A plague on our house

30 Mar

I feel we should mark the apartment door with the sign of the plague for Stuart and I have succumbed in turn to a horrendous bout of French Flu. I went down just over a week ago and it hit Stuart hard six days later. It starts with a dry cough, then comes the fever, night sweats, head and muscle aches, the runny nose producing a post nasal drip and associated nausea and finally the productive, hacking cough. Charmant non?

I’m 90 per cent recovered but poor Stu is still in the grip of it and has been in his underpants for three days. Outside it’s been alternately raining or snowing wet flakes that melt as they hit the ground so he hasn’t missed any great ski days. I feel sorry for the folks who’ve come here to ski in their Easter holidays. It’s miserable in Meribel.

Luckily we saw Michael off home to the UK before it got too ugly. Come to think of it we haven’t heard from him since…..

Coincidentally I’m reading Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’ that spins a long yarn about Thomas Cromwell and the Tudor Court. She writes of the annual ‘sweating sickness’ that visited death on England almost every summer between 1485 and 1551. Cromwell’s wife, sister and two daughters have been carried off by it and I am fearful for his son Gregory. No, don’t tell me I don’t want to know.

I try but find it difficult to imagine losing so many of one’s immediate family to influenza and then finding the strength to carry on. I don’t believe in ‘God’s will’. The idea that a supreme being wills people to die and one just accepts is an absurdity to me. I’d be just as likely to take a long walk off a short pier.

While we’re in infirmary mode the only time I set foot outside the door is the morning walk to gather supplies from the village. It’s a little like the movie ‘Groundhog Day’. Each day almost exactly the same with the same conversations. And I am starting to recognise characters in the village.

There’s Le Monsieur up the lane who was shovelling snow on my first day with his bare, pink backside hanging out of his tracksuit pants. When he saw us he hoicked them up only for them to slide under his cheeks again as he shovelled the next load. I greeted him automatically today when walking back from the supermarket as he popped out of his door. He returned my ‘Bonjour’, and I realised that yet again he was more outside his pants than in them. You can see him in all his glory in this photo, just beyond Stuart’s embarrassed form.

Then we have the four stooges who notionally ‘work’ for the council. Their work involves washing the village streets with a fireman’s hose. They started on Tuesday and yesterday, Friday, they were still at it. How many Frenchmen does it take to wash a street? One. The other three are variously: talking on a mobile phone, smoking a cigarette or just standing staring into space (usually the one with dreadlocks). I think it must be part of a job creation scheme because at the end of March it is far too early to clean the streets and expect them to stay clean. Maybe May?

Waiting to see Michael off we observed the team in action

Four days later they reached the foot of the village

Finally we have The Englishman and his tiny dog (sorry, no photo yet). I see him almost every day cradling his tiny, puppy in the crook of his arm. In the hotel bar, in the supermarket, walking down the street, on his patio. I fear the pooch will lose the use of its legs.

This is the first day in over a week I’ve had the energy to do anything other than care for myself and Stuart so this post is a small celebration of the return of that spark of wellness that spurs us on to engage with the world outside our own microcosm.

Wishing you all rude health. Sante!

Here’s a crackling fire to warm the cockles of your heart. Music by Ezequiel Benitez.

And the fog rolling up from the valley meets fog coming down the mountain…

Postscript: have met the Englishman, Peter, and been formally introduced to Teddy, the Yorkshire Terrier puppy. Would you believe Peter plays classical flamenco guitar?! Gave us some lovely impromptu pieces in the bar of La Chaumiere.

12 Responses to “A plague on our house”

  1. Michelle Noble March 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    Poor both! It’s that season again….Bryan and I have both succumbed to the flu though for me I was told it was “just a cold”! first time I’ve felt poorly in over 2 years so it didn’t sit well. 9 guests arriving tonight so after a hot bath I hope we can manage some smiles. 🙂

    Bryan not ski hosting after the Le Ski (Meribel) company got fined for a) not being qualified and b) not paying the minimum wage. They are contesting but all tour operators are lying low now…

    Do hope you feel well soon. I went to the Pharmacy today to get a “miracle” cure – cypres, sureau and echinacea (not sure of the english equivalents apart from the last one). We’ll see how it goes but it tastes too nice to be any good????

    Love to you both. M&B.xx

    • Sharon Tickle March 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

      Thanks for the commiserations Michelle. This Flu is certainly getting around! I hope your cure works for you, no pharmacy in Les Allues so it’s just lots of hot lemon drinks, panadol and rest for Stu.

