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Quote of the day: ‘A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.’ - H. L. Mencken


Giving the throbbing tooth a good old twist and a final wrench, the root breaks off.

It had come to this.

Antibiotics were finished a while ago. Toothache continued and worsened. So did the revolting smell and the taste of internally rotting human for a total of four weeks. Mouthwash didn’t touch it for more than ten minutes and the night sweats were becoming fierce beyond belief.

There was no choice. My Irish/French dentist wobbled it about a bit, declared it split down the middle and advised it came out toute de suite and pronto. ’You’re right, it really does stink. That’s been bad for a while. Lucky you had no ill effects with the back surgery being so recent,’ he agrees as he fishes out the broken piece of root.

No more than ten minutes later and I am back sitting in the car feeling slightly queasy and shocked, but already feeling better because the vile smell and taste was left plopped in a petri dish in the dentist’s surgery.

It’s been a chaotic couple of weeks, hence the radio silence.

Oldest son, his wife and daughter arrived to stay just over two weeks ago so we have been immersed in a sea of chatting, eating and drinking. Being normal.

In addition, Lovely Friends from the UK took a ‘slight’ detour en route back from a ski holiday in Austria, via Paris, and spent a few days with us too.

They arrived to glorious warm sunshine on Easter Day and we sat around until late quaffing over excessive quantities of chilled wine which felt like summer had truly arrived.

Warm weather happened.

It was pretty much a full house and all that entails.

I was fine for nearly ten days, but suddenly could do no more and boringly ground to a rather unseemly halt. That plug was pulled out yet again, and I had to concede defeat. Preparing, cooking and getting an enormous lasagne out of the oven proved to be my Achilles heel.

Reaching down and away while carrying weight is the very hardest thing to do. Long levers with weight are not my friends at present. I could do no more and sank into my chair, whereupon thankfully other people leapt into action and took over.

Too tired even to sleep, I reclined on the daybed while helpful souls aided, cooked, ferried stuff, shopped, and washed up. Like a fart in a bucket, I was. Truly pathetic.

Nonetheless, a couple of days taking it easy and more progressive strides were then made.

Putting on socks now is ok, even squeegeeing down the shower, hanging out washing, walking round an Easter Monday brocante - a whole village taken up with an antique fair and car boot sale - vacuuming, ironing; it’s all going pretty well. I find I have to push things slightly further than perhaps I should just to find out where the ‘perhaps I shouldn’t’ is.

Arnie is still a poor old soldier. His back, although improved, is still bad. Possibly heightened by the fact his pain killers have been stopped. He’s only on anti-inflammatories now. It’s good because it is slowing him down - he’s not wild, reckless and demonic in nature as he was on the Tramadol - but I hate the thought he could be in some pain.

He’s also incredibly tense, very rounded and sort of scrunched up. Titi the cat isn’t helping matters by hiding behind bushes or tufts of grass ambushing him too.

It was really warm and sunny over Easter.

Simon, aided and abetted greatly by Wonderful Son and Wife, has made enormous progress on the barn roof. The back part is nearly finished with just the pointing up on the adjoining wall and decorative edgings (génoises) to go. Still need to do the front part of the barn roof but that cannot be done until there is a front wall to support it…

The front wall in the open fronted barn is started too, where one day the kitchen will be.

Potatoes were even planted on Good Friday too by the Wonderful Husband and Wife team while eleven year old Lovely Granddaughter supplied copious quantities of delicious mini egg Easter cookies.

It poured.

And poured.

And some more.

She also drove the tractor, reversed the trailer, unloaded same trailer and was almost thrown out of said trailer, sustaining a hearty bruise to bear witness to it.

We also became the Anglo/French National Bone Collection Centre as Lovely Granddaughter and Lovely UK Friend’s daughter found evidence of macabre numbers of ancient dead animals scattered hither and thither, throughout our fields and hedgerows. The stash included assorted remnants of coypu, hare and possibly deer. Not so sure that Wonderful Parents were overjoyed at rehoming them back in Staffordshire.

Lovely Friends and Wonderful Older Son and Family have now left. Washing and ironing is done. Gite is cleaned and ready as today, we welcome Wonderful Oldest Grandson and Girlfriend to Grudordy and Le Perchoir. It’s a first for us, welcoming grandchildren and partners without parents. All feels quite grown up. I feel like my mother who was 101 when she popped off.

It’s been two years since I last saw in person what is now a toweringly tall, deep voiced young man. Army life appears to be suiting him.

Today’s other big news is that this very morning I was back at the local physio for the first of thirty sessions. Exercises are still exactly the same as they were pre-op in quantity, intensity and type, but the difference between doing them then and now is beyond marked.

Whereas before I could have done twice as many with ease, today I struggle through them, feeling a weakness defying belief. Thank goodness I kept going with them right up to the surgery or I would be way, way more feeble even than I am now. Also good that the basic range of initial post-op dexercises the hospital gave me have been religiously adhered to.

My abs are burning by the end. Despite all this, my physio raises his eyebrows and smiles in approval at how much I am still able to do after this post-surgery hiatus.

As the day wears on I can feel things that haven’t worked properly for two months starting to grind to a halt. Quads are beginning to seize. Could be interesting with the stairs tomorrow. Abs are showing the distinct first twinges of that ‘not wanting to cough’ feeling.

Tomorrow could be interesting. I have a feeling that even those of my teeth that remain will be suffering from stiffness and a build up of lactic acid.

Deep joy, but onward, onward, and like the virgin kitchen wall, upward.

1 Comment

Apr 17, 2023

complete empathy on the stinking tooth front. I started to cover my mouth when speaking to people. Hideous. It’s a sliding scale: the tooth mitigates back pain, mitigates creaking bones pain …

Except one doesn’t quite cancel out the other. It’s part of life’s great mystery !

Basia xx


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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