Le Col de la Loge

Thursday was a beautiful Spring day, and Mr FD went out cycling with a friend. As I hadn’t done my Mile-in-15-minutes workout, I decided to go for a walk somewhere. I wanted to go somewhere different, so decided to go to the Nordic ski-station about 30 minutes from here, called Le Col de la Loge. It is in the Forez mountains, which seperate our departement, Loire, from the next, which is Puy de Dome. (As always, click on the photos to see them in more detail, should you wish to.)

As is often the case at these cols, there is a Madonna in a cage. However, I was surprised to see that this one wasn’t very old, with a date – 1967 –  scratched into the concrete below the statuette. I always imagine these things having been there for centuries.

It’s a pleasant place, surrounded by pine forests, with various ski-pistes. These, of course, are now closed to skiers this year, as there is no longer enough snow to ski on. There was still quite a bit on the paths though, so I had to be careful at times – especially when the path sloped downwards.

I decided to walk the shortest track, which was 3 km long. I wasn’t totally convinced that I wouldn’t find this a bit too long, but I thought that I ought to push myself a little – after all, my specialist told me to get out for walks in the sunshine, and I’d been managing my mile workouts. This was going to be at an altogether gentler pace!

As I followed the track there was a little bit of bird song, but not much, and otherwise silence…I paused as I went along, just to listen to the nothingness.

After 1.5 km the view opened up, out towards the Auvergne, and le Puy de Sancy, which is a ski resort over in the next departement. But that is downhill ski-ing, rather than Ski du fond, or Nordic skiing.

Which way now? Don’t take the wrong route, as you’ll be walking for miles!

The route took me away from the view, and back into the forest

All around this area forestry is a big industry, and so even somewhere like this is managed. The pistes are used in summer months to collect the cut trees, and from time to time one comes across rather ugly areas where the trees have been cut down, and the wood removed

There are lots of these scrubby areas around the vilage too, and it’s sometimes hard to remember that this is an industrial area (of a sort!) and not to think “what a shame to spoil the area”! There are lots of scieries (saw mills) around, and it’s not unusual to have huge log carrying lorries, like the one below, thundering through the village…often going faster than they really should be travelling, which is why we don’t let the cats out! It can be remarkably frustrating to get caught behind one of these on the twisting road to Roanne, as it’s difficult enough to overtake them on the bendy roads, but even more so in a R-hand drive car when you can’t really see the road ahead!

 

I was getting quite tired, so it was a pleasure to see the little Fiat waiting for me, when I emerged from the trees. The people in the other car were the only other souls that I saw on the entire walk.

 

I was tempted to go to the restaurant for a hot chocolate, but it was all closed up…I don’t suppose there’s that much business once the cross country skiing is finished

.

With a last photo of the Madonna, I drove home, taking my time, and repeating to myself how much I’d enjoyed my walk – somewhere slightly different, in the Spring sunshine. I paused to take a photo of the other side of the Forez, looking towards the Loire valley, and towards home.

I have joined in with the “All About France” linky, with this post, so I’m including this little badge

and suggesting you might visit this site to read others’ contributions. Go on, you know you want to!!

 

Second Chance: Good Friday 2018

 

Oh Your cross, it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross, it’s where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven’s heart

My future hangs on this
You made preciousness from dust
Please don’t stop creating me

Your blood offers the chance
To rewind to innocence
Reborn, perfect as a child

Oh Your cross, it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross, it’s where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven’s heart

When sin and ugliness
Collide with redemption’s kiss
Beauty awakens by romance

Always inside this mess
I have found forgiveness
Mercy infinite as You

Oh Your cross, it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross, it’s where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven’s heart

Countless second chances
We’ve been given at the cross
Countless second chances
We’ve been given at the cross

Fragments of brokenness
Salvaged by the art of grace
You craft life from our mistakes

Black skies of my regrets
Outshone by this kindness
New life dawns over my soul

Oh Your cross, it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross, it’s where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven’s heart

 

 

Thank You!

Yesterday, the Act for 40 Acts was:

The game is gratitude. Without gratitude, you’ll never be content with the things God’s given you. And, because sometimes we need to run life a little slower in order to see what we can be grateful for, we’ve made today’s act a little simpler…

 Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:

One option today:
 Run back over the last month of 40acts. What have you seen that’s surprised you? What’s been tough? What’s cheered you up the most? Who have you been grateful for – and can you thank them today?

I immediately thought of you, my Dear Readers.

I’m not really thinking of 40 Acts here,  when answering those questions “What has surprised you?…What’s been tough?… What’s cheered you up the most?…Who have you been grateful for?..” but rather thinking about my treatment.

What has surprised you?… Two things have surprised me:

  1. Chemotherapy has not been anywhere near as horrible as I imagined. Although I am adding the caveat SO FAR. I am having a new cocktail in April. That might make me eat my words!
  2. How close I have felt to God. How I have felt “upheld” by people’s prayers & good wishes (which, quite frankly, I consider to be prayers by another, more secular name!)

What’s been tough? Maybe that’s another surprise, because, generally, nothing has been “tough”. Even being told at the beginning that it was a cancerous tumour wasn’t that difficult. All along I have had Mr FD at my side, with that mantra “It is what it is, and we will deal with it”. I have, of course, had short periods of upset, but nothing that can’t be coped with, and dealt with fairly quickly.

I think the most difficult thing has been the moulting. Not the fact I was losing my hair: that was a given, and it shows that the chemo is working. And once Mr FD shaved my head, well…that was done. It was the experience of losing my hair that was hard. Waking up with mouthfuls of hair, and having hair up my nose and all over the pillow! That was the nasty bit!!

Here I am:

        

with my little “chemo cap”……………and without!

As the French for “bat” is “Chauve souris” which translates as “bald mouse” perhaps I need to change my moniker for the duration!

I suppose the other thing that has been a bit difficult is the fact that I’ve not been able to complete 40 Acts this year. But I will try to find a way to continue after my treatment.

What’s cheered you up the most?... Quite honestly, the kindness and generosity of friends, both RL and virtual. Here in the village, the Cycle Club giving me a novel to read (hush, don’t tell them I’ve only read up to Chapter 2), a friend from church knitting me three hats to wear, another friend giving me some handmade soap that she’d made, without perfume as she’d heard that the sense of smell can change during chemo, people from church sending me pictures to cheer me up., my friend offering to pay for a holiday, my sister buying me deliciously scented soothing balm, and ginger chocolate, my SiL sending me sweet little ear-rings, my niece sending me magazines, friends sending me books, and letters….

Then there is you, my Dear Readers. Michelle knitting me a hat (yours beats the others hands down!), T sending me a lovely letter, messages of support,  comments on my blog, little gifts, a beautiful card from Chomeuse’s little boy, the assurance of prayer, reminders of God’s goodness… All of these things have reminded me of how much generosity and kindness there is in this world. THAT has cheered me up.

I haven’t had a Happy Turtle arrive – but I’ve had so mazny other lovely things!

Who have you been grateful for?

1. You, my lovely, dear Readers.

2. Mr FD, who has been here; even when he’s not known how to make me feel better in those rare times when I’ve been down, he has been next to me, trying to help in the ways he can. He has been wonderful. Thank you, Mr FD

So, this time (albeit a day late!) I’ve been able to complete a Challenge for 40 Acts…Not that it was a challenge, but rather a pleasure.

THANK YOU!!!!

Book Review: Rosie ****

I was sent this book free-of-charge (yay!), by NetGalley, in return for an honest review.

ROSIE

by Bill Whiting

The NetGalley description reads:

Award Ceremony Part III

And my final Blog Award is

which is a new one for me! It was originally created by Okoto Enigma

Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.” 

This one was “awarded” to me by Emily Guiton-Lange, at Never Idly Dreaming, who wrote a lovely comment: Hello! I enjoyed your review, especially since I would like to start including more book reviews on my own blog. Since I enjoy your content and blogging style, I decided to nominate you for the Mystery Blogger Award! I would be thrilled if you would accept. 🙂 If not, this is simply my way of saying your blog is great. 

Emily’s blog was new to me, and is an eclectic mix of writing, crafting and general comment. I particularly love her Zentangling posts – a very different style to my zentangling, but I really like it! So, thank you for nominating me, Emily!

 

Of course, there are “rules” to accepting the award:

 

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog. (check!)
  • List the rules. (check!)
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog. (check!)
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. (check!)
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself. (see below)
  • Answer the questions you were asked. (see below)
  • You have to nominate 10 people. (see below)
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog. (see below)
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question (see below)

So:

Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

  1. I had a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel for lunch.
  2. Mr FD bought me some new ear-phones yesterday, because Jasper chewed through the right-ear wire on my old ones, so I was listening in mono. The new ones are very smart, with a neat little pouch for them, but I’m already getting my wires tangled up! My old ones had a neat little doomy-wang to wrap them around.
  3. I have been married to Mr FD longer than I haven’t been married to him. We got married in 1985 – 32 years ago – and we were both 25. We are both now older than 50.

