Monthly Archives: May 2012

Promised you a Miracle. A cancer abroad.

I’m generally supposed to be an intelligent man, well educated, well informed and pretty on the ball. How is it then that                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I  can enter the clinic to see the oncologist like that and come out totally confused? How is it that four people can enter and come out having heard four different things? It’s obviously not the oncologist himself because it happens with the other one we see as well. All I can suggest is that we either hear things we want to hear or we all have different perceptions of words used every day. This would at least be an explanation of why a rumour started at one end of a chain of people has totally changed context by the time it reaches the other end of the chain.

Today we had a visit to the oncologist. It was not an expected visit and we’d only been notified earlier this week, As far as we knew the next one was on 7th June. Julia had phoned to see if she could speak to one of the Doctors last week to enquire about her lack of energy. She wasn’t able to speak to anyone at that time so it was possible that this was as a result of that call- we hoped. Not so. Dr.G. had called Julia in as he wanted to ‘catch up’ with her since it’s been Dr.S the last two visits. After asking how she was, Julia explained about the fact that her appetite is poor and sometimes the thought of food makes her nauseous, and also that she lacks energy much of the time. She can get up at and be asleep again not long after before she heads back to bed at Though she watches a bit of TV in bed, I often have to go in and remove her glasses and turn the TV off. If sleeping was an Olympic event Britain has the gold medallist here. Anyway, he prescribed steroids for a week to try and promote an appetite and a little more energy. This is good since Ju is determined to carry on riding.

However, that problem addressed. Dr.G broached the subject of further treatment. Since so far the concensus ( Doctor led) is that it’s better to do nothing unless Ju’s condition starts to deteriorate and it becomes likely the quality of life is diminishing. When I entered the room that didn’t seem the case. Now here’s Dr. G asking if Julia would like to start a tablet form of chemotherapy. Yes there are side effects he tells us, nausea, hair dropping and other things similar to the previous treatment. This time though it would not attack the lungs ( or shouldn’t) but on the other hand, there are extra contra-indications like the nerves in the hands and feet may be affected. Yet he seems to be proposing we consider this treatment despite Julia still feeling reasonably OK and the pain being controlled by the low morphine dose she takes.

I broached the subject that troubled me last time which was the size of the tumour. We know that the scan 6 weeks ago showed it had grown back to the size it was when found last July. But as the previous scan was in January  showed it still small following chemotherapy and the April one showed it large, I wondered at what speed it’s growing. My reasoning was that we don’t know when it started growing again. It seems I’m the only one to puzzle about this which is why I say we all hear different things. The Doctor says it started growing straight away and they can’t do scans too often so can’t see where we are now. My daughter seems to agree that is valid. Working on that premise that it took 14 weeks to go from small to large I’m worried what increase there’s been in the last 6 weeks. Yvonne thinks if it’s grown huge Julia would be feeling pain as the tumour would have outgrown the area where the nerves were first cut. I argue that perhaps the  mass is growing up like a mountain rather than outwards beyond the bounds of the operation ton cut the nerve ends. I suspect the trouble is that neither of us wants to face too much truth.

It worries me that the Doctor is suggesting taking treatment now after resisting it before. Is it possibly because we’re on 10 months and he said today that few survive the year? Originally you may remember we were told 6-9 months maximum. Julia has defied so many odds so far and is enjoying her life. She loves her riding and is with a particularly good instructor at a great riding school. (  with Carl Crofts and his lovely wife Storm ) and she has our daughter’s wedding in September to look forward to. Is the Doctor expecting the quality of life to take a nosedive now? Anyway, he’s given us ( Given Julia I should say) 4 weeks to think about it before her next appointment but even she is asking why an appointment so soon when they’ve been further apart. In thae car coming home she wanted to talk and I wasn’t helpful. I was determined that Julia shouldn’t accept she’s dying and should just fight on. She says I refuse to accept the truth. She may be right but you see I did promise her a miracle. I swore I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her and I’m powerless to stop it. I jump at every new miracle cure I see from aspirin to turmeric and hope something will help . Julia is my life and I don’t want to lose her, she’s much too young and has so much ahead of her. She has to stay around if only to handle the pets I tell her, on my own I’ll be bitten to death by them. She just laughs and says I’ll get by.


