Ronny Allan: Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer during COVID-19 restrictions (Episode 9) – a story of cream teas, peaks and blue sky


Episode 9 of my Living under COVID-19 series.  A story of cream tea, peaks, blue sky and more peaks!

19th May 2020

In Brockenhurst, a New Forest town where animals mix freely with humans!

Figure of eight bike ride yesterday around the outskirts of my town. 9 miles (still feeling the 23 miles from Saturday!). No photos, just a quick spin session. However, one of those Facebook memories came up from last year where we visited a nice town called Brockenhurst in the New Forest. Lovely little place smack bang in the middle of the National Park. The reason it caught my eye was a picture of an English Cream Tea which I promised to share with you on VE Day and totally forgot to do so. The bikes in the pictures are our old ones.

Translating between UK and North America can be confusing so let me explain – a cream tea isn’t a tea with cream in it, it does include both but not in the same item. The cream is actually ‘clotted’ cream and goes on top of a scone cut in half. In US, a scone might sometimes be called a ‘biscuit’ which is a term we use for something the US often calls a cookie ……. 🥴 Jam is also involved in a traditional cream tea but North Americans might call that jelly (which is something we Brits eat with ice cream….). And don’t get me started on the pronunciation of tomato 🤪 I can also tell you that cream teas are a big deal in England. There’s a national debate on whether the cream goes on top of the jam or vice versa – it all depends on which county in England you live – Cornwall or Devon. No doubt an inhabitant of Devon or Cornwall will comment on our choice of sequence!

I cannot believe I’ve written so much about a scone!

We also found something in this town close to our hearts – Scottish cattle. Many of the pictures I’ve shared with you in the last few weeks contain New Forest wild animals mostly in their natural surroundings but in Brockenhurst they wander around the town and Scottish cattle are big beasts. They are colloquially known as Highland Cows or up north in Scotland as ‘Highland Coos’ to reflect regional accents.  Chris and I have a house full of ‘Highland Coo’ stuff which I might share with you one day.

Anyway – enjoy the pictures from our trip last year. See more pictures by clicking here.

Kinder Scout in the distance – we were actually not heading towards it, moving around the left hand side at this point – going towards it would be the easy route – it was our return route though!

21st May 2020

We did cycle today but as it was a ‘big one’, energy levels to write would be low so instead I shared a Facebook memory from 2016, our trip to the Peak District in Central England, the name gives the terrain type away!

This is a fantastic part of England situated in the centre of the country and is one of our national parks. We were on a two day break, with a 350m climb on day one in rehearsal for a much bigger climb the following day up the famous Kinder Scout (see below for that story).

We were on a mission that year as I was freshly retired and working out how to keep myself busy – my blog was really starting to take off at this point.

This wasn’t a terribly big walk although I felt the hills – when we looked out of our B&B window there was a blanket of fog over the hills we were about to climb but it soon burnt off.

See the rest of the pictures by clicking here

22nd May 2020

classic New Forest open gorse – wonderful sky today

Just under 30 miles yesterday on cycles – I can tell you I felt it on return and then into the evening! You know that feeling when you’re sitting down, then get up but your body is still in the sitting down shape and you gradually have to prise it open ? ……. that was me 🥵🥴😀

We went to places in the New Forest which were too far to walk and normally we would have taken a car. So we played a small part in keeping our planet clean while getting some exercise for our bodies and some support for mental health.

This is a story of hills, disused railway lines, blue sky, foot cramps and animals.

We did a return journey over ‘Castle Hill’ on the edge of the New Forest and I’m disappointed not to have gotten the footage of a dozen deer running across our cycle path only yards to our front. Amazing sight but I would have needed a helmet camera turned on to have caught it (I did google it when I got back…..). It all happened too quick.

I’ve mentioned the disused railway line before (Castleman Trailway) – with one or two exceptions it’s almost one cycle route for a considerable distance but we rode one of it’s biggest sections yesterday from Burbush south of Burley all the way to Brockenhurst. Some nice little stops to gape at the very blue sky and some other views.

We edged our way around Brockenhurst to avoid people seeing some wonderful sights, mostly colour and animals and some beautiful houses (must buy some extra lottery tickets tonight!). We drove through “Ornamental Drive” where we’ve been before, very scenic tree formations and something I might share later from a previous trip. Still heading north we arrived at Bolderwood (near the Canadian WW2 Monument) where we had lunch including some very refreshing hot tea. The remainder of the journey was on familiar territory towards home running the gauntlet of dozens of animals spread across our cycle route.

A great day out with Mrs A although I had quite a few foot cramps on the way round – this is a common issue for me.

See the rest of the pictures by clicking here

23rd May 2020

Halfway up, a friendly walker took this picture

Kinder Scout was a massive test to see if I could handle a big climb. It was 6 years after diagnosis and 4 years after my 3rd surgery and stabilised on a 28 day somatostatin analogue (Lanreotide). I was 60 at the time. This climb was 4 years ago yesterday. If you missed our 30 mile cycle ride expedition on Thursday – you can read that here – click.

I picked the route to get up there but in hindsight, I wish I’d picked a different one. We went up an endless gully which followed a stream and the path criss-crossed it all the way. It was a really tough climb, fortunately Mrs A was there to drag my ass up – I remember really struggling.

However, what we thought was the top wasn’t. At this point, we actually joined the Pennine Way which is a very famous walking route in UK. There was another short but steep climb to get to the plateau (this hill is not really a peak, it’s a big plateau). In the end it was worth it with some some phenomenal views. We walked around most of the plateau and then down back to base for tea and medals 🙂🥇

See the rest of the pictures by clicking here

Other Stuff

I’ve been working on reorganising some of my Facebook pages, I had 5 and now down to 3. It would have been down to 2 but Facebook isn’t playing ball so will try again later. I’d like everyone to also ‘Like’ this linked page ➡️Neuroendocrine Cancer⬅️ but please don’t unlike it, I’ve spent some time building that up! And if you know anyone who might benefit from that page and/or this one, be sure to suggest it.

The lockdown has given me some time to look at a new software package I had to help convert my blogsite into a website. I’ve also been working on an A to Z facility and rather than just knock up a big long table which is a pain to keep up to date, I wanted to integrate it into my website where updating is much easier as I can then link to references etc. It’s proving to be more difficult than I thought but I’ve published a prototype version which will be useable for some but it’s far from being a complete project – I need to get the A to Z button ‘widget’ sorted and I need to populate short descriptions which will take weeks.  It does however link all my blog ‘tags’ to an article containing a description until I can populate them (although I have done the first few in the list as a prototype). It’s also prompted me to normalise and reduce the number of tags I use – see what I have so far clicking on A to Z – be gentle, it’s the beginning of a new project 👀

Private Group. There’s a constant stream of new members and discussions continue in this Facebook private group (click here to join). The group is quieter than usual but Neuroendocrine Cancer issues continue, people continue to be diagnosed and arrive in need of help – often just someone to listen. London and New York are the biggest two cities represented in the private group and I see them both in the headlines – please take care all.

Thanks for reading.


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