 

Answer the questions you were asked

  1. If you could learn a new language instantly, what would you choose and why? French!!!! Because I live in France, and, although I get by, I miss the nuances, and can’t express myself particularly well.
  2. What book(s) do you reread over and over? Quite a lot…Mr FD claims I only read 1 word in 3, so I read a diufferent story each time! Not true, but I do read a lot, so will often forget which books I’ve read.
  3. What’s your favorite comfort food? I’m not sure I have one. I like trying out new recipes, but do return to old favourites as well. Chilli con carne with garlic bread, and lots of extras on top (avocado, grated cheese, salsa, chopped onion) is a meal that’s hard to beat!
  4. Do you plan your blog posts in advance, or write them as the ideas come? I rarely plan in advance (for anything!) Sometimes, if the mood is on me, I may write a couple of posts (in fact both this, and “Awards Ceremony II, were written on the same day as Awards Ceremony I – I think today I have just wanted to sit at the computer and write!) but usually I just write when I think I have something to write about. Sometimes I will want to blog, but have nothing much to say – those days are more difficult.
  5. If you could have any mythical creature as a companion, which would you choose? Hmm, that’s a tricky one, as I’m not well versed in mythical creatures. I like the idea of Hedwig, in the HP books, because I like owls, but I don’t know what skills Hedwig brought to the party. A talking cat? But then, cats being cats, it wouldn’t say anything to me, because Well, why should it? A unicorn? A bit big – and I’m sure the horn would get in the way!

You have to nominate 10 people. Oh, no…I’m afraid not! With all the other awards, and the fact many people don’t like these things, I’m not going to name anyone.However, if you read this, and want to try answering the questions, then consider yourself nominated, and follow the “rules” (unless you’re a rebel, that is!)

Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog. Consider yourself notified!

Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question: It’s hard to come up with questions that are original and I may have already asked you these, but still:

  1. Is there a play, or stage musical, that had a profound effect on you (or that you just really enjoyed)
  2. What was the last (or recent) piece of music that you listened to?
  3. Is there a piece of advice that someone gave you that has really meant something in your life?
  4. Who was the last person you received &/or sent a proper letter or card to (rather than an e-mail or e-card)?
  5. Who is your celebrity crush? (The weirder the better.)

 

Good advice.

So there we are!

Three Blogging Awards. Thank you to everyone who gave them to me. I appreciate that you take the time to read my blog and to think enough of it to nominate me.

 

Award Ceremony Part II

So, yesterday I wrote about being awarded the “Leibster” award, by theNewMrsM

Today is all aboutwhich I was “awarded” by Chomeuse with a Chou

The Friendship Blogger Award was invented by: Novus Lectio

“This Award is for those we cherish in WP and to show them affection and to offer them our friendship.”  – which is one of the great things about blogging in my opinion – not just WordPress (which is what I imagine “WP” stands for) but any blogging platform. I have made friends all over the world, and hope that I have inspired someone, somewhere, with what I write. I do cherish those “virtual” friends, and want to encourage people to support, cherish, comment on other blogs.

RULES:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the Award (Novus Lectio) and its purpose.
  • Nominate other bloggers to receive the awards.
  • List the rules and display the Friendship blogger award logo in your post on your blog.

As I’ve said before, it’s difficult nominating other bloggers for awards, as they sometimes find them a bit of a burden, what with “rules” and things they have to do, but here are three other blogs that I enjoy reading – which are perhaps a little different to the others I have already linked to at other times.

1) Deep Heart of France This is a blog written by an ex-pat who obviously loves this area of France. He is writing about the departements slightly west of where I live, and his love of the area shines out through every post. I particularly like reading his posts about Clermont Ferrand, where I sometimes work, and where my church is.

2) Kirk & Bert This is a blog started by someone who wants to explore living a more organic & chemical free life. After her husband survived cancer, the author decided to try to cut down on those things that she suspected may have had some part to play in the development of said disease. It’s full of interesting, thought provoking ideas. Not that I’ve actually tried any of them – but that’s mostly laziness on my part!

