I think we were really less than convinced by the magnetiseur, though I'm not sorry we went. He was a quiet, gentle little man, living in the countryside on the edge of the town. He had a simple waiting room, with a notice saying he was registered for tax and would only see people after they had been to their doctors. His consulting room was plain and old fashioned with a couple of wooden beds and a desk. He told us his father had done this and he did the same things his father did.
He didn't touch any of the afflicted areas, only Tom's head and hovered about over what I assumed was his liver area. He said the liver was important as it was responsible for the toxins in the blood. (The French preoccupation with the liver is well-known, the English are supposed to be similarly focused on their bowels. I was initially somewhat taken aback , whenever one complained of feeling a little the worse for eating and drinking too much, to have it pronounced that one was suffering a 'crise de foie', not least because it could be mistaken for 'crise de foi', to which I was always tempted to reply, no, not at all, I have been happily and constructively agnostic for many years, but thanks for your interest in my spiritual welfare...)
Tom relaxed, and said afterwards that he was concentrating on being open and employing some familiar meditation techniques he thought might be helpful. After a bit, the chap left him there and took an ordinary bottle of still mineral water, over which he did a bit more hovering and stroking, while chatting to me about how his dad used to do this and how he wished he'd learned English but it was so badly taught at school in his day, 'trop literaire...'. I was a little concerned that surely if one is imparting one's magnetic gift to a bottle of water one ought to concentrate and not talk about other things, and did my best to avoid engaging in the conversation, but perhaps I underestimated his facility with the energies. He wrapped the bottle up in a page of Ouest France, and said to keep it out of the sunlight, as that was a different kind of energy which would counteract the magnetism. Tom was to drink a glass of it every morning before eating or drinking anything else, and then to drink it or apply it to the affected area as and when. He said the pain would continue but he had 'coupé le feu', cut off the fire.
We were there about half an hour, and he charged 18 euros. Though he'd said he was busy that morning, and he was open most days, there wasn't a great queue of people, plus he has to pay all his business charges and taxes, so he's not exactly laughing all the way to the bank. We both felt he was sincere.
On the way back, it rained cats and dogs all the way down the bit of the dual carriageway I was dreading, and we found out the Saxo's heater didn't work, so Tom had to keep wiping the inside of the windscreen by hand while I drove, and also that the 'défaut d'étanchéité' that had been specified on the controle technique (MOT) document as needing to be fixed sometime, but which none of us, including our French garagist had been able to identify the exact nature of, was in fact a fault of the seal around the windscreen, and my feet got rather wet. I was tempted to rail against the vendors for selling me a car with a defective heater and a built-in foot spa, but on balance I shall give them the benefit of the doubt that perhaps they didn't know, since it's been very warm and dry lately, and Saturday's conditions were exceptionally foul. They did actually e-mail me this morning saying they hoped everything was OK, so I shall assume their good faith. Anyway, it's better to know about the problems, which are not major ones, now, before it goes in for its overhaul, than on my first day back at work on a dank October morning. Pollyanna rides again.
After this quite stressful journey, and despite stopping off for a brioche sucrée at Tartapain, Tom said he felt worse than ever, and that really he didn't think the magnetism had worked at all and the man probably had no special powers. As I can't feel how he's feeling, I'm can't argue with this.
However, though he'd deny, probably rightly, that it had anything to do with it, and that his faith is better placed in antibiotics, antivirals and very strong paracetamol, though he's still getting pains, and coughing from the chest infection, though much less, and feeling exhausted quite a lot, nevertheless he has a brightness and warmth about him he didn't have before, and things are, in a two steps forward, one step back manner, improving. That night, he had a dream of such bittersweet, haunting power and vividness, about being lost and then restored, that it made me cry just to hear about it. We'll never know, of course, and perhaps he's have been making an even better recovery if he'd just stayed at home in the warm, but if we hadn't tried, I'd always have been wondering if it would have done any good to do so. And at least we found out the car heater didn't work.
The other thing that I thought was interesting was that the magnet man said he had seen an inordinate number of people with shingles over the last three weeks, as well as confirming the outbreak of chicken pox at the primary and infant schools I'd already heard about from a neighbour with a young child. Yet, as he said, it makes no sense, as shingles can't be passed on from person to person, but is a recurrent form of the chicken pox virus usually contracted from years before. It almost seems as though the virus has a collective life of its own, in spite of being contained within discrete human bodies, and it rises like a tide. Though this too is anecdotal and probably can't be proven.
Just in response to a few of your other comments on the last post; the dining room really doesn't always look that tidy and uncluttered, when I took that picture we'd recently had people to lunch, and beforehand I'd cleared all the surfaces around to put things on, then everything had been cleared off and the spare chairs taken away so it really was spick and span. But it's all very newly done, so I did want to show it at its best.
One day I'll scan in a few of the photos of the house as it used to be, and you can see what Tom has used up his health and strength achieving. ( I have helped. Helped with the house, that is, not with using up his health and strength, although...)
As to the garden, I must stress I can take no credit there either, other than perhaps making the odd suggestion of plants I like. It's Tom's baby, I am simply the lawn mower operative and occasional weeder, as you can see, not very assiduous in either capacity!
And just a word on computer chairs, though this one looks comfortable and ergonomic, it isn't terribly, and it wasn't the cheapest. But it's probably worth shopping around for a good one, and you probably get what you pay for. I am the world's worst sitter, and cannot maintain a nomal straight posture for any time, but kneel, curl, tuck feet under me, put them up on the knee rest, whatever, which I blame on short legs, and I broke the last ordinary office chair we had.
Oh, and as promised, the funny our friend sent us. I suppose the more religiously sensitive of you may prefer to look away, but perhaps that is to patronise you. Anyway, it made us laugh. It was allegedly a bonus exam question at the University of Washington.
Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today.
Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.
This gives two possibilities:
1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell,then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.
So which is it?
If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, 'It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,' and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct......leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting 'Oh my God.'
(THIS STUDENT RECEIVED AN A+.)
And finally, a quick collage. Evening walks and the low sun have lately yielded a luminosity of linear green maize shoots and the rosy red heads of sorrel, mostly going over now, and those fuzzy etched looking umbellifers I still haven't got around to identifying. These all beguile me every year. Still not disenchanted.
(It should click up big. I used to take ages planning Picasa grid collages, now I just throw them together and take ages clicking on the new Picasa 3 'Shuffle pictures' button till I get one I like.)
I'll once more set about the business of trying to get round you all. I'd have made more headway yesterday, but we had about four hours of power cut, so it was back to Henry Adams and the 12th century, though he tended to favour the 13th. (Damn, finding that Wiki link, I've just discovered he was repellently antisemitic. Wish I hadn't seen that...)
If you've got this far, thanks for reading.