Starting to feel the cold? Now is the time when the lovely warming spices come into their own: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice.
Hippocras: the clue is in the name. It’s basically mulled wine, but the quantities of spices that go into it are enough to give it real medicinal qualities.
In social work we used to do '6-month Reviews' where we cast our eyes back at where we had come from and where we seemed to have landed up. (Other definitions are available!)
Of course, it comes around every year, but the cycle of feasting followed by ‘detox’, or insane overconsumption of rich foods and then complete abstinence, just when you need some solid sustenance to get you through the winter, is neither good for man nor beast.
You could not make it up. Already I was writing the headline. 'Cancer victim in midst of chemotherapy served eviction notice two weeks before Christmas.'
0800: Wake up and realise that I am half blind. Put on specs. Now only quarter blind. Right eye is glued shut and red and puffy and dribbly. Yeugh.
Armour on, weapons primed, bullets at the ready, let battle commence, because cancer is aggressive and sometimes deadly and there is a fight to be fought.
The NHS designated 14th-20th November as National Self-Care Week.
Och, and it was all going so well! Three chemo sessions called FEC successfully under my belt, some tiredness, temporary steroid-based insomnia, but only in the few days after each treatment.
I’m looking out at Exeter Cathedral Green on a fine autumn day.
‘Coffee gives you heart attacks, but tea makes you live forever’ ‘Caffeine is addictive and leads to nervous exhaustion’ ‘I’m useless without my two cups in the morning’ …and so on and so forth.
Chemotherapy and good side effects are not usually discussed in the same sentence but one unexpected outcome of an elephantine infusion of toxic and unpronounceable drugs has been that after fifteen years without it I have regained my sense of smell!
'Grief! Why are people baking bloody Victoria Sponges and cupcakes to pay for a MacMillan nurse? Aaaargh!
If you’re making jack-o-lanterns for Hallowe’en this year, you’ll end up with a lot of pumpkin flesh and seeds.
It is the first visit and they sit staring at me. I am here to read poetry.
HAIR. My hair was fuzzy black when I was born and stuck upwards like a bush-baby.
The heart is roughly the size of a clenched fist, if I remember my life-saving lessons back in secondary school in Tain.
There’s a gorgeous display of hawthorn berries in the hedgerows lately; a heart-lifting sight as we move towards winter.
I am waiting for my chemotherapy to start. There are five more sleeps until Friday.
Everyone loves an operation. There are hospital anecdotes and scars and dressings and legitimate afternoon naps.
It’s definitely autumn all of a sudden.
Slowly, reluctantly, I battled my way out of the unnaturally deep and glorious sleep that is a general anaesthetic.