Sunday, December 30, 2007

100 Things….....for New Years

I have never done one of these - so better late than never. Time to demystify the crazie one.....

1. I have registered for 2008 Race for Life in support of Cancer Research – a promise is a promise.
2. I want to improve on 5k in 54 minutes and 26 seconds.
3. But I accept I have bad knees and a bad back. I have started cycling to prepare.
4. I got a letter telling me I was one of the top fundraisers at the Swindon event in 2007.
5. I raised, if I remember rightly (my fundraising page has expired), about £400 personally (without any corporate help).
6. My new target for 2008 will be £500. Cancer Research and I will gratefully accept all help.
7. Mac will help me in 2008.
8. My dad is due his CT Scan in January. Then we will know what the future holds.
9. They have offered him ‘interim chemo’ which he has refused. No wonder, they told him about all the side effects.
10. If my dad is sick I may have to shuttle between here and Scotland to help out.
11. After four weeks on a nicotine patch in hospital my dad is attempting to give up his 40 a day habit.
12. I spoke to my goddaughter and her mother in Canada a couple of nights ago.
13. We have confirmed cyberkitten and I will be travelling to see them (after five years!) at the end of April.
14. I am excited and nervous.
15. I hope to see mah Blogsister, Dawnie (Retarded Rugrat) and her Jeffers while I am there – but I know they’ll be busy…getting married!
16. I am the youngest of four children.
17. Another year has passed and I still don’t talk to my sister.
18. About fifteen years ago, she told me that she thought me stupid and if I wasn’t her sister she wouldn’t choose me to be her friend so I stopped being her sister.
19. My younger brother hasn’t spoken to me for 20yrs, as he thinks I am the spawn of the devil – aren’t psychological conditions fun?
20. My elder brother is currently working in Nigeria, he has a successful marriage, an excellent job, three wonderful children and is gregarious and popular – did he get my life by accident?
21. Younger brother and sister are both happy to talk to elder brother, but not baby sister.
22. Bearing #13-18 in mind, I have surrounded myself with friends who love me for who I am not what I am.
23. Every Christmas I mourn the fact that I couldn't have children.
24. I also mourn on Mothers Day.
25. But it’s a fact I can’t change, so I only allow myself to feel sorry about it at certain times.
26. I have had depression since the surgery that uncovered my barrenness, but lately have been very bad at taking my medication.
27. I am paranoid.
28. I am neurotic.
29. I have mild intermittent agoraphobia.
30. I also have coulrophobia, musophobia, dentophobia and one so far un-named phobia.
31. Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns.
32. Musophobia is the fear of mice (actually all rodents terrify me).
33. I am trying to meet my dentophobia head on – and my dentist is helping me.
34. My un-named phobia is the fear of masks. I am terrified of people wearing masks.
35. I love my cats. They are all rescue animals.
36. Before Charlie we had Echo.
37. I noticed our neighbour’s cat having contractions when I went in to feed her.
38. I delivered three kittens. The first came out no trouble and the second got stuck and had to be delivered by hand. Echo was the runt, stillborn and I revived her.
39. Until she was six months old she could not be clearly identified as male or female – hence the unisex name.
40. When she had her sterilisation it was discovered that the internal female organs were predominant.
41. Echo was due to come in one June evening but it was a lovely night, so I let her have a few more minutes to enjoy the summer evening.
42. Ten minutes later I got a phone call to say she had been in a car accident and was DOA at the vet. So I created her and killed her.
43. Ambrose, Pandora’s life companion, was killed on the same road in 2001.
44. We don’t let our cats out any more.
45. One day I must count my teddy bears.
46. I have 21 around the house, including bears, dogs, penguins, dragons etc.
47. That’s not including the suitcase full in the spare room and the sackful in the loft.
48. In my collection I have a huge Sully and a very big Stitch.
49. I have some bears that mean things.
50. Mac is my Race for Life Bear. He is a breast cancer bear, named for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. He has two sisters, one in Vancouver (Shanti) and one in LA (to be named).
51. Ginger Pye was one of my first bears, my ‘new dad’ bought him for me on a cross-channel ferry when I saw him in the kiosk window and begged. I think I was 12.
