The Pig Yard

June 2011

We've had a very busy month and it feels as though we've thrown ourselves into living even more because Jane's cancer has brought us face to face with our own mortality. We are both realists and know our days are numbered but often we have lived as though we are immortal, never again. Jane in particular has always tried to live as though there was three of her, filling every day with as much as possible, now this philosophy has become even more fervent. Steve continues to be an expert in procrastination and it's only his Obsessive Compulsiveness that drives him to do anything, mainly cleaning.
Life continues to surprise us and delight us. We also took ourselves away for a week's holiday to North Devon staying between Barnstaple and Bideford; for more click here...

CT scanner

Jane's Health

Good news - the final result on Jane's Herceptin test proved negative and so her treatment will consist of radiotherapy, five days a week for three weeks. She had her CT scan and the radiotherapy starts on 4th July. She has had two small dots tattooed onto her breast so that the machine can line itself up on her in exactly the same place every day. The actual zapping time is less than fifteen minutes. Towards the end of the treatment she may become tired and the skin will react as though it has been sunburned.
In the hospital waiting area we observed a number of men and women who were obviously undergoing chemotherapy – no hair, very thin and quite weak. This has not been a good experience but it could have been so much worse and we both feel very fortunate.

Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood @ Royal Albert Hall

Steve has waited for over 40 years to see his music idols Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood but it took Jane's organisation skills and decisiveness to book our seats at the Albert Hall for this superb concert. If Steve had a bucket list (things to do before one dies) then this would certainly appear on it.
We didn't have the best seats in the house but that didn't detract from what was a superb evening. For details of the evening and the play list click here...
Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood

Renoir's La Loge

London Tour

To make the most of the Clapton/Winwood gig we decided to spend the whole day in London, particularly as we were staying overnight with Jane's brother, Richard, for the night. We went for a walk from Richard & Nicola's home in north London to St Pancras Station and then onto Camden Locks where we sat outside for a vegetarian lunch - very Camden Market (vegetarian and lose tea). We then packed ourselves onto the tube to visit a couple of galleries. The Courtauld was particularly interesting, situated in Somerset House, and not a gallery we've ever visited before. It contained a significant number of the old masters - Cézanne; Van Gogh; Monet; Renoir; Seurat and Gauguin to name but a few. We recommend it and for further information click here...

Yes Prime Minister

Faced with a country on the brink of financial collapse, the only light at the end of Jim Hacker’s (Richard McCabe) tunnel is a considerably suspect potential deal with the Foreign Minister of Kumranistan involving the zigzagging of an oil pipeline through the whole of Europe. With the help of his close advisors, Hacker is forced to consider the possibility of his country falling further into crisis if he is unwilling to compromise his principles for the powerful (yet morally dubious) Foreign Minister’s ‘personal’ requests concerning sex with an underage girl. In true whirlwind style, Hacker’s problems seem to multiply by the minute as the BBC and an illegal immigrant cook seem hell-bent on exposing his blunders to the nation.
The setting was good, accompanied with solid acting and a script brought up to date. It had not lost any of its cynicism aimed at Civil Servants and politicians. We enjoyed the evening and although hilarious it is a clear reminder that politicians are not to be trusted. We get the politicians we deserve.
Yes Prime Minister at Derngate

Skoda Yeti

Our New Car

Now the Porsche has been sold we decided it was time to replace the Honda CRV with something newer. All the reviewers were raving about the Skoda Yeti and after watching the Top Gear Skoda Yeti test drive we decided, despite the Skoda badge, this car is really good value for money and so all we had to do was choose a colour; then visit our nearest Skoda showroom and hand over the cash. But wait a moment, this is not so simple. Firstly the popularity of the Yeti means there is a 6 month waiting list. Yes you read that right six months!
Next obstacle was the colour. We decided upon a deep maroon called Rosso Brunello, where do they get these names from, sounds more like a bottle of wine but then again it is a deep red, wine colour. Well before we got too excited we were then told this colour was no longer available due to the pigments coming from Japan and the factory had been affected by the Tsunami (a touch of the butterfly's wings). So we settled for petrol blue but haven't a clue what this might look like. No matter because by the time it arrives in November/December we shall have forgotten what we ordered anyway.

Garden Pond Refurbishment

We originally installed the garden pond in 2003 and after five years it started to leak and became a real problem. Two years ago Steve built a temporary pond near to the gas tank and we transferred plants and any pond creatures we could find as we slowly drained the pond. Slowly we have rebuilt the original pond and this month Steve dismantled the temporary pond. Jane doesn't like to think that any creature would be harmed in the making of the pond and therefore every milligram of mud had to be sieved to make sure there were no efts (young newts) or dragonfly larvae or pond snails - it took forever but we got there eventually.
Looking back at old photographs of the original pond it will take some time for it to re-establish itself and return to its former glory.
Garden Pond June 2011

Cycling the Tarka Trail June 2011

North Devon Holiday

In February we travelled down to Ilfracombe for our annual holiday with the usual suspects however Jane went down with the flu and we had to return home after two days so it was really good that we booked to stay in a small cottage at Fremington, between Barnstaple and Bideford.
When we first arrived we thought it was too small and a bit remote but we walked down to the village to find an array of shops and one pub that did food so we realised we were going to be very comfortable. Of course Jane had plans that involved cycling, walking and swimming and Steve was happy to do whatever came along provided there was a meal at the end of it.
The weather was not too bad and it just kept getting better and better. For more details click here...

Next Month...

July promises to be a "normal" month with no major plans. The final part of Harry Potter 7 arrives at cinemas and therefore there's a good chance we'll get to see it. There's still a lot of work to be done in the garden and we need to get the barn walls painted to protect the new rendering.
And of course Jane faces the prospect of radiotherapy every working day for three weeks.

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