Sicily, panna cotta and a confession.

Keeping a blog is a bit like a confessional. Not that I’ve ever been in a confessional, but I do feel like an apology “Forgive me Father, it’s been 6 weeks since my last confession” is in order. So, sorry.

Last time I was moaning about the place I grew up. This time I will have a little moan about a place where other people have grown up and update on where we are with the treatment and the maintenance.

The end of September maintenance came and went without any incident. It’s all becoming routine now. Soon, after Christmas, I will have been going Ward 60 for two years either three weekly, or bi-monthly. They have been very good indeed and have definitely helped through this period. The nurse that gives her time for me the have the maintenance after hours is getting married in the Spring, so I need to sort a gift out for her. I couldn’t have the maintenance at all, if people weren’t prepared to give up their spare time for me, so I am very grateful. My haematologist and I discussed a suitable gift when I was there at the end of September, so we will have to see if we can organise that. We chatted about a “joint gift”. She gets married on the day we fly to New York, which is a bit of a shame, as I would have popped along and sat at the back of the church and maybe taken some photos.

I was told at the end of September that I have an ECG which would indicate that I might have had a heart attack at some time in the past. Well, that’s news to me, but I will get to the GP to be referred to a cardiologist for some further tests. It never rains…

Yet another Leica Forum One Challenge has been and gone. This was the eighth one this year – Palermo in Sicily. Despite many of the attendees liking the city, I found that it was a place without any charm whatsoever. It was dirty, unkempt, still suffering considerably from wartime bomb-damage and with a population who were discourteous and unfriendly. We were fortunate that we had an excellent hotel, The Porte Felice, which we would highly recommend. A really nice room, comfortable, decent breakfast if you want one and about 20 minutes walk from the city centre. Further, there is an excellent restaurant about 5 minutes walk in the other direction, Ristorante Gadir, where we easily had the best meal of the week. It is along a dark, unlit street, with open skips, feral cats, high rise flats in the poorest part of town and is incongruous to say the least. You could uplift the place and drop it into the west end, or Paris and it would fit right in. The situation is very odd and they are unlikely to get any tourist custom, given its location. Maybe that’s what they want. Certainly we were the only tourists in there that Thursday, but our friends Jono and Emma did venture there on the Friday on our recommendation and also had an excellent meal.

The best bit about the break was the drive down to Segesta, to see the 2,500 year old Greek temple and amphitheatre. A beautiful setting on a beautiful day.

One slight worry while we were in Sicily was that I started to get pins and needles in my fingers and right hand. Fortunately, they have gone now, but they are a potential side-affect of the Rituximab, so I will need to keep an eye on that.

We also spent some time at the beginning of the week in Kent, a county that one tends to pass through as quickly as possible to get to somewhere else, which is a shame as it’s a nice place to spend some time. We found the church where Ann’s new-found family were lords of the manor and a lot else besides, back in the 14C, together with a very nice pub with rooms, The Five Bells at East Brabourne, which will deserve a proper visit one day. Canterbury Cathedral is lovely when you get there as the first visitors of the day, before the crowds.

This afternoon, I made some panna cotta for the first time ever, and they are not bad, even if I do say so myself. I made a Madeira and strawberry sauce to go with them and that’s good too. I just have to work out where to put the candles as they are a substitute for Ann’s birthday cake…

So, it’s downhill to Christmas and another New Year now. Ought to get some shopping done really.

That’ll be three Hail Mary’s then, will it?

PS. There is some news following on from the ridiculous train delay I had at the end of August (see post below). Those very nice people at Virgin West Coast, sent me a cheque for £50 AND a free Standard Return ticket, anywhere in the country, in the next 12 months. So that’s not so bad.