremely crowded. One morning we got up and the beach was empty, just us there. It was the last day of August and everyone had packed up in the night and started home.
Our soldier neighbour is safely back from his posting in Africa save and sound.
We have been having beautiful weather. We have black berries now. There are more than usual but not very juicy and hardly worth picking - probably due to the dry spell we had.
The photo is of three swans that decided to swan through Bengy on foot one day. This is a street parellel but south of ours. Harry saw them earlier nearer the center of town.
I read that the speed with which you loss weight can have a big effect on how much good it does you (see weight loss below) for my progress. One of the side-effects of losing weight at my age is that I suddenly have lots of wrinkles. It's good thing I'm not vain.
The webstats are also below.
We are expecting a visit from the Parkers at the end of the month and from Bob, Aydon and Dave in October. swans
There has been some house progress. Lately, in the good weather Harry has been working towards the garage/workshop. (see house)
Here is a link to a interesting site, The Project Twins, with their graphic designs illustrating weird words. (Thanks to Judith on Facebook) http://theprojecttwins.com/projects/a-z-of-unusual-words/
It's half way through the CFL season and the Riders have only lost one game - maybe they will be playing in the final in Regina. Janet

September 13 Letter
What a month - I'll start with little things: Yorkshire won the European destination 2013 at the World Travel Awards and the Roughriders had a great start to the year (but they may still disappoint).
The Parkers visited on the very last day of last month (see visits). Harry has made progress on the house but I have very few pictures to show for it (see house). We have had pretty good weather and we are both in good health. We are expecting to see Bob, Aydon and Dave next month.
Big news: I bought a car! It is a single seater, electric car that is set so that it can be driven without a licence (see Views-oth
Twizyer bits for details). The photo is of me proudly pointing to my Twizy. I drove it the 20 or so kilometers home from the dealers. It was great. Harry followed behind and worried.
I got a new hosting service (also keeping the old one for now), a new domain and a new blog. I am busy getting the blog ready. I'll give the links next month. I was tearing my hair out with the mechanics of the old blog. And I intend to get a cell/mobile/portable phone.
I had blood tests and am very happy about it. (see below) And I have not mellowed in my old age according to an attitude test. (also below)  Janet

October 13 letter
drainsWhat a month! In the early part of the month I was working on the new blog and Harry was clearing enough space to sleep one of the visitors. We were also trying to get things ready for Harry's operation. All was busy, busy, busy but not much to show for it. The rest of the month was a write off, so house progress was slim except for what the visitors helped with. (see house).
Our neighbour who is in the army has been told he will have to go back to Mali soon.
Bob, Aydon and Dave visited mid-month (see visits). It was a good visit. In the middle of it I turned 74 - drank some bubbly and eat some chocolates to celebrate.
Right after visit, Harry had the operation on his wrist. Last time it was a very easy recovery but he had a different type of operation this time and has had a lot of pain and discomfort, in his shoulder and back as well as his wrist and hand.
While he was having his operation, the crew arrived to put in storm drains along our road (see picture). We have had a lot of noise and disruption for about a week. But they are doing an excellent job. In the end they will redo the road.
My new blog is at http://dyslectern.info. I am so happy with the service from the new provider. But it will take time to build a readership. The webstats are not falling very fast on the old blog or rising very fast on the new one. (see webstats below).
We have just had what has been called the St. Jude storm. We were just on the edge of it and got plenty of rain and some strong winds. But it was very bad in England, the north French coast and up to Northern Germany and Scandinavia. More than a dozen people died. We were glad to hear that Bob and Aydon got their flight back to Canada just before it hit Holland because there was mess with the airports, trains, ferries and electricity supplies all over the area. Our friends Don and Kath are on a trip to Wales so we hope it was not a disaster. The trip was booked some time ago and they decided to go despite the weather forcasts saying "we are off to see a hurricane".  We hear that surfing was great along the south French coast, Spain and Portugal - big, big waves. Someone surfed a 30 meter wave - the largest ever surfed.

