Long ago, in time…

A comment that Michelle made, on my Wedding Anniversary post, has inspired this post. She said: I LOVE seeing old photos like this! 

And so…

For our 25th Wedding Anniversary, back in 2010, we had a party, and made a montage of various photos taken from our photo albums. I used to love putting together scrapbooks of our holidays, and so in order to make the montage a friend & I raided the albums. I always meant to put the photos back in the books, but 8 years after the event, it’s still on the wall:

As always, you can click on the pictures to biggify them…

So I thought I’d share a few of the photos with you.


This one is another from our Wedding Day – a closer up of me with my Nana’s hairstyle and Deirdre Barlow glasses. (For those who don’t know, Deirdre Barlow was a character in the long-running soap Coronation Street, well-known for her huge glasses)

She had a difficult life, and spent a lot of time on screen looking anguished!

I’m happy to say, I look less anguished that Deirdre in my wedding photos!

The next two photos I chose because I thought I knew exactly when & where they were taken, but on looking through the Holiday scrapbooks I see I was wrong!


Here is a very youthful looking Mr FD. This was taken when we were on holiday in France, in a village called Montferrat (which we revisited last year) in the Var region of France. This photo was taken on 17th August, in the village of Montaureaux – we had spent the day at a Medieval Fair, where I had painted a pot (which I still have!) which was then fired in a Medieval-like way. We booked to eat the “Menu du repas des Tavernes” eaten on long tables underneath the trees. I stuck the menu into my scrapbook, and read that we ate:

  • Sur un lit de feuilles de salades variées du potager de Monsieur le Duc, Riz de Piémont aux raisins secs. Melange paysan avec poisson au sénevé, graines de Turquie, poivrons, concombres, et tomates de nos campagnes (Served on a bed of mixed salad leaves from the vegetable plot of the Duke, rice from Piedmont with raisins. Peasant mix (?) with fish with senevé mustard, grains from Turkey (which is what sweetcorn was known as in the Middle Ages – or, alternatively, what the menu devisers chose to call sweetcorn!), red peppers, cucumber and local tomatoes)
  • Roti de lapin des terres du Seigneur de Tournon, tranche de boeuf cuit à la braise, accompagnée des sauces au genièvre, cannelle et oignonnets ( Roast rabbit, from the land of the Lord of Tournon, slice of braised beef, accompanied by a sauce of juniper, cinnamon, and little onions) – I’m not sure whether we had to choose one or theother, or whether we got both!
  • Tartouste aux sarments, qu’enrobe une crème à la ciboulette ( a type of young potato, covered with a chive cream – I suspect these may have been baked potatoes, as often  these are served with a chive cream here in France)
  • Fromage à la Province Briarde (Cheese from Briarde)
  • Galette Paysanne aux fruits rouges ( Red fruit tart)

It was at this place that this photo was taken of me, presumably somewhere at the top of the Chateau of the Duke:

and here’s a photo from t’internet of the village:

Do you have places that you associate with pieces of music? For me, I remember a long straight road back from this village to our holiday appartment in Montferrat, and that road is associated with the Proclaimers’ “Letter from America”. I don’t know why it should be that those two things are interlinked, why I should particularly remember the song being played there, at that moment, as we no doubt listened to it several times during the holiday, but when I think of the song, I think of the road!


This photo was taken on 20th August, while we were on a family holiday with Mr FD’s side of the family. We stayed in a village called Ambazac, in the Limousin region of France. That was the year I paraglided from the top of Puy de Dome! We shared a gite together (me & Mr FD, Mr FD’s brother & SiL, and MiL & FiL) We generally had a good time, partly because we didn’t do everything together. I find out that (either altogether, or just me & Mr FD) among our activities, we visited the town of Limoges, we went to the very sobering place that is Oradour-sur-Glane , we went on cycle rides (I seem to have actually chosen to go on quite long rides, which surprises me!), we went on a steam train, we went to a folk festival at Confolens, and we saw the start of the Tour de Limousin.