      Hope you get some decent ski weather over there. Been watching the ski host developments. Still see a fair bit of it on the slopes I have to say.

      Must go and stoke the fire, be thinking of you tonight!



      • Michelle Noble March 30, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

        Hi again. Yes – hot lemon, panadol and lots of sleep is just the ticket and with this pissy weather what else can you do but hole up and watch lots of films. Check out http://www.filmon.com for lots of tv channels which are free and good quality….
        Hope you’re both feeling fit to dance soon! love us.xx

      • Sharon Tickle March 31, 2013 at 7:37 am #

        Great tip on TV viewing Michelle, merci! Been watching M6, lots of Scenes des Menages and Hawaii 5O…..

        Stu feeling a bit better this morning.


  2. sgulikers March 30, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Hi Sharon, I really love receiving your blog posts. They’re a wonderful window into another place and space. Thanks so much for taking the time to put them together.

    Sorry to hear about the French Flu and its dire effects. I’m just in the up side of a down under version. Totally lost my voice – rather frustrating in the classroom.

    And your photos! Fabulous! The bottom shining out of trackie dacks – priceless. Can’t believe the frost biting his luminous cheeks didn’t act as a rather urgent alarm. New elastic to the rescue.

    I hope you and Stu are feeling much better and the weather provides appropriate amounts of powder to coincide with your improving health.


    Sent from my iPhone

    • Sharon Tickle March 31, 2013 at 7:39 am #

      Thanks for your good wishes Suzanne.

      I think on the day I depart I might leave an anonymous package on Le Monsieur’s doorstep. New trakky daks!


  3. Maryse March 30, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    I am so sorry you were sick , this year the flu was very bad . I hope Stuart will feel better soon . The weather is gping to be better on monday …, i hope so !! Don’t forget this night
    we change the hour, at 6 am it will be 7, one hour less to sleep ;-(
    My best wishes for both of you.

    • Sharon Tickle March 31, 2013 at 7:40 am #

      Merci beaucoup Maryse.

      Stuart is starting to mend, it’s just his chest that is taking its time to cooperate. He will be well for next weekend. Promet!


  4. Heather Watt March 31, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Of course we wish you both a quick recovery. All good things (meaning your wonderful lifestyle) often have their downs. :Yet again MMMMMMMMM Stuart in his undies all day!!! That is the good side Sharon. We are well here and went up to Hervey Bay to see Cameron for a couple of days – beautiful weather and Cameron gave George and flight (George flying) over Fraser Island – beautiful. Having a bit of storm now but not severe. Take care and get well soon.
    Love Heather

    • Sharon Tickle March 31, 2013 at 7:43 am #

      Thanks Heather and happy to hear you got to see Cameron. How lovely Frazer must have looked from the air.

      Snowing again today so hopefully at higher altitudes it will stick!

      Weather forecast is for some sun tomorrow so we might even both get out of the plague house!



  5. Marie O'Flaherty April 3, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Hi Sharon,
    I hope by the time ou get this message ou’ll both be feeling heaps better. A relatively quiet Easter for us this year. Brendan and Diana celebrated their engagement and house warming on Thu evening and the weather held – a beaut moonlight night for which we were all grateful as the forty or so guests sat outside – the house being too small for all of us. Fearing cabin fever we ventured up the coast on Saturday to Mooloolaba and then on to Maleny but the day was overcast and threatening rain. The night was clear and littered with star however so we stayed for dinner at Poet’s Cafe in Montville and the headed back and home by 10pm. Weather still not great on Sunday so after gardening we headed out to Manly for a coffee and walk but that was it really – pretty low key. The house and garden are clean and tidy needless to say which is good as for me Easter is catch up time unless you travel overseas or something to that effect.
    Enjoying your feeds so please keep writing.

    With love,


    PS Jos leaves for H.K. on the 16 April and will be home on the 6 June so can’t wait! 🙂

    • Sharon Tickle April 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

      Bonjour Marie,

      So happy to hear the happy couple’s celebration went well. Give them hugs from me.

      Sounds like a lovely way to spend the Easter long weekend. You would have needed a break.

      Very exciting news that Joce is booked to come to Oz. Brave step.

      I am well again but Stu’s viral infection lingering so a visit to the French doctor today to get magic French medicine ;-))

      He should be right to travel to the US next week just a shame to miss some lovely days of skiing. C’est la vie!

      Lots of love,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: