Friday 12 October 2012

In Loving Memory

It is with deep sadness that we write today as a family to tell you of the passing of Moannie on Monday 8th October 2012.

We would like you all to know that your messages and gifts have been, throughout her long illness, a genuine source of comfort to her and to us all. She would often talk about her 'blogging', the friends she had made and the wonderful stories you told. She thought of you as her extended family and one of the most upsetting effects of her illness was the fact she could no longer 'talk' to you all from her beloved, if temperamental computer 'Paco'.

Although this will be the last posting on her blog, as a tribute to Mum and you, her followers, 'The View From This End' will remain live so that we can all continue to spend time with her.

Mum, you touched so many lives. We hope you realise just how much.

You are loved and missed.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Sunday evening catch up

Just a short post to tell you all that Mum/Moannie was readmitted to the Hospice on Wednesday; whilst her meds are being reviewed and a hospital bed is being installed at home for her and her carers convenience.

Mum is very tired at the moment as her meds have given her some issues which need addressing and require her to be monitored. We expect her to return home by next weekend, where she will be more comfortable. The new bed, as I understand it,  is an all dancing and singing one, whereby she can alter the mattress for her back and legs, giving better support. Sounds great, I think I want one!!

This time obviously gives Dad/JP some respite to relax, catch up on sleep and doze in front of the French News this I am guessing he will be up a ladder out in the garde, hedge trimming, cutting down the overgrown bit and bobs that have been calling to him as he's been on duty with Mum. and he's naughty 'cos he knows he should be taking it easier himself ..but then have you ever tried to tell a french man what to do, when and how to do it!! No way Jose...I mean Jean- Pierre!

back here soon, meanwhile keep the positive thoughts coming...thank you!

Saz xx

Sunday 30 September 2012

On their behalf...

When I wrote the last post I said it was Mum's intention to write you all very soon and indeed it was. She has been receiving so many lovely comments, support, cards, gifts and love from so many of you out there that she wanted to write to all you very badly.

However, I have been chatting with Dad/JP this evening and as Mum's condition seems to be declining rather more quickly than any of us expected, he asked me to write and thank you all for supporting her with all your comments and good wishes. This is on behalf of Mum/Moannie as well as from Dad/JP,  as he has been very touched by the effect that you have had on her over the years and more importantly recently. Dad doesn't really understand this technology of the internet and blogging, he doesn't use a mobile phone but has enjoyed hearing the stories and reading some of Mum/s favourite posts etc when she would print them out for him.

I'm sorry to have have to tell you that Mum cannot get to her beloved Paco and is rarely out of bed now.
I'm sure you can all in fill in the blanks.

I will continue to to post here ( as my brother and sister may do so also ) and I will keep you informed as to Moannie's condition. She is still  at home with Dad looking after her, Milou is on guard at the bottom of the stairs; my brother NOAOS visits most days and shores up our Dad; my sister visited this weekend and made some hearty soup that they both relished and sat with Mum throughout the weekend.

Again thank you for always stopping by and being here.

luv Saz xx

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Some good news...

I am very pleased to be able to tell you that this afternoon, Mum/Moannie came home.

After two weeks in the Hospice, she has be well looked after, monitored and her symptoms have been relieved. She has begun to sleep better through the night and so has more energy.

So tonight she is very comfortable and happy to be surrounded by the comfort of her own home, and l'm guessing that means JP and Milou as well!

pic taken by my sister a few weeks ago

I will keep you updated on her progress and no doubt when she can get to Paco she may well post to you all very soon. At the moment she is not up to receiving visitors, but in the meantime we will continue to pass your comments and kind thoughts on to her and to JP/Dad who is doing an amazing job of which I am in total awe.

back soon

Sara xx

Wednesday 29 August 2012

A big hello to you All!
This is Sara writing on behalf of Mum/Moannie... she asked me to give you all an update as she is unable at this time to get to her beloved Paco and write to you all in her own inimitable fashion.

Yesterday she was in some discomfort with her breathing and it was decided it was best that she be admitted  into the local Hospice for monitoring and  assessment.

Last night NOAOS reported that she was comfortable and feeling safe and cared for.
Today JP/Dad and I visited her; although she is very tired and struggling, l am pleased to say she is not in any pain. As the Doctors and nurses continue to monitor her, the aim appears to be to get her as comfortable as possible with a view to coming home.

She sends you all her love and wants you to know that your comments have moved her very much and help to sustain her. My father, siblings and I are so very touched by your constant visits to her blog and please continue to drop by, as we read them all the comments and emails to her at each visit.

Sara x

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Now That Wasn't So Hard, Was It?

As it turned out the decision was not that difficult. When faced with only two choices neither  of which one does not truly became almost an eeny meeny miney mo,  choice, and I came down on the side of 'do nothing' and I'm pleased I did. Now the full might of the NHS and the  Hospice are swinging into action to ease my way and all I have to do is get the most out of the time I have; hopefully I shall feel better than I feel at the moment.

The policy of the Hospice  movement is 'Do not resuscitate' and at first I had some trouble with it. Was assured that if, for example I was choking on a stringy French bean every effort would be made to help me, whereas they would make no effort to resuscitate if I suffered a major heart attack, or coronary    for example when  a life saved would be spent unconscious and hooked up to machines. I have opted for a home delivery [nice touch, l thought for I shall be delivered after a fashion.] But all that is way down the line.
Someone will tell me, I hope, if I stray outside of the boundaries of what is decent and tasteful to discuss on an open Blog...though perhaps it's to late to worry about being 'nice'.

Fact is; it doesn't really matter, does it?

Tuesday 7 August 2012

A Rock and a Hard Place

Dear everyone, you must know how happy it makes me to receive your comments. At the moment I am between a rock and a very hard place, hence the title. Last week I went with NOAOS to see my Consultant with regard my recent scan results. It ain't good. The Fecker has come back with a vengeance in the last two months since I have ceased Chemo treatment. The Consulting room was filled with an air of doom and nobody could meet my eyes. Looks to the ground and walls as I tried to take in the news.

A short sharp shock of Radiotherapy has just made me feel worse. There were supposed to be no side effects but it has wiped me out completely.

Two choices my friends: let nature take its course, or undergo more Chemo which I know is going to be difficult if not impossible.

My Consultant says that if I do nothing I have between 3-6 months, to quote her "it's very difficult to say for sure, as everyone is different". That's the Rock, as for the Hard Place it's a case of Chemo again only this time it will be less effective than before and more devastating for me physically with a view to extending my days. I honestly don't know what to do but I have to make a decision by the weekend or further treatment will be ineffective. Whatever I decide I will keep writing or dictating my Blog until the end. You have been warned!

At the same time as this going on, JP went into Hospital yesterday for a triple A; Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. I am very relieved to say that the operation seems to have gone well. A Stent was inserted into place to relieve the pressure. They reckon it would have ruptured within six months. Talk about fate, it was only discovered by accident when he passed some blood. Turned out it was a Kidney Stone (which didn't cause any pain) and was sent for a routine Ultrasound check-up, whereupon they saw the 'bubble'. He is due to come home in a few days but remains to be seen how he will be going forward.

As someone who 'manages' me and has been my Primary Carer for the last year, we will have to lean on each other from now on. Not the way I wanted or believed it would turn out but there's still time to pull out the Million to 1 shot and take the Fecker down!

Thank you my friends for your continued thoughts, prayers and love. It has made a huge difference over this last year and of course since we met in Blogland.

It ain't over 'til it's over.

Friday 20 July 2012

Marking Tme

For the purpose of reassuring those who are still interested in this old bird, I am happy to report that I am still walking around, upright and with increasing strength.  I had thought, hoped, that I had seen the worst of what treatment could throw at me and that I would be able to draw a line under the whole sorry business and could go back to writing stuff that was all about fun and normality-but 'twas not to be-Radiotherapy was and continues to tire me out I have an itchy rash over most of my head and sleep comes only through the auspices of Zopiclone.

I personally am  bored rigid with the whole wretched business so heaven only knows why any of you stay with me.

Doesn't help matters when each day is grey wet and or windy.


Thursday 5 July 2012

I decided to re-publish a post that made you laugh me time to shake off the lethargy bought on by radiotherapy.

It happened a few days ago and at first I was so agitated that I said nothing, knowing that if I started on him I might do major damage, and spousal abuse is frowned upon.

Milou has slept under my bed since he was a puppy, when he was less weighty and could jump up to and from the bed easily. He would spend an hour or so snuggled up to me and then, irritated with my restlessness would jump down and crawl under. At first he did not have to duck his head or bend his legs even though there was only eight inches of clearance from the floor to the solid oak frame. But as he has grown older he is obliged to duck and slither underneath and JP, for whom Milou is, well 'special' on a par with the French Rugby team, ripe Camembert, and Napoleon and well ahead of Moi-has become concerned that it is getting too difficult for him.

