Sunday, December 31, 2006

The History of the Nation State: My great friend Paolo

Yesterday we had a mini New Year celebration; Phil is working for 24 hours now so he'll miss seeing the New Year in. So we had an allegedly good friend of mine in (Paolo) with some spag bol. 'Celebration' might be a bit of a euphemism, 'Argument' is a better description probably. Paolo would be a great person to inspire a novel, as he is so novel. Boring yet interesting , Loyal yet spontaneous, Doglike yet catlike too. Talented yet destitute.

At home (here) I've got a 'Rainy Day Album' - it's a brilliant idea from the Bristol Cancer Haven place - They suggested a Rainy Day Box, but mine has expanded into a Rainy Day House. Anyway, in this album are photos of my friends and family to cheer me up. Paolo has a whole page to himself in this prestigious piece of work, and I've written on a piece of yellow card on his page 'Always talking - could talk for Italy, yet he always makes me laugh, my great friend Paolo'. And herein lies the issue - Phil could also talk for England. I, on this ocassion was Switzerland. The debate naturally turned to the nation state. They were both shouting at each other to shut up at the same time, when I offered my two penorth. Paolo was saying that the Italians are Arabs, Phil was saying that actually the Meditterareon peoples had inflenced the North Africans. I said that both these debates had a hint of racism about them and the important thing was the human race. They both counteracted that saying that there's evidence that humans can mate with baboons. Especially me. Ha ha ha. I think Phil was trying to get rid of PAolo as he put the entire Godfather collection on our new TV - but this of course inspired yet more yapping and wine consumption. From both of us (myself and Paolo). One of my main hobbies is talking through films - especially ones I don't like (see Pirates of the Caribbean, Braveheart etc etc ad infinituum below).

Friday, December 29, 2006

Tax the Rich

I'm thinking of starting a new blog called 'Tax the Rich'. What do people think?

I think the reason I'm thinking of doing it today because I'm so annoyed at being incommunicado and being charged for it!

The phone has cut off again, can't get any reception on Orange. It's like 1864 in this flat. At least I can get myself published without relying on a rich benefactor like Marx, who had to resort to borrowing money off Engels all the time.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

First Class Holiday

We watched 'Pirates of the Caribbean' last night and I asked 'what's the point in killing people who are already dead?' and then it turned out that my TV bible (Time Out) also asked the same question - but they'd also put the said film as Film of the Day.

ANYWAY, today I've been on the internet and all my Amazon work seems to have been destroyed. I've tried on my wedding dress which is so exciting (the toile it's called, the dress which THE dress will be based on). I've looked at some old rubbish on ebay and decided that I too am going to become an EBAY success - selling some skis, ski boots and a second hand sheep skin jacket.

I'm feeling tons better and the chemo has worn off, Thank the Lord. And we went to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. And I got a blessing from the priest. So all in all a really lovely, incredibly relaxing Christmas and we've still got the first class trip down to London to enjoy.

Monday, December 25, 2006

FAT at Christmas

1) Five Amazing Things is still going - although some people still don't understand acronyms (FAT stands for Five Amazing Things dumbos, not that I actually am Fat, although technically this could also be true)
2) Had the most relaxing day ever - am on chapter 4 of 'The Kalahari Men's School of Typing' by Alexander Mccall Smith - the forth one in his No 1 Ladies Dectective Agency series and I love it
3) Gorgeous Christmas presents - original Art Deco atomiser and perfume from Phil
4) He says he's thrilled with the 'Time Share in a Camper Van' which was the big present I got him
5) Also got a fabulous planter from his parents - with all the bulbs planted exactly as it was on Gardeners' World

Friday, December 22, 2006

Five Amazing Things

1) We had an amazing birthday meal at Chez Kristof. Marvellous.
2) It's Christmas time in Shropshire and already singing 'Darling Darling Give me your answer do'
3) Gorgeous diamond earrings for my birthday to go with my engagement ring
4) Beautiful presents for everyone for christmas - can't wait
5) Deferring all decisions until after Christmas - love it

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Happy Birthday Self

There's a brilliant meditation script in one of my magazines. You imagine yourself, happy and relaxed walking on a beach with the sand and pebbles gently touching your feet. Then you see in the distance a person you really love. You're so happy to see them that gradually you feel yourself getting happier and happier, but still calm as you're having a great time on this lovely beach with the gentle wind and warm air. The person is so close now and now you're embracing them, so happy to have caught up with them again. Then you give them a hug and look at them in the eyes - and realise it's yourself. Your best friend, the person you love the most - It's you!

I'm a big one for blowing my own trumpet and I'm great. I'm one of the most loyal, caring, compassionate and generous people I know. I'm also sexy, passionate, with a great sense of humour and attractive with many creative talents and a brain which is capable of studying and teaching others so many things. Even if I do say so myself, I'm excellent with figures/money/maths, yet also brilliant at writing, public speaking, analysis, negotiation and debate. I'm very determined and focussed, yet with a soft heart always sharing my successes. I got the best GCSE results in Staffordshire, I got the best degree and a prize - the only one in my University. I raised over a million pounds in a year for the underpriveleged in one of my jobs and I've got a wonderful fiance.

I'm making sure I'm going to have many happy returns!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jesus Christ

Jesus was 33 when he died, which is how old I'll be tomorrow. The terrible horrors I've experienced over the past 24 days means I'm now decided not to continue with chemo. There is such a thing as quality of life and I'd rather die of cancer than commit suicide. The choice is probably not so stark but even so I have a choice and I am lucky to have a choice and I would rather be myself, calm and collected than the monster I've witnessed recently.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

To chemo or not to chemo

Today has been a 'No' day. Because I've enjojyed the day and the night almost as much as I did four weeks ago. My short term memory has felt like it's returning to normal.

Anway Five Amazing Things:

1) My bird of paradise - the applique bird that my shoemaker has made me
2) Diamond ring
3) Friends
4) Family
5) Food and champagne again

Friday, December 15, 2006

50 Ways to Deal with Anxiety

1) Write Lists
2) Good amount of sleep
3) Homeopathy
4) Bachs Flower REmedy
5) Chamomile Tea
6) Art Therapy
7) Writing Blog
8) Walking
9) Art
10) Support from Family
11) **Phil!**
12) Cats
13) Clinical Psychologist
14) Community Mental Health Team
15) Medicinal Answer
16) Sewing
17) Friends
18) Alexander Technique
19) Cleaning
20) Assistance withCleaning
21) Tidy Up
22) Make Up
23) Lavender Bath
24) Aromatherapy
25) Meditation
26) Yoga
27) Cycling
28) Acupuncture
29) Acupressure
30) Cooking
31) Eating
32) Wedding PLanning
33) Distraction
34) Routine
35) RElaxation
36) Writing children's stories
37) Calligraphy
38) Planning Event
39) Hypnosis
40) Look at Diamond
41) Expressing Gratitude, in fact most positive emotions
42) Positive Thinking
43) Go on the internet
45) Soak up nature
46) Look at a plant or flower
47) Gaze at the Sky
48) Say Calm on your out breath ten times
49) Massage
50) Reflexology

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Twenty Amazing Things (continued) [TAT]

1) You can quite clearly see why nobody's bothered doing Twenty Amazing things, because you essentially run out of time or someone interrupts you.
2) That's why it's best to stick to 3
3) or Five in my case
4) Might go to Planet Organic in a minute
5) Might have an early night
6) Our Xmas cards are coming through anytime
7) I've updated my address book
8) It's also got birthdays in it
9) Feeling very calm and peaceful after my acupressure
10) Might become an acupressurist
11) It's better than being an oncologist
12) Does ANYONE like their oncologist?
13) Was that really an amazing question or thing?
14) The cats have been extra nice today
15) Must be the wind
16) I'm really scraping the barrel now
17) This is a bit like doing HAiku
18) That reminds me of another amazing thing - Blaglday
19) And PW - he sent me about ten amazing poems today
20) Me and the acupuncturist had a good old fashioned laugh today