3) Unseen Beauty Now, I am not a beauty blogger, in any sense of the word. I don’t wear make-up (although I’m being encouraged to do so during chemo, as my new wig – still to be revealed – is a different colour to my natural look, and needs a stronger colour), my “cleansing” routine involves whatever shower gel/cream I bought cheaply at Noz, and some general shampoo, I don’t use anything on my face, except a bit of Yves Rocher cream when it feels very dry. And that’s it. But I enjoy reading Kirsty’s blog particularly, as it comes from the perspective of a visually impaired person.

So there are three different blogs for you to explore, should any of them appeal to you.

As an added bonus (?!) I’ll answer the list of questions that Bev, another blogger, posted for her Sunshine Blogger award:

  1. What is your most treasured possession and why? I really don’t know…I’m very much attached to a Victorian opal ring that was my “aunt”‘s (not a proper aunt, just a very close friend of the family), but there’s no one “treasured possession” as such.
  2. What would be your dream job? I’m lucky enough to love my work as an EFL teacher, but a dream job would be author, or actor. In the UK I did lots of am-dram, and while I wasn’t fantastic, I loved it! Mind you, learning lines would come more difficult now!
  3. What was the last film you watched? “Young Frankenstein” which we watched last night. I used to find it hysterically funny, and there are still parts that make me chortle – especially those parts with Marty Feldmann in – but there was one part which now actually makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, as I rewatch it…Maybe I’m being over sensitive, but in the light of the #Metoo rising, this one tiny part jarred with me much more than it did in the past. I won’t say what it is – and don’t let it put you off watching the film – but … meh.

We have recently watched Paddington, and Paddington 2 – no controversy there: loved them both!!!

4. What was your favourite subject in school? English language – what’s not to like about lessons about making your writing better?!

5. What’s your favourite thing about yourself? Bof! I don’t know…sense of humour?

6. Have you ever been told you resemble someone famous? Who was it? Not that I recall.

7. Do you snore? Oh yes! I have the family snore, which, I have been told, is reminiscent of a motorbike revving up. My sister also has it, and I would assume my brother too. Mr FD claims that not only can he hear me through noise-cancelling headphones, but I make the bed vibrate!

8. If you could learn to transform into an animal (but only one) which animal would you choose? Cat, definitely – though preferably a well-loved cat. Eating, sleeping, purring, and being stroked. With the occasional saunter into the garden – sounds like a good life!

9. What’s your favourite cartoon? Don’t really have one…or do you mean animated film? Which could include many – practically any Aardman film, but especially Wallace & Gromit, Toy Story, Up, Inside Out…

10. What was your favourite film as a child? Absolutely no idea!

11. If there was a film about your life, what would it be called? Again, no idea! I don’t really feel imaginitive to think of one either. “An un-extraordinary Life” ?

So, there you have it!

Thank you for the award, Chomeuse!

Award ceremonies.

Recently I’ve been nominated for three blogging awards, but due to chemo, and Other Stuff, I’ve never quite got round to posting about them. I may not get all three done today – having re-started walking a mile in 15 minutes today, I find myself absolutely knackered! I managed it, but now I feel really tired. Perhaps I was being a tad ambitious, but I really thought that I needed to do some exercise. Plus Mr FD has been nagging me: apparently I “should” be doing about 150 minutes of exertion each week in order to aid recovery. When I told him, in no uncertain terms, that in the first week I’m lucky if I can stagger round the house, he responded that it “helps with the fatigue”. I nodded, said “Yes, dear,” and planned to continue doing what I feel I can do.

Just on a side note: the sinus infection is sorting itself out, the medication is (just about) bearable, and hasn’t had the threatened results. Huzzah. Thank you for your messages of sympathy and support.

So, on with the Awards Ceremony!!

First: from ThenewMrsM comes the nomination for

The Liebster Award 2018 is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means ‘sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome’.

I can’t remember how I came across Mrs M’s blog, but from the beginning I enjoyed reading about her family life. She has an enthusiastic and engaging way of writing, and even when documenting the less-welcome sides of her life, she always seems to be positive. I have become quite fond of her daughter, T, and her husband, Scott!! T recently wrote me a lovely note, which I intend to reply to shortly. Mrs M and T have been taking part in 40 Random Acts of Kindness over Lent, and it’s been great reading how T has embraced this spirit of generosity.

