Cooking with Cats.

Just to raise a smile on a Monday morning!



Cats and Tablets.

Our lovely Pomme cat is getting old – we don’t know exactly how old, but the SPA reckoned she was about 2.5 years old when we got her 13 years ago. Over the past year she’s been less mobile (but not by much) , more cantankereous and been eating more but not filling out.

Yesterday was her annual vaccination and check up. The vet said that she has renal problems and a failing heart. So she has to have different (expensive) food – though cheaper on Amazon than at the vets – and a daily tablet. Hey ho.

We started yesterday with a worming tablet. Crushed up in tuna, she carefully ate around the bits of tuna with the tablet on, and devoured the rest. So we put her “special” food on top – she ate some of the tablet. We’re not sure how much. Another cat ate the rest…but that won’t do them any harm, as it is only a worming tablet.

Today, the heart tablet was crushed and added to a prawn. Another prawn was offered first. Sniffed and licked…and rejected. Oh. That wasn’t even the one with the tablet in! We may have to think again…

I’m considering crushed tablet mixed into butter and then dropped into her mouth, or smeared on gums. She has no real choice then. But I think today’s tablet might have to be counted as a failure! There’s a video on YouTube about how to feed a pill to your cat, but quite frankly, the cat looks as though he’s been sedated as he is extremely cooperative. I can’t imagine many cats like that!

We’ve got to take her back in a month to see how she’s getting on…but we do know she’s not diabetic. Thankfully, we do have some emergency “cat” funds put to one side, as this may start getting a little expensive.


Here’s a Simon’s Cat to make us smile…

First day back…


Ah – La Rentrée, a tradition in France that is well explained by this blog post – so much so, that I won’t even try to explain it, but urge you to go across to read the article – but basically, it is the return to school, and also the return to work that takes place in September.

For me, I have had a late rentrée, as my “Arret du Travail” was until the end of September. But yesterday, I started work.

Wednesday is the day that I go to Roanne, and work with (mostly) young people from collège (middle school) and Lycée (6th form college equivalent) I finished with three students last year, as they took their BAC and all did well. Hannah and Inès are now studying medicine in St Etienne, and Emeline is studying Tourism in Lyon. I did, however, pick up one new student – the sister of Inès, and Maelan (who I’m still teaching) – but decided to try to space them out a little better so I had more than 10 minutes (after my drive from one student to another) to eat my lunch!

My timetable is now:

10.15-11.45 Yvalda – an older lady who is an Estate Agent. She wants to improve English as she’s a member of Zonta International, a ladies’ group, originating from the US. The group meetings are held in English.

11.45 – 12.30 Travel & lunch. This longer pause gives me about 25 minutes or so to eat, depending on the traffic between Yvalda’s apartment and the car park where I eat lunch. Much better!

12.30-13.15 Valentin – he’s in Première – the penultimate year of Lycée. He is concentrating on the sciences, but thinking about engineering as a career choice.

I then scurry across the road to…

13.20 – 14.20 I teach Adam, who is in Troisième, the last year of Collège. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw him – in the 9 months since I last taught him he has shot up, and is now definitely a young man! I actually mistook him for his older brother!

14.20-15.20 Yannis is Adam’s older brother, and Hannah (medicine in St Etienne)’s younger brother. He’s also  in Première and  concentrating on the sciences. He, Valentin and Maelan (see below) are all good friends.

I then have 5 minutes to drive to…

15.25 – 16.10 Maelan. Another one who’s in Première and concentrating on the sciences! He is the younger brother of Inès.

16.10 – 16.55 Aya – she is my new student. She’s in CM2, which is the last year of Primary School. She has been desperate to take English lessons with me for the last year, so is very keen and motivated at the moment!

Hop back in the car for a ten minute drive to…

17.05 – 17.50 Clément – he’s the younger brother of Emeline (Tourism in Lyon) and is now the student I’ve been teaching longest. I started teaching Pierre Damien, his older brother, back in about 2010, and gradually started teaching Emeline and then Clément. P-D is now also doing medicine in St Etienne. He’s been there for 3 years, and, I believe, is doing well.

That would be when I finished – an hour earlier than last year – but Valentin’s mum has asked if she can have lessons too, so from next week I will

hop back in the car for a ten minute drive back to…

18.00 – 18.45 Marie-Pierre. I can’t tell you anything about her yet!!