I particularly remember the day (and the following night) of the train ride. You see, my BiL is diabetic, and, although he manages his illness well, needs to eat at regular intervals to avoid either hyperglycemia, or hypoglycemia ( hypo is when the  blood sugar levels are too high, hyper…is when the blood sugar levels are too low) We took the train in the afternoon, to Eymoutiers, planning to eat in a restaurant there; however, there was some sort of festival going on, and all the restaurants were booked up. The only sustenance that was on offer was wine and chips. Which we partook of, before (presumably) getting the train home again.

That night, we were awoken by a terrible groaning noise, and lots of thrashing about from the bedroom next to ours. We rushed in, to find SiL (who is quite small and slight) trying to force Lucozade into BiL (who is neither small nor slight) who was fighting her off with some force – while still asleep! He was having some sort of diabetic crisis. Finally everything settled down, but of course it took us a long time to get back to sleep afterwards. In the morning, everyone was very bleary eyed, except for BiL who declared that he’d had the best night’s sleep that he’d had for a long time!! Good for you, was the reply.

Anyway, back to the photo. My scrapbook informs me that the photo was taken at the Restaurant La Chanterelle, not too far from the gite. That night I ate:

  • Mousse de Saint Jacques (scallop mousse)
  • foie gras
  • entrecote (steak)
  • fromage
  • Iles Flottantes (Floating Islands – a dessert made of creme anglaise, soft meringue, caramel sauce. Like this:

Well, I’ve really enjoyed this short trip down memory lane, and  I think I may well be doing some more similar posts!

Book Review: Knoxley Hall (** and a half)

I am proud to be a Ten Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley

I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review. So, here it is…


I’m starting to think I’ve been spoiled by such authors as Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George & Peter Robinson; that, or there are a lot of people who think it’s easy to write a gripping, well-written crime novel. Because this was, in my opinion, (yet another) tedious crime “thriller”.

I mean, it had a good “blurb”:


I want to write a blog post, but I have no idea what to write about. Does anyone have anything they’d like to know about me? Do please put a question in the comments section.

What else?

These are the things I have done so far today:

  • got up a bit late (8.30)
  • drank half a peach/banana/raspberry smoothie
  • went to the Post Office to post a zentangle commission (earning a bit of money for this one!)
  • went for my 1.25 km walk (only one pause to catch my breath today, but still very slow!)
  • bought bread
  • drank the rest of the smoothie
  • faffed about on the computer
  • sorted out my knickers & socks
  • saw the podiatrist, as where she’d cut my ingrowing toenails was looking a little infected.
  • had lunch (chicken rillette sandwich, bowl of tomato/carrot/sweet potato/lentil soup, slice of pannetone)
  • watched (and snoozed through) an episode of “Bargain Hunt”, that I didn’t really want to watch.

Oh! The excitement!! I can hardly bear it!

On the agenda for this afternoon & this evening (possibly):

  • finish a rather tedious book. I’d give up on it, but it’s a NetGalley book, and I am obliged to write a review. I’m not impressed by it, unfortunately.
  • have a snooze, as I didn’t sleep very well last night. Although having a snooze probably won’t help me to sleep well tonight!
  • start another zentangle (does anyone want one? Let me know! I prefer doing one with a purpose)
  • half heartedly tidy up my desk.
  • have dinner (the rest of the lasagne from Saturday)
  • watch some TV.

I’m feeling a bit “meh” at the moment…not really motivated to do anything much…partly the weather (it is alternating between grey and drizzly, grey and raining, and grey and pissing down.) and partly the effects of treatment. I have my appointment about radiotherapy on Wednesday – I’ll find out when the radiotherapy starts, and how many sessions I’ll be having.

Still, lots to look forward to…

  • going to Annecy at the end of June with the Cycle Club – & meeting up with Chomeuse & her Chou!
  • Mum & my sister coming, at the beginning of September
  • going away (probably Italy) at the end of September
  • going to Convention – with the excitement of electing a new Bishop)  – in Waterloo, in October
  • possibly going to Amsterdam in October half term
  • going to Christmas Markets in Strasbourg at the beginning of December
  • starting back at work in October – things will be different as M. Khodri, the director of the language school, is retiring. The new directors may want to employ me (or not!) on a different basis. We shall see.