The “rules” of this award are as follows:

Rules of the Liebster Award 2018~
1) Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. (check)
2) Display the award on your blog. (check)
3) Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blog posting. (see below)
4) Provide 10 random facts about yourself (optional in 2018) – the question answers can be my random facts)
5) Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award. (see below)
6) List these rules in your post. (check)
7) Inform the people/blogs that you nominated (see below)

So why do I like blogging?

I am a slightly frustrated writer: I have written a novel, but then was too lazy to do anything about publishing it (whether self-published or “proper” published) so I suppose blogging gives me an outlet for that. I enjoy recording various outings, and love reading back over old posts. I started in August 2011 over on wiblog.com, which no longer exists, but you can read some of my “rescued” posts if you follow the links at the top of my Home Page, including my very first post. After that I started another blog to record my “weight loss journey” (which frankly didn’t go very far – the journey, not the blog!) It was supposed to be more “foodie” than this one, but gradually the two blogs looked more and more similar, so I finally stopped writing on Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner.I have kept it “live” though, and occasionally post a link to The View… because some people seem to find it easier to access Fat Dormouse

I love reading people’s blogs too. I don’t tend to follow blogs, but I do have a lot bookmarked, and I visit regularly. I don’t always comment, but I enjoy reading. I like reading about how other people live in France, so read, for example, Chomeuse with a Chou, and Adventures of an Anglaise…I also enjoy reading about food adventures, so Chez le Reve Francais fits both categories – some delicious recipes there! Cat blogs always appeal so I often pop over to Daily Feline Wisdom to find out what advice is being given out by the Meeowies and Woofies. Je Suis Le Roi Soleil is another charmingly written cat blog. Both have lovely photos of their animals too. And then there are those I read because the people who write them have different lifestyles to me (family life, living in a different country, etc) or just write in a really engaging way – these include Kezzie, PomPom, Ange and lots more that I linked to in this post back in February. Oh, and Bev! How could I forget Bev, who lives in Switzerland and reads loads of books. She too has a lovely engaging way of writing, that always keeps me checking to see if she has written another post.

Mrs M posed some questions:

 

  • What book are you reading at the moment? I have been taking a long time to read Elizabeth George’s “Believing the Lie”. Like many of her Inspector Lynley books, it is long and complicated, and it is in book form, not Kindle. So there are certain weeks during treatment when I can’t be bothered to try to lift it! I have read it before, but can’t remember much about the plot, so it’s like a new book all over again!
  • What is your new favourite hobby? I haven’t really got a “new” hobby; the newest, I suppose, is my zentangling, but I’ve been doing that for a few years now. I do go through “phases” with hobbies – so I used to make loads more cards than I do now, so have an enormous stash of stuff (which I add to from Noz!) which isn’t getting used very much.
  • Where did you grow up? In Aintree, which is a suburb of Liverpool, quite well known for its race course, upon which the Grand National is run. Here’s a link to an estate agent’s page with our house up for sale!! I do have to say, the inside doesn’t look much like the house I remember from 37 years ago, but the outside does. The little “granny annexe” to the left used to be my father’s surgery, as he was the local GP, but then it got converted into a flat for my Nana to live in.
  • When did you last “just do it”? Not quite sure what Mrs M means here… If it’s something to do with not really considering one’s actions, I really don’t know…Sorry!
  • What is your favourite TV show? I haven’t really got a favourite, as there are lots we enjoy. Recently we have watched “Shetland”, “Endeavour”, and “Silent Witness”. For comedy, “Damned” (although I wonder if this is more a documentary!), “Modern Life Is Goodish”, and “The Last Leg”
  • Name something you are really proud of and tell me why. Crumbs! I really don’t know! I’m often quite surprised and proud of zentangles that I’ve done. I’m proud that I wrote my novel – even though I did nothing else with it…Ah, yes! I’m proud that I cycled 1,000 km in 6 months and raised 1,000€ for a school in Africa. I’m not sporty, and I don’t really like cycling, but I did it! Here’s a photo of me at the end of my 1,000th km

  • What is the most memorable trip you have taken and why? So many…I can’t choose just one! But I loved my trip to Budapest last November (which you can read about on the blog). I had a fascinating and useful retreat first, and then spent 4 days with a very dear friend from school. It’s ages since we spent much time together, but we fell quickly into a very comfortable rhythm. We enjoyed it so much, we’re planning a second trip to Strasbourg this year, to explore the Christmas markets there. Here is Jane inthe covered market.

