Thursday, November 12, 2015

Getting up, falling down; bio; good gloves

Hearing a car door at some very darkling hour of the morning (about 6.30, I think, the time I used habitually to get up, for work or blogging), and on jumping heaving myself out of bed and peering out of the landing window, perceiving headlights, I assumed the district nurse had taken me very literally in the message I'd left on the collective answering machine (you never know which one you're going to get, or quite when) when I said as early as possible. We really aren't good at hanging around in the morning à jeûn, with not even a cup of tea to sustain us. I plodded downstairs and opened the front door and squinted myopically into the fog, the car was next door's, and I think I discerned the elusive Steve, whom I've not seen since we conferred over hornets back in September, standing beside it and raising a tentative hand in my direction. I mumbled 'ça va' and went back to bed. Tom was thoroughly awake by this time and sceptical about my ability to not go back to sleep and to hear the coming of the nurse, so he got up, considerably more energetically than I had. I lay in bed for a while, feeling rather comfortable and thankful for my life, and got up at my leisure about half an hour later. I came down just as Tom, dressed and busy over the breakfast things, was letting in the very nice Martiniquan male nurse, Frederic. He took Tom's blood uneventfully while I poured orange juice and sorted out the money; I explained I needed to do everything in advance because afterwards I was going to fall over. He seemed rather concerned about this, while reassuring me 'c'est normal...'

He had rather a lot of forms to fill in this time, so much paperwork these days, he grumbled good-naturedly.

I'm hungry! I muttered under my breath.
Oh dear, should he do it straight away and do the papers after?
No, no, I apologised.
It's not so much hunger as fear about the blood test? he suggested.
No, I said, I'm not frightened, I'm just hungry, I'm English, I like my breakfast, it's my favourite meal.

In truth, I might have told him that the next meal is usually my favourite meal, but I am truly fond of breakfast. He looked puzzled. Finally he set me up very tidily - even offering to have me lie down while he took it, to which I demurred, I didn't want to be that much of a wimp - and inserted the needle so neatly I barely felt it, encouraged Tom to come over and talk to me to distract me, but after a moment or two the black curtain descended anyway. He drew out the requisite amount and then sent me off to the sofa while Tom brought me orange juice, uxoriously.

Somewhat embarrassing really; I've tried everything to stop it happening; I'm not bothered about the tiny sting of pain, or needles generally, I'm very good at the dentist, I don't mean to be a wuss but I just can't seem to help it. But what the hell, having not just one but two lovely men fussing over me is not something to which I am accustomed as a general rule, so I decided I might as well lie back and enjoy it. In fact forestalling the falling over bit by lying down immediately I was very quickly back to normal and able to see Frederic off and enjoy tea, more orange juice, coffee, toast, Marmite and marmalade. I am truly fond of breakfast.


Later we went out, partly to get out of the way of the hedge man, to the supermarket and DIY store, and decided to try the little lunchtime restaurant near to the bio* co-op shop. They offer a hot meat main dish and a vegetarian one, and a self-service bar for cold entrées and desserts; wholly vegetarian restaurants don't seem to exist here, or not beyond Paris anyway, and bio shops always have a meat counter and are light on the dried legumes compared to their British equivalents. We had the vegetarian option, a generous and crusty lentil loaf on a bed of carrots and cauli and that funny fractal broccoli in a creamy sauce, with a good green side salad with bright shreds of raw coloured carrot, and nice fruit and nut bread with an interesting sort of nutty veggy pâté instead of butter. Proper vegetarian food, in fact, unusual here: substantial, colourful and tasty, and very reasonably priced. Turned out the chap in charge was an old hippy Canadian, and the woman chef also seemed to be anglophone, but they clearly had a happy, mixed regular clientèle of local people, men in suits as well as beards, and young families with babies and smart women lunching alone.

There was a kind of urn with a ladle, and some cups beside it. I asked if it was soup. No, said the Canadian, it's just hot water, with sachets of tisane and sugar you can help yourself to. In the summer he does chilled water with slices of lemon and cucumber and other fruit, in the winter the hot drinks. The French mostly don't eat breakfast, he remarked, by late morning a lot of people come in here thirsty and tired and grateful for a hot sweet drink, and everyone likes something for free.


