The final test

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through a number of tests for various cancers and I completed my final test this morning with my first jolly mammogram.

Probably the least fun of the lot, it involved going all the way to Canary Wharf in pouring rain in order to be sandwiched, squashed and scanned in a brisk fifteen minute appointment.

Results are due in a couple of weeks and then all being well with brain, blood, boobs, heart and bowel, I should be good to go!

Count down to Summer

In the next two weeks we will embark on our relocation to France for the summer! It’s a mammoth exercise in planning with dog travel and paperwork, the exorbitant dog taxi and flights back to the UK for work and family commitments over the next three months.

We had almost everything sorted but realised our cunning plan of a French passport for Agnes was scuppered by the French authorities and she was going to have to get the dreaded post-Brexit Animal Health Certificate which costs a fortune and is a massive pain in the arse.

At least we realised before we made it down to Folkestone where we would have been turned away, our faces downcast and our tails down.

So roll on June 2nd, we’re even missing the Jubilee for this!

All hail the Mighty Chickpea!

I have always been a fan of the humble chickpea as a life long devotee of humous but things have suddenly moved to another level.

This week I made Socca for the first time and discovered an easy and delicious flatbread but so much more. We know Socca from Nice where it’s sold on the Cours de Saleya in large warm triangles wrapped in paper and liberally sprinkled with salt and pepper. Delicious!

I decided to have a go and whilst my version was a little thin, I’m having a second attempt today as it was all eaten immediately.

My other Chickpea success story were baked falafels which I made for the first time. With garlic, fresh herbs and soaked chickpeas, this recipe was incredibly simple, cheap and much more delicious than the hard, dry dog turds we get from our local shop.

Next on my list, the holy grail of humous. I’ve tried it before without success. It’s time to try again…

West Bay and Friends

Last weekend we spent a delightful weekend in West Bay (Dorset) in the company of old friends.

We enjoyed some of the best weather (and a little of the worst) which was perfectly combined with pottering around antique shops, eating delicious food, getting a little sunburned and generally catching up, talking and laughing.

It doesn’t get better than that!

Shedgate

After several months of faffing around talking about a small brick shed which adjoins our kitchen, I asked the direct question of our prospective buyers, were they buying a flat or a brick shithouse?

Of course, this being London even a tiny brick shed is premium property which could house an entire family of Ukrainians but in this case, it’s simply an old garden shed which will never be demised as part of our property for that very reason.

Anyway, that seems to have done the job as we are now making progress and provided the lease extension gets done soon (having taken at least seven years) we should be in a position to make our epic move three flats along.

As always, if it’s meant to be and all that. It all makes sense on paper and hopefully it’s a good decision emotionally. More to come soon…

The blue corduroy jacket

Last week I met a man wearing a blue corduroy jacket. He was standing outside a pub with a small dog in tow, and already had a glass in his hand (the man that is). Some things never change!

It was, of course, the same chap I met, at the same pub, ten years ago. We decided to celebrate a decade together by taking a trip down memory lane.

After dinner we walked across Primrose Hill as the light was fading. In early May, it’s a lovely time of year with the freshest, greenest young grass and new leaves.

We ended up walking home through St John’s Wood chatting as we went and sat in our large communal garden as evening turned to night and our reminiscing came to an end.

Ten years later and we still have plenty to talk and laugh about and it turns out it wasn’t such a bad decision to go and meet the one in the blue corduroy jacket!

Here’s to the next ten!

Let’s get physical!

As this is my year of proactive and preventative health checks, I signed up for a couple of scans to check the innards and so spent a satisfying morning inside an MRI tunnel and a CT scanner at an astronomical cost but then again, what’s more important?

A quick initial follow up reassured me that everything looked pretty good and my brain hasn’t shrunk, hurrah! My spine has a curve or mild scoliosis (which I knew) and my lower back is a little bit worn out (buggered) probably from extreme activities like rowing so no real surprises there.

There are a couple of other things which are nothing to worry about (until you start googling) and I’ll have a more in-depth follow up to discuss maintenance and lifestyle but generally things are pretty good.

So all good and in my opinion, money well spent. Yes, I could have bought a Chanel handbag but what’s the point if I don’t have an arm to hang it on!

Easter weekend

The Easter long weekend is always the first real break after Christmas and so, as it was later this year and with the Scottish wedding and Covid to recover from, I decided to take the week off work.

With Easter came the first run of good weather. Four days of sun felt like a mini heatwave and a welcome relief after a long winter.

We spent Good Friday doing a little garden maintenance and enjoyed a family lunch on Easter Sunday with the other days spent walking around London, planning travel to France and generally enjoying a break.

After a week off and some nice weather, I finally felt much better after what had been a boring couple of months of cold and Covid.

Hello Spring!

A family wedding

Saturday was Wedding Day and after a brisk walk along a stunning beach, we headed down the main staircase and assembled in the wedding room ready for the formal part of the day.

The local beach
Kingsbarns Golf Links
Big Teeing off!
Heading downstairs

It was a lovely ceremony, tears, laughter and a literal knot was tied which followed a traditional Scottish hand binding which made the rest of us feel we weren’t quite married.

Getting ready for photographs
John &Fi
The three Amigos
Suited and booted

And then it was time for the reception where a piper piped the Bride and Groom into the room and a traditional dram of whisky was offered to the piper, and a plethora of speeches followed.