JP. 'e 'as to do ze limbo to get under zair.
Me. I think it keeps him limber. Limber/limbo-hehe, geddit?
JP. No...I 'ave to do something.

The next day I see him taking some bricks upstairs but it doesn't really register until later. My lovely bed is now on four bricks and I am incandescent.

Me. No, I hate them. Please, take them out of my room.
JP. But you can't see zem.
Me. No, but I caught my foot on one and I hate them. Take them out, now, please.

And this is where I shot myself in the foot.

Me. Anyway, you've made a gigantic booboo because there are four supports underneath that were holding up the centre and are now in mid-air and now I'll break our thirty year old bed that you paid a thousand pounds for and which was supposed to last us till our final breaths.
He went to have a look and came down again with the bricks and I breathed a sigh of relief.

The next day I spent a couple of hours with NOAO son who had taken me to the Supermarket for a big shop. On my return we unpacked and put away the goodies and he made me a cuppa.

JP. I've fixed ze bed.
Me. [wailing] Oh noooooo! What have you done?
JP. [looking very pleased with himself] You won't see any sing. No bricks exposed and Milou will be 'appy.

I rush upstairs and don't know whether to laugh or cry because it's true there is nothing to see because my bloody bed is LEVITATING!


The thing is that now I'm stuck with it. What he did was to crawl underneath and somehow, Lord knows how because the bed is extremely heavy; and  managed to wedge wooden blocks under each of the four middle legs, thus rendering the four outer legs obsolete. I certainly could not remove them. JP refuses to now that Milou can simply walk in and out. NOAO son can hardly walk never mind shimmy under my bed and the only other male candidate is youngest daughter's beau who said that he would not dare undo JP's sterling work.

If you read one day, that an elderly Frenchman, who had led a presumably happy life with his darling wife, is found dead with a Camembert stuffed in his mouth, you will know that I had nothing to do with his demise.

Since writing this the bricks have been removed and Milou now sleeps downstairs.

Thursday 21 June 2012


I have just written a rather fine piece, funny and articulate of course, all about my run in with nerves over the prospect of Radiotherapy. I described how I linked that fear to the five-year little girl who was having treatment for Ringworm with what she had been told was an 'electric needle' and realised that the little girl must have been terrified and for all my antipathy to psycobabble and my belief that you should 'suck it up and get on with it' I took away with me from a counsellor at the Hospice some coping skills and decided that I would take that little girl into the room with me and keep her calm.

I just got to that point when a box came up offering me some edit or other. I pressed no and lost the whole thing.

I now only have one more session to go and I'm done with more CT scan and one more visit to the Consultant and life can slowly get back to normal.

My fears?? Well I was so nervous I forgot all about the little girl and concentrated all my efforts on not throwing up.Ten minutes of placing my head in the right position and taking measurements and five minutes or less of the ray gun.A piece of cake. The worst thing about the whole deal was the discomfort of lying dead still on the uncomfortable metal table and the ripping off of the tape which was holding my head in place. I've had some headaches...but they could just as well be caused by the tightness of every muscle in my body when the machine starts its job. And the fact that it is every day but, as I have learned some folks have six weekly sessions and I have just had five days...I have been very has the little five year old girl.

Wednesday 6 June 2012





Tuesday 29 May 2012

This and That

Lately I have been disorientated. There has been a terribly bright object in the sky sending down rivers of heat. Even the nights have been warm. I have been going out to sit in its glow, coming inside again when I got too hot and in between just sitting, agog with wonder at the apparition which caused people to shed clothing [especially blokes who really shouldn't] and actually made everyone smile for no reason.

Today the madness is over; the skies are grey and overcast and it just might rain...heyho!

I am beginning to get over my baldness. Something appears to be sprouting...very white and curly, about half a centimetre...people stare...and for the briefest of moments think "Ah!" and "Thank God it isn't me." then they look away, embarrassed knowing I know what they're thinking  for I would have thought the same...before.

Began a book which I shall definitely finish. Called Triptych  by the aptly named Karin Slaughter it is a murder mystery. A writer new to me but she is good, very good, incredible plotting and in depth detailing not often I'm page turning with shaking hands...even though I did suss out the bad guy early on the race is on to see true justice done.

It didn't rain after all.

