Weekly Blog No 129 – Mary Berry’s Fruit Scones

Photo Credit Mary Berry

The other day I attempted to make fruit scones to have with jam and clotted cream. I chose Mary Berry’s recipe and added some photo’s of the different stages.

I also used mixed fruit instead of sultanas and used 100ml of milk and 50ml of cream. Thank you to P for the tip of using cream for a softer scone.

Ingredients

• 75g (2 1⁄2 oz) butter, chilled and cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing

• 350g (12oz) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

• 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder

• 30g (1oz) caster sugar

• 75g (2 1⁄2oz) sultanas

• About 150ml (5fl oz) milk

• 2 large eggs, beaten

Method

Preheat the oven to 220°C (fan 200°C/425°F/Gas 7). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

Put the flour and baking powder into a large chilled mixing bowl.

Add the cubes of butter, keeping all the ingredients as cold as possible.

Rub in lightly and quickly with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar and sultanas. Pour 100ml (31⁄2fl oz) of the milk and all but 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg into the flour mixture.

Mix together with a round-bladed knife to a soft, but not too sticky dough, adding a bit more milk if needed to mop up any dry bits of mixture in the bottom of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, lightly knead just a few times only until gathered together, then gently roll and pat out to form a rectangle about 2cm (3⁄4in) deep.

Cut out as many rounds as possible from the first rolling with a 6cm (21⁄2in) cutter (a plain cutter is easier to use than a fluted one) and lay them on the baking sheet, spaced slightly apart.

Gather the trimmings, then roll and cut out again. Repeat until you have 10 scones.

Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved egg. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until risen and golden.

Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Cooks in 10mins.

Approximately 10 Servings.

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Weekly Blog No 126 – Cancer Update

This was my Facebook update for family and friends.

Unfortunately I’ve been a little quiet recently as I’ve been suffering with abdomen pain and a suspected partial bowel obstruction. I had a Pet Scan beginning of May, it was first one since last year. I did have a couple of CT scans in Feb, which revealed cancer in the abdomen. Well yesterday I went to the RF to discuss my current problems and the results from the Pet Scan. Although it was a great appointment with my Oncologist, he did kindly tell me “I was a complicated case”, my reply was “I did tell you I wasn’t straightforward”.

Now Im going to tell you the findings from the Pet Scan, I have cancer in the abdomen in various places, however there is something of concern on the left side were I have intense pain. Furthermore, I have additional cancer spread on the liver. Subsequently I will have CT’s to the thorax, abdomen, pelvis and liver in the next couple of days. The Oncologist will have a multi discipline team meeting to discuss my case. I may have to have additional tests before I see him again mid June. The proposal is a tablet form of chemo therapy or a clinical trial of Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy. This will be discussed in more detail, once he sees me again and I will explain it more to you.

My thoughts: Something has to done about the continuous progression, I do find that I’m constantly saying that I have progression to you all in my updates, however the fight goes on. Obviously my 4th surgery last Nov didn’t buy me time like I initially thought, hey ho there you go. If I have this chemo, there’s some nasty side effects that I don’t want to experience and PRRT is the last resort treatment for my cancer. However PRRT can slow down progression so its definitely a bonus. I will keep doing what I’ve been doing and that is trying to enjoy life. Life is so precious.

Sorry I haven’t done personal messages but there’s too many people to do and easier this way. 😍

Love to you all. ❤️

Weekly Blog No 122 – Malta

As we were sailing into port, I was in awe of the beautiful country before me.

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Entering the port you could see the fortress city of Valletta, the lovely stone walls

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I could definitely see why so many people including Queen Elizabeth 11 formally known as Princess Elizabeth/Duchess of Edinburgh was in love with the country.

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Prince Philip/Duke of Edinburgh was stationed in Malta whilst in the Royal Navy. Princess Elisabeth was living on the island as a naval officer’s wife between 1949 – 1951.

Their home on the island was Villa Guardamangia a townhouse. My understanding is this building is in disrepair and the government are obtaining the villa because of its historical heritage. It’s the only residence outside the UK that the Queen has lived in. It would be an amazing visitors site.

After the Great Siege in 1565, the knights set out building Valletta the capital of Malta. Valletta was founded by and named after the Grand Master of Order of St John Jean de la Valette.  Valletta was to be not only a fortress city, but the cultural home to some of the finest works of 16th – 18th century Europe. Jean de la Vallette was buried in the city some three years later.

Mr Zebrakat & I did an open bus tour of the city and got a brief overview of the history. It would have been nice to have at least a couple of days in Malta to visit the places of interest. Malta is definitely worth a visit and here is some of the photos that I had taken.

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Weekly Blog No 121 – Mediterranean Cruise

@msccruises

@msccruises

Mr Zebrakat & I have just been on a mediterranean cruise. It was my birthday gift from Mr Zebrakat and we celebrated on the cruise 5 years since my cancer diagnosis.

