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under the duvet

keep taking the tablets

Updated: 2018-03-02T16:33:43.826+00:00


does hope spring eternal?


As many of you know, but not all of you, I have not been well this year. I was having more chemo but stopped in early in March because it was frankly unbearable.  However, it had reduced the tumours in my abdomen by about half so I wasn't unhappy with the out come. In April I was mostly ill and no one could think why as the scan I'd had in March didn't show the cancer was interfering with any organs it was sharing space with and my intestines large and small looked unsquashed. (The main cause of death from ovarian cancer is the tumours growing around some part of the intestines and squashing them flat. You die from a blocked gut, or starvation if you'd prefer). I had no infection, so when I continued to be ill in May, June and July there was much head scratching, but no real reason could be found. By mid July I was so ill and in so much pain I was admitted to hospital. Another CT scan which showed nothing new. And my cancer blood marker was not particularly high either. There was evidence, however, that my intestines had somehow sprung a leak! I won't go into the nitty-gritty but I found raspberry pips where no raspberry pips should have any business being. And yes they laughed at me in the hospital until they found more raspberry pips where I said they were! Not that I only eat raspberries but I'd had some in a smoothie the day before. A lovely surgeon came and had serious talk to me, she was kind but to the point. She explained the ct scan showed nothing untoward, but because of the metalwork in my back the scan had a great deal of glare on it and much couldn't be seen (hmmm this must have been the case with every ct scan I've had since the beginning!) so she proposed to open me up from sternum to pubis and have a rummage. Depending on what she found depended on what she would/could do. There was a good chance, she said, that she'd just have to sew me up again and that would be that, I'd be shuffling off fairly quickly. But if it was possible she would try and sort out the problem and the most likely outcome, if she could do this, was an ileostomy. She also pointed out that a major op like this could cause the cancer to kick off and become super aggressive. So when? I asked, tomorrow first thing don't eat after supper. So down I went next morning, leaving my wonderful kids (I include my daughter's boyfriend in this as he proved to be the son I never had) waiting and worrying. They told me afterwards that when it went passed the two hour mark they heaved a sigh of relief because they thought, rightly, if it was just a stitch up job (haha) I'd be out by then. An aside, those of you who remember the back op from hell will remember I was seriously allergic to one of the GA drugs. In the little room outside theatre where they knock you out I mentioned this fact to the anaesthetist, just checking but not really worrying because I had told the surgeon and anyone else that passed by and was told it was in big red letters on my notes. She looked mightily alarmed. Her hand stopped mid way between us and the colour drained from her face. In a voice as pale as her face she asked me if I  knew what I was NOT allergic to.  I have been told this but her sudden panic made my mind go blank. Eh ... I bet my daughter knows, I said, and they tested me in Southampton hospital so they will know too! My surgeon set off at a run to find daughter (try the cafe!) and a chap in scrubs shot off to phone Southampton ... I sat looking at the anaesthetist and calculating the risk I'd be pushing up daisies by the end of the week and she looked at me with a sickly smile that failed miserably to fill me with any kind of confidence. Minutes passed, weeks passed or at least it felt like it when suddenly my daughter burst into the room shouting the drug, moments later phonecall-man burst through from theatre shouting the same thing, I lay down and wondered about an afterlife. When I woke up, slowly and painfully, it felt like I'd been steam-roller. There wasn't a spot that didn't hurt even wriggling my toes. I lay in a world [...]

A REAL new post!


I am in Salusbury Hospital yet again. I have spent a long time in here this year and it is mostly boring. So the other night when I couldn't sleep I decided to undraft the blogs that I had made drafts when somebody had upset me and I took them all down.

Unfortunately they didn't reblog as their original dates but as today or yesterday or whenever, which of course makes sense.

I've enjoyed rereading them and the comments, but they were written by a different person in a different life who was covering up a world of pain.

Even though I say it myself I made quite a convincing job of it, didn't I?

Now, though, I have been given an ultimatum by the fine Drs; die or get better. Unfortunately the latter is beyond the current remit of the beleaguered NHS so my other option is to succumb. My lovely oncologist and Dr Dreamy her side kick estimate maybe two weeks to a couple of months. I won't tell you how long ago the two weeks were but I'm still here and how I wish I could go home.

Other than not feeling remotely ready, or even ill enough I'm really a tad concerned about the whole damn process and still can't believe it's happening to me.

