Saturday, 31 July 2010

Cheque handover to AICR is on Tuesday

Regular readers will know that as part of their support for the Leica User Forum Charity Book, via their Twitter account, Leica generously offered to give €3,000 to the charity.

The handing over of the cheque by Leica UK MD, David Bell, takes place in the flagship London store on Tuesday, so I am taking the day off to go down and watch. It's going to be a very good afternoon :-) Through the efforts of everyone involved, we have raised over £10,000 for AICR, which I reckon is pretty good.

We are already thinking about ideas for the next charity book, which we will do next year when this one has died down completely. We will try and get that one finished for Christmas 2011.

All encouraging stuff.

The Venice Menu

Well, I have made contact with the restaurant (Sorry if you're reading this Andrea, but we needed to crack on, so Google had to do - thanks for the offer of assistance anyway - the cheque's in the post! ;-) )

The restaurant that I had in mind can accommodate us all for the 16th October and they have kindly sent through two sample menus for us. The one with the better choice, to my mind anyway, is this one, the €28 menu.


One thing that I did find a little odd was that they seem to be expecting ALL of us to choose exactly the same thing from the menu. In their words "il menù gentilmente deve essere scelto uguale per tutto il gruppo (please choose one of the alternatives for the whole group)"


I have asked one of our party, who speaks Italian, to assist me in persuading them that if we advise them of the numbers for each dish, before the end of September, then that ought to be OK. I can't see too much of a problem with that, to be honest.


So, that's another thing (nearly) sorted :-)

Primo piatto:
  • gnocchi alla rucola (gnocchi with rocket salad and creame sauce
  • pasta alla carbonara (pasta with beaten eggs, bacon and cream
  • lasagne di ricotta e spinaci (lasagne with ricotta and spinach)
  • risotto con salsiccia e porcini (risotto with sausage and mushroom)
Secondo piatto:
  • fegato alla veneziana (calf’s liver with onions)
  • ossobuco alla cacciatora (veal shank with mushrooms
  • petto di pollo alla rucola (breast of chicken with rocket sauce)
  • spezzatino di manzo (beef stew)
Contorno:
  • contorno del giorno (vegetables of the day)
Dessert:
  • dessert
Acqua
  • ½ litro
Il vino non è compreso:  ¼ vino: + 2.50  (the wine is not included)          

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

I finished the last of my drugs this morning.

Today would have been a day in the chair, as it’s Wednesday on a week 3, but of course, I don’t have to do that any more. The first week 3 Wednesday since early February that I haven’t had to. I miss it in an odd way. It was actually quite good to be forced to sit and not do anything for a whole day, despite having to be plumbed in.


Now, of course, it’s back to work full time again, without having a few days to recuperate every three weeks. Better that than being ill, though.


Now it’s time to start thinking about what to do with the rest of my life. I need to have some serious thinking done by Christmas, I reckon. Maybe two weeks on Skye will be an ideal opportunity, who knows. Much depends on many things, though, especially the economy and how bad things are going to get. We still have a mortgage to pay, after all.


It must just be the 50th Birthday thing coming up next year that’s got me thinking like this. I wasn’t like this 10 years ago, but then we still had two children at home and you can’t afford to start thinking like this when you just have to get on and do stuff. Now, maybe, I can.


However, the big question must be “What do you want to do? What would you change in your life if you could? How would your life be better if you did change it?”


That’s three questions. Let’s tackle the first one first and come back to the other two if they don’t get answered by the answer of the first…

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Venice 2010

Just starting to try to organise a dinner for 30 people (maybe more) in Venice in October, preferably for €30 per head (or less)

Going to be interesting :-)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

So. Another birthday has been and gone

Big one next year, so had to make the most of a little one this time round.

"I've never been to Birmingham"

"Erm... fancy going tomorrow, on my birthday?"

"OK"

Went to Gas Street Basin, the heart of the Birmingham Canal Navigations and a place where I'd spent the night on a narrow boat listening to ghost stories when I was about 14. It's changed a bit since then. The ghosts have gone and urban re-generation has arrived...


