Tuesday, 29 September 2009

the wedding weekend….

well – we went to Wales last weekend. For a wedding. It was the third [and last] wedding of the Welsh Jones girls, Aj's nieces. And [once we got there, past a zillion bollards, two zillion speed cameras and a boat or two] we had a great time.

Here are the bride and groom.


This is the Twmpath!!


The bride leaving the reception


And here we are having breakfast at Verdis in the Mumbles the next day. Perfect weather for al fresco toast and coffee!


Thursday, 24 September 2009



I just signed the World Cancer Declaration - a major global push to pressure world leaders to act now on cancer.

Right now, Lance Armstrong is riding in the Tour de France and dedicating his ride to this cause. And after the race, he'll send these commitments to world leaders and pressure them to attend the World Cancer Summit in Dublin this August. It's our best chance to push for better treatment, more funding for cancer research and access to care for everyone around the world.
But if people like us don't stand up, these leaders won't pay attention. Will you sign the declaration? It only takes a moment and could make a huge difference: sign HERE.

While we've made tremendous progress in the fight against cancer, we still have a lot of work to do. By 2010 cancer will be the #1 killer in the world, and as you read this message millions are fighting the disease around the globe. We need our world leaders to take action now.
I took this action because I believe this crisis couldn't be more urgent. Will you join me? It only takes a moment. Please sign HERE.

Oh and all ye merry blog followers and friends, could you leave a 'comment' on here if you sign?  It would be fun to see how many signatures I can generate!  Oh, and that bit's free heh heh. THANKS!!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

quote of the day

"I have met brave women who are exploring the outer edge of human possibility, with no history to guide them, and with a courage to make themselves vulnerable that I find moving beyond words."

Gloria Steinem

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

laughing and crying

I am still laughing about my friends blog to do with Punkin Farmers…it makes it difficult to concentrate on what I actually came here to blog about. Chuckling into the keyboard is not conducive to sensible thought. Heh heh. And she has beautiful photos too. Check it out. A really witty blog.

So, what was it? Ah yes, first, a report on the Hot Flash Rescue stuff – so far, no change that I have noticed, but to be fair I've only be using it for a few days and rather sporadically at that, as I keep forgetting to 'spray my inner thighs' [!], neck, chest and abdomen. By the time I remember to do all this spraying, I am dressed and all those bits are snuggled into warm clothing [it is now Autumn here – as far as I am concerned, it amounts to the same as winter – i.e.: I am always freezing]. Plus there's the lotion, and I am not sure if I will overdose if I use both? Turn into Ice Chick…the opposite of Hot Flash Chick?

So we will have to await events I'm afraid. I will try to concentrate more on the application! Perhaps I'll just spray it everywhere before I get out of bed in the morning!

Next I wanted you to see this. It really touched me. I don't think I really need to explain why, but I'll explain a bit of the story behind it. This woman, Sam, is amazing. She doesn't think she is, but a lot of we other women do – she climbs mountains and cycles miles and miles. She has a job, and she is on the board of directors for HERA Women's Cancer Foundation, a non-profit that raises funds for ovarian cancer research through a series of rock climbing events. And, best of all, she has beaten cancer twice. Oh, and I LOVE her Dragon tattoo [now buried under hair – yay!]. If I'd thought about it while I had no hair, I'd have copied it for sure. Very powerful.

Sam posted this on Facebook yesterday - I saw it and it made me smile from ear to ear, as I just thought "wow, how cool". Then I thought harder and just burst out crying. That horrible gulping crying - why? I don't know - maybe because I was touched that someone I have never 'met' thought to add me to a list of names that starts with someone I know is VERY important to her. So. Thanks.

sam Facebook Caption: My dream capsule message --"I'm climbing for Sean, Marilyn, Joyce, Beth, Carla, Wendy, Charolette, Tonya, and Sandhy."

And on a lighter note, here is that same crazy person – the tag is: "Hamming it up at C4L" – the tiny person hanging precariously off the mountain [far right] by one hand is Sam! Hamming it up hanging by a thread?? eek!

sam_02 Sam, hope you don't mind me nicking your pics – couldn't help myself!

