Thursday, November 19, 2015

Insurance; thankful; things on the table, and another goat.

I am having trouble looking forward to our coming trip to Iceland. We have never travelled much in winter, so many things can go wrong, and in the cold, short days it just seems more advisable to stay at home. Now, feelings of apprehension and impending doom, and a certain reluctance to focus on fun and frivolity, are casting a pall over it, and I find I'm avoiding making even necessary arrangements. I took out basic insurance with the first flight, but even finding something more comprehensive and suitable seems to be difficult for a couple of ageing expats. However, we talk it through, decide the extra cost is worth the peace of mind. I apply myself to a more thorough search and come up with something clear, appropriate and not ruinous, and now I find I can better enjoy making plans.

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We watch a programme about the home life of the Georgians. It's lively and full of interesting detail you never knew about. We end up agreeing that, whatever the problems of the 21st century, for ourselves anyway, we're glad we live when, where and how we do.

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I scan the things on the table, and though it's a bit messy and not-dealt-with, mostly I like what I see and how it reflects our life.  There is a book by Simon Schama about the Dutch Republic, a leaflet about a museum in Châtelaudren that wasn't open when I went to see it, catalogues for organic garden seeds and gifts in aid of the SPA, a pad of 2mm graph paper and one of ordinary squared, a to-do list from an indeterminate time ago, a printout from my brother of something he wrote about Green Man ornaments in a church in the Orne, the monthly free departmental magazine, scissors, matches, pens and pencils, reading glasses, the stalled septic tank project papers, vitamin pills, books about drawing and painting and meditation, a book of very difficult sudoku, two Kindles known to have at the top of their contents the accumulating works of Patrick O'Brian and CJ Samson, blood test results, a basket of walnuts and a large and handsome plate unusually containing a good selection of fresh fruit.

Some of these things really should be tidied away though.

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14 comments:

Roderick Robinson said...

Iceland? You've just missed Beth. She took lots of photos which proved that the scenery is austere and the architecture is (I'm about to use an adjective much favoured by Joe) indifferent. I said that Iceland looked like an acquired taste; my only experience being limited to landing at Reyjavik in the dark en route to New York by Iceland's Loftleidir "the last airline to do transatlantic flights with propellor-driven planes". The journey took 15 hours I seem to recall and I was so uncomfortable when I arrived that I stepped into a barber's in New York and had myself shaved before getting on to a Continental Trailways bus for a further five (or was it eight?) hours travelling to Pittsburgh. In my pocket I had a small notebook in which I intended to record every second of every minute of this tumultuous journey; finally using no more than four pages.

polish chick said...

i know how the stress of travel can almost incapacitate. i've come to the conclusion that travel isn't as much fun as we make it out to be, and it's been getting more and more tedious of late. still, i know you will have a lovely time, not because of any clairvoyance but simply because you're the type of person to make the best of wherever you find yourself, and iceland has plenty to throw at you. austere it may be, but stunning!

Dale said...

At least you're going to a place where people know a LOT about how to deal with winter :-)

Lucy said...

Thanks faithful ones.

The reaction to our going to Iceland seems to be split clearly between those who say 'wonderful!' and those who say 'why?'. Happily many of the former are those who have been there, though, as Robbie proves, not all of those who've been there are enthusiastic. I don't really think one goes for the architecture, except for those iconic little turf roofed folk museum houses (which I don't know if we'll see) and Reykjavik cathedral is said to be impressive. I must say the street view on G-maps does appear somewhat underwhelming, but those things never really convey the actual feel of a place. And remember, this is a place where you can buy world class knitting wool in every grocery store and petrol station.

I have never been a winter sun seeker, maybe being somewhat affected towards darkness and bleakness in this season, I wish to head for a dark and bleak place - homeopathy, 'Mithradaites, he died old'! And indeed, the people there certainly do know how to deal with winter; everything seems to go on regardless, and they are very keen to offer tourist activities, so there will be northern lights trips - the main initial reason for going - and Icelandic ponies, and hot spring pools, though Tom is adamant he's not going in one of those, and lots of places to eat, not all involving whale meat.

No, I think once we get there all will be fine, even if the lights don't show. Most of my worries centre on getting out of Brittany, where they really don't know much about coping with anything at all wintry!

Catalyst said...

Ah, an adventure. How fine. Just remember, Iceland is green and Greenland is icy. I think you'll have a great time and good for you for making the plunge.

Nimble said...

A friend who visited Iceland asked about the ponies and was told firmly that they were *horses*. A hot spring in the snow is my idea of winter hedonism. Glad that getting the unpleasant chore done made the whole thing more palatable.

Zhoen said...

Hot springs and Northern Lights!! I so wanted to go when we lived in Boston, and it was a short flight. Good beer, I was told. Hadn't thought about the wool, but it makes sense.

I always feel this way about travel, and always want to chuck it and stay home. But then, once there, I am glad to have gone. I love being different places, getting there is onerous.

marja-leena said...

Like Robbie, I immediately thought of Beth's lovely posts and photos of their recent trip to Iceland. I've always loved the look of that country but only have been in the airport on the way to Finland in the 60's. I am impressed that you are brave enough to go in the winter but I think it will be beautiful, especially the auroras. I am not much of a traveller especially detesting airplanes but you are not quite as far. Have a wonderful time, both of you!

Jeff said...

I spent two weeks in Iceland with an academic program in 1996, before it became a hot travel destination and before the country's ill-fated attempt to become a center of world banking. If you're interested in geology, horses, Vikings, Icelandic literature, and sheep and the products derived thereof, it's a particularly interesting place—but do try to chat with the Icelanders themselves if you can. Because their language is known to so few outsiders, there's a fascinating discrepancy between the tourism tropes they promote and the social concerns they largely keep to themselves, more subtly so than in other tourist-friendly places. I'll be curious to see how you find it.

Ellena said...

From what I have seen of Iceland in a documentary, I think you will enjoy it. There is even a place where gnomes live, if I remember well.
I was able to see the Northern Lights from where my house stood. Not as spectacular as seeing them in Iceland, I suppose, but good enough for me since I'm not to much of a friend of the landscape there.


Ellena said...

Just looked at Beth's site. Yes stunning but sorry, no thanks for now. Might change my mind.

Rouchswalwe said...

Wool for knitting and crowberry liqueur (because the beer's too expensive) ... Skál! Good music, too. Be ready for the wind!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

I instantly thought of recommending Beth's posts about her and Jonathan's recent trip to Iceland but no doubt you've seen them already. You and Tom must not miss having a soak, and even a game of chess, au naturel in the misty, steamy hot springs, along with all the other Icelanders. Surely a good way to deal with the cold weather.

Julia said...

I've spent many happy hours investigating Icelandic trips recently but I have yet to book anything, mainly because I lost my passport which was, I think, a subconscious act designed to keep my at home :)
Travelling is wonderful but the planning and the preparation and worrying lest something happens to the house while I am away and so on, well, it can be daunting to me now so I remain close to home :)
But I am looking forward to the blog posts!