Back to the land of the living!

Hola, mes amis! (there’s a mix of languages!)

Here I am, generally feeling OK. And so I thought I should sign in to let you know how things are going. I’ll do an update on 40 Acts another time; today is just me. (How< self centred!!)

So on Tuesday I went to see a magnetiseur – the nearest translation I could find was hypnotherapist. But he didn’t really hypnotise me. He placed his hand on my stomach, my intestines, my throat: the idea being that these are the areas that would be worse affected by chemo, with nausea, stomach upsets etc. He then asked which side my “front door” was being fitted. I didn’t know but assumed it was the opposite side to the scars (I was in fact wrong) and he “drew” shapes on my upper chest with his fingers and blew on me. Bizarre. Well, I don’t know if what he did had any effect, but I have suffered from hardly any side effects. The “front door” has been a bit of a nuisance, as it is uncomfortable in bed, so maybe it would have been better if he’d blown on that side!!

Wednesday was the fitting of the “front door” (this is the permanent chamber fitted so that the chemo can be easily pumped into my blood stream) My appointment was at 7.00 so we had to get up at 5.30 (Yawn) Mr FD came with me, then, when I was being operated on, went & did the shopping. It was done under local so there was no waiting around afterwards and I was home by lunchtime. I dozed in the afternoon, mostly because I’d been up so early!!

On Thursday it was C-day. The day for my first chemo. I’d slept reasonably well the night before, & the taxi-ambulance picked me up at 8.00.There was a nerve wracking wait, as Dr Vincent (chemotherapist) was behind. But once he’d checked my ECG, my blood test and everything else I was cleared for commencement. Everybody – nurses, ancillary staff, other patients – were lovely and the day went quite quickly. I had a lunch of salad and meat, and chatted to a lovely lady who is an English/French/maths teacher called Charlotte. I was given a “soins des mains” – not exactly a manicure, but a gentle hand massage and dead skin removal. Mr FD popped in and we had a cup of tea together before he went for his interview…then at 4.00 my ambulance-taxi took me home. Whereupon I was like a zombie!!

I should have gone straight to bed, but I stayed up, lolling and sleeping on the sofa. Next time will be different! Then on Friday & Saturday I stayed in bed all day, mostly sleeping and listening to the radio, because my eyes didn’t want to be open! Mr FD looked after me beautifully, with just enough tempting morsels for me to eat. I felt no nausea, very slight stomach pains and that’s all! I got up on Saturday evening for a while. My biggest problem has been a bad back from staying in bed too long!!

Sunday I was out of bed and awake for most of the day – just lolling in a chair, listening to music, flicking through a magazine, watching TV – and then yesterday I got dressed too! We went across the road to see friends for about an hour – I wore a mask and gloves to avoid infection, especially as Monique has a cold. I’m still snoozing in the afternoon & actually, today, (at 11.10 CET) I feel very sleepy. But generally, this session of chemo has only affected me with tiredness. I know that others may be different, but I thank God (and the Magnetiseur!) for the relative ease of this. Mr FD has been a real star, keeping everywhere clean, clearing up after cats, encouraging me to eat, helping me do stuff I can’t manage alone.

The good news is that both my oncoloist and mt chemotherapist were perfectly positive about me going to Manchester next weekend AS LONG AS I take sensible precautions

  • wear a mask in crowds at all times
  • take my temperature regularly & if I have a fever go to A&E immediately (hmmm, with the NHS in crisis that could be tricky)
  • do not kiss or shake hands with anyone
  • wear gloves at all times
  • keep scrupulously clean – wash hands regularly (even when wearing gloves)
  • rest, rest, rest
  • listen to what my body is saying & don’t push it.

SO, hopefully, I will be going to the UK after all! Mr FD has booked us into the nearest carpark to the airport terminal, has investigated wheelchairs at the airport (as budget airlines are always furthest away!), reserveda car, and booked a hotel room less than a kilometre from the venue for Elbow. Fingers crossed that I can manage…and that I will be sensible enough to say “I can’t manage” if that is indeed the case.

Thank you to everyone for their prayers, good wishes, comments and gifts. They have been truly appreciated.


You are my sunshine…

Ooh, look at me! I’ve been nominated for a “Sunshine Blogger” award, by Chomeuse with a Chou

Why, Thank you, Chomeuse!

The Sunshine Blogger award is given by bloggers to bloggers who inspire positivety and creativity in the blogging community.


1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and link back to the blog.

2. Answer 11 questions that the Blogger asked you.

3. Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the awards and write them 11 questions.

