Monthly Archives: May 2016

Even Badder News

I finally got the appointment at the hospital to discuss all the scans and exploratory tests they had done:  it was not with the original surgeon I had seen, but an oncologist.

Most of the more senior doctors at the Limoges Hospitals speak very good English, but this was to be an important and complicated discussion, for reasons which will become apparent.  So I thought it would be best if I could take along someone who would help with translating, just in case.

Serendipity was with me! .  I had bumped into an English couple who live just down the road from the campsite and they invited me to drop by for coffee.  When I did, I mentioned my predicament and they gave me the name of a truly lovely French lady who had spent most of her working life with an American computer company in Paris.  When she moved to the Limousin she set up a professional translation business of her own, and although completely retired now, I was fortunate to have her come along with me. Her English was perfect – as was,  I assume, her French.

We did the cheese ticket thing and progressed through the various waiting rooms until the oncologist, a very serious young lady (and who wouldn’t be with her job) came out to greet us and escort us to her office.

Now I was going to write a few paragraphs about the why’s and wherefore’s of the decision I am taking, but on second thoughts I will include a couple of excerpts from emails I sent to friends


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Thanks – Yes annoyingly I have two bottles of rather nice scotch, but my diet says no to anything other than water or herbal tea.  It was just a comfort thing really.  I had some walnuts and dried raisins, and although they didn’t really hit the spot it did help a bit. 

My mind is pretty well made up already that I won’t have conventional treatment.  In my long discussions with the oncologist yesterday I asked if all the chemo went as well as it possibly could (which, as she pointed out, it may not have the desired effect anyway) and they were able to operate, and the operation was a good success would I survive for five years, and I got the first straight answer I had from her – which was – NO!  She wouldn’t narrow it down at all, but my guess is they are thinking 18 months, maybe a couple of years.  

Later on I asked how long I could expect with no treatment, and the answer was about a year.  

So I feel there is not a lot to gain really, bearing in mind how bad the treatment makes one feel. Not that I am scared of it physically, but of what it will do to my immune system.  They are saying 6 courses, so that will probably take about 4 or 5 months alone, assuming I don’t go down with something along the way because my immune system has been poisoned, and I wouldn’t mind betting that after the operation they will suggest more chemo.

My heart says go it alone, and if I don’t listen and follow what pretty well everyone is demanding (in the nicest way) that I do and it all goes ‘tits up’ I will be kicking myself, and thinking I knew all along I shouldn’t go there.  

If on the other hand I ‘hoe my own row’ and still succumb at least I will have done what felt right for me. I know its being cussed, but at least I have some confidence in the alternative cure, and I have no confidence in the chemo route. 

Time will tell if I have been stupid.  But as I say – then it will be all down to me.

Amazingly both my brothers are supporting me in my choice, which makes me feel a little better, and a little less foolhardy



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Don’t worry about my getting advice.  Everyone is screaming it at me!  But you might guess what difference that is going to make.  

But I have spent nearly every waking minute, till I am now sick of researching on the costs/benefits of the regular treatment.  Yes! – I am taking a gamble – but to me it is a calculated risk.  And if I listen to EVERYBODY else’s advice, and it all goes tits up, which is very likely – then I will kick myself for not following my own heart which is saying – DON’T GO THERE!    If, in my Pig-Headed way, I then lose the bet I shall only have myself to blame, and will know that I gave it my best shot on my own terms.

You assume without treatment I will peg it after a year!  With my brilliant plan I intend to completely cure myself and live a long and happy life.  You didn’t allow for that did you???

Spring in the Haute Vienne

So here in the Haute Vienne spring is gradually coming in.  It seems colder here for the time of year than I expected, and I sometimes wonder if the Chem Trails, that get so much internet exposure may be in fact reality.  I doubt we will ever know, or if we do, not for fifty years or more, but this was a striking photo I took before all the rain and bad weather really hit us!  I didn’t think about until I saw something on the internet afterwards.


Still enough of that – I saw another red squirrel today.  There was a noisy rustling in the deep, dry chestnut leaves of autumn, and then he bounded out and up a tree trunk. Too quick for me to photo though.  They are supposed to be smaller than their North American grey coated cousins, but their tails are so very long and bushy that they give the impression of being larger.  He was a most glorious glowing chestnut, with long ears as well.

The birds are singing beautifully and the other night, after one of our warmer days, I heard a nightingale singing for quite a while.  It wasn’t close but still sounded beautiful

The frogs here are very vocal.  Their loud insistent chorus started up quite suddenly.  I thought at first it was some noisy ducks getting spring fever, but when Phoebe and I went to investigate the smaller pond below the lake in the goat field it turned out to be these.  Though you will have to be content with a photo of the railings and reeds, as whenever I moved in for a close up Phoebe came with me and all the frogs took to the water.


And I found out what the extra large tabby cats I have seen hunting in the fields on the woodland edges probably are.  Apparently there is an indigenous population of Wild Cats here, which look exactly like large, and very handsome tabby cats.


Credit – Luc Viatour, Photographer. LINK HERE

This is what the internet has to say about them

The European wildcat, Felis silvestris silvestris, is a little larger than the average domestic cat, measuring between 70cm and 1 m in length (including the tail), with an average weight of around 4 to 5 kg in males and between 3.5 and 4 kg in the female.

It has a long, thick coat, broad head, and comparatively flat face. The coat has a base colour of tan or greyish tan with defined black or dark stripes on the head, neck, limbs, along the back. These are connected to a rather distinct black dorsal line that starts between the shoulder blades and runs until the end of the body (but not the tail). The tail is cylindrical, has black rings (more marked towards the end) and a thick black terminal end (about 3.5 to 4 cm wide) as opposed to the domestic cat in which it is tapered.

The Wildcats skull is larger, its hind legs are shorter and stronger and the fur is thicker than the domestic cats, giving it a compact, chunky look.

Hybridization occurs between the Wild cat and domestic cat, especially between strays and feral animals.  So mine could have been a true wild cat, or perhaps a hybrid.  He was way across the fields on the edge of some woodland when I saw him and I had to really zoom in hard as you will see from the wobble, but he looked MUCH larger than I would expect a cat to be.


The wild flowers here are a real delight.  Wild Soloman’s Seal, Bluebells and Stitchwort line the verges, interspersed with violets, cowslips and wild orchids – it truly is an enchanting place to be, I imagine what Herefordshire and Worcestershire might have been like seventy or a hundred years ago.

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Even an Oxlip or two



Walking up a new lane, as Phoebe and I get to explore a little further each day. we saw two pairs of young carthorses in the spring fields.  I think they are Ardennes Horses.  They thought Phoebe was great, and cavorted around excitedly as we approached, as do the many herds of Limousin bullocks when we pass.

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Though this old guy was past getting excited by anything much



There are numerous small hamlets seemingly vacant and deserted.  And almost every old house has its well.



On the lawn of the house next door to the campsite there are pairs of Hoopoes feeding though I haven’t got a photo of those to show, and when the clouds clear and the sun comes through it is blisteringly hot.  In the high 20 degrees so far and its still only May.