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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

Caffeine, Cake and Conserves

In an attempt to sort out my sleep pattern I have given some thought to my caffeine intake. For me one of the impacts of the lockdown has been the amount of tea, and to a lesser extent coffee, that I consume. It’s a mix of issues. Too much tea, too much TV and too little physical activity.

It’s not unusual that I might drink in excess of 7 or 8 cups of tea each day. Yesterday I reduced that intake to one small coffee and by replacing the rest with boiled water. Did it help? It seemed to. I think I might have slept from about 11:00pm to about 05:30am. Still not brilliant but an improvement. Now the big dilemma. Should I deal with my cake intake?

Yesterday I had a deliciously sticky ginger cake delivery. This led me to the decision to make some bread. I’ve been looking forward to using the proving function on our new oven. So I set about baking a simple white loaf. What did I do? I completely misjudged the time required, I over proofed the dough. The trouble is an over proofed dough won't expand much during baking and it can taste a bit yeasty. The dough collapses due to a weakened gluten structure and excessive gas production. Something I now know. I’ll try again in a couple of days.

Baking has been something I have occasionally dipped into for years. Generally my go to cake recipe is Mary Berry's Victoria Sponge. I actually prefer a fruit cake but I’m the only one in our household that does. When we were allowed to get together our family all regularly assembled to celebrate our birthdays. I would make one or two Victoria Sponges. Often, by the time I finished making cups of tea and chatting to everyone, the cakes had been eaten. None for me! So for one celebration I decided to make a 3rd cake. This one however was loaded with green food colouring. When everyone had left the green cake was untouched. Plenty for me! Maybe it’s time to make another.

This afternoon I’ll experience a dearth of cake. I’ll be reduced to a sealed packet of three biscuits with an institutional cup of tea. It’s de-rigueur for the Headland Unit to provide refreshment for the cancer patients receiving treatment. My appointment today means I’ll probably miss the Headland lunch trolley experience. I’ll be taking sustenance with me, a sandwich (made with failed bread) something chocolate and a banana.

Today I have the joy of my third chemotherapy adventure. I think I have one more dose before I have a scan to judge the efficacy of the treatment. If it’s found to work (don’t forget the last treatment had no effect at all) it might extend my life by a few short months. So, hopefully, another couple of challenging winter months of chemo during lockdown might give me a couple of summer months without lockdown. Let’s hope so.

The other gift I received, along with the sticky ginger cake, was a jar of marmalade with plenty of bits. I’ve had quite a few gifts since my diagnosis. Given the situation I’m in I’ve decided the best presents I can receive are those I can consume.

Talking about consuming things my appointment today at the Headland Unit was at 12.40 the waiting room isn’t the most exciting place but a prolonged wait is bordering on irritating. Never mind I had the wherewithal to bring a picnic. My pre-planned sustenance is beginning to seem like manna from heaven. I’ve decided not to dine until I get plugged in. It's a full house at the chemo club today.

Chemo sorted, home by 6:30pm. I met a lovely co-patient today chatted away for ages. Told her all about my blog and Coffee Club which of course I need to remind you all about. I’m doing my normal thing of coffee in front of the laptop. Let’s see who pops up. Maybe I’ll see you in the morning.

Toodle pip.

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