It would be hard to avoid mentioning Brexit and its implications for us. Not a day has gone by without some nasty racist act being reported from the UK, probably subject to the usual bias of the British tabloids but nevertheless unpleasant. Although we have several friends scattered around the UK, still, politically and otherwise socially, a return for us to the UK is unpalatable. We have looked at options open to us; French nationality (we need another two and a half years for naturalisation), Irish nationality (apparently having a parent born on the island of Ireland, not necessarily Eire, qualifies me for an Irish passport) – fine for being able to work here but not effective for any benefits for health and pension. The key for us will be what gets negotiated in terms of membership of the European Economic Area. It seems that non-EU countries such as Norway and Switzerland maintain mobility of labour and reciprocal pension and health agreements which are our three main issues.
Anyhoo, all this gets discussed whenever two or more expats are together, most of whom voted to remain (Bremainers) and are now Bremoaners. But the only real answer is “wait and see” – to the point if irritation. It’s not as if we can put everything on hold; Delia’s clients will be wary of spending when there is such uncertainty. And who will want a web site when they might have to go back to the UK within a couple of years? Anyway I have been raising my web profile by attempting a business blog (patbell.co.uk/blog), and am now in the process of updating mine and Delia’s websites too. My advert will become more encouraging to those who are “keeping calm and carrying on”.
For the past few months we have been battling with sitting tenants – mice. Wallace the cat keeps the living areas clear (mostly passively, the only mice I have seen him catch were outside). But our loft and cave (basement) remain problem areas. We use humane traps which means I can’t just wait for the smell of rotting mouse but have to proactively check for captives. In the loft we can usually hear the mice scurrying around and sometimes the snap of the mouse trap door shutting followed by frantic rattling about. All this usually just as we are about to go to sleep. So our neighbours, should they be looking, would be treated to the vision of a be-slippered and dressing gowned Patrick sneaking out into the darkness to dispose of the captive mouse. If I have the luxury of being able to do the job during the day I would take it out on my morning dog walk and release it in the woods. At night however, not wanting to trek too far in my slippers, I had taken to chucking the mice over the high wall opposite. Usually we worked our way through the family of mice with the adults usually last and then have a hiatus of a week or so before the next lodgers moved in. I began to suspect that I was seeing the same mice so, of course, I started tippexing their tails (yes I need to get out more) and true enough one or two returned. So now it’s a further trek to the nearest field (50m or so) for the night-time releases at least. This is far enough to be out away from any street lights and I dread the time when I might be met by a neighbour as I emerge from the pitch black, apparently from nowhere in my dressing gown and slippers. Early onset or what?
Here’s the offering from me in the current month’s competition.