Friday, 18 September 2009

experiment with Hot Flash Rescue

right – I am doing An Experiment. I asked Dr Hong ages ago about things one can/should take for the hot flashes. She said to try Oil of Evening Primrose. But she also added that she doesn't think it's much cop, but it works for some people. Well, it doesn't work for me. But I take it anyway, as it has other beneficial properties, so why not.

I asked her at the same time about Black Cohosh – well, you can see that post here. Rolling eyes did make me chuckle – most unscientific.

Anyway, this is the plan – I will try Hot Flash Rescue. Both the spray, and the lotion. Happily this Experiment is being funded by my Mum, as it's bloody expensive!. If it doesn't work, I shall be most peeved.

I shall update in a few days, as I am sure it's a good idea to give it a bit of time to work. Watch this space…


Hot Flash Rescue Lotion

Key Ingredients
Black Cohosh* and Chaste Tree berries* (normalize hormonal balance), Lavender*(relaxing; stress relieving), Sage* (oestrogenic), Mexican wild yam** (progesterone precursor), St. John’s Wort*, Olive Oil*, Avocado Oil*, Macadamia Nut Oil*, Rosehip Seed Oil*, Kukui Nut Oil, Aloe. *certified organic ** certified wild-crafted

Hot Flash Rescue Spray

Key Ingredients
Black Cohosh* and Chaste Tree berries* (normalize hormonal balance), Lavender* (relaxing; stress relieving), Sage* (oestrogenic), Mexican wild yam** (progesterone precursor), St. John’s Wort*, Aloe.

Absolute Radio Birthday Presents


Auctions for Cancer Research UK

ABSOLUTE RADIO are one year old and to celebrate, they've got together with friends on Regent St to have a party and pull together four amazing Absolute Radio Birthday Presents for you to bid on.

Every penny you bid will support their chosen charity Cancer Research UK. So, start bidding now!

This auction will be open from Friday 18 September until Friday 25 September.
About Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK are the benefitting charity for the The Regent Street Festival and Absolute Radio's first birthday party on Sunday 27 September.
If you would like to volunteer to help the Cancer Research UK team on 27 September, click here.
One in three of us will develop cancer in our lifetimes. Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research. Our groundbreaking work has saved millions of lives in the UK and across the world. Our goal is that by 2020 two thirds of cases will be diagnosed at a time when they can be treated.
Here's how of how your support could make a difference...

  • £10 could buy 300 glass slides for studying cells and tumour samples in detail under the microscope.
  • £95 could cover the basic costs for one woman to take part on a breast cancer clinical trial, improving treatments that will help to save many lives.
  • £870 could fund one Cancer Information Nurse for a week. Our experienced cancer information nurses provide a confidential service for anyone with concerns about cancer.
  • £1,000 could cover two month’s running expenses for a clinical trial investigating the treatment of prostate cancer.

Conducting research is expensive, but many people giving a little support can help us do great things.
Visit cancerresearchuk.org for more information.

Registered charity 1089464.


Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Wednesday September 16,2009

this article is very interesting – the part that makes me chuckle is that Victoria Fletcher constantly refers to cancer as 'the disease'…

thanks Aj for pointing it out to me. As always, the Supportive and Genius Husband :o)


Story Image

Developed to combat breast cancer, the drug could be used to treat other forms of the disease.

By Victoria Fletcher

A TWICE-a-day pill designed to fight breast cancer could offer hope to thousands of patients with other forms of the disease, it was announced yesterday.

In a British breakthrough, scientists have shown the drug disables cancers in the womb, prostate, colon and skin that are triggered by genetic mutations.

The discovery, which was immediately hailed as "excellent" and "very convincing" by experts, is particularly good news because the drug has few side-effects. And that means clinical trials could start within months.
Professor Alan Ashworth, director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research, who led the trial, said: "Our findings are very exciting. As far as a cure for cancer goes, I think this takes us closer."
Many drugs to treat cancer work by intercepting the signals that tell tumours to grow.
But the drug at the centre of this study, called olaparib, works by making cancer cells more vulnerable, attacking their Achilles heel and breaking down their defences.

Many drugs to treat cancer work by intercepting the signals that tell tumours to grow.

Earlier this year there was great enthusiasm when the same British team revealed it could kill breast ­cancer cells in women whose tumours were caused by mutations in their BRCA genes. Around one in 20 cases of breast cancer is attributed to these genes.
The trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that tumours stopped growing or shrank in around half of volunteers, all of whom had been told their ­cancer was incurable.
Now, in a separate study, the team has found olaparib may also work in people whose ­cancers are caused by a ­mutation in a different gene, called PTEN.