52. Albert is my dentist bear. I take him with me to the dentist as I am very fearful. He takes a beating every appointment.
53. Geoffrey is my polar bear. Bobkat gave him to me. He is my travelling bear and goes with me every time I go away.
54. Bojangles is my stuffed dog. He was a gift from my beloved friend Silentmum and has been adopted by my ancient pussycat Pandora as a pillow in her bed. She looks so cute sleeping with her chin on the little dog.
55. I find my bears comforting.
56. I am a Scorpio, although I do not ascribe to all the characteristics.
57. I was two weeks late. If I was born on time I would have been a Libra – and I fulfil some of the Libra characteristics.
58. I am a wood dragon in the Chinese zodiac, and the character reading is far more accurate than the astrological zodiac.
59. I am a snake in the shaman calendar.
60. I see a pattern in # 56-59 – do you?
61. My real dad died when I was 17. I asked God why and got no response.
62. I didn’t talk with God again until cyberkitten and I started discussing faith.
63. I am a Quaker (although not signed up!) and believe in direct communication.
64. I also respect all other faiths, and am interested in them.
65. I dislike people who say their faith is absolutely the right one and tell me I will be punished for my beliefs.
66. When I was in hospital for surgery, a girl came in having a miscarriage. She got very upset and I tried to comfort her.
67. Nurses in the British NHS have very little time to allow them to sit with distressed patients. You get a lot of distressed patients in the gynae ward.
68. She believed that the earth was created and ruled by aliens in a big ship orbiting the planet.
69. She was cool – we agreed to disagree. I sat with her for three hours, complete with drip and colostomy bag.
70. But at least I comforted her enough to stop her crying.
71. I cry on the inside – a lot.
72. Since I left school I have always had children around me.
73. I have been involved with five families over the years.
74. I started out at 17 as housekeeper for a family of four, including a toddler in a wheelchair.
75. Now I am part of the Aginoth clan, and babysit their three children for free.
76. There is nothing like having a drowsy child in your arms, all soft and clingy.
77. I rocked a child non-stop for 5 hours once – I was fifteen and just couldn’t shift some trapped wind. As the parents walked in the door the baby gave out a huge burp, farted and fell asleep instantly.
78. LMD holds the current record of 3 hours of making me hold her and rock her out of sheer peevishness.
79. LMD is conniving and very clever, and I love her for it. Until recently I called her ‘The Baby That Hates Me’.
80. Whether prompted or not the Aginoth children always seem thrilled to see me and it warms my heart every time.
81. I am interested in forensics and have Bill Bass’ autobiography.
82. Bill Bass created the Body Farm at Tennessee University, made famous in a novel by Patricia Cornwell, to study the decomposition of bodies.
83. I know more than most about gunshot wounds, blood spatter and adipocere (look it up!).
84. Sir Bernard Spilsbury’s biography is on my wishlist along with other forensic books.
85. I refuse to watch CSI as the only episode I ever watched got the forensics wrong.
86. NCIS get the forensics right – but that is partly due to the hard work and dedication of David McCallum who plays the ME.
87. Dead human bodies don’t bother me at all.
88. Dead animal bodies really upset me and make me physically sick.
89. I have seen dead human bodies.
90. A man drowned at the pool I was working at one summer.
91. A 12-year-old boy died in my arms after being hit by a truck. He was a mess. I was twenty.
92. I had survivor’s guilt for years, as he ran past me before being hit by the truck. I could have grabbed his coat.
93. Fifteen years later I grabbed the dungaree straps of a little boy about to run in front of a car. When his mother arrived seconds later, she berated me for ‘touching’ her son.
94. I would do it again.
95. My latest hobby is re-enacting. I have just completed my first season.
96. Our period is the 14C, 1370 to be exact. The company believes in living history and authenticity. If they didn’t have it in 1370, then we can’t have it.
97. It’s nice – and surprisingly relaxing.
98. I am a moneyer. There were no women moneyers recorded in the period, but I am very good at it and raised almost £500 for the company in 2007. So I created a fictional back-story for those who questioned my presence. So much for authenticity [grin].