If you are a sun worshipper, I wouldn’t recommend the month of March to do a mediterranean cruise. Although we were able to wear short sleeves, it was quiet windy and did rain a couple of days.

Mr Zebrakat chose MSC Cruises after we had watched an episode of Jane MacDonalds cruise Channel 5 programme. The cruise was an eight day cruise embarking & disembarking in Barcelona, Spain, however you could have embarked/disembarked at any of the ports. This is the first cruise we have been on were all the passengers have not all embarked and disembarked at the same location. The cruise involved 4 countries in 8 days and 5 ports.

This was the itinerary:

Day 1 – Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona the capital of Catalonia, the best port in Europe to discover the wonders of this vibrant region of Spain. Barcelona is one of the largest cities of the mediterranean coast. Establish the history of Gaudi and Picasso. Immerse yourself in the medieval and gothic architecture.

Day 2 – Marseille, France

Marseille the typical vielle ville (old town) of the French Riviera. Enjoy the old port, Palau’s du Pharo or Notre Dame de la Garde.

Day 3 – Genoa, Italy

This Mediterranean port will amaze you with elegant architecture from the 17th & 18th centuries. Take in the magnificent Cathedral of SAN Lorenzo consecrated by Pope Gelasius 11 in 1118 and completed in the 14th Century.

Day 4 – Civitavecchia, Italy

The port of Civitavecchi is one of the largest in Italy. Amongst the most important monuments to visit is the Fort Michelangelo, built by Bramante in the 16th century, the ancient walls of the old port and the fountain in travertine marble by Vanvitelli. There is a host of bars and restaurants for a taste of seafood cuisine.

Day 5 – Palermo, Italy

The perfect chance to visit the regional capital of Sicily. The port of Palermo displays of Norman art and architecture, Baroque churches and medieval streets.

Day 6 – Valletta, Malta

The fortress city and the capital city of Malta. The city has historical and artistic heritage and over 300 monuments. Beautiful architecture with colourful balconies to houses.

Day 7 – At Sea

Day 8 – Barcelona, Spain

Mr Zebrakat and I only went off the cruise ship in Valletta, which I will blog about next week.

A total of 1798 nautical miles was achieved on the MSC Meravilglia ship. 19 floors, approx 4400 passengers and 1500 crew. 19 passenger lifts, a shopping promenade, thermal spa, water park and the list is endless.

Here is a few photos of the ship.

Weekly Blog No 120 – Latest Update – 5 Year

I recently informed you that I had a scan at the local hospital and I felt the Radiologist was basically blindfolded when writing my report. As suspected he or she was, my Oncologist reviewed the scans and informed me that I still have disease/tumours in the peritoneal, mesenteric and the liver. I know scans can be hard to review sometimes but even I knew I wasn’t out the woods. I must admit, I was hopeful that my previous op had eliminated all the disease from the peritoneal and the mensenteric . Never mind, the dandelions endeavour to take hold of my body but I shall keep attempting to eliminate them if the opportunity arises. I think this ‘Kat’ has nearly exhausted her nine lives.

On the 11th March 2013, I was rushed into hospital in tremendous pain with no suspicion of what was going on. Early that morning I was operated on, and later informed that I had bowel obstruction surgery. The surgeon sat on my bed informing me I possibly had cancer and I would have to wait for the pathology report. That day changed my life, nothing seems more important than family and friends at that moment. How was I going to break the news to everyone. One of the biggest things I’ve had to do in life and it started with Mr Zebrakat. This was the day that I decided to continue to be positive and whilst speaking to the universe, please give me 5 more years at least to achieve some things in life.

Well it was 5 years on 11th March 2018 and I was Genoa, Italy 🇮🇹. Let me explain, last week I went on a Mediterranean cruise, which was a birthday gift from Mr Zebrakat. It was initially booked to go on the day before my birthday so that we could celebrate on the ship, nevertheless my body had other ideas and he postponed the trip until March.

It made me nervous in many ways, even though I was feeling better. I still had issues that were still being addressed via medication. You can take all the precautions in the world but no one day is the same. I could be swinging from the ropes one minute and be considerably unwell within the next 5 mins. I’m sure anyone who has be fine one minute and sick the next will understand the rapid change in health. It’s not ideal but I have learned to live with it and to just take day by day. Mr Zebrakat of course makes everything more bearable and is never agitated or inconvenienced by my health issues. I’ve never known someone to be so chilled and who naturally goes with the flow. I guess Mr Zebrakat has adapted too and is grateful I’m still here. The story could be so so different as many of my cancer friends who were diagnosed the same time as me are no longer here. RIP all of you. 🙏