The lovely Z and the lovely Mig, old blogging chums are coming to see me, and my lovely, lovely daughters for whom things are much harder than for me, zip about the county holding everything together.

I wonder what I'd be doing today if I wasn't in here and didn't know?

going against the grain


...the majority of bloggers I read are slowly, or indeed fastly, stopping - blogging is old hat and the more immediate platforms of Facebook and Twitter have taken their place. Either that or people have found a life away from the small screen.

I quite like reading Tweets and I quite like Fb - but the fact that anything you say is pushed in the faces of the poor unfortunates who are your 'friends' or 'followers' makes me uncomfortable.  I prefered it when people had to come to you to see if you had anything to say because then it was their choice and you couldn't be accused of boring them senseless with your constant drivel, d'you know what I mean?

So as a purveyor of drivel, if you're reading this then it's your own fault.

When I wasn't blogging, I wasn't having a life instead; I was having a problem and it hasn't gone away yet.

After my operation

match made in heaven


The Royal Wedding of Himself’s sister is tomorrow.
Himself has gone to pick up his children and his dressing-up suit.
He is not in a good mood.
He has phoned me to say that he has had an ear-bashing from Moaning Myrtle, his ex. She wanted to go and is massively annoyed that there has been no relinquishing in the lack of invitation headed her way. You’d think he’d be used to it by now. The woman is skilled beyond the measure of a very (very) skilled person at moaning and inciting guilt and emotional blackmail and using her children to control the whole world including the bit that you’re living in. You just may not have realised that it’s her. Sometimes the thought of having to put up with her for at least the next 10 years (until the youngest is 18) is too much to contemplate. It wasn’t me that foolishly married her and then compounded the error by impregnating her. Anyway I digress. The wedding. The amount that Himself’s mother has spent on this shindig is obscene. Both parties are in full time professional work, are in their 30s, own their own property and are well off. And yet the widowed mother, on a limited income, is footing the bill, all the bill. The excuse is that she must because this is her girl-child. I think (but it’s not my family so obviously I can’t say anything, just moan on here) (sorry), that in these days of equality, that people wanting to get hitched should fund it themselves, if either set of parents (or anyone else for that matter!) wants to contribute and can afford it, then it can be graciously accepted. But to expect thousands upon thousands (upon thousands) of pounds to be spent on one frigging day is appalling. And a waste. Especially as no-one wants to be there anyway. They’re just family not people you’d choose to spend time with. This stupid woman (the bride) spent an age moaning to me that she’ll have to go back to work if / when she has a baby because they can’t afford (oh pur - lease) for her to stay at home. Now go back to work if you have to, if you want to, but don’t complain when you could have spent a couple of years at home with your child but instead chose to blow a fortune on one day pratting around looking like a over-priced meringue.

As you can tell we’re all so looking forward to it.

I won’t be posting pictures.



To mothers of small sons . . .(image) I know it's fashionable but don't put your small son in wide legged boxers on school days.

I met two little girls giggling uproariously in the corner of the corridor. They were watching a PE lesson in the hall.

"What's all this noise, what are you laughing about?" I asked.

Serious amounts of snorting and gasping and then one said,
"Look, look Miss, they're going to do it again!" Followed by squeals of laughter and "Josh's is the tiniest!"

So I looked and the children were lying on the floor making star shapes. . .

As I said, don't put your little boys in wide legged boxers, it's untidy!

speaking native


mountain goat


shopping is interesting

it's a worry


I stood with my car key in my hand aiming at the lock and pressing the little button but nothing was happing in an unlocking sort of way. I have had my car 4 ½ years so it occurred to me that maybe the flattery was getting a bit bat; then close on the heels of that thought (but sadly not close enough) was the thought that this was the back door and it was unlikely to open with my car key.

Luckily, and by a strange and fortuitous coincidence I had a back door key on the same bunch.

smile at the birdy


My kids are with their dad, Himself’s kids are with their mum, he’s in London.

I’m all alone . . .

So I’m not cooking, or even eating. I’m drinking. A rather nice 2005 Monastrell and Pinot Noir Cava as it happens; and listening to The Song Remains the Same VERY LOUD. It reminds of Knebworth (1979) when life was more in-front than behind.

If I lived alone I’d be a thin alcoholic by next Tuesday.

There are worse things I could be I’m sure.

Jimmy Page was my hero – shame he’s fat now, if he’d married me like he was suppose to, he’d be thinner now.

Ho hum.