Tuesday 15 May 2012


Write something, anything, remember Annie how a blank sheet of paper was always a challenge? Don't say nothing's happening, something is always happening. So get on with it.

Sazzie has been down here with us since last Friday. Lovely to see her and feed her, boy does she love her food, a joy to cook for, and I have been cooking again. She and JP have gone to the Hospital for his third CT scan...he's getting quite the old hand.

JP had a Hypoglycaemic episode on Saturday afternoon. He was mowing the lawn and I said, not putting two and two together 'You look dreadful, come and sit down' but he carried on until Sazzie said she would finish up t he job.  Suddenly he sat down next to me and began  talking gibberish and looked as if he had had a stroke. I ran into the house for a tube of Glucose [they are in every room] and Saz ran for sugar water and a banana. Luckily he didn't lose consciousness but couldn't stand for some time before getting him into the house. Two hours later he was back to normal and could not remember a thing he had said or done...just as well.
Oh, and Milou would not leave his side...just kept close with a look of such anxiousness in his lovely brown eyes.

Saturday was also the first day that I was able to use my new Cradle Hammock...not the lovely hammock I imagined but jolly comfortable and 'twas cheap. It has rained or been too cold every day since I bought the thing a month ago.

I am well. I get a bit stronger every day and am going to have a six week break before Radiography thank goodness, I was truly dreading it.

NOAOS is still in lots of pain but is showing a remarkable recovery...he is determined to be back behind the wheel earlier that the six-week period his doctor said.

So there you have it...a page filled. Perhaps it might be a good idea for me to dredge up something from 'The History' for my next post. Anyway, I'm still here and you my loves, are there. XXX

Monday 7 May 2012

Electric needles.

Oncologist has suggested to might be fun to have a few sessions of Radiotherapy and I, irrationally, am scared stupid. I know that there are side effects to this treatment but my doses would be very light in comparison to those for whom it could be dangerous, and my hesitation seemed seriously debilitating, until, that is, my Eureka moment last night.

As always when presented with an enigma, I simply worry it the way a dog worries a bone. Then light dawned...of course I am going to be afraid of I was at aged five. Terrified of the giant machine containing 'electric needles' which were going to remove all my hair and the dreaded Ringworm infesting my scalp.
I must have been one of the first children to be treated by this new discovery of Radium...I cannot help but think it was like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

NOAOS has left hospital a day early with his new knee.
JP has three scans next week.
Must bathe the dog.
Still no sunshine.

Friday 20 April 2012


Went to see my Oncologist yesterday. A scheduled visit to learn the results of my latest scan and find out if the Fecker is resisting or waving surrender. She shows me the first scan taken of my chest some months ago and puts the latest scan next to it and the effect is startling. Not gone completely, that would be a miracle, but reduced from half my lung to a mere small strip that will be smithereened by my next and last chemo. I now have a good chance of a period of remission where I shall be back to my old fighting form and my garden party idea is firming up.

NOAOS who was with me, grinned like a good 'un and gave me a high five...Saz hooted and punched the air [she told me she did, she was on the phone] and Lita Mona burst into tears of joy and relief when I called her; and JP smiled and hugged me.

 How can I fail to get better when wrapped in so much love?

Now we can concentrate on NOAOS's op in two weeks time and JP's triple A stent op.

Monday 9 April 2012

Little Voice

NOAOS says that he misses the old me, that I am too quiet now, lost in my own thoughts or simply half asleep... he misses me.
I know he's right...I don't have anything to say...don't even have anything to write either. 

'What would I talk about,' I ask.

'What you were reading or had read. A film, a news story. Something you had cooked or were intending to; what the dog did, what dad said. You had an opinion on everything.'

I mull this over then my digress button switches my thoughts again and I remember what had occupied me early this morning and wonder was it worth repeating. I had been thinking of a radio program I'd heard the evening before...a conversation between two comedians... Mark Steele and Jeremy ? Couldn't for the life of me remember his surname. I went through the alphabet...Jeremy A, Jeremy B etc.. I must have worried that particular bone for half an hour. As if my life depended on it. Then it came to me...Hardy, Jeremy Hardy...phew!
 I'm still trying to think of something to say that would be worth the effort. How to explain that nowadays I don't have an opinion about anything because nothing has any importance and it all takes strength I don't have to justify this stance. I hate it...this aching tiredness that effects even inside my head. I realise that I have been quiet for sometime. I have to say something.

‘I should think you would welcome the break,’ I say weakly.

‘Ah Ma! You’ll be back...just get the chemo over with and you will be back to normal.’

