Monthly Archives: April 2012


I would like to nominate Meeka’s Mind ( ) for the Very Inspiring Blogger award. Not only is A.C.Flory a talented and diverse blogger but she has also highlighted bullying as the reason a young man lost his life. Given that it takes some guts these days to go against a group of determined ( and in this case evil) women she should be commended. Then again we get the humour and wit of her blogging too. A growing talent.

Now Andrea, as expected lets hear 7 things about you that’ll interest your readers.







I’d also like to nominate the following for a Blogger  award.

Ilil Arbel for her Book in Progress Blog.  for providing some titillating fun and some real scholarship and research.

Metan for the hours spent scouring the morgue of newspaper offices in order to find the most entertaining pieces from over the years.

Please feel free to copy the logo to your site and also entertain us with the top five items from your bucket list if you had to make one.


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Cancer in the Home, latest news.

Yesterday we returned to the hospital to see the oncologist and get the results of the scan Julia had back in March. Our daughter and nieces accompanied us again but that was probably in the hopes of seeing Dr. Drop Dead Gorgeous. They were to be disappointed since we saw the lady from our last visit. Though she is honest in where we stand she always tries to temper that with some enthusiastically given ‘Good News’.

Today we were told that the tumour has grown back to the size it was when Julia was first diagnosed and before the chemotherapy shrunk it so much. This was said with the speed of a machine gun spitting out bullets so that it had just hit home when the speech slowed slightly for the good news. “But” she said ” it hasn’t spread to any other organ, and since you’re not currently uncomfortable ( in pain), and you’re currently trying to live as normal a life as possible, we’ve decided to continue on the path of no treatment. To offer something now could exacerbate the growth and reduce your quality of life. We need to reserve treatment for a time when you start to feel the effects of the tumour again.”

Everyone seemed delighted with the news that the other organs were currently clear and that no treatment was currently needed. I held myself in check asking just a couple of questions, the main one of which was to see if chemotherapy could be restarted at a lower dose of the gemcitobene if needed as the other treatment option is to take tablets daily which have only a 10% success rate. The prevaricating answer is that they could look at the option. I thought Julia was happy with the news too until we got home. She told me she’s scared that the tumour is back at the size it is and she worries now if she’ll survive to see our daughter married or if she’ll hold a grandchild of that wonderful union. I did all I could to stay positive and remind her she’s still riding and relatively pain free.

My own worries though aren’t so easily dispersed since I’m wondering if the scan was six weeks ago, how much growth has there been since then? Will it grow beyond the limits of the splanchnicectomy and cause the pain to return which can only be controlled with large doses of morphine ? I don’t even know how fast the growth is. It could have started growing slowly in December when the chemotherapy stopped and taken till March to reach this size, or it may have only started growing a week before the scan and got to this size quickly. This again leaves me wondering where we are size-wise now.

We return to the hospital in 6 weeks unless Julia feels any discomfort in which case we go back straight away. But, if we manage the six weeks I shall feel I have to ask for a new scan to give me a better idea of how we stand. I will worry though that Julia and the girls will see this as a sign of desperation on my part and start to feel the same way. At the moment all I can do is hope Julia continues to enjoy the horse riding and doesn’t start to feel enough discomfort to lessen her quality of life.

Friday addendum. It seems I was wrong as Julia has told me today how upset she is that the tumour has grown back to it’s previous size. She’s wondering now if this is the beginning of the end. Staying upbeat and keeping her positive is that little bit harder now. But, as I pointed out, great strides are being made every day and by next Friday she could be cured and driving me to drink.


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Shhh, It’s a secret !

Sometimes you know it’s going to be one of those days. Things had started well. Yvonne and her boyfriend Ugo had arrived on Friday morning to pick us up for our weekend away. OK, we weren’t going to what might seem to be the most exotic location in the world- Bradford- but ‘Wowcher’ had been generous with the price and the pictures of the hotel looked promising. It’s the first time in years I’ve managed to get Lady J away and with her health issues we needed a family break before seeing the oncologist next week.
Anyway they arrived and we set off. Since Ugo considers eating an Olympic sport and he’s constantly in training we decided to stop off for a late breakfast on the M62 just North of Manchester. Afetr facing a meal with real fortitude it was time to resume the journey. I had been outside having a cigarette when my three amigos came out and we started to head back to the car.
Being on my crutches I’m slower to move off than most but I’d also paid a visit to the service station shop to buy little holiday gifts for everyone.For Ugo I’d chosen a watch. He held back with me as he put it on and the women walked ahead. Ugo had just said to me ” I need to have a word please, you know how much I love Yvonne” when the converstaion was broken up as a car window lowered and someone gestured to us and called out ” Scusi, scusi, una momento por favore.” Ugo, being a kind hearted eating machine thought that directions might be needed and walked over. Less sure of the purpose, I followed behind.
“I am Cosi fan tutti” said the gesturing arm ” I work for D & G in Milano and I over here in Manchester for big conference. I have a watch left over worth foura hundreda pounds, is yours for sixty eh.” The car was parked beneath a notice warning people to be careful of unlicensed traders in the car parks and so Ugo politely declined and the gesturing arm withdrew.
He carried on talking to me as though there had been no interuption. ” Well, I’d like your permission to ask her to marry me.”
I judged it unseemly to kiss him and then cheer so I responded that it was a lovely idea and I approved.
“I’ll ask her tonight at dinner then when I find the best time. Will you look after the ring for me please until I ask for it.” I agreed.
We arrived in Bradford and pulled into the hotel car park just as a police van pulled to a halt sirens blaring outside the wall, next to a bus that didn’t seem to be going anywhere. It didn’t seem to bode well for the stay but we decided to go in anyway. I’m going to be honest and say it wasn’t the most appealing exterior I’d seen. But inside it’s a four star hotel with a five star staff.
We spent the afternoon walking through the local park, round the boating lake, looking at the art exhibition in Cartwright Hall and having a nice coffee. As we walked round we spied out the land and looked for the sister hotel to our own where the evening meals are available. Finding it wasn’t too far away but from the outside just looking like a normal home we decided to risk it and when we got back to our hotel asked them to book us in.