A far larger number of cancer victims have this genetic mutation so this latest discovery could have implications for the treatment of thousands or even tens of thousands.

Around a third of all breast and colorectal cancers are caused by PTEN mutations, and up to 80 per cent of ­cancers of the uterus. Prostate and skin cancer can also be ­triggered by it.
In tests in the lab, the drug was shown to disable the ­protein wall, called PARP, that cancer cells use to protect their DNA.
Once this protein is inhibited, the cancer cells’ DNA is exposed and the ­cancer cell dies.

However, the drug does not damage healthy cells that manage to protect their DNA with more than a flimsy protein wall. This makes the treatment of great interest to both researchers and doctors.
The results, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, are so exciting that the team are now setting up a trial on humans to see if what works on cells in the lab will also be effective on patients.
Professor Karol Sikora, a consultant oncologist in ­London and also Director of CancerPartnersUK, said: "This is an excellent paper which shows great promise, potentially extending the use of olaparib in a logical way to a range of PTEN mutant cancers. Ashworth’s team are an excellent group and the study carried out on cancer cells grown in the laboratory is very convincing."

Results of tests of olaparib on humans with PTEN mutations are not expected for two years and it is not yet clear when the drug will be widely available. It is not yet available either on the NHS or privately because it is still waiting to be licensed.

Dr Chris Lord, who led the research with Professor Ashworth said: “This new class of drugs could potentially make a big difference for many thousands of cancer patients, including some with very ­limited treatment options. It shows Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s focus on turning lab research into patient benefit as quickly as possible is having an impact.”

The news comes as a separate study, led by Keele University, discovered two genes which control whether a cell lives or dies and could halve the chance of survival for breast cancer patients.
They have established that patients with a low incidence of the tumour suppressor gene known as Fau, or a lot of the cancer-causing gene MELK, are at risk.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the developed world and is the second leading cause of death after lung cancer.
Despite recent advances, the development of therapy-resistant breast cancer cells is a major cause of death.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

this is SO cool! fixe fixe…

From Olympus…it's so jolly – I love it!

"This is the PEN Story in stop motion. We shot 60.000 pictures, developed 9.600 prints and shot over 1.800 pictures again. No post production! Thanks to all the stop motion artists who inspired us. We hope you enjoy :-)"
Free download of the music at


Pass it on. Awareness can save lives.

I am posting this on behalf of a friend, please read and copy/paste to your own blog or Facebook page or wherever someone may read it? Thanks!

"I ask each of you to read the list of symptoms (below) and make yourself aware of ovarian cancer. Many times doctors overlook these symptoms and miss the opportunity for early diagnosis. Ovarian cancer is known as the "silent cancer", but that is not true.

Nearly 89% of all diagnosed women experience symptoms even at early stages, yet we often dismiss them. I've met too many women who were donated after their doctors ignored them for years. Each of us has the power to take control over our own health.

Nearly five years ago, a doctor told me I was too young and it was impossible for my "cyst" to be ovarian cancer. Fortunately for me, I sought out a specialist to perform my surgery anyway. This decision saved my life, twice. Remember this, if ovarian cancer is even slightly suspected, having a gynaecological oncologist perform the surgery can increase 5 year survival by 25%!
Tell every woman you know!

Ovarian cancer symptoms:

*pelvic or abdominal pain
*trouble eating or feeling full quickly
*urinary symptoms, such as urgent or frequent feelings of needing to go

When the occurrence of these symptoms is unusual for you, or when they are present almost daily and last for more than a few weeks, they should prompt a woman to see a doctor, preferably a gynaecological oncologist.

Better safe than sorry, statistics suggest, because when ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, the chance for a cure is much better.

Ovarian cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer death among women and kills more women than all the other gyn-cancers combined. There is no reliable test for early detection and more effective treatments are needed so we can save the 1000’s of women diagnosed annually.

I've been struggling with ovarian cancer for the past five years. This weekend I'll be participating in my fourth HERA Climb4Life event in Salt Lake City. I'm very lucky to be healthy and strong today and looking forward to climbing and enjoying the beautiful clean mountain air.

