Sunday, April 29, 2007


(scroll down for recently added pics!)

The hotel we booked near Conwy was brilliant.

We had stunning views from a huge private lounge with balcony in addition to a comfy bedroom and swish bathroom. The weather made it all the better and this was a lovely break. We celebrated B's birthday in top-style, and wonder where we can go next that can match it for peace and beauty ...

We went to Bodnant Gardens twice (marvellous, but new batteries in camera went FLAT so no pics .. )
We met up with Mr K and his beau for drinks on Saturday .... and saw Aunty Barb and Cliff at their caravan on our way home ...

Modelling one of the tops I bought for her birthday

She doesn't look a day over 40 does she?


More Pics of the room and the views:

You can see the scale of the lounge from these two pics

Mr K in pensive mood

Close up of B's birthday bouquet

Interior courtyard of hotel

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Sam whisked me out for the day in her lovely little silver Alpha Spider yesterday .. what a treat! First off we went to the Country Park near Knypersly, which was full of bluebells ... I walked all round one of the lakes, which felt pretty much of an achievement!

Then we had a pub lunch (including the new fave-health food du jour: CHIPS!) before pottering over to Biddulph Grange.. which was lovely as ever .. and then you just cant go to these National Trust places without having a drink and a piece of homemade-style cake, can you?
.. I'll be the size of the back of a bus again in due course ..

Wednesday, April 25, 2007



• adjective, impossible to subdue or defeat.

ORIGIN Latin indomitabilis, from in- ‘not’ + domitare ‘to tame’

HAHAHA -- or should I say "neigh" ....

I am definitley feeling bit brighter today. Getting a good hair-do is one of my top-tips for getting through this, that and having a lovely bunch of indomitable mates, obviously ...

I bumped into Trish yesterday (she used to work on reception at college and has left now, after recovering from breast cancer). No prizes to those who know her for guessing where we met? (M&S of course .. where I've ever bumped into Trish!). We've been trying to fix a meeting for a few weeks now.

We had a great chat and are going to meet up again in a couple of weeks. Goodness knows what gory details and medical jargon the idle shoppers in Per Una got subjected to, as we stood there for an hour trading tales!

Today there are two treats in store, one slightly more appealing than the other ... in the red corner we have Sam arriving to whisk me off for a country walk ~ perhaps to Biddulph Grange .. and in the blue corner we have the prospect of moderating the A2 language coursework. Hmm ...

~ if any of you need a reminder, it's the lovely B's birthday on Tuesday (May 1st) which is a bit yuck cos I'll be in hospital ... except it's not really yuck, cos we'll start celebrating it on Friday and she can make a week of it!

Monday, April 23, 2007


tired tired tired
I'm just so tired

I've got no energy at all today .......... good job I never fixed for any visitors

Sunday, April 22, 2007


We went over to Derby yesterday to see the Kedleston Hall, which is very lovely. One thing those rich imperialists could do was commission a good architect (Robert Adams) and spot a fine bit of land for their "garden". The grounds in front of the hall are beautiful and I'd say the building looks a lot better in real life than it does in its photos.

Today we went out to buy a few plants for bedding and B potted them all out. I was asleep all afternoon, so not even able to supervise, but I'm sure she's done a good job.... hehe.. she's out running now and has got a chicken roasting in the oven for tea ... she looks after us very well.

Oh one thing I did mange to do for myself today was make a bit of lunch. We had locally grown asparagus .. admitedly from Sainsburys, but still, it was lovely. Our own favourite asparagus farm near here hasn't got any crop ready yet, but it wont be long I'm sure.

There's a tree on the land opposite my window here that has just sprung its leaves... they are so pale and upright that they look like magnolia flowers, in a huge tree. It's stunning. (re Magnolia --- how sad to think that such a lovely flower has been so disparaged as a paint colour.)

Time to go xxxxx

Friday, April 20, 2007

home 4

another one done!
Bleugh .. I've felt really sick this time, but not BEEN sick, unlike the woman I befriended in there last time who is on the same timetable as me .. she has been proper poorly .. where as I am OK and sleeping better than ever when I'm in the hospital. I guess I'm gettting used to falling asleep in that strange environment ..

