Wednesday 19 November 2014


(After an age of trying to upload/download the images I want, you'll have to google the images yourself!)

'Your hair WILL fall out'

and dammit they are right. Unlike my dear twin brother who managed to keep a full head of hair with his chemo, mine is falling out by the handful. Well not exactly by the handful but certainly if you touch it, it comes away in dozens, every time.

But nobody said that it hurt while it was doing it! It's fine normally because I don't touch my head much but my scalp feels very bruised. As a teenager I had long hair and if I wore it up for any length of time and then let it down there was a real ache to my scalp and it feels like that now.

Of course I had been warned about my hair falling, and I am becoming accustomed to it, but I didn't realise that I actually think my bald head is a bit creepy. My husband's, my son's are not a problem at all, I can gaze fondly at them, but mine ................................

Then I saw an article about Henna Crowns (Google opportunity). Now that looks like a plan. Then people would look curiously at my head instead of that, head on the side, poor you, look.

Caroline is sending the henna, now I just need to convince Jackie that she can do this.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

I wish things were less vague

Every single question about the side effects of chemo is met with a 'maybe', 'sometimes', 'not always' occasionally a 'probably'.

All the medical contacts to do with my cancer and chemo have changed the hair advice to 'it WILL fall out' with direct eye contact. Back to the 'maybe' for when that might be though.

Today is day 8 of this three week cycle and no sign of fallout yet although 'maybe' more floppy........

Everyone is examining my head to see if I still have any.

So today I have made an appointment at the hairdressers.

Him Outdoors is incredulous but I feel very happy.

Monday 27 October 2014


Some of the lovely things to come out of all this cancer malarkey are the kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity shown by people.

It is heartwarming, uplifting and I thank you deeply.

Friday 17 October 2014

Balinese sunset

Glorious day today. Sat out on the balcony in the sun enjoying the lovely view, the birds singing, bees buzzing.
Trouble with being on the side of a valley is that sound rises. Man with strimmer starts in the bottom of the valley. Soon to be joined by leaf blower man in one of the houses on the other side. And then another strimmer man joins his friend. Then bonfire man starts his fire........... Can't really complain because HO did a lot of destruction followed by burning  of cut stuff yesterday afternoon but it reminded me of something.
Years ago we had a holiday in Bali and one of the things to do was to go to see the sunsets which were a feature of the place. We got ourselves to a bar on the beach, cold beer in hand we settled back to watch this view.

What the picture doesn't reveal is that the sun actually sinks into a layer of smog before it hits the sea. The world and his wife was also having the same idea so we were surrounded. There was the sort of music playing reminiscent of a car passing with thumping beat and nothing else. And then the salesmen started.

Would madame like a copy watch? How about today's newspaper? Sunglasses? Icecream? Snacks? Cigarette lighter? Massage? Hat? endless people that went down the beach and then, ever hopeful, back again to try again.

It was hilarious but not quite what we had in mind.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Had me in stitches

The two nurses have between them been every day to give an injection and rebandage as required but as it comes nearer the time to take out the stitches they became a bit doubtful. Each hoping that the other one would do it. "Very good surgery but I think the doctor should take out the stitches."

OK today I go to the doctor. Lovely young woman. Very kind chat and then gets down to the job.

"Hmmmm............................. hmmmm ........................ let's try the other one. Hmmmm ................"

"I know it's a long time since I did my surgery rotation but this should be easier than this, there don't seem to be any ends............................"

"It's no good, I shall have to ring the surgeon." I can appreciate her reluctance to ring with what seems like such a basic stupid question.

Eventually gets past the dragon on the gate and talks to the great man.....................

Turns out that they are soluble stitches. The prescription for removal of stitches is his mistake.

Smiles all round.

Friday 10 October 2014

Mirror, mirror on the wall

I've never been one for gazing admiringly at myself in the mirror. The sort of hotels that have walls of mirrors in the bathroom have me scuttling for towels. But having made such a good job of hiding the orange pine on this one I thought it was only fair to have a good look at what me at 60 looked like.

After a moment of 'hmm, not too shabby' I noticed that one of my boobs was catching the light oddly. Feels a bit squidgy lumpy underneath but not what you'd call a lump, just not quite the same as the other one. Well since I'm already seeing nice doctor tomorrow, I'll just mention it.

So 8 weeks later it turns out I have breast cancer that is going to need every sort of therapy. The joys of that are not defined as yet but it looks like it might be ruling the roost for the next few months.

