Friday, 30 April 2010

123 Miles and 20 Sleeps to go

The clip above has got absolutely NOTHING to do with anything - it just made me laugh!

According to the map, I've made it to Inverness. Only 123 miles to go til I reach John O'Groats.

Getting to Inverness wasn't particularly easy, mind you. As soon as I saw the rookie lass coming towards me with the needle trolley, I thought 'Oh God - here we go. Please just make me a cup of tea and get the girl who's been here for 150 years to do it.'

But no, after 3 attempts of shoving the needle in and saying 'oh God is that hurting, oh God I think I've gone right through the vein and oh God I've made a right hash of that,' she finally gave up and got someone else to do it. Meanwhile, all the other patients in the room were shouting over to me - 'Are you playing awkward buggers today?' They do their best to keep your spirits up in there.

They sent my bloods away for inspection to make sure I was fit enough to take the gloop, and I discussed and laughed with hubby about the news in the paper - all about Gordon's Great Gaff and how poor Sue was going to get nacked when he got his hands on her.

Then the massage lady came to get me and I enjoyed another spell in the South of France with lavender oils being massaged into my feet - delightful.

Safely delivered back from Provence - and there was rookie with her trolley full of syringes waiting for me.

Whilst we chatted, and whilst she shoved the crap into my veins, a lady came in on her own and was shown to a seat. It was obviously her first time there, and I just knew she was on the verge of tears. Sure enough, she started to cry, and the nurse pulled the curtains round to give her a bit of privacy and a bit of a comforting chat.

Once I was all done and ready to go, I stopped to see if she was ok. She was fine, and by the end of our chat, I nearly had her signed up to join the Angels Cricket Team....

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

It's All Temporary Ma'am

Last night, the cricket Angels all met up for training, and we had the best session ever. Our bowling has improved beyond belief, some of the batting was awesome, and for the first time, we all seemed to gel as a team. It was really uplifting, and I felt so happy out there with the girls.

But then, after I bundled the kids in the car, something odd happened. The mists of impending chemo doom started to descend, and I started yelling and bawling at them.

The 9 year old hates unfairness, and knew that I had no reason to be yelling, so he took a risk, did a 'mini-me' and fought back - 'What the hell's the matter with you for God's sake. We haven't even done anything and you're shouting at us!'

Good for him. He was right. I shut up.

Later, when I was getting ready for bed, I looked in the mirror, and the person looking back wasn't me - With a bit of a 'gurn' I could make myself look a bit like Steptoe. Worst of all, without any effort at all, I looked like the lady at the Cancer hospital - the one who caught my eye that day and scared the life out of me. I didn't have a tab hanging out of my mouth, and I wasn't attached to a drip, but I was her double.

I've had enough now - I want my messy hair back. I want my bottom eyelashes back, I want my eyebrows back, I don't want my nose to drip anymore, I liked having the little downy hairs on my fingers, and I even want my hairy legs back. I don't want to look like that lady. Chemo is a sod.

'It's all temporary, Ma'am, you must remember that - all temporary,' the Indian doctor had said that day at the nasty hospital. He smelt of spices, fluttered his eyelashes and waggled his head. I wanted to ask him which part of India he was from, if he thought Tendulkar was the greatest cricketer ever, and what he'd had for breakfast that made him smell so delicious. But we had to talk about sodding cancer instead.

He's right of course, and in 3 weeks and one day, I will be getting the last few syringes of crap that make me look like an advert for Cancer World. After that, I can look forward to being me again.

I can't wait to get out of that dark little world. I'm going to thank everyone very politely for their help, but I'm going to slam that door so bloody hard when I leave.

This is, of course, 'the girl on the day before chemo no.5' talking. Its not really me. The real me was out on the cricket pitch last night. Yes, I had an Auschwitz hat, a dripping nose and was puffing like an old train for each run, but it was me alright, and it felt good.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

12 Happy Years

Its our 12th wedding anniversary today - linen and silk.

Blimey! 12 years!

We asked the 6 year old if she remembered the wedding.

'Course not!' she replied, 'I was just a seed!'

I am really struggling to remember a life when the 9 year old and the 6 year old weren't there. I feel like they've been around for as long as me!

If they had been around 12 years ago today, they would have LOVED it. The beautiful church where I was christened for the service, my pal's husband singing 'The Water of Tyne' as we signed the register, the little hall in the village for the reception (where at the age of 8 I squeaked out 'Hey Jude' on the clarinet with my dad and brother), the gallons of french wine and beer, the jazz provided by my dad and his old musician pals, and the speeches - my GOD, the speeches! Dad's was brilliant, Hubby's was brilliant, Best Man's was......Long. Very, very long. 13 pages of A4 paper later and my uncle George was nearly passing out with boredom, irritation and indigestion.