The HERA Women's Cancer Foundation raises money for cutting edge ovarian cancer research grants at major institutions. The HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with tax ID # 71-0879772. All contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

Please consider making a donation --- no amount is too small (or too big). Thank you so much!
Donate Here!
Be aware,


Climbing in Big Cottonwood Canyon during the 2007 Climb 4 Life.

wanting to be normal again

Monday 14th September

It's really weird. This time last year, I was like 'GI Jane' – hair 2mm SHORT and feeling completely and utterly crap / ugly / lucky / miserable / exhilarated / deranged / happy / sad / tearful / depressed / frightened – bring it on, I felt it. All at once. Barely able to make it up the hills of Porto. Planning my next step, seeing it in my mind and wondering if I'd make it. Just the next street sign…just the next hill. Counting my footsteps, and breathing each one. Hurting and silently screaming that I did NOT want to do this…but forcing myself anyway.

This is me, in Porto, last September. We had a fabulous holiday for a week. It was incredible – Aj arranged an amazing apartment, and my friends were there for me – we had a brilliant week. The sun shone every day. It seems a lifetime away now. I can't BELIEVE I looked like that! I can't really understand what happened…it seems like a dream now. Or maybe a nightmare? I can't believe I made it up all those steps we had to get to the apart. No lift there! I can't believe that this was actually me; this weak and frail person. This tottering 'thing'. I am amazed at how much I complained!! and I am amazed at how much I achieved. But hindsight is always crystal clear isn't it? DSC_0231

Bloated face from the steroids, loads of extra weight due to the same. A great big scar up the middle of my hitherto fore pristine belly. Oh I bitched and whined about those things…but to be fair, those things saved my life.

This is me now – I feel so lucky!!! Look! Hair! Lots of it… DSC_0171

It's easy to forget that this time we have is an 'extra'. If you will. We are all struggling to stay alive. People [like I used to be] without cancer or the threat of it. People with their horrible diseases [yeah, lets not forget – there are many horrid things you can get, just as bad as cancer!] and people who just have a cold, or feel tired, and think it's the End Of The World. To them, perhaps it is. I would be happy for anyone that this should be the worst that could happen to them. I wish it were the worst that had happened to me.

But we are in 'extra time' – a few years back, we would have been dead. But we aren't. Thanks to modern technology, new insight and incredible scientific breakthroughs, we are alive. I wonder what is in the heads of those scientists? Is it that they want to save us? Or is it that they want to be famous for saving us? Do I care? No. I don't. Bring on the boffins – they have extended my life so far. I hope they will carry on doing just that. I don't want to die. No, not yet, not until I am about 95!

I want to be able to complain about 'The Youth Of Today'...I want to be able to bitch about my pension…I want to see Aj with hardly any hair ;o)

in short – I want the chance to get old. I want the chance to feel normal again. For a long time?

Monday, 14 September 2009

civilisation..and strange questions

Monday 14th September

Hooray!! Hot water at last! Brilliant service by British Gas actually – the chap arrived at 8.30 after calling me at 8.00 to let me know he was on his way. We now have hot water. And heating. I am delighted to say the least! A hot bath at lunchtime was a real luxury!

While I was looking for something completely different on the internet, I came across this image:


Pretty cool…I know it's an old saying, but I love the italic font! If anyone has it, PLEASE gimme! Georgie, this is for you.

And I went to circuit training this evening with Georgie…we nearly died. I am serious. It was horrendous – not going for over 2 weeks is a BAD idea!! The Pain in The Side was having a field day – not nice. Tomorrow is going to be torture. I shall be tottering down the stairs like an old crone. Oh yay. NOT. And Georgie, you were a star – not the best day today eh?

One of my friends had a strange [and upsetting] experience today. A 'friend' [hmm]; of hers explained to her that although she 'knows that life is not fair', she really wants my friend 'to go to Heaven'. BUT [and this is a big but!], my friend would 'have to accept Jesus into her heart' before she would be able to go. I was incensed to say the least!

