Weekly Blog No 102 – Local Dog Show

Yesterday we went to a local dog show with the hope that we could enter Lottie into some of the categories. Oh my, it was a dog fest with more cross breeds than pedigrees. Dont they say owners can look like their pets, maybe there is some truth in that saying.

We entered Lottie into 2 categories as the rain looked promising. 1. Prettiest Bitch and 2. Best Crossbreed.  There was 5 rosettes to be won in each category.  I actually did think Lottie would win one in the prettiest bitch category as everyone was saying how pretty she was. We had people stop us to stroke Lottie. Yet she didn’t win in either category. Never mind there is always next year.

The event was good fun and proves that people are very passionate about their pets. The grey sky never put a hindrance on the day and the show went on even when there was a sprinkle of rain. Enjoy looking at some of pets who attended the day. X

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Weekly Blog No 101 – Vegetable Garden

This year, my goal was to do a vegetable garden. As I had the space down the bottom of garden, it was worth a shot. In February/March, I started to grow from seeds, tomatoes and brussels sprouts. In the meantime, I got Mr Zebrakat to start making raised wooden beds.

Everything I was attempting was a complete learning curve. I did the seeds in seed trays and watering the seeds was crucial. There was even an element of excitement when you see a sea of green coming through the soil. Little leaves started to protrude through and develop into a dainty like stem. Once I had seedlings I would transfer them into seed/cutting trays. Seeds definitely need a lot of attention and perseverance. Outdoor seeds seem less demanding. Now in seeing my crop of veggies, I think I would attempt seeds again but on a smaller scale as I will explain later.

I needed the wooden raised beds, therefore I got Mr Zebrakat to show me his carpentry skills. My request was wooden tubs with legs to reduce bending. Most of my raised were 4ft X 2ft. I painted the outside of the beds with a Ronseal paint. I filled the bed with a layer of gravel for drainage and to stop mould. Then a layer of organic compost and then a moisture control soil and I had read raised beds dry out quicker. That does appear to be the case, however we have had extreme heat wave days.

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Raised Vegetable Beds

I attempted to plant vegetable companions to avoid diseases etc. For example Brussels with tomatoes.  Potatoes with cauliflower. I brought cauliflower plants the only plant I didn’t grow from seed and caterpillars took revenge. The perfect yellow and black inserts were all over the back of the leaves. I was so disappointed, nevertheless it’s the only way to learn. Therefore, to eliminate the problem I removed them all. Goodbye cauliflower.

I then sow carrots from seed directly into the beds and are ready in 12 weeks. They are doing fine, however are being smothered by tomato plants.  Brussels are still growing and I’m learning they take a while. My early potatoes are taking shape in spite of picking some to early. My first crop of potatoes tasted wonderful.  I actually pulled the potatoes when the plant flowered, I have since you don’t pull them until the flower has died. Someone else told me to let them flower twice before gathering the next crop.  well today I have collected the remaining crop. I shall plant some more potatoes in the next couple of days.

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Potatoes

I actually over planted my tomatoes. It’s like a jungle of plants and restricting my walking around the beds. I have learned, I don’t need so many plants next time around and I will support the individual plants. Although my tomatoes are taking shape as you can see from the photos its definitely a lesson learned.

When spaces become vacant in the beds, I will plant some other vegetables. I would like to try courgettes, cabbage and salad items. If anyone has any tips please share them with me.

Weekly Blog No 100 – Cancer Update. 

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Cancer Update.



Late January my GP/Family Physcian was getting concerned with me, regarding my symptoms. The Royal Free Hospital, London, UK requested some additional tests including the most advanced scan for my cancer. I have personally been struggling at times, when I have a bad day, I rest and when I have a good day I make the most of it. My body was certainly telling me my cancer had advanced but I had to have medical procedures to confirm that. Today, I went to the RFH for the results and the news was not great.

There was more progression of cancer both in my abdomen and liver.  Was I shocked, no I wasn’t because I knew. What was my reaction, well I smiled because now there was data to represent my symptoms. Weird reaction, I know but I’ve been here at least 5 times before, it’s old hat.  What happens now, my Oncologist wants me to have additional scans to examine the growth in more detail on my abdomen and liver, which is supposed to be in the next 2-4 weeks. However my scan is in 4 weeks with additional blood work. That gives him 2 weeks to discuss my case with other Consultants before seeing him again. He has proposed 3 treatment options but I won’t go into that yet until a final decision has been made. In the meantime, guess what, I have more meds, let’s just add a few more to my rather big collection.