Twenty Amazing Things

1) My nickname used to be TAT (surprise surprise)
2) The tattonmeister rang
3) I might run out of time doing this
4) I am waiting for my acupuncture appointment
5) At the Fulham Haven
6) Sparkling crystal diamond
7) He's called me already
8) Must go)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Five Amazing Things

1) Chapel St market is very cheap indeed
2) can't think of number two
3) The cats are lovely
4) One carat single solitaire diamond ring with platinum band on my fourth finger which I used to play the piano with
5) The Tattonmeister's thumb is better
6) My short term memory is going, but my long term one is still going strong. Hurrah for Women into Science and Engineering

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The future's Zen

Five Amazing Things (More FAT)

1) We have broadband and the future is Zen not Orange
2) My fiancee is amazing and has won a major prize (in addition to me being his wife in less than six months)
3) RP has rung
4) I helped cheer up Auntie Enid today by telling her I might get christened (although not Cof E which she wasn't over the moon about)
5) 1 carat diamond solitaire on a platinum band, picked by HIM

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dancing Chemo Queen

Five Amazing Things

1) Blaglady is texting me all her news and social whirl
2) My Dad's GP says talking about, getting excited about and generally happy about the wedding is perfectly normal and fine
3) Feng Shui, acupuncture, marital and nuptial therapy, acupressure, massage, hugging, smiling, aromathrerapy, crystal therapy (which I call diamond therapy), Yoga, homepathy, Alexander Technique, self-hypnosis & Pilates all work to make me feel better
4) Dr S has postponed the next chemo session until 2nd January and made me a special clinic
5) Phil is amazing and Phil means love in greek and/or latin (Blaglady can you help me out with that one?)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's glam up North

When people say 'I'd rather have cancer than go up North' they are quite literally joking. Up here there's make up, foundation I think they call it. It makes you look beautiful even though you've got a fat moon face and look like Kylie Minogue on steroids. To the extent where I actually think I'm Kylie Minogue on steroids and they have to quite literally lock me up. But that's another story for another day.

Today, I look amazing, like the dark haired woman off Blakes Seven, if there's anyone in their forties reading this. To anyone else I look like, dare I say it, Fat Kylie.

Phil, Cookie and Mum, Dad, E, K etc have done a sterling job of looking after me up here and now I am looking forward to my next chemo dose. Well sort of. I'm looking forward to staying alive is another way of puttting it.

Five
Amazing
Things

1) Body Shop Foundation
2) Body Shop concealer
3) Size 12 clothes
4) Scales
5) Fiancee and being engaged

Monday, December 04, 2006

Enjoying Life in the Country

Life is beautiful - just waiting for Phil to finish work while I stay at his parents house:

Five
Amazing
Things

1) My one carat brilliant cut diamond engagement ring
2) The accurate watch Mum lent me on my left hand which accurately tells the time
3) The magnetic bracelet with a tibetan symbol which is like a crystal on my right hand. This helps with the nausea
4) My amazing zing a zing, ten to the power of infinity fiance who is the best in the world
5) All the doctors and nurses in the world and the beautiful fresh, breezy and sunny air of the Midlands, in England

Monday, November 27, 2006

Chemo's started and I'm fine

Yes. Chemo started on Thursday. To precipitate the momentous horrendosity of losing one's hair I have had all mine chopped off. I bought some clippers and HRH did the business (properly) after I did a v poor job on Wednesday. Then after Thursday which was worse than I was expecting, I spent two days in bed. Followed by a night in hospital when we thought I might be allergic to something, but it was probably a panic attack brought on by the steroids.

Now I'm fine, apart from waking up at 5am. So I've done loads, for example ringing up one of my dementia tutors to get that baby up and running again, and plan to do even more (Like watch Murder She Wrote). And Jeremy Kyle's been sorting out more peoples' lives. I'm amazed he hasn't been canonized.

The cats are more perky today as the sun's come out. I'm fed up with Broadband altogether and my new tactic is sitting by the door at the internet cafe. It doesn't work. In fact it's worse as there's a more concentrated build up of smell just at the door.

The strange thing is, because I was expcecting to me more sick, I now have more time than I was expecting on my hands. Anyway it's all good. Still meditating etc, but really just looking forward to the spring more than ever.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Does Richard Littlejohn upset anyone else?

I did actually glance at the Mail yesterday - it was lying on the table at the Library when I was browsing the Ecologist.

Littlejohn upsets me, and like Blaglady says it's not long ago since people were publicly lynched. There's a good new programme called '100% English' which was on last night which proved to some racist idiots that they're not English after all. The problem with the concept of free speech though is that the media is not controlled by the nice man who presents 100% English, me or Blaglady. It's owned by cretins like Murdoch, the Barclay brothers, Lord Rothermere and Dirty Desmond.

So now instead of saying to the racists 'You can't say that', we have to argue with them. Quite frankly I'm too busy. I feel like the only person alive who doesn't believe in the nation state or national boundaries. Nationality's just a tool to create barriors, racism, angst and soldiers.

I'm coming round to Jeremy Kyle though. He said today there was no excuse for sexist behaviour in 2006. He didn't seem to mind that this sexist guy was smashing up his own furniture. He was more concerned that he wasn't helping his partner change their baby's nappy. Good.

Anyway can't stay long. The smell is getting to me a bit and I want to watch 'Murder She Wrote'.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Chemo starts on Thursday 23rd November

At Barts. Am in Library and only got 6 minutes left. It doesn't smell. But if Hitler had've designed libraries this would be his inspiration.

Other News - my Tracey Emin books have arrived at library. Written to Diane Abbott and complained about the regulations of ovarian tissue freezing. Also we still have £40K equity on the flat. Hurrah! Might go and buy the Daily Mail.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The future's Zen (NOT orange)

Yes, we've been without broadband or any internet connection whatsoever for God knows how long. And we've sacked Orange. Utter, utter useless idiots.

I'm in the smelly internet cafe now, but only one teenager in sight as it's probably a bit early for them.

Other news - We've bought the dress! Brilliant.

Chemo due to start any second, but I still don't know when.

The cats are lovely and everything is good. I can apparently cop out of chemo if it's too horrible after four sessions. Good. Quincy has been replaced by Murder she Wrote on the afternoon schedule. I think I prefer Murder She Wrote. Midsomer Murders is so slow moving we had to retire to bed before it finished last night.

We've had our first meeting of the Green Party. I told them their strategy needed to have global warming further up the proposal than who types the minutes. I didn't sabotage it though, I'm saving the launch of my 'Tax the Rich' campaign for a later date.

Meditation going well, and I even bought a magazine about it the other day. So it's great that our new internet provider is called 'Zen'. They typically cost infinitely more than the alternative. Typical. Yes, have a bit of paradise, but only if you can afford it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Anti Antiporn

Just like Germaine Greer and any other famous anarchists you can mention, they start contradicting themselves at virtually every opportunity. OK, so this internet cafe doesn't smell. And there's no porn. But everyone in here is applying for jobs.

To put it simply - I feel like I'm at work. So there you have it. The choice is yours. Pornography or work? A very, well, not-difficult question.

Draw your own conclusions. There is some philosophy in there but I need to get it articulated effectively without causing offnonsence.

Three minutes to go and the light is flashing. It's like that exam. Or Driving Test.