Last year, my [very] Christian friends, and my [even more religious] Catholic friends told me they were praying for me. People in Brazil had a special service for me. They lit candles. In the Alphington Church up the road from me, they mention my name in Services. They pray for me and I don't even know them! They did what they felt would help me best. And I was, and still am, eternally grateful to them. Not ONE of them tried to change me [I am sort of ambivalent about religion – I keep an open mind, and as far as I am concerned, everyone should keep his faith, whatever it may be, as long as it harms no-one else] and not one of them threatened me with damnation if I didn't 'think like them'. To me, they are truly amazing. And I know their prayers helped me – and I also know that if any of them were at the gates of Heaven when I arrived, they'd be pulling me in there, hand over fist.

Anyone who has to have 'payment' for redemption? Well…I don't think so. I am not going to make a rant out of this, but my friend really DID NOT need that kind of remark. She just needs support, and 'Christian' people should give that unequivocally. Not with strings attached. Isn't that what it's all about?

Here's our Church in Alphington:

St Michael's and All Angel's - Alphington

And now, I am off for ANOTHER nice hot bath! Bliss…

awake at last!

Sunday 13th September

Aj went to bed at 8.30 last night, and I wasn't far behind. But we woke up feeling MUCH better, apart from The Pain in The Side. Having thought about all this 'sitting about on my butt' maybe affecting it, I decided to get out into the garden and do some Wisteria Hacking.

In 2 weeks, the blessed thing has shot a hundred long arms with the intent of taking over the house, driveway and street. So after our normal Sunday morning brekkie [duly cooked by Aj!] I set about chopping it all back, sweeping the driveway [Leaves. Lots of them. Autumn is certainly messy!] and with Aj's help, bagging the lot up for the tip. Aj wants to set the Wisteria on fire. He and It have an ongoing animosity. He hates It. It grows madly in defiance.

After a couple of hours of marauding about doing garden stuff, I did feel a lot better. The Pain in The Side has gone back to it's normal 'niggle' as averse to a rather loud 'nag'. Good. And it was a glorious day! HOT and sunny.

We took sandwiches and wine and cycled to the quay, where there was major excitement, as the ferry from Exmouth had called in. And there were lots of canoeists, people in row boats, kids doing the 'Titanic' pose on pedalos [hilarious!] and the Man Who Cooks Burgers That Smell Amazing…we had a lovely afternoon just chilling out. The sarnies were good too!

Here's the 'Pride of Exmouth' tied up at Exeter Quay.

ferry from Exmouth

© Copyright Sarah Charlesworth

home at last and shattered

Saturday 12 September

well, today we missed my Uncles 60th birthday party – we really wanted to go and had planned it. I even remembered to get a gift!But that was before I arrived 4 hours late from Portugal. 'All the best laid plans' and all that…

I wanted to see my family. I wanted to see Vix and the Small Terrorista. But I was so completely shattered I could barely move. I missed circuit class this morning as well. Too tired to even consider it. Aj was the same. Stressed out and exhausted, as of course he had to wait up for me last night, as I had to drop the hire car at Exeter airport. With no other way to get home than him collecting me. So there was no way either of us would make to 2 hour drive without falling asleep at the wheel. Bad idea.

So, what fun! We had first the car breakdown [that has cost £650.00 to repair - uff], then "no hot water'' scenario [poor Aj having cold showers! ugh!], then the delays getting home. Plus the pain in my stomach. What is that anyway? Grr. It's bothering me. I am wondering if it's all the stress combined with the lack of exercise. Mostly sitting at a pc or walking for 2 weeks. No real exercise to speak of.

One good thing! Bad stuff comes in threes – now we've had three!

The chap from the gas board arrived this morning  - he was here for HOURS and when he left he was apologetic – no hot water until Monday. Parts, you see. Parts?? I feel like 'parts' are taking over my bloody life!! Parts…grr. Car parts, boiler parts…well, I suppose it's better than body parts right?

And of course I am still worrying about The Pain in The Side. Hmm – what to do eh? Actually that IS a body part. Wait until November [I shall likely do this] until I see my gyn/onc? Or freak out right now? Bah. Who am I trying to kid?? Of course I am freaking out right now. But I am doing it very calmly and only occasionally.  ;o) I know very well that IF there is something wrong, waiting a month is not going to make any difference. And I have already been told that my bowel is now going to be sensitive. So what's my problem eh?