Well, you'll be pleased to know this isn't going to be a breast cancer blog. The wonders and weirdnesses of the French health system may well get a mention but no gory details.

But what I want to say is that I really want you all to go to the doctor's with your lumps and bumps. This has all come about from a clear mammogram in April. Four months later I'm on the breast cancer roller coaster.

If in doubt GO TO THE DOCTOR..................................................and avoid some of this.

Monday 29 September 2014

Do you rinse?

At dinner on Saturday with French, American, Scot and us English the question of  'Do you rinse' came up.

Coming in on the tail end of the conversation, my first reaction was 'rinse what?'. Last I noticed they had been talking about dentists and the conversation had come, via flossing, to 'do you rinse'? Surely everyone rinses and spits after brushing??

Turns out they had moved on to washing up. Did we rinse our plates after washing them in Fairy Liquid?

Ummmm no. Never have, don't know anyone that does, never even thought about it except the good glasses in really hot water to drain sparkly.

Every other nationality was appalled. Horror crossed their faces. Complete disbelief that anyone could leave the residue of Fairy on their crockery/cutlery.

'Well you've eaten/drunk at ours, have you ever noticed anything soapy?' 'No but you've got a dishwasher.' Well now we have but that is a relatively recent innovation.

I do remember Mum complaining about Aunt Alice (an elderly Aunt when I was young) who always washed up in half an inch of cold greasy water which was a relic of the days when every drop of hot water had to be boiled on the stove. But Mum never rinsed, my mother-in-law never rinsed............................

How about you guys?

Sunday 21 September 2014

Le Weekend de Patrimoine

This is the weekend of the patrimoine. Certainly our town and I think all towns arrange special events for the weekend and it is free. I think in the little local chateau's case, they got more grant to do it up if they agreed to open it to the public for a certain number of days in the year. So we had a busy day yesterday.

First, the chateau. Only a very little chateau which has been done up in the last few years by Parisiens as a holiday home. Not done up by themselves (we were suitably sniffy about that) but beautifully done in a very expensive, sparse manner with everything Farrow and Ball sagey green. Expensive in a copper guttering, lead bath sort of way.

But the joy of the place has been discovered in the attics which nobody had touched for centuries.

Walls covered in the most glorious frescoes. Amazing pictures hidden away and now proudly exhibited by the new owner. Spectacular. (And apparently the macon who did our cellar wall was the man who started redoing the wall and covering them up!)
Home for a quick lunch and then off to meet a local expert at Les Habitations Troglydytique. The other brilliant thing about the weekend is that the extremely elderly experts that set up the local sites are able to come and show for the two days required where they don't want to do it regularly. We had already seen the local cave dwellings - in ancient times the very poorest lived in basically natural but extended caves under the wall of the town. They were hidden for centuries again and then found when a vehicle suddenly fell through the carpark into a hole.
Our guide had done the excavation and built or rebuilt the bits and pieces of furniture - don't touch the door it may fall down!
We then went back to his house to be shown the actual pots and bits and pieces that he had found rather than the copies for tourists and then off to Le Cluzeau de Petrou.
This is a series of tunnels and rooms built originally under a house in Cathar times (12th century) for them to be able to hide in should they need to. Our guide had spent 7 years exploring them and found evidence of them being used for various storage things over the centuries. Now they are just under a bit of corrugated plastic in the middle of the wood.
Down into the dark.

Over the pit to trap marauders.

and into the chambers. This is our guide - must be 80 if he's a day - full of information and loving to share it.

I'm glad I didn't know the French word for 'bats' so didn't realise that I was being warned that there was one on my back. I thought they just meant that it was very low and mind out :-)

Saturday 13 September 2014


The weather is glorious. Cool, misty starts with cups of tea in bed looking out over the valley. Sometimes early enough for the breathtaking pink sunrises. By breakfast time it's warm enough to sit on the balcony and then by late afternoon it's still hot enough to swim in the river and bask on the bank. (picture to follow)

Yesterday we were joined by an extremely fit black Labrador type dog that we all thought belonged to someone else. He chatted to everyone, joined everyone in the water in turn, sometimes just going in for the fun of it. As we were the last people left, and he was still leaping about, we began to wonder what on earth was going to happen to him. Evidently it was time to leave, he had a final swim, shook himself down and trotted purposefully off up the steps. I wonder if he'll be there today.

