Friday, 27 March 2015

Surgery Happened!!!

I'm delighted to be able to tell you that Shoshi's surgery finally went ahead!!!

I had a very brief phone call from her husband just now saying that she had just come out of surgery.

Then this email:

"Sue through op. tired and sore. We had a drama today as we got in and it was again cancelled this morning due to no High Dependancy Bed, but there was no phone call before we set off half an hour before set time..So we went and were told, poor Sue burst into sobs and was desperate. The wonderful team then pulled out all stops and made a decision to go ahead, the anaesthetic will be very different and she may have some more pain but she bravely accepted their offer and went ahead. We will get through. she sends her love to you and all bloggers."


I sent all of our love and will print out any comments so Shoshi can read them in hospital while she's waiting to feel better enough to have her laptop. 


I'm Soooooooo pleased to have finally been able to write this post!!!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

WOYWW 303

Here is a picture of one very tidy (and very unproductive!) desk, from someone whose mojo has vanished without trace for the duration.

WOYWW 303 25 Mar

I am not worried – it will return once I’m on the road to recovery from my surgery, I have no doubt. It is something nice to look forward to. Yesterday I had a bit of a blitz in there and tidied up – it was beginning to look like a neglected dumping ground again. Surprising how quickly that can happen, isn’t it!

I have heard from the hospital that my surgery is definitely confirmed for Friday afternoon – 27th March. After two postponements, we can only hope that it goes ahead as planned this time, because too many more delays and the cancer is going to start to spread…

Both postponements turned out to be blessings in disguise, giving us the extra time we needed to climb down from all the Mum-induced stress, and to enable us to do some more things (mostly nice!) and have some treats. I have also been able to spend a lot of time on the ostomy forum, acquainting myself more fully with this weird and wonderful world I am about to enter, populated by people who cr*p out of the front instead of out of the back. Well, Shoshi’s never been one to be conventional, has she, you have to admit.

During this time, I have created a new blog (see the link at top right on this one) called The Gutless Bag Lady, which will chart my progress into my new life with an ileostomy. I am hoping it will help others on the same journey, and it will also serve to encourage me as I look back and mark the progress I’ve already made, as time goes on. I have started entering stuff on the tabbed pages but have not yet done any posts, but most of the page elements are now in place, so it’s ready to go, once I’m well enough to start. I am glad that I have done all this ground work in advance, because it would have been more difficult after my operation when I shall probably be a lot more foggy than usual, and it’s taken some time.

I am sure that as Friday approaches, the currently sleeping hoard of voracious and ravenous butterflies will awaken and start attacking my stomach lining again – after all this time, I wonder why we don’t just let them get on with it and do the surgeon’s job for him! Much more of that and I don’t think I’d have much left to worry about anyway.

I should be in for about 7-10 days, I think, depending on how well I do. To start with, I am spending 24, or possibly 48, hours in the High Dependency Unit so that they can monitor me a bit more closely, owing to my other medical problems. For the first few days I won’t be up to doing much, but hopefully fairly soon I shall be feeling well enough to get on the laptop, at which point my hubby will bring it in for me, and I hope to get online so that I can regain contact with everyone! In the meantime, my friend Lucy is co-authoring my blog and will post any bulletins she gets from my hubby about my progress. Knowing my hubby, these are likely to be pretty succinct, but I hope informative enough to let you know how I’m getting on! So please keep an eye on my blog. (Do visit Lucy’s blog too – she does amazing colouring with her copics, and I’m sure she’d appreciate a visit. You’ll find a link on my blog.)

I shall be posting up until Thursday night, and then I’ll pack up the laptop ready for my hubby to bring in when it’s required.

Happy WOYWW everyone, and thank you all so much for your messages of love and support, and above all, for your prayers. Hope to have some good news of my progress soon.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Drapes for Half Tester–A Mock-Up

I’ve decided to do a temporary mock-up of my bed drapes. I haven’t done any more embroidery for a while, but when the pieces are finished, they will go around the top.

This is what the frame of the half-tester looks like without the drapes:

01 Half-Tester Construction

You can see, from this photo which I took in the evening some time ago, that there is a light attached inside the frame – you can see the pull cord for it hanging down.

