Back to Blighty

Back to Blighty

I'm home from a fab week away in France. I find it difficult adjusting to our shorter days and chilly weather. It's tough leaving a way of life I love and where I enjoy a reprieve from the shadow of Ovarian Cancer.

It was warm and sunny all week. The time went so quickly with a day in La Rochelle, a trip to the Porcelain Museum at Limoges, dinner out one night, a film, and two trips to the theatre. On my last day I was chef du jour which is a bit of a responsibility given their obsession with food; and I took them foraging for sloes to make Sloe Gin.

I discovered the French, who are such great foragers, leave their sloes to moulder in the hedge. I left the mix in a Kilner Jar with the instructions to develop the aperitif in time for Christmas. Next time I've promised to start a ginger beer plant. They thought 'Slow Gin' was funny but nothing compared to Ginger Beer. Ginger is sexy in France and it's a huge source of amusement that we describe hair as 'ginger', eat ginger biscuits, ginger cake and even spray it on (if you like Origins cosmetics which I do).

I feel a whole lot better about coming back for my CA125 test and 12 month check up next week now I know I'm so foreign, eccentric and sexy!

It's good to be back with friends on this site. Xxxx Annie

28 Replies

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  • Bonjour Annie,

    Welcome Back, so glad you have had a fantastic time. Would love to see the Porcelaine Museum at Limoges, love Paris, What did you see at the Threatre?

    WOW the Ginger beer plant should go down a storm !! Good Luck with that one lol.

    luv trish x

  • Well I struck lucky this time. There was a festival of amateur theatre which brought troops from as far afield as Marseilles and Nantes. I was keen on amateur dramatics for years and then studied theatre and English university. This festival was for comedy and laughter. We saw Les Frou Frou des Bains which was written in 1922 and draws on typical French farce, dance and singing. The second night we went we saw Un Nuit d'Ivresse. There was a film of it a few years ago - it is hilarious.

    What I couldn't get over was the quality of the productions and performance. Much better than anything I've seen in the UK. The French seem to have a natural talent and ease with farce. Xx

  • Hi Sexy Annie !

    Your holiday sounds just what you needed to give you that boost for next week.

    Fingers crossed for you everything will be ok.

    I am interested to know about starting a ginger beer plant as my mother used to

    have one when I was little. She kept it in a darkened cupboard under the stairs and

    used to say dont leave the door open - it has to stay in the dark.

    I found a receipe to start a plant ......didn't have much look as my ginger beer was

    flat when ready to drink. Any tips on starting a plant or brewing please.

    Love Angie xx

  • Dear Angie, I'll definitely dig out my recipe to start the ginger beer plant. It's my brother's. Ginger beer does take you back to your childhood doesn't it. My brother has made ginger beer since his teens and his is fab. Years ago he used to get too much fizz in his and his bottles used to explode in rather a spectacular way.

    I'm in London en route home but will put it up on a blog as I realise quite a lot of us have ginger comforting when on chemotherapy. It's rather a good thing to do for those of us who've given up work and have time to develop new hobbies.

    Loads of love xxxx

  • Hi Annie

    Thanks - I also drank Ginger tea and had ginger biscuits while on

    chemo...it was the only hot drink I could face.

    Have a good day

    Angie xx

  • Dear Angie - in that case the French would think you're very sexy. Apparently it's considered to be an aphrodisiac over there. Funny isn't it - all things ginger conjure up images of the Famous Five or being at sea for me - it's a remedy for sea-sickness. My favourite tea is Twinings Ginger and Lemon.

  • Mine too!

    M

  • Hi

    My gran used to make the ginger beer plants and as a kid we did them too. I can't remember too many details, but I do remember it got pretty explosive when finished if you weren't careful! I've not forgotten the day my sister touched the lid of one, and it shot straight off (straightening the lid "thread") and sprayed he kitchen. As my sister laughed, she had to clean the kitchen!

    The finished ginger beer, whilst not as fizzy as today's shop bought drinks was lightly sparkling and once opened, should be drunk quite quickly. I gather that it's alcoholic, which is what gives it the fizz. If I can find my Gran's old recipe ill post a blog with the instructions!

    Chris

  • Hi Chris

    Your memories of the ginger beer sounds exactly the same as our house.