Seven o’clock and two episodes of Big Bang Theory later we’re all ready to go. The taxi arrives and we pile in arriving at the Lister hotel about 10 seconds after we left the Cartwright Hotel. What a difference the inside of the Lister brings. It’s spotless and what seems like a professsaional maitre D leads us to seats. Is Ugo sweating?
We order the drinks and then I nip to the gents closely followed by Ugo who wants to know when is the best time to do the deed. “Perhaps after the main course and before the sweet” I tell him.”I’ll give you the ring then.”
Wonderful starters, tremendous first course and Ugo excuses himself to go to the loo. ” I won’t waste the opportunity” I say and Lady J looks askance at me and suggests I cut down on my drinking as though lime and lemonade has a lot to answer for. I depart , pass Ugo the ring and leave a brief pause before following him back to the table.
We order dessert and somewhere the angels are gawping in disbelief because Lady J has declined.
Ugo turned to Yvonne his heart in his mouth which doesn’t leave much room for his tongue and starts to tell her how much he loves her. His hand reaches for the box holding the ring and Yvonne starts to shake. “Will you do me the honour” he says as Yvonne shakes some more and repeats her new mantra of ” You can’t be asking me that, oh Dear, not now, oh he’s on his knee, get up Ugo” and promptly turns to face the wall covering her mouth with her hand as she cries with what I pray is joy. I grab Yvonne’s free hand and ask her to turn round as everything is alright. Lady J holds the other hand away from Yvonne’s face gently and turning to me says
“You knew and didn’t tell me?”
“That’s what secret means Dear” I answer edging away from the fists.”Come on Yvonne, this is lovely.” Whereupon Yvonne finally turned round and accepted the ring from Ugo with a resounding YES. Sighs of relief from the truly helpful staff who were now able to serve the dessert.
We returned to our hotel where they had heard the good news. The Bradford jungle telegraph seeemingly works even faster than our local Mothers Union. We were even bought a round of drinks which was a great gesture even though my stomach lining may never be the same again.
Today we have made sure BT’s profit for the next quarter is assured, I have been forgiven for not warning everyone of Ugo’s intent and we spent a great time at Skipton Castle and the town market. Yvonne has finally stopped shaking but is walking round with one arm displayed in front of herself so she can see the ring and accidentally prod others to make sure they don’t miss it to.
Tonight three of us had a drink in the bar while Julia rested. We head home tomorrow morning after breakfast. This has been a great experience and will no doubt end up in a book somewhere when I start writing again.
I would like to thank Ruth who took so much time to download information on local activities for us. The young lady at the bar in the Lister Hotel was helpful too. The staff behind the bar at the Cartwright Hotel have also been kind including I’m told Ruth’s better half.
The owner of these two hotels has put a lot of time , effort and capital into creating an understated but perfect atmosphere in both. The comfort and cleanliness is second to none.
If Bradford’s your destination then bear these places in mind.


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I want some more

I want some more. A guest Blog by the wonderful wordsmith Pete Denton. Not to be missed.

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Easter 2012

Most people will know me as quite shy and withdrawn. Others will just say I’m a crotchety and antisocial Git. Perhaps I’m somewhere in the middle of the two but I do find it difficult to meet new people. If I have to do this then I often arrange for ‘my peeps’ to be my back up and defence. It so happened that yesterday (Easter Sunday) was the day my daughter announced her boyfriends mother would like to meet Julia and myself. I have to be honest and say I was dreading this for two reasons.

1. I’m aware she’s quite religious and as a secular humanist ( or for those who know me, a Buthidar as I put on my last census form) I wasn’t really looking forward to that.

2. I don’t like meeting new people very much.

So, I arranged for my nieces to join Julia, Yvonne and myself at Yvonne’s in order to go for lunch. The hope was that Ugo’s mother and other members of his family would join us there and conversation would be deflected from me by the story telling skills of my brilliant nieces and my daughter. ( BTW. I tell them how funny they are and for some reason I get blamed for their exaggerations and the intricacies they use). Anyway, as usual I digress. Back to my story. They didn’t arrive for lunch and Yvonne told me that they work on African time which isn’t anything like ours. So we ate and had our coffees and repaired back to Yvonne’s home. (Strange lanuage English, repaired?).

