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

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.

20170525_094446

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.

20170703_181141

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. 

f4212444e91db2f75724f1306a547725

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 99 – Canterbury, UK

IMG_0082 (2) - Copy

Canterbury, what a beautiful place, especially on a sunny day. The city was overflowing with people consisting of locals, tourists and just a few foreign school children to add to the measure.

The city has an abundance of quaint shops and historic buildings. I was in my element; however, my body wasn’t prepared to do the shop tour. I did achieve taking photos of various buildings of interest and a visit to Canterbury Cathedral.

Canterbury Tales

Canterbury Tales is one of the main attractions in Canterbury. Mr Zebrakat and I didn’t indulge in Chaucer’s famous tales. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote 24 stories in middle English between 1342 to 1400.  There were huge queues going into the building therefore it appeared to be very popular.

Sir John Boys House

One of the most photographed properties in the UK, alongside Buckingham Palace, London. The building is also known as Crooked House, Kings Gallery or the Old Kings Shop. A delightful askew building from the 17th Century. It has been reported that the building got its skewed-up appearance after alterations to the internal chimney that caused the structure to slip sideways. The story told is that additional attempts were made to rectify the problem, nevertheless that caused more slippage. The property is now structurally secured by a steel frame. Therefore the front door is built askew with its corners altered to fit the frame.

The building is not usually open to the public, as it is in regular use by King’s School. The building can be viewed from the street and you can see the photos below.

Canterbury Cathedral

Astonishing building and should be seen, if you are ever in Canterbury, without sounding to nerdy. The Cathedral is steeped in history and I managed to speak to a maintenance employee who gave us insight into the Cathedral and pointed out a couple of areas of greater interest.

There is no way I could write about the history of the Cathedral so I have obtained this info below from the Cathedral website to give you an overview through the centuries.

Through the Centuries

597 – St Augustine arrived in Kent and soon established the first Cathedral

1070-1077 – Cathedral rebuilt by Archbishop Lanfranc

1098-1130 – New Quire built over a Crypt (present Western Crypt)

1170 – Thomas Becket murdered in the Cathedral

1175-1184 – Quire rebuilt. Eastern Crypt, Trinity and Corona Chapels added (all as seen today)

1220 – Becket’s body placed in new Shrine in Trinity Chapel

1377-1405 – Lanfranc Nave demolished and rebuilt as seen today; Cloister vaulting inserted

c1450 – Pulpitum Screen constructed

1498 – Bell Harry Tower extended and the Cathedral largely complete as seen today

1538 – Becket’s Shrine destroyed by Henry VIII

1540 – Monastery dissolved by royal command

1541 – New Foundation of Dean and Chapter established

1660-1704 – Repair and refurbishing after Puritan damage

1834 – North West tower rebuilt

1954 – Library rebuilt, repairing War damage

 1986 – Altar of the Sword’s Point (Martyrdom) restored

 1988 – Compass Rose placed in the Nave

 2000 – International Study Centre (Cathedral Lodge) opened in the Precincts

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 .

img_0036-2.jpg

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

img_0038.jpg

img_0040.jpg

img_0042.jpg

img_0043.jpg

IMG_0047

IMG_0050

IMG_0051

IMG_0052

img_0054.jpg

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

Weekly Blog No 97 – Margate, Kent

 

IMG_0130

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.

IMG_0004 (2)

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.

IMG_0018 (2)

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.

IMG_0006

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.

IMG_0032

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.

IMG_0035

Morris Dancing

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.

img_2394

 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.