Calm, calm..this is our mantra since cancer…hard to follow some days…in the meantime, lots of SLEEP!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

travels in reverse – what a palaver!

so. Coming home again. So chuckalicious. NOT!!

aaargh! I can truly say that I DETEST travelling...whatever happened to the days when one looked forward to flying somewhere because the actual FLIGHT was enjoyable? You could walk around. See the cockpit. Meet the pilot. The air hostesses enjoyed their work. I remember those flights with my parents. No more. Flying sucks now, and that's that.

So, to the trip home. As per usual, we were delayed out of Porto [apparently there are some air restrictions over France that hold up Swissair? riiight…]. Whatever – we left 55 minutes late. Which adds about an hour and a half to my already long drive home, simply by virtue of the fact that EVERYTHING becomes 55+ minutes later. The plane. The Luggage [how I WISH my luggage actually did bite/eat people!], the transfer etc etc. Pah.

I really wanted to hit someone. I had a massive panic attack, as my 'pain in the side', which is usually pretty dull, had decided to become pretty hilarious. As in 'whoo hoo, here I am and spreading!' My gut felt like someone had kicked and perhaps stabbed me. This was not nice. Nor funny. Nor conducive to patience in the face of delay. I just desperately wanted to get home in case my stomach was going to try to kill me. Rather it did that in Exeter thanks [well, not at all actually, but if it MUST!]. At least I'd be near my hospital! I had horrible visions of recurrence. I cried my eyes out at it's worst on Thursday night. Just needed to be home.

Eventually I arrived at Heathrow. Hoorah. The Land of Miserable Bastards. I don't know what it is about the staff in UK airports, but they all need a joint or a good kick up the arse. They are SO rude and SO miserable – it's almost possible to pity them. But I didn't. I wanted to run over them all with a large tractor. Twice.

I waited for The Luggage. Eventually It arrived. Raced to the Avis bus stop with It – astoundingly efficient! We were at the Avis office within minutes! Got my car [a fancy Peugeot – better for not falling off the side of the road every time there's a breeze…] It took me all of 5 minutes to work out how everything worked [you know, lights, indicators blah] and I was off. But it was already 8.15. I was looking at 11.45 arrival home. Not TOO bad. Ha!! If I'd only known. Oh, and they did offer me GSM? er…a talking car? no thanks…

Oh ho ho ho. Say that in an axe murderer Santa voice!! I had made reasonably good time – considering that the M3 is a great big 50mph zone due to some digging. Digging for what we shall never know. Gold?? Bollards? I swear that in the UK bollards have replaced cats eyes…we can't SEE where we are going. Unless there a a gazillion bollards…

Nonetheless. Delay. Bloody cameras that take a pic of you every 2 miles for an average speed check. So, no normal travel speed of about 80 mph. for a LONG time. THEN – the best! I got to the 'almost at Exeter' turn off, and what should I see? A big fat 'ROAD CLOSED' sign. Lots of idiotic men dressed in shiny reflective pants doing bugger all, apart from blocking me. And smoking.  Oh thank you very much. I followed the one and only 'redirected traffic' sign.  Onto the A30. This road is only used by farmers and wild animals! Buffalo. Elephants. Wild boar.

Over hills and dales. Through forests and tundra. Up and down hills. Not another soul to be seen. I had visions of werewolves, so didn't dare stop to call Aj in case I was attacked, bitten and turned! Miles and miles and miles of what [in the daytime] must be lovely scenery – but at midnight? er – NO!! Anyway, after avoiding many foxes, deer and deranged badgers [what is up with badgers? they don't understand roads or what? fools] I eventually arrived at the 'normal' route – no thanks to the roads department, who assume that one will just 'get there'.

Well, I got there. Eventually. Because I am a bloody genius. But a few signs would have been nice! So instead of arriving home at 10.00, I got in at 1.00. Aj had to meet me at the Avis drop off, as it was after hours, and I had to have a big fight with a diesel pump on the way. Uff.Got to bed at 2.00.

And the gas man is coming in the morning between 8.00 an 1.00. What's the bet he will be early??

Portugal; the cabeleireiros and other things

6th September 2009

As is the norm, I worked all week in the office [we have a quaint little white ‘house’ almost in a forest, next to the factory proper] – then I spent the weekend here too. It was amazing! Constant sunny weather, temperatures of 35 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. Bliss. Made up for all that frenzy of actually getting here in the first place. I spent all weekend doing nice things. Only nice thing missing was the Jones.