Still in the words (or something like them) of the indomitable First Nations -

You’re never too old to both flip people off and climb fences (even when a tad tiddly).

recommended reading


Once, when I was young and robust, I enjoyed cutting edge dramas, gritty literature, blood and gore (in moderation); and scoffed in the face of chickflicks/lit and Hugh Grant. Now I can’t cope with anything that doesn’t have a happy ending.

I’ve just read Two Caravans but the humour (and there was plenty in abundance) was over-shadowed by the worry that these things are really going on and then the dog died.

I hate it when the dog dies.

not a pheasant plucker


I hit a pheasant while driving home tonight.

I hate that(image) .

And, Himself will have to clean my car now, he won't be pleased.

Some people round here (and round other places as well I should imagine) make a thing about eating road kill. There are a couple of idiots that frequent the pub who are always going on about badger burgers and venison stew they've been living off for the last 18 months.

Hedgehog spaghetti carbonara (serves four)
500g spaghetti, 30ml olive oil, 250g lean hedgehog, 1 medium onion (chopped), 125ml water, 60ml dry white wine, 4 eggs, 60ml double cream, 100g grated parmesan cheese · chop hedgehog into small chunks
· beat eggs and cream together in a bowl. Add half the parmesan cheese
· put pasta in boiling water
· put onions and hedgehog chunks in pan with olive oil on medium heat until onions are almost clear
· add wine and reduce heat
· drain pasta when cooked, combine it with egg, cream and cheese mix
· add meat, onions and wine without draining fat and mix thoroughly
· garnish with remaining parmesan. Serve immediately

How could you?!

counting to 10


"My name is Ziggi, I have a tendency
to fly off the handle"

crank dat


My lovely girls taught me a dance, they also taught it to the children of Himself (7 and 9). They drilled us until we were foot perfect.

Then they told me what the lyrics meant - yuk

I just hope the mother of Himself's is not as hip as me and doesn't listen too closely to her little souljas.
should you wish to see what it's supposed to look like.

I won't comment on the 'song' - I don't feel qualified.

Happy Easter one and all.



Twas a shame about Mr Minghella I think.

I like all his movies although Cold Mountain was a bit relentless. Mr Ripley was indeed talented and so was the not English but Hungarian Patient. All lovely stuff.

However my most favourite is the TV movie Truly Madly Deeply.

Not only does it star the gorgeous Alan Rickman, but a contender for the absolutely worst haircut featured in a movie, foisted on the hapless Mark (Michael Malony).

It's a truly, madly, deeply moving movie - watch it.

idle wondering


Do people who get annoyed with other people who go on about their children get annoyed with people who go on about their ponies?

I guess they do, so if you're one of those, piss off now, because here's a picture of Freddie and farrier (Simon) who has lifted the ASBO!
(image) (image)
He was such a good boy, and Freddie was great too.

And less she feel left out because she's always good, here's Fern. (image) And it's much harder for Fern to be good because the first farrier I had hurt her and frightened her very badly, as a consequence she hates men. She makes an exception for Simon because she likes the shampoo he uses and he's always kind to her. He's promised to do her hooves pink next time.

I didn't take a picture of Suze having her feet done because I ride her barefoot and I'd worn her hooves down to bloody stumps so she didn't need doing.

blessings, the art of counting them


The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night

I was listening to ole Satchmo crooning the above and realised, that despite the fact that I have no religious affiliations, I can relate to that line and it is indeed a wonderful world.

OK, now shoot me down in flames, it's crap and we're all doomed, if the global warming doesn't get you then the credit crunch will. Thousand are starving and oppressed or dying of boredom etc etc etc. I know that the world isn't wonderful for everyone, probably not for the majority if we're talking worldwide, and every person I know has endured some tragedy in their life, but I imagine that if you are logged on here reading this crap then you are not worrying too much about having enough to eat, or having a roof over your head or living in a political regime that's life threatening.

I feel I have much to be thankful for and should be concentrating on this when I want to moan.
And moaning about having to feed the odd chief constable (and believe me they are odd) is not sufficient grounds to be stressed. (And proof if proof be needed of oddness, a certain cc of a county not too far from this one whose surname is brain (I'm being careful in case it g**gles) (but you can go*gle and you'll see who I mean) has named his son Richard. This caused me to snort wine out of my nose)(is it me??)(Please do not write his name in the comments if you find him).

with a little help from my friends


Saturday's Dinner Do

peppers with tomatoes and stuff
(thank you anon who emailed me

chicken with stuff
(thank you Z)

Chocolate pots which were divine
(thank you Malc)


Thank you to everyone who took the time to reply or email with suggestions, I really am most grateful, it's just some were a bit complicated!