Had to go to see a different doctor this week. Directed to the wrong clinic, but had left plenty of time, as usual, so got ourselves to the right place just in time. Worryingly chaotic at the desk with newly appointed receptionist, not helped by the French habit of always dealing with the telephone caller before the person in front of you. Waiting room like something out of the 1950s..............

Sat muttering 'it'll be alright, it'll be alright' in my head and of course it was. Charming doctor young enough to be one of my sons who explained clearly and kindly, spoke excellent English much to HOs relief, and quickly set about organising the next thing needed. Well, he tried, but by that time it was lunchtime and he couldn't get anyone to answer the phone :-)

As we walked back to the car we realised that we were in a touristy place and wouldn't be too late for lunch so sat under a tree in a shady square watching little ones catching falling leaves in the golden sunshine.

Monday 11 August 2014

Perfect visitors

We have had a lovely week with our first visitors. Couldn't have been more appreciative and helpful. They heaved furniture willingly, made and cleared up meals, took us out to dinner and taught me how to paint furniture. And they are lovely people too.

All the painting we did was with  Annie Sloan chalk paint from It is brilliant paint and Sue turned my neglected, dead looking stripped down cupboard into a beautiful glowing finish. Still retaining the old look but nourished and loved and a beautiful colour.

We also had a go at the mantelpiece. Slightly different waxing and colour mix but they both please me enormously.

Today, I was left on my own and had a go at the orangey pine frame of this picture (sweet picture of random children that are just like ours were at that age - except M never wore short shorts, by the time he came along, shorts were longer. And HO had a dinghy at that time too.)

and the orangey pine of this mirror.

Turns out we have a lot of orangey pine when we start moving furniture. We bought such a lot of stuff in the 70s, and we've still got it!
What shall I paint next ..........................................................

Saturday 2 August 2014

Every day's a holiday

We are loving playing at house. Some things, like the view, are a continuing delight:

Some, like the kitchen table, are a remembered pleasure. Just hoosh the clutter along a bit to make room for lunch.

The spotlights in the kitchen are brilliant - literally. After worries that all these new-fangled bulbs would be too dim, the spots over the worktop are wonderful. At last I can see what I'm doing but just over the worktops so that the light doesn't intrude on the rest of the kitchen.

The cooker is wonderful. Everything I hoped, such a joy to cook properly again.

The upstairs landing is a lovely space. We are still playing at moving furniture. Just bringing over the bits that will fit and then moving them three times before deciding. 

The view from the guest shower is amazing - well if you're six feet tall or above anyway!

Altogether lovely.

Monday 28 July 2014

We've done it

Phew. After what amounts to a year of six days a week, we have finally got to a stage where we can move the fridge over and be based at the new house, not the rented one.
The cement mixer is finally out of the front garden - hooray.
The table is set up. The kitchen is in. The lights are done. Not all the painting is done - we've run out of Lidl paint until they have another offer - but it looks lovely. And is the biggest kitchen I have ever had.
The bed's made and waiting. And the bedhead is literally made by HO.

And the guest bedroom chandelier is up which makes me smile. (It's another faux ami, nothing a French electrician has ever heard of :-)

The telephone man came today so I can now blog in two places! And EDF promise to come on Thursday to increase the power supply - I'll believe that when they turn up.

Monday 14 July 2014

Pride comes before a fall

HO is busy putting the kitchen together. We went to IKEA last week. Spent all day there with too much waiting and too much misdirection by Agathe (GPS). We arrived home totally smug and pleased with ourselves that we had conquered the system, manhandled the many boxes from the warehouse shelves onto a trolley and then into the van, then out of the van and onto our floor. (Now realise why we were the only wrinklies in the place!)

I counted them all in and I counted them all back. But we missed one. OFFS. There's a tick on the sheet but there are 3 of the same sort of shelf fittings missing (not paid for and missing, just never collected). OK, well we're going back to England soon, let's not go back to Toulouse (2 1/2 hours away) let's get them there. Then this morning HO rings from the house to say 'there aren't enough cupboards'. And 'you know how we carefully measured and planned this unit there, well there's room for the bigger one we first thought of.

Sigh. Looks like we'll be back to Toulouse..........

