Week of 6 November

Have you dropped a clanger? For ultimate wellbeing we should drop a clanger a day so says Dr Phil Hammond. Sounds so like a Daily Mail headline. Love it. CLANGER is an acronym of the following:

  • C – connect with people
  • L – learn something new
  • A – (get) active
  • N – notice the things around you and savour the moment
  • G – give thanks for something
  • E – eat well
  • R – relax

Well this week, Julia and I connected (that’ s C done) and visited Mottisfont this week. The sun was shining and the colours of the leaves were spectacular (that’s an N out of the way).

Whilst there we have a guided visit of the house and learnt (L) about the owner and her wartime diary entries. We walked the muddy track along the River Test which was flowing quite fast. (That must be an A and another N). We had time for a coffee and a tiffin (beautiful icing) before our timed tickets to the Kaffe Fassett exhibition, which was well worth the journey, and then lunch before departing to the farm shop in the next village (E) to get Jeremy’s dinner. Thanks Julia for the lovely ginger and lemon tray back.  Delicious. (That just leaves an R – relax? – no time for that!). Just goes to show that a day out with a girlfriend is good for your health!

Jeremy and I shared a cake at the Blue Café before meeting with Dr Jackson. My eyes fell in love with a tripe decker Victoria Sponge. It was a huge slice – I could never have finished that off on my own!  Dr Jackson’s matter of fact approach (last post) rather de-railed us and I had my first major melt down since receiving the prognosis last April.  But after a big dose of hemp oil (omega 3) and a pep talk from my mother, my spirits were lifted and in 48 hours was back on track…

We dropped more CLANGERS when went to Cambridge to visit Jeremy’s father for a couple of nights. We saw the American Madingly Cemetery appropriately on 11/11 and the Degas exhibition the following day at Fitzwilliam Museum. We popped in to Fitzbillies café which is THE place to go in Cambridge and I had a date and granola slice. Slightly healthy!

It was nice to catch up with Helen, Andy and Sarah over dinner while we were in the area. Before heading home we took Kenneth on the ‘guided bus’.  No, no dogs involved. A driver and bus that travel the old railway line to St Ives (Huntingdon this time) which is a lovely little place with so much character and set beside the Great Ouse River.  The old bridge unusually has a medieval chapel on it – one of 4 in the UK apparently.

Judging from the shops, Christmas is next week..

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Putting a positive spin on it…

There’s nothing like seeing Dr Jackson and getting a reality check – a reminder that this is palliative care… So the tumour has grown. Dr J measured it on the latest scan image (Oct) and in the 3 months since the last quarterly scan (July) it has grown around 1cm. Putting a positive spin on it – that is 50% less than the 3 months prior (Apr to July) when Mr Cecil measured the re-growth as 2cm!

Is that the cannabis CBD oil? I started that in July!

So we have agreed to delay the next round of chemo as I feel fine and have no physical symptoms. I’ll have another quarterly scan in January 2018 and see him again two weeks after that for the results. However, should I have any pain then I contact him immediately to start chemo!

With some good news we have opened a bottle of bubbly that I purchased from Waddesdon earlier in the year. Cheers! And opened some nuts to stop the sugar spike….

What will I do differently in the coming 3 months? Nothing. But I think I will review the amount of sugar I ingest (from tomorrow when the bottle is empty)…

Week of 30 October

Our invitation to Clarence House for a private shopping event in aid of Prince Charles’ Charitable Foundation arrived weeks ago. The 2 November finally arrived and it was the highlight of the week!  We were early and stopped at Café Concerto for a cuppa and I had a strawberry macaron served on a cute cake stand.

Then we turned up at Clarence House (bumped into Dame Judy Dench on her way out) to a friendly welcome, glass of champagne and a dinky mince pie. The merchandise was in the Queen Mum’s drawing room, the library and dining room. No photos permitted. My favourite was the the Drawing Room with its pale blue walls hung with oil paintings of royals over time, pale blue silk curtains and two displays of fine porcelain either side of the fireplace.  In the dining room I spotted a John Piper painting, due to his unique dreary style, and then spotted a whole lot more.  The Queen Mum had commissioned these paintings of war time Windsor castle,  in case it was bombed to oblivion.  Did we buy anything, you say? We spent enough to receive a complimentary humongous jute bag. We liked the champagne and so bought a bottle but when we got to the Walkie Talkie tower later in the day, we unfortunately couldn’t take it up to Level 35 – the Sky Garden. Not permitted. So Jeremy went up alone – I have been up there with Ruth – and when he re-appeared we headed off across the river to Floor 35 of the Shard where we both took in the rather hazy view from there! They weren’t so fussy!

Also this week, I had a lovely few days in Dorset with Sue at her holiday retreat. We met at Poundbury (HRH’s rather soulless village). It was refreshing not to see aerials, satellite dishes and dustbins but it lacks character and colour: no front gardens, no hanging baskets nor window boxes. We also visited Charmouth where we went fossil hunting. I found some specimens reminiscent of some found as a child and stored for years in a tin. The curator at the museum there explained one was ‘’beef rock and 200 million years old’’, another ‘’quartz and 100 million years old’’ and a colourful one with copper deposits was ‘’50 million years old’’. The dates are mind blowing. Sue found a colourful rock and was told it was ‘concrete and about 50 years old’. Did we laugh!  Of course, being by the sea meant there was plenty of fish on the menus for dinner! Local scallops, crab and sea bass. Delicious. We had some fine autumn weather for our couple of days and I toodled back home via Wareham, Studland and Sandbanks.

  Margie kindly gave me a couple of guest vouchers for the Regency Leisure Club to use the pool and as a thank you I took her to the Mug and Brew where I had a slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake (made like a Vic sponge) and very zingy lemon curd filling! I think the loaf version of this recipe is best though…

I’ve been mulling over the sermon we had from our new vicar Becky this week. She had told the congregation of ‘a newly married couple arriving very late and tired at their hotel. They found their room rather small, dark and with a sofa bed. In the morning they spoke to the Manager who said, ‘but that’s the lobby to your suite! Why did you sleep in the lobby?’ They had missed the doors that opened to a fantastic room with stunning views. Well Becky’s version had a religious link to it but I thought how many of us stay in the confines of ‘the lobby of our suite’ and don’t venture further. And how if we pushed ourselves to investigate beyond our self-made boundaries how much more enriched and fulfilled our lives would be. I’d like to think that this year, with all the research and online courses, I have nudged open the door, stepped inside and checked out the mini bar!  Looking forward to more thought provoking sermons from Becky…

Week of 23 October

”It’s all cake, holiday, cake, holiday!”, joked Jeremy.  Yes, guiltyyy!   This simple formula plus the therapies, supplements and exercise is working though.  I’m still here and approaching 19 months since the prognosis and 11 months since chemo with still no physical symptoms. Hurrah! Sadly, this week 20 years ago my father died of bowel cancer aged 60.  But since then, I see from the Future Learn online cancer related courses, that science has and is moving in leaps and bounds.  I keep an eye on trials for one I could qualify for and there is plenty happening for the 200+ cancer types around. This is great news for the future generations.

The other ‘C’ word is cake! I was at the hospital for my CT scan; they had trouble finding a vein, ”your veins are very thin”.  The rest of me isn’t!   I got a puncture in both arms in the end and got through it visualising the chocolate cake I was going to treat myself to afterwards.  It was the gooiest triple decker I’ve had in ages. A bunch of enthusiastic dentists sat at the next table discussing teeth health. I heard: ”Your teeth are nice” ”Oh but I like yours”….Note to self: brush teeth 30 minutes after eating cake. Is that practical?

Saw Alan the hypnotherapist this week for a new visualisation. I had a positive test for RAS wildtype last year and it was this week I learnt, on my online course, that the pesky protein had been promoting cell division resulting in the tumour.  The online course lecturer described it as ‘a switch stuck in the on position’.  A great concept for a visualisation.  I was early for our appointment and went to the Sefton Tea Room first.  I tiptoed up the stairs to avoid disturbing the horses in training, closed the door of the café behind me and the waitress said, ”good morning, how many of you are there?”.  ”Err one!” ”Well you can sit where ever you like”.  So I can – it’s empty!  I chose a slice of the rocky road cake which looked better under its dome…

Well, Carolyn and I had a catchup and celebrated her birthday at the Tea Cosy.  Here we are.  I chose a slice of The Friday Cake!  YUM! Really YUM! And yes it was on Friday.  I only had space for soup when I met Anne Marie later for lunch at The Flower Pot.  We both had the healthy and hearty vegetable soup.

                       

Also this week was the Didcot Food festival organised by Christine Wallace from GBBO.  (We’ve been to her house for Bake with Me sessions). She had her friends from GBBO, Great British Menu, Masterchef and BBC Oxford there.  It was very well organised with a variety of stalls and non-stop demonstrations. 

Julia and I were the first to arrive and met up with Sue and Janet later.  Here we are tucking into Red Velvet Cake  and 6 hours later finished the day with a cuppa before heading home.  The demonstrations were fab, we had front row seats and I got to meet the wickedly funny Candice.  Neither Charles nor Jeremy knew of Candice but they know of Caprice!!  Funny that..

So I uncovered a sermon written by my grandfather and published in October 1938 which I have posted under Wellbeing.  Even though it is 80 years old it has resonance today-about taking pleasure in silence.  I feel so lucky you know.  I met some people on a focus panel this week still taking anti-depressants years after their cancer diagnosis. ”My body’s let me down”.  No, your brain has….

Week of 16 October

Just blown in from St Ives, Cornwall where I had a short break with Julia and Storm Brian.  We went to see Barbara Hepworth’s Garden before they close it at the end of the month for conservation and to see the re-vamped Tate.  We stayed at the Harbour Hotel and Spa which is a lovely hotel above Porthminster beach and undergoing renovation too.  The receptionist didn’t know her rooms and our twin was infact a double.  So after carting our luggage to the room and back again and then being told ”there were no twin rooms available” and ” but it is a king size mattress”.  I smiled repeating, ”but we booked a twin”.  Would she ask 2 business men to share a bed? No.  This was like a red rag to a bull…  We were gasping. I was after complimentary tea  which the restaurant manager provided rather too willingly.  So when asked ‘would you like anything else?” I smiled ”do you have scones?”.  So we tucked into an afternoon tea in the lounge admiring a great seaview!! Anyway, we had someone else’s sea view twin room as they still hadn’t checked in….More scones required chef…

Yes, I did eat cake and here I am with a wonderful Jaffa Cake in the Olive Café.  Here are their homemade cakes. The café is situated in narrow streets where once old fishermen’s cottages now holiday cottages with links to the past – Pilchards, Red Sails, The Wreck, etc – are and many varied artists studios, including the Olive Café….I did make a purchase in Mike Lacey’s shop (the underwater photographer).

We enjoyed exploring, we enjoyed Barbara Hepworth’s garden and we enjoyed the Tate.  We enjoyed walking to Carbis Bay in the sunshine (wearing my newly purchased dotty Tate Cape for extra protection from the expected Storm Brian). We enjoyed dining at eateries with ‘Beach’ in the title!   The 3 Beach Cafés and Beach Restaurant.  There was the super supper of fish tapas or just fish fish.. Storm Brian finally arrived yesterday (Saturday) as the sun went down and the high tide was due. Sea, sand and sea weed got chucked over the sea walls and roads. However, at 8.30 am council workers and businesses were clearing up and when the tourists disgorged from my train home they saw a pristine town.

How could I forget, Julia and I did a fun Bake with Me session with Christine Wallace (an earlier quarterfinalist from GBBO) earlier in the week at her house.  We made 5 different – no not cakes but – tasty canapés….Guess what Jeremy had for dinner??

 

Week of 9 October

Ha, Ha, Ha.  Christine and I went to a free Laughter Workshop.  Te, He, He.  I’m still laughing about it. It was bonkers!  Laughter does have health benefits though; it creates serotonin which lifts your mood and boosts the immune system.  My jaw ached after so I must have produced litres of the stuff or does it come in grams??  At the Pink Place last week Debbie, who works there, was interested in my research I’ve filtered from the web on boosting our immune system so she can cascade it to other clients.  The bulleted list is now a new page under ‘Wellbeing’.

No exotic travels this week. So it has been back to the oxygen and juicing therapies.  It’s 2 weeks before the next scan so I feel the need for a last minute concentrated effort.  In Tesco, I saw a pile of reduced organic broccoli for mere pennies and have been overdosing on broccoli juice.  My taste buds have been  screaming, ‘just die cancer die’ so I treated them and my eyes to a delicious Chocolate and Mint Bundt at the Pineapple Palace when I was there with Alex, Maureen and Marion.  It was beautifully presented. Debbie (a different Debbie) had followed a Hummingbird Bakery recipe using, of all things, mayonnaise to ensure it is moist.  And it was! Yum!

Mum, Jeremy and I popped into the Black Beauty Café at the ‘Home of Rest for Horses’! We were supporting the Horse Trust in Bucks where we met the Met and Military’s retired horses along with other residents.  They’d had very impressive careers. It was a super outing which I can highly recommend for all age groups.  Here we are sipping tea from attractive pottery and tucking into coffee and walnut cake. An excellent combination as the protein in the nuts prevent a sugar spike!

So other cake eating exploits included a Mixed Berry Vic Sponge at the Blue Café.  I was at the hospital for a blood test required ahead of the scan.  The sponge was a drier texture more like a madeira cake but lots of butter cream and berries:)  I always read the Daily Mail while I am there and my stars that day said ‘you’ve come so far and achieved so much that you deserve a moment to admire your hard work’.   Well so I will! As it’s the Daily Mail it must be true….

Also, Mum and I were at Angelina’s building up our strength ahead of carpet choosing.  Her recently painted hall and stairs look fab, we have asked Michael, the decorator, to quote for our house too.  Anyway, I had the lemon drop sponge.  Have I ever said, I never take the end piece in case it has dried out.  This slice was slightly bigger too and very zingy! Nice! We chose Mum’s carpet quite quickly!  Sugar isn’t supposed to help you make clear decisions…

Onto the non-cake highlight of the week: Marion, Judy and I attended a lovely soiree at the beautiful circular Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel (it’s been 35 years! Doesn’t seem it. Where’s the time gone?).  Here the 255 men and 3 Island ladies are remembered in this National Monument.  There were stunning flower arrangements, angelic eye-watering singing and piano recitals including one from the vicar along with prosecco and exquisite little canapés.  I’m attending a canapé making workshop next week and I rather hope they are going to be a little bigger…

Week of 2 October

Ciao!  The week started with a pampering session at The Pink Place where it was nice to meet familiar faces, hear good news, get my nails painted, have an Indian head massage and eat cake!  Jenny, the practitioner, said, ”it (the head massage) helps the body where it needs it”.  Umm, something else to research to see if it will help  Project All Clear!

The next day, Jeremy and I went off to Milan for a 4 night stay so I could show him the sights that Shirley and I had seen on earlier visits this year and new adventures.  We based ourselves at the ADI Doria Grand Hotel who kindly provided a complimentary bottle of prosecco which went down very well since I am celebrating reaching the 18 month milestone since being given 18-24 months to live.  Cin Cin!

Over 2 days we travelled by train, ferry and bus and explored Como, Cernobbio, Moltrasio, Torno, Bellagio, Menaggio and Lenno.  And had a goodo time!  The towns on Lake Como are all so different from each other.  The memorable Moltrasio was a ‘real’ town with one café, bar and shop and locals said ”buongiorno” when passing.  And we replied something similar.  Here’s our delicious apple tart from the shop. (This was the ‘cake’ highlight of the week! This was the only Italian ‘cake’ of the trip! )Whereas the beautiful Bellagio with lots of tourist shops, bars, cafes and popular with Americans feels very different and serves coffee at three times the price!

So to heighten our entertainment we decided to visit places that didn’t end with a letter ‘O’:  Brunate, Mottarone, Stresa and Arona.  ‘A’s’ and ‘E’s’ but not ”A&E”.  No, we had an accident free, (but not incident free – to be explained), visit up Mount Mottarone – two cable cars and a chair lift to the top some 4000 feet up.  No stumbles. No gashes.  No blood. Just brilliant views over Lake Maggiore and then….. gusts…..that closed the cable car and delayed our descent!  We were at the half-way station and by the time the one bus arrived to rescue us there were 3 cable car loads of people!   On a positive, we had a scenic drive through the villages on the slopes and back to the bottom.  You could say getting back to Stresa was a little stressy…We think Stresa has a French Riviera feel to it – huge hotels, attractive long promenade with lots of seats, lots of greenery and lots of tourists until around 6pm when it was noticeable that everyone had gone back to their burrows. We found a restaurant next to the sea and had it to ourselves.  It was blowing a gale!  Maybe why? Napkins dispensers, ashtrays, menus, chairs were flying and sliding in the wind.  But Jeremy and I sat it out and enjoyed our vino and fish dinner…   Cin Cin! We didn’t have time to visit Arona in the end. Shame.  Maybe we’ll stick to towns ending with the letter ‘O’ – less drama:)

On our last day we walked all round Milan and ascended the stone stairs (919 of them) to the terraces of Milan’s Duomo for fab views over the roof tops of Milan. And descended them too…If you are going to do it then buy your tickets on line as the ticket office queues are so long and arrive early to avoid the long security queue.

So farewell.  To the last foreign trip of the year before the second round of chemo commences…

Week of 25 September

Someone asked me, ”Do you pray?”.  Well, not for myself. I feel more comfortable with a random dialogue throughout the day thanking God and my Guardian Angel for this and that; the last parking space, good news or a lovely view, etc.  On a workshop earlier this year, they called it Gratitude Therapy (unbeknown to be I have been practising this for a long time). Research does show it boosts the immune system along with many other health benefits. On the workshop, another cancer patient really didn’t get it and said ”what have I got to be grateful for?”.  Errrr, for being able to get out of bed? For being invited to the workshop?. There’s always something… Anyway, there are people who do pray for me and I am very grateful for that.  In October, I will achieve the first Milestone; it will be 18 months ago that I was told I had 18 – 24 months to live!  Pass me the bubbly!

This week was the monthly Esseborne Ladies Lunch and 8 of us fitted perfectly around a table: Val, Norma, Helen, Sandra, Margaret, Carole and Elaine and myself.  The speaker, on women artists gave an interesting slant and the food was fab as usual but no macarons with the coffee.  What is going on? Carole asked the waitress who said, ”not today”. Well, actually it’s not been the last time nor the time before.  So to get my macaron fix I went to Paul’s this week while  out shopping.  Here is a lush pistachio macaron – a week’s worth of sugar I wonder!  The other Paul’s I frequent is one at the Green Park.  Which links nicely to my day out to Green Park and the Royal Academy exhibition on Matisse and afternoon tea at Fortnum and Masons.  I met Fiona under the clock at Waterloo Station and we went off for a jolly time reviewing Matisse’s masterpieces along with the actual props he used in his artworks. We shuffled around the packed exhibition and I think because we saw the props it gave a different dynamic to other exhibitions we’d been to.  Did you know it is no longer PC to quote BC or AD and that one should use CE and BCE?  We are living in the Common Era and apparently according to Wiki this is not a fad, back in the 17th century it was known as the Vulgar Era….Anyway, here we are in Fortnum’s – there’s nothing vulgar about The Parlour – where we enjoyed scones and a large slice of cake…  I chose Victoria Sponge and Fiona the carrot cake. Delicious.  Unusually, there was almond (love almonds) in one of the layers.