November 13 letter
Hello all,
Harry had his operation for carpal tunnel last month, a few days after Dave left. It was a more complicated operation then the last one and he is still recovering. The problem is the old one from his shoulder as well as the op. He can't sleep well. I have been doing the cooking – would you believe (and doing it well). A nurse came several times in the first two weeks to redress, clean, take out stitches etc. He is now seeing a masseur about the shoulder. Nov 28 was the first good night's sleep he has had since the op. A small amount of light work has been done but it is really a small amount – mostly putting up barriers between the warm and the cold part of the house. There are no pictures of the house progress this time 'cause ... wait, there was no progress. But we are warm and comfortable.
Harry has also had a birthday and is now 83 but he looks the same.wolf photo
The road works are going on along our road, right by our house. We have a new side walk, storm drain and curb. When everything else is done, the road will be re-surfaced. It should be done soon.
The Riders won the Grey Cup so Sask friends are happy. I wrote something about it that you can find in Views. Also Kwasniak relatives and Ukrainian friends may enjoy a piece on Sniatyn in Views. Michelle and her friends may want to see her photo of junk in Views.
I am still losing weight even though I have not been very active in the recent cold. I have been doing the cooking while Harry is recovering. There is still a lot of traffic to old posts on my old blog but the traffic to the new blog is increasing very slowly.

The photo is one I like but I cannot find the original source of it or where/when it came to be on my computer - anyone know it? Janet

December 13 letter
Hello all,
The UK and northern Europe had a very bad storm recently while we had very calm weather. It was hard to believe that we were so close and yet completely unaffected. The tidal surges were the highest in 60 years. We have been having fairly cold weather for this time of year and this place. It is way too cold to be outside doing any work. But we have been watching the road gang remaking the sidewalks - I wouldn't want to be out there working. sidewalk(see photo) The final white gravel layer is not down yet but already it is not muddy but firm. We are going to have a bed for flowers and shrubs long our stretch it seems - nice. There is no work on the house to report. We are getting warnings of icy roads and there was a fatality in the neighbouring village of Avord on a icy patch by a somewhat blind corner. The Twizzy is staying in the yard. And I am not getting enough exercise.
Harry is now sleeping through the night and has been for more than a week. It has improved his mood immensely. We think his wrist is on the mend but it is weak from lack of use. He is going to take his slumped walk seriously and try to find some method to treat it. Ginger and I are in good health, atleast good enough.
We again got a small 'hamper' that the village gives its 'ancients' to Christmas - or you can go to a meal they put on, but I am afraid to go because I never know what has gluten init. I have been too disorganized to get a Christmas letter  together and sent.  There is a little review of the year at the bottom of the page (it seems a bit silly as a replacement for a Xmas letter because if you read this site then you know what our year has been and those that don't read this site will not find the substitute - oh well). I am putting this update out in mid-Dec rather then end-Dec because there is no Xmas letter. Maybe I'll send out a Jan letter by mail to some folks who don't do the on-line stuff.  We do wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 
January 14 letter
solsicesHello, The last update was before Christmas. We had our usual quiet day (except no TV). On the morning of the solstice I took a picture of the dawn (see ploto). We ate well on all three 'big days'. Harry got his new sax delivered just before Xmas and I got a camcorder as my new Xmas thing. In to Jan, we noted Ukrainian Xmas but did nothing for it either.  solstice
We have done practically nothing on the house (rain, cold, aches and pains, laziness). But while we have been inactive, we got a nice new sidewalk (see house). The new neighbour decided to put up a proper fence and we said we would not put in any work but would help with the cost. Also we have decided how to do the first year of gardening here and I have ordered the seed from the place Ciara found for me.
I decided to eat whatever I felt like until I started to gain and then go back on the diet. For 3 months my weight was absolutely stable but now I have put on half a kilo - so I am back on diet and also more exercise, We finally got our flu shots - we almost forgot entirely. We should have had them in Oct. Yours, Janet