BUT. On the good news side. We are spending the night there. The meteo says that it will be a lovely evening in the square and we shall join the throng celebrating Bastille Day. Yay. I was a little concerned that the only working toilet and tap were downstairs but HO informed me this morning (with that slight 'don't you listen') that it's only the taps upstairs that don't work. All the waste is working and we now have stairs so it is very easy to take a bucket of water up and we will have washing and toilet in the ensuite.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Now THAT is a staircase

Only half way through but so delighted so far.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Domestic Goddess

(Note to self) 5 kilos of strawberries makes 14 jars of jam. And it's too many to get an effective boil going in my pan. 5 kilos of apricots makes 16 jars of jam. And that's enough for now until there is some fruit in the garden.

We have been so busy on the house that I missed a tree full of cherries. How did that happen? One minute they were way off ripening and the next they were on the ground. Always next year.

Today was supposed to be the day when I went round taking photos of everything and wrote a detailed blog with pictures.......................

Instead, it's taken to almost bed time to get the bloody jam to set. But then I hadn't taken the pictures either.

The house is brilliant. We need another visit from the electrician to fix lights and the plumber to connect up water but apart from that, upstairs is pretty much finished. The tiler is two days into a three day job in the bathrooms. All the walls are white, all the wood is brown, we have skirtings.

The stairman is coming on Tuesday, the floor sander is booked for next week for the ground floor floors.

My gloopy joints are brilliant. Especially downstairs where you pretty much can't see the join anywhere!

I have been telling the neighbours that I will be eating in the square for 14th July and then sleeping in our house. Talking about it makes it happen, right?

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Only a little bit further to go

Doesn't our bedroom look lovely, the beams are all done and the floors are ready to stain.
Our ensuite just needs some paint but not until the caulking has been done around the beams and then there's just the floor...............

Your bedroom just needs skirting boards. (Well actually we need 70m of skirting boards so a trip to the woodyard is one of this week's jobs.)

The new stairman called round yesterday to measure up. (He required lots of decisions about banisters and spindles which were a bit pot luck but should be back to fit in a couple of weeks!) He needed something to measure so lots of painting and finishing was done before he got here. (Just finished the beam, they aren't that shiny really.)

The downside is that when the walls in the living room were painted ready for the stairman all my gloop spreading seems to have been a bit lacking and you could still see the joins - sigh. Upstairs everything is fine but somehow not so good downstairs. On with the gloop.
On the cat front, Mum has b*gg*r*d off with three of her kittens and left one wailing mournfully in the ruin. It is old enough to eat small tins of expensive cat food but not if anyone is looking.

Sunday 1 June 2014

We're getting there

Yesterday HO put up the last bit of plasterboard in the attic! We have all the walls. Downstairs we have nearly all the walls and ceilings but are awaiting the stairman to say that there is enough headroom to go up and down before finally fixing that bit.

All the basins, toilets, showers and bath are fixed to them. (Although in France they don't fix the toilet cisterns to the wall - who knew.)

I'm still glooping my way through the joints - 75kgs and counting. But almost all have one coat and most two. Some of the beams are painted - bit hit and miss with the colour but got it right now.

All the radiators and pipes are in place ready for connection. As are the waste and water for everything. The water heater isn't out of its box yet and the boiler is still in pieces in the workshop but hey.

We have a toilet with a flush that works!!

We have lights that switch on and off at switches!!

The tiling man is available and booked - not that we've found the tiles. He's a lovely guy that did our last project and although we can do it ourselves we're happy to give him the work. I am trying to get to a local brico to talk to someone about their tiles for the kitchen but the man who does it only works 9 - 5 and not Saturdays so every time we go there is the full Gallic shrug.

The dear neighbour opposite gave me some more of her precious tomato and chilli plants yesterday. Her husband was brave enough to come and give me radishes and summon me but then stood back to let her talk. We discussed the awful weather, the problem with the cats, and then she told me how to deal with snails (to eat, not kill because they eat the garden). She is convinced that there are less than there used to be and it is all down to Chernobyl. Her husband's contribution was that 'the cloud did not stop at the border'. We seem to have plenty, although very few worms, maybe that's the same.

Today started beautifully sunny and we went to a Sunday market and strolled around and sat in the sun and had coffee. A holiday. Now the clouds have gathered and we are off to lunch at a local restaurant. HO's first day off for 3 weeks.

Tuesday 27 May 2014


Last summer I happened to see a mother cat and her six kittens enjoying the sunshine beside a neighbour's pool. After a massive last minute strimming session before the neighbour arrived for their short summer break, she disappeared.

