Sunday, 4 October 2015

A brief catch-up (and a bit about my health!)

This is brief only because there's not a great deal to tell you! We are off to the UK tomorrow for a week (for Danny's son Mark's wedding) and I didn't want to leave it that long before updating the blog.

So, what is there to tell you?  Well, to start with, we had a large delivery of logs a couple of weeks ago.  We now get them from a local farmer who delivered them in a large trailer on his big red tractor.....

Normally, Danny and I put away the logs together but this year, unfortunately, it is a bit too much for me, especially as it was a larger load than usual.  Danny did some of it himself and luckily friends of ours, Donna & Dave, came round and helped too meaning that over half of it was put away pretty quickly.

The following week, our ex-neighbours from the UK, Ron and Barbara, came for their annual visit! They always help us with jobs that need doing outside and this year was no exception.  Both have their 80th birthdays in the next couple of years but their energy and enthusiasm are to be envied.  I happened to have a hospital appointment on their second day here and they got stuck into log-shifting while we were out.  Danny and I were astounded when we saw what they had done in a little over three hours!

Such is my dedication to this blog that I have just popped outside - in the rain - to take this next couple of photos!  The first is to show you just what Ron and Barbara achieved that morning.  This then is our new log store....

Ron used several pallets to make a floor, back and sides but before he could do that, the hedge you see behind the logs, needed a brutal trimming (you can see roughly what it was like to the left of the logs).  That hedge, a very prickly pyracantha. extends to the right of the photo for about another couple of metres and Ron had trimmed all of that, both sides and the top, as well as the part behind the log store. Then he and Barbara had moved all the logs from the front garden round to this new log store!

This second photo shows the original wood store and serves to demonstrate the work that Danny, Donna and Dave achieved.  The pile on the right is double width stacked!  The green bin is full of odd bits of wood that we'll use as kindling.

There are rumours that we are in for a bad winter this year so I won't be surprised if we need more than all of this before the year's out!  Hard to believe, isn't it!

You may remember that back in August, we had our guests, Martin, Richard and Adam, cutting down the hedge between our garden and our immediate neighbours' garden. Well, between Danny, Ron and Barbara, the line of stumps has now been drilled, each filled with salt (our neighbour assures us the salt will kill the stumps!) and the area cleared of the remaining weeds and leaves.  This is what it looks like today...

I know it's not everyone's taste to have no separating hedge or solid fence but we actually like it.  We may eventually put up some sort of free-standing screen around the area where we eat  outside but other than that, we are happy with this "open-plan" look.  As you can see, our neighbour's potager (kitchen garden) is positively a work of art to behold!

Ron did a couple of other jobs for us, for example, lifting a couple of old plants and moving a pile of stones but he and Barbara did also have plenty of resting time.  Of course, we had some trips to the boulangerie for some cakes for our afternoon tea and a visit to the Vue du Chateau restaurant for an English Sunday lunch for a change!

Ron and Barbara love the dogs and as you can see, the dogs love them....oh no, wait!  Ron and Barbara have food!

I mentioned that Ron moved some stones for us.  This is ready for our next project!

Mind you, although Danny will be helping, most of the work will be done by John, who did the pool and terracing.  We now plan to improve this side of the back garden and the stones you see piled up here in the photo above, will be transformed into a barbecue.  You can see from the photo that this side of the garden is a bit tatty compared to the pool "end" of the garden!  John is expecting to start this next month so watch this space!!

We have been gradually letting the kittens go outside over the last month or so but we still keep them in at night.  At first we let them go in the back garden only but eventually gave in and let them out the front too.  To be honest, Micky (the ginger tom-kitten) had already worked out how to get around the whole perimeter of the house!  Within hours of letting them play out the front, they had discovered a great tree to climb!  Here they are up high in that tree...


Now, some of you have told me that you'd like me to include an update on my health and how I am feeling.  I have been in two minds about it because on the one hand, I didn't want to turn this blog into being about my illness while on the other hand, I know how many of you care about me and want to know.  Please feel free to let me have your views!

And here is an honest piece about how I feel!

For those who don't already know, I have been on my treatment for about three months now.  Taken orally in tablet form, the drug is designed to target the tumour by cutting its oxygen and blood supply. The oncologist told me the objective of my treatment is to shrink the tumour then maintain it. It is measured by the level of alpha fetoprotein in my blood - and I have a blood test every four weeks before seeing the oncologist. (I absolutely HATE blood tests!!!)  After the first month, the reading decreased by a third and Danny and I were elated.  However, since then it's stayed about the same.  Of course that's a good thing and I appreciate that it means the cancer is stable.  But, the drug gives me various side effects, some of which are most unpleasant!  The worst is probably the effect it has on the soles of my feet, making the simple act of walking very painful and sometimes just unbearable.  I have said that I don't care what I have to go through to get rid of the "blighter" but I can't deny that the side effects do bring me down and it's not always easy to pull myself up.

Then there's the fatigue! I have always had bags of energy and although that has decreased with age, I still had plenty!  But now, it doesn't take much to bring on awful fatigue so I have to limit myself to doing only what I think has priority on any given day.  It means that much of the time I am just sitting about - something I've never done - and that in turn makes me lethargic and apathetic. (Gosh!  I've just read that last bit back and realise how negative that sounds!  Perhaps writing it down is going to be cathartic for me!)

Anyway, going forward, the oncologist has now booked me in for a CT scan on 13 October and I will see him again on 16 October.  He has said that the treatment may be changed and he may also need to refer me to a specialist hospital.  So again, we wait and see!


All that aside, as I said at the outset, we are off to the UK tomorrow and now I need to do some packing.  With the amount of stuff I plan to take, it's as well we decided to drive back rather than fly. And just as well we have a big car!!

Take care everyone and I'll be back to let you know all about our trip before you know it!

À bientôt


  1. Roz, aren't we lucky to have such great friends. I too have been poorly for the best part of a year but not with the worry that you have. Without the help and love of friends we would have despaired.
    I do hope your horrible treatment pays dividends and that in the near future your sore feet and fatigue will be a distant memory.
    Stay warm and enjoy your log fires. xx

  2. Great to have such good friends to help you out especial at the moment. Please keep us updated on your health, and let us know what your resets are on the 16th. Have a good trip to the UK and try to relax and enjoy. Diane

  3. We appreciated family helping us with our logs. Its so nice to have people helping and enjoying themselves at the same time. Sorry to hear the medicine is getting you down, but hope that will soon pass as your treatment progresses x