4. List the rules and display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post on your blog.

So, I’ve thanked Chomeuse, and I have linked to her blog. I have listed the rules and displayed the logo. Here are Chomeuse’s 11 questions and my (not very interesting) answers

  1. Why did you start your blog? I can’t really remember! It was way back in 2009, and I think I decided that I needed to try and use technology a bit more. I enjoy writing, so a blog seemed like a good idea. I had another one called Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner  where for quite some time I wrote my weekly menu plans andtried to be accountable for weight loss. It didn’t work.
  2. What are your favourite things to do (when you aren’t blogging, of course)? I enjoy reading, and zentangling too                        

We live in a beautiful part of the world, so while I don’t walk far or fast, I do enjoy a stroll. Drinking wine and eating with friends coimes high on the agenda too. And I’m lucky enough to love my work as an EFL teacher.

  1. If you could only visit one place, where would you go? I really don’t know! I suppose I should say the UK, as my family and friends are there!
  2. Do you have a favourite post from your blog? No, not really. Certain ones are poignant, remembering friends/cats who have died, others remind me of holidays, but none are a “favourite” really.
  3. What is your favourite book? (If it is far too difficult to choose, who is your favourite author?) Even choosing a favourite author is too hard! Among my favouritte authors are Philippa Gregory, Patrick Gale, Elizabeth George, Peter Robinson.
  4. What are your goals for your blog? Er…I don’t really have any! I’m a teeny bit envious of those bloggers who are sent things to review (freebies!), but I think what I enjoy most is making contact with people from across the world. So many people have been so genereous recently, over my cancer, that I have felt a little humbled. I’d love to meet some of these people some time!
  5. Which three possessions would you grab in the event of fire? I refuse to answer that because we have 4 cats. Therefore one of them will get rather anxious about being the one left behind!
  6. Do you live in the town or country where you were born? Neither the town (Liverpool) nor the country!
  7. Do you have any unusual phobias? I’m not sure it’s a phobia, per se, but grubby little scraps of paper make me retch, and I struggle to peel off the residue that stickers have left behind. I’m not afraid of them. They just make me feel queasy.
  8. Do you speak another language? Well, I can get by in French, but I don’t speak it well.
  9. If you could chat to any person in history (real or literary) who would you choose? I was going to say Jesus, but actually I suspect he might make me feel a bit uncomfortable, and ask some awkward questions! I’d like to speak to Judas Iscariot – I have never seen him as the “bad guy” and would really like to discuss his reasons for betraying Christ. I suspect that, for him, there was a good reason for doing it…Maybe he didn’t see it as betrayal, maybe he didn’t mean it to end how it did. Maybe he was as shocked as everyone else…But I don’t doubt that he will be in Heaven!

Somehow the numbering system went wrong, but honestly, I’ve answered all 11 questions.

Thinking of 11 other questions is hard, but I’ll give it a go:

  1. What is your most embarrassing/long abiding memory from childhood?
  2. What was the name of your first pet? What animal was it? Was there a reason for calling it that? (does that count as 3 questions?!)
  3. What did you detest at school?
  4. Who was your major “crush” when younger? (Or maybe now!)
  5. Is there a food that you hated when younger, but like now? Do you have a recipe to share?
  6. If you had to give up either your computer or your TV which would it be? Why?
  7. Share a favourite song/ band with us. (OK, so it’s not a question, but still…)
  8. Where did you spend a memorable holiday? Why was it so memorable?
  9. Where would you like to live, if it could be anywhere in the world?
  10. Do you enjoy poetry? Why/why not? Can you share a favourite poem with us?
  11. Do you have a quotation that you find particularly inspiring? Can you share it?

As for naming 11 other bloggers, that’s even harder, as several that I read don’t take part in things like this. However, here is a list of 11 blogs I enjoy reading, and maybe they’ll join in. If they don’t, I encourage you to visit them anyway, as they are a goo

  1. Ariel at “A Blog of Hours”
  2. Bob & Sophie at “Bob & Sophie’s French Adventure
  3. Amanda at “Chez le Reve Français
  4. All the cats and woofies at “Daily Feline Wisdom
  5. Kezzie at “KezzieAG
  6. Notes from A Broad” – I know this lady’s name, but I just can’t remember it!!
  7. Pompom at “PomPom’s Ponderings
  8. Fishcake Random at “The Frugal Handmade Home
  9. Ang at “Tracing Rainbows
  10. Michelle at “Boulderneigh
  11. Ilona at “Life After Money
  12. And a bonus one: Lou over at “The New Mrs M

These are not the only blogs I enjoy, but some have been nominated by Chomeuse already, and I had to choose just 11. These are a mix of content and so some might appeal more than others, but I urge you to visit any that are unfamiliar to you, so you can see if you like them too!

Of course, if you are reading this and would like to try answering my questions anyway, then please go ahead and do so! Please leave a comment though so I can visit you and read your answers!

