Saturday, 31 August 2013

Private or public?....

I know I'm often seen as an outgoing party person who is always part of a crowd, but I'm actually quite a private person when it comes to personal stuff, not because I'm embarrassed but, I think, because I doubt people will be interested. So if someone asks me about anything I'm happy to tell them, or if someone is telling me of a problem they have which I have had experience of then I will share all I know, but mostly I keep health issues and emotions to myself. Guess that's why my diaries have been important.

However, I'm going to share this here mainly because this is now my diary and as immediate family and friends already know, hopefully it won't offend anyone to learn my news by reading it here first and maybe, just maybe if anyone else is in the same situation we can compare notes!

Yesterday I was told I have a large tumour taking up most of the space in my right kidney and the whole kidney will be removed. The consultant said there is a 90% chance it's cancer. On the plus side it is totally contained and everywhere else is clear (lungs etc all checked) so the kidney will be removed by keyhole surgery within the next 30 days and there will be no need for any further treatment like chemo thank goodness.

Amazingly I'd had no symptoms at all !!!
It was pure chance that this was found now as I'd gone to my doctor with a really painful knee (which I've mentioned here before). Anyway knee seems to be cartilage wear and tear and I'm working with a physio for that, however, my doctor took the opportunity to send me for all my annual blood tests and to send me for an ultrasound to recheck on a tiny fatty tissue lump discovered on my kidney more than seven years ago - even that was discovered by chance while looking for something else. The ultrasound showed the original lump hadn't changed at all, but the radiologist said she could see a little something else but couldn't see what clearly, "although it's probably nothing I will send this report to your GP who will probably request a CT Scan just to make sure."

Sure enough soon after my GP rang to say she was requesting the CT Scan so I gave her my holiday dates. I'd told her we were back on Saturday 24th and when we got home the appointment was on the mat with our post for Tuesday 27th (Monday was a bank holiday). On Thursday a girl rang to say she needed to make me an appointment with the Urology Consultant and as luck would have it there'd been a cancellation for the next day. She offered me a choice of two times. Afterwards I said to Hubby "that's odd, either they had two cancellations or she needed me to come in quickly without worrying". He told me to stop over thinking everything lol.

Well what came next is up in the third paragraph. Immediately after that I had to get a GP at my surgery to change some of my regular meds and now its just a wait for a date to go in. I have to say I'm really emotionally calm about it all, well for now anyway!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Welcome home...

Wednesday and our wonderful Daughter had offered to make us a dinner to come home to, but after travelling I'm usually more tired than hungry, so I said not to bother but just requested some fresh milk in the fridge. When we got home we were first greeted with this on the front door...

Inside all the banisters had been decorated with ribbons, hair bands and lots of strings of beads (this is actually a long standing tradition here). On the table was a note saying how Daughter and all four children had picked all the plums, because of course they had ripened while we were away. There were two huge bowls and a bucket full of plums on the worktop together with a yummy plum crumble which the note said was made by R for us.

Also on the table was a wrapped birthday gift from my Daughter and Son. I couldn't wait to unwrap it and found this fantastic puzzle jug (I have a real passion for jugs)...

Isn't it amazing?

And there was post, including lots more birthday cards, so I unpacked the cards that travelled with us and put them on display...

There was as requested the fresh milk, so cups of tea with crumble and custard made the perfect end to our day.

Of course Thursday I was hoping to unpack and get all the washing done, but we woke to a very wet morning and it rained all day. So I unpacked and did just one machine load to put upstairs on the clothes horse then Daughter and children arrived :-)

We handed out their little souvenirs and had lunch then we got on with removing the stones from a big pan full of plums and made a huge batch of jam (didn't have any bottled pectin so it stayed very runny but tastes good).

