A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Any old excuse will do really

I'm feeling kind of odd today.... maybe I could even say a little 'out of sorts'.  
I have a couple of topics that I'd like to share, although because I'm not really feeling it today, I thought I'd share a few more photos.

These were taken over the past weekend, a long weekend for us here in the UK.  Andy and I spent the time well - with friends drinking and eating.

These ones especially make me smile: 

Andy and our beautiful Madelana 

The 'boys' - Andy & Robert - Cheers

Me & Dawn (awful shot of me, but we are having fun so it's good for the memory book eh?)

And of course my favourite guy ever:

Could you not get lost in the blue of these eyes?

Oh... and although I love the month of September and have so much to look forward to, I'm so not ready for it.  I'm just not ready for summer to be nearing it's end.

But to celebrate the fact that we have had a fairly good summer here (meaning it hasn't continuously rained) Andy and I are having a small summer gathering on Saturday evening. 

Bring on the fairly lights, beer, food and of course the fire pit.  Maybe even some dancing.  
Either way I'm looking for another reason to celebrate something.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Keeping Busy

Andy gets back home today after being away for nearly two weeks.  Normally he's only away from Monday - Friday, however occasionally he has to work a weekend on the big project he is running.  The money's good when he works a weekend and so long as it doesn't become a bi-weekly occurrence (like last spring) we don't mind too much.  Sure the money can be fantastic but we think quality of life has to take priority.  So from time to time it's OK and helps us with the little extras. Like wine. Ok... maybe not like wine since I hardly drink it any more.  Sorry that I keep reminding you of that. 

Anyway, they say a little distance makes the heart grow fonder and it must be true because I'm really looking forward to seeing my man this afternoon. 

I don't mind my own company and as far as companions go, I couldn't ask for better than my girl Moll, however sometimes I have to get out and be sociable.  

Last Saturday Beryl and I hit up the Mill House (some of you who have been here will be familiar with it):

Beryl enjoyed the fish platter (way too much batter for me but doesn't she look fab - 85 and still going strong)

Of course I opted for the Paella and was NOT dissapointed.

I did chase it down with a well deserved treat... an ice-cold pinot grigio :) 

I swear I could eat this everyday.  And I did when we were in Barcelona a few years back even though I had some kind of allergic reaction to so much shell fish and my face swelled up to epic proportions by the last day...) Paella - one of my absolute favourite foods.  

On Sunday Beryl and I spent the afternoon doing our other favourite thing - shopping.  I bought a new dress that I feel fantastic in (it's amazing how a few dropped pounds can make you feel so good) and I can't wait to wear it in Paris... 

On Monday I had the day off to spend with Jayden and we picked Great-Grandma up and headed out to the Brigg Garden Centre to see the brilliant dinosaur display which intrigued Jayden until we got to the moving T-Rex which frightened him.  I couldn't help but think of my niece Clara and how much she would love it.

Of course a healthy lunch had to be eaten:

Followed by a nap when we got home:

Then back out to play:

He kept turning around to go watch the big kids on the jumps...

They are both happy as long as they have a ball...

A little break: 

 My boys.... I don't know who is cuter. OK. I do really.  

Dawn and I have gone on a couple of walks just before dusk this last week.  Each time we've easily cleared more than three miles.  I don't know who's enjoyed it more, us or the dogs.

We've seen some spectacular sunsets which I've tried to capture but of course it's only a fraction of the true essence of what we actually witnessed. 

This morning the 4x4 had to go in for it's annual check up.  I decided to throw my bike in the car even though the garage is the opposite direction from work. But that didn't deter me as it only meant an even better workout.  With it being the summer holidays traffic wasn't so bad and I made it from one town to the next in 26 minutes.  I was a sweaty mess but felt great.  