Orange is rubbish plus more FAT

A quick moan - we've given up on Orange and the other Internet Cafe smelt so bad I've found another one. It doesn't smell and is fiercely anti-pornography so they're aren't so many teenagers in this one. Anti-porn is v fashionable in Stoke Newington. Good.



More nice news - we've watched Anchor Man which was hilarious (1)
2) The Tattonmeister and his beautiful girlfriend came to stay at the weekend and we impressed them with LMNT (Restaurant in Hackney).
3) Watched the Royle Family and loved it but it made me cry just as much as it made me laugh. I suppose that's Life.
4) I've collected my sewing machine and have been preparing all the trousers I'm going to shorten.
5) Beautiful weather and our wedding photographer is coming on Tuesday to take 'some engagement shots'! Hurrah!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More FAT (Five Amazing Things)

Yes, I've put on weight since not exercising as much - surprise surprise -, but like I say I'm fattening up for chemo. The thought of losing so much weight that my muscle starts wasting away is the inspiration behind scoffing plenty of risotto and curry daily. My FAT technique (Five Amazing Things - geddit?) is to moan a bit, then counterbalance this with a list of Five Amazing Things (FAT). You see Mum's theory is that any sort of creative writing does you the world of good. IE have a good moan, do whatever you like. The professionals seem to think that you have to count your blessings or 'beautiful things' or 'amazing things' (Copyright Tattontastic 2006) or whatever you want to call it. Some like to call it 'MONEY', but I don't personally ascribe to that viewpoint. Well, I could be convinced...

Anyway, I am feeling a bit better than yesterday

1) Done four book reviews on Amazon - Sophie's World, How to be Happy, The Fragrant Pharmacy and Stress-Free Living.
2) The cats are lovely. V cuddly.
3) We've decided that today is a 'Holiday'. Phil has also given himself the day off so he's been playing 'Dawn of War' and I've been doing number 1) above
4) Doing 1) has made me realise what a brilliant book Sophie's World is.
5) Doing lots of meditation which is excellent and I love it.
6) Doing Book Reviews is great - it's better than reading the book as you sort off soak it up like a sophisticated computer. As we are of course.
7) Done an extra Two Amazing Things - and that spells TAT.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Don't bother to read this I'm just moaning (but I will include five amazing things - FAT)

Various people have complained to me about this blog that I complain too much on it. ANYWAY. The operation has been cancelled. Pissedoff I think is the word to describe me at the moment. With a capital P. You know when something goes wrong and then suddenly everything seems shit? The bin needs emptying, you're accidentally tripping over ten million kids who are on half term - OF COURSE - and they're all at the Tate Modern where you've decided to come with your Dad, who's taken the day off etc etc. Someone recommends an annoying website, written by someone who claims to be a 'Health Journalist'. And you think to yourself how come this person isn't reporting the huge cuts going on? How come their rubbish happy-clappy website is more popular than mine? How come I'm not a 'Health Journalist'?
How come they're not campaigning so that LIVING HEALTHY PEOPLE can freeze their own ovarian tissue for the future?

Anyway, I'm too busy trying to stay healthy etc etc ad infinitum to bother getting angry about anything. Instead of getting angry I'm being creative. Some might call it plagiarism. Annoyance/Anger/Jealousy one could say is misplaced PRIDE. I'm proud of this amazing woman and her blog. So she's number one in today's FAT list:

1) Three beautiful things
2) The Millennium Bridge not bouncing. In fact even when it was the Bouncing Bridge it was good.
3) The Tate Modern.
4) Joan Mitchell's piece next to the window showing the Millennium Bridge
5) Phone call from Mum & Not going to work - even when it is Half Term. Love it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Five Amazing Things

Counting your blessings is one of those things that's supposed to help with improving one's mood and mentioned in one of my favourite books - Making Slough Happpy. It turns out that Slough has been voted or established as the least tranquil place in the UK, but Hackney is the worst place to live. What about in the world? I bet Hackney isn't the worst place in the world to live. Basra probably beats it. Anyway I didn't even realise this when I changed my mind about going into town this afternoon as I'd have to walk past the human excrement and mounds of illegal rubbish outside our front door, not to mention the stationery traffic on the road ourside our house because presumably Transport for London have decided to alter the road set up without consultation. Moan moan moan.

1) The wonderful mild weather meaning we haven't had the heating on yet
2) Celeriac cooked in butter with organic roasted ham and brocolli for lunch
3) £30 John Lewis vouchers arriving on a Monday morning
4) Being able to have pioneering fertility preserving treatment on the NHS - just like Kylie Minogue
5) Fully operational dishwashers, cups of tea, aromatherapy with geranium and Clary sage, and Sunday lunch times with friends, champagne and babies

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Five Amazing Things

1) My friend's wedding present arrived - a Lemon Tree and an Orange Tree
2) The books which I had ordered from the library arrived - 3 wedding books about dresses and flowers!
3) The wonderful colours in the garden of Virginia Creeper - looks beautiful from the bedroom window and the Solanum is at its peak of white flowers from the living room
4) A gorgeous gift from Phil of beautiful bright yellow chrysathymums. Fantastic.
5) Phil set up the dehumidifier which also arrived in time for winter yesterday

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What do you have to do to get signed photos these days?

Dear Russell Brand

Re: Returning of Favour

You may remember living with me in Hampstead above a pub ten years ago. I was a happy go lucky, hard working, young and attractive 22 year old at the time. I was living in the ‘Queen’s Head’ or ‘Arms’ in the literal non-conjugal sense of the word with an old actor who was the landlord (Barry from Eastenders?). He had sympathies with young, male, drama students like yourself and was I believe that way inclined if you know what I mean. From what I remember there were the three of us living with ‘Barry from Eastenders’ who had a terrible temper – you, me and this other, shorter-than-you drama student who was your mate. Can’t remember his name I’m afraid but I think he had fair hair, quite short and he used to say things like ‘I’m going to dress up as a chicken every day for the rest of my life if that’s what being an actor means’. You used to wait on his every whim. I remember there was a lovely, voluptuous lady who took a shine to you (‘Oh, That Russell’s Lovely’) who used to do the Sunday roasts for £3 a time, she was into the New Age Traveller scene as it was then. She had an on-off relationship with this other guy who I also can’t remember his name, but I think he used to sell dope.

And we used to sit on each others beds and make each other laugh – do you remember? It was all very innocent and good fun. Those were the days.

And imagine my delight when a couple of months ago I realise that you have reached the Zenith of 21st century life. You are, in anyone’s books a ‘Celebrity’! I happened to tune in to ‘Big Brother’s Little Brother’ on Channel 4 (my fiancĂ© has banned me from watching Big Brother itself) and you were there performing some funny lamentations on life. Then you started talking in a very Shakespearean way. I thought – ‘Oh how unusual a TV presenter having what appears to be classical drama training’. Then I was immediately brought back to 1996 and the conversations I had with you and your mate about the value of classical drama training. And that thing happens when you suddenly realise that you’ve met someone before. You think ‘Oh yes - it is him, he hasn’t got his hair tied back, he’s put on a bit of weight, and he doesn’t seem as sweet and innocent. Yes, it appears that the person who I knew as Russell has aged.’

I also love the fact that your politics, football supporting, gender awareness and of course, sense of humour are all so advanced and well developed now.

(Second Page)
Unfortunately I was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of months ago and I was wondering if you could possibly now earn forgiveness from me, for that shift you failed to swap, which meant I got the sack from my job in the pub thus becoming homeless. (I’m not homeless anymore so some things have got better).

Could you visit me in hospital when I’m having chemo – it starts in a few weeks. Or a couple of free tickets to one of your gigs. Or perhaps I could have a signed photo?

Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you,

Best wishes and love from

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

We've found the dress!

One of the joys of being a slightly older bride than everyone else is that you can ask everyone else how they might have improved their own wedding. Anyway, one of the things I didn't think I'd be over fussy about was the dress. However, after speaking to friends on the issue - even the ones who also thought they weren't that fussy - they actually are. Anyway - we've found the dress! I'm more excited than ever. Blaglady helped me pick it which is very exciting too, as she is the Madame of Cool. I obviously can't describe it as Phil may read this. The main thing is, it suits me - the style. I didn't think it would, but it did. It was the first one I tried on (in the v posh shop). The shop assistant was excellent as although I said I liked it from the website, she said try it on first. We caught her off guard at the end of the appointment (the shop assistant) when I asked if it was ethically sourced and produced. She basically owned up and said it was made in a Chinese sweat shop. Ho Hum.

Then we had a sumptuous lunch at Carluccios where I've never been and sauntered over to the Barbican and milked the Corporation of London for every penny we could - by going to the Library. It was wonderful and I took some photos of the plants people have on their balconies. One day, when I have learned how to compute I will put them on here. Trailing greenery in a beautiful water drenched concrete jungle. On this beautiful day of chat, good food, books, rain, warmth and dress finding.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A list for World Mental Health Day

One of my favourite bits from the 'Expert Patient Programme' was a session where we all contributed and gave a list of all the things which we do to cheer us up a bit, which don't cost anything. All of them you should be able to do on your own.
Here is mine:
1) Yoga
2) Meditation
3) Alexander Technique
4) Write an entry on blog
5) Write a book review on Amazon
6) Tidy up kitchen
7) Tidy up bedroom
8) Cycle
9) Sort out books
10) Take photos
11) Stroke cats
12) cheery music
13) Classic FM
14) Relaxation
15) Comedy DVD
16) Cooking
17) Sewing
18) Birdwatching
19) Gardening
20) Write poems
21) Read
22) Go on internet
23) Phone friends and family
24) Write lists
25) Plan wedding, holiday or event

Monday, October 09, 2006

'I wanna help - for the sake of the kids'

Jeremy Kyle has just persuaded some youngster to carry on talking on his programme with this comment. The other lady on the platform accused her of being an 'unfit mother'. The ultimate insult.

Surely it's more like 'I wanna interfere - for the sake of the ratings.'

I'm doing anything to avoid ringing the mortgage solicitors who have written a complicated letter. We know about two thousand solicitors - friends and relatives - but too hungover yesterday to contact any of them.

So now, here I am watching Jeremy Kyle, thinking about the state of the nation's teeth (the family on the platform are quite handsome bar the teeth). Anyway at least some member of my family hasn't asked me to go on Jeremy Kyle. What would I say? I'd politely decline. I'd probably use cancer as an excuse 'Yes, I'd love to go on the Jeremy Kyle show, but my cancer treatment might make it a bit difficult'. I'd rather talk to solicitors than that. They're not as critical as Jeremy Kyle. Every programme he says 'That is wrong'. How does he know? Is he God?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon

I've had a marvellous time dipping in and out of books, criticising them, Stroking the cats, thinking about art and history and operating the DVD player for the first time.

My latest trick to financial management is to have a hearty meal before shopping. And send a relative out to shop instead.

So, I'm well fed, enjoying my chemo-ready size twelve in comfortable trousers and watching a Tracey Emin film - Top Spot. She is the best British artist if you ask me. The music is amazing, the cinematography inspirational, and the sentiment is liberating, especially to a thirty something who doesn't live in Margate, comme moi. I still don't like violence in films. There is no need for the suicide in the film.

Anyway, It's so lovely to see a film where there isn't one man. Not one. So refreshing. And they notice it when you don't put them in films. I heard them comment about it on Radio Four about Volver. But they don't seem to notice when women aren't in films.

Top Form. My first film might be called that.

Then I look her up on Amazon and you can't even get her film! I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Should I be ecstatic that I've got a 'limited edition' film of hers that you can't seem to get even on Amazon?

I have done another book review - Love in the Western World - which I was particularly pleased with as I employed my amazing skim reading technique. Turn over every page and look at each page, not necessarily reading every word. In fact definitely not reading every word. I've also thoroughly researched exactly how to get to become to be a top 1000 reviewer. Which is more time consuming than it sounds. I had to trawl through a thousand pages of names looking at the ratio of items reviewed to positive reviews. Even gettinig to be in the Amazon top 1000 reviewers means that you have to have some element of 'vote'. So obviously reviewing out-of-publication books which nobody wants isn't going to get me anywhere.

Who wants to be popular anyway? Certainly not leaders (it says so in the Guardian today) but what about non-leaders who want an easy, pottering around life, blogging and doing Amazon book reviews? I'm aiming to get in their top 1000 reviewers. It's going to be difficult. Especially if they don't have the stuff I'm reviewing. It's a medium term aim.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

'Have you been watching Autumn Watch? Because we think you've been rutted'

We had a hilarious incident last night where some piece of geeky equipment Phil was getting from Ebay had not turned up. How it works is if someone's a bit rubbish you give them a bad review - a bit like me with Amazon book reviews. Except when you're an ebay buyer ebay then publish your reviews, whereas Amazon don't like most reviews of mine and publish about 2% of them.

Anyway, Phil had given this rubbish seller (he only buys) a bad review. So some other geek then emails him at about 4am saying how he'd given this bad seller some cash and hadn't received the goods. I suggested the above response. How we laughed.

Prenuptial Planning Pleasures

Now Work want me to jump through a few more hoops to get back, which I'm casually skipping round, I'm able to fully dedicate myself to the pleasures of wedding planning. I've booked myself an appointment at Jenny Packham, the celebrities' bridal shop. And I'm thoroughly excited.

The Tattonmeister is tarting up our tunes for the day.

The Royal Navy have helpfully changed their rules of engagement so He's not so tempted to abscond.

The mortgage is managed, and we're on the way to a happy, long and successful marriage and I can't wait! The children are on ice, the Fertility Goddess is pregnant herself, which must bode well, and Mum's ordered the bluebell bulbs and bunting bonanza.

The favours are fabulous, the engagement ring is sparkling, the food's fab, the marquee marvellous, the guests are great, and we're going to 'Rock and Roll' tomorrow night with Tom Stoppard.

Fattening up for Chemo

For some time now, my betrothed and I have been discussing 'fattening up for chemo'. I am officially at least a size 12 on my bottom half (size 16 in some quarters) and every time I see anyone I know 'Oh you look so well' code word 'You've put on weight'. A couple of weeks ago close friends directly asked if I was pregnant.

I've started taking one sugar in my tea (as opposed to half and trying to cut down). I've started drinking the government limit in alcohol - 14 units a week and I'm not taking much exercise. We're still eating like Kings - in fact better. I don't have any cold food whatsoever which is just how I like it. I know Gillian Mckeith would have something to say about that.

I tried on my mate's wedding dress a few days ago - whose brother used to nickname her 'Miss Piggy' and it was too small for me.

But I remember blaglady saying a few years ago that one puts on a dress size every decade so even without [non] intentional fattening up, I'm fine.

My paranoia about everything has completely dissipated too - I got a leaflet from Fulham about the risk factors for breast cancer. Basically nobody knows what causes it (just as I was told on day 1) and there's conflicting information about every risk - so you may as well relax and enjoy yourself. I'm not forcing myself to drink brocolli and sprout juice every 5 minutes, or cutting out dairy, or worrying about water or anything at all. I'm back on full strength deodorant, underwired bras, moderate drinking, wonderful food, you name it, I'm at it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How to Manage Cancer (and other long term conditions) - An introduction

There's a quick answer to this - go on the 'Expert Patient Programme website'. The website is understandably slightly rubbish as they don't want to give away the course/programme/skills on it. All is not lost, as I've now got eons of time to spare as it looks like I'm not going back to work for another 6 months, just carry on reading!