O, taste and see…

Today is Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost, when the Church celebrates the doctrine of the Trinity, the triune nature of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But for many, these almost exclusively “male” terms do not really help define the nature of God. Other terms, such as Creator, Saviour, Enabler, can mean more as they give a clue as to the nature of each aspect of God.

I know that for a lot of people the Trinity is a difficult concept – are we talking about one God, or three Gods?

For me, it’s almost as simple as thinking about a person. Let’s take Morag:

To her children, first and foremost, Morag is “mum”. But that is not the end of it. She is not just “mum”

Morag is a social worker. She helps people find their way off the streets. To her clients, Morag is (perhaps) their “saviour” – she gives them what they need to find a new life. But that’s not the end of it. She’s not just a social worker.

Morag likes to get together with her friends, and she loves chatting, giving advice, helping her friends improve themselves and be the best they can be. Maybe she volunteers for a charity, maybe she works for The Samaritans… But she is more than just these things.

We would not say that Morag is “just a mum” or “just a social worker”. She is all of these things and more.

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is trying to explain this about God. S/he (I don’t want to say “it” but nor do I want to use a gender specific term) is not just a Creator-God, as that implies once the creation is finished, then so is God’s work. Nor is s/he just a Saviour-God, nor just an Enabler-God. S/he is all of those things and more. We can’t just pick one aspect of God and say “THIS is God” – however much we might want to.

I once preached a sermon on Trinity Sunday to the Eglise Reformée, in which I compared the Trinity to a Mars bar (Bear with me…) Here’s what I said:

Ici, j’ai un Mars.

Il y a le chocolat, la nougatine et le caramel. Chaque partie est délicieuse toute seule. J’adore le chocolat, j’aime la nougatine et le caramel. On peut manger les trois parties séparément. Mais ce n’est que quand les trois partis sont ensemble que nous avons la vraie friandise qui est le Mars. Sans chocolat, ce n’est pas un Mars, Sans nougatine, ce n’est pas un Mars, Sans caramel, ce n’est pas un Mars. Il est impossible de séparer les trois parties et encore avoir un Mars.

Dieu est un peu comme le Mars – c’est impossible de séparé les trois personnes de la Trinité. Les trois personnes  travaillent ensemble, ont la même volonté, la même énergie. Séparés on a le Père, le Fils, le Saint Esprit. Ensemble on a Dieu, l’inexprimable, qui mérite toutes nos louanges.

J’espère que je ne vous ai pas choqués avec cette petite métaphore. C’est seulement une petite plaisanterie, une autre manière d’expliquer quelque chose qui est impossible à expliquer. C’est aussi un petit rappel, parce que j’ai un Mars pour chacun de vous. Et quand vous mangerez votre Mars, je voudrais que vous pensiez à Dieu, que vous réfléchissiez sur la Mystère de la Trinité, et, avec l’auteur des Psaumes vous pourrez dire :

« Sentez et voyez combien l’Eternel est bon »

(C’est mieux en Anglais, parce que la traduction est « Goutez et voyez combien l’Eternel est bon », mais…tant pis !)

Sentez et voyez combien l’Eternel est bon.  AMEN.

I’m not quite sure what the congregation made of it, but if, as I suggested, they considered the Trinity each time they ate a Mars bar, well…Maybe it wasn’t completely wasted!

What’s cookin’?!

Actually, nothing at the moment, but tonight we’re going to have Mary Berry’s “Fast lasagne”, so I thought I’d share the recipe. I really like it.

For the ragu and spinach sauce

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 450g/1lb pork sausage meat
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
  • 150g/5oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 x 200ml/7fl oz carton full-fat crème frâiche
  • 100g/4oz baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato and thyme sauce

For the lasagne

  • 6 sheets, about 75g/3oz quick-cook white lasagne or fresh lasagne
  • 50g/2oz strong cheddar cheese, grated

Book Review: The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter (****)

I am proud to be a Ten Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley

I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review. So, here it is…

The NetGalley blurb reads:

Get out your amethysts…

Apparently the 33rd Wedding Anniversary is the Amethyst Anniversary. And that’s what Mr FD and I are (not really) celebrating today.  “Not really” celebrating, because we’re not doing anything special, rather than because there’s nothing to celebrate!! We’ll have a special meal out when I’m tasting again, and that can then celebrate many things!