‘I hope so, love.’ And I want to add “or it has not been worth the effort” but I don’t have the energy.

Monday 2 April 2012

Best to say it...

Almost ready to drop off into that mysterious place where I sleep with the help of zopi something or other; a thought entered my head and needed voicing.

'Where would I be if I didn't have you?'
At first I thought he had already fallen asleep or was doing the old trick of ignoring me.

'Well, we wouldn't be here for a start.'

'I don't mean had I not met you in the fifties, ensnared you,  married you and had kids. And of course that would be all different.' I day dream a petite moment on how I might have hooked up with a calm stiff upper lip type...
I'm talking about what you have done, what you do for me, how you don't stop working and carry out all or most [the house is not the cleanest it's ever been]   of the daily chores.Without you I would be lost, or tucked away in some Council Nursing Home.'

'Not as long as I'm breathing, cherie. Go to sleep'

I love it when he is masterful.

Saturday 24 March 2012

A Visit to Chemo

Or, my original title, abandoned when the strike through wouldn't work in the title box...

The C word ward.

Cathedral ward is not a ward in the normal sense of beds and lockers. It is a large room where large comfy looking [but growing steadily more uncomfortable as the hours drag by] leather armchairs line the walls  in curtained bays. Each bay has a wall of plugs, lights, and fan behind the chairs, and drip stands with special boxlike attachments which cleverly time the speed of the poisons delivered to us in an effort to kill or cure us or, in my case, prolong my life.

All the chairs are occupied. Some patients relax and read or do puzzles others talk to their companions, seldom is anyone alone. NOAOS and I talk or play scrabble on his remarkable phone. He is not too well this week and it is very hot in the ward. An hour drags by as my arms are wrapped in a heat pad in an effort to enlarge my tiny veins .
Success at last only two attempts,then 10minutes of a flush, 30 minutes first chemo. bag, another flush and final chemo. bag of 60minutes  and another flush. Only 3hours and 40 minutes...then another wait as my drugs are collected explained and handed over..  I was given some Steroids so I'm quite happy.  No time today for joy rides so it is straight back home.

I nag NOAOS to make an appointment to see his doctor. He now has a date for his knee replacement operation; please please let there be an end to his pain.

I feel OK but I know that by day two/three that awful lethargy will have hit me and I'll be good for nada. Still, just one more to go and we'll see.

Ta Ta darlings. Hope I haven't written anything that could scare a truly is a pain free experience simply rather boring...oh and take your own lunch...their sandwiches are either processed cheese or ham.

And the nurses are all totally fabulous, hard-working, dedicated, funny and have become friends.

Monday 19 March 2012

A Mother's Day

Mothering Sunday was all about that; about me mothering my kids and everyone mothering me. An early call from Sazzie  started the day and JP bought me the card and pressies she had left with him. Bathed and dressed I started to prep. the food for lunch...topside of beef, crispy tatties, Yorkshire pudding and Cauliflower cheese. I was feeling quite good...took it slowly and JP was my sous chef.

Lita Mona and her Mart were first to arrive and as the meal was set for one o/clock we started without NOAOS who texted he would be late. He arrived as we were finishing but he still enjoyed was all pretty good if I do say so myself.

The rest of the afternoon was spent following the sun, plenty of chat and laughs and I even got pushed to the end of the road and round the block with Milou trying to out run me.

They all insist that my hair is growing again though it remains a millimetre of fuzz to me.

Back for Chemo on Friday...just when I'm starting to feel human again.

Today it is sunny again and it is no chore to sit in the garden and watch the birds. I must not, ever, complain that it is too hot; having moaned constantly that I am 'cold to my bones'.

Almost six months now since this all kicked off...I'm wondering how many of those months are 'extras' I might not have had, had I not gone to see my Dr. for a beastly cough.

Think the pills are kicking in...I don't feel quite as depressed, or maybe it is just seeing the sun.

Not the best post ever, but it is all getting rather samey and there is only so much doom and gloom anyone can stand.

Adios mi amigos

Sunday 11 March 2012


In an effort to publish something that has nothing to do with the Fecker I went into my back log and found this in draft. It comes from The Family History so it is quite possible it has already appeared. For that I apologise and for those for whom it is new I will explain that Harry was my stepfather, Mick my elder brother and Fairy my grandmother, mother's mother.