A blast from the Past

Back in the day when I was using the Wibsite to host my blog, (You can read some of the posts in the sections “Dregs from the Teapot” on the header) I was having some temporary difficulties, and so I created another site called “A temporary View”…The address for this seems to be the default setting for links to my signature when I make comments, so I’m trying to lose this very short blog. However, I don’t want to lose the one interesting post that I made on that very temporary blog (in reality, it only lasted for a month) so here it is.

“OUR TIME IN THE SOUTH” 26/05/2013

Here’s a report about our lovely holiday spent near Mont Ventoux. Warning: long and picture heavy!

We left St Just on Saturday morning and the drive down was horrid. It rained all the way, and lashed it down for part of the way. We had hoped to get to the Chambres d’Hotes in time for lunch but had come off the motorway a couple of junctions early due to the traffic, the stop-start nature of the flow and the weather. We stopped in Vaison-le-Romain for a salad in a Pizzeria: we could have explored the Medieval town…but between the car park and the Pizzeria (first restaurant that we found that was open!) we got fairly wet.

We both chose the Salade Gourmande, which included smoked duck breast, chicken livers and foie gras. Very enjoyable. As usual, I forgot to take a photo of the meal, but here’s a photo of the restaurant


We got to the Chambres d’Hotes a little later, and met up with Louis and Odette. We chatted and  Louis and Mr FD talked plans for taking on the Ventoux.  After the arrival of Laurent, their son, everyone watched the Heineken cup final between Clermont and Toulouse (our lot were disappointed when Clermont lost. Unlike Sarah at Le Petit Village!) Then we went into Bédouin, the nearest town, for a very enjoyable meal. I chose a goats’ cheese/tomato combo, followed by pintade with a black olive sauce and strawberries for dessert. No photo!

Odette decided to try to learn one word in English a day. So: Odette’s Word of the day: poppy (coquilicot in French)

Odette and I went to the wonderful (but admittedly fairly tourist-orientated) market at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which is a beautiful little town, where the River Sorgue runs through the centre in various little canals and tributaries.


There are water wheels galore, which were used in earlier days to provide power to various industries. Now they are just picturesque reminders of the past. I did buy a few bits – mostly to eat or drink (including a ginger sirop, which will, I’m sure, be used in my white chocolate & ginger cheesecake!)

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We got back quite late, but the Boys – who had been out on a fairly long ride “to loosen the legs” – had cooked lunch. We ate at about 3.00 and I thought that was our meal for the day, so I ate plenty. I suspect you can work out that it wasn’t our meal for the day…No, we went to another restaurant later on! Before that Mr FD and I went for a short walk around the Chambres d’Hotes – the weather was closing in, and there were thunderstorms around.

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The vineyards were claggy with mud, and  our boots ended up feeling like lead boots from the amount of mud clinging onto them! The vines weren’t as far along as they should be this time of year – the rain & lack of sun has had an effect on all the fruit trees in the area.



“Attention: Bird’s nest. Please don’t put anything in this letter-box”

We went out for dinner to a lovely restaurant, recommended by Monique, the owner of the Chambres d’Hotes. Unfortunately it was only set menus, so despite my huge lunch, I managed to eat another 3 courses – asparagus tart, bruschetta of red mullet with poischichade – chickpea purée – and then a rather odd dessert of sweet ravioli stuffed with apricots, served with creme anglaise. The things I do…!


Odette’s Word of the day: vineyard  (vignoble in French)

This was Mont Ventoux day! (SFX: dramatic music!)


Odette was going on a less strenuous ride, the Boys were climbing Ventoux, and I was Official Bread Buyer and Photographer. So the cyclists set off


while I get on with the important task of ingratiating myself with one of the Chambre d’Hote’s cats


going around the market, buying bread and generally doing nice things


until suddenly I realised that, if I didn’t get a wiggle on, they’d be up the summit of Ventoux before I got there! It was a bit hairy driving up, as there must have been hundreds of cyclists going up. There was some kind of event, as there were scores of Netherlanders all in the same cycle kit cycling up, followed by their own private ambumance, plus with several refreshment stops and dedicated encouragers en route. There were also scores of other riders, some wobbling all over the road in exhaustion. Added to this a group of motor cyclists who wanted to overtake me on the winding route, you can imagine that it wasn’t much fun. I caught Louis and Mr FD up not much more than a kilometre from the summit (phew!) and so was able to snap our Brave Heroes in full cycling mode


And, yes, that is snow behind them – it was 3° at the top. And there I was in my summery plimsolls!