99. In 2008 I will have an apprentice. A new friend, L, who will also be sharing my tent. She will be my ‘sister’ to the public.
100. I am stunned that I got to 100. When you start these things, 1 seems miles from 100.

Happy New Year!!

Here's to 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas with the Crazies

So...the other night was the annual Crazie Christmas party. All my Crazies have families in one way or another that they spend Christmas with. But this group of friends who have been inter-dependent for anything up to eight years always gets together whenever possible. Most years we all disappear to a fabulous big cottage in Cornwall for a week. However with The Girls in London and the Aginoths bound by small children, these days it is difficult to get everyone together for a party - but Christmas is still top of the list.

We all do have intriguing nicknames: craziequeen, Aginoth, Mrs Aginoth, Cyberkitten, Bionicdwarf, SleepyPete, LMB, LMD, Aginoth Jnr, RCA and K (we're still waiting for a craziename for K!)
This year bionicdwarf hosted the party in his nice little got awful crowded with eleven of us - god help us if any of our bachelor boys gets a girl......anyway, the Aginoth children always have to give up seats to an adult or someone more needy - so once we were all in the house they got to swarm over the stairs....

Studying her Nintendo Wotsit is LMB (Little Miss Blonde) and LMD (Little Miss Dark) is chattering happily to Piglet. Aginoth Jnr is sprawled deep in concentration on his own Nintendo Thingy.

LMD decided she really liked my Santa hat, and had a paparazzi moment as we all cooed and chuckled over her, pulling out cameras around the room and she turned to each camera with a beaming smile......

That girl is going to be a star!

In addition to the Secret Santa gifts (thank you for my Ealing films, Secret Santa!), the children bought us all fun games to play, and we tried My Dog Has Fleas, with LMD helping RCA, K coming close to winning and Aginoth Jnr cheating outrageously!

Then we played Hungry Frogs which, being fun, fast and noisy, the children soon annexed to their toy corner! And finally we broke open my Uno Stacko....

which LMD explained to RCA (not really [snigger]) - but to be honest, RCA had to explain the game to me!

LMD (formerly known as The Baby Who Hates Me) is becoming quite the social butterfly, and really wanted to squish in between mummy and cyberkitten who really, really hates his picture being seen.....

This is cyberkitten getting a masterclass in Nintendo thingys from a 7yr old and a 4yr old. Excellent! Yes, that is a duck on ck's head - it was a duck themed evening as I gave the girls 'Glow in the Duck Ducks'. SleepyPete is on the right taking notes........

I love this photo, with the children swarming over everything and everyone doing something. Left to right from the back: bionicdwarf, LMB, cyberkitten, Mrs A, LMD, Aginoth Jnr, RCA and K.

btw - my mistletoe is still fresh............M'WAH!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas at the Palace

Christmas is over and we're pooped..........
Yup,, you can see my tummy!
I have been practising on my beautiful new purple bicycle - it's all coming back...slowly....
And my new little friend Mac gained a new teddy bear pal - I'm toying with the name Marmaduke...too much for a little bear, d'ya think?
And the $64M question: Did the tree survive?
Yup :-)
Mind you, MB tested my patience by spilling red wine twice, including on my irreplaceable Bangladeshi Christmas table runner. Luckily it all came out with lengthy soaking and washing.
About two weeks before Christmas I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome (hence the downturn in blogging), so I have catered this Christmas with a wrist brace - makes the simplest tasks impossible by forcing the wrist into the correct position to relieve the pressure on the median nerve. Lucky there was only the two of us :-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all...

....and to all a good night!!

Anyone want to grab a kiss under the mistletoe?

In fact, you are welcome to take a piece and go on over to Michele's, where the Meet and Greet is still going on - and give her a nice kiss too!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Must be Christmas....time to trim the tree....

With memories of this.....

and this....

and this....

Not forgetting this....

Here is the 2007 tree.....

any bets on how long it will last before a big male feline decides to play with it?