Friday was a lovely sunny day so we managed three machine loads of washing, but still not through it all (why did we take so much?). While Hubby shook the tree and got another big bucket of plums down I also had a mad moment and defrosted the freezer, I'd meant to do it before the holiday but had ran out of time. By lunchtime I was exhausted but then had to rush off to a physio appointment, struggled to find something suitable to wear of course as all my shorts were on the washing line! I wasn't fit for much when I got home.

Today M and O came over on the bus for lunch and our Son came over this afternoon too which was really lovely. And now I'm sitting here with the sounds of an enormous firework display coming in through double glazing so that's how loud it is, but unfortunately I can't see any, so I'm guessing it's coming from the docks where there is a maritime festival on this weekend,  glad they've a dry night for it.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Lake Garda holiday, 10th-21st Aug 2013 PHOTOS.....

Birthday proper........

11th August was the day I was born and 60 years on I'm celebrating in Italy.

Before we left our room Hubby told me that his present is a show in London of my choice on the 6th September and he also handed me a special present from Son&fiancée which is a beautiful Pandora bracelet.  Then we knocked next door for S&K and SisterS handed me the bag she had bought yesterday, that was sneaky eh making sure I really liked something before she bought it, I really didn't have a clue at the time hahaha. We then came down for our first breakfast in the Hotel Giardino Verdi and were very pleased at the full continental buffet on offer and eggs (scrambled, fried or boiled) fresh to order.

We ate our fill then I opened the huge pile of birthday cards that we had collected and packed. The gifts I'd previously received were left at home to open when we get back. It seemed that as my birthday was a Sunday then lots of people had thought to post early yaay :). FriendM had included her gift in her card too which was a lovely surprise and Friend-t41 surprised us all when a shiny cascade of birthday confetti fell from her card around the table and floor (I caught most of them so they can scatter in my case lol).

As we had a full leisure day we found the bus to Varone to see the famous Waterfall. It was a stunning sight as none of the waterfall shows on the outside you have to walk up through beautiful gardens then into a cave and the torrent of water is coming down inside and although the path is a fair distance away everyone gets soaked.

I was so careful on all the wet paths as I was wearing crocs and they're really slippery when wet but I was fine....then as we walked towards the bus stop I tripped down an unseen step and bent all the toes of my left foot ouch ouch ouch...of course as you may know I'm already suffering with knee pain on my right, so my walking for anyone watching must have had a very unusual gait :-)

When we got back to our hotel I rested my foot wrapped in a cold flannel for a short while then we were off again for a walk around Riva and just had to stop for the men to have beers and us girls to enjoy gelata mmmmm Italian ice cream is my favourite.

After dinner at the hotel, we met our rep at the lake for an evening excursion by boat to Limone. When the two reps started wishing me a happy birthday another guy came over to say it was his birthday too and in fact it was his 60th too!!! On board we were all given a glass (plastic cup) of Prosecco and the reps then got everyone singing happy birthday to the two of us, very funny. The evening in Limone was brilliant, the whole place was alive with entertainment.

A really lovely busy day with aches, pains and bruises to prove it :o)

Lake Garda holiday, 10th to 21st Aug 2013.....

This is a very long post, so I'll keep any photos separate. 

SATURDAY 10th  - but actually it still felt like Friday night when we left home at 1:30am after Hubby had had a short sleep and I'd not bothered to go to bed at all. We met up with SisterS and bilK at the checkin desk, literally at the desk as they had arrived before us and got in the queue and we arrived at the perfect moment.  Bit of a hiccup at the Easyjet checkin though as we had paid for a suitcase each but on their screen only one case per couple was showing, we were not happy when they said £50 for the other two cases but nothing to do but get out the credit card and sort it out later.