February 14 letter
Howdy, snowbellsWe seem to be in the only part of the world with fairly good weather. We get some wind and heavy rain from the tail end of the English and French coast storms, but it is nothing serious. If I was a worrier (I'm not) I would be looking out for when we had pay-back for our fortunate weather.
They are still doing the road. What a production! They started in late Oct. and are only doing a little over a quarter mile. They might be done by the end of March, maybe. It is going to look great.
I have started walking for the bread again, now that the road works have got to the Cheval Blanc where I get the bread and I don't have to walk through barriers, holes, mud, heavy equipment etc. Walking for bread Feb 14, I noticed the first flowers of the year, snowbells in one of the yards. That is the photo but I could not get very near because of the fence so it is a bit fuzzy.
Below is the webstats (new graph) and a silly personality test result.
I order seed from a company that Ciara arranged a catalog from, they have arrived and we are starting to built a bed. If it works well, they will build others. I think next month with be taxes and garden for me.
There is a picture of the start of the garden in the house progress but no progress on the house in Feb.  Janet

March 14 letter
It feels like spring now. The air is warm and the trees are starting to bloom. Photo is of a hawthorn bush at the top of our yard. End of March is the time for the clocks to go ahead. I have started a garden and hope to add more later from the seeds I bought. So far the onions and carrots are in and showing.
Harry is still hoping to recover more feeling in his hand but it has been almost 6 months so the likelihood is that it will not improve much. My hand has now been diagnosed with carpel tunnel now so I will be getting the op soon. I am hoping that my recovery is like Harry's first op and not his second one. We also worry about Harry's eyes.
The saga of the road works took another turn.  The current contractor has worked his way from our end of the sidewalk to the another end across the village. It really looked like they were done when they came back with a digger and starting in on the sidewalk in front of our house. Now, we had wondered why our driveway didn't look like the others. We thought maybe we missed some opportunity to put our address down for a fancy approach. But no it was their mistake so now they are work on our drive. The gardeners have put in the shrubs along the street. We are still expecting another crew to re-pave the road proper and put in a sleeping policeman.
This month was the big computer move. I started a new blog with a new domain and hosting company when I could not deal with the old setup. I liked the new people and so finally decided to move this website, the genealogical one, the old domain, the email adresses and the old blog over to the new hosting side (called SiteGround if you are looking for a good host). It went fairly well although I worried the who
haawthornle time. It will be a little while before I have good stats to look at and there are a few little things I have to do, but it is good and working much better than it was before the move.
I have the taxes done, hurray. Unfortunately there is no house progress to report.
Harry order a tiny bobcat with digger direct from China. We are hoping it arrives soon but it has not left China yet. This is the second order from China - Harry got a sax from there and it seemed like an adventure to be dealing with the manufacturers in China. "Where are you come from?" was the first reply.
There is another quiz result below and a note on Ciara's paper.
Hope everyone is having a nice spring. Janet

April 14 letter
Well we have spring - the trees are all green, the grass is growing so fast you can see the difference from day to day. We are getting lots of sun and quite a bit of rain. It is not hot yet but it is nice and warm.
We started another garden bed, a little bigger. I was putting a layer of stone on the bottom before putting in top soil. I fell and did not break anything but have not been working on it since. Harry also fell doing some work on a platform when a plank broke. He did not break anything either. Both accidents could have been far worse. We were lucky but also feeling sorry for ourselves. Our work has almost ground to a halt but will start again when we feel a bit better and the bobcat and the shed we ordered arrive. (see house) The shed is to hold the tools in so that we can finish the walls in the living room. Currently it is too crowded to work in. The bobcat will by used for the garage and garden stuff to start with.
I have a new mouse that is easier on my wrist and carpal tunnel. It is wireless so and can hold in anyway like on my lap. It just fits into my hand has a roller ball, a scroll wheel, an action trigger, a left and right button and two other buttons that I don't use. It has done wonders for my hand but I am still getting the operation. It is a tiny light handy miracle. I just slip my finger through the loop and onto the trigger and move my thumb between the green roller bar to move the mouse and the wheel to scroll up and down. I can also use my thumb on the right button. Slick.
We expect to see Ciara in early May as she returns from Thailand. We are looking forward to seeing her.  
I am now getting consistent stats for the web (see below) and like the new setup and host.