Look at that angelic little this year going to be different?

Update: Mum! Mum! I'm guarding the presents!!.........which one is mine....?


Friday, December 21, 2007

Not just humans

Mysterious lumps and bumps are not restricted to humans..........

This is Pandora, our precious ancient pussycat who is the grand age of 18 and a half.

This week we found a large lump by one of her shoulder blades, about 2cm in diameter. We are very, very scared.

I don't want to take her to the vet. Her brother, Pushkin, died of abdominal cancer.
She's very old to go through the stress of treatment, and the vet may decide to take her away from us forever, or whatever is causing the lump may steal her away.

I can't imagine life without 'Pandy'.

Meanwhile, she is ok in herself for an octogenarian pussycat, she isn't showing any signs of pain, she doesn't flinch when I check her lump, she still begs to be carried around, she still tells us she loves us, she chatters at us, she purrs so loudly, she isn't limping, she is eating well, she is still using the litter tray without accidents and she seems very happy.

But a lump is a lump.....

To those that have left messages, thank you :-) Your support is valued beyond words.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa Came Through...

Well, it seems MB was drafted in by Santa to help sort my request here - so Santa could concentrate on the little people.

MB tried to buy the red bike I wanted,
but the nasty people in the shop couldn't guarantee the larger frame (I have 33" inside leg!) so he left feeling downhearted.
He searched out some bikes for me to look at, but I had set my heart on my second choice - a purple and it's here! Look......

hmm - might be me, but it looks like a box....

Yep, definitely a bicycle.......!! woohoo!! It's a purty purple bicycle.......


Monday, December 17, 2007


You all wanted to see pictures of the adolescent wild swan eating from my hand......full story here. Swannie is a young swan who has become very attached to his little pond and refuses to, or can't, move out.
Here he is - meet Swannie...our young friend. See his two tone plumage? Swannie is on the verge of adulthood and that beautiful white plumage is coming through.When I call him, he comes rushing over, clattering his bill as if saying 'Where have you been?'

He takes nice healthy wholemeal bread off the bank......'washing' it before swallowing it. We took the box of shortbread to tease my boss :-)

He gently takes bread from B's hand.....hungry boy - well, I think he's a boy!

..and then eats from my hand - newly dressed in a wrist brace! He even playfully nipped at my fingers several times.

A couple more days and if Swannie hasn't made a move, we'll bring in the swan experts to remove him and take him to a safe home.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Some Days

