The first weekend Chris and I flew up to Scotland to visit my sister, Lynda, and her family. I hadn't seen my sister in a while so it was really good to catch up but the main purpose of the visit was to see Geoff, her husband, as he is in hospital after a second operation on his spine.
He has always been a fit outdoors person, working for the Forestry Commission, so it must be incredibly frustrating for him being cooped up in a hospital room. It was lovely to be able to give him a hug and to share some of our recent news in person. Thanks to my iPad I could also show him some photos of what I've been up to over the last few months, including the Charity Swimming Gala and the video of it on YouTube.
We were totally spoilt by my nieces Rachel and Becky, who cooked home-made soup with home-made bread for lunch, followed by home-made carrot cake. There was also the opportunity for more cuddles with my great nephew, Sam, who seems to have grown unbelievably in the ten weeks since I last saw him. He has the most intense stare, straight into your eyes, that I have ever experienced from a baby.
Having enjoyed lunch so much we were very pleased to be invited back for Becky's home-made pizza for dinner which was delicious, my sister has certainly taught her girls well!
Talking of my iPad, that was what we clubbed together and bought Chris for his birthday. I had suggested it for his birthday last year, and for Christmas, as I absolutely LOVE mine, but he hadn't showed much interest. He did a bit of research and discovered that there is now a song-writing app, called Cubasis, so he decided to give it a go.
I can't get him off the thing! It's a good job I've been busy writing my book or he wouldn't have been much company on holiday! We had a lovely meal out for his birthday on the 30th, followed by home-made coffee and walnut cake…I didn't put all 59 candles on as I didn't want to set the fire alarm off!!
The next day we went to watch Crystal Palace play Sunderland and they won 3-1 so that was a lovely belated birthday present!
We had also been busy during the week organising a last-minute holiday. I had been due to go to Las Vegas for my friend Jaynie Roberts' wedding but in the end I just couldn't face the flight or the Vegas partying. She looked amazing by the way and I hope she will be very happy with her hubbie,Tom.
So…where to go instead? We decided on another location from my wish list, Corsica. I went on the internet and discovered a Corsica specialist, Simpson Travel, and gave them a call. They were really helpful and efficient and three days later we were on an early-morning flight from Heathrow.
We stayed at a place called Villa Tramizzi, which we had chosen because of the view overlooking the picturesque town of Bonifacio, with the sea and the coastline of Sardinia in the distance. You know how sometimes photos can be deceiving and you can be disappointed with the actuality? Well this was the exact opposite: it exceeded our expectations.
The villa itself was beautiful, in a tranquil location with a stunning view…perfect! The directions we had been given by Simpsons to get from the airport to the villa concerned me slightly. They talked about driving the last 200 metres VERY slowly. I was imagining a sheer drop to one side, but I needn't have worried they were just talking about it being a rocky, unmade road…I crossed my fingers that we wouldn't get a puncture every time we drove down it!
We did venture out to a couple of beaches and for dinner in Bonifacio, once in the old town and once by the harbour, but for the most part we stayed at the villa because it had what we were looking for: R & R. Swimming, writing, reading, catching a glimpse of a wild boar and a little bit of sitting in the sun (with my Ultrasun and Decleor factor 50 on of course)…just what the doctor ordered!!
Speaking of which, I am pleased to be able to tell you that I have had the latest bcr/abl test results, which measure how I'm responding to my targeted oral chemotherapy treatment, and it was very good news…we are talking very small levels now but it was a 70% improvement on my previous test three months ago – all in all a great way to end my holiday.
So yesterday I was filming the QVC Christmas promo…can't tell you more just yet, I'm afraid…and today it's afternoon tea in London with some of our longest-standing customers, but I'm back on air tomorrow at 4pm so hope to see you there.