The kindness of strangers

Hello and welcome to my blog about our life in our off-grid cabin in France on December 18th 2020.

View from top of our field

It will be a slightly different blog as we’ve had a slightly different week. On Tuesday Michael felt unwell. Initially we thought he had got a tummy bug but as the day progressed the symptoms changed and we recognised that it was kidney stones.

He’s had these before. The first time was in Tasmania, just after we had got married. It ended in a mad dash to A & E at 2am, several days in hospital and huge doses of painkillers. The second time was in Wales about six years ago, and tonight was our third experience.

It’s at times like these that you wish you had found out exactly where your nearest hospital was before being presented with the possibility of a need to find it in the early hours of the morning in a country under strict curfew because of Covid. At 9pm, I went round to the neighbours in search of advice.

You may recall our neighbours from a previous blog, where our relationship got off to a less than promising start. However it is at times when you ask people for help that you find out what they are really like. They told me that the ambulances wouldn’t come out here and that I would have to take him to Pau, our nearest big town about 25 minutes away. They then offered for one of them to come with me to show me where it was. They gave me their telephone number and said to call, even if it was in the night. The kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing and means so much when you are living in a country that is not your own.

Thankfully we had no need of their assistance. The pain wasn’t on the same level as in Tasmania, and also Michael was determined not to go anywhere near a hospital in these virus-ridden times unless he absolutely had to. He’s had a couple of miserable days, not least because of me nagging at him to drink copious amounts of water, but things began to improve yesterday and he’s much more like his normal self today.

However, as a result we’ve obviously not been out at all this week so no videos I’m afraid. I only have one picture for you, which is one of Maddie in her new ‘Don’t shoot me, I’m not a deer’ outfit for when we are out walking.

We picked this jacket up last week in the ‘hunt’ section of an outdoor shop. Racks and racks of coats and hats and boots – everything for the well-dressed hunter. And not just for them but also for their dogs. For 300 euros you can buy a reinforced dog jacket to protect your hunting hound from the tusks of a wild boar. Maddie’s jacket cost less than 10 euros. If she comes face to face with a wild boar she’ll just have to turn tail and run.

We also bought ourselves two matching hats in a magnificent shade of florescent orange, to be worn only when in dire need.

So that is it for this week. I will post the last blog of the year early next week, an invitation to see how we will be celebrating Christmas in Le Shack.

Take care.


19 thoughts on “The kindness of strangers

  1. We’re looking forward to your combined selfie under your new head gear !
    And make a good recovery, Michael, drinking lots of water (room temperature or warm) !
    Have a great time out there !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh we were blissfully unaware of Michael being in hospital in Tasmania! You never mentioned it on your return to south Australia, saved me from worrying, thank you!! We hope you have a magnificent Christmas in Le Shack, you can use your orange hats as Christmas ones!!xx
      Love from us all down under xxx


  2. Life seems full of bumps and surprises, especially at this time of corona virus. Read my Email again carefully! At least you have good weather today, and really glad that Michael is feeling better. Delighted to hear about your neighbours. Keep smiling!


    1. Hi Antony. Life’s like that, thankfully he really is much better- honest! And yes we have read your email and thank you. I think a beer might be in the cards tonight…feel like I need one but not sure I’ll let M gave one yet! MJ


  3. Ooh, tough week, glad M didn’t have to go to the hospital, esp. these days. Time to push 80 oz. H2O a day!
    Love Maddie’s new safety jacket. We put a hot pink collar on Wren, which you can see a mile away. Luckily, there are fewer hunters these days and we mostly hear rifle shots miles away up in the ridges and ravines.
    Hope your coming Solstice week goes more smoothly.


    1. So sorry to hear of Michael’s problem. It’s not good timing for any illness or thoughts of hospital! Well done for sorting it at home. Hope Christmas is a good one for you. It’s different for all of us.


  4. Oh dear, poor Michael. Kidney stones are definitely not at all pleasant, and both Gareth and I know….. Gareth had about five of them!! He seemed to suffer for a number of years with bad backs, not knowing why until eventually one Saturday evening the pain hit him out of the blue. The first one he ended up in another doctors local surgery – a pessary was given, which worked wonders. He then had another episode where it was so bad the ambulance took him to hospital, x-rays etc and found out there were four of all different sizes! Then gradually over a few years, all had finally passed. My one was whilst we were on holiday (in France) with one of daughters and her husband. I went into the local hospital at Redon not knowing what it was, but thankfully passed it, and nothing since….. So we do really feel for him. Anyway, have a wonderful (pain-free) Christmas and we look forward to following on from here on your next blog. Love to you both. Ann and Gareth. B.T.W. love Maddies jacket xx


  5. Dear Michael and Mary Jane. Now seeing your lovely blog after Tricia mentioning it. Poor you Michael – get well soon. Good to keep in touch with how you are getting on.
    A very happy new year to both. Love Patrick & Jane


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