There are still 3 banana boxes remaining from when we moved house, which I still haven’t unpacked (!) and one of these is in the bedroom, and marked “Bed Drapes.” I opened it up today and got them out, and put up what I could onto the half-tester frame. It’s a mock-up and looks a bit messy but it gives me an idea of what needs to be done to make the drapes fit properly.

25 Temporary Set-Up

The curtains with the dark red patterned outsides and green linings were designed to go at the four corners of the four poster and are unfortunately too narrow to extend the full length of the half-tester, but I have put two curtains on each side. Eventually I shall probably sew them together to make one. Also, each curtain is made so that the lining is attached along the long sides, apart from a short distance at the top, to allow the curtain to go on the outside of the frame, and the lining on the inside, sandwiching the frame in between. Because of the diagonal struts supporting the top of the half-tester, I had to unpick the seam a bit further down the length of the curtain, to enable it to go past this piece of wood.

The red woven strip with the wool tassels on it (can’t remember where I got that – probably from some ethnic shop or other) was also in the box, and I’ve pressed that onto the single line of Velcro on the frame as a temporary top edge until I can complete the embroidered pieces – it sticks OK for now, because the fabric is fairly soft and fluffy. It is not long enough to extend the full length of the sides of the half-tester frame, so I have just pressed the ends down onto the Velcro that goes along the top edge of the frame for now. (That Velcro will eventually hold the top canopy.)

The dark blue piece hanging at the head of the bed is supposed to overlay another length of fabric, but I can’t use this until I’ve altered it. The soft Velcro is on the front, because originally it was stuck onto the outside of the four-poster frame, against the wall at the head of the bed, and the half-tester frame is up against the wall and I can’t get at the back of it. It used to hang flat (ungathered) but it is too wide now, so I may cut off the excess, or I might put it up gathered – I haven’t decided about that yet. The dark blue piece is also too wide, and is gathered at the edges at the moment, so that it fits the half-tester frame, but it’s a bit wrinkled and doesn’t hang quite right. This piece was originally going to be covered with shi-sha embroidery but I never got round to it! Probably a good thing, if the piece doesn’t fit properly! I’ve got more of that material and I may cut another piece to fit, but I’ll live with it as it is for a while and see how I feel about it.

Because the half-tester is screwed to the wall, the knobs on top at the head end are very close to the wall, and I cannot hang the big tassels over them because their cords are too thick. I’ve just laid them on top of the frame and stuffed the excess down behind, and it seems to work! The tassels at the foot end aren’t a problem, of course, as I can just hang them on the knobs as I did with the four-poster. These tassels are actually curtain tie-backs that I bought to hang over the knobs of the four-poster, as they looked so rich, and co-ordinated so well with the drapes.

Also in the box of bed drapes I found the two long pelmet pieces I made for the bedroom in our old house. They have rufflette tape on them, and I pulled all the gathers out when I washed them, and folded them away in the box. There were two windows in that room, and I think the pelmet piece from the smaller window may be just enough to go round the inside of the half-tester frame, to cover up the wood and provide a backdrop for the front pieces once I’ve made them – I might not be able to gather it very much. The green bobble trim on the pelmet pieces matches that on the bed curtains. The longer pelmet piece I may use as a pelmet to go over the window which at present doesn’t have a pelmet at all – a wooden one would have to be made, or perhaps a purchased pelmet rail? Not sure about that yet. Anyway, if I do it, it will all co-ordinate.

I need to attach more Velcro onto the frame, so that the top pieces as well as the curtains can be attached. I have been using the self-adhesive hooks and the sew-on loops, but after a while the glue on the self-adhesive hooks tends to fail, so when I redid the first lot of Velcro, I stuck it on with extra-sticky double sided tape as well, just to make sure. I’ve also got to adapt the pleated canopy I made for the four-poster as it is much too large at present.

I think my temporary mock-up looks quite cool, but it’s going to be soooo much better when it’s all done properly! I’m not going to be able to do anything more about this until I am well and truly over my operation, but I wanted to get something up over the bed as I was getting a bit fed up with looking at the bare wooden frame! The mock-up will do for a while, and may give me the impetus I need to get the job finished eventually.