Thankfully, the speeches came to an end, and after a little while Uncle George had recovered sufficiently to play 'Let There Be Love' on the piano, at our request, for the first dance. It was magic. Sadly Uncle George is no longer here, but I'll never forget the way he played that tune of ours.

In case you're wondering - its NOT uncle George in the clip, - George had snowy white hair and a perfectly trimmed white tash - the fella in the clip is a lad called Nat King Cole - not quite as good as old Geordie, but not bad....

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Feeling A Bit Clanky

I should be writing this from a prison cell.

I'm not very good with cars. My last one was a chunky old Volvo which blew up completely because I didn't tell hubby that the engine was making a funny clanking noise. It would have cost thousands to fix, so hubby has stripped it down into 4 million bits and is busy selling them all on ebay.

I had a lush little mini called Albert before that, and unfortunately it blew up too because I didn't tell hubby that it was making a great big clanking noise.

So it was without surprise, that hubby noticed this morning that the tax on my car had expired on 31st March

Oh God - I've been driving around obliviously illegal for 3 weeks!

Without delay, I sprang into action and quickly ransacked the 'everything's in here' drawer to get the documents I needed. I Found the MOT - but it had expired on 1st April!

Please God, let me be insured at least. The certificate wasn't in the drawer so I rummaged around in the 'I'll do that later' pile and found it - but it had expired on 11th November 2009!

Hubby just looked at me with that face which said 'how many times have I told you to file your stuff and write expiry dates in the diary you silly mare.'

If he had opened his mouth to say those words, I would have got my shouty shirt on and yelled something like - 'At least I don't have half a bloody Volvo sitting on the dining room table,' but thankfully no-one said anything at all.

I found another insurance document, and Praise the Lord, it was an up to date one, so all I need is for it to pass its MOT tomorrow and I'm sorted, except that I can't find the form that they send you through the post - in fact I can't remember ever getting it in the first place.

Can anyone hear a clanking noise?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Dr Frankenstein

Here's another lovely song - and what a dish Jack Savoretti is - he's half English/half Italian. Hubby and I saw him live once - I think he was supporting Shawn Colvin one night, and he's lovely in real life too. We bought his album, and I got his autograph too. He's just a little lad - but great voice. This is another one of those 'enjoy life and love your family and pals' songs - I'll leave you to decide who your Dr. Frankenstein is!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Please Look After This Bear

What was written on Paddington Bear's label when he arrived at Paddington station from darkest Peru?

Would you have known the answer? We went to a pub quiz in our village a couple of weeks ago, and this was the ONLY answer that I got right. Our team-mates (and my hubby) were amazed with my Paddington Bear knowledge.

'Please look after this bear - thank you.'

When all the nasty-therapies are finished and the world record for the amount of champagne to be drunk has been broken, I want all my family to be Delhi Bears.

I've found the perfect break - it is 10 days of adventure, excitement, culture, wow-factors and fun. It is exactly the holiday that will help delete the darkest Peru bits of the last few months for all of us. I am desperate to do it, and I have the funds saved to achieve it.

All I have to do is convince my lovely husband. He wants to go too, but I know he'd rather bid for it on ebay and get a bargain. Admittedly, he's bloody good at bargains, and he probably could cobble this holiday together himself for about 14 pence, but I can't be bothered - I just want to pay someone a wad of dosh and say - 'hey you, Mr. Travel Company - My little family deserves a break - sort it please.'

The kids are with me on this one, but they know how much their dad prides himself on 'deein it himsel,' and they love having a dad that never needs to call out a plumber, or a sparky, or any other bloke - their fab dad can fix bloody anything!

But he couldn't fix me when we found out I was broken. And I know it absolutely did his head in that he couldn't just read a manual, buy a few tools and make the necessary repairs. For once, he was beaten. All he could do was chop half of Kielder Forest down to keep me warm.

The kids, meanwhile, set off round the village yesterday selling eggs. The 9 year old has worked out that our 5 hens need to lay 920 eggs to give him and his sister enough money to go up in a hot air balloon as an 'added extra' on the trip...

Its hubby's birthday the day after my last chemo. I'll have to have a flick through the Screwfix catalogue and see if they sell blue duffle coats, floppy black hats and marmalade sandwiches...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Be Prepared!

Its the end of the Easter hols....but WHY do I ALWAYS leave the 'getting ready to go back to school' thing, til the very last minute?

If I'd been a girl scout, I would be living by the motto - BE PREPARED!
But I was only an Imp in the Brownies, and so, the night before school...

