Monday, December 27, 2010

Wishing and waiting

Waiting at the Eurotunnel, arrived 2 hours early and there is a two hour delay. What joy but the wait will be worth it as we will see Max and Charlie once we get over there. Christmas was good, turkey delicious but still a little dry despite the 9 hours in a salt bath looking just like a Damion Hurst installation, and the pound of butter shoved under its breast skin and slathered over its capacious frame. Fourteen people scoffed it down however and then played silly games and sang to the karioke machine. My superwoman status - home made everything - was slightly shaken when Stewart was searching for the tablecloth for the big table only to find it at the bottom of the ironing basket where it had mouldered since last Christmas. A ladybird had made its home in its creases. I looked as fit as a butcher's curly haired pup and I had to dish up 14 dinners so there was no time or reason for maudelling last Christmas fears, thank goodness.

So here's to Christmas future and to the Eurotunnel getting a move on.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Two special presents


At last they are here, born at 15.00 and 15.10, one just over 3kg and one just under. Max and Charlie, no longer foetus A and B but bona fide little boys dying to see their nanny Jean I am sure. But there is too much snow for us to jump straight into our car and head over there. We would get stuck on the M40 and my fat leg would freeze up and we would be no good to man, beast or lovely little twins. We will go after Christmas, en famille to see our new famille and give them the shock of their very short lives.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Deck the halls

Jess bought me a Christmas tree on Sunday; that was thoughtful and kind of course but the kindness was really to the Christmas tree. It is to trees as those runty puppies with one lame leg, a bashed in eye and mangy fur are to the canine population. The sort of puppy they use in adverts for Dog's Homes. They do it to try to tug at your heart strings, please very kind person give this mutt, that no-one could possibly want, a home. How could my lovely humane daughter resist and how could we? So we have lopped bits off, propped it up and filled the yawning gaps with our biggest baubles. I scoff now at the forests of perfectly shaped trees that adorn our neighbours' windows, how boring, how obvious; not the sort of tree for us at all.

Ours matches perfectly the slightly wonky cake I made, the very tipsy puddings and no doubt the oozing mince pies that are on today's festive factoring agenda. I am, as you will have gathered, something of a Christmas hero, especially this year and no, fear not I am not going to turn into one of those teary Grannies that weep through their turkey and trimmings because this may be the last chance they get to do so. Even though I have been a bit prone to the miseries recently, it's this bloody cold and my cricked leg. They make me feel old and tired and ill and I begin to wonder if I am going to feel better or is this the slide downwards. So the Christmas cheer is just what I need and filling my days with Yuletide fiddle faddling.

Today I am planning the meal and making sure I have everything ordered from the two or three supermarkets chains that are, as we speak, searching the highways and bye-ways with the sole purpose of provisioning our groaning table. I am even going to desert Delia and her turkey under a foil tent that has stood me in good stead for the last 10 years or so and which I always think about when I am sleeping under the roof of our bedroom in Maumont; the previous owner thought it a good idea to line the very highly pitched ceiling with silver insulation materials and like our tree, we have learned to live with it. This year I will try Heston Blumenthal's method which entails soaking the bird in a salt bath for 10 hours (well it worked for the Romans), then tenderly stroking its breast(s?)underneath the skin with thick swathes of butter and gently heating it up until it is just begging us to tear into its eager flesh.

Of course ours will probably have one leg shorter than the other and be even uglier than the average, ugliest bird in the world, turkey; but I will love it just the same and after all that salt soaking how could I possibly add to its burden by weeping and wailing over its beautiful, tender, butter crisped skin.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Trust me I'm a doctor

Things are looking slightly brighter: Stewart is out of hospital and OK he did do his back in sorting out the futility room, home of the ashamed washing machine still sitting on its sopping carpet, but at least we are moaning and groaning together. He looks like the crooked man, walking his crooked mile.

My lergy turned into a cold and cough so not too life threatening and yesterday I went to see the oncologist. Frankly I was in no mood to fire loads of questions at him but basically he said my leg tumour was the same size, ie stable which believe you me is good news, and the Xray of my lungs was OK. A tad vague that you might think for a man of science but I have no trust in Xrays to show anything anyway. He has ordered a CT scan for mid January and I will see him again a week later. That gets me over Christmas so I made a speedy exit in case he changed his mind and tried to convince me that sea squid poison (main ingredient of next lot of chemo) was the just the thing to accompany turkey and mince pies.

Meanwhile back in Northern France, Julie continues to grow and incubate our twins. Her doctor is just watching and waiting too, you would think that with all that training they could be a bit more proactive and maybe work the odd miracle or two. We have all fingers and limbs crossed that the two little boys will arrive next week so that we can whistle over there, albeit crookedly, go gaga over their beauty and fill the car up with fat duck livers and cheap champagne. Beats sea squids any day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What else can go wrong?

OK God I know my last post suggested I didn't believe in you and I still don't. But just in case I am completely wrong will you just get off my case. If you are out there and this is some sort of divine retribution I don't want to be in your gang anyway and I certainly don't want to live with you for ever; not even if you let me torture a few folk who really deserve it and who funnily enough believe in you up to the hilt.

This is enough who ever you are. I have Stewart my poor old husband in hospital. He is fine really, he has the flu or some such virus. But because he has Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (symptom free for 20 odd years) they go into a panic. They panic and then do sod all. He is in Birmingham's supposedly sooper dooper new hospital. It is very pretty once you get on the wards. But he was in what is laughingly called the Clinical Decision Unit on Sunday, very soon renamed by me to the Clinical Indecision Unit. Staffed mostly by junior doctors under terrible strain, you are surrounded and within a hair's breadth of people with all sorts of things wrong with them. Presumably it did them no good to be near Stewart and his virus, it certainly did me no good to listen to an old chap screaming in agony from pneumonia for literally hours. The ward he is on now is light and bright but chronically understaffed and unable to make speedy clinical decisions hence he is blocking his bed and complaining that he wants to go home on an hourly basis. It is also a long way from the car park and although I am now the proud owner of a blue badge, by the time I reach his ward I am ready to be admitted myself. Not that I would show it I would rather they shoot me.

And yes I now have symptoms of Stewart's lergy, I have a raised temperature, my cough has come back and I feel as if I have done ten rounds with Mike Tyson.

And finally about 30 minutes ago Joe discovered that our washing machine that I had struggled to put on this morning, had flooded and water was pouring through the kitchen ceiling, on examination we found that the central heating boiler was also dripping. The kitchen is now carpeted with towels soaking up the wet and I fear the ceiling is bulging.

So leave me alone will you, my phlegmatism does have its limits.