Travel guides, bluestockings and a baking hiatus

Remember a few posts ago, before it all went gallbladder-shaped, that I promised to link to a travel post on Bruges I was writing for BitchBuzz? Well here it is. I’m beginning to form a similar post on Rome in my head at the moment, and being Greek I have plenty to say about visiting Athens. In a funny way, I’ve only learned to appreciate Athens as a tourist in the last few years; as a child it was a procession of relatives’ houses, syrupy preserved fruit and the odd smell of lavender and mothballs… but that’s for the memoir I’m a little too young to write.

I’ve received a copy of Jane Robinson’s Bluestockings: The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education to review for The F Word, too. Luckily I have an awful lot of reading time on my hands, being more of less pinned to the sofa. I’m alternating between the above and Robert Löhr’s excellent Secrets of the Chess Machine, sent to me by a thoughtful friend.

Although I’m getting up to walk around as much as possible and trying to get strong very quickly, public transport is still an issue when the slightest carrying weight or jostle to the side causes a wave of pain through my torso. Frankly, even lying still can do it sometimes, and though movement is not so difficult now, sitting up in a chair for long periods tends to make the upper two incision sites pull, throb and itch. I’m blogging lying down, having felt I ought to do something for Dogs Trust. I miss my job! At least the bloody awful pain in the shoulder has stopped; it’s caused, somewhat improbably, by left over CO2 in the system after the operation (you’re inflated with it during the procedure) and is totally excruciating. I’ve now weaned myself off the painkillers because I’m really precious about medication; I simply won’t take anything I don’t desperately need. I never touched the codeine I was given and took the paracetamol until Sunday – since Monday morning, I’m drug-free. And sore. And missing the swimming and jogging I’d recently finally convinced my wobbly bits that they could do.

So the above paragraph should explain the baking hiatus. I won’t be able to cope with standing and hefting baking trays for a few more days. I’ll be back in the saddle – work and baking – on the 1st of September, although I hold out some hope I’ll be able to go in on Friday if things improve faster…

Bruges, Bitchin’ and Bladder (Gall)

Stuff has been happening, as is the way of things.

Firstly, I went to Bruges for a long weekend and it was restful and full of food. Photos will flood Flickr as soon as I get around to extracting them from the camera. Lots of cobbles and faux-artistically angled shots of buildings, of course. That, however, lead to my next piece of news which is the beginning of a travel column on BitchBuzz. The working title is Bitchin’ Travel – it might or might not stay that way. I’m starting with Bruges but planning to cover Rome and Athens next, then possibly Barcelona. After that, wherever I think of next that I have anything to say about. Although I’m starting the column, I’m hoping to get talented readers and other members of the widely-travelled BitchBuzz team in on it; obviously between us we have a lot more scope for covering good destinations than one of us alone. Being a transatlantic team doesn’t hurt either.

Links to the column will appear here when it’s up; I’m just tidying up my first post now. I’m trying to catch up on my general writing commitments and widen the net a bit, which is why I’ve also signed myself up as one of a pool of potential reviewers for The F Word, which is pretty exciting too. BitchBuzz, incidentally, has just seen its first anniversary go by. I’m very pleased for the founding editor, Cate Sevilla; her hard work knows no bounds when it comes to her baby and it’s really paid off.

Which leads me to my final bit of news. Which actually has nothing to do with the other two, but which I feel like writing about. I am likely to need my gallbladder removed. I’m seeing a specialist on Monday; the gallstones were actually discovered accidentally while I was being diagnosed with Epstein-Barr (call it glandular fever, or mono, if you prefer) but since then there have been symptoms, etc. Anyway, the point is there are great balls of bile and cholesterol blocking up my gallbladder, and the big medical guns need to decide whether to hack out the little bagful or not. Frankly, I’m all for it – don’t need it, don’t want the symptoms to degenerate into a full-scale attack (which they’re pretty likely to). We shall see.

And that’s pretty much it. But feel free to fill me in on what you’ve been up to.