Friday, 20 March 2015

My New Buggy, and an Outing to Brunel Woods

Today, after many months’ waiting, the new buggies arrived in the mobility shop. Some time ago, I inherited my uncle’s big buggy which is a very, very good one; very powerful, very comfortable and goes a long way on a single charge.

Me on Big Buggy 11-01-14

However, there is a major problem with it, and that is, it is much too big and heavy to go in the car. It is fine for getting to the shops, or to church – launching forth from the garage at home as you can see in the above photo.

However, many of the outings we go on involve going in the car. We belong to the National Trust, for instance, and if we have a day out, visiting one of their properties, the wheelchair is ideal for indoors, and for sitting in the restaurant, but not so good for going around the grounds – despite the power assist wheels, after a fairly short distance, I become too fatigued to self-propel any longer. My hubby has never forgotten (and never lets me forget, lol!) that time we went to the zoo, and he had to push me all the way up the hill to see the tigers! Last time we went to the zoo, the other day, we hired one of the zoo’s buggies and this was ideal.

So what we needed was a smaller, lightweight buggy that could fold up and go in the car, and still leave room for the wheelchair. We visited our local mobility shop, and I tried out quite a few. You really do have to try them – it is too risky to buy a buggy off the Internet, for example, without trying it, because however comfortable it may look, everyone’s body proportions are different, and what suits one will not necessarily suit another. The problem with the ultra-compact foldable buggies is that most of them are not adjustable at all, because this would interfere with the folding mechanism, and most of them were simply not comfortable enough. My arms are too short, which always causes problems, and having to reach further than is comfortable is very fatiguing. Some of them had really uncomfortable seats, and with the small wheels, many of them provided a very bumpy ride.

There was one that was different, though, and this was the SupaScoota. The control column is adjustable for height, and fore and aft angle, so that with it tipped towards me, and the whole thing raised, it was within easy reach and comfort for my arms. The battery is very powerful and it fairly zips along, with a choice of two speeds. With the seat removed, the control column can be folded flat against the base, and even with my adjustment, it still folds OK. Removing the battery makes it lighter for my hubby to lift into the car.

When we first tried it, the only drawback was the awful seat! As you will see from this photo:

Old SupaScoota

The seat is triangular, and very uncomfortable, despite the sprung suspension. I was very disappointed, because apart from that, the rest of the features were ideal for me. The man in the shop told us that the manufacturers were about to bring out a new model with an improved seat, which was rectangular, and with a better back support. The buggy would also have an automatic setting that caused it to slow down when you turn a corner, but there would be a button to override this feature. We were very interested in this new model, and he said they would be getting some in soon. This took months longer than we’d hoped, but they knew we were interested, and let us know as soon as the prototype model arrived in the shop, and we went to try it.

New SupaScooter

You can see how much better the new seat looks. The foot rests are also larger. This is the four-wheel model (which we chose), but there is also a three-wheel model, and you can also have the extra “training” wheels for the front if you want. The new model is actually gold, not orange, and I much prefer this colour.

Here is a video of the original SupaScoota – the new model is so new that there aren’t any videos yet. (Perhaps we ought to make one!!) The new model is slightly easier to disassemble and fold, but apart from the new seat and suspension, the details are pretty much the same as on the video. I chose this Youtube video from Canada because it seemed to show best how the buggy folds up, and a lot of its features.

I tried the prototype in the shop, and after the control column was adjusted for me, I absolutely loved it! I took it for a good little spin outside, and my hubby practised taking the seat off and folding it up, and if he removes one seat from the back of our car, it will go in beside the wheelchair with no problem at all. He can also use the crane in the back of the car to lift it in. So we paid a deposit, and we then had another long wait, until this morning when the shop phoned to say they were in at last.

We went to collect it, and I am one of the first people in the country to get this new model – apparently there are only two shops that supply the SupaScooter – our local one, which is the importer, and another shop which I think he said was in Hampshire. Afterwards, as it was such a beautiful spring day, my hubby took me on an outing to try it out – this was by way of an experiment for him, too, to see how well he could get it in and out of the car. We went to Brunel Woods, at the entrance of which is a kissing gate to prevent mountain bikers invading the woods. This makes it very disabled unfriendly! There was no way my hubby could get my wheelchair through, but today, he tried the disassembled buggy – it was a bit of an effort but he managed to lift it over. He said afterwards that if he’d removed the motor as well as the battery, it would have been a bit lighter.