Here we are, on 25th May, 1985, coming out of Sefton Church – me with a hairstyle reminiscent of my Nana’s, and Deirdre Barlow spectacles! Our French friends find Mr FD’s outfit very amusing ( très Anglais, they say) and the top hats in particular elicit comments. My dress was made by my dear MiL, as was my bridesmaid’s dress, and her own suit! She was a talented dress maker.

Thank you Mr FD, for all your support during these 33 years. There have been many wonderful times, and a few rough patches too, but we’ve weathered them, and come out stronger. You are my rock, my dear T.

Once again, I link to a poem that I feel is “right”, and describes Mr FD’s love for me. I won’t post the whole poem here, for copyright reasons, but I urge you to click-and-read. “Atlas” by U.A.Fanthorpe

There is a kind of love called maintenance
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it…

…which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in air,
As Atlas did the sky.

A post about chemo

This is a chemo & side effects post. Don’t feel you have to read it.

I’ve had a fairly grim couple of days – more mentally than physically. It’s interesting how this new chemo regime has had different effects to the first three “cures”. With the FEC100 I had a “lost weekend” when I was really tired, then slowly, over the following week I got my energy back, until I was almost back to normal, unless I tried to do too much. I lost my appetite for about 5 days, but then it was fine. Yes, I lost my hair, and had a touch of nausea, but it was (almost) a breeze.

This has been a harder regime… about a week after the first dose I started losing my taste buds, and salivary glands. Now there’s still the vestiges of sweetness that I can taste, but not much else.

The neuropathy – pains in the extremes (hands, feet, lower legs) + joints, caused by damage to these peripheral nerves – comes on about 4 days after, and lasts for another 3/4 days. This hasn’t been as bad this time round, as the doctor reduced the dose a little. It’s been bearable.

Interestingly, I haven’t had the same fatigue at the beginning – witness my Royal Wedding excursion! – but again, 4/5 days later it has hit me like a ton of bricks. Today I could barely walk the 500 metres to the podiatrist’s surgery, and I’m needing a 2 hour nap after lunch. And, although this does get slightly better as time goes on, I don’t think I could contemplate the 3 km walk I did back in March in my third week.

But both the first time, and this time, I have had a couple of days of depression, again at the same time – 4/5 days after the chemo. Because this has happened twice at the same time, I am assuming this is another side effect… I’ve tried very hard not to utter the words “it’s not fair”, but last night I had a good old moan, and weep to God. Especially about the taste bud issue. I reminded him of “my” verse and demanded that he kept his promise…and, do you know, I think he did.

I felt he was telling me to think about why this was happening – so I read some articles on the internet, that explained the reasons, and that gave some suggestions. I also felt he was telling me to think about how I coud learn to live with it better, and so gradually, I was able to calm down and make plans.

The biggest thing is that I haven’t been eating properly – which has probably affected my mood too. My mouth is now more sensitive than before, so all suggestions like “eat mints”, “spicy food” etc are no good, because they hurt! Textured food is still okay, but I’m going off too crunchy, again for the slight pain factor. So because of this, I’ve been eating badly. For example, yesterday I had a slice of bread and butter and a little madeleine cake for breakfast, lots of watered down fruit juice, and egg sandwich for lunch (2 slices of bread, one egg), and a small bowl of pasta, mince & aubergine for dinner.  Not exactly full of goodness!!

So, putting my plan into action today, I started the day with a banana/raspberry/strawberry smoothie, made with some ice cream. That helped get some vitamins into me, and, because of the sweetness, I actually enjoyed it.

The next part of the plan was a veggie soup for lunch – carrot, tomato, sweet potato & lentil. The best laid plans… I was too tired to make it today, & as Mr FD had cleared 8 litter trays, and had a meeting for the Cycle Club, I didn’t want to ask him to make it. Tomorrow, then!! But I did have a goats cheese & lettuce sandwich, with some cherry tomatoes, plus a piece of pannetonne. Not sure what dinner will be, but I’ll make sure it has veggies. If I drink, and drink, and drink, the salivary glands are a little better and food is (slightly) less cardboard-and-cotton-woolley!