We landed at Verona airport and were transferred to the Hotel Giardino Verdi in Riva in northern Italy and the top of Lake Garda, and our first impressions was the hotel seemed a bit small and basic but as we settled in we loved it as it had good working facilities like showers with plenty of pressure and non slip floors and almost silent air con and really helpful friendly staff. Just two things really that disappointed and that was no kettle in our room and very little choices for our evening meal but the food itself was very good. Have to say location was excellent as we were a very short walk to the lake or town centre with all the lively night entertainment, however we were just far enough away to not have all the noise keep us awake. Before dinner while our men enjoyed their first holiday beers SisterS and I had a mooch round the nearest shops. S eventually bought a bag turning it around and around and asking me if I liked it which I did. After dinner we all had a walk around but it had been about 22 hours since we had last seen our beds so we had a relatively early night.

SUNDAY 11th -  My birthday - deserves a page of its own :o)

MONDAY 12th - We had a lazy start meeting for breakfast at 9am then off for a walk along side the lake. The view here is so beautiful with the mountains either side framing the picture perfectly and add to that an atmosphere of unhurried calm and a gentle breeze keeping us comfortable and we could wish for nothing more! In the afternoon we went on a vineyard excursion. Maso Roveri was a wine tasters heaven as you kept your glass all afternoon and it was continuously being refilled. S and I were only having a sip of each one as a taste but Hubby and K left there quite merry and both bought bottles to bring home. It was very hot that day and no breeze which along with booze meant we all had another earlyish night even though we had been told of the spectacular meteor shower which would be about 2-3am, us oldies (yep me too now) just can't hack it anymore!

TUESDAY 13th - Early start as we needed to have breakfast then walk down to our pick-up point for 8:50am for the excursion to Verona. It's a beautiful and historic city but it really was a very hot day and everywhere was so crowded. We had a walk around when some of our group paid extra to go into the Arena (looks like the colosseum in Rome but smaller), we decided not to bother and looked around for somewhere to have a bit of lunch. All the restaurants on the main street were very expensive so we headed up a side street and found a really nice cafe. The only waiter there and he could speak no English so we guessed at menu items we half recognised and did the rest by sign language. The only problem we had was getting him to understand apple juice that SisterS wanted, until K magically produced the apple from his bag (he'd taken from breakfast) we all laughed and almost applauded, even the waiter, and he taught us "succo di mela" which S used successfully from that moment on. Because of my aching knee I had said I would miss the walking tour and meet them later, however, having rested at lunch I thought I'd chance it as it was only an turned out to be walking in the sun for nearly two hours so every time the guide stopped I looked for a seat or perch so didn't hear the stories or references to Romeo and Juliet, but the others enjoyed it and filled me in on some that I'd missed. Back in time for mugs of tea and beers then dinner.

WEDNESDAY 14th - We'd planned to have a lazy day which was lucky as we woke to thunder storms and rain. It was still warm and as it was market day we still meanderd amongst the stalls wearing our cagouls. There was a lunch stop and dinner but not much else, we all needed to rest up a bit.

THURSDAY 15th - OK rested up and off again! Adventuring out on our own without a tour guide this time, we took the ferry to Malcesine (pronounced Malcheznee) and then took the cable car up Monte Baldo. The views from the top were stunning! In the evening while walking around the lively Piazza we came across an area where they were giving away huge slices of water melon, it had been going on for a couple of hours by the time we got there and it was so sticky underfoot hahaha.

FRIDAY 16th - Another big excursion today, this time up into the Great Dolomites, the highest mountain range in Europe. It was a lot of time in the coach with a tour guide that was very interesting and entertaining. We made several stops, Ora for delicious strudel and coffee, this part of Italy used to be Austrian so the buildings look very Austrian. Next stop was Passo Pordoi which is about 200m above sea level, where we ate our packed lunch while K took the cable car even higher (we'll just borrow his photos lol). Last stop was Ortisei were we enjoyed both a church and a museum. A long day but not too much walking around and got back to our hotel in time for dinner. Then we quickly packed up all our belongings ready for tomorrow's transfer and managed a final wander round beautiful Riva at night.