I've talked about the Expert Patient Programme before; I was lucky enough to encounter it as I work within the NHS and signed up to it after a brief period of anxiety/depression. It's the best tool or system that I've been taught that's enabled me to deal with not just cancer but life itself. It's different from a 'self help group' as it's much more directed - all people with long term conditions or illnesses are taught skills together, in a group of about ten, over six weeks. Little comparisons are made with other participants (a negative experience I've had elsewhere) - as there is only a two minute slot right at the start of the course where the participants disclose their 'condition' and the difficulties it brings. The self management course is taught by two tutors. One of which is 'regional' from the Department Of Health (until it was privatised recently) and another is 'local' - a volunteer from the local community (comme moi) who's been on the four day training. Both tutors have to have a 'condition' themselves.

Primarily what I don't like about it (the programme) is it's secrecy. It's been 'copyrighted' by Stanford University in the USA, so as 'tutors' we are not allowed to duplicate the material. This gives it the impression, of when you first come into contact with it, of it being like a cult, which I used to joke about when I first did it. You get a glimpse of that on the website - people saying how wonderful it is, but not specifically how or why. I hope to address that here.

When I have the comptuer skills necessary - if Mr P can do this computer lark then I'm sure I can - then I'm going to try and make an accessible version of the programme on the web.

The 'course' is really an 80 page script which the tutors read from, based on about 25 'charts' - which are flip-chart size with about five bullet points each normally.

Chart One - is a course overview - displays in chart form the different skills and areas we learn:
-Overview of self-management and chronic health conditions
- making an action plan [a key part of the course which is taught at every class)
- Relaxation/cognitive symptom management
- feedback/problem solving [covered in 5/6 classes]
- anger/fear/frustration
- fitness/exercise
- better breathing
- fatigue
- nutrition
- living wills [don't like this bit]
- communication
- medications
- making treatment decisions
- depression
- informing the health care team
- working with your health care professional
- future plans

Chart Two : Responsibilities

1. Come to every session
2. Ask anything you want
3. Maintain confidentiality
4. Do your homework
5. Give new activities at least a two-week trial
6. Make and complete a weekly action plan
7. Call your classmate weekly

Chart Three:

Self-Management Tasks

1. Take care of your chronic health problem
2. Carry out your normal activities
3. Manage your emotional changes

The script for each of the 2.5 hour sessions is about 15 pages long. But will Tattontastic have the stamina, courage and skills to publish? Watch this space...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Another perfect weekend

We've had a tough couple of weeks what with tooth problems and hormones, creating a nasty cocktail of overall bad mood. So my betrothed and I decided to treat ourselves to a lovely weekend in Sussex.

It was marvellous - the weather was perfect, albeit slightly windy causing us to deploy some serious science (he really is a genius that fiancee of mine) when pulling the tent down. We found this campsite as it was recommended in a book that we got recently which gives you lovely photos as well as description.

It was ideal in many ways as the campsite was only a couple of hours drive from London, and in beautiful rolling countryside, plus we could have gone to Brighton for the day if we'd have wanted. And we managed to pack in some cycling too! It was better than ever, as something that I hadn't realised which Phil has introduced me to is of course the concept of cycling on bridalways. Absolutely perfect as you're cruising along, with no prospect of being knocked off by cars and the only thing you have to worry about is your fitness level and how to negotiate the couple of pedestrians you might see. And the variety of landscapes in Sussex is incredible - brown rolling ploughed fields, then sweet smelling woodlands and dramatic steep slopes. The local area has had prosperity for centuries - there is every example of architecture you can think of, when you least expect it - like the Tudor townhouses in the little village of Ditchling.

On Saturday we cycled to the wonderful pub 'Jolly Sportsman' and had a great meal - we think it should have a michelin star. Then on Sunday we cycled from our campsite up to the two Windmills 'Jack and Jill' and had our picnic lunch from a wonderful viewpoint soaking up the delightful dark green and golden, windswept autumnal scene.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Number One Reviewer at Amazon

Isn't me, or an academic - but some guy who likes country music and horse racing. Fascinating. Perhaps he owns a horse so he can spare the time to do it. I found it whilst looking at the reviews for Abbey Road. How sad is that? This is the thing. You feel under pressure with *time* because of work then spend it unproductively watching TV and going on the internet, looking at reviews of the blindingly obvious - like to see how good Abbey Road is. I already own it, have listened to it approximately a million times and rate it as the best album ever.

Dishwasher working again - and it may not be the only one

Yep. The Dishwasher is wonderful again. It was the way I was putting the stuff in - hampering the tablet dispenser. It seems to love working in fact, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for me, who absolutely detests it with a passion. It should be illegal (work). People seem to think it's the best thing since sliced bread - even for me. I don't understand this theory - I haven't been happier the past four months as I've been given a legitimate reason to be off work and I absolutely love it. Under no pressure whatsoever from anyone . I've got enough time to fold washing after it comes out the washing machine, dip into magazines, properly put the washing out, cook, propogate plants, sort out the recycling, write a list every day that I can tick things off. Not really give a hoot about anyone else apart from myself (and Phil).

I don't panic about where my diary or mobile phone is or even what time it is. I'm able to meditate twice a day at whatever time I like and just appreciate the beauty of the sunshine, rain or leaves. There is no one judging me, or trying to get one up on me by putting more time into something I'm doing, there's no one criticising my every move and I'm allowed to criticise whoever I want, wherever I want, whenever I want.

They call this freedom. Freedom to sell your beliefs, sell your soul, sell whatever you want - as long as you're also buying with the money you've earned from all that blasted selling. But the labour you sell has got to be something They want. Generally They don't like what I'm selling. I don't want to get into that vicious cycle of Them buying something I don't want to sell or provide, because it's against everything I stand for, but which I then go and spend on something I don't like or want.

But then actually most of the things, if not all of them I need, so, needs must and I need to go back to work, selling my generally unwanted labour to earn some wonga. [I would print a swear word here, but various parents read this blog so I won't offend anyone.]

Time is the most precious thing of all and the fact that we're persuaded, cajouled, convinced and forced to sell most of ours all our lives is a travesty of the so-called modern world.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I've gone off the Arctic Monkeys

Apparently after a couple of glasses of wine I wouldn't stop going on about the Arctic Monkeys to our lovely friends on Friday night, who took it all in their stride, but packed us off back home earlier than usual.

Rather than take the adult stand, and possibly apologise, yet again, for having too much to drink and too big a gob, I took the opposing stance and proceeded to read their biography [I'll do a review of it later - it's crap - and I want to get to be one of the top 1000 reviewers for Amazon]. Then I thought, to prove what a big fan of theirs I am I'll log onto their website, and go into a 'chat-room'. I did this and was thoroughly annoyed within about two nano seconds. I want to get a signed photo of them, or better still, a visit from one of them when I'm having chemo. So I asked this question and then a dyslexic, autistic, child prostitute proceeded to inform me that they 'chuck all those requests in the bin coz you don't now whooz a fraud'. This was backed up by a more official spokesperson who said that management had not decided what the procedure was for such requests.