Off we went, and it was pretty steep! There was also a thick covering of beech nuts on the ground, and at one time I did lose control a bit and started sliding back! It was only when we got home that my hubby read in the instruction manual that you shouldn’t take it up a slope steeper than a certain number of degrees (and we were sure our path was steeper than that!!) and also that it should be run on a firm surface! So we broke all the rules on Day One lol! Anyway, we put it through its paces, and it was fine.

In Brunel Woods there is an extraordinary collection of wood carvings in honour of our greatest engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the central feature of which is a dead tree trunk which has been carved into a totem pole, depicting all the things that I.K. Brunel constructed. It is surrounded by three more carvings, one of which is a statue of the great man himself.

01 Brunel Wood Carvings

02 Brunel Wood Carvings

03 Brunel Wood Carvings

04 I K Brunel

Here is my hubby with I.K. Brunel, which gives a sense of the scale of the carvings.

05 N with I K Brunel

Here is the totem pole, a bit closer up.

06 The Totem Pole

At the base of the totem pole, the date when it was made has been carved.

09 Totem Pole Date Carving

After admiring these things, we went for a wander in the woods. The sun was shining through the trees, and all the birds were in full song. There is something about birdsong in a wood – it echoes off the trees, and sounds so full and rich. In a few weeks’ time, these woods will be full of bluebells! To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a beech wood with a carpet of bluebells, with the sun filtering through the translucent, young green leaves of my favourite tree. If the oak is the king of the English wood, then the beech must surely be the queen.

07 The Way Through the Woods

Finally, here are some pictures of me using my new buggy. You can see that there is a bag on the back of the seat – we had hoped that the bag from my big buggy would fit, but it wouldn’t, so we got the one to fit this mini-scooter while we were at it. The basket on the front is actually surprisingly capacious – better than the one on my big buggy, but I shall still need to be able to carry more, especially after my operation when I will need to carry my emergency kit with me, for bag-changing etc. There is also room underneath the seat for another basket if I want it.

You can see from these photos how the control column has been adjusted to suit me. (Note my new hair colours!! Also, the felt poppies hair clip I made last year in the felt class.)

08 Me with I K Brunel

Me on New Buggy 20-3-15

It’s a very nice, zippy little buggy and will do just fine for our outings, enabling us to go further afield and not be tied. It isn’t quite as comfortable as the big one, but with its improved seat and the sprung suspension, it’s not at all bad.

Today was another of what my hubby calls “spoilies” before I go into hospital. We were so pleased that the new buggies arrived before I went in! We have now got it all ready for when I am better enough to go out and about again. Another purpose in the second postponement of my surgery, perhaps?

Talking of which, having had nothing in the post from the hospital today and it being Friday, I thought I would phone them just to see if they had any news, and I spoke to Mr. Pullan’s secretary. She said he would be away until Tuesday. I asked her to phone me as soon as she had a date for my admission, and she said that would be fine. She said I was already at the top of his list, and it looked likely that I would have it done a week today, Friday 27th March, which would be exactly a month after my first scheduled admission on 27th February. (I am getting a bit concerned at the delay now, because that’s another whole month for the cancer to be growing… However, if they were worried about that, they would have got me in urgently and I’d have had another surgeon to do it.) She obviously could not confirm this date in the absence of Mr. Pullan, but hopefully we will get definite confirmation as soon as he returns to work.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

WOYWW 302

Another week gone by and still no activity on Shoshi’s desk.

The bad news is that my surgery, which should have taken place this afternoon, has again been postponed (see my previous post) – owing to my surgeon having to deal with a family disaster of some kind. I am sure that he will put me back at the top of his list as soon as he is able to return, and I can imagine how he is feeling, having had to put me off twice.

I was confused and frustrated on Monday when I first heard about this, but I am now feeling a lot better about things. It’s a pest being back in Limboland with no date, because I can’t make any practical arrangements. I’ve been here twice before and it’s now getting pretty boring. Anyway, hopefully we will hear something soon, and I am now anxious to get on with this because the cancer cannot be left indefinitely. I am now more than ready to go in and get this over.