Some days are made special by the smallest of wonderful experiences.
On our site is a large lake and we have a Mute Swan couple who come to stay each year, build a nest, lay eggs and raise their young. It is a wonderful opportunity to watch swan family life as the cygnets grow and learn to be swans, alongside ducks, coots and moorhens - we even have a crane and a couple of kestrels on site. All the swans leave in the late autumn/early winter and we never see the young ones again, as they go off to find their own mates, but mum and dad come back every year.
This year there are a couple of adolescent swans who are resisting the urge to leave as their parents and siblings have done. Two of the teenage cygnets are not a problem as they are mooching around the lake and flitting between us and the nearby AXA insurance company (who also have a small lake!), but one of the young swans is causing us a few headaches. In addition to the large lake, we also have several smaller ponds and fountains. The young swan has found his way into one of the fountain ponds and he is either reluctant or unable to get out. He has been caught and released, but when straight back in again. After several weeks we are starting to worry about his overall health, although he is still ok and is feeding on bottom algae. He is just starting to moult and his beautiful white plumage is beginning to show. He must leave soon to mature and find a mate.
(photo: wikipedia)
We have contacted the local swan rescue who have advised us to watch him and occasionally feed him, and to call back next week if he's still in there.
So today my colleague B and I set out with a wholewheat bread roll and some unwanted low sugar fruit and nut Flapjack to feed Little Swan and check on his general health. As usual, and somewhat of a surprise to B, Little Swan came to us as I called 'Swannie, swannie!' and looked up at us, chattering his bill - saying hello, probably [grin]. We gave him some bread first to judge how hungry he was.
Have you ever seen a swan eat?
It will take the food from the water/ground and then dunk it in the water to soften it up - but it just looks like the swan is washing it's food!
So Little Swan took the bread, 'washed' it and gulped it down. And I tried him on some flapjack. The flapjack sunk, so I broke it up into pieces and laid it on the bank. Little Swan arched his neck and snuffled the food off the bank, 'washed' it and munched it down.
Now for the 'wonderful' bit.....
see this hand?
No, not that hand........this hand.......
A wild swan ate out of this hand today, straight from my hand with his big old soft bill. He took the food from my hand, nipping my fingers gently as he did so. B and I were ecstatic (me more so, obviously!), at the sight of a large wild adolescent swan eating from my hand, lots of 'OMIGOD, did you see??'!
As Little Swan was obviously hungry, I went back alone with another flapjack bar and he ate it all very quickly and again contentedly ate out of my hand.
How do I describe the sensation of a large young swan eating out of my hand?
It was amazing, absolutely mindblowing. I was so worried Little Swan would nip me, or hurt me somehow, but he was so gentle with his soft big bill. The first time he took my fingers as well, making me flinch although it didn't hurt, but he was more careful after that and took food almost like a horse, placing his bill carefully in my hand. I could have stroked his beautiful neck or touched his head, but I didn't want to scare him.
Just when life is dark and unhappy, Mother Nature sends a messenger to remind you that, big and scary though the world might be, you are definitely not alone.
Then when I got home there was a parcel waiting for me all the way from LA, and another one at the Post Office for me to collect tomorrow. Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gorillas and Girls

Continuing a show of great British commercials, here is the one recently voted favourite advert of 2007 - and one of my particular's the look of total ecstasy on the gorilla's face that I love......

Tomorrow is our office Christmas party. It's been a stressful year and the team are demoralised, so the Christmas party is suitably subdued - a Christmassy meal in the site restaurant and then off to a local pub for a couple of beers. Luckily for me, this year Cyberkitten is working in my office, so I get to go the Christmas party with my best friend!
On the subject of Christmas parties, I think this commercial sums up the British Christmas party; girls going barmy with outfits and makeup, men just 'making do'....

You'll notice I love commercials with music - music says so much more than words ever can...


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Is this.......?

..possibly the most beautiful and original commercial we have ever seen...?



Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas Carols for the Seasonal Defective

I like some of the Christmas stuff I posted last year so much, I am repeating them again for sheer entertainment....

Last year at this time one of my regular readers gave me grief about not taking my depression seriously. Good grief - if I took my depression seriously, it would kill has tried enough times in the past.

So - to the one person who harangued me here about posting this I say 'tough cheese!'. Some people give in to their depression - I will fight mine with every cell in my body.

* 1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

* 2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

* 3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

* 4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

* 5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

* 6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

* 7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

* 8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

* 9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

* 10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells


Friday, December 07, 2007

Twelve Signs of Christmas

12 - first sighting of the Famous Grouse and Coca Cola adverts.

11 - supermarkets stocking up with Christmas stuff in September.

10 - the annual debate on who is going to host the Crazie Christmas party.

9 - The days get dark and the weather grows cold...but it is still raining.

8 - we have to issue the traditional health and safety notice at work about decorations.

7 - we gather courage for the impending viewing of the Great Escape and The Santa Claus(e).

6 - everyone collects Christmas catalogues from shops they don't usually use.

5 - half the supermarket freezers are full of turkeys and shelves are empty of bread.

4 - the pile of presents gets bigger in relation to the shrinking of my finances.

3 - I wander the shops looking for the perfect cards for my parents.

2 - I panic...not knowing what to get MB.

1 - The nagging feeling that once this is all over, it's only 12 months until we do it again!


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Must Be Christmas

It must be Christmas - this little character is back on TV...showing off his many, many talents.

Meet the Famous Grouse - the first sign of Christmas in the UK. When the video is done, you can find more Famous Grouse on the replay screen.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Little Bear

Two years ago one of my staff contacted me to tell me his wife, Pat, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It was my first proper close encounter with cancer and I was stunned and scared. What do I do to make my colleague and his wife’s lives easier with this Damoclean sword hanging over them?