I don't know if you can read it on this size image, but it's good to see that "Legs 11", a lap-dancing bar with "the best showgirls in town" is located in the white gabled building towards the right of the shot. Gas Street hasn't lost all of its charm :-)

Brindley Place, next door, is a great example of what can be done with an inner city run-down area. But, it's still Birmingham. Frankly, my least favourite city in the country. You can't even get a proper cup of coffee round there on a Saturday morning. Still, been there, done that, no need to go back again.

Then we went on to Bournville to have a wander round the Cadbury village. Very interesting it was too, especially since we were there at noon, when the carillon started to play. On making enquiries at the visitor centre, we were soon on our way up the bell tower to see Trevor Workman giving the wooden pegs some serious stick. His photo is "photo of the week", and can be found on my website if you're reading this when that accolade has passed on to another photo. A fantastic skill, and definitely well worth a visit if you are in that area on a Saturday morning.

After a spot of lunch there, we ended up at the lavender farm at Snowshill, near Broadway once again. It was absolutely packed with japanese tourists this time round, but I gave the Hasselblad a walk, and we will see how they turn out one day. It's a lovely spot there, I have to say.

Then, back home and a supper at the Marsh Cat.

Not a bad birthday at all.

And in the new car as well :-)

Now, we can start planning new year's jaunt in earnest. It's going to be good.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Sunday, 11 July 2010

That's finally over then

No, not the World Cup - that's not over until later this evening. I want Spain to win, with the winning goal scored by Fernando Torres - if only because it might push his price up by £10m over the summer when he leaves Liverpool...

My 8 sessions in the electric chair came to an end this week. It will be strange not having that as part of my routine, going forward. Those three weekly visits came round very quickly - even just taking the daily tablet and watching them going down in the box showed the passage of time between one session and the next. No more Prednisolone for a few years - that's something to write home about.

Had a good chat with the haematologist on Wednesday. He wants me to have another CT scan in a week or so, so that he can see exactly what's left and what stage the disease is now that we have done this treatment. Notwithstanding what the radiologist said last time, I can still feel something in the groinal node where I first felt the problem back in May last year and I will discuss this with the haematologist when I go for the consultation post CT in August. I have to say that I will be pretty pissed off if this hasn't made the difference that I was hoping a couple of weeks ago. He also "sort of" back-tracked a bit on the Rituximab maintenance going forward over the next two years. It sounds like he is going to have to pull some strings as there is now some question as to whether they can count the radiotherapy that I had last year a "first treatment", or whether I am officially now in my "first" remission, rather than second. There is evidence that the maintenance is effective during first remission, but some question as to whether it is an approved treatment under the NHS. If it isn't, then I don't know what the options are - I doubt whether BUPA will pay for it. Will have to wait and see.

Other stuff feels better though. I even had a reasonable night's sleep last night, but I was completely bushed on Saturday afternoon, and absolutely needed the two hours sneaky shut-eye that I took.

My birthday is next weekend and I think that I can look forward to that, and beyond, with a bit more confidence than I did last year, when I was just opening this particular chapter of my life. While I don't think I will ever be able to close the chapter, I do think that a couple of pages have been turned, which is good.

So, now we're looking forward to the rest of the summer back in the office full time again (provided it's not as hot an humid as it has been the last week). We have Skye to look forward to in September (must get some filters sorted out for the Hasselblad...) and then Venice for a few days in the middle of October.

For my 50th next year, we have decided to take a fortnight's drive round Europe and have started the planning already. We are going to try to find interesting b&bs to stay in - if we can find places like that we found in Normandy last month, I will be more than satisfied. I have to say that, judging by the books that we have been browsing these past few evenings, there are some great places to stay, at very reasonable prices, in France and Italy. The German book is coming this week, so then we can start to plan in earnest. My friend Ravi has offered us a room for the night in Switzerland if we can organise it, so that's one night sorted!

Itinerary likely to be along the lines of Millau/Portofino/Italian Lakes/Switzerland/Black Forest/Rhine/Moselle/Champagne/Home. Should be OK :-)

"Accidentally" bought a new car on Thursday. We only called into the show room for a look and a test drive, but ended up buying a new Golf. We were in there nearly 4 hours all told - and I think I suffered for it over the weekend. Got a very good deal on one, I have to say, so I'm pretty pleased with that. Should be able to collect it on Wednesday, when I have to go to Stratford-on-Avon, which will be a nice run out for it.