SATURDAY 17th - We checked out, said our goodbyes to the two waiters, Georgio and Levue (sp?) who have looked after us all week then into our taxi and on to the ferry for the five hour trip along Lake Garda to Desenzano. This hotel was called Piroscafo. First impression was how modern it all looked and of course S and I were beyond excited that our rooms had kettles....she was so excited in fact she phoned our room twice, I later found out that the first call cut off because the lead on the phone was broken and she had to hold it in to make the call. Location was brilliant, totally central and the tables at the front looked onto a mini marina with boats bobbing and a pretty bridge. The other main feature was the hotel served breakfast but not our evening meal, for that we had a table at a fabulous restaurant just around the corner. We ate really well there and drinks were included this time too :-) Desenzano is at the southern end and widest part of the lake, so it felt more like looking out to sea. Have to say that the resort was beautiful and the hotel was really nice but the biggest problem for us was the slippery bath that K actually fell into and our very slippery shower that had a very deep tray I hated stepping down into especially as the door opening was far too small for my ample (but not massive) proportions :-(

SUNDAY 18th - This was a free day so we enjoyed being lazy. We found on the first floor a lounge area and an outside terrace which was perfect for a relax and chat while taking advantage of the free wifi. Our rep Federica came to give us our very own welcome meeting, but she only met S and I as our men had headed out in search of a bar with a big screen showing the football on sky!!! S&K's air con also packed up today by showering water onto the carpet, they reported it but it never actually got fixed.

MONDAY 19th - This was our last excursion, a full day in Venice and it was brilliant. Off the coach and a boat trip, then a Gondola ride, then more than two hours free time when we went into the Basilca, a stop for liquid refreshments then into another church, then a group boat trip around the lagoon, then we went as a group to a restaurant (saved us hunting down a meal with limited time and doubt we would have found anywhere reasonably priced). Our guide Barbara talked very fast with a strong Italian accent so was hard to keep up, she also walked very fast so we couldn't keep up with her walking either and had to focus on her daft toy mouse strapped to the top if her pole to see where she was in the distance, very funny. We went back to take photos of the famous bridge of sighs and then met up with the group again at 9pm for the exit boat trip to the coach getting us back to Desenzano after midnight. On and off so many boats and so many bridges to walk over with oh so many stairs and thankfully my knee survived.....well right up until we were dropped off the coach a reasonable walk from our hotel in a very wet storm and lightning all around, we were totally soaked and giggling like mad people when we reached our rooms.

TUESDAY 20th - Our last full day of our holiday. It was market day so of course we checked it went on and on, so many stalls. The men snuck off quite quickly and opted for beers over shopping, who would have guessed eh? We had had our buffet breakfast and then we had a three course lunch to make up for missing our paid for dinner the night before, later of course we went back for that night's three courses....I selected all the dishes that looked the lightest but still had to leave lots.

WEDNESDAY 21st - Breakfast and packed and checked out but left our cases in reception as we still had a couple of hours. We'd seen the top of a castle so decided to walk up the hill to it. It was quite steep on the road up but we found a slightly less steep route down and it was a lovely castle and an amazing view looking down across the rooftops to the lake. Best of all was we'd not wasted our last morning. Then all too soon it was the uneventful journey home with all the queues, checks, luggage manhandling, waiting and other airport stuff before and after the flight. Then home!

This holiday was booked through Thomas Cook but it was in fact an Inghams package holiday, and the four of us agreed that we would recommend Inghams as they were very well organised even with the luggage payment problem we'd had, as soon as we told the reps it got refunded and sorted for our return journey.

And if you want to see some beautiful scenery, here are some photos Photos

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Birthday bash - parts 1 and 2.....

Birthday with a big number for me on Sunday but we are off on holiday on Saturday so celebrations are spreading out and longer lasting which is great :-)

Last night there were 10 of us at our favourite truck stop.

Today O delivered his birthday present song (with a little help from his mum)

Tonight most of my lovely family went out to dinner 

M and R are missing as they are away and fiancéeD was with us but taking the photo.  For the more observant you may notice I'm in the same outfit both nights, well that's because everything else is packed.

