Saturday, 17 November 2012

Stockings, Ramparts and the Grand Old Duke of York

Over the last fortnight I have finished the Christmas Stockings I was making for my Grandies. This was a true labour of love as there were sooooo many sequins and beads and with my numb fingertips it was a bit of an effort to sew them all.  But the job has been done and I am proud of my achievement. They are really just decorative but I might just put in a few sweeties! Target met!

We had a good lunch up in London with our friend Elaine (Lilah’s other grandmother). She was here on a business trip and passing through London. We had a good old chin wag and drank a toast to our lovely granddaughter.

We have spent this week in France with my son. daughter-in-law and grandson. The weather was a bit cold and foggy but we had one warm, sunny day.

Our first stop was at Chateau Chartreuse just outside Bethune – such a beautiful hotel – my kind of living.

We then went on to Montreuil.  Montreuil was the setting for much of the early part of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables. The last time we were here was in early July just prior to my op and then I could not even manage the walk from the hotel to the ramparts due to shortage of breath. It was so different this week – not only did I get to the ramparts but walked the 3kms round the town! This palliative surgery has certainly improved the quality of my life! It was a sunny clear day and the views were breathtaking (not a good choice of word!) I was not breathless in the slightest but so tired and legs felt like jelly – a good lunch soon rectified that! Target met!

If you’ve taken the Eurostar south from the Channel, you may have noticed, as the train rushes across the flat Flanders fields, the geological anomaly that is Mont Cassel - a 500ft hill standing out from the plain like a pyramid in the desert. Next time you take the car to the Continent, it is worth the diversion to aim for the hill and climb the broad cobbled road that eventually winds into the historic town of Cassel. Legend has it this is the hill the Grand Old Duke of York led his 10,000 men up and down. The day was so foggy we could see nothing from the top but we did all sing the nursery rhyme (with actions) at the top. Ethan really enjoyed that.Not sure what anyone else would have made of this spectacle! Brits abroad!

Alan was delighted to be able to take his elder son to the Brasserie de St Sylvestre – where the best beer in the Universe (Trois Monts) is brewed. A rite of passage for Jon as he approaches middle age!

These couple of weeks have also been tinged with sadness. A cousin of mine died. My sincere condolences and sympathy to Peter's wife Margaret and all the family.
My friend and fellow mesowarrior Denise died last week from this awful disease. It was only a month ago I was chatting to Denise - so young to have been taken. My  sincere condolences and sympathy to Denise's partner and family.
My thoughts are also with Peter - another mesowarrior - who is now in a hospice where he is being well looked after. My thoughts are with him and his wife Elaine at this difficult time.
Sending positive thoughts also to Steve and Jan who are going through chemo at the moment - stay strong my friends.

Tess .

Monday, 5 November 2012

Dracula, Art and Carrots

I received this lovely photo of my (our) gorgeous grandson dressed as Count Dracula in a Halloween celebration with all his friends. Couldn’t resist adding  a few spiders and ghosties to the image. I don’t really like the thought of my little man being a blood sucking vampire but he certainly doesn’t look upset by it!

Count Dracula and friends
We visited the Turner Contemporary gallery at Margate to see the Alex Katz exhibition 'Give me Tomorrow'. I hadn't heard of him but apparently 'he is one of the most important and respected living American artists'. I thought his pictures were very juvenile, very flat and lacking the correct perspective - I would compare it to some of the work I have seen exhibited for GCSE Art in my previous school. In its favour he does paint pictures and not splodges! The second exhibition was masterpieces from the Tate chosen by Katz. the selection included works by George Stubbs, JMW Turner, Walter Sickert and David Hockney - now this is more like it!
After visiting the exhibition we went for lunch in The Ambrette.

Alan has been harvesting the last of the potatoes (Kerr's Pinks) which have been brilliant and the carrots. Oh my! We have had carrot soup, carrot and coriander soup, mixed veg soup with carrots, roast beef and carrots, grated carrots, pureed carrots and the freezer is full of carrots. Wonder what is for lunch?

I have been reading  lots of info about asbestos this week. A school closed in Wales: When will this country wake up to its responsibilies?

My thoughts this week have been  with fellow mesowarriors Steve and Jan who are currently going through chemotherapy. Hope the poison does it worst to this damn cancer. Also thinking of Peter now recovering after a rough few weeks of radiotherapy. Be strong my friends.

Tess x