It will take me about 30 minutes to drive home, so I should be back by 19.30. Mr FD will be tasked with preparing dinner, and, I hope, clearing up afterwards. Although we usually have a who-cooks-doesn’t-clear-up rule, the fact that I’ll’ve been out working all day while he’s been at home makes me feel he should do the clearing up too!

Next week I’m also starting with more lessons in Clermont – Tuesday afternoon for three hours, and Thursday afternoon for four. So again, Mr FD will be cooking those days, although I might bring myself to clear up then! It won’t have been such a long day.

Then a fortnight later I’ll have another three hours on Monday morning, so my working week is starting to get a bit fuller. I hope that I’ll be able to pick up some more hours on Tuesday and Thursday morning, but it depends what demands for training come in to ILS. Still, I’ll be working a 20-hour week, which isn’t bad, especially if you factor in the travel – an hour each way to Clermont, and 30 minutes to Roanne.

I’m happy to say I wasn’t too tired when I got back home. I think that I am fully recovered. I saw the Radiographer on Monday, who thinks that everything is doing what it should be. My breast is still sensitive and a little sore, and it’s uncomfortable raising my right arm to its full stretch, but he didn’t seem concerned by either of these things. I need a mammogram before seeing the oncologist in January (but I’m putting that off till December, as my breast is still a bit painful), and I also have to see the surgeon…After which I just have yearly check ups. My homonetherapy is fine – I have a few side effects, but nothing too dire. Some joint pain, a few extra-hot flushes, and some extreme skin dryness in various places: I can cope with this. I haven’t noticed any real psychological effects, such as anxiety, or mood swings, but they may yet arrive!! Of course, Mr FD might say the mood swings have already arrived!!


Today I am mostly thinking about Food…

All my Italy posts have been scheduled posts, written when I had some time and blogging mojo; the three that follow are also already written and scheduled. But this is a real-time post…

I’ve got dodgy knees. Going upstairs is painful; going downstairs is painful. The advice given by the doctor ( ascend to the heavens, descend to hell – i.e. good knee leg first going up, bad knee leg first going down) isn’t very helpful when you have to simply consider which knee is best when they both hurt! It’s probably a mixture of arthritis, old knee injury, hormone therapy tablets (which have promised me joint pain) and – aye, here’s the rub – weight.

I’m not light. I was kind of hoping I might have done a bit of wasting away during chemotherapy, but that didn’t happen. I looked at this photo of mum and I (you’ll see it again later) and thought “There’s a spare tyre or two!” (especially when seen next to my mum!)

I’m also in the class of “obese” – not, thank heavens, “morbidly obese” which sounds terrible, but still obese.

So, we need to look at what we’re eating.


Lord, how many times have I said that?!

But with a taste for wine and snacks, it is hard!

We had some limited success with the 5:2 diet, but I didn’t enjoy it. My most successful weightloss has always been on Slimming World, so I’m heading back in that direction…However, here in France it can be hard

a) to decline wine and lovely things when we go out, or when friends come for aperos

b) to find the range of low fat things that are the base of so many SW recipes. I’ve not found low fat cheese, or Warburtons sandwich thins, or cottage cheese or so many other things

But there are lots of healthier options that are easy to find: lean meat, fresh fruit and veggies, and so on.

So I’m not going to stress about it. I’m going to try SW recipes, and the SW programme, to the best of my ability but not worry if I am going out for a meal. I may choose the healthiest option on the menu, but I may decide not to. No problem. I’ll still have been eating better in the days before and the days after. So tomorrow, I'(m going to Lyon with Friend Alison, her mum and Friend Cathy. We’re going to a restaurant for lunch – I’ll choose what I fancy. As I’m driving I’ll only have 1 glass of wine, so that will be helpful. Actually, as it’s lunchtime I’ll only have one glass of wine! But when I get home I’ll just have a bowl of soup, and today I’ve been good:

  • Breakfast: half a portion of overnight oats. Small glass of orange juice. Didn’t like the overnight oats very much.
  • Lunch: Half a tin of baked beans on 2 pieces of toast, with a 0%fat “cheese” spread, banana.
  • Dinner: tzatziki chicken (already marinading) with a big salad and a small jacket potato. Apple.

Do you want to know what I’m eating each day? I don’t know if that’s your cup of tea – do tell me in the comments section.

I’m in Paris on Thursday and Friday this week, meeting the four candidates for the post of Bishop in the diocese of Europe. There’s going to be a reception after the Q&A session. I probably won’t hold back there either…

So, yes, I’m taking it seriously…mostly.