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New Award

I was absolutely delighted today to find I’d been nominated for an award without even having to resort to blackmail. The Illuminating Blogger Award is awarded for illuminating, informative blog content. I have to thank for this honour.










Here’s how it works:
1. The nominee should visit the award site ( and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).
2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.
3. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.
4. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award.
5. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (

Sharing one random thing about myself sounds easy but I still struggled to find something so I’m going to settle on a bit of honesty which may get my knuckles rapped. I suffer from type 2 Diabetes but still haven’t given up the bacon sandwiches.

The 5 nominations I would like to make myself are as follows.  For her talent in finding obscure news items with which to inform and entertain. For her devotion to the cause of fair play and for telling us where it’s not happening. For his great blog, his Flash Fiction and his reviews.  ( Yes I know she nominated me, but it’s a great site). for her excellent Story in Progress full of historical Interest.


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Enter the Cat.

Normally I prefer to keep my two blogs separate because apart from the updates on Julia’s condition they are not alike. However, someone who subscribes to both blogs suggested that people who saw the serious side of me may not actually realise there is a lighter but more downtrodden side of me as servant to my unelected alarm cat Oscar.  Oscar, who is convinced that any books I sell are because he has a starring role, is certain that he should therefore be introduced to my Barsetshire Diaries friends.

I am therefore taking the path of least resistance and asking anyone who may be a fan of Superiors ( as Oscar maintains all cats are) to visit him on the other site rather than put an example of his blog on here. Mainly it’s the fear of him dictating a whole new episode and then constantly criticising me that makes me suggest the alternative. So, for any of you who may we willing to read the egotistical ramblings of my ‘Superior’, this Longlegs would invite you to visit Oscar’s Blog on                        and do try not to encourage him too much  like his Aussie friends.

David. 22.05.2012


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Pure Humour.

This I had to share. It was sent to me yesterday and had me howling at the bemused expessions of disbelief on the faces of bystanders from the off. I dare you not to smile  !  if it doesn’t work by clicking o it you can try pasting it to your search engine and it should work straight away.

Why don’t things like this happen in my quiet little town?


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Am I magnetic?

I was unwell. 2.15am and I decided the coughing was keeping me awake so I  wandered through to the kitchen for some cough medicine. I kept the lights off in order to avid disturbing anyone. By anyone I mean Julia of course since I would be unwell and injured should I disturb her sleep. I could see Oscar asleep on the bed and hoped he would stay there rather than follow me in the hopes of food. Passing from the hall into the lounge I heard a sound and in the limited light I saw Penny leave her place on the bottom of the cage and as if by magic she appeared stuck to the bars of the cage, legs spreadeagled  and staring at me. A little further into the room and  ‘Zoom’ stuck to the front of the cage was Bernie. I ignored them as best I could and entered the kitchen.

Medicine taken and hopefully preparing to do it’s job of settling my chest and allowing me to get some sleep. I left the kitchen. As I entered the lounge again I saw Amy fly across the cage and attach herself to the bars too. The speed of flight of these rats is tremendous, and wherever I moved their eyes went with me. I know the song well and have often heard it in the daytime hours. It goes. “Feed me, feed me and feed me to the tune of  PJ Proby’s ‘Hold Me’. I crept over to the cage and gave them each a small chocolate button. All three took it with no problem and dropped to the floor of the cage to eat it. I left the room and went back to bed. Surely I’d  sleep now?

