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The Asylum got me (or did I get it).

Much has occurred in just a few weeks into 2014.  I wonder whether the whole year will be at the same pace.

I spoke about the paperback version of the letters book in my last blog.  It’s now on the verge of publication and there s a giveaway on Goodreads.

Letters from Stalag VIIIb giveaway

I am really excited about the book and am hoping later today to be able to order a proof and finally have a copy in my possession.

Just before Christmas we had a heated discussion about eCards v Card cards.  For some years Mark and I had stopped sending Cards by p0st mainly due to the drain on our limited resources when the £ plummeted against the euro.  We had hoped that over time our friends would follow suit and stop sending us cards that,  at the end of the festive season,  sit in a spent and weary pile whilst we wonder what to do with them.

This got me thinking, and reminded me that our financial situation had improved since then and yet I was reluctant to go back to sending cards.  I remember many years ago I sent  donations to Send a instead of Christmas cards,  I see they no longer exist in that name.   Anyhow, the discussion motivated me to think about what to do with the money we might have spent on cards and postage.  We already sponsor 2 children with The Butterfly Tree charity and I didn’t think we could quite stretch to 3.

I then remembered Kiva, the micro lending organisation, where we had already made loans.  The great thing about Kiva is your money can be lent over and over.  Each time it gets paid back, you can relend, or take it and run.   So, off I went to Kiva with every intention of making a couple of loans to cover our potential expenses.  Somehow, I cannot now recall< I got the bit between my teeth and began cajoling and nagging people to consider doing the same.  I created a Team and nagged practically on a daily basis for people to join.  Team Kath & Ko @ Kiva  There was a small response which was great, a few people joined and lent, each new person joining created a $25 bonus for me to lend to another entrepreneur.   I was enjoying being in some way responsible for helping (in my opinion) peoples lives.  As January ended, and February begun there was quite a flurry of interest, and each time I logged in I’d find another bonus waiting for me to lend.  Yesterday was a big day.  A very kind friend lent a large some of money which helped 13 Kiva users.   Look how well we’ve done since inception on 27/12/13


So, my nagging has paid off and I shall continue to nag fairly frequently to keep some momentum going.

I am now working 2 mornings per week at Restos du Coeur, and think I might have persuaded Mark to come with me one morning per week.

Finally, a couple of Saturdays ago I provided the premises and guests for a Neal’s Yard Remedies demonstration.  I have always loved their products, and have been unable to buy them here.  I nagged people to come, sent out loads of invites and I forgot it was just after Christmas, AND before payday (our payday isn’t at the end of the month).

So, there were 9 guests, and our consultant Julie traveled some distance to present the demonstration.   She is looking to recruit consultants all over France and possibly had her eye on me!  It not being “my thing” I decided against it.  I cannot be doing with trying to get people to have parties, and to aim for goals, I gave that up when I took early kept woman status when Mark retired.  Anyhow, Julie doesn’t give up and it appears she has recruited me to be a “Catalogue Consultant”.    This means I have a designated web page whereby my UK friends and their acquaintances can browse, sniff and order on line.

This is my online catalogue

It also means I’ll have a sample kit and some catalogues and those who couldn’t come to the demo, or those who want to reorder items or those who were waiting for payday, can order from me.  After my initial reluctance, I am a little excited and also wondering what I have let myself in for.   So with Valentine’s Day not far off, and maybe birthdays, Easter and Mother’s Day, make sure you check out the really love gifts.  I bought Mark the NYR Men’s Toiletries gift for his birthday, looks like I’ll be ordering more!  I am trying out the Eye and Lip serum, will let you know how young I look in a later post.















Here is my Facebook page, please like and share with your male and female friends.

Kathy’s NYR Page

Meanwhile, here in La Belle France the weather is throwing wind and rain at us, but not quite as badly here as in the UK.

The gate is closed, but as you can see, it’s no longer working!

Kathy the sane


Regular sorties into the Asylum!

This year I have been making regular sorties into the Asylum and I have to report that it’s still as worrying as it has been for some time.

The last few weeks of 2013 saw us helping prepare yet another home for my daughter to move into, much painting and cleaning and anxiety culminating in a move in mid December and a need for more physiotherapy for me.  Jo also finally published the eBook she’d formatted for me of the blog I’d created using Dad’s letters home from his POW camp during WW2.


I’m really pleased with how it looks and can’t wait for it to be published as a paperback, sometime in the Spring.  It’s a companion book for the book Dad wrote in the 80’s Sojourn in Silesia.

I have also been volunteering at one of our local Restos du Coeur on a Monday morning.

This is quite a challenge to my French which is still not too good, but I get by and am more or less understood.  It is doubly hard as the local Patois is Berichon which is like a whole different language, add to that that not all our visitors are French, it makes for an interesting morning.  I am about to increase to twice per week now I’ve become more used to it.  Getting up in the morning for “work” is quite a shock after 7 years away from the wheel.  Thank goodness it’s only for 3 hours twice a week.

We also began the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting regime at the end of October.  We did well, and had a hiatus as we moved Jo and navigated Christmas.  I found even only after 4 or 5 fasting days that my appetite had reduced alot and on Christmas Day I could not partake of the usual indulgences.  We restarted last week and completed Day 3 of this year yesterday.  I am pleased to have lost 6 kilos, this is the first time in over 10 years that I have found a diet that works and my hard work pays off.  I have discovered that cauliflower is a life saver, making us rice, mash or pizza substitute with a very low carb value.  I love not having to think about what I am eating for the other 5 days of the week.  I also have far more energy than I have had for years.

Our fly in the ointment is still very quiet and the stink from his poultry farm next door is still smelly on mild evenings.  We wrote again to D.D.A.S.S in October and have zilch in response.  We know from before that they will probably be corresponding with Madame Maire, so we’ll wait and see.

Physio has worked so well I am knitting again and for the first time in over 10 years have no pins and needles in my hands when manipulating knitting needles.  If this carries on, I might even be able to ride my bike this year.  I am still standing for half the time I am using my laptop (but not right this minute).  

The gate will be wide open on Saturday as I am hosting a Neal’s Yard Organic remedies party.  Once that’s over we’ll close the gate until I have to venture out again on Monday am.  

Happy New Year from Outside the Asylum.