I think it only fair that I should make an effort to flesh out the character of my stepfather Harry .  I have called him evil and malign and he was, but I did not know that at the time as I was too young to put a name to evil, except in the context of sin as it had been drummed into me by the nuns. To lie was sinful; to steal something or to cheat was also sinful, to kiss my brother in the street was a sin as was running, dancing or singing, leaving food on my plate, vomiting, forgetting my place and having a sinful mother. What I did know was that he was cruel and had hate in his heart. He never, in all the years I lived under his roof, hit me and only once did he raise his hand to me [that was the day he knew he had lost the battle]  He had been married before and had a child named Tony and this child had died a terrible death in a scalding accident.  Perhaps he had once been a normal happy-go-lucky man, but by the time he met mother he was the man he would be for the next 40 odd years. He determined to have another child and had chosen mum as the perfect candidate. He wooed her wisely, taking his time to gain her confidence but she was adamant, she did not love him and never could, she told him. One night he took her home, she was crying because another man had taken the test and failed. A few G&T’s and my ever fertile mother was hooked.
They married eventually and my brother Tony was born and during these events Mick and I were sent to stay with Fairy.

My Grandmother, Lillian did not have a happy life; a fact that was reflected in her disposition which was sour, and in her features, which were pinched and bitter, And I often wondered why someone who was so obviously unhappy, should choose to answer to the nickname, Fairy.  On the death of her husband, she had a succession of ‘boyfriends’. One I remember in particular was Alphonse. He was a small man, almost a caricature of our image of a Frenchman, lacking only the striped jersey and a string of onions. Alphonse was a dapper dresser, always wearing a pin striped suit and a waistcoat with a gold watch and chain draped across his front, a camel overcoat and a homburg hat. He had a jolly smile that stretched his pencil thin moustache across his shiny red cheeks. 

Poor Alphonse was unceremoniously dumped from Fairy’s bed and turned out of the house when Mick and I arrived for an unscheduled stay during one of mother’s crises. They met up later at the local pub and Mick and I spied on them through the glass patterned door with Ind Coop & Alsop etched into it. He passed us lemonade and crisps and winked hugely. 
Granny Young believed strongly in the old adages that children should be seen and not heard, should speak only when spoken to, that the Devil made work for idle hands, and that cleanliness was next to godliness [at least where it concerned her old solid fuel, built into the wall, black, cast iron range] We were roused at daybreak, breakfasted on bread and dripping and then had to perform our chores. Mick had to clean all the shoes, clear out the clinkers from the stove and chop wood. I had to make the beds, sweep the two bedrooms and down the stairs [all with a dustpan and brush] and then blacken the hated stove. I used a boot brush to put on the black polish and then had to buff it all over with another brush. I was ten at the time and Mick twelve.[so this must have been at the time of Tony’s birth] I have no recollection of school then, but as Granny had to go to work we were obliged to find something to occupy the hours until she returned.  We would go down the road and visit with great granny Gregory sometimes. Just a short visit because she was very old by then and slept a great deal. She lived in a small room that smelled of talcum powder and lavender water, in the house belonging to Aunt Rose who was married to granny Young’s brother, Teddy.  I believe Teddy was quite successful at whatever he did, because we seldom saw him out of his working clothes of suit and black overcoat. He too wore a Homburg hat and was very tall and serious. He had a large car that we were forbidden to touch.[Perhaps he was an undertaker] Great granny looked rather like the old Queen Victoria. She always wore a long black dress with a white lace collar and a square of lace sat on her swept up white hair.  She would offer us a biscuit but usually forgot and nodded off to sleep before she had delivered. We would giggle and creep out of the room. I think we probably went to see whether she would ever remove the lid off the tin or if sleep would win.

            I remember Granny Young mostly for her unkindness; she took food meant for us and cooked it for herself and Alphonse while we were made to eat Tripe Ugh! - And for her uncompromising meanness of spirit. She never had a good word to say for our mother, whom we adored in the way that only innocent children can love their mother; never missing a chance to denigrate her for her glamour and joi de vivre. Only in the evening, when-having taken out the flat metal curlers that had been hidden all day under a scarf tied into a turban - she would comb out her dark hair and twist the curls around her finger, powder her face and cover her thin lips with a dark red lipstick. Then her small bright eyes would twinkle and she would be off to the Pub with Mick and me trailing behind. Whatever the weather we were made to stand on the narrow pavement against the wall and wait for her. Customers would come and go and each time the door opened we would be assailed by the smells of beer, cigarettes and humanity.  If, as was sometimes the case, she exited the worse for wear, we would each take a side and half carry her home.  No matter how blathered she had been the night before, when we were called out of bed in the morning she would be there, hair tightly curled, turban on her head and her pinafore tightly tied around her, ready for the day ahead.