Even the Director of the company doing all their stuff looked about 14. After I asked my question 'How do you get a signed photo of the arctic monkeys?' there were questions like 'What was the last thing you said out loud?' 'How did you do in your SATS?'. Since then I've been listening to Classic FM. David Mellor or Simon Bates might send me a signed photo.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I'm going to join the Green Party

My visit to my home town has inspired me to join the Green Party. I've got friends there whose political views are wildly different to mine, yet I went up and could see, with a bit of perspective, time and distance what an amazing positive contribution (some) of their political work has done. For example - better town planning, better streets, promotion of 'Stafforshire Moorlands', positive role models for women, good information. But one of my friends, as all this has taken 15 years or so, just can't see all the positives right now. I think in politics you feel most of the time that it's 2 steps forward 10 steps back, and without a bit of distance it's difficult to see all the smaller, yet very significant changes that one has influenced or even caused.

And I just thought - if they can do it - so can I! I'm the most political person I know, yet I'm not particularly putting that passion to positive use.

I've got to wait until Phil gets back as I can't print anything. I've looked on their website and I agree with most of it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Is Leek, Staffs [Stafforshire Moorlands] the Centre of the Universe?

When I was about 15 my Dad used to take the Mickey out of me and say 'There's more to Life than Leek you know'. Smiling, in a sort of Dad-ish way. And I used to think, oh how patronising. But secretly I knew that Leek was the centre of the Universe. And it's easy to think that. It's got everything you could possibly want; Staffordshire Oatcakes, people, animals, beautiful countryside.

This week, after Monday when I seemed to have the energy of Russell Crowe on speed (actually rang in work saying I wanted to go back) on Tuesday I was more like Medussa on crack. Probably worse. Terrible abdominal pain combined with a foul mood. I rang the doctors in the Fertility Clnic who said it was perfectly normal, and if I felt really awful I could go in and see them. I should feel better in a few days. I felt marginally better on Tuesday and decided that as Phil was doing his 24 hour shift I would rather spend the night in company. So I went back home to lovely Leek. And it was lovely. I looked at wedding dresses, tried on wedding dresses and saw friends, properly, who I hadn't seen for a while. The distraction was what I needed. Now when I go back to Leek I'm always amazed by how country-ish it is, because of course compared to Hollinsclough where you know everyone who drives past, it's got a certain amount of anonymity (you don't know every single person you walk past).

One of the wedding dress shops was shut so my friend and I casually walked around the shops. Then we bumped into Johnny Waterhouse, from Johnny Waterhouse Blues Band, who I used to absolutely love in the eighties, when we used to go to their gigs, in illicit buildings, underage etc etc. We chatted to him on the street for a good half hour. It was like Eastenders. You always think when you watch Eastenders - people never chat like that on the street, they don't have time. But they do up North. There's no particular deadline, and if there is it can wait a bit. Apparently the Leek Post and Times is giving too much PR to rubbish musicians who've never done any gigs.

Came back refreshed, and there was what I think was a Banksy work of art! On the streets of Leek!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Seven Tatmorgs Conceived!

Yes, it's brilliant news! We've managed to conceive (with a bit of help from Homerton Hospital) seven embryos! It's lovely news, everyone is chuffed. Cookie and Gramps are already calling themselves that plus Granny, Grampa and Nanrick are also pleased. Uncles Jimbo, Wilfred, Tattonmeister & Hong-Kong Phuey are more subdued (probably thinking of all that baby-sitting they'll be doing). The beauty of having the lovely things frozen is that I can now aim to be the oldest mother in the world. But I won't. We've already started the negotiating process. Phil's saying 2014, I'm pushing for 2008.

This great news even makes me feel like I can go back to my true destiny - my other role of Supertatton - saving the NHS. I've already rang in saying that I'm perfectly alright and would like to return to work please.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ovary freezing back on

We've been v impressed with all the (female) consultants; surgeon, oncologist and gynacologist. But last week Miss M the gynacologist said that 'because government regulations have changed we can't freeze your ovary'. Naturally we were a bit disappointed, but Phil did his 'I know everyone' trick and today it looks like it might be back on; somewhere in Manchester will do it apparently. However, it's not a walk in the park and may not be necessary so Phil is going to talk to Dr S, the oncologist to get her view.

Tomorrow is my next thing - egg removal. Phil has to do his business too so hopefully next week we'll have a few embryos! The dishwasher seems to have started working aswell and I've taken some photos of human excrement: People [and I'm really referring to men here] use our parking space as a toilet. I'm going to write a letter to the Council about that and other rubbish in the vicinity.

Me, Mum and Phil went to see Volver as part of his birthday celebrations. I liked it but they didn't.

We suspect Trottems is being fed somewhere else as she weighs about five stone.

I did half an hour of Alexander Technique and meditation (meditation sitting in the Alexander Technique something suppine position)to help me get calm for tomorrow. I've also got some books on 'self-hypnosis' from the library. Quite frankly I can't tell the difference between it all; relaxation, meditation and self-hypnosis.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dishwasher has broken

Yes, the dishwasher has broken. The flap where you put the tablet is not operating. I'm sorry to admit this but I'm more upset about it than if a close relative had died. Death is, after all, part of life, but if a dishwasher has been rated as a "Best Buy" by Which, of which I am a member, which costs about ten squillion pounds a month, then you don't expect it to break down ever. So why has it? Perhaps someone should do that; on the back of the success of 'Which?' start an organisation called 'Why?' and charge everyone two million squillion quid a month to be a member of that. And come up with the wrong answer. But it has broken, on this day, of all days - a few days after the 9th anniversary of Princess Diana's death and 5 years after what we Brits call 'September the Eleventh'.

On a more happy note we've been celebrating Phil's Birthday. First of all I bought him exactly what he wanted - some very expensive speakers from a shop which brought the meaning of the word "geek" to a whole new dimension: "Human being unrecognisable to those of the feminine gender". Anyway it worked a lot better than last year when I got him a mish-mash of surprises, a lot of which were things that I wanted. Then we had a stroke of inadvertent luck on Thursday. I had a temper tantrum precipitated by my bike chain coming off and allegededly calming yet painful acupuncture. The only solution to cure me of this which presented itself was an alcoholic beverage at the 'Cat and Mutton' which I was right outside quite conveniently. Phil joined me and it was a great success as they were having an 'Oyster Night' to celebrate the start of the oyster season. So we had a dozen each, with different accompaniments and yum yum yum. We had what could possibly be the last Rose of the season, although judging by the ridiculous heat of today, it will probably be November.

Phil cooked a gorgeous Chicken and Leek Pie on Friday and we entertained his best man, Joel, who didn't come to the car boot sale (none of us did) in the end. Instead we all had quite a lot to drink; 'Delirium Tremons' was the order of the day - the strongest beer in the world apparently. I trapped my finger in the front door, and this pain, combined with what is about ten injections a day at the moment is reducing me to tears, in spite of the acupuncture 'seeds' supposedly preventing this in my ears.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Trottems and Marmasuprial

As the kittens have matured, into attractive cats, so have we and decided that their kitten names are no longer appropriate for cat-hood. We don't really call them Trotsky and Marmite much any more. Trotsky isn't much of a revolutionary socialist. She's very friendly, with a good sense of humour but she does like trotting around which is why Trottems suits her more. Marmasuprial isn't keen on advertising and she is definitely black not brown. She likes to appear intelligent even though she probably isn't which is why a longer name suits her more. They both seem to spend 80% of the time sleeping and the rest of the time chasing flies. Marmite still wakes us up every morning by walloping us in the face or attacking our feet and the 'Catlocator' is still a discussion point for any visitors to the house, but we haven't had any new ones recently!