May 14 letter
acaciaMay in France is holiday month. Holidays are not well spread around the calendar in the spring; the only holiday in the first 4 months is Easter, then there are 3 in May. May 1 (May Day/Labour Day), May 8 (VE Day) and May 29 this year but always on a Thursday (Ascension Day).
It has been a fairly cool and sometimes rainy month. We had a visit from Ciara in early May (see visits). We really appreciated seeing her. I saw the surgeon while she was here - I will have an operation on my wrist in a couple of months. My Twizy would not start but we left it until Ciara was gone and the road work over. They came and got it on a transporter, fixed it and I drove it back from Bourges. The drive when well - only no nervous moment. It was not charging its small battery (the biggy traction battery was fine).
The road works are finally done. Over three years they have upgraded every service (electric, phone, water, sewer, storm sewer) along the road and extended them if they did not come as far as us and our neighbours, redid the sidewalks with a bit of style and now resurfaced the road with added slowing bumps. All done! It must have cost a fortune all in. We have done no real work on the house this month.
We voted for the first time in France. We can vote in local (residents qualify) and European elections (EU citizens qualify) but not national ones (only French citizens can). It was an odd way of voting. We were given an envelop instead of a ballot. There were slips of paper for each party on a long table and you took the slip you wanted to vote for and put it in the envelop and then it went in the ballot box. A few days before we got a set of these slips in the mail. I think people who want to be very secret use a slip they have brought from home. (election joke below)
Everything is growing fast and we are having to keep up with the grass. There were a lot of wild orchids this year. The photo is the false acacias blooming. They have a beautiful scent of sweetpea.
Everything else waits for June - bobcat (it is in France but not with us yet) and shed arrive early June, Harry sees the doctor for his eyes too. 

June 14 letter
Greetings.  This has been a very good month for weather - warm to hot with enough rain but much sun.
Harry got his eye check-up. No real change but he has to keep taking the drops. We are a bit confused about how things are going to develop. He had slight catarats but they are just ignored now, he has age-related macrodegeneration but apparently it is the sort with no treatment just vitamin supplements and glaucoma which is being treated with drops. The Dr. says he is responding to the drops. We worry about his sight.
My electric car has a big (for traction) and a small (for lights etc.) battery. The small battery stopped working and so the Twizy had a trip to the garage to fix it.
Harry's baby bobcat arrived (photo below). It spent more time on French soil that on the boat from China. It arrived in LeHavre, then it was trucked to Marseilles going right passed out place but it couldn't be off loaded. Then had to wait in Marseilles until missing papers arrived from China. After being clear in customs and the taxes paid, we had to find another company to ship it to our address. Delays with all that and finally the truck gets here. Would you believe that the road people (who were finished and gone) came back to put some more markings on the ground and had one way traffic going. So the truck was on the sidewalk, the driver's mover thingy would not work properly on our crate (welded iron frame with little legs) and he was in a temper. Anyway it was finally on the ground. A couple of neighbours help with getting in out of the crate affair - two heavy for just a couple of people.
It had oil and a little fuel in it, and with a jumper cable it started and it was driven into our yard from the sidewalk.
The neighbour is about to start putting in the fence between us - we are paying for some of the materials but not doing any of the labou
hysoonr. The blocks to go under the shed are in place and level. Now we have to build it. (see house for what little progress has happened).
The only thing added to the garden is a box with potatoes growing in it.
It has not been long since Glen Wight died and now his widow has also died. Loretta's obit is below. She was a sweet lady. Also below are some quizzes, the EU election result for our area, and the web stats for my sites.
Have a good July 1,  July 4 and July 14 depending on your country.    Janet

