Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A moving experience

It has been said that our family will make any excuse for a party and I am beginning to believe it. The weekend before last my superwoman daughter helped to organise a massive Big Lunch party in her road, what was the excuse - someone had firebombed cars along the road a few months earlier - there you go. And this weekend coming the family Trainor, except Luke and Aleks as Luke is starting his new job - yippee, are all congregating at Sam and Julie's to help them move to a bigger twin friendly house. This may not sound much but they live in Northern France and Joe and his dog, Scoobie are travelling from Amsterdam; Jess, Tom and Harry, 5 and Danny not quite 2 are coming from Birmingham; and me and Stewart are driving 500 miles from South West France bearing travel cots, wine and other essentials to a house move.

We are all very excited about it. I try not to remember what moving house was like and what bedlam it might be with two small boys and a dog in tow, not to mention the fifty odd tumours I carry with me everywhere and the two little to-be Trainors that Julie has inside her - but they are only moving their millions of books, hundreds of tins of fois gras and all the new beds and kitchen furniture they have just bought, around the corner from where they live now, so how hard can it be?

If the sun shines and we are all finished by Sunday we will go to the seaside and have our own version of the Big Lunch, if not you can be assured that their new house will be well and truely warmed and we will have found our excuse for a party.

Pictured is aforementioned Scoobie (whisper it softly but I am almost as excited about seeing him as the two grandsons.. and that is very excited I can tell you).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's getting hairy

Today I had to pluck a hair from the mole on my neck; also I did not brush stuff on my eyebrows and they look almost like they used to. That could be because I have put so much on over the last few weeks it's soaked into my skin permanently but also it could be because my hair is growing back and I am beginning to feel normal.

I still wear the headwraps but when I don't there is a shadow all over my head, darkish in some lights, grey in others so we are still not sure if I will get all I deserve for being 61 or return with my hair still brown: Jeanie with the light brown hair, except it was always dark brown.

And I am feeling the benefit of a month in this idyllic place with not a doctor or nurse in sight. Today I just felt irritated when Stewart spent what felt like an hour deciding not to buy the bracket or piece of wood he had been musing over in Bricomarche; two weeks ago it was exhaustion that sent me back to the car. I know I am an ungrateful cow because he is spending ages making mosquito nets for the windows so I don't get bitten but for goodness sake how long does it take to decide which bracket to buy!

I am clearly feeling better and more my old cantakerous self, I do not let it kid me however, I know it's not going to last for ever and thinking it might would be just too cruel. But Sufficient unto the day is the evil therof so I enjoy the relief and try to appreciate even a morning in Bricomarche.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Apparently this week is Sarcoma Awareness week. I remember when I was in the events world I used to get regular updates on these sort of weeks and the events associated with them. There are millions of the things; did you know that there was a chocolate week for example? I decided that as I couldn't remember which week it was I would have to celebrate it every week, every day in fact.

Same with Sarcoma really although I do not celebrate it, and how aware of it am I? Mostly it's the chemo and its effects I am aware of, no hair (although it's starting to grow back and I don't think it is all grey), runny nose, ghostly nausea and seascape nails. Then there are the scars from the surgery which strangely have kicked off again soreness wise; but the sarcoma itself well it's just the lump at the back of my leg really and that just gets lost with all the other lumps lurking on that particular limb.

There is something I am supposed to do to my Facebook page to alert people to Sarcoma Awareness week but I couldn't work out what it was from the instructions and so apart from this blog my contribution will be nil. So folks please be aware and make your friends and family aware that Sarcoma sucks, it's rare so there's no money in it and that to my certain knowledge there is a group of people suffering from it who must be the bravest and best in the world. These are the Mimis, Amys, Shirleys, Kathryns, Karens, Christophers, Dots, Peters, Rogers and loads of others who through their pain and fear research, and fight and share and cheerfully survive despite having bits lopped off themselves and poison pumped into their veins. In America there was a Dr Dee who finally didn't survive but whose memory lingers on and who it would seem did more for Sarcoma awareness and research than any of the professionals who are paid to help us out.

Sarcoma needs more money, more interest, more notice because there are things out there that can help us, there is a right way and a wrong way to tackle the bastard, it's not good enough to say we are too rare and expensive or leave us to the lottery of insurance or the passing interest of a few devotees.

Be aware, it's Sarcoma Awareness Week and for some of us, and our families and friends, Sarcoma Awareness life.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dying happy

You know that phrase, now I can die happy or I suppose it should be happily; well I don't think I've got there yet and I have absolutely no idea whether I will be in the slightest bit happy when I die, I can't imagine that I will. I do imagine it from time to time and shake myself and say now don't go there. Somehow making the beds for our visitors brings it on, maybe it's pulling up the sheet, ugh no do not let us go there.