Tuesday 6 March 2012


Six months ago JP and I had it all sussed out, life was routine, uneventful and bordering on the boring. That was the time when you could set your watch by the morning and afternoon dog walks, by breakfast lunch and dinner. There were my jobs-housework, shopping, dog, cooking-and his usually involving a chopper and wood or secateurs and wood.

Then the Flecker arrived and everything changed overnight.
The carer became the cared for.

At first it was impossibly hard for him, and a man for whom exercise meant a short walk to the end of the road each morning and a swing around the Supermarket once a week now had two dog walks a day and countless trips up and down our 16 very steep stairs [actually he did count the times one day but gave up at 29] He has learnt to cook  adding to his repertoire of tomato sauce he can  now present me with a perfectly boiled egg and toast soldiers, pasta's and various vegetables.  He helped me bathe and dress for five weeks before the helped kicked into place and now that is the only thing he doesn't have to do for me on a bad day.

And I am a bad tempered harridan and rarely say here is my very public declaration of gratitude for the brilliant way he has turned so many minuses into pluses. One of which is that he now is super fit.


Thursday 1 March 2012


 I'm fed up today. Woke up with the grumps for no particular reason.  Things have been going quite well [touching wood] lately, had my fiith chemo without any major dramas' and even the sun is making itself more and more visible so the cause of my sour mood is hardly obvious.

I'm fed up appearing to be brave...brave I certainly am not in fact I tend to quiver internally non-stop, a quiver which makes my hands shake knees pop and gives me palpitations.

I'm fed up being asked to verbalise my thoughts on the mistaken assumption that my agonised looks indicate they have meaning beyond wondering if the two seagulls I have been watching are going to get it on. I think 'small' to cook the front door of my son's house black or white can I manage another half hour on the couch, shall I take a sleeping pill tonight?

Went to spend the day at the Hospice yesterday and it was a good day, had some laughs saw lots of folks worse than me being bright and brave and ready. I even managed to go outside and look for the Labyrinth

walk a little way then sit for a while in the splendid sunshine. One day I shall walk it entirely...supposed to make one feel 'something'.

I'm off to give up more blood, my darlings...the local vampire 'hang out' [geddit] does very well by me.

Soon with much more better stuff [nod to Suldog]

Thursday 16 February 2012


Yesterday was such a good day. Though, like most days that are 'marked' as different it began with a hospital appointment for  pre-assessment before Friday's Chemo. Blood was taken and the gods were smiling , because rather than the trooping of the Vampires standing in line to prove that they can find a little nurse hit it first time and we were done and dusted and out of there before the cock crowed eleven. A minor detour to pick up some work for NOAOS and the world was our oyster, scallop or cockle. (The reason for the seafood theme will emerge tout de suit  )

First stop was B&Q in Canterbury [for those of you from foreign parts B&Q is a vast store selling everything you could possibly need to build a house including bathroom and kitchen. It is also a garden centre.]
NOAOS had a time of it shuttling between my chair and the large wagon as I chose three large pkts compost, two cherry trees and a plum tree and five rose bushes. (And if that isn't a clear case of optimism I don't know what is.)

By the time we had arranged for delivery we were both getting hungry and we decided to listen to JP for once and his suggestion that we eat at a restaurant in Whitstable and, once again luck was with us with a parking space outside the place from which the most heavenly and well remembered smells were wafting out and around our heads so that we looked like the Bisto Kids raising our noses  and sniffing like bloodhounds on the scent of a good gravy. The dining room was packed but we found two seats and ordered, mouths salivating..


Now I am a bit of a connoisseur of fish and chips having owned and run one for a short while [it was too successful and we sold it sharpish] and it is many years since I have had anything that tasted half as good...either the fish had been frozen or the batter too thick or soggy and chips too greasy. Our plates, when they arrived  overflowed with dry crisp chips and a large piece of fish in crispy bubbles of batter. It was, like the best meal ever...accompanied by bread and butter [a must] sweet gherkin and a mug of tea we were silent as we chomped our way through our pesci. delights, stopping only for the occasional thumbs up or gulp of oxygen.

