Monday, 31 December 2012

Just one big normal end to the year

Our Christmas day was spent at Carole’s house.... Carole is my husband Mark’s first wife, and mother of his first 2 children....and the woman who generously shares her children and grandchildren with me.
Liam, anticipating all the good things to come.
So much going on.....
It was a lovely day. The 4 grandchildren were the centre of attention, and amused us beautifully.

Dexter’s reciting his words in his recently performed nativity...
“ Aye up Mary, it’s off t’ Bethlehem for us”....or something very similar, had us rolling around.

Liam’s Twinkle twinkle little star had me all choked up.
 The rendition of “ We wish you a merry Christmas......... to you and your king”, rather than kin, had daughter in law Sarah desperately trying to get a 21 year old as well as the 4 year olds to listen, and learn the proper words....all to no avail.
No, we'll sing the words we want to sing....
so much concentration required to play with the cracker presents

Carole and Peter’s efforts to ensure everyone had a good time were much appreciated. Her surprise Christmas grotto, with a covering of cotton wool snow, required little boys to don cardboard and tinsel snow shoes.....a brilliant invention.
The snow shoes had fallen off by this stage

Three days later I met up with  Annie ( Moving On). We used to work together in Kirklees, but have really only got to know each other well since she moved to Spain and we have become part of the amazing  blogging community. Annie persuaded me to blog when I moved part time to France.... and she has since become my role model for all sorts of things....including making chocolate. It was wonderful to see her in the flesh again... and we have plans to meet up in Spain next year.

Me, on the left, with Annie, at her reunion with many of her friends from when she lived in Huddersfield
 A day after that Mark and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.....with all the same people we celebrated Christmas with,  as well as Mark’s ex mother- in law and Mark’s sister and 2 of her children, and her soon to be daughter-in-law. ( We are very fond of Mark and Shardae, as they announced their engagement when they were staying with us in France last summer, and we are really looking forward to their wedding).

Clark helping us celebrate

celebrating 20 years of incredibly happy marriage

Anyway....” It were another good do”, held at our local pub, the Stubbings Wharf, made famous by Ted Hughes when he was moaning about the dreariness of what he saw as the depressing Calder valley. We were not depressed, despite the continuing rain.
My only other news is that whilst feeling very well, in the window of wellness that occurs between chemo treatments, my hair has now gone. All the wigs and scarves I had at the ready are now being used for real. It feels strange, and was certainly quite traumatic when it started falling out in what I called  nest- fulls. However, a week or so on, and I am more used to it.


 Christmas has been good, the wedding anniversary was lovely, and I am full of hope for an excellent 2013.

A very happy New Year to all of you.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Normal.......well, nearly normal.

I have been longing for feeling normal again after my surgery, and now, my first session of chemotherapy.
It isn’t just feeling normal that is holy grail like at the is doing normal things. I want to just wander into town to potter around and pick up a few Christmas presents. That hasn’t really been possible. Walks have been exhausting, Mark doesn’t like leaving me on my own for more than about 20 minutes, and organising  all the appointments for treatment, follow - up, blood tests, wig fittings, etc etc seem to take forever. All of this of course, underlines the fact that cancer and its treatment now dominates our lives...... and I want normal !

So...although my initial reaction to my first chemo session was to require extra pain relief, and a trip to the wonderfully supportive oncology ward at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary last weekend....since then, I have recovered well. After a couple of days of pain, total exhaustion set in...which is not long as you don’t try to do anything. I drifted from bed to sofa, from dreams to rubbish on TV, a few conversations, and directions to Jess as to where to place tree decorations....and then...suddenly, 2 days after that.... I recognised, starting to feel “normalish”.
Thanks for getting the tree and decorating it Jess.... a really good job.
Yesterday, I made a cake. It wasn’t a special cake. In fact I couldn’t even remember my normal Victoria sponge ( with a hint of chocolate) recipe. It is one I have used for years. I never have to look it up, I just get the right amount of stuff out of the cupboard and do it. For some reason I could not remember how many eggs, how much butter, sugar, flour......Then, I realised I had no idea where I even got my usual recipe from in the first place. So, for the first time in a long time, I consulted Mary Berry, and went for her creamed recipe rather than the all in one, never being a fan of all in one stuff.

The cake is great...... and drinking coffee, and eating cake that I have made just feels amazing.........really, really, normal

Monday, 3 December 2012

Valley Light Parade: Hebden Bridge

A shop window in Hebden Bridge......depicting...... Hebden Bridge

Hebden Bridge has been part of the Calder Valley Lights Parade this year...last week it was held in Todmorden, this week, here in Hebden Bridge and next week it will be in Mytholmroyd.

It has involved children making lanterns in workshops held all over the 3 towns. It has involved market stall holders, canal boat owners,brass bands, drummers, shop keepers, schools, teachers, parents, pupils......and last night, in Hebden Bridge, it seemed to involve everyone who lived within miles of the place.
handmade lanterns adorned the streets
The Christmas lights were turned on, the flame thrower played with fire, the bands marched, the lanterns swung high in the sky, the children laughed and the beautiful canal decorations changed colour in time to the music.

I do love Hebden Bridge