I must have dozed off but it can’t have been for long as it was now 3.10am and I awoke to another coughing fit. More cough medicine was required. I went through to get it when the same thing happened. It was like I was magnetic and as soon as I Crossed the threshold it happened again .Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. Three bodies spread themselves in an orderly fashion on the bars with Bernie constantly chattering, food, food,food. Three chocolate drops later I took my medicine and retired yet again. It was to no avail and so I ended up writing emails instead, trying very hard to avoid the appeals of the latest psychic who knows just what my life needs if only I’ll stop ignoring her, get in touch for my free reading and then start to enjoy some of the riches coming my way. Lady, if they’re coming my way I’ll just wait for them to arrive and it will be a pleasant surprise unspoiled by your predictions and the ridiculous fees you no doubt want. Anyway, the writing made me thirsty and knowing I wasn’t going to sleep again I decided coffee was the order of the day. I crept along the passage to the lounge and sidled round the corner toward the kitchen door. As quiet as the proverbial mouse except within the hearing of rats. The magnet was on and three faces appealed to me to end their starvation. Hard nosed I ignored them and went to make the drink. As I came out from the kitchen, the mug with the mug, there the poor souls still were, exactly where I’d left them. I had no choice since I couldn’t leave them like that. I turned and grabbed a handful of cornflakes from the kitchen and spent ten minutes feeding them to whichever face got there first. You are a greedy mare Penny and Bernie is copying every move you make.


So now you know.All this talk of magnetic personalities is true. Mine is one of them. But. for heavens sake don’t tell the RSPCA or they’ll take the girls away thinking I mistreat them dragging them to the side of the cage like that.




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Joys of the Day.

Some things can make a day and some break them. Sometimes one can lead to the other. For instance, four days ago I was experiencing the most frustrating happenings with my mobile phone, everything was appearing as a mirror image. Now this may be no bad thing if you’re a cold war spy, a fan of Agatha Christie books or want to spend the day sitting in the bathroom holding the phone up to a mirror. I wasn’t completely sure either whether anyone who texted me would receive my response as mirror images thus having a large part of the population out of circulation for the day. With the news of my daughter’s impending marriage to brag  inform people of there were likely to be quite a few texts crossing the ether. Just when I thought nothing more could frustrate me ( at my age I’m as frustrated as you can get) the damned phone began to flicker. Knowing anything could break it except possibly throwing it at a wall I desisted nonetheless for the sake of the walls. Not wishing to invoke the possible wrath of bridezilla at this juncture by telling her I hadn’t been able to contact Uncle Kurt from the slopes of his base camp at Kilimanjaro I decided there and then to get a new phone.

I was racked with the agonies of indecision. What do I want? The same phone again would be nice but it’s let me down. What if the new one does the same. Anyway, I’ve moved on since then, grown as a phone user, surely I’m ready for something more sophisticated now. Yes, that’s the ticket, onward and upward ! I found a site selling phones directly from the manufacturer in China. Hellfire, a new phone for less than the price of last nights Chinese takeaway, how appropriate. Until that is I started reading about quad bands, dual and triple sim and even worse ‘5.0 inch A9220 Android 4.0 3G Smartphone GSM+WCDMA WiFi Analog TV GPS Dual SIM Capacitive Touch Screen.’ There are phones on which to watch TV and phones built into wrist watches. These are a level of sophistication too far for me since it’s only recently I found out how to send a picture by phone. There, that’s the answer, I need a camera phone, that’s all. Yes, I know I have more than one camera already but I don’t carry them round in case I meet a bank robbery in progress and since Julia stopped me sitting outside the bank all day just in case, I’ve lost that excuse. But definitely a camera phone.

