I haven’t written many blogs recently because there hasn’t been much to report. In fact, by the time Nick’s been to see the physio three mornings a week and we’ve been swimming, there doesn’t seem to be much week left in which to do anything!
The surgeon said swimming regularly would reduce the recovery time for Nick’s shoulder, but finding an indoor, heated pool isn’t easy as the majority of pools in France are open air and therefore closed in the winter. We found one at a thermal spa centre, about half an hour’s drive away; but it’s closed in winter. There’s another in our nearest big town, about 45 minutes from here, but we were told that it’s not very nice and the water’s pretty cold. There’s another in Dax, but apparently it’s small and usually crowded. Eventually we heard of one in Hagetmau, a mere hour and a quarter’s drive from here; it’s a lovely pool, olympic size and the water is a good temperature. If we time it right, the French are mostly leaving for lunch as we arrive, leaving hardly anyone in the water. A bonus is that a friend lives nearby, so we can invite ourselves for lunch.
A couple of weeks ago there was an elderly man doing butterfly stroke up and down the pool; he arrived at the end where I was and said he hoped he wasn’t annoying me by doing such an antisocial stroke. I have to admit that, as chat up lines go, it was original, especially as there were only five people in the pool at the time, so no lack of space. I’m not sure how flattering it is to be chatted up by an 85 year old, but hey-ho, beggars can’t be choosers! This gentleman turned out to be the national swimming champion of France in his age group (81-85) and he’ll be competing in Paris later this month to hang on to his title. Later on, in May, he’s going to the European championships in London, but when I asked how he expected to do there he said that he wouldn’t win that one because there’s a German who’s stronger than him. “We know each other, he and I”, he declared, so I asked which of them spoke the other’s language; “Neither of us; we just glare at each other” was the reply! It was an inspiration to see someone of his age so driven and so full of life.
Nick says his shoulder is gradually feeling a bit freer, but it’s now 4 months since his accident and his ankle still isn’t healing and is still having to be dressed every two days. Last time we saw the surgeon, he said if it was no better by the next appointment, he would have to remove the pins he put in. We go back next week, so I hope that’s what he decides to do; Nick’s thoroughly fed up with it now.
Entre 3 matins par semaine chez le kiné et un jour aller nager, il n’y a pas beaucoup de temps de faire grande chose. Le chirurgien a suggéré la natation pour aider l’épaule de Nick, mais il est moins facile de trouver une piscine à l’intérieur, chauffée, ici qu’en Angleterre, ou chaque ville a sa piscine municipale, chauffée. En fin, j’en ai trouvé une à Hagetmau, une belle piscine d’une taille olympique, et on y va toutes les semaines.
J’ai rencontré un vieux monsieur il y a deux semaines, qui est champion nageur de France pour son age (85 ans). Il va à Paris ce mois-ci pour les championnats nationales; après ça, il ira à Londres pour les championnats Européen. Je lui ai demandé si il attend gagner à Londres; “Non, il y a un allemand qui est plus fort que moi; on se connais, lui et moi”. J’ai demandé qui parle la langue de l’autre; “ni l’un, ni l’autre” il m’a répondu, “on se lance des regards noirs entre nous”. Je l’ai trouvé magnifique d’avoir telle esprit à son age.
La natation semble faire bien pour l’épaule de Nick, mais la cheville n’est pas encore cicatrisé, 4 mois après l’accident. Nous espérons que le chirurgien enlèvera les broches quand on le vois la semaine prochaine.