    My mums exploded once and it went all over the ceiling. I think that must

    have put her off making any more - because suddenly the supply of the beer

    stopped.

    Hope you find the receipe because i'm sure the one i found on the net

    must have had something missing ( as it was flat)

    Love Angie xx

  • Hi Annie,

    Woooo it is so nice to have you back...not sure about the "ginger" word in your blog but ginger in any guise makes me sick even the word.. yuck !! now I know it is meant to stop nausea and etc but I must be wired up different to everyone else I used to be ok with ginger before diagnosis but since !!!! can't tolerate it at all ...haha...so if you have a long discussion about G- - - - - please put up a warning sign first LOL.

    Now on to another subject.... I am glad you enjoyed your trip.. dog doos and all (this subject doesn't make me sick).. what was I saying about wiring? It looks as if you've brought the sunshine back with you (in more ways than one)..Ooooh and don't forget to read my cat poem if you haven't already...any welcome back love x G x :-) 8-)

  • Dear Gwyn, thanks for your welcome back, and your lovely comments about me too. I'm sure you'll be disappointed when we meet one day. I'm just half way between Newport and Cardiff on the train. It's sunny and Martin is coming to the station to meet me. It's good to be (nearly) home.

    Will post up a ginger beer blog with a health warning for you. Mmmm I absolutely love ginger beer - especially my brother's. Hope I can do the recipe justice.

    Ooooh have just thought about an idea we might have for Ovarian Cancer month next March and raising money for Ovacome. Lots of us are keen cooks, foragers and brewers. We could all hold our separate 'at homes' for our friends cooking or making our special recipe for the occasion - from our blog. Xxxx

    Speak - or rather message soon! Xxxx

  • Haha..you can..you mean..I don't want to poison anyone...I'll just watch LOL

    by the way...you mentioned that dreaded word again aaaagh...this blog is not safe...enjoy the rest of your journey love x G x 8-)

  • Hi Annie

    Welcome back. Isn't it lovely how you can put your troubles behind you when you go away? Makes you feel so refreshed when you come back. Glad you had such a good holiday. Must admit I love ginger, my daughter made me organic biscuits when I was on chemo and I drank ginger tea all the time.

    Thank you for bringing the sun back for us.

    Love Linda xx

  • Dear Linda

    Thanks for the lovely welcome home. Yes it's good to have a trip away and I'm conscious that once this disease really takes hold that travelling is something I shan't be able to do.

    I'm not one for holidays generally as we have a boat and in the past we've just sailed away somewhere which is a lot more relaxing than flying. Catching a plane is rather new to me. I was astonished at the price of flights. Last week we were planning our next get-together and found flights from France to Stansted as cheap as 9.90 Euros - that must be about £6.80!

    I wish it were easy to bring you back some sunshine. You'd have it in bucketfuls.

    xxx Annie

  • Hi Whippit,

    Glad you had a great time in France.

    My Hubby gives me ginger wine with hot water for cold evenings and it is so comforting and sweet.

    Love W :)

  • mmmmmmm I'd forgotten. I used to love Ginger Wine with Whisky. I think it's called a Whisky Mac. That certainly cheers up a cold damp evening! xxx A

  • Hello Annie,

    Glad you had a good time in France.

    Beware of ginger beer everyone!!!!!!! last time I made some one of the bottles with a very thick neck exploded in the kitchen and went straight up through the ceiling. Talk about Blast Off. :)

    Love Marilyn

  • ha ha - that did make me laugh! Perhaps I'll confine my ginger beer experiments to the shed! I've got to dig out my brother's recipe but have returned home to major building works in the kitchen so finding anything is a bit of a challenge at the moment. Gwyn's asked me to put a Government Health Warning on the Ginger Beer Blog as she can't stand ginger. xx

  • Glad I made you laugh :) It madee a very neat hole in the ceiling...but the mess in the kitchen!!!!!!

    Think the shed will be best. :) hope the building works go ok.

    love Marilyn x

  • Exploding ginger beer, theatrical experiences, sexy ladies, cats, dogs, French expressions, travels, we cover so much!

    Welcome back to our lovely site, Annie! So glad you had a great time. We do love a good chat on here, don't we?

