Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Full Monty - Public Premiere

Halfway to the hospital today I realised I'd forgotten my hat.  Nick hadn't noticed, either.  So we went to the hospital, the DIY place, grocery shopping, lunch and the car repair place with my head showing.  I didn't see people falling over, so I know what my new look will be in case my hair never comes in nicely.

Monday I had a consultation with the oncologist in Lyon.  Good news: The spots on my lung mean nothing; The spots on my liver mean nothing.  Other news: No more chemo; it isn't working and it's creating severe onychopathy, i.e. my nails are rotting.  (Actually, they're improving now, starting to grow.)  Also I have lots of oedema: fat legs, fat feet and a golf balls on my ankles.

My case was presented to the committee to decide whether the tumour is operable or maybe I should have radiation treatment.

My sub-oncologist at Valence passed the news that I am to have a cystocopy (they look inside) and the J-catheters (stents) in my urethra that they couldn't insert last autumn.  They protect the urethra, which is thin and fragile, during the surgery that may follow, depending on how good the surgeon feels about it.

So now I'm waiting to hear from the hospital in Lyon, but it probably won't be immediate.  They usually wait 30 days between chemo and surgery.

I have leftovers from the vacation; they'll come next.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Day 7 - Message from Home

ce à quoi vous avez échappé

  (What you escaped)


They're going to let us know when it's safe to return.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Day 6 - Finestrat

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary to our friends, Sheila and Bob.  Happy 28th to us.  48 people in restaurant closed for the occasion, courtesy of S and B.  Magnificent food.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Day 5 – Finestrat & Benidorm

Blue skies, nothin' but blue skies. . . Not very warm, though, but you wouldn't know it by the crowds on the beaches. And they're swimming.

You'll note I'm running a day behind. The logistics of internet access. We started the day in an English bar advertising free internet access. The owner gave us the code, but didn't know which server they were on. “It's my husband,” she said. Seven servers showed up on our laptop. The password didn't gain us entry to any of them. “It's my husband,” she said. We paid for our coffees and left. We have since been informed that the place is known as the “blinding and f'ing” bar.

We went wandering around Benidorm. I bought a pair of party shoes for tomorrow night – six euros. I figure since my feet are letting down the side, anyway, I might as well be totally tacky. Anything is better than sandels with socks.

We had an excellent lunch on the paseo, watching the Germans swim and a middle aged Spanish Barbie and Ken at a nearby table. Even my sneakers aren't that tacky.

We returned to the house for a long siesta and skipped dinner. Well, not me, I ate the lunch Nick had made for me the previous day. No amount of food ever makes me want to skip a meal.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Day 4 – Spain, Finestrat

In the end, we had Chinese food last night. It was what was still open and it was excellent. Just as we placed our large order, I reached Bob; they had just walked into their house. Good friends are those who've just done a 10-hour drive from Santander and wait up while you eat and drink. They thought we were arriving today. My fault. Never trust what I say any more.

We got to sleep at 3:00 a.m. Today, I slept until 11:30. Had a cup of tea, showered and dressed and, not yet ready for lunch, returned to bed for a siesta.

At 4:30 I awoke to the sound of voices: John, Nick's brother, and Carole, John's wife, had arrived. Another cup of tea and we went around to Bob & Sheila's apartment. And another cup of tea.

Spanish dog, not into tea

A few years ago, Bob & Sheila rented an apartment for friends who were supposed to visit and who didn't. It requires good will and good connections to rent an apartment for vacationing (ex-)friends and Sheila and Bob didn't feel able to tell the owners that they no longer needed it. So they moved in, thinking to see if, one day, they might like apartment life for themselves. They liked it so much, they stayed. Meanwhile, the house market being what it is, they've held on to the house for guests. Lucky us.

The house

Swordfish tonight in Benidorm. Nom nom!

Sheila waiting for us near the car

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Spain - Day 3 Travelling

Got up late, ate lunch late, haven't eaten dinner, yet.  It's a choice between swordfish or MacDonald's.  More on this later.

We went to Girona as a French family in the hotel told us it was a must.  (Yes, that's the word in French.)  First we got lost, then we found the Old Town, but there was no parking closer than marathon distance, so we gave it up and left.

The weather got crappier and crappier as we headed south, but we're listening to a good book on CD, the name of which I no longer remember.  But it's good.

At last we thought we were in with a chance.  The sun started peeking through as we neared Benidorm.  We exited the autoroute and climbed the hill to Finestrat, pulled up as near as we could to the house (it's a no parking zone), emptied half the car and opened the mailbox with a coin to retrieve the key.  No key.

We made acquaintance with all the neighbours who were assuring themselves that we were really amigos de Roberto and even new phone friends -- the husband of and the woman who now owns Sheila's mobile.  "Did you try calling them?" she asked.  "Yes, I did, but I got you."  I had to explain this several times before she caught on.  She was nice, tried the apartment where Bob & Sheila currently reside (no answer; I knew that) and gave us Sheila's new number.  The mobile is turned off.

We know they are supposed to be back tonight, so we keep calling.  As of now, we are having coffee and wifi at McDo.  Well, I am.  Nick is in the car park feeding the dogs.

If necessary, we will park in front of the apartment and sleep in our rather comfortable van.  I don't mind looking for a hotel, but I do mind looking for a hotel at 10 o'clock at night with two not-small dogs.

I guess we'll go for the swordfish.  We have a long night ahead of us.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Spain - Day 2, Figueres

Figueres isn't bad, whatever the comment I saw on some reservations site.  The part we're in could best be described as functional, but we're only a couple of minutes from the old and pretty centre with its old buildings and some Moorish architecture.

Not too far from Barcelona, either, so I'm waving, Carina.

It was not 20° and sunny as promised, but we left the dogs in their 3-star kennel with balcony and set off for the Dali Museum.  The outside is totally weird.  The inside is beautiful.  It is a reconstructed Moorish theatre in the round.  Describing the visit is beyond my vocabulary, so I won't even try.  Suffice it to say, we're here because I thought we ought to get some culture before we become complete rubes, but it turned out to be a detour well worth making.

I gave out at the jewel collection (flashy is not the word) and we came back to the hotel, collected the dogs and returned to the centre.  We had a late lunch and walked around looking at the closed shops.  (Siesta.)

Finally we went to the hypermarket and bought some grated cheese to sprinkle over last night's dinner for the dogs.  (They didn't eat it for breakfast, either.)  They ate and are now fast asleep.

We're now looking forward to dinner in the hotel, again, if for nothing else, for the service.

Spain - Day 1

It's a four and a half hour trip to Fuegeres, but with a stop in Avignon to leave a drill for repair, a lunch and pipi stop, and a coffee and pipi stop, we made it in six.

The Trave is a nice hotel, decorated with thought and very clean.  Good restaurant (bad lighting) with properly trained waiters!  Such a pleasure!  Hot rolls, too; I can't remember the last time I had those.  We had Menu No. 1: crudites and charcuterie, paella and melon (too early) for dessert.  Nice house wine.  We're still in the North, so most people speak French as well as Catalan and Spanish and some English.  We are  carrying our Spanish dictionary and do try.

Dogs won't eat, of course.  Little ingrates, after all the walks they got.