  • What do you most love about blogging? See above – but I think it’s the friends that I have made: those who I will probably never meet, but who have sent me letters, hats, little gifts, cards through my blogging time. How lovely!
  • What is your favourite weekend breakfast? It’s usually the same as my weekday breakfast, TBH, (Marmite toast at the moment!) but of course, if given the opportunity, a full English sets one up for the day!! But it does need to be followed by a slice of toast-and-marmalade, for a touch of sweetness, and plenty of hot, strong coffee. My most recent full English breakfast was when we were in Manchester (we had it on a Monday, but never mind!) which was lush! I only missed the fried egg, because at the moment, I’m not allowed soft cooked eggs due to the possible risk of salmonella. And that didn’t really matter, asthe egg is my least favourite part.

just missing the hash browns and the brown sauce…and it needs a bigger plate!

  • Name an act of kindness that you or someone you know has carried out. As I said, I have loved reading about those carried out by T, because they have shown how small things can make a difference. The one towards me, that has really blown me away, was when a friend, who has recently inherited some money, offered to pay for a holiday for Mr FD and me, when my cancer treatment is finished. Yesterday’s 40 Acts read:

Extravagant. Overblown. A bit much. We’re going extravagant today. If someone mentions that they’d like something a little over the top, why not just go for it? (And go all-in, too – if you need the excuse to go big, consider this it!)

Green:Give something small but thoughtful – like adding a biscuit when youbring someone tea.

Amber:Give something big and thoughtful – like a three-course, all-paid-for meal, or a year’s subscription to cinema tickets, not just a gift card.

Red:Give something absurdly, radically thoughtful – like Philip’s unexpected car donor, what can you do to step into truly sacrificial generosity?

I know that I have an idea how, eventually, I might complete this Act, but on the 40 Acts FB page I wrote: There’s also the other side to this: being able to “generously accept” an extravagant gift. A dear friend has offered to pay for a holiday for us after my cancer treatment. That’s a huge thing, and our first reaction was ” thank you, but we couldn’t possibly…” But it felt wrong to do so. Her generosity is God’s generosity, and this time I am on the receiving end of a 40 act and it’s my job to graciously accept.

Sometimes it is hard to be the one to accept an Act of Generosity… But thank you, dear friend!

So there you are!

I’ve completed everything, except the links and award to other blogs. I know lots of people don’t actually “accept” these awards, but I would certainly recommend reading those linked to above, and on my earlier post in February.

I have also been nominated for

and

But I don’t think I can respond to those on this post too, so this will have to be Part One of the Award Ceremonies. Part 2 will follow at a later date!

 

Coming round after a Lost Weekend…

It’s been a long time since I posted, but I’m sure you understand why! Last weekend was my “Lost Weekend” after the second session of chemo.

For my own benefit really, but for anyone who might be interested, I want to record how I felt, and what I did/ ate in that weekend.

THURSDAY: Chemo session. Got home at about 18.00, had a cup of tea. Went to bed. Slept.

FRIDAY: Nurse came for injection to boost white blood cell production. Day spent sleeping/ listening to podcasts in small chunks. Drank about 1.5l of cranberry juice/water through the day. Breakfast: slice of marmite toast, half a cup of coffee. Lunch: slice of marmite toast. Got up round 18.00. Dinner: half a tiny baked potato and cheese. Felt sick. Went to bed about 19.30. Slept. Moulting started in earnest overnight.

SATURDAY: Day spent sleeping/ listening to podcasts in slightly larger chunks/ some activity on FB. Drank about 1.5l of cranberry juice/water through the day. Breakfast: 2 slices of marmite toast. Lunch:2 slices of cheese on toast + tomato soup. Got up round 17.00. Dinner: small amount of pasta, sauce & cheese. Felt less sick. Went to bed about 20.30. Slept. Moulted.

SUNDAY: I meant to get up earlier, but couldn’t be arsed.  Morning spent sleeping/ listening to music, or podcasts/using FB.  I got up around 16.00, finally having a shower (Mr FD was probably quite relieved about that!) but not getting dressed. Wrapped myself up in PJs, fluffy dressing gown and thick socks.Generally still very dopey, so snoozed, half watched some TV. Went to bed about 20.30, slept reasonably well. Moulted.