I’m going to continue life the best I can and with no boundaries. I will update you in July when I have more news. I would like to thank the people who continuously support both me & Mr ZebraKat  ❤️

Weekly Blog No 98 – Turner Comtemporary, Margate, Kent

Turner Contemporary

Along the beach was a modern building called Turner Contemporary.

The Turner Contemporary was showing an exhibition called Entangle: Threads & Making. It was showcasing work from 40 international female artists. The exhibition is due to finish on the 7th May 2017 and is free admission. Inside the building is a café and gift shop so that you can buy those unusual gifts.

This photo is of the elevator in the building, which is now decorated on all the walls, with this artist work .

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I took some photos of the exhibits and I apologise now to the artists, if my photos don’t do their work justice.

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The pieces were amazing and I did note an appreciatitive audience.

Weekly Blog No 97 – Margate, Kent

 

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Margate

As you know, I have a number of tests coming up, therefore Mr ZebraKat and I decided to go away for a weekend. Its been over a year since we have been away and we certainly needed a change of scenery. My next procedure was on Tuesday, therefore it was lovely to feel just like another tourist for a few hours.

I am ashamed to say I have not seen much of the UK for breaks or holidays, I always headed out of the country. Its UK’s bonus that my illness prevents me from heading on a plane to some exotic location.  Hopefully in the coming months, I shall attempt to explore more of the UK, forgetting my illness. I went to Margate, drove around Broadstairs & Ramsgate and visited Canterbury. Consequently I am going to cover over a few blogs. I am no way near even an amateur photographer but you will get the picture. Excuse the pun.

Margate had a lovely sandy beach and was pretty empty when we arrived, however on Saturday it was a different story with many visitors.

 

This beautiful building is now used as the Tourist Information Centre, the elegant building was built-in 1812 for Margate Pier & Harbour Company.

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Droit House

Dreamland is an amusement park, which was closed due to refurbishment. It’s a shame as there was a roller disco in the park and I would have given that a go.

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We had a light lunch in this 70’s feel Italian Cafe, the food & coffee was amazing, if I was to go back again i would call into this cafe.

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Cafe – High Street

The old town was a mixture of cute shops and buildings. I do love the period properties, you can imagine the history.

Period properties around the old town.

The Old Kent Market is a restored building of independent sellers selling food & crafts.

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Old Kent Market

Next we took a look at Morris Dancers outside the Turner Building. Morris Dancers are English Folk Dancing people and has been recorded in history since 1448. The Turner Building will be the next blog.

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Morris Dancing

Weekly Blog No 96 – Life Continues

I thought it’s been a while and I should give you an update and elaborate what I’ve been doing in the mean time. 

I’ve been missing in action for a while now because of the challenges of carcinoid cancer. It’s been an  ongoing obstabcle course and I’ve had to climb over walls, swing on ropes and jump through hoops. Only, my adventure is not the wonderful experience you would imagine. 

My new Family Physician has been excellent and on the ball referring me when there has been concerns and there haven’t been many. I had scans, tests and Specialist appointments. On one appointment my medication intake increased a further 5 different meds due to my symptoms. The medical hamster wheel never stops for me.  

Next week I have an endoscopy and the following week my GA68 cancer scan. My tumour marker blood tests that have always remained normal even though, I’ve had 3 cancer ops. My tumour marker result has done a long jump out of normal range with a personal best and doubled within 6 months. Well done cancer, what are you telling me now.

Here’s comes the honestly part. There has been occasions were I have thought is this my downward spiral. Do I seriously need to get my life in order before I decline anymore. My life was in complete order in Canada but isn’t so complete in the UK. It’s something that I need to address. I have ideas but it needs to be down on paper.  

I’m not the person I was and my life has changed so much. I miss work but I do understand why I can’t work. Furthermore I’m don’t have the freedom I once had but I’m also grateful for the freedom I do have. Going anywhere is a challenge, yet you have to try to get to places if you can and Mr Zebrakat is very supportive and never a whinge is heard.

I’m not a crier as a rule, however I did end up crying to Mr Zebrakat a few weeks ago when nothing would take the pain away. It was a Sunday too, so not everyone was accessible for assistance. On the Monday my butt dart nurse saw I was out of sorts and crossed the procedure line to get me assistance. A box of chocolates is in the waiting for my next visit. Thank you so much to my nurse and her diligence.