Decision made I couldn’t make up my mind what would be the best one to get. Everything I looked at had a great write up from one or more satisfied customers. Being quite bright on occasion the answer came in a flash. If I bought one from ebay I could combine the camera, some more upmarket things that I wouldn’t understand but could tell people I have. ‘What, oh yes, I have blue face and tooth recognition old chap’. See, I’m a technophile at heart. I made bids on a few and lost them so I decided to start bidding in pounds next. After two days I won a new (to me) mobile called a Samsung Tocca lite.  It even has a name that says this owner knows what he’s doing, ‘Huh, nothing too heavy man, I went for the lite version.’ So yesterday afternoon I paid for the phone and sat back to await receipt. I’ve been in a funk ever since. What if I can’t work it with it’s MMS, MP3 and internet browsing. What do I do about video calling and maybe my fingers will be too fat for touch screen. I was just reverting to panic mode this morning when I had a message on ebay from the seller to say it was in the post. What could I do except message back and say thank you and might it be possible for me to come back on for instruction ? Panicked but polite that’s me.

The message I received back blew my socks off. It’s made my day, so much so that I brought Julia through to see it in case she thought my imagination was playing up. then my brother in law, sister in law and finally Oscar the cat. At that point there was no-one left as the rats were asleep. Here below is the message, and if you like me are an author, I hope your turn comes.







I promise this is just as received and though my books have received kind reviews in the past it’s never been in such an unexpected way.


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Another child lost. Bullying Continues.

It’s not often I’d ask another blogger if I could use their segment rather than write one of my own. Today I’m going to do just that.

This is the post on Meeka’s Blog in full which you can see here.

Bullying – another child lost
By acflory
When I first stumbled on the tragic story of Kenneth James Weishuhn I was horrified and then I became angry and started blogging in the hope that words from my small corner of the universe might make some tiny difference, might help to stop this obscenity from happening again.

Since then my anger has turned to a kind of sick incomprehension because the suicide of Kenneth is not the first example of a child hounded to death; it is one of many. Another one may be happening even as I write these words and I feel powerless to stop another young life from slipping away. Yet when naive hope is gone a stubborn persistence can sometimes remain. So I’m not going to stop crying ‘why?’. I’m not going to stop demanding answers. And I’m not going to stop demanding change because these children deserve better from us than a five minute ‘tsk tsk how sad’.

The light has gone out for this boy but his message lives on. He wanted to believe that things would get better. For him they did not. Yet that dream deserves to be pursued for all the other children like him who are struggling with bullying right now.

I strongly suggest that all parents, teachers and anybody with a heart should go to :

to give Project ProteKT what help you can, even if it’s nothing more than moral support.

I can’t help but echo ACFLORY’s sentiment. Enough is enough ! Time now for everyone  across The World to acknowledge that these children deserve the right to life no matter what their  Sexual Orientation. At the end of the day these are children ! In case anyone thinks it’s OK to bully adults instead, IT ISN’T.                                                             I don’t mean to sound as though the U.S. is the only nation to blame for this but the issue seems prevalent in the news there at the moment. The biggest surprise being that the Land of the Free is also home to some of the worst bigots in the World. We expect every day to hear of an Imam sentencing someone to death by stoning for what they perceive to be a heinous crime but which we tolerate because we are not barbarous savages who know no better. But in America to hear of a Church Pastor telling parents to thump a child, crack his wrist if he appears to stand in a gay manner or  have a DJ condone and promote the raping of a girl until she’s straight should be unthinkable. Surely it’s time to show how civilised we are and get rid of those who openly promote this evil and to crack down on bullying in any form, against any person in any place. Maybe then we can turn round and say we are the most civilised and tolerant of people. PLEASE parents. make sure your schools have a good anti-bullying policy, one day your own child may need it. And the next time you hear of a shock jock or a minister talking the filth we’ve recently heard, DO SOMETHING ! Complain to someone and make sure it won’t happen again.


Enough is enough.




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Now that the gang’s all here.

Way back in March I introduced you to Penny and Amy ( I know cos’ I just checked), the two newest members of our household, and possibly the two most likely to upset the oldest member.  (

Since then time has rolled on, Oscar has survived his confrontations ( Oscar’s Blog) and decided discretion is the order of the day, meaning he’s discreet in pretending they just don’t exist then he’ s not expected to deal with them.