I had a headache all day yesterday, I can't think why.



What a miz day, although much worse for others than myself I gratefully admit.
Today the mother of Himself has had the results of some tests she's been having over the last few weeks. Unfortunately she not only has bowel cancer but it has already spread to her liver and her lymph nodes and glands. The prognosis is pretty dire and made worse for her and her family because her husband and father of Himself died of the self same thing 5 years ago. She nursed him through a year of pain and suffering and that's about how long she's been given. He was 65 when he died and never made it to retirement having worked his whole life as a GP doing a minimum of 60 hours a week. She's 64.



I interrupt this broadcast (but I still need recipes people, EASY recipes, appetisers and desserts required) to tell you about my new toyboy.

I am so happy with him, his name is Tim and he’s a Tom Tom. I have been yearning for one of these for many (many many many) months nay years, but Himself has always claimed that they are useless for a person who can’t tell left from right. Plus he says that anyone with ½ a brain can find their way from A to B with a map and the internet.
I have a whole brain in adequate working order for my needs and therefore am obviously a prime candidate for such a nifty bit of kit so in the end I wore him down and he has bought me one!
I love it, it’s true I can’t listen to Tim because he tells me right or left and I don’t know what he’s talking about BUT he also shows me with a big arrow on a map which I’m quite capable of following. Indeed I drove from home to work this morning without going wrong once!

But better than this map reading, direction lark, he asked me this morning did I want him to connect to my phone? Why not I thought? So I told him
“Go right ahead Timmy boy, do your worst”. Within a mere nano second he'd done it (I’ve never known a male to be so efficient) and then he asked if I wanted him to download my phone book,
“Certainly, be my guest” I told him.
I was driving along (the right road) when suddenly Tim flashed onto the screen.
“You have a message” He hollered!
And then he read it out!
Can you believe this? I was so astounded I nearly drove into a tree.
I couldn’t understand a word of it but it was from my daughter and I can never understand her texts either so I don’t blame Tim, after all he’s only learning, but I was ever so impressed with him.

So, if anyone wants visiting I’m your man. There’s nowhere I can’t find now and nowhere I can’t go. Just call Tim, he’ll tell you.

cooking horses and missing cats


CookingI'm crappier than the crappiest cook ever born. I don't even have the excuse of not liking it, I do quite, although I'm fairly disillusioned with the whole business; never yet having managed to produce anything worthy of being called edible and having been doing it now for nigh on 25 years. I suffer from CIADD (Cooking Induced Attention Deficiency Disorder) and this is a very real affliction!Which brings me to why I'm boring with this topic yet again. Next Saturday (25) we have a trial by dinner party yet again, and I want to know foolproof (the emphasis on fool) dishes that look impressive that I can produce - PLEASE. There will be only the 4 of us and I have nearly a week to accumulate the ingredients, please help me please please help me.The last time we had an 'important' (they're all important according to Himself!) Indian gentleman and for some reason that I cannot fathom now, I decided to attempt a curry (I amaze myself at how dim I am sometimes). The recipe called for all manner of exotic stuff but I was only stumped by the coconut cream (I do live in the middle of nowhere, not as middle of nowhere as Malc, but fairly devoid of exoticism, ingredients-wise anyway) so I bought a tin of coconut milk.At the point of introducing the cream/milk to the concoction, Himself and Raj (the 'important' Indian guest) arrived unexpectedly early and I was so thrown by this I tipped the whole tin of milk into the pan instead of the correct quantity which, if memory serves, was about a quarter.The various ingredients bobbed about in the liquid like lumpy soup, needless to say my attempts to reduce the milk were equally unsuccessful and rendered the whole conglomeration tasteless. When I finally served it up, Raj took a mouthful and then said."My wife is an excellent cook, if you want to know how to cook curry I will ask her to send you some instructions."Bastard.HorsesThe above photos are of Freddie. The top one last year and the other yesterday. He's a very little horse with a very big attitude. Fern and Suze, my other two, are fairly laid back and can't really be bothered to get excited over anything except lunch (well they are ladies) but Freddie has an opinion on everything. I have to admit that my horsey knowledge is meager, and whilst I strive to do my best for them, it is undoubtedly double difficult for them to understand what I wish of them when I have trouble expressing it in horse-talk. I have had Freddie and Fern since they were 6 months old. The were born wild on the New Forest and came straight from Forest to me, wild and untouched, (except for being caught and transported which must have been traumatic and frightening for them). They are now rising 3. When I get to each step in their 'training' I go to an expert to show me (and them) what to do. This has worked well - ish. The trouble with experts is they always make things look easy, and indeed, with them there, it is easy, but the minute they've gone it's difficult to remember what to do. I obviously suffer from HIADD as well as CIADD. What I have taken on board is the need to move them around and not them move me. Fern (and Suze, who knew this from a previous life) grasped this fairly fast and I can move them about. They seem to believe that I'm in charge and they trust that I know what I'm doing (and importantly, from a horsey point of view, believe I can keep predators at bay). Freddie has taken much longer to believe in me, and who can blame him? He has very good reason to doubt my ability to save him from tigers. Slowly, slowly we have been working on[...]

