Archive for March, 2011

Dear French Social Security People,

I know that you have an ever increasing “hole” in your budget and that you have been trying to find solutions for years on how to maintain the French healthcare system and yet save money so to ensure its future sustainability. I know that you have been unsuccessful and that currently you continue to spend far more money than you collect.

I’m not one for great ideas, especially when it comes to saving money (I am very good at spending it), but I do have an idea that could be mutually beneficial and help save you lots and lots of Euros straightaway but also for years to come.

Currently 8 months pregnant, you have been paying for me to have twice weekly back massages at a physiotherapy since Christmas. I’m not sure of the exact price of these massages as you pay for them, but I think they are in the region of 19 Euros each. So far, that must be over 400 Euros and by the time I give birth, you would probably have spent over 500 Euros on them.

The thing is, the massages don’t really help all that much. Yes they relieve some of the pain but it is a short lived solution. You see, with a big pregnant belly, I cannot lie down but have to sit on a chair. Sitting on a chair is one of things that cause me back pain the first place so it is a catch 22 situation.

But, I have the perfect solution which solves my back problem that you’re already paying for, but also covers other issues at the same time. I consider it as a kind of buy one get several solutions idea. I visited a hairdressing salon and they had the most wonderful massage chair at the wash basins. The hairdresser installs you at the wash basin and the chair reclines automatically into a lying down position elevating your legs (excellent for reducing cankles) and then proceeds to massage your back whilst the hairdresser washes your hair and gives you a relaxing head massage.

The back massage is far more comfortable than at the physiotherapists and much more effective. The head massage is excellent for alleviating stress and tension in the shoulders – something that lots of pregnant women suffer from due to the extra weight they carry on their tummy. Elevated legs reduce swollen ankles and improve blood circulation reducing the need to invest in expensive support tights (which you pay for and which I ladder constantly therefore needing new ones). Finally, the pampering of having one’s hair done at the hairdressers is excellent for boosting self esteem and no doubt has a knock on effect in the future probably saving thousands of Euros in therapy costs post partum.

A once weekly visit is much more effective on me than my twice weekly physio visits, thus saving you half of what you’re already paying as well as the other savings I have mentioned above.

Multiply the savings by the number of pregnant women in France (ie lots!) and you’re probably well on your way to fixing that deficit!

Therefore, I highly recommend that you seriously consider implementing this for all pregnant ladies suffering from back pain. If you would like any addresses or if you have any questions please let me know and I would be willing to assist (for a consultancy fee of course).

Yours Faithfully,

Currently sans domicile fixe

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Oh my! Vivement that the next 6/7 weeks go by quickly and without any major hiccups as I’m truly beginning to wonder whether I’m going to make it to the end of my pregnancy without disaster and whether I should wrap myself up in cotton wool and stay sat on the sofa all day…

After the “bathroom incident” at les Beaux Parents, I’ve had a couple more incidents including nearly falling down a ditch in front of their house whilst driving at 5 kmh (I have no idea where I was looking) and having the removal men take away all my underwear meaning that I had nothing left for the time we are in limbo (okay so it was a good excuse to go shopping!).

But yesterday I nearly made 4 people, 4 cats, 1 dog and a tortoise homeless when I came very close to burning the in-laws house down.

I was off to meet the lovely Mummy in Provence and little Baby in Provence in nearby Orange for lunch and wanted to look presentable so decided to iron my clothes as a normal person would. Except it wasn’t my iron and after fathoming out how the wretched thing worked, I turned it on and left it to heat up, thinking that I’d make the most of it and iron a few of Mr Piglet’s work shirts whilst I was at it.

I entered the absorbing world of internet for all of about 10 minutes and forgot about the iron until I smelt burning. Horror of horrors! The iron had melted and was working its way through the electric cables! Minutes later and I would have been dealing with a fire! A fire in a wooden house!