Oscar is of course our cat. He’s 17 years old now and every bit the dignified old man but a complete wuss and in need of constant attention.  The two later members to join us were Penny and Amy, two beautiful, no you can’t say ‘urgh’ like that, they are beautiful fancy RATS. As I explained back then the names were chosen from the leading female lights on the brilliant TV comedy The Big Bang Theory. Penny the girl who knows it all and is very savvy and Amy who is much more introspective. Penny would try anything while Amy has a long think first and then refuses.

Times have changed. Penny is still the extrovert, very loving and who loves to venture outside the cage. Amy is still the introvert who prefers her sanctum but can be coerced out sometimes. It’s the internal mechanism that’s altered as Amy now rules the roost ( no, there are no chickens, it’s a metaphor). Penny will tease Amy and chase her tail but should Amy turn and place her paw on Penny down she goes. Flat on her back and totally subservient. She even gives up food and for Penny that’s saying a lot.    I’m thinking it’s starting to mirror real life since that’s what I have to do as well.

This week a new pet store opened nearby. Julia loves animals so any excuse to buy food or new toys is not to be missed. And the decision she made that we should visit was because we needed a new water bottle. Stupidly it didn’t occur to me to point out that we have two pet stores closer who stock them. I’m not sure what the argument would have been even if I had mentioned it because clearly this new store is different- it actually sells pets.

We arrived about 10.00am intending to get what was needed than drop into a favourite cafe for a latte. ( In case you’ve read my books, it’s called ‘Are you tempted’ and the staff are great so I love going. Anytime you want directions let me know). Look, I know I’m naive so there’s no reason to rub it in. It took approximately 3 minutes to collect what we needed , half  a moment more for Ju to suggest we “Just look round while we’re here” and a lifetime of regret for what followed. Firstly Julia took me to see the fish. I looked. Then as sternly as I could I said “No. Not a chance. The tank is full and we’re not starting another”.                                                                                                          “Yes dear” she replied. Then she took me to the cages. Rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters. Very sweet and entertaining but I confess not something I get sentimental about. We moved on and she didn’t utter a word until we reached the cage with the degus. I think these are the pet of the minute and to be honest I thought them really cute.  “Oh wouldn’t it be nice to have one Dear” she said. ” Not a cat in hells chance my love ” I promptly replied, ” anyway they live in social groups so it would have to be two at least and then there’s the cage etc.”   “I suppose you’re right Dear” she told me which should have set alarm bells ringing but didn’t. So lastly to the rats, and there she was a cute little baby rat with big ears staring up at us while she ate her breakfast. “Bernadette” said Julia. “What?” said I.                                                                                                                                     “You know dear, the third mouseketeer. Penny, Amy and Bernadette. Just like on the programme. And she’s so small, just like the tiny wildebeest on the Serengeti Amy called her.”

So, we got the water bottle, some food, a pet carrier and a new pet rat to carry in it. There are four boys in the programme too, Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Rajesh. I have my foot firmly planted on the ground now. NO, NO, NO. There’s no room for more rats and imagine if they breed into more Big Bang characters. Julia will have to content herself with an all female group.

Say hello to Bernadette ( Bernie).

Me fighting for food with Penny.




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Million Moms

I’m an angry man and I’m a puzzled man. It’s all to do with a Million Moms.

The Million Mums Fund and Challenge is a non-profit organisation dedicated to ensure healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries to thousands of women in the third world. It does a wonderful job. So why would it make me angry.

