The Anonymous Widower

I Think My Bilbao Trip Did Me Good

Yesterday, I had lunch with an old friend, S.  She thought that I might have got the old twinkle back in my eye.

But there have been various changes I’ve noticed since my return.

The major one is that my body seems to have gone much closer to like it was, before I had the stroke three and a half years ago. My fitness trainer came round on Monday and she got me to do stretches that I have found impossible in the last few years. I could actually put my left arm up my back and my right arm over my left shoulder and touch hands.  Which is something, I probably haven’t done since 2009. In this area, I’ve also noticed that I can fold my arms in front of my chest.  And both ways to boot!

I walked today to the Regent’s Canal and my feet behaved themselves with only a touch of the pain doctors say is arthritis, that has been with me since the 1960s and at times has been bad in the last ten years.

I also had two glasses of wine with S.  And both of them tasted like wine. For the last few years, a lot of wine could have been anything, as it was tasteless.  The only thing, that seemed to have taste, was the Waitrose lemonade, that I use virtually as a mouthwash.

I certainly tasted the chilli-enriched shepherd’s pie tonight.

Even my nose doesn’t seem to running so much and  certainly the dull pain in my lower jaw and teeth has lessened. My nose hasn’t bled either!

My brain seems to be on top form, and I’m fairly certain, that the mean time, it takes me to solve the Super Fiendish sudokus in The Times has decreased. My short term memory seems better too!

I can now wear my watch on my left hand and even doing up shirt buttons is easier.  I suspect the latter might be a clue, as men do up shirt buttons with just their right hand, and mine wasn’t affected by the stroke.  But I have found buttons difficult for the last three years.

Also, since I arrived in Biarritz, I have found taking my INR a lot easier and much less messy.  Could it be that my skin has absorbed a lot of water and now it is much more normal. It certainly feels a lot less dry. The only thing I put on my hands are water, soap and gloves. Moisturisers are for wimps. And on the subject of my hands, I can now cut all my nails myself a lot more easily!

Can all of this be down to the mild, sunny, humid weather I encountered on my trip to and from Bilbao? I had in fact, first noticed the return of the arm crossing ability, when I was lying in bed in the hotel in Bordeaux.

To try to recreate that lovely atmosphere, I’ve had my humidifier on full since I returned and a hire company is delivering a bigger one tomorrow!

I intend to prolong this good feeling.

December 19, 2013 Posted by | Health | , , | 6 Comments

Crossrailed Yet Again!

Coming back from St.Pancras today, I took my normal route of the Circle line to Moorgate to get a 141 or 21 bus home.

When I left on Sunday, the buses were running their normal route, but coming home, they were on diversion because of Crossrail. The display was showing  a bus was due, but if I had waited until September, I have frozen to death before one arrived,

So it was back into the Underground to take the Northern line and see if I could cut one off at the pass opposite Moorfields.

When I got there, it was showing twelve minutes wait, but one arrived in two.

So I was lucky.

Why don’t they divert the buses permanently until Crossrail is finished with digging up Moorgate?

I’m sure, I wouldn’t be the only one, who would be very pleased!

December 13, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Cafe Breizh In Paris

I found Cafe Breizh last time I was in Paris, by searching for “gluten free creperie”. But I couldn’t find it physically.

So this time, as I crossed Paris to get the Eurostar, I just had to visit.

I was not disappointed after a bowl of cider and two gluten-free buckwheat crepes.

It’s a wonderful excuse to go to Paris for the day.

December 13, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 1 Comment

Would I Go Back To Bordeaux?

Bordeaux impressed me.  In some ways it was like Paris without the tourists.

It had all the architecture, the shops, the restaurants and the magnificent river Garonne.

The people seemed to have a calmness and politeness that the Parisians lack.

If say, I was indulging in one of my passions and dressing a lady for say an important wedding, I think I might persuade her, to get on a plane to Bordeaux and then come back by TGV and Eurostar.  It’s probably a lot easier to come home on the train, than lug everything through the airports.

C would have loved Bordeaux, Just like she loved Paris, Hong Kong, Milan and Florence.

Every real lady deserves to be dressed to the nines, at least a few times in her life.  And that means from her toes to her hair and outwards from her skin to what everybody looks at.

But I did love those wireless trams!

If you ever wondered why we dress to the nines, look here!

December 13, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

First Class On A TGV

I hadn’t travelled in First on a TGV before, but on this trip I did.

I wasn’t impressed with the leg room, which seemed to be about the same on a Virgin Class 390.

Not Much Legroom

Not Much Legroom

I had thought it would be bigger as the TGV Atlantique has a much larger cross-section, than the British train.

The refreshments were disappointing too.

Disappointing Refreshments

Disappointing Refreshments

The picture shows, the smoothie and pretzels.

First Class certainly wasn’t worth the extra thirty euros or so.

Compare it with Second Class in the TGV Duplex I took from Geneva to Paris.

In Second Class On A TGV Duplex

In Second Class On A TGV Duplex

I took this picture from my seat on the lower deck. Is it a deck, saloon or floor?

December 13, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaving Bordeaux For Paris

Bordeaux St. Jean station was full of TGV Atlantique trainsets as I left for Paris.

It appeared that some trains were coupled together in pairs, to make massive people movers for the journey to and from Paris. Incidentally, each train can carry 485 psassengers.

I was not worried about the date of Friday the Thirteenth.  I’ve left jobs on this date twice and I’ve always gone on to better things.

December 13, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Experiments With Selfies

I was trying to get a decent picture of myself.

Most seemed to be rubbish, so I only left myself with these. So if I kept these how bad were the others?

Note the Liverpool University Engineering Scarf, I often wear in cold weather.

December 13, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

My Hotel In Bordeaux

I stayed at Le Boutique hotel in Bordeaux.

Le Boutique Hotel In Bordeaux

Le Boutique Hotel In Bordeaux

It was OK and they found me a very good restaurant for supper on Thursday.

But I wouldn’t stay there again, as the lift to get to my room was not to my taste.  I can think of some, who would have used it once and left the hotel.

December 13, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments

Le Petit Commerce, Bordeaux

The hotel recommended this restaurant for my supper.

Any time I’m in Bordeaux, all other places where I eat will be judged against this restaurant.

It would also have been a place that C would have adored. Like me, she loved to eat fish and that was the bulk of the menu.

So in some ways it was fitting that I ate there six years and a day after she died.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 1 Comment

A French Version Of My Mother’s Rule

I’ve said before that my mother told me that stops on the London Underground are two minutes apart. I called it Irene’s law for calculating journey times.

A French Version Of My Mother's Rule

A French Version Of My Mother’s Rule

This picture shows the institutionalised version on the Bordeaux tram.

Their interval is one minute and thirty seconds.

December 12, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment