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…

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Good and Bad News

So I saw Dr Jackson, Oncologist today for the results of the latest scan.  Whilst the original tumor is stable and there is no new cancer to report there is some bad news.  The cancer that had spread to the ovaries, although reduced during chemo, has started to grow.  I fortunately have no physical evidence of this – no abdominal pains for example. So I am to be referred back to Mr Cecil to discuss surgery to remove them.  So I will see Dr J again on 31 August to hear the surgeons view.

It’s a shame, but you have to ask what would the situation be had I not followed all the complementary therapies?  Would the bowel cancer even be stable? We’ll never know.

My next move is to continue with the:

  • Complementary therapies: daily oxygen and juicing therapies, aspirin a day, weekly reiki and reflexology and monthly hypnotherapy and aromatherapy
  • Supplements: boswellia serrata, Vitamins A, D3  , K complex, hemp oil and bromelain

My next move is to introduce the following:

  • Increase Vitamin D3 to 2 a day as suggested by Cancer Options
  • Increase the hemp oil to 2 tbsp a day to be taken with the Vitamin D3
  • Take 2-3 drops of Cannabis Oil 2-3 times a day (sold legally in Holland and Barret I add!!)
  • Drink Wheatgrass juice first thing each morning

How am I feeling?  You may think this odd but I feel blessed.  I actually have a lot to be grateful for….

Week of 10 July

Had a great day at Fairford today.  Jeremy and I took chairs and picnic and sat outside the perimeter fence at the end of the runway.  Yes, the cheap seats!  We parked in a sleepy village and walked across the fields, beside the river and through a posh estate built round some lakes.  We had drizzle and low cloud which affected some of the performances.  But my favourites were there – the Red Arrows and also their American counterparts –  the Thunderbirds!   Great flying displays! It was the best position at the end of the runway as the aircraft went directly overhead!  Nice walk too!

Mum and I went on the Jane Austen trail this week and found 3 of the 24 ‘Bookbenches’ travelling to Steventon (her birth place), Overton and Whitchurch.  They are beautifully decorated each by different artists and will be auctioned after the end of August  We had tea in the Gallery in Overton and Mum had coffee cake and mine looks like cheese on toast but it was actually carrot cake.  Disappointing – you need to see before you buy….

     

I was in Thatcham and popped into the Mug and Brew and had a slice of Lucy’s tasty coconut, lime and mango cake.  That’s what a slice of cake should look like….Also this week I helped at the Falkland WI coffee morning and bought Pauline’s (my reiki practitioner)  lemon butterfly cakes with homemade lemon curd. Delicious! I enjoyed one in the afternoon watching the tennis.  It’s been a sporty week (on telly that is) what with the Tour de France too.

Another cake highlight this week was the arty crafty ladies afternoon tea at Esseborne Manor.  Jenny, Judy, Eileen, Gill, Fenisia and me. The food there is superb and I can recommend it highly.  We had our fill on some lovely savouries, scones and pastries.

It would appear that quite a lot of cake got consumed this week……

Week of 26 June

Jeremy is recovering well after wounding his head when he took a tumble on Scafell last week.  I recall that afternoon on our return trip to A’n’E the 3 black cats running out in front of the car; he was lucky, lucky, lucky – it could have been a lot worse…..

We popped into to the Mug and Brew this week and shared a Millionaires Slice.  All the cakes look lovely there but a traybake is easier to cut into 2 portions!  I went shopping (unsuccessfully) for a new soft fabric cap for Jeremy to protect his head, but driving home spotted a cap in the middle of the road!!  I pulled over and waited.  No one collected it so I took it home and washed it -it has been really useful! .Here he is looking very pensive…and suffering with his bruised back…

                                 

While I was in Newbury I had a coffee and raspberry macaron at Paul’s.  Lush!  I recall attending a mastercass last year in making macarons with Gill and Pam and chose raspberry with raspberry filling.  I think they do look quite professional…

On the subject of macarons, we had our St George’s ladies do Esseborne lunch this week.  It is always delicious and they too make very nice macarons which get served with coffee at the end of the meal.  They got consumed too quickly to get a photo…Looking forward to afternoon tea there next month….

On the subject of afternoon tea, I had a cream tea to complete my tour of Highgrove Gardens.  Yes, again!  I got the only ticket left in June as I really wanted to see Charles’ National Collection of Delphiniums .  They were fabulous – some 7 foot tall and quite a girth to them too.  The secret has got to be in the compost. It was splendid to see the garden at this time of year.  Looking forward to going again….  No cameras permitted.

Mum and I had a cuppa at the Hillier Garden Centre today and shared a tasty slice of raspberry and lavender loaf.  She had the fit of giggles as I took this one so a nice one to finish the week on!

 

Week of 24 April

It’s been a week of many high points. Non-health and non-cake was seeing Natalie and Ian from Strictly in their fab show at the Corn Exchange.  It was Mum’s birthday present and we thoroughly enjoyed it!  They have so much enthusiasm and its great that they come down into the audience.

Then the non-cake highlights include a free consultation with Patricia Peat from Cancer Options, courtesy of Yes to Life.  I have a lot of really useful information including new supplements, new therapies and new drugs.  Dr Jackson, who we saw this week too for a review, wasn’t so sure about the use of their listed drugs as they ”weren’t mainstream oncology”.  Like Mr Cecil, Dr Jackson can’t advise on the next stage – (surgery that won’t cure me or no surgery but chemo later).  Plenty to still think on…..

Jeremy and I did another of the white horse walks although the Marlborough horse is more of a foal!  It was a lovely walk through the green, purple and yellow Wiltshire landscape with  a coffee stop at the Food Gallery and a lunch stop at St Peter’s church café.  In fact I had reiki, reflexology and 3 yoga sessions this week.  No wonder I feel so good…

So turning to cake, Jeremy and I shared a chocolate tart for dessert at the Blue Café – he’s looking a little bashful as the hospital restaurant was busy…  Then there was the scrummy Black Forest cake made by Lucy’s Mum at the Mug and Brew…And the Matcha  (Japanese Green Tea) cupcake – so that makes it a  detoxing cake:) – made by Debbie at the Pineapple Palace.  You’ll see some other cups and cakes in the photo belonging to the Supper Club ladies who do coffee mornings too…

                     

I read Lynda Bellingham’s book: There’s Something I’ve Been Dying to Tell You.  She had bowel cancer that had spread too but I must say she had a far worse time of it than I had and am having now.  Long may it continue….

Week of 13 March

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!

Week of 27 February

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. wp_20170227_001Anyway, 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.  Aftewp_20170301_005r 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 Saturdaywp_20170305_001 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…..

 

Week of 23 January

Well, I finished the 6th and final assessment of my Nutrition and Health course with Newbury College.wp_20170124_001  Time to celebrate! So when in Thatcham (as I was to see the chiropodist) I went to the Mug and Brew, as you do!  And had a really light and moist chocolate cake. Uuumm!  It’s Lucy’s Mum who is the star baker.

This week I was in Bournemouth too and stayed at the Marriott with a room on the corner of the building so the bay window looked over the coast right round to Sandbanks!  I walked round the promenade to Sandbanks hotel where I had a drink before heading back.  I had tried to brave it sitting outside but the wind was too much so I finished the drink in the warmth of the bar. On the return walk I passed a couple of American ladies and wondered if they were part of the Donny Osmond entourage.  You see, I had booked a ticket to see him at the BIC -he was my teenage heart throb – some 40 years ago!  It was a great show anwp_20170126_002d the following  morning, which was incredibly cold and blustery,  went to the Russell-Coates house and art gallery.  It’s stuck in the Victorian era with fabulous interior design and lots of pre-Raphaelite paintings.  There were wonderful windows with views over the bay and the sea was really crashing down on the beach.  So different from the day before. Had a coffee and walnut cake but it didn’t have enough icing for my taste buds….  The americano was nice though…….

Also this week, some of us from St George’s met for coffee at the Yew Tree Garden Centre.  There was Margaret, Carolyn, Mary, Mum and myself.

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I couldn’t stay long as I was heading off to an event run by the Berkshire Cancer Rehabilitation team.  The workshop had various speakers and stalls and I won the raffle prize of £40 of aloe vera products! Wow.  Lunch was provided and I couldn’t resist this photo of the doughnuts.  And no, I didn’t have one nor did a lot of other people either judging from the amount left over…..

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