Breakfast: 2 slices of marmite toast. Lunch:2 slices of cheese on toast + mushroom soup. Dinner: A small amount of gnocchi and pasta sauce, yoghurt with jam

MONDAY: Got up around lunch time, morning spent sleeping/ listening to music, or podcasts/using FB. Got dressed. Afternoon spent on sofa, snoozing, watching daytime TV. Went to bed about 21.30. Didn’t sleep well. Drank reasonably well – about 1.25l

Breakfast: 2 slices of marmite toast. Lunch:2 slices of cheese on toast + mushroom soup. Cereal bar and pineapple in a pot. Dinner: A medium amount of a sort of “sausagiflette” – like tartiflette but made with sausages.So basically, potato, mushroom, onion, sausage, spinach and raclette cheese. Yoghurt and jam.

TUESDAY: Because I’d slept badly the night before due to a sinus headache, Mr FD was a bit worried. When the Nurse came to take blood for my weekly blood test he asked her advice, and they decided I should go to the doctor. An appointment was made. Marie-Laure (Nurse) had the usual difficulty taking blood – it is very lethargic, my blood, and it’s really hard to find a vein. She tried two places and finally squeezed out just-about-sufficient for the blood test. Went to doctor in afternoon, sinus infection diagnosed, and – due to low blood cell count – everything was thrown at it: anti nausea tablets, anti biotics (dissolvable ones. BLEUCH. Plus, as they are strong, likely to cause nausea, and diarrhoea. Yay!), yeast (dissolvable in water. BLEUCH! to restore gut bacteria destroyed by the antibiotics)

It was a difficult day – lots of crying. Fed up with moulting, and my pillows are covered in hair. I wake up with moutfuls of hair. It’s NOT FAIR! Mr FD got the worst of it from me. God got complained to. Felt dopey for most of the day, but perked up after dinner.

So do Fat Dormice!

Breakfast: 2 slices of marmite toast. Lunch:2 slices of cheese on toast + marmite.  Dinner: Smallish portion of chicken, pasta, sauce; cereal bar, pineapple in a pot. Took yucky antibiotics. Went to bed about 20.30. Didn’t get to sleep until about midnight; woke regularly and for long periods of time. Usually with mouthfuls of hair, despite wearing a hair-covering.

WEDNESDAY: Took horrible medication with large glass of cranberry juice/water; took anti biotics dissolved in water (BLEUCH!) quickly followed by a large bite of marmite toast!  Morning spent doing some paperwork on computer & reading blogs. Mr FD shaved my head, as I am fed up of moulting like a cat!

Breakfast:2 slices of marmite toast & a banana. Took yeast + a chocolate Dime sweet crunched up immediately! Lunch:Antibiotics. followed by handful of strong flavoured snacks, 2 slices of cheese on toast, cereal bar. Afternoon: walk to post office & around the block (about 500 m) followed by 20 minute snooze and some afternoon TV.  Dinner: Antibiotics followed bgy strong flavoured crisps, medium sized bowl of chilli + garlic bread, apple compote, chocolate biscuit.  Yeast taken with Dime sweet. Bed at 22.30. Slept through (almost!) until 7.45.

The walk, albeit only 500 m or so, took me about 20 minutes, and required two sit-downs on the way. The sit downs were partially to enjoy the sunshine and breathe some fresh air, but it was hard work!

I think my eating is back to normal, albeit smaller portions, but I still have the horrid anti biotics/ yeast combo to take for another 6 days – it makes my stomach fizz, and feel bloaty, but (so far) I’ve not had the expected diarrhoea. The other interesting thing is how my tastes have changed: while I still enjoy sweetish things, I am certainly not eating so many. During the first few days, I didn’t want any strong flavours, except for Marmite (as one can see from the amount of marmite toast I’m eating!), and the smell of cooking was horrid! And coffee, which is my go-to hot drink, has a rather unpleasant metallic taste – I can have the breakfast coffee, but after that it is not at all appealing. I’m not really enjoying any hot drink – tisanes taste too weak, or just not-nice. I’m not a tea drinker, but I’m thinking I might try a cuppa, just to see if I enjoy it. I do need to try to drink a bit more, as the Nurse said I need to aim to drink at least 1.5l a day, and I don’t think I’m doing that.

 

I’m not looking for sympathy here (though it’s always nice to have some!) but I thought you might be interested to read what a “Lost Weekend” is like – although this one has come with the added joy of the sinus infection! It’s also useful to have a record somewhere.

I have 1 more session of FEC 100, which is this current cocktail of poison, and then I go onto another regime, which will have different side effects: judging by the amount of anti-nausea medication that is prescribed, they are expecting more sickness. Plus this will affect my nail beds, so I have to put on a special kind of nail varnish, and rub an ointment around my nails twice a day. Stupidly, I’m already looking ahead and dreading that: sufficient unto the day…and so on!