But today is one of those days when the phrase now I can die happy might pass my lips as number three son Luke got the job he desperately wanted and it puts him on the right course for the future whatever that is. He has not had an easy ride, and hence neither have we, but the last couple of years or so he has dragged himself back into normality, again whatever that is and today is the start of payback time for us all.

Of course that nice multi millionaire George Osborne - "we are all in this together and must all expect to suffer because my friends the bankers wrecked our economy but I wont because I am rich, rich rich" - will be getting his cutting shears out to jobs like Luke's and also Jessie's and he might even have a go at Stewart's pension which is probably brings in about as much as Georgie boy pays for suits every year.

It is painful to watch it unfold and to see yesterday, for example, that loads of my ex-colleagues in PCTs and SHAs in the health service will now be worrying like mad about their jobs and their mortgages. So will I die happy? Well when the time comes part of me will be happy to get away from this sort of brutality and the inevitable consequences of being helplessly in the hands of people whose philosophy and morality are the polar opposite to my own and, in my view, downright wicked and wrong.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's a wonderful world

Just got back from another lovely market, this time in Terrason, bought apricots, veal escalopes and girolle mushrooms which tomorrow I will whiz up into a bonne repas, I hope. We had breakfast, croissants and pain au raisin in a little pavement cafe where a hurdy gurdy man or chanteur was playing and singing, he played parlez moi d'amour which is one of my all time favourites and I thought: well life can't get much better than this. OK it may not happen next year but then maybe the hurdy gurdy man will go somewhere else and the boulangerie may mess up its croissants and the sun may not shine; so we enjoy the moment and let it rest at that.

I do sometimes wonder though if the fates are conspiring against us, one of our favourite restaurants the Belle Etoile in beautiful La Roque Gageac is closed at the moment. I rang the first week we were here to reserve a table using my best French which is just a little better than hopeless. The man said they were closed because of a problem, that was as much as I could understand but I have since learnt that a 320 ton piece of rock is threatening to fall onto the village exactly above said favourite restaurant. Now come on fates, it's fantastic food, it's cheap and it has a view to die for literally it would seem. I do not have endless opportunities to enjoy all of this, so come on sort your act out.

Thanks for all the nail advice by the way, I am soaking and stroking my finger ends regularly and Amazon are whistling over silica tablets as I type. I will soon be able to scratch my itches again and if the rock pinners work hard enough I can do so discreetly while answering the itch to eat at the Belle Etoile.

Monday, July 5, 2010

For want of a nail

OK friends so you were brilliant with eyebrow advice a couple of weeks ago, now I need you to turn your mind to nails. Again I have never been one to fiddle much with my nails unless you count biting them and the cuticles around them with great satisfaction but the last month or so they have gone manky in the extreme, another side effect of the chemo apparently. It seems I should have clutched some ice or a packet of frozen peas while I was having my treatments but as my infusions went on for about 48 hours each time that was beyond the call of duty and anyway I didn't know. Also I should have worn gloves when doing all that housework I do, oh yes of course. As ever I did none of these things and so have bendy, soft peeling nails each broken down to the quick; they are covered in pretty wavy patterns and ridges a bit like you used to draw for the sea when you were little.

It's amazing how much you need your nails, Stewart asked me to scratch his back in the car the other day and I had to flail around doing the best I could with my soft little pinkies. I can't get the tea caddy open, or when the need arises pick my nose and if some French floozy ogles my other half (yes it's possible!) I will not be able to scratch her eyes out and will have to resort to a knee in the groin or ready wit and repartee.

I have googled and find I should be eating gelatine so have just bought two strawberry jellies from the shaming English shelves at the Intermarche, I prefer raspberry or lemon but beggers can't be choosers. There was little more advice apart from - and Jess over the road from my Jess will like this - soaking your nails in squashed blue iris flowers, trouble is irises are not flowering over here at the moment. So come on friends what should I do, what can I put on them to give them a bit more oomph?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hot headed

This morning to the market at Exideuil and try to pronounce that if you can. Bought luscious cherries and four different sorts of pork from the black bummed pork butcher: belly which I will try to do slowly a la Heston; p√Ęte de campagne which is the best in the country, tongues cooked in a slice, more delicious than it sounds and common old pork chops. Also bought an ancien baguette which dipped in the melting butter at lunch time was probablly the best bread I have ever eaten.

And why was the butter melting? Because reader it is hot hot hot here. It means I have to keep taking off my headwrap even though it's made of lovely natural silk; believe you me your head gets hotter without hair, wrapped up it does anyway. It sweats like mad so now I know why my Dad used to wear that fetching knotted handkerchief in the summer, the accompaniment to his string vest and rolled up trousers. So I have pulled out an old straw hat that flops all over my face to plonk on when I move outside but I fear that the populace of Maumont, all eleven of them, are seeing more of my bald head than I, and most definitely they, would prefer. I am hoping however that the sun will encourage growth and that the very boiled and currently steaming egg look will gradually become a thing of the past.