We've had a good start to the year. No sooner than I had rattled off that last post than I was off putting on a posh frock ready for our New Years Eve celebrations. It started as an idea to celebrate over a meal with our friends Alison and Steve, but it soon morphed into a buffet supper for sixteen of our mutual friends. Alison and I planned it together and shared all the cooking and preparation which made the whole evening seem effortless. We started at Alison and Steve's for cocktails and canapes and then everyone headed up the road to us for the main meal.
All our main course dishes came from Ottolenghi cookbooks so it was a feast of middle eastern inspired dishes, full of flavour and fragrant spices.
It is a wonder we had room for puddings but with roasted figs, sticky baklava, fruit tarts and chocolate cake it was hard to resist.
When midnight came we were all suitably feasted and ready to raise our glasses to toast in the new year.
It was such a lovely relaxed evening with good friends, good food and good conversation... a perfect start to 2018. Even the clearing up seemed effortless sharing it with friends. New Year's day was taken at a leisurely pace with a lovely dog walk in the afternoon, timed to miss the showers.
Since then Christmas has been packed away in boxes in the loft, the house feels back to normal and finally I feel almost back to normal too. It has been a good Christmas and a good holiday but there has also been uncertainty hanging over us for the past couple of weeks.
Two weeks before Christmas I went for a routine mammogram. Within four days I had a call back for further tests. After a week of worrying and not sleeping, three days before Christmas I attended a screening clinic for further x rays and an ultrasound resulting in a biopsy on a lump in my left breast. It was all a little surreal... especially sitting in the waiting room with Raiders of the Lost Ark playing in between tests. I was treated well and all credit must go to the NHS who do a fabulous job.The doctor reassured me that she thought that it didn't look serious and the biopsy was just a precaution. I was told to go home, enjoy Christmas and not to worry.
And mostly that is what I have done. We really haven't told anyone else because there seemed no point without any definite news. The worrying has come at strange moments, obvious times like the middle of the night but sometimes in the middle of crowds of friends... silly worries like "How am I going to tell people?", "How can I write my advent blog posts when I don't feel upbeat and jolly?" or "Will I be able to lift my sewing machine if I have to have an operation?" However I am relieved to say that I have been lucky because yesterday I got my test results and I've been given the all clear. I thought I would just feel immense relief... and don't get me wrong, I do, but I'm also feeling lots of other mixed emotions I hadn't expected. There was guilt that I was one of the lucky ones knowing there would be phone calls to other women who wouldn't be getting good news, there was frustration at feeling the way I have for the past two weeks and other feelings that I can't easily verbalise... more of an exhaustion.... I feel exhausted. In many ways it has felt really traumatic yet here I am now as though nothing has happened... just a small scar and some bruising, both of which will go, although the lump remains, so it feels like a fuss over nothing.
So when in my last post I said there would be no resolutions this year it was mostly because I couldn't think beyond the next couple of days... not that there are any resolutions as such more just gentle plans or ideas. I had already said earlier last year that I wanted to concentrate more on my art and textiles and that is part of my plan for this year. Maybe rethink my social media presence... both my website and blog could do with an update, I'd like to grow my Instagram following and my Etsy shop, maybe send out more newsletters... but they are all vague ideas. Christina has written about all the things she would like to make this year and it made me think not so much about what I would like to make but more about finishing things I have started... this could definitely be a year to finish things or at least get rid of those projects that will never be finished. Barbara has written about reducing our enviromental impact by cutting down on our use of plastics and that seems to me like that would also be a good aim for the year. Mostly though I shall be grateful for my good health and appreciate good friends, good food and good conversation!