Also this week, I had my four-weekly trip to Alan the hypnotherapist for a ‘top up’ and whilst there, I popped in Sefton’s Café in the stud.  I tiptoed up the wooden stairs adhering to the notice to be quiet only to find no one training in the ring and no one in the café. I chose  a triple decker Victoria sponge from under a dome – the others were all in a chiller unit and I recall last time the cake was quite solid – but this one had been chilled too; it was very tasty but, guess what, solid. What would Mary Berry say? So anyway, Alan and I concentrated on further visualisations to eliminate cancer from the abdomen area.  I do feel that working with one’s body, embracing the condition, taking responsibility for one’s own wellbeing is the way to go.  The next quarterly scan is due next month and Dr Jackson has opted to see the results of that  before the second round of chemo. He keeps asking ”how are you feeling?” and ”have you any physical symptoms?” ”I feel great and no I don’t”.   He said he’s normally prescribing treatments to relieve people of their physical symptoms.  I take this as a positive and that unusually the re-growth is slow. After the last chemo in December, he had said expect it to start growing again in 4-6 months…We’re now 9 months…

Marion, Janet, Judy and I went to see St Mary’s flower festival and it was beautifully decked out by many local people and organisations.  The Mayor and Mayoress were was there. Gosh they must get to eat a lot of cake during  their tenure! They were having refreshments with the vicar when we arrived.  I chose a piece of gluten free chocolate cake with a chocolate and banana filling.  I wonder if it was made with rice flour.  The sponge was very light.

I must add that I have been exercising this week as usual and I was pleased with myself for completing a demanding aqua aerobics session one morning  followed by a 7 mile Hackpen White Horse Walk with Jeremy in the afternoon.  Looking forward to doing the Pewsey White Horse Walk with Tina and Kelvin.  Another walk this week was a Wolf Walk with Liz at the Wolf Conservation Trust in Beenham.  We walked the local fields and footpaths with two wolves who enjoyed howling back to the others and then stayed for feeding time.  I understand where the phrase ‘to wolf it down’ comes from.  My goodness, they can crunch through chicken bones like we may chomp our way through crisps or mints….

We got our first Christmas card this week….

Week of 18 September

‘OMG! I’ve just locked myself out’, I thought as the door clicked shut.  Who do you call? A flower arranger!  Marion came to my rescue with a metal coathanger, flower arranging pliers and green sticky stuff from her car!  We ‘broke in’ rather too easily.  But at the Pineapple Palace I treated her to a slice of Debbie’s Eton Mess cake and we sat in the sun on the deck for a catchup.

So, the highlight of the week was a short trip with Shirley to Italy to see Verona.  It’s charming. We walked many of the narrow criss-crossing streets into the stunningly painted Cathedral and checked out the shops and Juliet’s balcony. Off the beaten track, we found a local café where we had coffee and cake.  I chose a volcano (right) with chocolate and pistaccio filling.  Exquisite! Shirley’s was a tart with an untranslatable filling…

Both EasyJet and Live Like a Local had recommended, the unassuming to look at, Terrazza Bar al Ponte (Ponte Pietra) where we had a delicious plate of local food and wine in their walled garden overlooking the bridge. As we sat under the umbrella, there was a hum of spoken Italian, chattering of sparrows and the  sound of the weir below us.  Perfection!  We doubt we would otherwise have stopped to go inside. We took up another EasyJet recommendation for supper – an Osteria off the beaten track also serving local food where I tried smoked horse… If I didn’t know, I’d have said it was venison.  You have to try these things…

I loved Shirley’s recommendation though – Amorino gelato. Five flavours of gelato layered to look like a flower with a macaron on the top. Heaven:) And there’s an outlet in London.