Here’s another kitty pic to keep you going!

Sophie on Camel Stool 1

This is Sophie, my very first kitty after I left my parents’ home to set up on my own. She was born in 1979 and lived to be 16. She was completely crazy and the vet said she had a tortoiseshell brain as well as a tortoiseshell coat – mixed up brain and mixed up coat – apparently torties are often like this. She was so confused that she sometimes used to purr and growl at the same time! She could go rigid with rage and used to hiss and growl with the best, but she could also be extremely loving and affectionate, and I loved her to bits. She had kittens when she was a year old and I watched them being born, which was quite an experience, and after that she did settle down a bit mentally, but not much!

Monday, 16 March 2015

My Surgery Postponed Again…

My hubby came home this afternoon having had a phone call from the hospital to say my operation has had to be postponed again, owing to a family crisis that my surgeon is having to deal with. I know none of this is anybody’s fault, but I’m not sure how much more of this I can take… They don’t seem to realise how one psychs oneself up for major surgery, and to be let down right at the last minute is bad enough, but then to have it happen again is the absolute limit.

This is totally doing my head in.

There are practical considerations as well. I now have no date – again… I cannot plan the laundry, shopping, organising meals, etc. Twice now, I have got everything ready, and it’s all for nothing.

I am seriously wondering if this is ever going to happen, or whether it’s all some awful nightmare and I’m going to wake up. It’s got to happen soon, though, because there’s a limit how long they can leave the cancer.

Slight pause…. just had one of my best friends from school on the line and we’ve had such a nice chat, and she has cheered me up no end. Nothing for it now but to take it a day at a time, and hope that we’ll get a date soon!!!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Treats and Tigers

Only a few more days to go to my surgery, and today was a day full of treats.

We decided to go out for a meal to one of our favourite restaurants so that I could have a final steak until goodness knows when! We were getting ready to go out when the delightful Indian lady who with her husband owns our local corner shop rang the bell and presented us with some samosas she had just made, still warm from the fryer! How very kind. We were unfortunately not able to eat them while they were so fresh or we’d have had no appetite for lunch, so saved them for this evening.

We had a wonderful meal Рwe both had steak, my hubby had salad with his, and I had vegetables, and both were served with chips and sauces. My hubby had cheese and biscuits to follow, and I had a cr̬me brulee served with Baileys ice cream, a shortbread biscuit and garnished with three raspberries. It was all exquisitely served, as always, and quite delicious. We always enjoy eating there, and who knows how long it will be before I am fit to eat out again?

They took quite a long time to serve us as the place was busy, it being Saturday, so we didn’t leave till getting on for mid-afternoon. This meant that we had very little time at the zoo, which was our next destination!

I said to my hubby that it would be great to have a tiger fix before I went into hospital. I have always loved tigers. You can read about the pages I made in my Recycled Mini-Album last year on the subject of the tiger cubs my dad operated on, back in the 1950s, here. Here is the tiger picture I painted in my little leather art journal (I used a scanned version of this picture in the mini-album):

09 The Completed Page

After I scanned it, I edited it to remove the fold down the centre:

Completed Tiger Painting Edited

and this was the finished mini-album page:

103 Tigers Title Page Complete

We had very little time at the zoo so we went straight past the lions and found the tigers! It was quite a steep climb, and we were glad that we had arranged to hire one of the zoo’s buggies for me – it was  quite similar to my own, which is too big to go in the car. (We have paid the deposit on a small folding one which we will be able to take with us for outings such as this.)

Here are the pictures I took.

01 Tiger 1

02 Tiger 2

03 Tiger 3

04 Tiger 4

Then my hubby took a photo of me looking at the beautiful tigers:

06 Looking at the Tigers

It was amazing being able to get so close to them.

As we went further up, we came across a couple of display boards, the first giving the details of the tigers. They are Sumatran tigers, and in the wild, these magnificent creatures are on the verge of extinction, being trapped in a horrifically cruel fashion by poachers who sell their bodies for Chinese medicine and on the black market.