Here they are at the top. Mr FD grinning (“I’ve just cycled up here!”) with triumph. I do have to say how very proud I was of him! Well done Boys! Laurent isn’t there because (fit young thing that he is) he had got to the summit earlier, and had cycled down the other side so that he could turn round and do it all again. Mad. The two of them then zoomed off downhill, while I took it more slowly (stuck behind the Netherlander’s ambulance, which stopped next to anyone from their team who seemed to be struggling to check they were okay. And to have a long conversation. Sigh) I also stopped at the Tom Simpson memorial


This is what my cyclist Mr FD climbed:


The white isn’t snow (although you can see a line of it at the side of the road) it is white pebbles – nothing grows up there: too bloody windy!

We ate a hearty lunch – but I’d wised up to this, and only had bread and salad and cheese. The cyclists had fully deserved their guacamole, rice and tomato-olive sauce, but I didn’t feel I merited the calories! In the afternoon, there was a general air of langour so I went out for a walk, while Mr FD lolled on the bed snoozing and reading. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t warm enough to go in the pool…

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By the time I got back (slightly sore feet) and had a beer, Gilles and Sylvie had arrived, Gilles full of what he was going to climb (despite being fearfully out of training). Sylvie patiently raised eyes heavenward and kept schtum. Heading out that evening to the restaurant, the conversation was full of joshing and discussion, in rather-too-rapid French for me to keep up. But it was fun






This evening, I had a sort of tuna mousse (Flan de thon aux capres), and then a pork dish (Sauté de porcelette aux artichauts) with strawberry crumble for dessert (Crumble de fraises aux pistaches) Again, all very delicious – and very good value at 16€ (£13,50) for the meal.


I forgot to take a photo of the meal – but here’s the bread basket!


Odette’s Words of the day: artichoke  (artichaud in French) AND – feeling brave! – asparagus (asperge in French)

Everybody went out cycling (though not Ventoux today – Gilles needs to get some kilometres in his legs first!) while Sylvie and I went out for the day, to visit Fontaine-de-Vaucluse which is the source of the River Sorgue. Last time Mr FD and I were here it was the height of summer and the river was a mere trickle, with the source just a big hole with a puddle at the bottom. This time…


…it was a bit more than a puddle…


…and definitely more than a trickle!

We had lunch overlooking the waterwheel – omelette and salad (and chips!) – and then took the scenic route back, through Gordes, Murs, and the beautiful gorges.


After a coffee back at the Chambres d’Hotes, we all went to Vaison la Romaine again, where we split up. Gilles, Louis and Laurent to find a bar, Sylvie and Odette to tour the shops and Mr FD and I to visit the Medieval town which we’d missed out on at the beginning.


Mr FD took this picture, and then decided to wait for those people to go so he could take another..but they just stayed, and stayed, and stayed. In the end we gave up, and carried on up the hill. We were tempted to loiter in the gateway and spoil their next picture, but in the end we were kind!


Photo of (Hey-I-climbed-that!) Mont Ventoux from the Chateau.

If you read my other blog, you might know that I recently won a beautiful bag in a giveaway. I took it away with me, and here I am, modelling Vicki’s gift around the Roman remains at Vaison-la-Romaine


We found an ice cream (coconut and melon for me; cookies-and-cream and coconut for Mr FD) and then headed back to meet up. Then back to another restaurant in Bédouin for dinner. It was another lovely meal : piperade à la Provençal, beef in shallot sauce and then strawberry dessert:



Odette’s Word of the day: Goodbye  (au revoir in French)

Mr FD and I were leaving today – I was working on Thursday – so, although he was a little tempted, he didn’t go cycling in the morning. Especially as the Mistral was doing its bit and blowing a gale! Instead we meandered towards L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, stopping to take a few photos at Suzette

IMG_1499Les Dentelles de Montmirail


Arty shot of (Hey-I-climbed-that) Mont Ventoux

Another pause to buy wine at the co-operative at Beaumes-de-Venise, a stroll around the breezy streets of L’I-s-l-S and one more meal: mousse aux tomates aux basilic, magret de canard with honey (mmmm!) and then faiselle (a type of creamy cheese) with a raspberry coulis. Then we were off home, pausing at Ikea in St Etienne to buy a toilet seat. Oh! the glamour!!

And there you have it! Our lovely few days in the South.


Hello everyone.

Sorry I’ve not been around much.

Some rather big and scary issues have raised ugly heads. Hopefully, they will turn out to be nothing, but we are Waiting and Seeing.

I will post Budapest photos when I work out how to transfer them from my phone (or rather, when Mr FD has the time to show me!!)

But for now, let’s thank God for all the good things he has given uis, and the fact that He is boundless in love and strength and justice.

O come, O come, Emmanuel.

Desiderata 1 and 2

Way, way back in 2015 a blogger that I enjoy reading, Ariel, wrote a post about the Desiderataand it inspired me to start a new art project

I took this project out, every now and then, and finally created 18 postcard size pieces of art. Finished in February, I have decided to share it with you…As always, click on the photo for a better image

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.