Jeremy and I went to Paris this week. I wanted to see the Mona Lisa. We joined the stampede to see her when the Louvre opened but when we went back to her room about 3 hours later – well you couldn’t get near her for a selfie! It was pretty airless in there. No wonder she is behind glass! Everyone said to me ”she’s very small” so I was surprised how much bigger she was than I expected:) We recovered with a café crème and a gander at some beautiful patisserie in the Louvre café. That day we walked through the Tuileries, up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe and bussed it back to Saint Chappelle and Notre Dame. We spent another morning at the Musee D’Orsay to see their collection of Impressionist paintings and walked beside the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower and bussed it to Montmartre and back. We stayed at the fab Hotel Louison and had a upgrade to a Prestige room (ooh you say). It was very classy. We ate our way though all things considered French: croissants, bagettes, crepes, mussels, snails, onion soup, steak au poivre, tarte tatin, and gateaux. Speaking of which, we went up the Montparnasse Tower to the cafe with the best view in Paris and shared a delicate chocolate patisserie. It is said that the view from the top is the most beautiful in Paris, because it is the only place from which the tower cannot be seen!!
Mum and I went to a rather under supported Cancer Research coffee morning but ate some very nice salted caramel cake. I bought a chocolate cake with white choc buttons on and took it to Jacky’s craft class later that day where we all scoffed some and tried to avoid crumbs getting on the lovely greeting cards we made. That’s Jeremy’s slice below……..
Off to Milan next week.
On Monday, we collected my new automatic, limited edition Mini Cooper Seven courtesy of Motability (yes I am a bonefide qualifier!). Here’s a picture of my new car outside Mum’s house and here’s a picture of a cake:
Yes, the cake is on the left! Made by Lou Wilson from Lou’s Amazing Cakes when she came to a Sugarcraft meeting last year to show us how to carve cakes. I had it set as my desktop background for ages….
I went to the Yew Tree Garden Centre three times this week! With Jeremy and Mum, just Jeremy and with Carolyn. When Mum came we had chocolate cake with smarties on the top! Out of shot here but had a big filling of chocolate icing! Yum. Just as like it. Jeremy and I had lunch at the Yew Tree before doing a 6 mile walk that included the infamous Inkpen Crocus field. Dainty wild crocuses have been flowering in this protected pasture for at least 2 centuries. The bulbs are believed to have been brought back by the Knights Templar. With 400,000 plants, this is the largest British population. We started the walk at West Woodhay church which had daffodils amongst the grave stones which swayed beautifully in the sunshine.
Later in the week I was back there to meet Carolyn for a catchup cuppa and a coffee cake. I do like the way the garden centre have little notices beside the food with allergy information. So amongst the usual references to ‘gluten’ and ‘nuts’ was ‘sulphur dioxide’ (found in dried fruit). New one on me.
After our (delayed – we get used to it) meeting with Mr Cecil at Basingstoke Hospital we went to the Blue Café and over indulged on the chocolate. I had a very chocolaty rocky road – it was just what I needed after our meeting. There was a lot of info to process. See post below for a summary.
This week I also met with Christine and we went to the Mug and Brew for a catchup. She is looking so well after her surgery. It was just a flapjack for me!
We saw Mr Cecil this morning. In short, he will do a laparoscopy on 11 April. The MRI scan done 3 days ago shows MORE shrinkage. Oooh interesting! The last chemo treatment was 30 December! Does that mean the new diet, supplements, reiki, yoga, meditation, visualisation and exercise is paying off? And of course the chocolate cake? The down side is that the extra detail obtained from the MRI scan shows cancer cells within tissue in the pelvis area that cannot be removed with surgery. So, more decisions to make in the coming weeks.
Good news. I’ve got my weight back to that of one year ago and on top of that I am no longer in the ‘overweight’ classification! So all the exercise is paying off. So I should ‘grab the bull by the horns’ (seems apt as I have made a marzipan bull for our Spanish themed sugarcraft competition display!) and get on with losing some more to get rid of the muffin top! The low GI diet is an easy one to follow and have been since last year (brown rice and bread, nuts, seeds, veg and fruit ). I know now where to go for organic veg but an observation: they too look perfect in their bags – where are the knobbly organic veg and fruit? Even at my farm shop the veg looks perfect. Grow your own is probably the answer:) I will say, there is little chance of me turning vegan – the options for plant protein does not give enough variation for my taste buds. So the 80% plant based diet will stay at 80%!
Had two lovely days out this week: A day out at the Portsmouth Dockyard to see the Mary Rose exhibition with Julia and an outing with Llinos to Kew Gardens. It was a NADFAS trip to the Mary Rose museum where two talks were arranged. A lot of work has gone into collecting the remains from the bottom of the sea – even pepper corns ; assessing the role on board of each skeleton found; preserving the items and then displaying them in the new museum. Well worth a trip. Turning to cake – I can recommend the chocolate fudge brownies that I purchased at the Mary Rose café for us to eat on the coach going home. It was probably a no-no so we scoffed them surreptitiously! But the best I’ve ever had. Unusually they had cut them into long finger shapes.
At Kew Gardens, we saw the metal structure called the Hive which was installed last year. The lights you see and the sounds you hear inside the Hive are triggered by bee activity in a real beehive at Kew. After walking around the grounds and having fish pie for lunch in the Orangery, Llinos and I went to the Maids of Honour tea shoppe across the road from the Gardens. There I had a hot Maid of Honour (apparently a secret recipe using curd cheese and loved by Henry VIII who, one day, found Anne Boleyn and her ladies eating them hence their name). Llinos chose a very creamy cream slice from a super range of cakes. Honest it wasn’t me who chose that big cream slice:)
This week Margie and I went to the Tea Cosy; Mum was there in spirit only as she wanted to make sure Kevin the bathroom fitter completed her snag list on his last day. We chose the chocolate box cake! It was scrumptious! This is my favourite tea room!
Surgery? Or not? In January I was working through the bucket list and now we have options. Hence I have stopped the planning. The proverbial balls are all up in the air! The certainty is that I will have a laparoscopy and see where that takes us. We see Mr Cecil on 17th March to discuss the outcome from the MRI scan and dates for the laparoscopy. This week, I went to my first gym class paid for by MacMillan and organised by Berkshire Cancer Rehabilitation (BCR) at our local leisure centre. The class uses weights, dumb bells and kettle bells plus exercise bikes. It was good fun and I will be the fittest I have ever been:) These classes continue for 3 months and they are free…
I went to the second workshop organised by BCR this week and as Lindsay said to me later in the week ”in life people are either ‘radiators’ or ‘drains’!” – meaning they radiate positivity or drain you of it. The people attending the workshop were, in the main, the latter! So the last time I attend a support group. Anyway, at the Beech Hill church café across the road from the hall, I tucked into some good mood food – a slice of chocolate cake with a chocolate peanut on the top! To go with my one slice houmous sandwich…..
The highlight of the week was the trip to the Ashmolean with Marion, Judy and Lindsay to see the exhibition: Degas to Picasso. It was a private collection and I found it interesting to see the preparatory sketches an artist undertakes. It’s easy to overlook the preparation required before a masterpiece is created. After that we had tea at the Randolph hotel in the lounge and watched the England rugby players pass by! These fit looking under 21s went with Eddie Jones then the rest appeared – crickey- they were huge. They’d all make good bouncers….
I went to the hairdressers this week and got a new cut. Here’s me with Jeremy at the Hillier Garden Centre sharing a slice of cappuccino cake. If you look closely you’ll see my new accessory – a blister on the tip of my nose. The cold wind on the walk last Saturday affected the skin and I even had to get a course of anti biotics mid week to cure my red infected nose. What with my catarrh aswell, I’ve not been firing on all 8 cylinders! So much so, that when I met Anne at the Mug and Brew for a catch up – she gets her scan results on Monday – I didn’t eat any cake…..