07 Tiger Board

The work of our zoo, and other zoos around the world, helps to preserve the tigers through breeding programmes, and also through education, and fund-raising to provide wardens in the jungles of Sumatra to fight the battle to save the tigers.

Here is the board with the tiger’s footprint, and a plaque for brass rubbing.

08 Tiger Footprints

Aren’t they the most beautiful creatures? I have always loved them.

Here is a picture of my own little tiger – sadly no longer with us. She was Phoebe’s sister Chloe. lying flat out and displaying all her beautiful tigeriness. I think she was the most beautiful kitty we’ve ever had.

Chloe Lounging on Sleeping Bag 2 1 Aug 04

We had to make a fairly quick dash back to the reception to return the buggy 15 minutes before closing time, but managed to get the following pictures on the way. Here’s my hubby with a peacock.

09 N with Peacock

The peacock made his way towards me.

10 Peacock

11 Peacock Tail

You can see how nicely the zoo is laid out, with walkways and landscaping and lakes.

12 The Path to the Lake

Ducks on the lake.

13 Ducks on the Lake

The main zoo buildings. The further one is where the reception and shop are situated, and the nearer one is the restaurant. We have been to a wedding reception here – a really fun place for a wedding! They have excellent facilities inside.

14 Zoo Buildings

Opposite the buildings is the railway for the little train. After the reception, the wedding guests all had a ride on the little train that goes round the entire zoo complex! You can imagine all the wedding guests in their finery, taking their seats on the train for the tour around the zoo!

15 The Little Train

Some interesting tangled tree roots.

16 Tangled Roots

We had a quick dash through the tropical house – entering this hot and humid atmosphere, our glasses, and my camera lens, instantly steamed up!

17 Lizard in the Tropical House

18 Tortoises in the Tropical House

19 Inside the Tropical House

20 Waterfall in the Tropical House

No time to take photos in the desert house which led off the tropical house, but I did manage to catch a quick shot of the flamingos on the way back to the reception.

21 Flamingoes

You can see what an overcast and dull day it was today. It was also very cold, but we were fortunate that it didn’t rain. We are going to return to the zoo when the weather is better and hopefully in the sunshine, when I have recovered from my operation, and when we have got my new light-weight buggy. We will spend more time there, and hopefully get lots more photos – we saw very little today but at least I got to see my tigers!

Finally, I have at last managed to get my hubby to take a photo of my new hair colour which I had done at the end of February just before I was originally due to go into hospital!

My New Hair Colour 14-3-15

Altogether we had a brilliant day out together. After a quick cup of tea at home my hubby left to go out for the evening, and I have spent the rest of the evening on the recliner, watching TV and being on the laptop, enjoying my samosas, sorting my photos and thinking about this special little oasis of time that we have been granted, to rest and relax without Mum in the house, and to prepare for Wednesday when I go in for my surgery.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

WOYWW 301

Sorry folks – this is getting a bit boring – yet another week with no photo of Shoshi’s desk because Shoshi’s desk remains unchanged – nothing on it! Mr. Mojo and Mrs. Muse are still on their extended break and expected not to return till my convalescence is well under way. What a bore.

My surgery (rescheduled) is a week today… I am trying not to dwell on the awful aspects of it too much until nearer the time – I’ve managed to be good all this week, and rest and relax and prepare, without worrying too much, but as the day approaches, I am getting the familiar feelings I had the first time round, before my admission was aborted at the last moment. We’ve had a nice relaxing week with some spoilies.

Thank you everyone for your continuing good wishes, kind thoughts, kind words and above all prayers – and to those of you who have sent cards and gifts – a very special thank you! You are all so kind and I do feel uplifted by all this tremendous good will.

In the absence of a desk photo, here’s another kitty one for you to enjoy.

Beatrice Cuddling with Daddy 1 16-08-12

Beatrice cuddling with Daddy. I tell you, those two are joined at the heart! Hard for Shoshi to get a look in sometimes.

Happy WOYWW everyone, and I’ll try and post next Tuesday evening before I pack up my laptop ready for hospital.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Chinese Meal

As part of a series of “spoilies” before my operation, we went out last night for a Chinese meal in a posh Chinese restaurant in town. After my surgery, I will not be able to eat Chinese food again for a long time, and maybe forever, because Chinese vegetables are supposed not to be stoma-friendly, so last night felt a bit like the last meal of the condemned man!