    I love it :-D

    Love Wendy xx

  • Yes, I love this site, and looked forward to coming back to you all - though I did keep abreast of the posts while I was away. I love our chats but you also get to worry about friends here don't you. xx

  • Grrrr Annie!

    Welcome back!

    I am envious! I want to go to France but until this sciatica improves I cannot risk driving!

    Love the sound of your sloe gin! What did you cook as "chef du jour"? I made a ginger beer plant when I was feeling sick during my last chemo! I am not really forn of ginger but it was such a boon when nauseous!

    Enjoy the sloe gin!

    M xxxxxx

  • Grrrr Margaret!

    I didn't mean to make you envious. Let's hope the sciatica improves very quickly so you can realise your dream. The flights are much cheaper in the winter months so perhaps an autumn or winter visit will be on the cards.

    The menu du jour was an exercise in improvisation. It's difficult enough cooking in a friend's kitchen, but added to that they live in a tiny village so I had to cook something up I could get locally and include Mami (grandma) who wanted to help. Pollock was on offer in the market so I baked it in a provençal sauce.

    You know the French. They love eating 'la reste' from the fridge. I found bits and pieces to put together a starter from left-overs. Anything seems to taste wonderful with fresh French bread. For pud I decided on good old bread and butter pudding but had to be a bit inventive. The baker sold brioche which looked promising. No dried fruits like we have here but I found some semi-dried fruit and soaked them in a good lug of cognac. It was more nerve-racking than I thought serving it all up but it went down well and another nice bottle of wine was produced to wash it all down.

    Ah, these reminiscences are making me home-sick for France! xxx Annie

  • Hi Annie

    So glad you had a great time in France: we had a week in Carcarsonne last October and it was so relaxing to be able to sit out in the sun with delicious food and a glass of wine.

    Laughed at all the home brew incidents- I remember ginger beer plants very well. My dear old dad tried his hand at marrow rum with explosive results- believe the whole of the box room had to be redecorated!

    I'm longing for a trip to Paris again now- so near and yet so far.

    Love

    Anne xx

  • Dear Anne

    We were in Couiza just 30 mins from Carcasonne last year. It's a fab spot for a holiday. We loved the canal and wandering round the old city. Did you have wonderful weather? It was over 30 degrees every day even in September. I'm going back later this year to visit a friend who's just had a baby - really looking forward to going back.

    I'm fascinated by all these brewing stories. Everyone has wonderful childhood memories of ginger beer - and spectacular experiences with exploding bottles. Marrow rum sounds amazing. I think I heard once that you can actually put the rum in the marrow to ferment. Is that what he did. Must've made an awful mess - not to say smell!

    Have you any firm plans for Paris? I spent a few days there a while back and we just walked every day drinking in the sights. I loved the Louvre and really ought to go back as I could only manage one gallery. I'd need a week just to finish off the tour.

    I shall be envious of your trip. What are you intending to see?

    xx Annie

  • Welcome home Annie ..

    Loved reading your post on your break in France ..Have been to La Rochelle a couple of times ..in fact the small silver ring I have on my little finger on my left hand is from there to replace the one I had from Ireland which I lost .....

    Last time we were in France was Christmas 09 as my hubbys brother and his wife are out there ..we had a big family Christmas it was great ..Jeni is a fab cook and made home made pork pie and her Christmas puds are out of this world ........ She and Graham have just made this years puds as they are coming over this year .....

    We have some Sloe gin that my Aunt made in 2010 not touched it as yet but its getting colder ....

    Hope all goes well for you next week xx

    Love Jan xx

  • Dear Jan

    Ah, thanks for your good wishes. I'm a bit nervous to be honest and France was a welcome distraction - as are all these lovely posts. Your Christmas in France sounds wonderful. My penfriend's wife made Christmas Pudding last year. The recipe was given out by her English teacher but she didn't tell mention to hide a silver coin inside - or a batchelor's button.

    Sounds like you're going to enjoy a vintage Sloe Gin at Christmas!

    xxx

  • A lovely blog as usual Annie (well apart from the g-----) I have come over all Christmasy LOL

    I enjoyed reading all the comments have a good sunny day 8-) love x G x 8-)

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