The end of today marks not only Andy's homecoming but another three day weekend (Monday is the August Bank Holiday in England).  Hope you all enjoy whatever it may be that you have planned. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Last week I had to ring my GP to sort out a prescription for Andy.  While I had the receptionist on the phone I thought I would just raise the question of mammograms.  It's standard practice in the UK that women aren't asked to have a mammogram until they are 50 unless there is a family history of breast cancer.  (I think it might be 40 in Nova Scotia but don't quote me on that.) I only briefly mentioned that both my mother and aunt have had breast cancer and before I could finish the question I was being told that Lorraine (the receptionist) would have a quick word with the doctor and would ring me back later.  By 10:00 am the next morning I had an appointment at the Pink Rose Suite at the local hospital for a full breast exam.

I was pretty relaxed when I walked in to our dingy local hospital and made my way to the Pink Rose Suite (the breast cancer ward).  Our local hospital is in serious need of a complete make over, with one exception:  the Pink Rose Suite.  I suppose if any ward in a hospital is going to look warm and welcoming it would be that one. Even the local private hospital doesn't have such a nice decor.  

Anyway, I figured I'd be there an hour at best but talking to the consultant, having a breast exam followed by a mammogram and ultrasound takes a bit longer than that.  Especially on a busy ward.  I was feeling a bit like a fraud for even being there and was a bit taken aback when the consultant turned to the nurse and said 'this lady is very worried re her family history'.  I blurted out 'No I'm not', but I couldn't help it.  I wasn't worried.  I don't usually worry unless I'm smacked straight in the face with something definite to worry about.    I'm sure he's just used to talking this way considering he must deal with frightened women on a daily basis. I decided to ignore it when he said it again as it didn't really matter if I was worried or not. I was actually finding the whole thing rather interesting and thinking about how lovely the whole staff team seemed to be which goes a long way in treating people who are actually scared of what they may potentially be facing.    

I was very curious to undergo the mammogram as I've often heard that it hurts.  Some women have said it's pretty uncomfortable.  Me? I found it slightly uncomfortable.  Of course I have ample breasts that were easily maneuvered onto the machine before being nearly compressed flat.  Fat breasts equal less discomfort I guess.  Either that or it's just my high level of pain tolerance.  I'll stick with the former. 

Anyway, after I'd been there two hours and had already been told by the ultra-sound technician that my breast were clear I went back in to meet with the consultant to review the report:

Mammogram and ultra-sound: clear:
Need for an MRI scan: low (at this point)
Risk for getting breast cancer within the next ten years: high
(There were a few other results that he mentioned that I can't remember the name of, but they were low and nothing to worry about). 

He then reviewed the percentage of the possibility of my getting breast cancer, which was 45%.  My response was that 45 wasn't overly high...more or less 50/50 or close enough.  He said 'Yes it is - it's more than 30% so we consider that high'.  Oops my bad. Percentages have never been my thing. However if the cancer specialist says my chances are fairly high then so be it. Either way I reckon most of us stand a 50/50 chance of developing some form of cancer.  Maybe that's pessimistic of me but I bet most of you know at least one person if not two or more, who have been hit with the Big C. 

The consultant then offered me the option to undergo gene testing.  This surprised me slightly as I never thought I would be offered the choice yet it made me feel much less of a fraud.  However after a two minute discussion with him I opted not to. I will re-evaluate it in a few years maybe, but for now I'm good. He seemed satisfied with this and said for the time being he recommends that I attend the clinic yearly for a full breast examination and mammogram. 

I said thanks for drawing circles all over my breast with purple marker and left.  No, I didn't really. I said thank you for everything and see you next year. 

I called Andy from the car park to tell him that all was clear and at least for the foreseeable future he isn't going to lose his primary source of amusement. 

On a serious note, I feel I've made the right choice about not undergoing the gene testing.  I know in this technology fuelled world, people often opt for being able to find out information ie. the sex of a baby, however on this matter I feel that I don't need the gene test.  If the situation was much more serious and I'd lost a young female family member I might think differently.  For now I'm content with with not knowing what the future may or may not  hold.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Ice-Cream Faces

It was a long time coming but the wait for summer around these parts has been worth it.  We have had lots of sunny, warm days broken up by the occasional rainfall which no one can really complain about.