Over the next few months it gradually sank in that the cats now being fed by the family at the top of the road were the same kittens.

Then mum starts getting fatter...............................and fatter..........................and fatter.

Then she disappears and several weeks later reappears in the road too often for her to have hidden them anywhere but in our ruin.

Then four kittens are seen playing on our garage roof with mother snoozing in the sunshine beside them. All goes well until two days ago when there is a squawk, a jay flies off, and then much pathetic mewing from the garden below the garage. (Do jays take kittens?) Mum spends most of the day trying to work out how to get the 'too large to carry' kitten back home. We tried to help her but she wasn't having any of that and we were obviously making things worse.

Today more plaintive wailing from the garage while kittens played on the roof and mum looked on.

To the rescue.

HO climbed on the very precarious roof, knocked a hole in the felt and we retired to the balcony to watch.

Now I'm up for paying for her to be spayed but there are now 10 offspring that we know of, and ugly white bruiser dad is still in the village. And how do you catch them anyway?

Friday 23 May 2014


Him Outdoors has been playing with his new toy. Brilliant gadget which lifts the huge pieces of plasterboard and means he can fit them by himself. Yippee.
This week we have had the plumber and electrician here and each time they see me lifting the other end of one of these huge pieces of plasterboard they move in and take over. I feel very cared for ............and grateful.
HO has taken off the front door and filled in the bottom half with blocks fronted with stone. There was so much wood surround on the door that it is amazingly much lighter. (We do plan to reuse the door.)

Today's main event has been the removal of the toilet from the kitchen. An essential but rather exposed toilet! All HO's endless planning and placing of plastic waste pipe was stuck together this afternoon and this has disappeared.....


 to be replaced by a toilet in a room with walls.................and a door...................

and a view.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

All tickety boo

Sorry for not having written on here for a month. Time flying again.

Had a lovely week in Paris, really lovely. Walked miles and miles, did lots of stopping to look at the people and some stopping to look at the sights. Fantastic meal up the Eiffel Tower courtesy of my lovely children. Spectacular night time tour of Paris courtesy of our kind landlords. (Slightly unnerving to stop on major roundabouts to show us a view and give us the complete history of what we were looking at but hey.)

Meanwhile back at the ranch.............................

We are at the stage of painting beams! We are painting behind radiators as the plumber fits them. I am still glooping joints on the ground floor. There were so many people needing ladders and space this afternoon that I was nipping in and out slapping gloop on available joints.

Yesterday I spent the morning on the phone and have arranged for the electricity power to be increased from just enough for tools and arranged for a man to come and look and see if the phone works. This morning we called in on a TV man who will come and see which of the assorted metalwork on the chimney actually works. The plumber has been here for several days and we seem to be nearing heating. The electrician has covered various plugs in pretty see through red which apparently is a step forward. Because the plumbing and electrics are being done we can close up various walls. So it all goes forward slowly, slowly. Him Outdoors keeps saying two months, every week it's two months :-)

Monday 21 April 2014

Happy Easter

Happy Easter one and all. Such a shame that Easter Sunday was a miserable cold rainy day here. So many events planned that needed sunshine. Sod's law it was a lovely day again today. We didn't manage to get to Easter eggs but we did manage to eat our way through this magnificent strawberry tart which was delicious.

My job at the moment is putting this gloopy coffee cream stuff in all the joints between the sheets of plasterboard. Never seen it done, only seen the perfect result. No pressure then. Watched Youtube videos and set off.

My previous Youtube instruction was mostly for knitting - long tail cast on and the like. Not going too badly but just our bedroom has taken 15 kgs!!

Hooray the tub was empty and I could get out in the garden. The peaches are still growing. 

 The last of the new asparagus plants has finally shown its head, the asparagus beetles haven't found them yet. The Colorado beetles haven't found the potatoes either.

I bought tomato plants on the market on Saturday and they are all lined up in the garden - with some spares for you too Anne.

I bought them because they were there and I had time to plant them. But it is obviously not the time. Several ladies said beware of frost to Him Outdoors as he carried them down the hill, some sucking of teeth. Afterwards, I noticed that there was not the big rush of old men laden with tomato plants that there would usually be if it was the right time to plant. (And there was me thinking that if the man on the market had them it must be the right time to plant.....)

