Sunday, 23 August 2015

Green eyed monster

Yay, it's time for the Annual Shrewsbury Flower Show with it's usual brilliant display of kids' veggie art.  Here's just a few examples.  I've got heaps more of these to come but will save them for future posts, after all I don't want to spoil you.

There were other displays that made me green with jealousy

and hello to the lady in the pink coat

Not to mention the fluorescent loveliness of the park itself

Do not adjust your sets, the colours really are this bright
My sisters came away with plants galore, whereas I came home with, obviously, a two foot tall wooden bunny

Every home should have one

My jealousy of all things floral continued with a visit to some friends in nearby Staffordshire who live in a lovely old cottage.  To make matters worse they have the most gorgeous garden (these photos really don't do it justice) I was positively emerald with envy.

And now on to green eyed monsters of a different sort.  The other-half has been decorating (yes again) this time the bathroom and bedroom.  Cyril, the three legged monster cat, decided to help.  Here's some of his handiwork.

Freshly painted window sills, wooden floors and a delinquent cat definitely do not mix.

OK, on to the tedious medical update.  I had the first dose of my new chemo on Wednesday.  The following day I was back at hospital as my temperature went haywire.  It was much like the time a similar thing happened in Cornwall a few months ago.  Once again, thankfully, my white blood cell count was ok, so the temperature wasn't indicative of a rampant infection.  I had some IV antibiotics and some oral ones to take home just to be on the safe side but the doctors seemed to think it was the result of new chemo on top of old chemo and my body deciding it was all a bit too much to handle.  Anyway, I'm OK now.  We shall see what happens next week when I go back for a swamp juice top up.  Let's hope it doesn't result in this:

Although frankly that would be an improvement on this, a picture of me looking truly dreadful while recuperating, truly I have no pride when it comes to seeking sympathy.

Hello beautiful!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Head in hands

Bugger, bugger, bugger.  My latest CT scan has revealed that the cancer in my lungs is growing.  This means I stop the current chemo and move on to a new (to me) swamp juice, Eribulin, next week.  Hey ho.  To console myself, since returning home from the hospital, I've had a glass of sherry, a custard tart and a snickers bar.  Now to add insult to injury I'm feeling a bit sick.  I wonder why.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Steamy weekend

As part of the never-ending celebrations of this year being the other-half's half century, we got together last weekend with several of his old childhood chums (also all 50 this year) and headed to the wild delights of Bridgnorth.  In their younger days they misspent a deal of time in this particular town.  This was all before my time so I don't want to know the details, after all what happens in Bridgnorth stays in Bridgnorth.

In between drinking and eating and more drinking we decided to take a trip on the Severn Valley Railway, an old stream railway running between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster, this being the sort of thing that people in their 50s do.  I loved it.

What's not to love?
Although I'm just a little bit too young to remember steam trains being in general use (I am!)  the carriages on the train were just like the ones I remember, all wooden and lovely and with windows that actually opened (unlike today's hermetically sealed trains which almost give me panic attacks).  I only took one interior photo (more on that in a bit) but found this on the internet which is the more or less the same as the train we travelled in and the ones I remember from my childhood. Thems were the days!  Except I never went first class of course.

Picture from here, with apologies for swirly thing

We got off at a village stop and headed straight for the pub.  Where more regrettable aspects of modern life were revealed.  Have you ever seen such a thing as this:

It's a travesty!

I tell you the country is going to hell in a handcart!

While I'm moaning about reprehensible things (like modern trains and 'ploughman's lunches'), the other-half behaved disgracefully on the train.  Look what he did

Look mum,  no head!

To be fair to modern train designers, the above (ie a twit sticking his head out of a moving train) is probably the reason that train windows no longer open and the doors are remotely controlled by hands unseen.  What a nitwit!  We had words.  He was unrepentant.

Anyway it was a lovely weekend and helped keep my mind of this Thursday, when I get the results of the latest CT scans, oh fuck, fuck, fuckity-fuck (which is much like the sound the train made as it trundled through the Shropshire countryside).  Till next time (when I'll be either gleeful or miserable), stay tuned.


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

There and back again

Before I launch into a 'what I did on my holidays' blog post, just let me show you this

This is what the other-half prepared for his lunch recently.  It's cold shepherds pie and cold mushy peas on toast.  Yes really.  There are no words but I had to share the horror with you.

Moving on, I've just spent two glorious weeks in France.  Eygalieres to be precise, down in sunny Provence where the food was a great deal better than anything the other-half could dream up.

But by golly it was hot.  When we arrived it was 41 degrees C (that's 105 in Fahrenheit) and it rarely dipped below the mid to high 30s for the duration of my visit.  Given the mostly cold and rainy summer we're having in England it was a welcome, if sometimes draining, relief.

Anyway we had a good mooch around the area and it had a kabillion picturesque streets,


more lavender and Roman ruins than you could shake a scented centurion at,

fountains and hill-side towns,

markets and shops filled with fabulous food (no cold mushy peas in sight),

and seriously big fuck-off castles.
Sorry for the language but whilst I'm lowering the tone here's a picture from the house we stayed in.  Sis no 3 said it looked like a donkey's arse.  We somehow resisted the temptation to play pin the tail on the donkey.

We also visited the asylum where Vincent Van Gogh spent some time, which was a surprisingly uplifting and tranquil place.