July 14 letter
spuds Hello, All is well and it is great to be in summer. The shed is almost ready to move things in. (see house for shed, bobcat and hedge pictures) The baby bobcat is becoming comfortable for Harry to use and he has used it for a bit of earth moving type jobs. We now have 4 working mowers: the little electric one that I use, a normal sort now made to work properly by a repair shop, the cutter-bar mower which Harry has put a new engine on, and the riding mower. We now have a mower for all the bits of ground we have.
We have moved as much earth as we are going to into the potatoe box - about 2 feet. Here is a explanation of how it works - click to enlarge.
We had lots of cherries earlier and it looked like we would have lots of black berries but putting in the fence by the neighbour has rooted them all up along with the old hedge. The work started on the 28th with the hedge removal.  That was the day I had to go see the anesthetist so we missed the first part of the work. The new fence will keep the dog at home but between taken out the hedge and putting up the fence, there isn't any sort of barrier!
My operation will be on the 13th. I will not have a general anesthetic and I'm happy about that.
I have taken a holiday from blogging for part of the summer. I usually do a posting every 3 days and that routine take a lot of my time. I want to catch up on some other things and get past my carpal tunnel operation.
We was the video clip of Didcot power station cooling towers coming down. Harry worked at Didcot before it was finished, writing maintenance manuals - that was over 40 years ago. Anyway they came down really well.
August 14 letter
bambooGreetings, We have had a fairly rainy and stormy month. The bamboo is usually yellow and losing leaves by the end of August, but all the rain has kept it spring green. (see photo)
We now have a substantial fence on our west side and we can see into what was an old orchard and is now the domain of sheep and childred. We were looking forward to not having to get Ginger back from the neighbours lot. The day after the fence went up, we walk along its length with the neighbours - them on their side and us on ours - a discussed whether there were any problems. We got to the bottom end and I spied Ginger sitting happily on the other side of the neighbours lot. Everyone was shouting and pointing at her and she got all nervous and running frantical about. The neighbour figured out how she got in, he and Harry got her out, they fixed the gap, and Ginger now seems to know that that is not her territory anymore. It was probably a good thing that she got a little scared and learned that it really was a no-no.
The shed is almost done. We are putting in shelves and starting to clear the front room. (See house link for pictures.)
I had my carpal tunnel operation on the 13th and the stitches out on the 27th. It all went well. Getting there was the most scaring part. It was early morning and black, extremely heavy rain and wind so we could hardly see the road and the road is very windy in places and in other places it is forested and so deer can be on the road. My heart was in my throat most of the way.
The local pub had another robbery. This time the police came chatting up and down the road. They wanted to know what was seen and heard, if people had any suspicions, had the dogs barked in the night, were that other robberies. Nice young guys spent about 20 mins at each house. They gave the pub some survalence equipment. It probably won't help; nothing has so far. It is so obvious when the pub is empty and there is lots to steal.
We thought we would have visitors this month from England, but both visits fell though. It is a disappointment as we were looking forward to them in a big way. And the reasons for not coming are also worrying. Maybe later when people and circumstances are healthier.
We are still worried about Harry's eyes. One eye seems to have improved a bit lately, so it is not all bad news.
I took a holiday from blogging and I intent to start again to the start of Sept. I took a different look at the stats to see what repeat visitors I had to various sites. (see below) Best wishes to all. Janet

September 14 letter
The road works are finally completely finished. We know this two ways. First, the street lights started going out at night of the 22nd Sept. This was a special arrangement to have the lights on at night during the road works and so they have been for a couple of years. Second, we got an invitation to the inauguration ceremony on Oct 6. Would you believe the list of people who are going to do the inauguration: the prefect of the Cher (the rep of the Ministry of the Interior in the Cher), the president of the Cher departmental assembly, the president of the Centre regional assembly, the senator for the Cher in the national parliament and ditto the deputy for the Cher, and of course the mayor and the town councilors.
We have had some very nice vegetable from the neighbours - really tasted good. They are harvesting now that it is cooling down and the trees are starting to turn.
walnut My hand is now well enough that I have to do dishes - no problems.
We hope to see the Parkers next month, when Ron has recovered from his heart 'repair'. Looking forward to that! and to the Hinson-Parsons if they can sneak away.
We were getting annoyed at not being able to get Vitamin D from the pharmacy without a prescription from the doctor. It turns out that France has decided to give Vit D in a liquid form with a swallow lasting 3 months. It is not a bother because I have to go to the doctor for heart med prescription every 3 months anyway.
The slab for the garage was poured on the 30th so the pictures are here. There are some others in the house link. Quizzes and web stats are below along with one of the best drawn cartoons I have seen in the long time.
The photo is of the walnut trees dropping nuts and starting to turn brown.
I hope you all have a pleasant autumn. Janet