grow, grass grow!



ho ho ho and a bottle of rum


I love New York.I wouldn’t want to live there mind – not enough mud, but for a few days it’s splendid. The art galleries and museums are incredible and the buildings are so very tall. With the dollar still sliding ever downwards it’s very good value too, all except the yellow cabs who rip you off as soon as they realise you’re not a native. The food is good, the people are not over obsequious and never tell you to have a good day now; and despite their crap weather it’s a place I’m glad I’ve seen and would be happy to return to anytime (but preferable between April and October). The CaribbeanI could live there, oh yes. Despite the quantity of rum you’re obliged to drink at all given opportunities, it has everything I like. I especially liked swimming with turtles who were very obliging and friendly. I especially liked lying in the hot sun doing nothing. I especially liked getting squiffy with assorted extremely friendly pirates who were entertaining in the extreme, knowledgeable, bright, happy and brilliant sailors. I especially liked the Creole cooking and lack of cutlery. I really liked the volcano too.AND, I went in a submarine! Picture from porthole taken by yours truly!The ShipWell . . . I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed the sheer decadence of being waited on hand and flipflop almost 24/7. But it made me feel a bit guilty and I didn’t really like some of our fellow travelers too much. Despite there being nothing at all that you could possibly find fault with, there were people (a minority though) on board who did nothing but complain and were rude and miserable. How dare they?!I did enjoy dressing up every night because usually I chose between suit (work) and jeans/wellies (home) but I couldn’t have done it for longer than 10 days. Don’t have enough clothes for a start nor enough diamonds and I was beginning to feel silly wafting about like that. I found I couldn’t get really worked up over our rugby match in an evening frock and tall hair. Perhaps it takes practise. The food was to die for. I have never ever eaten so well, or so much. Everything tasted like heaven even the things I don’t like. I wish I could cook like that – or better still I wish somebody I live with could cook like that. I don’t think I’ll rush to do another cruise in the short-term, fantastic though it was, but I definitely want to go back to the Caribbean, oh yes please.greetings![...]

I'm back


I wish I wasn't!

Will bore you with more later when I'm in the right time-zone.

eat drink and be fat


One of the very many things I’m not good at is eating healthily. I have been extremely lucky that all my life I could eat whatsoever I pleased and stayed the same size. As I stuffed in cream cakes and chocolate by the ton, my fellow workers would comment on the fact that one day it would all catch up with me. And indeed they were right. It has. It’s a shame really that I’m not in touch with any of them or they could now gloat. An under-rated emotion that would give them some real pleasure, the miserable bunch of tossers. Over the last very few years I have steadily increased in girth at a slow but steady rate from an English size 8 to more than a size 10. I have more curves and wobbly bits than are strictly necessary and worse still they are all much more susceptible to the earth’s gravitational pull than is fair or called for. I can only consider going on top with the light off nowadays. So I finally decided that pre honeymoon (starts Sunday) I must tone up and slim down. I have been being good (ish) now (except for the London Tapas bit) for about 3 weeks (it’s the least fun I’ve ever had on voluntary basis) and have lost a miserly 5lbs (the maths way – ask Kaz). I expect I can make that up in the first 5 minutes. Himself thinks I’m mad and has continued to eat and drink copious amounts in front of me and encouraged me, nay forced me, to eat a bag of Maltesers the other evening. So today, in honour of St Val, he bought me a large box of chocolates, 3 bars of fruit and nut, some toffee popcorn and the DVD of Atonement so he can ogle that thin actress. Is this true love?Snowdrops at the bottom of my garden, no fairies.greetings![...]

life skills