We also went to the moon

Not really (had you fooled there didn't I).  This is the top of Mont Ventoux, which forms part of the Tour De France.  There were lots of cyclists around the day we drove up too, I've never seen so many enormous calf muscles in one place.  Here's the other-half and I posing in the clouds at the top

Naturally I tried to befriend any cat I came across.  But they were mostly rather aloof and haughty.  I won this one round though by sharing a ham baguette with him.

I have about 300 more photos but I will spare you and just finish with a picture of me, out of my tree on wine at the local Bastille Day celebrations looking like I'm attempting a Gallic shrug (I hadn't been on the abisnthe, honest).

Anyway, I'm back in rainy old blightly and this week has seen a return to reality with a rash of pre-planned hospital appointments, including a CT scan.  Yes it's CT time again and also time for the agonising wait for the results to find out what the sodding cancer is up to.  Here's hoping my current chemo is still keeping it in check.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Rainy Monday

Golly it's a cold, rainy day here in Shropshire.  I am resisting the urge to turn the central heating on and am spending a lot of time with Cyril (the three legged monster cat) doing this:

Although I did venture out at 9am (9am!) for a heart test at the local hospital.  This is a regular test I have to check that the chemo isn't wrecking my ticker.  All part of the endless delight of living with cancer.  Things still seem OK on that front, so a bit of relief there and I was smiling despite the pouring rain.

How unlike last Wednesday when, to celebrate the other-half's 50th birthday, we spent a total of three hours in the car. which hasn't got air-conditioning, with temperatures in the early 30s touching 36 degrees at some point (thats 98 degress in old money).  Being a delicate English rose (pauses for scornful laughs)  I don't think I've ever experienced that temperature before.  I was wilting.  Thankfully there were no traffic jams if they're had been I think I would have keeled over.  

Anyway the drive was to Stoneywell, a National Trust arts and crafts style property in Leicestershire.  It was beautiful and well worth the sauna-like trip

Not so beautiful was the new look the other-half had adopted to mark his entry into his 50s:

I had a bit of a creative splurge for the other-half's birthday and produced handmade bunting and a handmade card, both of which were too shoddy to be shown here.  Even more shoddy was the birthday cake I made.  The cake didn't rise particularly well but I soldiered on and iced it and put 50 on the top in stars.  However the icing was quite runny and the 50 kept sliding off down the side of the cake.  Sis no 3 pointed out that this was quite apt as, after the age of 50, life is all downhill anyway.  I think it's fair to stay I won't be appearing in the Great British Bake Off anytime soon.

The other-half had lots of lovely presents but one, from his 5 year old godson, was a stroke of genius as those who know Nev will testify:

Apologies for the very poor photograph.  I bought the other-half a half-decent camera for this birthday so I'm hoping that the quality of photos on this blog will improve dramatically in the near future (but don't hold your breath).

Talking of holding your breath something exciting but secret is going on. I hope to be able to reveal something I think is pretty fantastic in the next few weeks.  So stand by.  Ooh I'm such a tease!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Hot cockles!

Well my cockles have been well and truly warmedThe fund raising barn dance (raising money for Breast Cancer Now and Compton Hospice) took place last night, and what a successful evening it was on all fronts!

To start off here's a couple of photos of the two of the cuter attendees who (like many others) had come dressed up to the nines.  Howdy pardners.

So many people made so much effort to ensure the evening was a success that it's hard to know where to start but, at the risk of this turning into a blub-fest worthy of an Oscar winner, here goes:

First and foremost huge thanks to Ian and Amy (the other-half's nephew and his lovely wife) who came up with the idea of the event in the first place and then worked tirelessly to make it a success.  The mere thought of the amount of hard graft they took on makes me want to have a lie down in darkened room.  And they did all this in the same year that they organised their house move from one area of the country to another, their overseas wedding and also their UK wedding celebrations.  Some people are just gluttons for punishment!

Also, thanks to more relations, namely Lee, Lydia, Sam and Gail who helped organise, obtained fantastic raffle prizes and sold heaps of tickets.

Lip-smacking thanks to all the cake makers (cakes were also sold on the night to raise dosh).  There were some fantastic and tasty creations, including industrial quantities of secret-recipe muffins from sis no 1 and cakes bearing the logos of the charities made by the lovely Carmel.  Even the other-half put his chef's hat on:

Big cheers too for the raffle prizes, either supplied by friends and family or obtained by them by going to their employers and local businesses.  Big thanks in particular go to the kind generosity of Virgin Trains.

Thanks to all those who helped set up on the evening, organising things like a well-oiled machine in a very limited time, while I faffed around like a particulary ineffective fart in a thunderstorm.

Thanks too to those who couldn't make it but still gave donations, which were very much appreciated.

And of course the evening would have been nothing without the support of all those who came along.  We had a really good crowd who completely entered into the spirit of things, the dance floor was full all evening from start to finish.

One of the main reasons the dance floor was so busy was the all round excellence of the band, the Slippery Hill Boys and their caller.  I really can't praise them highly enough.  Quite simply they were bloody brilliant and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone wanting a hoe-down to remember!  Here they are setting up

And here's the crowd thanking them at the end of the night

So the nitty-gritty.  As the result of everyone's generosity £1400  was raised for the two charities.  I am totally chuffed.  So before I start blubbing and hugging everyone in sight I'll sign off for now with more photos from the night.  Yee-haw!