Saturday, 13 June 2009

Disaster zone

11 June 2009

Hmm. You know what? I forgot to tell you this – I am a walking disaster zone. It’s true. If there’s a toe to be stubbed, I’m there. A nail to be ripped off at the quick; that’s me. I am constantly having small crises. Usually they involve quite a lot of blood. Sometimes, stitches. Mostly, swearing. Loud swearing! And band aids. Lots of them.

For example; today I have been sitting at my pc all day. I literally didn’t move. But I managed to get a big cut across the top of my foot? Eh? How did that happen? A few days ago I was trundling down our stairs. I have been going up and down these same stairs for 13 years. Yes, it’s spiral staircase. Yes, it’s ancient [about 300 years old] but I have been up and down them at least 20 times a how is it that yesterday I ripped a lump out of my heel on a nail that I have never seen before?? Eww. Lots of blood!

So. I am a walking chaos. If I am gardening [my passion] - I am quite often in danger of hacking off a member with the secateurs. If I am cleaning – the danger there is losing a nail [not just a nail – the entire nail – from the quick! Ugh!]. If I am cooking...well, this is a joke – I can either set myself on fire in the kitchen or grab something too hot from the cooker, thus singing some flesh...hmm, choices...

The point I am trying to make is this – no matter what we do, we will eventually arrive at a disaster. A choice we can’t choose. Large or small, a disaster, nonetheless.

It is how we deal with the disaster that is important. Oh yes we can shriek and wail. We can pretend it didn’t happen at all [ok.....]. We can berate the fates – volubly. OR. We can just deal with it.

I choose to do that. Just deal with it. Get hold of it, shake it and deal with it.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Zombie Chicken Award

11 June 2009

This post is specially for shoppingkharma :o) This week I am doing mainly dedications. I am the blog DJ...

As I was saying, [before I had a 70’s flashback...] - this is a special for CJ. I was on a lovely blog today, just discovered it, very chirpy and cool. I noticed this little blogger has a lot of 'awards'. We don’t seem to 'do' them here in UK blog land. I like them - they’re just a bit of fun. Well, I was so amused by one of the awards that I asked about it. The answer was even more hilarious than the award title! Love it. And CJ is the perfect person to have it.

I am not quite sure how you go about giving the award, so I am just going to post it here and hope for the best!

The Zombie Chicken Award...
"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens to read their inspiring words."

Ideally, pass it along to a few fellow bloggers that you think are amazing!

My Awardee:

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Cream Tea - an explanation

10 June 2009

This post is specially for WhiteStone! :o)

A Cream Tea, Devonshire Cream Tea or Cornish Cream Tea is tea [naturally], taken with a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam. Scrumptious!

Cream teas are offered for sale in tea rooms throughout England (particularly the South West) and rest of the Commonwealth, or wherever someone wants to give an impression of British influence. In the United States it is apparently promoted as a typically English afternoon snack. [Which, by the way, it certainly isn't!]

Clotted cream is a thick yellow cream made by heating unpasteurized cow's milk and then leaving it in shallow pans for several hours. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms 'clots'. True Cornish clotted cream must be made from unpasteurized milk or the clots will not form. It has a minimum fat content of 55%. [see? That’s why it’s not a typical afternoon would survive unless they ploughed fields by hand all day!]

Clotted cream is served as part of the cream tea (known as a Devonshire Cream Tea in Devon) on warm scones with strawberry or raspberry jam. In Devon, the cream is traditionally used instead of butter, with the jam spread on top of the cream as in the photo below; in Cornwall the jam is spread first because the runny substrate of Cornish clotted cream would make the Devonian method of service impossible to achieve without looking messy. [Cornish clotted cream is the BEST!]

Scones with clotted cream and jam...

A good, strong cup of tea is recommended to help wash it all down. Ideally, this would be a strong Assam blend, without sugar. Milk is optional. The teapot is essential for a good cup of tea and the tea itself tastes better drunk from a China cup.

The ideal time of day for a Cream Tea is 16.00. Originally, after a hard day's work in the fields you'd be very hungry and thirsty. The farmer's wife wouldn't have the time to prepare and cook meals because they worked on the farm too. So a couple of scones would do the trick for tea!