I decided to have last Friday off (as well as the following Monday) and took Jayden with me to spend the day in Nottingham with Alison and Daisy.  It was a perfect day out and we did lots of fun activities with the little ones before heading back to Ali's to feed, bath and get them ready for bed. Jayden looked so adorable sleeping in his pj's on the drive back home. 

Although Daisy and Jayden are at an age where they aren't particularly bothered with each other, they are so cute together.

Here are some of my favourite snaps from that day

Picnic in the park

 Playing in the splash pool: 

Jayden did incredibly well other than when the bigger kids came running up from the deeper end, which frightened him.) 
 Daisy is like a fish in water. Honestly I've never seen a two year old swim underwater before - she's pretty cool, that one.)

Daisy and her (expectant) Mummy:

Of course there was ice-cream:

I don't think there is anything cuter on a hot day than kids and their adorable ice-cream faces...


Thursday, August 01, 2013

Even better than Nutella

We couldn't have picked a better way to see out the end of July than by being at the Chequer's Inn,  Woolsthorpe. 

The sun was shining when we arrived and although the back garden looked was glorious it was a little chilly in the shade so we decided to join the other patrons round the front where the sun was out in full force.  

What's nicer than a few cold ones with great friends on a warm day following a car journey: 

We had a few bags of crisps to go along with the beers. After two months of no eating one of my favourite treats I made short work of my cheese and onion crisps... 

It was so chilled and relaxing there on the deck drinking beers that Dawn and I almost had to force the fellows to get their backsides up to begin our walk: 

(Andy had to make a quick shoe adjustment)

This little fellow got separated from the flock

(a potential framer eh?)

Belvoir Castle (pronounced BEAVER... don't ask me why)

After stopping for an ice-cream next to the castle, we walked back along the canal.  It was only as we were approaching the end of our three hour journey when the skies briefly opened up;  Luckily we were passing one of the old canal bridges and found shelter while we waited out the 10 minute thunder storm.  Poor Molly only shook briefly and was fine by the time the sun came back out. 

After we got back to the Inn we enjoyed another beer on the patio before heading back to our rooms to freshen up prior to our three course meal. 

Which was absolutely flipping amazing.  

(Let me reiterate again, that for the past few months I have changed my diet significantly and this was a treat I'd been looking forward to for months.  It.was.worth.every.bite.) 

This is a sample of the food we enjoyed: 

What Robert and I chose for a starter.  Best part of the whole experience.

Dawn's starter

My main (Sea Bream and Pesto Mash with Roasted Courgette and Choritzo) 

Dawn's main (Roasted Vegetable Torte)

Mine and Robert's dessert (we each had our own)

The lady at the next table was sharing this with her husband; As soon as I saw it I made the decision to choose it over the other option I'd been considering.  Robert did too, although he nearly crawled under the table when Dawn asked the woman if it was 'as good as Nutella'

Which then somehow led the four of us (not the people at the other table) to a discussion about licking Nutella off of Dawn's nipples.  I'm telling you, you can dress us up and take us out but that's about all we manage.  At any given moment some form of inappropriate behaviour will always come out.  

Just warning you in case you ever decide to invite us anywhere.  

After months of hardly drinking any wine I thought for sure I'd be craving Pinot Grigio, however after one glass I decided to stick with the gorgeous red that Robert chose for our meal. Yup even with white fish I preferred the red wine.  Pretentious I am not - I've never attested to being a food or wine connoisseur, and never will.  When it comes to food I go with what I like not with what is the recommended or expected choice. I've not let myself down yet.

This is blurry which is a shame, however I love the joyful feeing it captured:

Beautiful Dawn enjoying her Prosecco  

My handsome man 

The next morning we were up fairly early and after another round of food (breakfast) we headed out with the dogs for a different walk that ended up at the opposite end of the canal.

I love watching the dogs cool off. 

Not only a great place for cooling off, these old bridges are great shelter when needed 
(which we didn't on our morning walk).

Andy and I were thrilled that our friends enjoyed this little hide-away as much as we do and it was agreed by all that it will definitely need to be a yearly event.