That time of the year already, and my slice of Christmas Cake

Instead of the fairly regular yarns of daring-do about every three days, life changed fairly dramatically with a major debilitating bout of pneumonia. Two sessions of antibiotics  and a few visits to emergency rooms and doctors various and some sick days from work which has been a novelty and never been used before.

Well that was the end of September until we came back from Napa. Truth is I WAS VERY POORLY!! So after x-rays and some breathing performance testing I’m referred to a Pulmonary Doctor in Durango on 11 November. He tells me I’m poorly and the pneumonia  is gone, but I have Stage 3 COPD ………….. so I need to stop smoking or die!

Last cigarette about 1700 on 11 Nov and none since. I’m on one of these Advair disc puffers twice a day and these cost $25 a month or over $500 if you have NO insurance!!


$25 a month for life!

I’m also on nighttime oxygen until they can do a test to see if I’m getting enough oxygen in the blood before the brain cells start dying. All very worrying for sure but without the cigarettes I can feel an increase in energy and an improvement in breathing and fitness.


Bedtime companion

A month later and I’m back in Durango for further testing, more X-rays, and more of the breathing tests which remind me a bit of my flying days when we had to go to our Aviation Medicine Center at RAF North Luffenham for anoxia training and high altitude pressure breathing.

X-rays clear, and now for the lung functions and after this a final chat with the Doctor. He is very impressed that a 62 year smoker can quit cold turkey (and Brenda joined me 2 days later)……. he says he has NEVER seen such an IMPROVEMENT in his15 years in the field and my lung function has improved from 37% to 55% in 4 weeks which now changes me to COPD stage 1.

However 3 months being short of breath and feeling unwell has done zero for the blog. The last saga was Sonoma, and still to come the party at Pope Valley  ……. Thanksgiving …….. Christmas Lights………… Winter pool comps ……… and now Christmas week and New Year .

So that’s where I’ve been so now as the snow falls time to catch up on the backlog.


First snows


Getting serious!!






This year a bit of a 1st for us with our “wine day” planned for Sonoma where Jason our driver lives. He has been threatening to takes us around his home stalls for many years now so we finally agreed to see what they have in the other valley. Quick run up to the Calistoga grocery for some picnic artisan bread which only lasts a day so fresh it is! Jason arrives, bubbly poured, and the adventure begins.


The gardens of our country estate


Gorgeous staircase


Ok, we’ll take it

First stop is our NEW country estate which we put an “offer” in for. Charming property which took 9 years to build. This is Ledson and a fun tasting with some new tricks and stories.


Next stop, which took a bit longer than normal, was Imagery, who have some very distinctive bottles. A good lengthy tasting and Brenda buys the place out!


Unusual bottles


and they taste goooooood


While I’m outside enjoying a glass of port Brenda is on a shopping spree for anything that catches her eye! Chocolates, peace signs, bracelets, and a top or two.

Now its lunch time so the limo moves on to our next port of call at Loxton’s which is a small vineyard owned by an extremely hard working Australian who seems to be a one man band.


Don’t jump!


Some late harvest


Tasting done…….. time for lunch



Yum yum!

We move on and take on one of Jason’s favorites both socially and professionally. “B.R. Cohn” is owned by the Manager of the Doobie Bros rock band, which we are told could still be around for a gig or two in the future. They do however make some nice wines and were worth the visit.


A winery and recording company

By now I’m beginning to fade and alcohol and pneumonia are taking their toll. Seems we stopped again at a quaint little place called “Mayo”  and bought some of their produce as well!


“What a lot I got!”