1 - I discovered that their PE shirts had vanished off the face of the earth. They are bright, sunshine yellow, so I've cleverly replaced them with Brazil football shirts. Hopefully, Mrs B, the head won't notice.
2 - The 9 year old's shoes had fallen apart, but after few clicks with the stapler they were fixed.
3 - The fridge was bare. Not a lot I can do about that, so the 9 year old's packed lunch has a stale hot cross bun, 4 black olives and half a shortbread biscuit in it.

And so, on the eve of school, I did what I do best - I yelled and bawled at blank, not bovvered faces - 'You both need to be prepared! You need to take responsibility for yourselves! I can't do everything for you....'

I finally managed to get them into bed, and I congratulated myself as I laid their uniform out ready for the morning.

At precisely 1:12am, in a state of lovely sleepiness, I am aware of a little body climbing over my baldy head, and snuggling itself in next to me. The 6 year old does this every now and then, and with husband in Scotland for the next few nights, I didn't mind - she was lovely and warm.

When the alarm went off at 7:14am, I opened my eyes to see my gorgeous little sleeping girl curled up next to me. She wasn't wearing her little fairy nightie that I'd packed her off to bed in though - she was fully dressed in all her school uniform - navy tights, grey skirt, yellow shirt and blue sweat shirt - no wonder she'd been so bloody warm...but she was prepared!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

3 Cricketeers...and Nana

Am I really that little?!!

My lovely nana, who died back in 1984, was only a few feet tall. She hadn't always been so small, but each year she shrank like Mrs Pepperpot, until she was really teeny.

I think I look like my nana in the photo against the 3 gigantic cricket Angels.

I'll have to stop having so many hot baths - I think they must be making me shrink!

We organised our own little cricket practice this morning, and it was really good fun out in the fresh air. If 4 blokes had organised a little cricket session, there would have been 4 blokes there. But when 4 girly cricketers get together, then you also have 7 kids tagging along....needless to say it ended up as a big game of rounders with a tennis bat. Good slogging, hoying and catching practice though!

I wonder if I should sit in the greenhouse for a while...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

A Love/Hate Relationship

This is a difficult day to write about really.

I went to a funeral today. It was for someone that I didn't really know that well at all, but I felt that I absolutely had to be there.

The lady that had died was the foster mum of 3 children that go to my kids' first school. She died of cancer. I didn't even know she had cancer until about 3 weeks ago, and now she's dead. She has left behind 2 of her own boys in their early 20's and her 3 fostered kids - one of which she'd looked after for 6 years. She had given them all a wonderful, stable, loving home.

She would have been SO PROUD of her grown up boys at the funeral. They greeted everyone who had turned out (and there were many) and one of her lads bravely spoke about his mum in the service.

I'm not sure what will happen to the kids now - I know that one of her grown up boys has already said, without a thought for himself, that he would look after them. How wonderful that a strapping, handsome young lad in his 20's could even consider taking responsibility for 3 young children....could you do it? I couldn't...

I want to hate cancer. I want to wring it by its neck, stamp on it, and grind it into the ground with my heel, but its not going to go away, and it's pointless wasting time and energy hating it. We have to live with it, we have to watch people's lives suffer because of it, but we have to learn from it and become stronger together because of it.

After the service, I hope that everyone went home and gave their loved ones a bigger hug than usual, their kids a bit more time than usual, and picked up the phone to chat to a friend they hadn't spoken to in a while.

I think that's why I can't quite bring myself to really hate cancer like I know I should.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Not Today - I'm Washing My Hair

I thought it was about time that my little hairpiece had a good wash - I've been a bit scared to do it in case it ended up looking like a moth-eaten rag, but I've bitten the bullet.

So how do you wash a wig? Well, just in case you ever need to do it -

Fill a sink with warm water and a squirt of Johnson's Baby Shampoo - make sure it's the 'No more Tears' variety.

Plunge in the wig and swoosh it around carefully for a few moments.

Get frightened by how soggy, small and hairy it looks.

Lift it out, give it a little squeeze, then re-fill the sink with warm water.

Shoosh it around in the water to get rid of the bubbles, then give it a shake.

Set it up on its little stand in the shower and let it drip dry.

Tell the 6 year old that you thought you saw a rat going into the bathroom.

Then, just sit back, relax, and wait for the 6 year old to find it.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Mr. Blue Sky

I think it's time I posted a bit of a smile on here - there seem to have been a few too many tears and emotions splurged recently - sorry about that - I just can't help it at the moment! I just have to look at my 2 kids and I'm bealing! Flowers from a lovely friend today - bealing....

So anyway, picture the scene...

The 6 year old is sitting in the back of my car looking pretty smashing as she's on her way to a clarty party.

In fact, I don't look too bad myself, thanks to the 6 year old. 'You look like a little old man' she said this morning, as I was blow-drying the 14 hairs on my head, so I decided I should make an effort and get tarted up with mascara and lippy.