I've had lots of lovely presents but my cards are all packed to open on Sunday. And now Hubby is in bed and will get just over two hours sleep but I think I would feel worse so everything is packed and ready and I'm watching lots of recorded stuff on TV so we can leave home at 1:30am and head off on our Italian holiday. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

It's cooler so I'm hotter.....

Thankfully it's a bit cooler today so into town this morning and I am now plowing my way through a big pile of ironing. Lots of thin cottony fabrics and Hubby's shorts that are full of pockets. My own fault for putting it off because it gets very hot upstairs but it's all got to be done and packed for a middle of the night Friday/Saturday holiday departure.

So a quick stop for a cuppa and rest my back for a bit and just time for this quick blog then back to it. I'm sure it will all be worth it when we get to Italy's Lake Garda.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Busy with lovely people days....

Friday was Daughter's first day back from their camping holiday so they came to see me which was lovely. It was all four children and there were some arguments and upsets and a lot of messed up lounge but I'd missed them and was desperate to spend time with them before Hubby and I go on holiday next Saturday. We had a hot cooked dinner at lunchtime as R has her dancing lesson late afternoon and hates dancing on a full stomach. Of course that had its problems as Hubby was finishing off the kitchen tiling so I chose food that could all go in the oven together so as not to keep disturbing him.

Saturday we drove out to meet up with friends L&K and B&T. They'd requested a lunch rather than evening and as Saturdays are usually busy days in town centres we went back to our mid-way pub we used to go to as it's nowhere near shops and has its own large car park. Us girls have been friends since school days and never short of stuff to talk about. This time it was mostly about holidays...the California one B&T have just come back from...the Italy one Hubby & I are about to go on...the Colorado one that L&K go on end of August early September...the cruise we are going on in April with L&K...and the US trip L&K have booked with B&T for next August. Sounds like we are all always on holiday doesn't it? But between the various combinations of the three couples it probably sounds a lot more than it is, although I never even mentioned the weekend in Luxembourg we have booked for November ha ha ha ha.

Sunday we went to the annual social gathering with BBQ for the bowling people and partners. Not so many people there as previous years but there was definitely as much food! The weather was lovely and the organiser put out some activities on the field such as boule and golf ball hitting into upturned umbrellas etc which Hubby joined in enthusiastically but I mainly sat chatting to the few people I know. Plus the organiser and his wife have very recently moved into the house next door the hall we were using so a few of us got a guided tour of their house.

Monday and it's already the 5th of August and another of our coffee mornings for our neighbours. There were just 9 of us this time as some of the usuals couldn't come, however one neighbour who is due to move soon made a point of coming and another neighbour who has never come up before came and said she had really enjoyed herself and will definitely come as often as she can. After very briefly popping home my next door neighbour was back and we both had our nails done and together with my lovely nail technician we chatted on for another couple of hours :-)

Saturday, 3 August 2013

But where did she go?....

What do you do when you've been enthusiastically following the blog of a complete stranger and they suddenly stop blogging without warning or explanation?

This blogger is a young lady with lots of time for all she blogs about due to a lot of stay-at-home-ness brought on by an op that went wrong. This lovely girl had so many followers and every post had a long list of comments. She also wrote for a couple of magazines which I assume she got paid for. I followed her on twitter too.

Like so many others, I was really pleased to read about the corrective surgery and how she was recovering and oh so slowly getting her life back.

Then nothing!!!
I've googled her blog name, her twitter name and her real name and checked out the online mags too, still nothing! Yes I'm curious and a bit worried too and of course you can't help yourself thinking all sorts of things, but maybe I'll never know.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Hooray you're a winner!!!.....

If you were the person that popped by my blog this morning before 9:30am then you were my 5,000th visitor :-D

It gives me great pleasure to present you with this toucan of my appreciation..

When you next call by have your acceptance speech ready, or just say hi.

Confession, this joke was directly stolen from my lovely friend Faye because it's so funny!