At one time fish and chips was a poor man's dish, as cheap as the newspaper it came wrapped in. Not any more. Ours  did cost the equivalent of a steak but hey, 'twas worth every penny.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Come Spring!

I keep saying a mantra; Come spring and I will be better. Come spring and simply seeing the sun will be enough to make everything right...come the Springtime all will be well.

I've planned a party. The garden will look wonderful, all Lavender and roses. JP's grape vine will be flourishing in it's new position facing due south and the hammock I have fallen in love with will have arrived and been hung and invites me to swing.. All the children will be here and we will have cooked up a storm of chicken and potato salad and crudités, of  crisp French bread and a groaning cheeseboard.

I forgot to say that of course the weather will be perfect, warm enough to be glad of that breath of a breeze and the touch of a new cashmere  cardie...a perfect compliment to my maxi dress of  voile.

Of course you are all welcome

Tuesday 31 January 2012


Since the advent of The Flecker I've changed. To be expected most of you will odd if you hadn't.You must be apprehensive, angry, frustrated at your lack of control over the day to day running of your household...irritated by the restrictions the symptoms place upon you..and yes, a little bit of all of that comes into it but the biggest change is in my attitude to the world around me.

I just don't care who is running the Rovers Return or the Queen Vic. It means naught to me if  Dr. Who regenerates without me or if the Daleks take over the world. I have no interest in knowing which of the three Stoogies have put their foot in their mouths and lied to us again on National telly, nor do I care who wins
 the US presidency, who is the chef du jour, who escaped the Jungle, skated their socks off, won any one of Cowell's tacky shows or became a multi-millionaire over night. I cannot read further than the first lines of any book or newspaper before losing interest and spend a good deal of time staring off into space while listening to Radio Four...the only medium that does not bore me to tears. 
The wide circle I do care about encompasses half the world includes the family of course and old friends and my blogging mates.

As for the rest it's still all about me.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Back but empty-headed

It's been a bit rough and Saz has kept you up to date so no point in re-hashing.

Suffice it to say I am once again attached to the Net, and I will never turn my computer off again, ever. NOAOS has fixed it so that Paco 'hibernates' who'd of thunk it? Oh and MLS, I didn't do it and don't know how to undo it, but for you and all of us who hate will get fixed.

I hate how I feel...just...not well. Tired, of course  and a little bit icky and a little bit this and a little bit that; and the cellulitus in my arm, caused, unbelievably by the rubbing of the plastic name tab at the Hospice of all places, means I must try to sleep with my arm elevated and the cashmere scarf tied to the bedpost precisely for that purpose raised a few eyebrows.

My hair is growing in, curly, and the fact that it is also snowy white is making me look more bald than ever. Rather like a bald eagle.

And now a picture to make you smile, circa 1972

The blonde and the Bad Boy

Sunday 8 January 2012

Streeeeeee-ike Three? Or, here Pussy.

Because of my tiny deep veins I am left with massive bruises each time a Vampire comes to take blood, it was decided that I should have a PIC line installed...a permanent line inserted beneath the skin from an arm along the Brachial into or near the heart. This was to be done two days before Chemo. So, last Wednesday NOAOs took me over to the hospital for what should have been a quick routine job. Turned out to be another four hours before we left and as I was washed out went straight home.

On Friday I noticed that my left hand was swollen [the side where the PIC line had been inserted] and my heart sank and with good reason; what should have been at the most, a three hour stay ended up to be six and a half plus some bad news.

By the time I was first seen, doctors consulted,  scans decided, waiting times counted, scan completed, colleagues consulted and decisions made and finally passed on to me, and two hours had past. Seems that the Line was in three centimetres too far, that I now had a blood clot or two and...icing on the cake kiddos...would have to inject myself into my abdomen once every evening for...whistles bell and drum roll here please:


You couldn't make it up, could you.

By the time the chemotherapy had run in and we were finally home and was still murmuring 'six months, I should live that long.'

But then I thought...strike are out kiddo. But NOAOS son said
'What if all this time you are not that strikee, but the cat with nine lives? Still got 6 for the feckers to feck up.

There's a thought.

Tuesday 3 January 2012




I am not actually terribly political...and as JP swore that his father never used insurers etc and look at him, we never ever insured, houses yes, businesses, yes but endowments, pensions nope, we had savings and they were safe, weren't they? Well until we had the 0.1/2 interest rate we were.

But l confess to blood red rage when l read of more ordinary, hard-working, salt of the earth, pay up and shut up folk losing their money and even having to delay their retirement.