Well, there’s another Million Moms campaign which has nothing to do with the first one. This one started out in America in 2000 when a small group decided to try and combat what it saw were loose gun controls in the US and marched to try and keep guns out of the hands of children, young people and criminals. As one who doesn’t live over there I can only say my heart would have been with them in those days and not with the rival group who took issue with them. I know it’s written into the Constitution that all Americans have the right to bear arms but since the Wild West has gone and gun crimes are ever in the news you have to wonder why the Constitution hasn’t been rewritten. Easy answer, the manufacturers of weapons there have a lot of political clout and very little conscience.

Things changed within that group when it appeared that money was being used to support politicians and numbers on their marches got as low as a couple of hundred as support fell away. But now it’s back on the increase. And is it another issue to combat the previously unsuccessful gun laws? No, this is all about hate. Only this time they’re in the business of generating it.

Recently I mentioned a blog post by a friend about a 14-year-old boy who died. His name was Kenneth James Weishuhn and he committed suicide at just 14 after he made the mistake of coming ‘out’ at school and declaring himself gay. He was unmercifully bullied at school and out of school. His life was made miserable by taunts and by (some) friends no longer talking too him. School can be an evil place to be and schoolkids amongst the most cruel people but often they grow older and wiser. Why don’t I think this will happen here? Well, it because of One Million Moms and their like who have decided that gays are bad and unnatural and teach their children this. So, it becomes OK for children to bully when they have their parents opinions to encourage them. One Million Moms have tried to have J C Penney drop Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson because she’s gay. They’ve asked people to write in to complain. Fortunately Miss De Generes has enough fans to fight that off and the One Million Moms facebook site had to close when the fans showed their muscle. This where the anger got bad because Million Moms Fund who are also on Facebook started to get the flak from the fans who mistook the site. I’m glad to say this has been sorted now as it could have cost them a lot in donations.

One Million Moms are wont to say that being gay is unnatural and they have the bible on their side they’d have us believe. There have been recommendations that children should be ‘cured’ of this disease and I worry about what they’d want to do with adults. They call themselves Conservative which makes me shudder as that’s the Political Party I vote for in the UK. I think they remind me more of A VERY right-wing group from the 1930’s who came to power in Germany.

Just as worrying was their saying the Church supports them, for tonight I listened to a rant I couldn’t believe came from a Church at all. Pastor Sean Harris of North Carolina ( who in my opinion should now be sitting in jail for promoting cruelty) suggested that any four-year old boys who showed a ‘limp wrist’ should have it cracked and dad’s should punch them. I hope he doesn’t have children of his own. Any church that pays this man and doesn’t instantly de-frock him is not one I’d like to see people go to.

North Carolina in the news again also decided they should make an amendment to create an Anti-gay Marriage act. It seems to me that Church and State are getting too close here and I thought the US was founded to keep the two separate. So now I’m puzzled. I’m reading all about the Land of the Free trying to curtail the rights of some of its population. A country that spoke of bringing them your poor and huddled masses ( forgive any misquote) which would lead you to believe they care and yet 14 year old boys can be left so desperate after being bullied that they kill themselves rather than tolerate another day of that vaunted freedom.

I read of Battered Wives shelters being taxed out of existence, abortion clinics being attacked and closed down and it makes me want to weep for women and children there. ( Except for One Million Moms of course). What does worry and intrigue me is what is going to happen if the child of one of these parents reaches 14 and decides he/she is gay. Will their parents lead the hounding of them and ensure the bullying starts in the home with Dad (or the Pastor) punching them?

For the elucidation of any of the Million Moms out there. I looked it up….Being Gay is NOT an illness that can be cured and I don’t think Skinner and his operant conditioning would help much either. It’s not something teens ‘grow out of’, it’s NOT something they’re doing this week just to spite you and it most definitely CAN’T be cured by constantly beating them up. It’s a way of life that they’re born with so learn to live with it and the resultant people will probably grow up well balanced. As long as N,Carolina doesn’t get it’s way your gay child will probably be able to marry and enjoy a happy life.

I’m hoping to see a banner flying somewhere in N.Carolina that says A Billion Moms against A Million Moms and for common sense.


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