Monday, 19 May 2014

Good days, sunshine!

The week started with a trip to hospital for Steve's post-trial check up - a whole month since he stopped taking part in the Vansel early phase drug trial.  Bloods, blood pressure, temperature, pulse, ECG followed by a physical examination by Dr Ioannis and a chat through the remaining side effects of treatment.  

Although this drug trial didn't work for Steve, he is keen on taking part in future early phase drug trials, so may continue to see the clinical trials team at his future three monthly assessments, rather than be seen in the "normal" clinic.  The doctors will confer and let us know.  

Back at home that afternoon, and there was a small step forward on the garden renovation project - the new fence components have arrived and have now taken up residence in our back room, pending finding a contractor to do the job!  

By Thursday, I had finished preparation for my next work-related trip to Guernsey and we set off for a few days away, staying with our son in Bristol. That may not sound very adventurous to you, but it was a major step forward for us - the first time this year we have ventured outside Oxfordshire and stayed away overnight, due to the floods in January and February and the side effects of taking part in the drug trial from February onwards.

Lunch with Jack, then out Thursday afternoon to visit Steve's mum in her care home followed by an evening out at Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, enjoying wine and tapas in a tipi in Queens Square.  All good stuff!

Eat Drink Bristol Fashion a tipi
Our son lives in a flat development close to the M32 motorway.  Imagine our surprise in this very urban setting to see a deer standing in the communal garden at the centre of the block as we were getting ready to go out.  It stood there for quite a while, before eventually bounding behind the greenery and off out of sight, heading away from the motorway (thank goodness!) 

Urban deer
The sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky as we headed over the Second Second Crossing into Wales, for a day trip to Cardiff Bay.  We enjoyed photographing some fascinating buildings, including the Senedd which houses the Welsh Assembly, the Norwegian Church where Roald Dahl the author was christened, and the Wales Millennium Centre.  

Senedd, home of the Welsh National Assembly

The Norwegian Church

Millenium Centre

HMS Dragon was in the harbour, decked out with flags ready to open for visitors the following day.  

HMS Dragon
Lots of public art too, including the 70 ft tall water tower (made famous by the TV series Torchwood); 

the Merchant Seafarers War Memorial; 

Merchant Seafarers Memorial

the brick built beastie benches and the Captain Scott Memorial overlooking the spot where his expedition ship Terranova sailed from Cardiff in 1910.  

Scott Memorial
Lunch at the Lock Keepers cafe, a quick walk past the BBC Wales Studios, and on around the harbour side before treating ourselves to an ice cream to set us up for the journey back to Bristol.

BBC Wales Studios
Steve managed remarkably well, bearing in mind that he hasn't had much exercise in the last five months and his energy levels bottomed out during the drug trial.  However, although he remembered to put sunscreen on his face and neck and was wearing long sleeves and trousers, his unprotected hands and wrists were exposed to the sun and were quite red and puffy by the time he woke up the next morning.  Obviously, sensitivity to UV sunlight is a side effect of treatment that takes longer than a month to wear off...

Forewarned, Steve was well creamed up with Factor 50 sunscreen on Saturday, when we headed south into Somerset to visit Burnham-on-Sea - a traditional seaside town, with a great beach, the shortest pier in the UK and a quirky wooded light house, perched high up on nine stilt-like legs.  

Burnham lighthouse

We were hoping to find the wreck of the SS Normen, further along the beach but ran out of time and energy.  Next time!  

We were back in Oxford shortly before 6pm to meet up with another contractor who is interested in quoting for the garden renovation works.  I am beginning to wonder whether any one will actually undertake the job!

Saturday finished on a high, with another of my photographs published in the Guardian Weekend Magazine - that makes 10 so far! 

Today, we have been taking it easy - me enjoying the sunshine in the garden while reading the papers, Steve keeping cool inside watching the rugby union playoffs online.  Bristol won their match, so he is a happy bunny! 

Which seems like a good lead in to the song that inspired the title of today's post :  Good day, sunshine.....May there be many more days like the last few days over the coming year.

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