Marvellous invention...

By the way, the pronunciation of the word 'scone' varies across the United Kingdom. According to one academic study, nearly two thirds of the British population and 99% of the Scottish population pronounce it as /skɒn/, to rhyme with "con" and "John." The rest pronounce it /skəʊn/, to rhyme with "cone" and "Joan." British dictionaries usually show the "con" form as the preferred pronunciation, while recognizing that the "cone" form also exists.

I pronounce it as the latter, my husband pronounces it as the former. But really, as long as they taste good and there's plenty of clotted cream and jam on them - who cares?

This picture is borrowed from Docton Mill Tea Room in Devon;

Survivors Luncheon, Tedburn St Mary

10 June 2009

In advance of the Cancer Research 24 Hour Relay for Life, to be held in Tedburn St Mary on July 4th 2009, Julie and I hosted a ''Survivors' Luncheon'' last Sunday.

I love this word 'luncheon' - picked it up from one of my American friends. Sounds rather posh! We laid everything out, and Andrew cooked BBQ all afternoon for us. Then there was a cream tea in case anyone was still hungry.

Here are the hostesses [before everyone arrived - so we are all neat and tidy]:

Here is the chef: AJ did a marathon amount of cooking for about 25 people! Jones rocks.

As a kick off to the Relay, the Survivors do the first Lap of Honour as special guests. This year the Survivors will be preceded by the Dartline Majorettes, and followed by the rest of the Relay entrants. So the first lap should be a spectacle worth seeing! After the lap, the survivors are treated to a cream tea, courtesy of the Tedburn St Mary Women's Institute. After that I will be doing a lot more laps! Will I ever get rid of this half a stone? Er...not if I keep eating cake. And clotted cream. Oh well...

To have a bit more fun in advance of the event, Julie [the Relay Committee Chair] and I arranged the lunch for the local cancer Survivors we know and could get in touch with. There were ten of us at the luncheon and a few who couldn’t make it. We’re hoping to find some more. We know there are more, we just don't know where they are! Get in touch please?

Meeting before the event to have a bbq and cream tea in Julie’s smashing garden was a great ice breaker for those of us who hadn’t met yet. Actually I was supposed to organise the whole thing, but I was nervous about calling people and was lucky that everyone was able to come.

And notwithstanding the rain, it was a great success - there were some sunny spots during the afternoon, and Julie sold some raffle tickets [these are for the chance to win the £1100.00 Trillium cut diamond necklace kindly donated by Michael Spiers Jewellers. All those raffle funds will be donated to Cancer Research UK.]

At Relay for Life, anyone who has heard the words "you have cancer" is considered a Survivor. A "survivor" is anyone living with a history of cancer, from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life. And by taking part in the Survivors Lap at the Relay, participants unite to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis is a reality. That we can carry on as normal - albeit with a few extra worries...but also with a new insight into other people and their lives.

This year will be the 4th Relay for Life event to be organised by the Tedburn St Mary community. The Relay for Life is all about having fun and celebrating life, whilst at the same time, raising money for Cancer Research.

Anyone who would like to participate as a Survivor, or enter a Relay Team, the Relay registration and information is HERE

AND there’s a hog roast!! And a 24 hour bbq...and Rafael Ravenscroft on the sax and lots of good stuff. As you can see, I have my positive head on again today! :o)

Here we are, except one of the girls who had gone home by this time. You will note that I had to hide my wine glass under the chair...can't be seen to be having TOO much fun ;o)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


Sunday, 31st May 2009

Ah bloody hell - so many things have been going on. Difficult to blog everything…Aj’s MRI. And I was away. Bah. But when I got back, the results were 100% good, Yay. CJ was back in the Bin. Bah again. The demented computer scenario [not so bad, but doing my head in!]…having only the tottering old laptop is rather worrying. It WILL keep over-heating…stupid thing. So, what happened? As you know, the pc conked out. I had the chap round to fix it. [twice] He thought he had fixed it. [hardware wise]. He decided that my ‘system’ was corrupt. Goodbye £200.00.