Ruined Iron

So now I need to buy a new iron but the MiL isn’t having any of it. She just laughed it off but I am so embarrassed. These poor people must be fed up of me and my accidents already and I’ve only been here for two weeks! By my calculations I’ve got at least another 4 weeks before we move into our new house, I’m just going to have to try really, really hard not to break anything else… I’m using the tumble dryer for the first time this am so wish me luck!

The rest of the day went thankfully without major incident and I had a lovely time with Mummy in Provence and BiP picking up lots of helpful tips on baby care and equipment! I hear BiP is ill today though so I hope she gets better soon! It truly is a pleasure for me to stay in Provence at the moment and hopefully the in-laws will let me come back to visit again once we move out so that I can continue meeting all the great people I’ve met recently.

I did get totally lost driving back from Orange though but it wasn’t all negative. I managed to take a lovely snap of the nearby village to where we’re staying. When I saw it, I thought of Sara in Le Petit Village as it’s just how I imagine Le Petit Village to be…

Le Petit Village near where I'm staying...

One last thing, I’ve finally set up a Facebook page… If you’re on Facebook do drop by and say hello – here it is…

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A bit blurry but a photo all the same!

A couple of weeks ago I received an invite from the lovely Aidan at Conjugating Irregular Verbs for a lunch get together named Blogapalooza. The only “hic” was that the get together was to take place in Aix En Provence in South of France, quite a drive away from Lyon and that with my bad back and pregnant belly it was unlikely that I would be able to go.

I was delighted to discover that some of the other attendees were going to be accompanied by their husbands so I persuaded Mr Piglet to accompany me if the Doctor gave me the all clear to travel and a week before the get together I had my 8th month pregnancy check up and got the all clear! I was no longer on bed rest and could travel at will. Music to my ears! I was going to get to attend!

I’m quite a shy person and at the moment an insomniac, so was a bit worried about how I would get on with all of these strangers and whether I’d have anything in common with them. Okay, I’d been following their blogs for quite some time, for example I had followed Tanya from before she even moved to France and then there was her wedding and her move to Nice and how could I be worried about not getting on with Sara? I had tried to explain to Mr Piglet who everyone was before arriving, but got stuck on Sara… “she is from Le Petit Village” I said “has a dog called Fifty, is learning French and is a little, well, mad, just like me, or so it seems!”.

But that’s just it, isn’t it? I have been sharing parts of my lives and parts of their lives virtually on the internet now for some time and it was if I was meeting up with a bunch of long lost pals. The fact that we’d all mutually been sharing things and chosen to follow each other out of thousands of other blogs on the internet means something.

The hardest thing for me was dealing with accents in the busy restaurant. When I read blogs on the internet I imagine everyone having an English accent just like me, so lots of American and even Australian accents threw me, and for a while I wanted everyone to come with subtitles as my tired pregnant brain was fogging up on me and I struggled.

But then the restaurant emptied out, as the Aix En Provence people returned to the streets and the shops and suddenly I could hear properly and understand everyone! It was like a light bulb going off in my head, as if someone had taken off the ear mufflers. Either that or the strong espresso coffee woke me up with a jolt!

As Mr Piglet commented on our return journey, it is rare to meet so many people so randomly and get on with them all so well. I think he enjoyed himself as well even though he was a bit taken a back by everyone knowing stuff about our life! Everyone was really great and I am pleased to have met everyone face to face and discover Kirsty’s blog (which I didn’t know before) and also meet B in person and learn so much more about French television and balconies in Cannes!

If you’re not familiar with Aix En Provence, it’s a lovely town, it was my first visit too but I didn’t get much of a chance to look around as I was aching and wanted to get back home. But of course, I could rely on fellow Lyon blogger and attendee Charley to write something and she sure delivered! Have a look at her picture show of Aix en Provence shop windows… makes me want to return for some shopping right now!

So, Blogapalooza for me was a huge success and I hope that after the arrival of Little Miss Piglet I will be able to attend future get together and maybe one day even organize one of my own (maybe with a pole for some pole dancing?). Thank you again Aidan for organizing and for inviting little old me!

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