About eighteen months ago, while visiting blogs – probably through Michele – I fell into the world of Minerva. This amazing woman lives in London England with her young family on the cusp of life, while Minerva is looking into the face of death.
Breast cancer was battled, successfully month through month, with a trusty band of bloggers supporting her and encouraging her – sending her bloglove and blogstrength. But again, there was the little voice in the back of my head saying; what can I do to help this new friend?

Four weeks ago I heard my cousin in Toronto had been diagnosed with bladder cancer, had surgery to remove her bladder and the tests showed the cancer has mestasized. What do I do from 5,000 miles away for a cousin I have only met twice in my lifetime?

Two weeks ago I learnt my father has been diagnosed with malignant colorectal cancer, specifically colon cancer, and has had a hemicolectomy. He will be tested again in two months to check if it has regrown. The figures go round in my head; about 32,000 cases are diagnosed in the UK in a year, about 16,000 survive. Is my father’s glass of life half full or is it half empty?

Two years ago, cancer was something someone else got, that other people struggled with, that afflicted families other than mine.

Knowing Pat and Minerva, I decided this year to take part in the Race for Life in June to show my support. Blogpals and colleagues supported and sponsored me and I managed to raise about £400. With bad knees and a bad back I walked the course, managing it in 54 minutes and 26 seconds.

Since June I have heard that Minerva’s news is not positive and Pat has had more surgery. With my father and cousin also faced with the ultimate battle I have committed to taking part in the Race for Life every year.

I won’t be doing the Race alone. Cyberkitten supported me this year and will do again. The Race for Life is a race for women, so that wives, mothers, daughters and sisters can show solidarity against the evil that is Cancer. The men come along and wait while the women do their bit for their families and friends.
In addition to Cyberkitten, I will be accompanied every year by a bear purchased in support of Breast Cancer Campaign who will be with me for each and every race.

For the last two weeks I have been searching for a name for the little bear with no name. Dozens of bloggers and friends suggested names, most touching and meaningful.
Although the little bear with no name is a delicate shade of lilac pink, it definitely has a boy’s face. So, little bear with no name is a boy, and that narrows the choice of names. Boy names ranged from Raphael to Orwell.

I have decided.

The little bear with no name is called Mac – short for Macmillan. First of all, it is to celebrate the work of Macmillan Cancer Support without whom many families would be mired in desperation as life with cancer gets more and more difficult. Coincidentally, I am descended from the Scottish clan MacMillan.

Thank you to Nanny A and the wonderful family she helps who suggested Mac.

Nanny A - I knew that lovely message was from you. Please tell your friends that I am keeping the family in my thoughts. You are due your prize - I will be in touch :-)


Allow Me to Introduce....

To you............
so far.....
a bear without a name.....

I don't even know if it is a boy or a girl.....

Cute, isn't it?
And it exists for a reason, the clue is stitched on the bottom of the adorable foot.
This is a breast cancer bear, 10% of the purchase price went to

So, it's over to all you wonderful people, what is the bear's name? There is a prize for the one chosen.
There are some considerations - no Fluffies, Cuties or Pinkies. No cutesy names, I want my bear to have a meaningful name.

My only request is, when you leave a comment, leave a naming suggestion. Ask your children, ask your friends, ask your readers. I want to have as many choices as possible.

I recently committed myself to do the Race for Life every year, for all the Minervas, cousins, and dads in the world, to raise money to ensure the research into cures for cancer continues. This bear will accompany me every year until we are both little old charity-raisers and it will be the avatar on my fundraising pages.

A huge thank you to Bobkat for the gorgeous portrait shots of the Bear With No Name :-)

So far it's still a toss-up whether it's a girl or a boy.....and I have lots of lovely suggestions, but I need more!!

This will remain at the top of my blog for two weeks. Please read down for new stuff.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Round and Round in my Head

I love this advert, amongst others at the moment, and the song, made famous by British comedy and variety artist Arthur Askey, is now constantly going round and round in my head.....