Our trip to the DIY store proved less successful; the new plug fitting for the kitchen sink turned out to be the wrong size. However, I did procure these microfibre dusting gloves:

Soft and fluffy and a very funky purple (there were other colours), one simply slips them on and runs them over all one's surfaces and treasured objets and bibelots, then go outside and clap your hands! I didn't know dusting could be such fun. These are the second pair of fit-for-purpose gloves I have lately acquired, the others are these gardening gloves, the best ever:

Not quite sure what they're made of, some kind of synthetic, reinforced rubbery coating over a knit textile base, but they're lighter and more supple than the softest leather and tougher than the thickest, withstanding even the berberis thorns within reason, and quite waterproof without being sweaty. 

Good innovation in design in small things is something to rejoice in.


Got the blood tests back from the pharmacy this evening, everything seems to be OK, except my cholesterol is slightly up, so perhaps I should eat nut pâté instead of butter more often.

 * that's short for biologique, the equivalent of 'organic', and just as semantically silly. Also pronounced like B.O., which I've just about stopped tittering and making puerile jokes about.


Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Dear Lucy, you can faint all you want.You're not a wuss. It used to be done all the time in upper class drawing rooms and lower class hovels, just a thing ladies did, innit? Anyway, glad you got a good blood report.

I too love breakfast but am awed by your super-early rising. Makes me feel ashamed and rather envious - I think I'll try getting to know the early parts of the day.

Sabine said...

Breakfast! My favourite meal as well. Porridge and the World Service.

Good news on the blood results. Oats apparently help to reduce cholestrol, seriously.

My otherwise tall, strong and eminently powerful father always faints at the sight of blood, he just keels over like a felled tree, and we learned early on to not come running to him with our childhood battle ground cuts.

the polish chick said...

ah, my husband faints on a regular basis. i joke i married into a fainting goat family. i've come close myself, but never close enough to actually faint.

those gloves! i must have them! i despise dusting and i have a lot of dust!

the french don't eat breakfast? what's wrong with them? how can you not eat breakfast? i wake up and breakfast is my very first thought! i ADORE breakfast!

Ellena said...

During the 45plus years that I hurried off to a job, my breakfast was cigarettes. Silly yous, I'm not bragging, just telling how different we people can be. Different being my second choice word, never mind the first choice.

Roderick Robinson said...

I don't think you're a wuss, but would I say so if you were? You can't trust the help these days and I am the help; a sort of male handmaiden to Box Elder.

Despite being an ex-SRN VR is terrible about doctors, jabs and - worst of all - dentistry, even the word. At my invitation she read my latest short story, not yet posted, said it was OK, but couldn't really come to terms with the dentistry background. I sympathised.

Is it possible for me to say anything about this without being accused of being sexist? The pain is surely in the apprehension, never more so than in dentistry - at its apex when the polishing drill moves to the front of the lower front teeth (and thus gets closer to the nerve) and one senses pain that may happen rather than reacting to much lesser pain that is happening. Is it to do with imagination? And might women tend to be more imaginative than men? It doesn't seem to fit since (again taking a huge risk) I'm always impressed by women's pragmatism, the shucking off of fancies.

You're right about petit déjeuner. A huge symbol of French inflexibility; simply an energy intake (and not terribly substantial at that), nothing to tickle one's palate. The discouraging moment when the croissant, subjected to pressure, "turns ashes"

I look for strain (from meeting your targets) and see none. In fact you're into your stride, even if you did ignore Lord Kelvin's sound advice (I paraphrase); once we've measured something we know something about it. Just read Put Out More Flags. The detestable children refugees are only a small part; the main theme is what's called the phoney war. I read and shed internal tears; why can't I write like this? Because I started too late is one reason; 150 years too late.

Avus said...

When I joined the army we all had to stand in a line for the medic to administer "jabs" (there were a lot to be administered). It was surprising the number of recruits who fainted at the sight of the bloke in front being "done".

Hobbits always like a "second breakfast". You could be a hobbit to Tom's Gandalf, Lucy!

Les said...

I've been reading this while eating my breakfast - fruit and yogurt, English muffins, tea. It's considered large by the standards of many people I work with, who jump out of bed, shower, grab a coffee and head to the office. I need about two hours between getting out of bed and getting in the car.

Love the fuzzy dusting gloves. Maybe if I got some for my SO he'd dust his apartment, though I doubt it. He keeps it pretty neat but is dust blind.

Zhoen said...

Vagal response, very much genetic, not under voluntary control. I'm a complete non-fainter, and there are times I really wish I could drop consciousness.

Hope you are feeling more stable now.

Pretty gloves, and useful too. I do like hot water in the winter, when it's too late for tea and I don't want sweet.

Sorry about taking offense at your kind comment, feeling very prickly and sensitive over our Moby. No excuse, my apologies.