October 14 letter
Hi, goodboyAfter making his rash promise to have the garage done by 15th Dec. Harry is trying to get enough done that he will not be too embarrassed. After the slab was poured and set, it took 4 days to get the formwork off, one day for each side and the last side took the help of a pair of neighbours. Now Harry is moving earth for the rest of the foundation. It is great garden soil. A piece broke on the Hysoon and so earth moving stopped for a few days while Harry made a difficult repair (but a good one). (see link to House for pics) (Although we were expecting visitors - we have had none)
Our Internet suppliers sent us a new box to bring in the net, phone (and would be TV too but we didn't contract for that). The equipment papers said they had sent the passwords etc. separately. We realized that the address was wrong - it was for the old house across the street. The post office has been doing its re-direction well but not for this letter. We got the password by phone and it all worked fine. We are going to have to watch who else has the wrong address.
The last haircut I had was in Canada over a year ago. The length was driving me mad so I talked Harry into a cut even though he has trouble seeing and didn't want to do it. It turned out OK. So my birthday was a haircut, an extending handle duster, a kitchen scale, a new elegood boyctric kettle, chocolates and some fancy meat paste. I got some nice cards and emails.
We are enjoying the time change off of daylight saving in the morning; the evenings were getting dark quickly. There were other signs of fall. Some trees are losing leaves or turning and the walnuts have fallen. Cranes came over starting on the 24th and for days after. They always cheer Harry up. A wasp came after me and bit me twice before we killed it - that did not cheer me up. The photo this time is a joke in the form of a philosophical dog. Quizzes and Webstats below.
I hope you all have a fun Halloween. Janet

November 14 letters
Hi, During Nov. we have had runs of sunny and of rainy weather. With all the earth that Harry has disturbed and uncovered in making the level patch beside the garage slab for a workshop, we have discovered what the mud is like around here. It is almost as bad as Saskatchewan mud. Harry's shoes were getting tall but (unlike Sask) when he got to an inch and a half-ish platforms they started to curl over the sides of the shoes. It is practically impossible to get off. But the top soil was more than we need right now and the neighbour was coveting it and so a piece of the fence came down temporarily so that the last couple of bucket holds went in their yard. We had a lovely bunch of fresh figs from them. Figs do not get more ripe or keep well after they are picked. We were not eating them fast enough so I froze a lot of them.
When they finished the road works a while back, the Mayor and some others walked the length of the new road (maybe it was an inspection). Anyway the Mayor said to Harry that our trees that overhand the sideway should be trimmed back. Don't worry – no hurry – but get it done sometime. Well we look at it and decided that we could not do it. Some lower branches near the phone line had been cu
trimmert back by Ryan a few years back. They were high and these were much higher. The neighbour said he could do it, but when he went to borrow the equipment from his friend, the friend said it was too dangerous. We were looking at a few hundred euros to get a specialist to do it. One day this month, Harry heard a noise he couldn't identify and so when looking and a couple of streets away there was a gang with a tree trimming machine (ie a huge circular saw on a long articulated arm on a big track vehicle). Harry made a deal with them to do our trees for 50 euros. So they came, buzzed around and leave trimmed trees and a pile of branches. The photo is Harry having led the trimming crew to us. They made a nice bonfire on Harry's birthday (84th).
We saw the mayor again (but it was before the tree trimming) when he brought our 'ancient's' hamper. We didn't go the the dinner they have every year around this time for the old folks. I can't eat the meal because of my gluten thing and Harry doesn't want to go alone. Those who don't go get a hamper.
A few days ago, my internet supplier notified me that I was almost over the limit for server use on my contract. I went to the highest level of contract, which doesn't have a limit. It was painless and took about 2 days to upgrade during which I could not make changes to anything. People may have had trouble getting to my sites at times during the 2 days. Sorry.
Our neighbours have a new pup. Harry took Ginger over to meet and make friends.
There was a bit of progress on the house (see house link). We had no visitors. There is a cartoon, quiz result, and CHRISTMAS GREETINGS below on this page. I will be mailing and emailing this Christmas Letter also. It will be after Xmas before I am updating this site again. Janet