Milan was our base and we stayed at the ADI Doria Grand again; it’s very convenient for the central railway station. Another day trip was to Lake Como with the train to Varenna, then boat to Menaggio, a further boat to Belaggio and finally the catamaran to Como Town. There we got the train back to Milan.  Another fab day! We had blue skies, warm sunshine and plenty of stops with views for coffee, prosecco and aperol spritz! We tried a Trip Advisor recommendation for lunch in Menaggio and had the most delicious pizza.  It’s all in the ingredients and cooking. Supper that night was good old ravioli served at a table next to the water’s edge. What more could you ask for….

In Milan itself, we wandered new areas and streets we hadn’t been to on the last visit. It was the start of Fashion Week while we were there so we enjoyed people watching at our coffee stops. We oggled (without buying) the wonderful patisseries.  How do the Milenese stay so slim…Maybe they just oggle too…

We had a lovely time and the next visit Jeremy is coming with me  so I can show him around the places Shirley and I went to……

Week of 11 September

If you are a fan of the GBBO, then you may remember Christine Wallace from Didcot who was a Quarterfinalist from the first series.  She opened my first craft fair back in 2014.  Well she does ‘bake with me’ workshops from her kitchen.  So Sue (who lives round the corner from her) and I made macarons: a scrumptiously scrumptious salted caramel with a gooey caramel filling and a deliciously delicious raspberry with white chocolate ganache filling:)  Here’s Sue with the orange coloured salted caramel ones.  YUM! Sue managed to keep her apron immaculate unlike me.  I just get food colouring everywhere…

         

A top tip we learnt was to limit use of wooden spoons as they could harbour fatty deposits and are definitely no good for meringue making nor for stirring caramel ingredients; use a metal spoon for these. 

I did a second workshop this week: wired jewellery making.  It was a lovely couple of hours and I have mastered the art of using pliers to make round loops which are key to wired jewellery making. So I went away with some dangly earrings and a couple of bracelets.  Dead easy when you know how!

Jeremy, Mum and I popped into the Yew Tree garden centre and we had a coffee with a little star shaped shortbread biscuit.  A nice idea for a little something sweet to go with the coffee. Jeremy and I were back at Basingstoke Hospital this week and, in the Blue Café, I had a super chocolaty chocolate brownie before our meeting with Mr Cecil.  The Arc Centre was preparing for an auction that evening of all the painted bookbenches – part of the ‘Sitting with Jane’ idea celebrating Jane Austen – in aid of their cancer charity.

Mum and I had a coffee and shared (a term used loosely as I had the lion’s share) a slice of Victoria Sponge at Angelina’s.  It was a lovely golden colour and very moist with just the right balance of jam and buttercream filling.  It spurred us on to look at their range of carpets for her hall and stairs…

The cake highlight though was at my favourite place in Newbury: The Tea Cosy.  Here is my slice of the very decadent Chocolate Bar Cake. 

Thank you Penny. I’m sure it was my turn to pay.  The cake was constructed with Kit Kat bars decorating the top and bigger one propped up all round the sides of a fabulous chocolate sponge with caramel.  It was scrumptious!

There’s certainly nothing wrong with my energy levels, which shows my immune system is functioning perfectly well.  In addition to the above, I had yoga, tap dancing, 2 aqua aerobics classes, an aqua zumba class, aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki this week! My current lifestyle is all about feeding and nurturing my immune system.  As soon as I start to get periods of tiredness, I’ll know that my immune system is struggling to cope with the growing cancer.  But on that note, mulling over Mr Cecil’s conversation (see last blog entry) Jeremy had asked him about the original tumour (Dr Jackson had reported it as being of ‘no worry’ and ‘it’s stable’).  Mr Cecil, who as a surgeon uses CT scans all the time, said in a long reply, that ‘the CT scan doesn’t give enough detail’ ….and in another sentence, ‘cancer can just disappear’….  Looking back, was he saying that the original tumour had shrunk/gone?  As a medic, he’s hardly likely to admit it as it means the complementary therapies have worked…  Interestingly, CT scans give enough detail that someone can be declared as ‘’all clear’’.  I’ll question it more when I have the next quarterly scan which is actually due in 4 weeks.

Must go and pack now for the next adventure…