My hubby asked our local Chinese takeaway owner where he would go if he was going out for a Chinese meal, and he recommended this place – that’s a pretty good recommendation! The building itself is an old-fashioned villa-style house with high ceilings and an air of Victorian elegance about it, but the interior had been designed in the Chinese style, but not too flamboyantly – in place of the usual red and gold dragons and lanterns, it is understated and elegant, but distinctly Oriental. Here are some pictures, starting with the entrance lobby.

01 Entrance Lobby

There are two dining areas, and we were in the first one. It is decorated with a very subtle pale green wallpaper with a slight sheen to it, and delicate lines reminiscent of bamboo leaves. The photos don’t do it justice, as usual with shimmery surfaces.

02 Screen in First Dining Area

There is a broad arch leading into the second dining area which was illuminated with soft coloured lights, and trims created from thick half bamboo canes.

03 Arch into Second Dining Area

04 Second Dining Area

05 Door in Second Dining Area

Back in the first dining area, beside the doorway into the bar is an arched window.

06 Arch Between First Dining Area and Bar

From this picture you can see what an elegant room this is, with the high ceilings and plaster mouldings.

07 Window in First Dining Area

The bar is decorated with a Chinese-style roof.

08 Bar

In the bar are several large fish tanks.

09 Fish Tank in Bar

I loved this beautiful peacock wall-sconce in the bar.

10 Peacock Wall Light in Bar

In the arched window into the bar is a traditional Chinese plant made from pieces of glass or semi-precious stones. I remember my grandmother had a bonsai tree made like this. It looks so real!

11 Artificial Flowers

Arriving at our table beside the arch into the second dining area, I noticed the very pretty floral arrangement. The gold-lined glass candle holder shed a soft glow.

12 Our Table Decoration

We started with crispy duck and pancakes – my absolute favourite! We shared a quarter duck between us, much as I would have liked more and could have coped with a half, we wouldn’t have had room for anything else!

13 Crispy Duck with Pancakes

Constructing the pancake roll with the crispy duck, thinly sliced vegetables and hoi-sin sauce. Rolled up and eaten in your fingers, there’s a gorgeous combination of flavours and textures, and I always seem to manage to have the sauce dribble down my chin!

14 Crispy Duck on Pancake

Our main course. Firstly, chicken and cashew nuts and egg fried rice.

15 Chicken & Cashew Nuts and Egg Fried Rice

Then Peking-style beef and sweet and sour pork.

16 Peking-Style Beef and Sweet & Sour Pork

The sweet and sour pork and chicken and cashew nuts are my two favourite dishes, and my hubby despairs of me because I always want these dishes! This time he didn’t make too much of a fuss because after all, it was my last Chinese meal!

Tucking in to my bowl.

17 My Bowl

There was far too much food for the two of us – enough for three or four! They kindly made us up a doggy bag to take home, and we had it for lunch today. If possible, it was even more delicious second time round.

Before we left, one of the waitresses took a photo of the two of us.

18 After the Meal

What a lovely evening out! It’s a gorgeous place, and very different from anywhere we’ve been before. On the table next to us was a sweet couple with their absolutely charming Down’s daughter, who delighted us both with a big hug when they left!

We were not the only ones to have spoilies today. When we got back, my hubby gave the kitties some of the treats they had for Christmas – we have to give them very sparingly because Beatrice (on the left) is sick if she has too much of anything, with her delicate little stomach. She is very keen, though, as you can see from the attitude of those back legs and her whole body straining forwards! Phoebe is a bit of a butter-fingers and always drops hers, and if my hubby doesn’t rescue them, Beatrice zooms in and wolfs them down!

Kitties Having Treats 7-3-15

In the background you can see some of the many lovely cards I’ve had from friends and family, wishing me well for my operation.

I am still feeling very tired after all the recent stress, and very glad of this fortnight’s respite before I go into hospital, and I’m determined to continue resting and relaxing and trying not to worry about what lies ahead. Not sure what spoilies remain to be enjoyed before that time!