Changing attitudes…

It struck me, as I sat waiting for my mammogram results, how events can change attitudes. I know this is really quite obvious, when you think about it, and I suppose I knew it on an intellectual level, but I hadn’t really thought about it before.

Before November 2017, I had no problems going for my bienniel* mammograms. Being tall enough to reach the plates without standing on tippy-toes, and being (cough) large on top, I found them uncomfortable, but not painful. Waiting for the results was just a formality.

On Wednesday, I had a mammogram & ultra sound; the first since the tumour was discovered (and removed!) And my attitude was so different! Before I hadn’t considered that they might actually find anything wrong; even when the doctor said that there was something “odd” and I needed to go back for an ultrasound (sorry, they couldn’t fit me in that day, but in a fortnight would be fine!) I scarcely imagined that it might be cancer. This time, I was worried before the mammogram, I was worried during, and I was worried after! It wasn’t until – immediately after the ultrasound – the doctor said “It’s fine. It’s all clear” that I was able to relax. And even have a bit of a weep!

I can’t go back now to that carefree attitude. Every mammogram is going to be the same: holding my breath until I get the all clear. But it’s so important. Don’t hold back. If you are offered a breast check then take it! Having mine caught the cancer early enough to stop it in its tracks.

Now I need to go and have a frottis!!

* I had to look this word up. I got bi-annual (twice a year) mixed up with bienniel (once every two years)


Three years ago…

…the world grew a little dimmer with the death of Alan Rickman.

A comment I wrote on Chomeuse With A Chou‘s blog reminded me of this wonderful actor, and I spent a few minutes watching videos of him. I have always said I could listen to him reading the telephone directory. Here is something better to listen to – that voice makes me melt.

That’s just living…

I found this on another blog (Deb’s World) and it seemed like a good way to look at this life of ours:



I would perhaps add “Hold on to God’s hand through the awful…” but this is what our life is: amazing, awful and ordinary. The trick is to appreciate whatever one can whenever one can.

With this thought in mind, I’m going to try to be more grateful this year – I was given myriad notebooks for Christmas, so this one seems like the ideal one for a Gratitude journal:

I will try to write at least one thing each evening that I am grateful for in this breathtakingly beautiful life that we lead.

I am using another notebook for another reason – but I’m keeping that under my hat until I know whether it’s going to be a success or not. I fear that, like so many other “determined resolutions” before it, this may also go down the pan, but we shall see.

What about you? Do you make NY resolutions, only to break them by the end of January?


Well…hello there!

Goodness me, long time no see!

Another busy week, including a meal out at friends’ on Monday, meeting another friend for drinks and nibbles on Thursday, then the “Office Party” yesterday. Plus trying to plan for the week’s work! And deliver lessons! Last weekend was taken up with Christmas preparations – it all got a bit on top of me, unfortunately – I think it’s partly as a result of the hormonetherapy tablets I suffer from heightened anxiety: stuff which wouldn’t have bothered me before now makes me worried. For example, coming back from Strasbourg, I had 15 minutes between trains. Lyon Part Dieu is a fairly small station, with a limited number of platforms (8, I think) so it takes 5 minutes at most to get from one end to the other. But I was getting more & more anxious about missing the connection during the journey from Strasbourg. In the end I was waiting for 10 minutes on the platform for the Roanne train!

Anyway, the sorting and wrapping of the presents, the getting ready to post them, the decorating the house, the writing of the letter…I got so wrapped up (hah!) in all this that I forgot why we do these things…to celebrate the coming of Emmanuel, Jesus, God with us. I needed to take some deep breaths and ask God to keep reminding me!

Eveything is sorted now. Presents posted (How much?!), emails & letters sent (no cards being sent this year), house decorated (happy I found an Advent candle bridge for 4€ in Noz!) and the Christmas play list is ready. We just need to think about our food – which won’t be too elaborate, I don’t think. We’ll probably go shopping for that together on Friday or Saturday (which might be a bit busy!!) although the smoked trout is already in the freezer as I saw a special offer last week.

The Church Carol Service is tomorrow – mulled wine & mince pies afterwards – Mr FD is going to come,which will be nice. Today I’m just going to chill, and enjoy starting to relax…Although I do need to tidy the study, as it looks like a bomb’s hit it! But it’s a bit overwhelming, so I’ll just sit and panic about doing it. (Yes, really…Sigh)


Food highlights…

Actually, there haven’t been any particular highlights this week – the Chinese pork was OK, but nothing special.

I think the Feta stuffed chicken was the nicest (this is the correct recipe – I linked to the wrong one in an earlier post) but next time I’ll make the pepper sauce in a different way. It was too watery made like the recipe suggests. Tinned tomatoes, marinaded peppers and some harissa would be better than using stock, I think.

I was lucky enough to get another 1€ Lidl box – this one had about 10 packs of mange touts. A lot were too brown-spotted, but we got the equivalent of about 5 packets of good ones. That’s 1.25kg, which were blanched and frozen. There were also 1.5kg of mushrooms, all perfectly fine, which were sliced and frozen (some cooked, some raw), and 4 wrinkly parsnips. There was also a completely rotten celeriac and an unusable lettuce, but still it was worth the 1€ and a bit of extra work. Parsnips will probably go in soup at the weekend.

I’m looking forward to trying this recipe tomorrow: Stove top pulled pork, with coleslaw, and sweet potato wedges. My slow cooker died a death last winter, so I don’t have the convenience of that – we will get another, but just not yet. This recipe seems to give the delight that is pulled pork, without the slow cooker experience. We shall see.


I used to read a blog, written by “Betty the Wod Fairy” who did beautiful paintings. It was a gentle, spiritual, slightly whimsical blog, but somehow it slipped off my radar and I forgot about it.

Today, following links from other people’s blogs, I came across her new blog, Wood Fairy

Something she wrote really resonated with me – I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting it:

We are a happy little family, all working different hours/shift patterns, so disorganised, the oven is always on at weird times as it’s someones dinner time and someone elses breakfast! The beds are never made and the house is not as tidy as I would like, there’s a mountains of ironing and cat fur everwhere! But we know the important things: eating well, sleeping well, making sure everyone knows they are loved and appreciated – preferably daily, not worrying about the things we cannot change and… counting our blessings.

While my little family eats at the same time, and keeps the same waking/sleeping hours, rather than having different meals at the same time, I loved Betty’s words for reminding me that being perfect is not really the aim of the game. Loving, laughing and nurturing – THEY are the most important things.

I really appreciated the pizza evening that my friends organised for my birthday last night. It was a great time.