Saturday I felt better and was optimistic, but Sunday the cold came back full-force. Today it isn't really any better. I thought eating that carrot salad might cure me, but no such luck.
It was probably a mistake to go out on Saturday night. Our British friends Janet and David were in the area, and we hadn't seen them in a few months. They suggested going to have dinner at the pizzeria L'Amaréna in Saint-Aignan, for old times' sake. And it was fun, as it used to be when J. & D. lived in Saint-Aignan and we became friends.
The Saint-Aignan pizzeria is run by Véronique and her husband Bertrand. They treat us like long lost buddies and the food is good. But the place was too hot, and my cold didn't like that. People kept opening the front door to get some fresh air, and that caused a draft.
At the end of the meal, Véronique and I had a serious talk about the economic situation in the U.K., the U.S., and France. She was very au courant of what President Obama is trying to do, and she was curious to know if we supported him.
Véronique also said many Brits she knows are selling their property in France and moving their lives back to the U.K., because the pound sterling has sunk so low against the euro. The British retirees can no longer live on their pensions from the U.K.
That's the opposite of what is happening for us, since the dollar has regained some value over the past few months. A year ago it was costing us $1.50 or even $1.60 to buy a euro, and now the euro down to about $1.26. Twenty-five cents on the dollar makes a huge difference.
Véronique was also lamenting the fact that prices in France sky-rocketed with the introduction of the euro to replace the French franc seven years ago. She says people here have still not got a feel for the worth of the new currency. They see prices and think in terms of francs, forgetting that two euros doesn't equal two francs, but thirteen! Merchants can get away with charging very high prices for everyday articles that way.
In 2000-2001, Véro said, a baguette cost about 2.50 FF. Now a baguette is 0.80€ or even 1.00€ — that's between 6.00 FF and 6.50 FF. So the price of bread has nearly tripled. Of course, my recent experience in the U.S. showed me that prices there are very high too, and it's not easy to find the equivalent of a good baguette.
Yesterday afternoon in Saint-Aignan we had a hard, steady rain for several hours. It's not cold out, however, and temperatures are on the rise this week. The rain meant I couldn't go out with the dog — even if it hadn't been raining, I probably wouldn't have gone out for a walk. Poor Walt has had to do nearly all the dog-walking for the past three weeks. I think it is wearing on him.
Some Americans we met last year are in the area this week, and we plan to get together with them toward the end of the week. They are looking at houses, with the idea that they will buy one and retire here. Right now, they live in Scotland. It will be interesting to hear what kinds of places they've seen when we talk to them. And maybe I'll feel better by then.