I had a good clutch of visitors this week. It was lovely to see Freda again after so many years though I admit it made me a bit emotional, somehow, maybe for times past, and especially thinking of Elaine and the others from those Congleton days ... I don't really know WHY it made me weepy, but it did!

The weather is so great .. I hope it keeps up over the weekend.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Holiday Snaps

The mother and father of it all with the new van
and golden wedding flowers

The mother and father with their three kids
Tracy, Mark, Mum, Dad, me, John, Julie

The grandparents and three grandsons
Joe, Mum, Dad, Luke, Toby

They call this sunbathing in Tenerife!

It was windy that day...

Father and son time

Cool Dudes aren't they!

Left the best laugh till last ...
I know ppl won't believe that John did sport without photographic evidence!

Radio prog

Radio two has a prog about chemo on today.

The woman from Cnacer Bacup just said, yes it's true that 1 in 3 of us will get cancer now, but 80% of these will be "cured" or have the disease as a chronic condition which gets treatment, settles down, flares up and gets treated again. She compared that to living with asthma ..

That's interesting.

They aren't saying much that I dont already know but they are emphasising the progress that has been made in treating cancer and especially the nausea control with chemo now being so much better.

There was a lovely young girl on who has written a book for children called "Chemotherapy, cakes and cancer" and mention of site just for young ppl with cancer .. sounds like time to update my links list .. though I may have forgotten how to .. !

Phone is Back

So that's the good news .. we cxan use the phone again .. though waiting for nearly a week obviously is dreadful service from Virgin ..

B has carted off back to work and I am a bit lonesome after all the bustle of the holiday time, which has been brilliant. Thanks to everyone who we saw over the past two weeks .. YAY!

I'm going to work on some photos today and should have a few jolly images to post up here soon..

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Sorry to anyone who has left phone messages on our land-line over the past few days .. but it is buggered at the moment

yes, it SOUNDS like the phone is working .. BUT NO it isn't really .. and although you can apparently leave messages we cannot access them,
or recieve calls
or dial out

And NTL are SUCH a great (sic) company (or VIRGIN blah as we have to call them now) that they cannot send an engineer out b4 next MONDAY!! And even to complain about this rather rubbish service means joining a 48 hour waiting list for someone to call me back on the mobile!

So in additition to losing the only Sky channel we really like on the whole panoplyof channels they offer (Sky sports news) and appearing to double my call costs on the phone I'm now phone-free for at least a week ..

I'm really starting to regret the switch to NTL (tho I'm still happy with the bit I've always liked, the broadband has been good for ages) I cant see that the "new" deal has really been much of a bargain ... :(

Monday, April 09, 2007

Joe's question

What’s the worst thing about having cancer?
This was the question Joe struggled to frame for me as we sat in his caravan this Easter. I wonder if this is a fresh thought for him or whether he has been pondering it for a while. Joe’s sense of empathy is amazingly well developed for a little lad, indeed it always has been, so this question is by no means unusual. These things interest him.

It’s a bit of a flanker as questions go. He made me think and I had to think quickly. In the first instance I’m thinking of an answer that will work for a nine year old and what I come up with is plausible. I tell him that the worst thing was having the operation, having a big hole cut in me that was sore for a long time. This answer works well; it’s concrete, physical and easy for them to relate to. We can quickly move onto other topics.

But it’s not that easily answered a question and it has hovered in my head since. This writing has emerged from Joe’s question and I am reflecting now on the “worst things” about cancer.

I guess everyone has their own idea of what the worst thing is about having cancer, what it would be for THEM if they were faced with it. What are your ideas on this?