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Company of Chivalry Banquet

OK, so I missed out on the Banquet and Joust for my birthday, but the Company of Chivalry 14C annual banquet has just been held.

Being a small local company, our banquet is held in a local village hall. But once the trestles are put up, flags posted, candles arranged and trenchers put out [ref: Setting the table means exactly that; great boards placed over wooden stands at each end will be set up in a square fashion. White linen from the holding cupboard will be spread over each table. The High Table will have pewter platters and goblets. For most of the guests, however, it'll be bread trenchers (large thick slices of bread) which will hold their meal. Later on, these trenchers will either be fed to the animals of the manor house, or distributed to the poor], even without the linen cloths it looks rather good.
So we all gathered, hugged, exchanged greetings, changed into kit and started drinking - of course.......and the banquet began - with a few surprises for good ol' cq in store....

Vintner (aka Malcolm) and his helpers produced a six course dinner, from soup to game pie with everything in between.
The peasants and yeomen served the higher ranking members of the household, with Lord Hungerford, Young Lord Hungerford, Lord de Beauchamp and Lord Berkeley (aka Gary, Simon, Nick and Aaron) at the high table, eating from pewter dishes and drinking from glass goblets.

But good ol' cq's camera batteries went flat after one photo (above), so I am relying on Company members to provide some pictorial evidence for you guys!


Friday, November 23, 2007

A Letter

from an unknown person:

I'm sure your dad will make a full recovery. I have two friends in their forties who were diagnosed with cancer last year, and they are both responding to treatment and getting their lives back. It's strange but they both said the same thing to me, independently of one another: "I just wished at times that the family could see me and not the cancer..." I think for family members that's almost impossible, isn't it? The mere mention of the 'c' word and all sense of proportion goes out of the window, doesn't it? My mother survived it twice and lived to a ripe old age, so as difficult as it may seem to be optimistic when faced with treatment regimes and hospitalisation, you must try to stay positive for your dad - and for the sake of your own sanity. You can drive yourself insane with worst case scenarios. It's easy for me to say but don't do it. All you can do is take it all one day at a time and let your dad take the lead with regard to how each day is going to be. It's going to be very hard and there will be days when you are going to feel like the parent. Let those around you support you when they offer it; you don't get a medal for soldiering on alone and your dad wouldn't want you to carry all that weight without help. For what it's worth, even though we've never met, someone who has been through it twice will be thinking of you, especially as we go into the Christmas season, a family time made all the more poignant when a family member is temporarily not all they were. Remember to keep the 'temporarily' in mind. I'm sure he will be the dad he was pre-cancer in no time at all. Chin up...

Thank you, Andrew - your words give me strength.

Have you left a suggestion for the little bear with no name? Little Bear needs a name...all suggestions considered.


Monday, November 19, 2007


It's winter......

It's raining......

It's dark.......

Took a back road to avoid the rush hour....

So - perfect conditions for a flat tyre......!

I jacked up the car no worries, got the flat tyre off in a trice.........but putting the spare on proved a total nightmare. It was so heavy that, with bad elbows and a dodgy knee, I couldn't get it onto the wheelnuts. I struggled in the dark and the rain for half an hour to try and get the wheel on.

By this time I was exhausted and soaked, filthy and weeping loudly out of sheer frustration.

I finally just threw caution to the wind and lifted the wheel and managed to put it on the wheelnuts using my back, which has now 'gone'.

I got home, oily, wet and exhausted, and said 'I want a hug' to MB. When I tried to tell him what a nightmare it had been (and therefore how wonderfully I had coped on my own - d'uh!) his response was 'Why didn't you phone the breakdown people?'
'For a flat tyre????????' I was horrified at the thought of calling out the breakdown people for something as simple as a flat tyre.....

'Anyway,' I added. 'I don't have a mobile phone any more.....'


Friday, November 16, 2007

I Got an Email....