In addition to stroking the cats, and Primarkation treatment we've also tried the Ikea diet. Traditionally not very therapeutic, especially at the weekend, but if done on a weekday then it's not too bad, although the side effects on your bank balance can be quite disturbing. Phil's preference is electroretail therapy - although if I come too it has to be my preferred practitioner Mr John Lewis, as opposed to Dr Ebay, a bit of a con merchant with a lot of DNAing in my view. Phil is over the moon as we have now got a TV that didn't come out of a skip - it's a SONY 40 inch LCD, positioned above the computer with a central speaker so the whole set up on that wall looks like a big space android-robot. Fortunately Phil's Captain Kirk. TRotsky is Spock, Marmite is Uhura and I'm a sexy alien from the Earth's past who likes gardening and other twentieth century activities.

I'm also having acupuncture, which seemed to work brilliantly the first time - it totally got rid of the PMT side effects I was getting from some drug or other. Yesterday it was quite painful. I'm also attempting to review all the books I'm reading on Amazon, but they keep on not publishing my reviews which is a bit annoying. I need to find a place where people write 'Time-out' style reviews on day-time TV as I'm becoming such an expert on it. I find now I'm switching from Jeremy Kyle to 'To buy or not to Buy' with a couple of comedy presenters, 'Dom and Nelly'. Quincy seems to not be on anymore which is a bit of a tradgedy so now I'm watching 'Working Lunch'. I'm looking forward to the FTSE going up to 6k. And I'm not joking. Is there going to be a party? The thing that annoys me about these programmes like Classic FM and Channel Four News is that they always say what the FTSE amount is - every day - but never whether this is an increase or decrease from the previous day and how this contributes to the rate of change. Why not show a graph or say the rate of rise over the past six months? Or the financial year?

Tomorrow's Phil's 30th Birthday and he has assured me that as part of his celebrations that he wants to hold a car boot sale (yep) as I enjoyed the one I did so much. He's confident of getting a hundred quid for more rubbish we've tracked down in the house. As it's his rubbish I'm quietly more optimistic than him. His categorisation of rubbish is a lot more slack than mine. I think this is my main problem with Green economists. They (and here I'm thinking of Zac Goldsmith) essentially promote Carbon Tax - essentially an indirect tax which is much worse on the poor - those on fixed incomes. What this does, and what we're seeing is massive rises in energy costs. Unless this goes hand in hand with rises in things like the pension then people are just going to be thrust into poverty. The government could stimulate demand for recycling at the other end of the market, by improved regulation, more funds on recylcing, green transport etc by raising income tax. With the carbon tax method that Zac and the Tories seem to the think is the be all and end all, what effecxtively happens is that the rich people carry on regardless as they always have done like they always do. The rest of us, and especially the poor start eating grass as that's the only thing we can afford, and never throwing away anything. Then they start rummaging around in other people's rubbish to see what they can sell. That's what the old ladies in Hong Kong do according to Phil. The fact is capitalism just doesn't agree with being green as the two are incompatible as when we're well off we waste more.

The other news is that I'm reading 'Diary of a Nobody'. It's essential reading for bloggers. Also Phil and I didn't realise (pure ignorance) that George Grossmith (the author, with his brother Weedon) knew Gilbert and Sullivan so well, starring in their productions like The Mikado! Topsy Turvy is one of Phil's favourite films and he just got it the other day on DVD!

We haven't seen Paolo for a few days as he's got shingles. I wasn't very welcoming when Phil gave the diagnosis on Sunday. Paolo's the equivalent of Cummings and Gowings in Mr Pooter's house (Nobody).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Primark

Today relatively uneventful. I had another appointment at hsopital - this time to see what benefits I might be entitled to. I didn't have high hopes for this. Luckily. I was put off by the smell to be quite honest in the room where I was with this gentleman, who judging by the smell, needed more help than I did. I just had to get out of there.

I made my excuses, grabbed a few leaflets and despite feeling poor, still had a credit card in my pocket and felt an urgent need for some retail therapy. I haven't bought any new clothes for 3 months - since my operation. I deserve it. Anyway Primark beckoned. At half past ten Primark's quite bearable. Or so I thought. I browsed with a basket, tossing whatever seemed remotely fashionable into it. After about half an hour and trying 50% of it on I totted up and it only came to twenty five quid. At this point, a bit like a gambler or an alcoholic I should have thought - fine, i'll leave it at that. But I thought... that's not much, what else can I get? A fatal mistake. I then put stuff back in that when trying on, hadn't fitted me. Then I spotted some comfy, cheap bras - something I really need for obvious reasons. Then I saw a load of bright red accessories, which of course I don't need, but I thought 'they go with my red hairclip, so I'll get the lot'. My excuse for this rather irrational behaviour (basing your wardrobe on a hairclip) is:
1) I wear the hairclip a lot now I've had my hair cut
2) Bright red is fashionable. Posh Spice wore a bright red dress recently
3) Err.. that's it

Then after I'd bought virtually the whole shop, we queued up. At Primark they cunningly don't have a subtotal-adding up thing on their tills so you can't check how much you're spending. I had to resort to asking the girl to check it for me every now and then. At what I thought was half way through it came to twenty five quid. Then I asked her to add up again - seventy quid. By now I felt under pressure to buy the whole lot. It came to £104 after I ditched a few things.

I'm the Queen of taking things back, I've already put stuff in piles of Yes... Could take back...Doesn't fit....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Freewriting - A history of Love

Next year I plan to do an MA, hopefully followed by a PhD at the Institute of Contemporary History in London. I'm going to try and prepare for it whilst I'm going through my fertility and cancer treatment.

To help both of us, Phil has got a brilliant book from the library - 'How to write a thesis' by Jenny Murray. To be a good writer you're supposed to write, whatever you want - 'freewriting' every day. The blog is excellent practice for this. I've had lots of ideas over the years, not all of which I want people to nick from this blog. But one, which I'm the only person who seems to be enthusiastic about, which is why I don't ming putting it up here, is 'A History of Love'. Here's Murray's 8 point step to start writing up your thesis:
A History of Love
1) Who are the intended readers?
Feminists, Young men, Historians, Philosophers
2) What did you do?
Read a lot of books and thought that Love hadn't been analysed from a social science or positive feminist perspective. When Greer wrote about Love she was dismissive. Marx and Engels didn't really mention it. The greeks broke it down into different types.
3) Why did you do it?
Because Love had had such a positive impact on my own life so I thought it was strange that social scientists had not analysed this before. I had a theory that Love is a form of secular idealism, which in philosophical terms, as it is mainly women who are the main players, has not been studied. 'Care' has been studied more, as one could argue that provision of health and social care services is the study of 'Care.' I asked people what the difference is between Care and Love.
4) What happened?
I got a diverse range of answers when I asked people what the difference between Care and Love is - Greed, money, quantification, passion, energy. Nobody seemed to understand what I was on about, which I'm still trying to come to terms with and get my ideas understandable.
5) What do the results mean in theory?
That Love is secular idealism, with little recorded to support this until my research, because it is a female domain.
6) What do the results mean in practice?
I hope that the results enable Love to be seen as a philosophy in itself, something that can be made and in its creation, change the world for the better.
7) What is the key benefit for the reader?
Understanding more about positive influences of Love, feminity and feminism on philosophy
8) What remains unresolved?
Everything

Boils or Breast Cancer?

No one knows what causes cancer, but there are a few 'risk' factors. And herein lies the difficulty. All these 'risk factors' essentially are about having quite a pleasant life. Take one 'risk factor'. Normal deodorant. I was using some rather innocuous 'Vaseline Intensive Care' roll on before the diagnosis. Then someone tells me, or I read on the internet or the Fulham Breast Cancer Cult tells me that that's a no-no. So I get some what is essentially crystallised salt from Fresh and Wild for ten quid. Not only do I smell, but I start to get boils on my underarm. Like Karl Marx used to on his bottom 150 years ago. Needless to say Ive reverted straight back to some strong men's stuff which Phil uses, and now back to nice and friendly Vaseline and no problems at all with the boils.