Unbeknown by Mr Zebrakat, when postponing the trip he didn’t realise that it was my butt dart week. It’s always hell going into it and hell coming out of it. As we had left very early on the Friday morning and my injection wasn’t due until the Monday, the earliest I could have had the injection was Saturday. Oh hell, what am I going to do was my thoughts. I did speak to my dear cousin, who’s a very experienced ER (Emergency Care) Nurse and who occasionally works on cruise liners. She gave me some invaluable advice. This is what I took from our discussion. 1. Make sure you take plenty of morphine with you. 2. If the butt dart was given by the medical team on the ship, it sounded like a lot of red tape. Therefore the responsibility fell on Mr Zebrakat shoulders with my guidance and no precious training of injecting intramuscular. I was a little anxious and of course he was too but he didn’t show it. Superstar ⭐️

I have to say my current nurse is lovely but I can feel the pain and have some blood on occasions from the injection. She has made my easier in many ways, crossing the line to get me assistance, therefore I’m reluctant to let her go.

Mr Zebrakat was so gentle, which is hard to believe when the diameter of the needle is like a nail, maybe a slight exaggeration. There was no pain and no blood and just a sheer relief from both of us. I think now that he’s ok with it, we will have greater freedom and not necessary be committed to being available for my butt dart appointment. Oh Mr Zebrakat, I forgot to tell you, the next one is due Easter Monday when the medical practice is closed.

Now this is the part I’m kicking myself about, I do consider myself to be very well organised. In fact I’m proud of my organisation skills and it’s a quality that Mr Zebrakat will always comment on. Well remember the good advice my dear cousin gave about morphine. Well I failed miserably by forgetting my morphine. This is a lesson for anyone taking medication, you must double and triple check everything. Mr Zebrakat said he never ask me, because he knew I was always so organised. Ha ha not this time and I paid for it too.

When my last morphine was dispensed by the chemist it wasn’t dispensed in original box. Yes it had the appropriate label on the white box but the contents were made up of left over packets. I know that is fine but when dealing with customs etc who have inquisitive minds it could look a little bit suspect. Therefore my plan was to take my morphine in an original box and the contents to be full strips of medication. Makes sense right, but I forgot to do it and brought no morphine. My cousin is most probably saying now, what did I tell you, I know lol. Well I went into withdrawal and tried to manage the pain with off the shelf pain meds throughout the trip. Being the tough cookie I am, I’ve got by but it did prove a couple of things to me. I can stop morphine when needed, clearly not the appropriate way. I’ve done it many times before including my recent visit to hospital, nevertheless I’m always put back on it for pain control etc. Holy smokes!!! when pain is not managed it is hell and withdrawal is diabolical. Lesson to everyone, double check your medication before leaving for a trip.

We knew that this trip, we would treat it like an all inclusive floating hotel. Not necessary get off the ship due to symptoms but enjoy what the ship has to offer and relax. We did theatre shows, fine dined, drank cocktails, enjoyed spa treatments & used thermal spa, watched movies, read books and went to the casino to have a go on slot machines. (We walked out the casino up in money). I will blog about the cruise next week.

I would like to send out a huge thank you London Luton Airport for assisting me with my illness. I managed to go through priority queues through security and the airline. A service they offer passengers who don’t require a wheelchair assistance but have an illness. I did feel a little guilty because I look ok but my symptoms are not. I actually did get a few stares from passengers and I’m suspect people just assumed I was a staff member as I walked passed them. When I got to the cruise ship, I had paid for priority boarding to avoid queues. You know and I know, queues at airports and cruise line boarding is always long and time consuming therefore priority boarding was a great start to my holiday. I do feel a sense of achievement for getting to the cruise and for being on the cruise.

Written whilst sailing across the Mediterranean Sea until next time. Love to you all.X

Weekly Blog No 117 – Suffragettes

Some historical facts about suffragette movement

Suffragette

A woman seeking a right to vote through organised protest.

Suffragettes campaigned to change the law, to grant women the right to vote. On the 6th February 2018, marked a 100 years since women were given the right to vote in the United Kingdom. Although the legalisation was passed in 1918, it was only for women over the age of 30 who could actually vote if they met the minimum property qualifications or were married to a man who did.

Not all suffragists were women, another term used for man and women. George Lansbury resigned as a MP, from the House of Commons over the issue. George was arrested at a suffragette rally in 1913 after speaking in support.

Suffragettes were imprisoned for minor offences for instance protesting, resisting arrest or smashing a window.

The suffragettes in prison went on hunger strike and were force fed, which was invasive, demeaning and dangerous.

The Royal Albert Hall, London was hired for suffragette rallies between 1908 – 2013. They were also the first group to be banned from the Hall due to disruption and costly damage.

Lady Nancy Astor was the first woman to stand for Parliament. The suffragettes were shocked that the first woman elected for parliament played no part in the suffragette movement. She should have won them round by fighting for woman causes.