'Let's play us a song that'll get us going,' I said, and wound the window right down.

And so, for the 4 mile journey down the hill to the party we sang at the top of our was GREAT!

Enjoy the song - it's a good old oldie and a great one to lift the spirits. The daffodils are in full bloom, the birds are waking me up in the morning, and THE SUN SHONE HOTLY TODAY! Get in the net, and hello at last to Mr. Blue Sky!!!!

Thursday, 8 April 2010


Its chemo session no.4 today.

I dropped the kids off at football - the 6 year old bounced in, dressed as Ronaldhino. The 9 year old walked in a little more reluctantly, dressed as Gerrard. They'd been out practising in the garden since 7.50am waking up the entire village with full loud speaker commentary on every kick of the ball.

I had a cry when I left them. I couldn't help it. And I cried when I dropped their bags off at my dad's house.

'I just don't want to go,' I sniffed. I felt like I was 13 years old again, about to have that bloody chemistry exam. The one when I got just 40%.

They gave me a cuddle, had a little cry too and sent me on my way. It's harder for them, and I wish I hadn't cried.

A cup of tea and a biscuit from the lovely nurses soon brought me round - not like that AAAWFUL bloody hospital in town. (the nurses have given me the name of the guy I need to write to, to request a grand piano, artwork, canopes, gin & tonics etc...and don't worry - he'll be told!)

25 million syringes of cack.

And then home.

So what do you do after a day like that?

You go bloody shopping - that's what you do. A few clicks of the mouse, and £165.95 later, I've got a few lovely items of clothing that'll probably not fit, but I don't care, I feel MUCH better!

AND, as a friend so rightly said in a text today - 'Bubble today, Bubbly next week...'

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air

Tomorrow is the 4th chemo out of 6. Dreading it as usual, but if we're looking at the map of the UK again, I reckon I'll be in Glasgow by tomorrow...almost at John O'Groats.

Its the Easter Hols, and whilst the 6 year old was staging her second attempt to win a medal on a football course, the 9 year old decided he would just stay at home with his mum. Little did he know that I wouldn't be letting him play on the wii all day - I had other plans.

I fancied a walk - a good old fresh air walk in the hills.

The little rucksack came out, and in went a flask of tea, a bottle of juice, 2 packets of cheese and onion crisps and 2 Twirls.

Who would have thought that a 6 mile walk in the hills would be so fab, but it was. We were mobbed by a dozen Shetland ponies, we plodged in the claggy clarts, we listened to the birds, and we scoffed our Twirls for strength before tackling a gigantic steep climb - worth the view at the top.

But the company was the best bit. Putting the world to rights with my 9 year old son was magic, and we both agreed that we'd do it again soon....

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Don't Get Shirty With Me!

I was rummaging around in a drawer yesterday looking for something to wear.

I came across one of my favourite short sleeved shirts that I'd bought last summer. I had worn it during a few of my appointments throughout the December of Doom. Every time I wore it, we seemed to get some good news like - 'its only grade 1,' or 'the operation has been successful,' etc.

I pulled it out and thought it must be a lucky shirt.

At that moment, the 6 year old came in.

'Don't wear that shirt!' she screamed, holding one hand up like a policeman stopping the traffic.

'But it's my lucky shirt,' I protested.

'No its not,' she said gravely, 'it's your shouty shirt. Whenever you wear that shirt, you shout.'

'Shout? I never shout! And I've never shouted in this shirt.'

The 6 year old then took great pleasure in reeling off all the occasions that I had shouted whilst wearing the shirt...

'Remember when I couldn't find my school shoes? Remember when we were in the car, and no-one would let you out of the junction? Remember when my brother smashed your favourite cereal bowl...'

'Ok Ok, I'll not wear the shouty shirt!' I said. 'I didn't realise that I shouted so much.'

'Only when you're wearing that shirt,' she said disappearing out of the room, 'just wear the stripy one instead.'

I folded the shouty shirt and put it back in the drawer. It was a lucky shirt, a shouty shirt, and perhaps all along it had really been a stressed out shirt. Whatever kind of shirt it was, it was back in the drawer, and the stripy shirt came out for the day instead!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

This Must Be The Place

I thought I'd just post a song today.

Its my favourite song in the world, and its performed by Shawn Colvin, my favourite singer.
The song is actually written by David Byrne from Talking Heads, but Shawn sings it beautifully.

Its a love song, and it has some wonderful lines like 'When you're standing here beside me, I love the passing of time...' and 'Out of all those kinds of people, you've got a face with a view...'

Obviously, I have dedicated this song many times to my lovely hubby, but I also think its a song that can be applied to friendship too - 'I am just an animal, looking for a home, to share the same space for a minute or two...'

I'm very lucky to have so many lovely friends - so this one's for you lot.