I think your answer must depend on the type of cancer you get and the circumstances of your life. Most of the people with bowel cancer whom I’ve met on the IA forum are a lot younger than me, which seems harder immediately. One is a single parent with toddlers, and to my mind, nothing I’ve gone through, or will have to face, can compare to that reality. She has had to continue working through her chemotherapy treatment and keep going with her daily routine with her kids against that inescapable background that her children might be left motherless soon. I doubt that there could be much “worse” than that.

But enough about other people! What about ME? What are the worst things about having cancer from my point of view? I’ve been thinking.

The first revision that I did was one I shared with Joe later the same day. I changed my answer from the operation to “Not being able to play properly with you”. I’ve always played with them in a roughty-toughty way. I have rolled around on the floor with them, chased them about the house and thrown them in the air. In particular we’ve invented our own game called “Swing Café” whereby I role-play a temperamental maitre de and they are clients in my “Café”. We have different types of “push” on the menu which they can choose when they are sitting on their swing.

It doesn’t sound much, but it is to us; we play it for ages whenever we get together. They might have even out-grown it this year anyway, but Joe knew what I meant by playing properly, “Yeah,” he agrees, “Like Swing Café.”
“Yeah, that’s right Joe, like that.”
And the way that even a simple, sedentary game like guessing which hand I’ve got a coin in has been booby-trapped by chemo-sore veins and their having to treat me like a glass figurine instead of bashing me about the way they usually do. I’m not a natural for the glass figurine job.

Later that day Julie and I were mulling over Joe’s question together. Julie put forward the idea that having your future snatched away from you might be the worst thing. I’m strangely casual about this. I just don’t engage with that idea. Maybe things have got to get much worse before that strikes me as a real thing. I also mostly manage not to be afraid of my own death. I dunno if I can keep this up if things get worse, but NOW I’m cool with it, and only very occasionally get a wave of fear about that (and about things getting worse, pain-wise.)

What CAN upset me on this theme is the thought of other people who really love me being without me…if this cancer carts me off, there will be such gaps for my friends and family. Brigid will be bereft, as I would be if she left me. This thought has the power to chill. Right from the start I’ve been most likely to weep at this, for both Brigid and my nephews. These are the people whom I would most like to protect from “missing me”. It’s a hidden “worst thing” - that realisation that we cannot do everything for the ones we love and some things are far outside of our control.

Losing their aunty is something I don’t want my nephews to experience. Toby and Joe are very good at treating me like a glass figurine; they control their natural bounce very well around me so I feel I’m already watching them from another place. I have sat on the promenade watching them on the beach, play trust games with their dad, wishing that I could stand behind them too and let them drop back into my arms, safe in the knowledge that I’ll always be there.

Ack – you see, none of us know that, do we?

So what’s the point of dwelling on it, any of us?

Rather prefer to think that I’ve seen more of Luke, Toby and Joe in the past eight months than I’d usually see them in two years. Seeing more of EVERYONE has been one of the best things about cancer. Taking time to really enjoy simple pleasures and to do that “living in the now” thing has been an unexpected benefit of being ill.

I’m extremely lucky enough to have the money and the support to be really quite comfortable in my “illness”.

I’m living at a slower speed these days, shrugging off the madness of the pace of modern life. I’ve long thought that the race we usually live in is so far from “civilised” as it is possible to be. How can it be the height of modern progress that people are at work for longer and longer hours and more and more stressed and even unhappy if current news stories are to be believed? Is this all our 21st Century progress has brought us to?

I’m enjoying the opportunity to duck out of all that. To be slow and relaxed and spend time with people who love me.

Here’s a tip:
Don’t wait till you have cancer to review how you spend your time and consider your priorities!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Happy Easter everyone!
The sun is shining and we are back home.
We had a glorious time with the family down in Lyme, too many things to go into detail in here.
I am a bit tired as well, to be honest. Have had to get antibiotics for an infection and generally feel a bit whacked, but happy.

It's a year today since our Civil Partnership .. what a year at that! I love my wife so much, and she says she still loves me, more than ever, so that's got to be good! She certainly looks after me very well.

We are now all interested in looking for caravans! The camper-van thing has waned after we looked at a few and considered it in detail, we think towing will be better !