The logistics of finishing off the house in France, commuting between our respective homes and moving tools and materials around the country can lead to some interesting dilemmas and challenges to our problem solving abilities (and not to mention long conversations that start "where did I leave my box of galvanised nails? In France, at your house or are they in the loft?"). Ian has been looking out for a trailer for the van and found one a few days ago that met all of his criteria. The only problem is, we have nowhere to keep it. So, a cunning plan was hatched that basically involves removing two panels of the fence at Ian's place and constructing a gate in its place. That way the trailer can be manoeuvred into what passes for his garden (a little patch of grass by the side of his flat). My task yesterday was to take a crow bar to the old fence and dismantle it..a job a quite enjoyed although Ian is cross that I did not carefully chop up all the bits of wood and put them in the bin! I should also add that my morning job involved assisting Ian to unload 36 sheets of plasterboard from the van to its temporary storage place in a neighbour's garage.
While we were outside another of Ian's neighbours, Patricia, came out. She is around my age and usually quite active but on this occasion looked like she could hardly move. Ian helped her to take out her lawn mower and she mentioned that she was having problems with her hands and feet. I asked her a little more and it seems that she most likely has rheumatoid arthritis and has been having problems since Christmas. She had started some treatment but so far was still in pain. When I told her that I had gone through something similar a few years ago she seemed genuinely relieved. "Oh, but you are able to do so much, you cycle everywhere". I told her what it had been like for a while, how at the time I wasn't sure if I would even be able to work, let alone cycle, how the first year or so is hard because it takes that long for them to work out how to treat you, medications take months to work, how it takes you a while to adapt and that for most people with the right treatment the future is okay.
I remembered having an email discussion with a fireman with MCTD when I was first ill. He told me that he had eventually made it back to work and achieved full fitness and it filled me with great hope so I hope I was able to give Patricia something positive to aim for. She seemed pleased and that afternoon she mowed her entire lawn (although it was obviously very painful for her). She said to me later "I just have to weather the storm for a while don't I?" I said "Yes, I think you do".
Now I have to make a trip to Screwfix for a box of galvanised nails!