I bought this moon calendar the other week. The locals all plant by the moon and my only English experience of such a thing is the fact handed down by my parents from their parents, that you have to plant potatoes on Good Friday (which is a festival that is moon related.) My neighbour was very concerned that La Lune Russe was very late this year and there was a real danger that the fruit would be spoiled by frost. Googling told me that she was worried that the next new moon was not until right at the end of April.

So better not put these little beauties out yet then.

Him Outdoors decided that he needed a haircut for Easter. Sure says I. I've been using hair clippers on his head for years with no damage done. Not this time. The bit that guides the clippers to the length you want fell off mid sweep.....................................ooops.

He looks like a spayed cat! Obviously had significant brain surgery.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Gardening and memories

I spent some time yesterday sorting out my coldframe.

Lesson 1, throw out the dead snails immediately. If what looks like an empty shell is actually a rotting, maggot ridden carcase, it STINKS.

Lesson 2, if my overwintered geraniums look totally dead, they probably are and won't revive with water and sunshine. And actually are but that makes much more room for other stuff.

Lesson 3, (one I will never learn) stop planting too many of everything. If you have planted 2 seeds per pot in order to throw away the weaker one. Throw it away.

Of course, there should be a picture here of productive coldframe but camera got left at the house.

Domestic day today. Him Outdoors left asking what was it you didn't want me to strim? Can't hold my breath or cross my fingers all day, perhaps the orchids; what I think is a clump of gladiolus Byzantium; the remains of a deer eaten rose and what looks like a clump of Michaelmas daisies will survive. Perhaps.

Sunny, peaceful gardening makes my mind wander. My mother died at the beginning of last year after a decade of increasing dementia. My mother-in-law died in February. Superficially, I find myself thinking 'oh must be time we rang your mum' and being brought up short. Got a reminder for her birthday........... But underlying that it has brought me a real grieving for my mother. Not the dementing one, but the person behind that. When she died the overwhelming feeling was one of relief that she didn't have to do that anymore and that she was settled back with Dad in the beautiful Suffolk churchyard.

What I miss so much suddenly is the only one that really cares about the female things. I am my mother's daughter, she has passed on to me all her domestic loves and hates. She would love the domestic details, the cake that did (or didn't) work, the plants that were special (or eaten by deer), the fact that I am sitting doing this rather than changing the sheets. She would be interested in the details of my French mammogram, the hairdresser, we would share the latest books we have read. I picked up Mrs Dalloway at a friend's house yesterday and dipped in while waiting, she would have read it and shared her opinion.  Her rural Suffolk life has so very many parallels with this rural frenchness. I miss her.

Wednesday 9 April 2014


It's nearly Easter, school holidays have started and the first tourists are upon us.

Ambling around supermarkets, wandering around in shorts and sandals that no self respecting local would be seen dead in.

The weather is glorious and the countryside is delightful.

Given that the town is alive again, what better time for the local supermarket to shut for its annual holiday. For a month.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Him Outdoors has a new toy

Lovely new gadget. Built by moi from Chinese French instructions. It makes lifting the huge sheets of plasterboard much, much easier.
Finished the last bit of jointing on the landing.

Put up a bit of brush fencing between us and the neighbours to stop them looking at us, looking at them, looking at us while they eat. If they ever come. They are the sort of neighbours that only come for some of July and August but just in case they decide to come for Easter .......................

And the first sunny lunch on the balcony. Lovely.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Slowly, slowly

More digging. The garden is being designed by purchase of irresistible plants or lack of soil. I sit on my grandmother's bench and plan big plans of sweeping flower beds and then am stumped by the terrain. Ho hum. Still I'm getting there, slowly slowly. Dug another veg bed today probably for tomatoes but maybe not :-)
Great news, the balcony has returned. After several promises, it arrived with man to help and they proceeded to try to put it back where they got it from. There was a moment where the whole weight was balanced on one stuck out foot!! Eventually it was cut in half and soldered back together - you can't see the join and it's lovely. Sunny every day until after lunch, well, if there was sunshine it would be.

We've done a lot of plasterboarding. A concerted effort to get the area around the stairs ready for stairs. Eventually decided that it really wasn't essential to have stairs just so workmen could spoil them and we have put them back a month.
So Him Outdoors - or more recently Him Indoors - has been tackling the plumbing. Turns out he was really not looking forward to it but as you would guess, once he started it has all proceeded slowly but beautifully. (I'm sure this is a really interesting picture to somebody, just not me.)

Tomorrow we have a day off. Well, we are hosting a 10k walk with lunch - in the rain............