So I’m going down the smoothies for breakfast, and veggie soup for lunch, plus a good meal in the evening. Plus DRINK, drink, drink!! That way I will get the good things I need to help me face up to this bastard cancer.

I don’t want to ever use that phrase “it’s not fair” – getting breast cancer is just life. The statistics are stacked high:, with 1 in 8 women contracting it. I don’t know what the repeat statistics are (& those are the ones that frighten me) but I ask those of you of a praying bent to remember K. She had a mastectomy in December 2016, and chemo & radiotherapy. She has just learned that the cancer has returned to both sets of lymph glands, and it has been diagnosed as Stage 4, that is, it has spread further, and is incurable. The shock for K has been enormous. A year after getting the all clear from her initial breast cancer she is facing this. Now, somehow, that IS “not fair”.  Please pray for her. I don’t know what to pray, but something…

Another Zentangle

This was done for a small boy who loves cats. Chomeuse’s Chou sent me a delightful picture of his grey cat, Delilah

Chou writes “He loves his cats more than anything in the world” , (E ( some days later) TA: I’m sure Chou is very intelligent & advanced for his age, but he’s not up to writing yet. Of course, I meant “CHOMEUSE writes….”) so I sent a zentangle of a cat for him

I believe he quite liked it.

This…or that?

Shamelessly stolen from the blog “Wheelescapades“, which I discovered via Chomeuse…


Dog or Cat?

I’d rather have both – I fancy a medium sized dog – but if I had to choose, I’d go for cats every time.

Netflix or YouTube?

As we don’t have Netflix, I have to say You Tube, although I don’t use it very often.

Phone Call or Text?

Text. I have never really enjoyed using the phone – and now, in France, I hate speaking French onthe phone!

Toast or Eggs?

Eggs with toast. I love me a boiled egg with buttery toast soldiers…or scrambled egg on toast! At the moment though, I’m only allowed hard boiled eggs.

Cardio or Weights?

I don’t understand this question! 😉

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook. I tried Twitter but didn’t get on with it. I belong to a couple of Groups on FB that have been very helpful.

Ice Cream Cone or Snow Cone?

I didn’t know what a snow cone is – Wikipedia tells me it is “a paper cup of crushed ice flavoured with fruit syrup.” – sounds like a Slush Puppy

So definitely, ice cream cone – but not very often.

Mobile Games or Console Games?

Never console games; rarely mobile games. Cribbage from time to time, but that’s all.

While walking: Music or Podcasts?

Neither – I prefer to listen to nature, or the sounds around me. It’s safer too.

iOS or Android?

Android – but only because Mr FD has handed down his old phone to me! Otherwise I wouldn’t know!

Cake or Pie?

Cake… I’m looking forward to being able to taste it again!

Swimming or Sunbathing?

Swimming for about 5 minutes; sunbathing for 10…I’m bored!

Big Party or Small Gathering?

DEFINITELY small gathering. I’m no good with lots of people, especially if I don’t know them.

New Clothes or New Phone?

Clothes please. I have no interest in getting a new phone, as I just wait for Mr FD’s hand-me-down. But, if I’m honest, I have no need of new clothes either.

Rich Friend or Loyal Friend?

A loyal friend – it shouldn’t matter if they’re rich or not.

Football or Basketball?

Couldn’t give a monkey’s…

Nice Car or Nice Home Interior?

Probably the house, but I’m not really very houseproud. If someone came and did it all for me, that would be good.

What’s worse: Laundry or Dishes?

They’re both fine. I’m not keen on ironing, but Mr FD is doing that for me at the moment. I’m not looking forward to when I can’t really ask him to do it for me!

Jogging or Hiking?

Neither. Walking gently is my limit!

Bath or Shower?

Shower. I get trapped in baths as I’m overweight and have no upper body strength. I had a terrible time getting out of a slippery, deep bath a couple of years ago. Really quite unnerving!

Sneakers, or sandals?

Trainers – I have to wear orthopaedic inner soles, which preclude pretty sandals.

Glasses or Contacts?

Glasses. Since I was 17.

