The chill that autumn brings

Ah, the very lovely sound of Elvis Costello with She. 

Another of those musicians who’ve aged rather well, thank you. Oliver’s Army is always a perennial favourite. You just don’t get political music anymore do you? I think that’s why I like Bruce so much.

I would hardly credit it, what with it being the first week of the school holidays here, but this week has ended up being incredibly busy. Not sure what’s up with that. I shall be very glad when it is Sunday and I can relax a bit. Next week seems like it will be a bit quieter again, which I am very thankful of.

The weekend has seen the Hope Association book fair, which was bitterly cold on Friday and Saturday. Friday was the second day we’d had frost and it was still -1°C when I got there at nine. I don’t even think it warmed up much. I got straight into bed when I had walked the dogs on Friday night. Saturday felt even colder. Worse is having a house that relies on wood fires – I get in and there’s no point lighting a fire, so I don’t bother, and then the only warm place is my bed.

Today we’ve got a planning meeting for a Christmas fair. People have usually so little idea what goes on behind the scenes. I’ve started using RescueTime again on the laptops because I’m interested to know how long I’m spending doing what, and it’s not a pretty picture. So much of that time is mundane administration, replying to emails, sending out acknowledgements. No wonder I’ve grown to hate my email box. I’ve even had to schedule time to spend on emails in various accounts.

What’s most annoying are the time thieves out there. Last week I spent a good three hours sending emails and answering calls relating to some woman who’s got nothing better to do than cause storms in the teacups of associations here in France. I don’t get it. I simply don’t get why someone would steal an hour of my time telling the most outrageous lies and mistruths that I then have to pull apart and dismantle, when really I should have just told her to take a hike in the first place. As per usual, it makes it ten times worse when that person purports to be in animal welfare. There are many days where I don’t want to answer my phone in case it’s someone who just wants to make drama. I stand by the fact that nobody ever calls you up to offer assistance or help you out, just to give you more stuff that they think you should do for them.

Luckily, the weekend reset all the negative ions in my universe, because I got to spend it with all those people who are just quietly getting on with their animally business, when it’s all put back into perspective again and I get to sound off about all the irritating individuals who’ve pissed on my parade that week, and we all have a collective grumble. I don’t know whether it’s infuriating or reassuring when you hear the same names mentioned time and time again in relation to time thievery and con artists. Honestly, I think I’d lose the will to keep going if I thought it was just me that attracted all the freaks. As per usual, I do seem to bring out extreme oddities in people much earlier than other people manage to spot it. Some would say that’s kind of a gift, but I think I have a very good radar for rubbish. I’m like a threshold freak-outer. I get the first wave of odd behaviour, and other people won’t believe that such-and-such or so-and-so is a card-carrying member of the fruitloop brigade, only for them to realise that I was just a primer for weirdness when those people go on to try it on with them too. Contrary to popular belief, I’m quite good at being diplomatic with crazies. That’s what infuriates them so much. I’m very reasonable. I should be. I used to train teachers. Anyone who has to tell a teacher, thirty years under their belt, that they might want to review their practice, has to have both an elephant skin and a very good ability to outmanoeuvre excuses and get through the bullshit.

By yesterday, my spleen was appropriately vented and my tolerance for humanity had been reset by spending it with decent, hard-working, lovely types who shared their cake and stories with me. I picked up my winter reading materials (at a euro a book, it’d be rude not to!) and I feel fully prepared for the autumn onslaught. Still, I will be much happier once this week is out of the way and I can get back to tidying the garden, trampling on molehills, finishing off socks and sorting out the refuge Christmas calendar.

The calendar, by the way, is looking marvellous. I’m super-impressed. A steep Photoshop learning curve (yes, I finally splashed out) was made steeper by not being able to download it successfully in English and having to work out what stuff was in the kind of French where I have no idea what the English is made it a little more challenging. Very luckily, back in 2007 or so, I spent a lot of time playing with Fireworks (that sounds more dangerous than messing around with photos on a computer) and so it’s all coming back to me. Hopefully, I’ll have broken the back of it by this time next week. I’m undecided as to whether to include Tobby or not. It feels a bit like favouritism, but he is such a handsome boy. He came with me to the booksale and crashed out in the car on the way home. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen him exhausted.

Anyway, enjoy your Monday. I’ll be kitten-wrangling and stall-sorting, form-filling and calendar-making til at least this time next week, I’m sure!

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