December 2014 letter
Hello, We have had some nice weather in December but just before Christmas it started to get cold. Up until then there had only been 2 nights when it froze. Since Christmas it is even freezing in the day time. Work on the garage has stopped until we get some warmer weather. (see house link). The plasma cutter torch worked very well.
We are both well and ready to start a new year with the same resolutions we have failed to keep in previous years. There is always next year. We had our usual very quiet Christmas. Our various neighbours have been away a lot during this season. One of the nice things about Christmas is that I get to hear from a lot of people.
Our neighbours have got a pup and the group of pup, little daughter and mother have brought the pup into our yard a few times when they have been walking back from the village so that Ginger and the pup can make friends. This appears to be happening.
I am still trying to figure out what happened with my blog. The visiters dropped when I was moved to a different server in late November and have not come back to normal. The company that looks after my domains has checked the setup twice and can find nothing wrong.  I cannot tell over the holidays what is happening because it is always weird, but into January I am hoping it cures itself or I will have to do some studying on SEOs. Stats and map of visiters is below. In honour of Christmas and my computer problem, I have a nerdy Linux-Xmas cartoon below. Click to enlarge.
Have a good New Year's start to the New Year. Janet

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
2012 Christmas Letter
(I was going to put in the original on the Christmas paper but it did not seem to work. I can't find the problem so here it is in text.)

The end of another year is near. What is there to report?
First we are in pretty good health (for our ages), comfortable and content. We do not live an exciting life but it is satisfying. The same is true of our dog who is doing well on three legs and is an extremely 'good dog'.
The house is coming along. We will move in as soon as we can so that we stop paying rent. That means having a working kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and computer desk. I hope we will get to that point in January. Harry is working hard on getting there. The neighbouring lot came up for sale and we bought it at a good price. We do not have plans for it yet. It was more an investment and a way to have some control what is next to our little place.
Note that when we move our address with be the same except that the street number will be #10. We are moving across the street.
I have been having a good run with my blog and personal website. I have ignored the genealogical site  for some time, unfortunately – maybe I'll do something with it next year. I should reach a total of a million hits on the blog just into the new year and that is a milestone that I didn't expect when I started the blog four and a half years ago.
We have done no traveling this year although we had thought that we might make it to the UK. We still have it in mind. But we did have visitors, all in the spring. First Zena and Mark from Regina. I think it was the best chats we have ever had with them. Then Ron and Carol stopped over night on their drive from England to the south of France. We had no seen them for many, many years so there was a lot of catching up to do. And finally we had Merrilee and Aydon with Bob overlapping with them. Again a great time. We had no visit from Ciara (just her sister, mother and father) and Ryan but they have come every year we have been in France and they are very, very busy this year. Ciara is starting law school and Ryan is starting a business.
I have found out that I have some faults in my gut that will not be fixed and I will learn to live with. But on the other hand after four looks at my insides, I am assured that I have nothing serious wrong. 'No cancer' is a lovely thing to know. Harry also has some problems that he has to live with, but his eyes are slowly getting worse with AMD.
My French is still embarrassingly poor. Maybe some work on it will be a next year's resolution.
We hope that you have a great holiday and that next year is a great one for you and yours.
                            Harry and Janet

2013 Xmas letter
Sorry but I am too disorganized this year to do a proper Christmas letter. It has been a hectic year. In the early part of the year I was having trouble with my health and got looked at by a cardiac specialist who changed my medication and my diet. Then we had a traumatic move to the new house which was not finished - and still isn't. It was cold and disorganized. (New address is 10 Route de Nevers - just across the street.) But we got a visit from Ciara and Ryan even though it was cold and messy which was great to cheer us up and a help. My step father Mel died in the spring and I went to Canada for his burial in June. Mel is buried beside Mother in Lang. It was a good trip (really a great trip), but took a lot of energy - flying is fast but it is not pleasant. I stay about 2 weeks and I was very comfortable with Merrilee and Aydon as hosts, Bob as my planning assistant. We had an overnight visit from the Parkers which was fun. Harry had to buy a new computer & got one on-line from Germany. During the move and trip, my blog was made impossible for me to manage and I was not getting help with the problems - tears and rages happened. Finally in desperation I just gave up the started a new blog with a different host who does give me help. I bought a little electric car that does not need a drivers license and has a restricted speed. Still in chaos we had a visit from Ciara's father and step father plus friend Dave. They were great fun and helpful. We just managed to get some protection from cold for the winter before Harry had to go for his carpal tunnel operation. His recovery was terrible because of an old shoulder repair and he didn't get a good night's sleep for over a month. Now he is mending. My computer packed in in Nov and I got a new one the same as Harry's and a new printer. But I still don't have my scanner scanning. I also bought a mobile phone. Harry bought a plasma torch just before his operation and hasn't had a chance to use it yet. During the year I lost a lot of weight and I am very happy with that. The dog has had a great year in the new yard. Harry and I are now getting our health back. From the time we moved we have not had TV so other things should be happening, but we still can waste time doing Killer Sudoku puzzles. The house is messy and unfinished by we are now warm and fairly comfortable and we are happy. Harry and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Love to all.

Merry Christmas Xmas letter 2014
Time for an end of year letter. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope you have had a good year.
Our year has been quiet. We are both feeling older but on the other hand, we get up each morning and do things, sometimes with some discomfort but almost never with pain. Harry eyesight is slowly going downhill and it causes him some frustration. I lost weight last year but not this year. This year I did not gain either, my blood pressure is down some, and blood sugar is no longer borderline diabetic. I had my carpal tunnel fixed this fall. Harry's hand doesn't have all its feeling – he was too late with his second carpal tunnel operation so we got mine done as soon as there were any symptoms. We are doing pretty well for our ages. All in all, we are contented.
We expected a number of visitors this year but it didn't turn out that way. Our only visitor was Ciara in the spring. She is now divorced from Ryan; is very near finishing Law School; works part time for her mother; and has a new partner that she will be living with in the future.
Our house is still unfinished but we live in it and it is comfortable enough. Currently Harry is trying to finish the garage. The slab is in place and a lot of earth has been rearranged. Work goes slowly – Harry is 84 and no longer can put in a full day's work. We constructed a little building so that there was a safe place for things close to where Harry is building the garage. It is a nice looking little shed. In the current work on the garage Harry has been using his new 'toy', a baby bobcat. We bought it direct from China, the Hysoon company. That is the third thing we have bought directly from a Chinese firm. The bobcat has no cab but you stand on a little platform at the back to drive it.
Although we have not done that much, things still happen around us. The road and sidewalks have been done along our street (cum highway). It is now quite nice looking and the path in front of our place is no longer a group of holes and puddles when it rains. Trucks can't park overnight in front of us either. That is the change to the front. To the west, our new neighbours have removed the thick hedge and put in a fence. It is a nice fence for which we put in half the money but none of the work. On the east, our other neighbour has put in a fence, too. We will not have to worry so much about our dog perhaps wandering. We did have a small garden this year and will have a bigger one next year. We had a great crop of wild cherries this year, and some walnuts even though we were slow and the squirrels were quick.
We got to vote this year in the European elections. It is odd how everyone does their elections differently. We were supplied by mail with a slip for each candidate-list/party and at the polling station we were given an envelope each to put the slip we wanted to vote for in the envelope. There were also extras of all the slips on a long table in case you didn't bring one with you. The whole thing was very fast and clean. There was also a little drill we had to do when putting the envelope in the box so that they could see there was only one envelope and we could see that ours was the envelope that went in. I forget exactly how it went, but I think I had to put it in the empty slot and the officer had to push it through. The slot was too narrow to take two envelops. There was a curtained off little area in case you wanted more privacy putting the slip in the envelop.
I got very angry with my internet supplier and so changed to another. Thus I ended up with two blogs, an old one that I don't post to any more but which still gets many visitors, and a new blog that is still being found by visitors. I still have the two other sites, my personal one and the genealogical one. The 4 sites and the 2 email addresses are all with the new company and I am happy with their service and price. Just lately I was near the limit of traffic for the contract I had and so I changed to a different contact with the same company.
Have a lovely holiday and a good 2015. Janet and Harry Kwasniak