So, Cancer Research UK's Race for Life, is over for another year and Christmas will be upon us before we know it.
Before it arrives though we wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some amazing facts about the 2007 Race for Life series:
- This year Race for Life brought together 665,000 fundraising women to help beat cancer
- At all our Race for Life events we stayed silent to remember loved ones and celebrate survivors for 4.6 hours
- If you put all the Race for Life 5k courses together they would span 1400k - that's even further than Lands End to John O' Groats.

However, the most important fact is that you have returned all your sponsorship money to us and this will go directly to Cancer Research UK's life saving work. Now that is amazing and thank you once again.
Together we will beat cancer.
With best wishes,
Cancer Research UK's Race for Life Team.

For those that were wishing us the best, my dad has been diagnosed with malignant colon cancer, but they think they might have got all of it. He has to go back in two months for a colonoscopy to see if it has regrown or mestasized....

And speaking of Cancer Research, stick around to find out more about this little character, who is appearing as my avatar........


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Everything at once.....

Yesterday I heard that one of my Canadian cousins has just had drastic surgery and is being tested for cancer in the lymph nodes. I'm hoping she gets all the breaks. She and her husband were just in a position to enjoy themselves, with the children grown and going out into the world.

My father is still in hospital. Today he is being moved to Invergordon County Hospital, apparently to recuperate. When I know his ward number, I'll be sending him a big colourful bunch of flowers for his new room. Still no word on his tests, but in our family no news is good news.

MB very kindly killed our burglar alarm today. It went off three times last night (at 12.15am, 3.15am and 4.45am), screaming through the house, scaring the cats half to death and bouncing us out of bed in horror. The first time I went staggering downstairs instinctively to turn the damned thing off and I managed to twist my bad knee - so I am in pain again. It went off twice again in one night so we got very little sleep. So we agreed that MB would kill it today. He phoned me at lunch time and I asked 'Is it dead?' 'Yes,' he replied.

And good news - anyone want to see good ol' cq having a good time?? I asked Aginoth to take photos, and he managed two [chuckle] - too busy having a good time, I guess.......

This is the Girl's Bowling Team, me and mah girly posse! Dig those gucci shoes!
From the left, cq, RCA, K (lying down) and Mrs Aginoth.

No pictures of the boys - they were far too shy.......oh, hang on, I managed to grab the Sleepy One....Lord only knows what RCA was trying to grab........

We're all (except the girls who are back in London) getting together again for SleepyPete's birthday on Thursday and then we're off to get drunk at the Aginoths' to celebrate Mrs A's birthday on Saturday.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

11th day of the 11th month

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.


Friday, November 09, 2007

The Week That Was....

Wow, what a week!

On the plus side, my mother phoned tonight to say my dad is slowly improving and will be moved to the local county hospital in Invergordon on Monday. It's a nice little new hospital, which replaced an old Royal Naval hospital pulled down in 2005, which has geriatric, elderly medicine and psycho-geriatric beds (new word in my personal dictionary - psycho-geriatric!). One good thing about this is it is only about 11 miles from my parents' village, instead of the 80 mile hike to Inverness' Raigmore Hospital. No word on when he is likely to be returned home, so they are obviously not altogether happy with him.
The gastric infection was actually picked up in hospital, so only right they treat him! No definitive word yet on his test results.

I have been struggling with one good leg this week (see here). My knee still ain't right, but it's definitely soft tissue/ligament damage and not a fracture - as I can put my weight on it, I just can't flex it so walking is difficult and stairs are nigh on impossible.
So it's a long healing time, particularly as my knees are weak anyway.
Monday I struggled into work only to give up at lunch time and limp home.
Tuesday I spent all day with my leg elevated and overdosed on anti-inflammatories, resulting in stomach pains that still bother me today!
Wednesday I had a big display at work for Road Safety Week, so I had to go to work - and spent all day on my feet (well, foot!), taking the strain on my good leg.
Thursday I spent all day with my leg elevated.
Today I had to go into work, so I took it easy and spent most of the day sitting at my desk, with colleagues running the occasional errand for me.

I still think Jacques Fruit Cider

and vodka

were an excellent combination and will have to try it again......