Saturday morning I did my usual run [which I do in Portugal only] of the tabacaria and the cabeleireiros [hairdressers]. In the UK it costs me about £90.00 just to have a colour. In Portugal it costs me €55.00 for a colour, cut and dry with delightful service. So I had the FIRST HAIRCUT since September last year!! September last year I was as bald as a coot. Amazing how much my hair has grown since then. I did have it trimmed once it had grown in, but it didn’t really count, as I had hardly any hair. So, this was a major palaver, and my lovely hairdresser, Romy, knew it. She made a great job and understood exactly how much it stressed me out having it cut. But, after all, it does grow back. And at least now it’s even, whereas it was going completely bezzo. My hair is back to how it was before I had cancer – about a year before I was diagnosed; my hair became lifeless and started falling out by the hand full. I didn’t worry much, as I have a lot of hair. But now that it’s back to normal, I realise that that was another sign that something was seriously wrong. I wonder if that’s another ‘symptom’. I don’t know, but certainly my hair has come back twice as thick as it was in 2007, the year leading up to ‘hello you have cancer’ year.

So, cigarettes purchased, hair cut and coloured, off to the beach! And that’s where I remained for the rest of the weekend. I saw friends, had lunch and dinner at the seafront, early nights and calls to Jones [to be sure it was STILL raining and ghastly in the UK]. I also found out that a friend’s sister has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is young, just found her first ‘real’ boyfriend. Merde. So I went to see my friend to offer what support I could. Not a lot, but at least she knows I am here if she needs me. There’s really nothing useful you can say except ‘I am here’. Bloody cancer – how is it that it’s everywhere? I hate it. That was the only crabby thing that happened though.

Other than that, I am fried to a crisp. Yay! As I probably won’t be seeing any sun until July next year, I made the absolute most of it. Oh, I was attacked one evening by a crazy drunken Frenchman who was insistent to his friends that he 'had' to speak to me as I was ‘magnifique’ [so glad I can still ‘pull’ drunk men eheheh] and a nutty Portuguese maintenance man who thought it most rude of me to sit on a sun bed before 9.00 on a Sunday morning…little did he know I had been awake since 6.00 and was just delighting in the sight of the sun brightened sea with no people around. What a grump. But he didn’t spoil my day - just added to the entertainment…breakfast at the seafront is bliss.

This is the beach.

espinhoTomorrow, another week of work in the 'house'…then home again home again jiggety jig. Wonder what hilarious vehicle I will be driving back to Exeter? At least I will be able to travel at my leisure this time! I hope.

travels...with The Luggage…but not the car

6th September 2009

The Indolent Blogger that’s me…sorry, but everything has been whizzing along at a rate of knots and I have been JUST ABOUT keeping up. No time for frivolousness here. No blogging. But as I am now ensconced in my apartment in Portugal after two days lying about in the sun on the beach I am feeling both scorched and frivolous. Sunday nights alone in foreign climes with a sunburned forehead tend to do that to one’s head. It also makes you feel like spending fortunes on shoes. Blogging is the cheaper option…

Right, where to start – ah, I know, the trip to Portugal last Tuesday. Hi ho hi ho and off to work I go and all that. All very well planned out as usual. I am meticulous with my travel plans. I check everything 6 million times, allow lots of time to get to where I am going and also allow for the insanity that is chemo brain [I detest being late – especially if it’s a plane that other people are paying for that I might be late for] and I try to plan for every contingency. Ha!! Plan away, it doesn’t help! I merrily set off for Heathrow, with plenty of time in hand. It’s a three and a half hour drive on the best of days, so I usually allow myself more time than that for the odd traffic jam, car crash, the police car holding everyone up just by dithering about sarcastically in the inside lane below the speed limit etc etc. [will YOU overtake him? Er...I think not…].

Lo and behold, I suddenly noticed as I was blithely speeding up the carriageway, that I was travelling at 0 miles per hour. What? Aaargh no dashboard. At all. I had brief [and suicidal] contemplations of carrying on [time being a huge issue here], but visions of trying to change lanes at speed on the M25 with no indicators brought those thoughts to a grinding halt. Pull over, call Jones. Advised to check the fuses – did that, no luck. Next instruction, drive directly back to the BMW service centre. Good plan! In the meantime, better plan if Jones comes home RIGHT NOW in the face of imminent hysteria. Right, on the way. I slapped the emergency flashers on [at least they worked] and zoomed back to Exeter. Waving out the windows to indicate and braking VERY carefully at every stop. Finally arrive at the service centre in a major panic. Race inside and do the ‘eek eek I am a damsel in distress’ manoeuvre.