Then my computer genius brother reinstalled ALL the pc [the ‘system’]…amazing. I was so chuffed I could have squashed him to death. I didn’t - his wife wouldn’t have been amused. So, home I came with my newly installed pc. [by the way, delivered to me FREE at Gatwick by the self same genius brother] Woop woop! I know very well that if Pete does an installation, it’s a good one. And for a few days it WAS. But then - poof!! Blue screen!! Aaargh! What??
What a bloody week! Waiting for the new pc to arrive [and in the interim, going bezzo trying to do everything on the laptop], waiting for my Laura Ashley cushions to arrive – and where the hell are my trailing fuchsias?? I ordered them ages ago – by the time they arrive it will be winter again! Grr. The weekend was weird. We had the most amazingly sunny days, and Friday / Saturday [a sunny day!] I was stuck inside working on getting the new pc up and running. That seems insane in the larger scheme of things doesn’t it? I can work when I like but I still have this weird mindset that I should work when my colleagues are working. A good example being that I was sent a small correction to do – I didn’t respond immediately [busy installing things] and that caused concern – this is because usually, I respond to emails as soon as they arrive [that would be: respond, then delete or file – or be drowned in emails...] – oo, talk about making a stick for your own back! Being drowned by email is not quite what I envision as my demise!

Anyway blah blah – last weekend was amazing!! We went to Biddeford in the van, bikes in the back. We cycled 19.3 miles!! I almost died...the next day we did a little circuit training thing of our own on the patio. Just as well, or I wouldn’t have been able to walk ...but I was really amazed that I did those miles. I usually do about 10 then collapse....20?? OMG...Last week was normal. Work, blah. But this weekend was stunning – sun, and more sun! This is so unusual in the UK. I actually caught a burn! OMG...a suntan?...eek!! We just did bbq and vegged out – lovely!

In the meantime, I had one of 'those’' days. I go along merrily thinking I’m back to normal. Then, BASH!!! I’m not. Fuck. It’s so irritating. So upsetting. So demoralising.
I was reading the post of one of the girls. She was on about a friend who’d had breast cancer, survived that, then got OC and now she was dying. And dying soon.
Jesus!! What is that all about?? Isn’t ONE type of cancer enough for one person?? It made me rush into the kitchen and cry my eyes out. Plus I have other personal things going on that really stress me out...the person I most wanted to talk to, I couldn’t. Stupid headset!
And I am left wondering WHY?? Why did this happen to us? To me? AND...why are we trying so hard to be normal? And why are we trying so hard to help everyone else, when actually [er, sorry!!] THEY should be helping US. WE are the people who’ve had cancer. Wouldn’t work! And then I read the post of my friend Kia. She seemed to have the same head on as me right this moment. Upset, frustrated. We are the people [ok persons!] who’ve been through chemo, lost our hair, confidence, looks blah. Fuck, and more bloody swearing. Sorry - but you know by now, this blog, if you don’t like it, well, don’t read it!! Bye bye people who can’t get to grips with my reality.

• The reality of cancer is this; first you get it. Then you have it deleted. Then you worry about it coming back. Then you think - sod that, it’s not going to come back - I refuse to allow it. Then you think - what if it does come back? And you try to make a plan about that...and so on and so forth. Scary. All the time. Every day.
• Then you try to make another plan about it coming back, but that plan, well it’s a sort of mad plan, as you’re not quite sure what the hell you are planning for. So it’s actually impossible...the plan becomes the nightmare...ah I have lung / brain / breast / whatever – cancer ...just get this - my body fucked my head with this thing. So now I don’t trust it any more. And I am stressed with it all the time – even though I try 100% not to be. Other things seem so unimportant now.

Arguing, accusations,guilt trips? Well, sorry – I don’t ‘DO’ those any more... I can't afford to.

Kelly's at it again girls - get it on!!

Electrolux and Kelly Ripa are proud to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund whose mission is to fund research to find a method of early detection and ultimately a cure for Ovarian Cancer. Electrolux has committed to donate $500,000 to this worthy cause.

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