Half an hour later, chocolate eggs exchanged, the girls are preparing to leave when the posse arrived. Ugo, his mother, one of his sisters and a nephew and niece. A quick introduction followed and the girls put on their coats only to be stopped as Ugo’s mother held an impromptu prayer meeting to bless the house and all who sailed in her. OK, I confess, I was part stunned and part amused that someone should take it for granted that everyone present shared her religion and wished to share the prayer but hey, people have their own customs and maybe this is a Nigerian one. Prayers finished, she hugged my nieces before I was able to go outside with them to say goodbye. One said “Well, I didn’t see that coming, good luck at the wedding” before she hugged me and they left. I couldn’t help but laugh as I went back inside.

Ugo’s Mum Christina proved to be a very nice, cheerful and friendly lady and it was a real pleasure to have met her even though I had to concentrate a bit on what she said since the Nigerian accent was quite strong. On the other hand, his sister Janet who was a delightfully beautiful lady had a Brummie accent broad enough to sit on.It was wonderful to listen to and made me realise that Ugo’s own accent wasn’t as broad as I’d first thought.

Julia and I both know that if Yvonne and Ugo ever get married and have children, they’ll be born into two cultures that will show them love and warmth and into two families that will have a great history to share with them as they grow.

Below is a picture of my’peeps’.Yvonne, Karen, Joanne and of course Julia.

 Today (Easter Monday) Julia is not very well with a lot of discomfort in her stomach but she’s not ready to call in the Doctor yet. We have the next appointment with the Oncologist on 26th and she wants to make that the next Doctor she sees. At that point we’ll be expecting the results of the last scan. Fingers Crossed !


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April Opens.

The first of April dawned as an unexpectedly nice day proving once again that the April fools were the forecasters. Instead of raincoats or possibly skis for the snow we were met with sunshine. No glorious heat except in direct sunlight but enough to bring smiles to the faces of people we saw.

We were expected at Yvonne’s in Chester for lunch. Until yesterday none of us were sure it would go ahead because of the possibility of strikes by the petrol tanker drivers. But just like the unexpected sun, the news that no date had been set gave us cause to smile. Yvonne was going to cook dinner for us after which we might get to look around some shops but yesterday had seen Julia with my arm up my back forcing me to get her a new camera. Because of the sun I suggested we took our camera’s with us this morning and on arriving at Yvonne’s I suggested we eat out and save her having to cook. I’m pretty sure I heard a faint cheer in the background.

Lucky for us Yvonne lives in a very pretty village close to the centre of Chester and it’s a very short walk with plenty of stops on the way. So, every 6 feet I got a breather and a rest while Julia took pictures on the new camera, or being all singing , all dancing, it probably did it on  it’s own. Yvonne took pics on my camera (I love you Fujifilm) some of which I display here in case anyone believes it only ever rains in the UK.

The five minute walk was over in about an hour and a half and we managed to reach a Primark store where I’d promised to help Ju find a warm jacket to wear. I’m sure she has some but since she can’t reach into the full depths of the Narnian wardrobe she can’t immediately lay hands on any, “And anyway” she said, “you always make me buy the suit jacket type and I want a change” as though I’d be listened to if I actually suggested anything. We found a nice jacket, quite suit jacket like, that she loved but I didn’t dare say was impractical in white. The jacket also became a new pair of jeans and some Palazzo pants (?)(don’t ask) a pair of flat shoes and a handbag, because we have to colour co-ordinate.

That five minutes shop lasted long enough for it to be nearly Monday but we managed to leave the store having purchased strong bags for the goodies. Outside the sun was still shining strangely enough and people were still smiling rather than rushing to start a new week’s work. Yep, still Sunday. Now comes the major decision of the day. A pub meal, a shop restaurant/cafe or a pizza parlour.  Well, the ‘No you pick’ argument lasted forever and though a Pizza Parlour doesn’t make a good old traditional Sunday roast that’s where we ended up.

Yvonne chose something that came with a great big hole in the centre badly camouflaged by a bit of rocket. I was stuck with the cheese and tomato ( no way am I goint to try and spell Marguerita because I’m sure there’s an H in there somewhere) and Ju had the same. I took my meds with a large latte while the girls had pop and hiccuped their way through the Hallelujah Chorus. We should have charged for cabaret. Then Yvonne had some kind of dough balls with a chocolate dip as we watched Ju’s face trying to hide an orgasm as she had coffee ice cream ( sorry, Gelato). It was all  I could do to stop her ordering again.

After dropping Yvonne at home we left and came home to Oscar, Penny , Amy and the joys of bedmaking. Following which Ju promptly fell asleep on the couch.

It’s been a grand old day.

On Tuesday evening we have the new scan to see what the state of play currently is. In two weeks we’re having our first weekend away in years. I’ll keep you all posted as to progress as usual.


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