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All things Christmasy

Today I made a Christmas wreath at Barningham Hall, a huge house in the next village. There is usually a lovely vista down this avenue of trees, a pastoral idyll with sheep. But not today; I’m afraid the photo makes it look quite menacing. Anyway we were in the stables surrounded by greenery and other wreath making things. I did think to myself that I should have brought gloves for rummaging in damp moss all morning so I hope I haven’t taken a stupid risk.

Although the wreath making was great; nothing I’ve done before. I always used to get nice leafy/ pin-coney/ candle table decorations from a lovely Scandi flower shop in London. There were about twenty of us, all ladies bar one man in the stables and we were fed lots of home made mince pies and soup rounded off with a snifter of delicious sloe gin. I spoke to Tessa who lives in our village (and also has an enormous pile) who thought I might like the book group. I’m tempted although that will mean two book groups so I’ll see.

I’m not happy with my shape (behind the wreath) as I am still retaining fluid mainly on stomach and cheeks! Also puffed up from steroids which I couldn’t reduce as planned last week due to various adverse effects of the immunosuppressants including the kidneys, white blood cells down and something to do with my bone marrow.

My GP is freaking me out as he has called me twice either side of the weekend panicking about my blood test results which in a nutshell show that I have very little immunity. I suppose it may be typical for the transplant team (they don’t appear too fazed. I feel ok, just a little tired and i've somehow developed tendonitis in my Achilles again which is making me miserable.

Although not so miserable, as I am being manically festive with my wreath and I did some wrapping this afternoon mainly to try to keep quantities of presents under control. We are getting our tree this week which is exciting. I always look forward to decorating it but this year feels like a bit of a bonus.

I have now got home made mince meat, Christmas cake and pudding. M hates pudding so I have a little solo one (probably enough for 4) and I’m hoping the cake keeps long enough for us to get through i t.I’m feeding it with Grand Marnier every week so that should keep it going. I have made some vegan mince meat as two vegan sisters and two nieces are visiting next week. They are nothing like as nice as my usual ones with butter. I enjoy the ritual; we always had everything at home as Mum was a great baker.

My friend Betty called the other day; her husband has been in hospital for weeks with some dreadful infection - he has all sorts of chronic conditions, heart by pass etc. She is having to go in every day to feed him as he’d starve if she didn’t. Makes me angry the state of parts of the NHS, so lucky I got the best. Anyway an old friend of his who’s an opera singer from Hungary flew over for the day and went to the Whittington and sang an aria from La Traviata for him on the ward! Betty sent me a what’s app of it. How incongruous that must have been. In some grotty old hospital ward

in between baking, buying and wrapping I’ve been doing some painting; I even had a go with acrylics which I’ll carry on experimenting with:

If my immune system holds up I am having a birthday dinner next weekend which I’m looking forward too. I think I’ll have wild duck with sour cherry sauce and if I can find radicchio in north Norfolk a salad with that. And I’m going to do a trial run of caramelised brandy pears with fennel crackers to see if it will meet the standard for New Year’s Eve. Yum.

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