We have booked to go on the Cycle Club short break, down in the south of France, which is the weekend after my next session. I will be tired still, but eating OK. I’m planning on spending the 5 days relaxing in the sun (while being fully covered, as I should avoid sunlight apparently) either in the holiday village, or on the nearby beach. Some reading, zentangling, and other relaxing activities will take place.

I’ll try and post tomorrow – I have a book review and three, yes, THREE, blog appreciation awards to acknowledge!!! Sorry it’s taken so long.

Book Review: Paris Ever After (*** and a half)

This book was sent to me free of charge (yay!) by Net Galley, in return for an honest review.

PARIS EVER AFTER

by K.S.R.Burns

This is actually the second in the series – I’m not sure there will be a third – but it read well enough as a stand alone novel. The press release reads:

Amy traded a stale life and crumbling marriage back in Phoenix for adventure in Paris. She conquered her lifelong obsession with food and learned to enjoy a good croissant. Then, on Amy’s thirtieth birthday, two unexpected visitors leave her wondering if she will soon be saying au revoir to the City of Light and the new life she struggled to build. Her estranged husband, Will, shows up—but is he interested in reconciliation or separation? And a young woman who arrives on Amy’s doorstep unleashes chaos that could push Amy out into the street. Amid secrets and surprises, set in enchanting gardens, cozy cafés, and glittering Parisian streets, Amy must choose between two very different worlds. And each has a claim on her heart.

I found the main character, Amy (or Aimee) engaging, and while I found a few of her actions slightly unbelievable, and some of the events just a little too coincidental or serendipidous, the story romped along at a good pace. Yes, there was a modicum of suspense about which man Amy would end up with – although it was never really in that much doubt – but generally the story was fairly predictable.

Having said that, it was interesting enough, and reasonably well written, with certain paragraphs or phrases being poetic enough for me to pause and enjoy reading them again. I’m not sure I was engaged enough to go back to read the first, nor would I necessarily rush to buy a sequel, but I enjoyed reading this book.

 

I give it three-and-a-half stars (but as there’s no half-stars with Net Galley I round it UP to 4 stars, rather than rounding it down!)

Hooray for me!!

As you might know, French bureaucracy seems to be one of the biggest nightmares for many people living here – including the French themselves!

About this time last year, I was contacted by a (possibly new) organisation called DIRECCTE (Direction Regionale des Entreprises de la concurrence, de la consommation, du travail et de l’emploi ) (No, I don’t know either!!) that informed me that because I was providing training I had to have a “registration number” and in order to get this I had to provide vast swathes of paperwork, including an entire Course Plan (IN FRENCH – so I had to translate my planning for an entire course of 30 hours training into French. A very useful waste of several hours). Thankfully, the very kind Director of ILS, one of the companies I have teaching contracts with, helped me to complete the appropriate forms.

Now, a year in, I have to provide a Bilan Pedagogique et Financier – basically giving information about hours teaching, and money earned in doing said teaching. It needs to be done by the end of April, but I had set myself a reminder for the beginning of March telling me Not To Put It Off (I know myself well!) but to start looking at it and working out what to do. As I know I won’t be working in April, I thought I could get on and do it.

Thanks to some fairly assiduous record keeping (most unlike me!) I think I have completed it correctly – although there’s a couple of sections that I’m unsure about. However M. Khodri (the very kind Director) has said he’d check over it for me on Wednesday. I’ve got to go to Clermont for an opthalmologist appointment, so I can pop into ILS then.

But just the fact I’ve got myself into this almost-finished position, well ahead of time, is very pleasing!!

….Not this time, I’m not!!!

 

On other news: I’ve got an appointment at a wig specialist tomorrow, and Friend Alison is coming to help me choose. I will post a picture.

At the party on Saturday, someone remarked that I still had my hair.

“Yes,” I said, “it is still firmly attached!” And took a handful and pulled to demonstrate. Except, I demonstrated that it wasn’t quite as firmly attached as it had been! I’m beginning to find that it’s starting to come out – not in great swathes, but just the odd few hairs. Hey-ho; I knew it was going to happen, so I’m okay about it at the moment. The time when I have to face a Baldy Dormouse might be a bit difficult, but I know it will grow back (though possibly greyer than it is now!) and I know it’s a sign that the chemo is doing its job, so I hope I won’t get too upset.