Hamburger or Taco?

If we’re talking home made, then probably some kind of bean burger (though I’m not vegetarian). Eating out – neither. We can do much better than that!

Couch or Recliner?

We have sofas. Though I like the idea of a recliner…

Online Shopping or Shopping in a Store?

Usually in shops. Though Amazon One-Click is a wonderfully terrible thing!

Receive: Email or Letter?

I like receiving both, but letters are great. I need to write more too.

Passenger or Driver?

If Mr FD isn’t in the car, I love driving. Don’tlike driving with him as a passenger though: I always feel judged.

Tablet or Computer?

I have both, and I use both. Slight preference towards the PC though.

Most important in a partner: Intelligent or Funny?

DEfinitely both..

Car or Truck?


Blue or Red?

Depends what we’re talking about. But I don’t have a favourite colour out of these two.

Money or Free Time?

At the moment I have plenty of free time. More money would be nice, but that makes me sound a bit grasping!

Amusement Park or Day at the Beach?

Wouldn’t choose either – a walk in the country, or a day sight seeing is preferable.

At a movie: Candy or Popcorn?

SHOCK! HORROR! PROBE!!! Do you not know The Code of Conduct?!

Pen or Pencil?

What am I doing with it?

Toilet paper: Over or Under?

Over. Definitely.

Cups in the cupboard: Right Side Up or Up Side Down?

Upside down. Unless there’s a kitten in it!

Pancake or Waffle?

Crepes – with either lemon & sugar, or Nutella.

Coke or Pepsi?

Wouldn’t choose either.

Coffee Cup or Thermos?

I don’t walk around with drinks. But I would always have a coffee at home (until now, when I tend to go for fruit tisanes. I’ve lost enjoyment of coffee)

Blinds or Curtain?


Train or Plane?

Train. I rerally don’t enjoy flying at all.

Phone or Tablet?


Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee?

I’ve never had iced coffee. Cold coffee seems like a weird thing to drink through choice.

Meat or Vegetables?

I like both. But I could (reasonably happily) live a vegetarian lifestyle. Except for the odd full English breakfast, or bacon/ sausage sandwich!

International Vacation or a New TV?

Holiday. Couldn’t be bothered about the TV, though Mr FD might beg to differ.

Save or Spend?

Spend. If I have it, I usually spend it.

Honesty or Other’s Feelings?

If I can manage it, both. Otherwise, it’s a bit of a fudge…

Coffee or Tea?

In a normal situation, coffee – but it’s got a nasty bitter taste at the moment.So fruit juice or infusions for me.

TV or Book?

I enjoy both. It depends on the time of day, the book, or the TV show.

Movie at Home or Movie at the Theater?

I like going to the CINEMA, but we don’t go that often.

Ocean or Mountains?

No preference – they are both amazing.

Horror Movie or Comedy Movie?

I have never seen a horror movie, and don’t intend starting now.

City or Countryside?

Well, we live in a small country village now, which I love, but I do miss things about the city – especially the city of Milton Keynes where we lived before moving out here.

Winter or Summer?


Mac or PC?

PC. If I really cared.

Console Gaming or PC Gaming?


Soup or Sandwich?

Both – soup-and-a-sandwich is a favourite lunch.

Card Game or Board Game?

I don’t really enjoy either, except an occasional game of crib.

Camping or Binge Watching Shows at Home?

Both sound horrendous!

Working Alone or Working in a Team?

I’ve done both. They’re both fine, in different ways, and tricky, in different ways.

Dine In or Delivery?

I love eating out, especially as it can be done so reasonably here. I’m SO looking forward to having my tastebuds back!!

Sweater or Hoodie?

I love pullovers. Definitely a pullover.

Motorcycle or Bicycle?

I’m erring towards an e-bike. I’ve never been on a motorbike, and nor do I wish to.

Book or eBook?

I can’t say it better than Gemma-“Wheelescapades” herself: EBook for ease, nothing better than the feel and smell of the real thing though.

When sleeping: Fan or No Fan?

No fan. And very often a HWB

TV Shows or Movies?

I prefer watching TV shows on the TV, but am not averse to watching a film on TV.