The man on the desk was a total blockhead. Actually he has a face that just needs slapping before one even addresses him [he has a permanent insouciant sneer], so his nonchalance in the face of my dilemma made me feel like beating him around the ear with one of the insanely overpriced BMW coffee cups on sale in a tacky glass cabinet...but I digress. He suggested [to my ire], that I “book it in this afternoon”. Obviously the expression “I have to be at Heathrow by 5.30 [and it’s now 2.00!!]” didn’t QUITE sink in. It did the second time round, as it was rather more pointedly delivered. His reply was ‘well everyone is on lunch, so ‘sorry’ but no luck’. Luck…hmm, rhymes with…anyway, I pressed him, and he suggested I speak to another chap who was in the showroom – long and the short of it, this man was GREAT! He may have noticed that by now I was shaking like a leaf and really NEEDED some help. Probably in the form of A: Time Travel and B: Valium.

Anyway, to cut a long [and probably boring] tale short, he got the lads off lunch, jumped the queue, and checked the car into the workshop. No idea. Needs to go onto a diagnostic machine to find out what’s wrong. Take it home and rent a car. Sorry about that. Ah, the LUCK [LUCK?? fffftttt] word again…no chance of a quick fix.

OK. Home again [permanent hot flash has now taken control – I am like a crazy woman at this point], rip The Luggage out of the boot, throw it on the patio, [kick the car as hard as possible for good measure – not a good idea wearing heels, so swear loudly at it as a pain free alternative] race into the house and start calling first the coach companies…yes, a coach goes to Heathrow – at 7.30. Ah good. Slam. Yes, a train goes near there, whenever…SLAM. Car rentals...have you a car? No...SLAM…hello? Car? No…SLAM. The fifth rental agency I rang was Avis. I LOVE AVIS!!! LOVE THEM!! Yes we have a car, when do you want it, no don’t pay one way, it’s cheaper to pay return, righto the car is ready at Exeter airport, see you soon.

OMG!! Amazing. Jones was in the meantime rushing home from Paignton in his little lorry. He was also trying to find a rental car, but unlike me, Mrs Impatient, he expected people to call him back. They didn’t. Bastards. So, he arrives, I race up the road, jump in with The Luggage and off we go. Jones promptly gets lost on the way to a place that we go to all the time. He never gets lost. I immediately realise he is more stressed than I am, and remain very calm. Finally, after what amounts to a handbrake turn at high speed, we get there. The Avis woman was fabulous. She filled the form out at lightning speed, and I was off.

In a lime green, diesel Cleo? Oh my…With exactly 3 hours before my gate closes. By now it’s 3.30 and my flight is a 7.20. The gate closes at 6.50. Tight. Miraculously to say the least, I made it [thanks to AVIS again, as I literally threw the car at the airport man and ran away onto the bus – where the driver left the stop early to help me…nice man!]. I imagine a lot of speeding fines await my return. But at least I made it!

Why is it that the more technologically advanced we become, the more difficult and complicated it is to get anywhere?? Grr. Travel? Bah.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

send a text to help raise funds for ovarian cancer research

Electrolux and Kelly invite you to send a text for a cause HERE.

During September, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the United States, you can help raise funds and awareness to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Donate $5.00 [approximately 3.03 GBP on 9th September 09] NOW to help fund research to find a cure.[1]

Plus, every day you log on to Kelly Confidential , you'll be entered for a chance to win a front load washer and dryer in 'Turquoise Sky', the color inspired by the teal ribbon of ovarian cancer awareness.

[1] A one-time donation of $5.00 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Standard messaging rates and additional fees may apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of the OCRF by the Mobile Giving Foundation and subject to the terms found at HERE . You can unsubscribe at any time by texting STOP to 85944.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

september is ovarian cancer awareness month in the USA


Just a reminder! Lots of events everywhere, and see Ovations events list here.

Ours [in the UK] is in March…