You do start to question things, for instance, is this it, or if your deemed to have an extended life, how can you possibly maintain symptoms like this every single day. I now understand why people want to throw in the towel. Trust me it’s very easy to comment on these things, when you haven’t physically experienced it yourself. Therefore please be mindful when discussing people’s health issues. I have personally made comments on people’s health in the past, saying I don’t understand why people don’t try more or I don’t understand why they are doing that blah blah blah. Speak to the person and get their prospective on the situation.   

Yes it’s wonderful having a life but no one wants to be feeling horrible everyday. We have all had a viral infection at some point and you feel so terrible. Imagine that feeling most days, it’s the only way I can explain some of the symptoms/situations. Don’t worry, I’m not giving up and my Specialist is working hard to control my symptoms.Thank you Prof C.  The reality is that I may look ok but truth is my life is tormented by my cancer. 

My priorities have changed in life, what may have been my 1 – 5 year goals have immediately become my current goals. I’ve been fighting this for 4 years on Mothers Days (UK), which is a wonderful achievement. Even longer if you count the years it was growing inside me before being diagnosed. 

I will continue to fight and challenge my body. I will keep reading and thank you to Auntie P for the continous supply of reading material. I will be lost in Victorian times for a while. Thank you to K for keeping me up to date in showbiz gossip.  

The house renovation plans are nearly completed for Local Authority submission, well done Mr Zebrakat. Roll on brick dust. 

The garden is now missing a silver birch tree, conifers and  a vine. Hello, fresly painted bird table and proposed space for veggie boxes.  I have sowed some seeds indoor seeds for bedding plants and veggies. A new skill for me and I’ve been learning from others and a big thank to Lady T for the beginners guide. 

I’ve also being working on Mr Zebrakat family tree and mine at times. His is my priorty, I’ve rechecked the facts that I have gathered to ensure that I’m following the right line. It’s amazing how people attach your family members to thier family tree. Clearly assuming that their family member is married to yours.You can’t make assumptions, you have to get the certificates to double check the info provided is correct. The Scottish certificates tend to give a little more info, like marriage date of parents and addresses making the trial a little easier, although I will be crossing over to Ireland now. I know with my family tree, Ireland is a little harder to trace and I believe a lot of records were destroyed by the British. However on a good note, Mr Zebrakat was able to reconnect with a 1st cousin through my research. #happydays.

Althrough i’m problematic times and I may question things, I’m still proactive in one way or another. I would to thank Mr Zebrakat, my family and friends for keeping me going, you know who you are. #specialpeople. 

Weekly Blog No 95 – French Bistro Evening 

imageLocally we stumbled upon a quaint little café with a friendly atmosphere. Every time we have visited the café, you are made to feel welcome and presented with gratifying food & drinks. When ordering a sandwich of your choice, you are presented with a side order of homemade coleslaw and baked crisps.  As I’m not a lover of coleslaw, I was surprised to be delighted by the flavour and could quiet happily eat a bowl on its own. I don’t know what the secret ingredient is, nevertheless they have definitely won me over.

Usually after my cancer injection, Mr Zebrakat and I treat ourselves to a spot of breakfast or early lunch. In January, we spotted that the café did theme night menus. In January, it was a Scottish theme menu, just after Burns Night but we didn’t go as we had other plans.  We decided to go to the next one in February, which was French Bistro. We paid our deposit unsure if we would attend due to me not being so well lately, however at least our place was reserved. Yesterday was ohh la la evening, so I made sure I got plenty of rest during the day.

When we approached the space we were enriched with French music, bunting of French flags, white tablecloth & blue & red confetti laid tables and finally dressed with a bulb of garlic.  We were able to bring with us a bottle of wine as the premises doesn’t hold a liquor licence. Here is the food menu.

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 The shared oven baked Camembert was amazing.

We both had the pan poached garlic mushrooms

Followed by the rustic French onion soup, Mr Zebrakat had the honey glazed duck a la orange and I had the coq au vin.

Then onto dessert, which was a selection of French style desserts

The evening was truly amazing with a great atmosphere. The food was impeccable and the service outstanding. We are going to try another theme night very soon.

 

Photo Credit : Food photos off Facebook page of the café.