Then there's shampoo. I use shampoo that gets rid of dandruff. Now I'm on some seaweed stuff which brings on the dandruff. Dandruff is slightly better than boils and a lot better than breast cancer, but not as good as none of the above, so as a compromise with myself I'm using Head and Shoulders intercepted with seaweed.

Then there's tap water. I love tap water, it's virtually free and unless you get well-meaning people talking about possibly causes of breast cancer, 99% of everyone else says you can't go wrong with it. But then someone tells me, when I didn't ask for their opinion, that tap water has a lot of oestrogen which allegedly could cause breast cancer. So now what am I supposed to do? Shower in bottled Evian? Get a tank of Volvic installed in the backgarden attached to the plumbing system? It's all very well saying this and that causes xyz but it's a bit late now anyway. And even if I do start drinking bottled water with their ten zillion percent profit margins, how do these well-meaning cancer-free people suggest I deal with the side-effects of drinking £5 of bottled water a day - prostitution?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Tattontastic!

Tattontastic is one year old today. As a celebration I'm having my favourite tipple - dry martini and lemonade. Tattontastic is feeling the effects. I've applied for several jobs in the restructuring which I felt very pleased about too.

And what has Tattontastic achieved in its (her) life? Not as much as me that's for sure, but of course we are intricately connected. It means the kittens are also just over one year old and they are (like the rest of the family) starting to podge out a bit.

Of course Tattontastic would be dead without me, but I wouldn't be dead without it (her?). But a bit like 'Sophie's World' one starts to think about existence, spirituality, realism and idealism. Can things exist without being physically present? Probably. Perhaps Tattontastic will revolutionise the world, but without me. Marx purportedly said he wasn't a Marxist, but presumably he was joking.

In the infamous words of Liam Gallagher 'Life is a game you play'.

Hello. Hello. Hello.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jeremy Kyle, Quincy, car booting and broadband

The wonders of broadband and Mum's lap top which she's lent me is that I can simultaneously do my blog whilst there's a break on the Jeremy Kyle show. Like now. While they're advertising rubbish I can talk about all the rubbish we managed to sell at the car boot sale a couple of weeks ago. My Yorkshire genes mean that my hoarding capacity could be listed in the Guinness Book of Records, and Phil's highly morganised approach is starting to have an impact. Anyway to cut a long story short, I really think it (car booting) should be the new National Service. It was amazing selling all these long loved objects that are worthless to us that people snap up. All the toys from crackers I've saved over the past ten years which people were cooing over. And of course you're at your own discretion as to when and to what extent you want to have a sale; I had three - a 50p sale with about three hours to go, a 20p sale with two hours to go and then a 5p sale with an hour to go. Remarkably a full length pink leather coat failed to sell for five pence. But some people did get bargains like the tall gentleman who took a new, still wrapped mobile phone ear piece for 5p. The reason it should be compulsory - I would suggest for twenty one year olds, is that, at least at Holloway Road you are selling to a true cross section of the community who are probably better at grasping the true market value of goods than the London Stock Exchange. And the diverse range of people buying all these items. The African woman who bought my rusty bread bin tut-tutting. It doesn't take much to clean it you know. Sold - 50p. The sprightly old man who bought 3 old magazines for 30p, Hello, Grazia - to give to a friend in hospital. The well spoken lady with a lot of make up who bought my old sunglasses and I threw in Phil's bum bag which was a free gift from the traffic police on Tower Bridge. I really enjoyed it and we might do another one, but Phil is addicted to chucking things in the bin. He's said he was going to sedate me and then chuck out everything in the flat. I said he could wait until a week on Friday when I have my eggs are collected.

Anyway on to more major issues - Jeremy Kyle . I still prefer Trisha. I find Jeremy too aggressive. He spends a lot of time laying into aggressive people then speaks over them and he says 'this is right, that is wrong'. I don't think life is as simple as that. Last week they did have a touching episode where a couple had had a baby, then split up because the guy's parents were racist, he never knew she had a baby. The baby is now a 21 year old young person. I say young person because he was born a girl and has had a sex change. Anyway the father was thrilled and said he was so happy, he wouldn't mind if his child was an alien.

Quincy - also addictive but for different reasons. I think I watch Quincy for its underlying subconscious subliminal messages - celebrating the work ethic, men are better than women, shout a lot and you might get your own way, people of different ehtnic backgrounds can help but don't put them in charge, never give up on an irrational hunch. Thank God real life isn't much like that. We hope. There was a spectacularly irritating episode last week when Quincy deliberately didn't tell one of his pregnant patients that one of her twin babies had died inside her. Rather than being prosecuted for gross negligence, the woman just accepted his excuse that she would be 'too upset' even though he also withheld information that this had potentially threatened her life too.

Got a lot of lovely things happening this week - more daytime TV (looking forward to more subliminal messages coming my way), which I'm offsetting with Proudhon, Marx and Friedan, acupuncture on Thursday, gardening.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wedding Planning

We've been engaged for 3 months, Tattontastic is nearly one year old and I've held my first car boot sale so it's about time I get the ideas for the wedding published so I can get all my "fans"' ideas.

Green
Not just the colour but the ideology. The wedding will aim to be carbon neutral. We're planning to hire a bio-diesel generator to power the music equipment and lighting for the entertainment and meal. We're going to give tree seedlings as favours, which our guests can plant on wasteland or wherever they like. We hope to get photos and coordinates of these little trees so we can put where they are on our website. We will try not to fly for the honeymoon, instead going to Scotland, France or Ireland a more carbon-friendly route. People will have the option of giving us charitable gifts. Phil's Mum is making the wedding dress, Jennifer is making the cake, we're getting Hollinsclough Parish Action Group involved with the environmental issues (native planting on the verges) and seasonal, local flowers.
The invite will be a DVD/postcard/website with lots of family and friends photos from the four sides, possibly projected when we're having coffee at the reception.

Entertainment
This is a big deal for us - music on both sides - an area of great passion and compatibility for us both. So we're having a barn dance to start with (aiming at the over 50s), a band (aiming at the over 25s) and a disco (aiming at trying to make us feel like we're under 25).

Ceremony
I know a lot of people spend a lot of time on this, but for me anyway this isn't the bit I've ever remembered from any weddings I've been to. It seems to be much of a muchness and is always pleasant as long as we get the obvious bits in and it doesn't go on too long.

Food and drink
This is a big deal for us, but not being multi-milllionaires can't really promise the world. So we're plumping for bangers and mash. We really want a very decent vegetarian sausage which we need help sourcing. Drink we're going to get some champers bottled and go and get it ourselves. Ditto wine. A bar will be available on the night for those who like their spirits. The evening buffet will have the local delicacy of oatcake and cheese!

Reception
I want as many people as possible to come to the wedding, which isn't possible due to the size of the chapel and cost of a sit down meal. But for not much extra we're having about 200 to the evening so they can enjoy a barn dance, disco, nice hot buffet and excellent band.

Photography
A big deal for me as I love photography and am a bit picky about it, especially portrait photography. I spend hours and hours just looking at my photographer's website. I absolutely love his photos and can't wait for the years to come where it will my own wedding which I spend hours looking at! People think it's vanity, which it isn't. It's wanting to have a lovely record and see the wedding day as a story which unfolds. I want to be able to treasure every second and spending a lot on a photographer will enable us to do this! I think it's partly this passion for history I've got. Photography captures the moment. In an ideal world I'd spend a lot on videography but we haven't got the money and instead we're getting friends to do it which we can edit together.

Transport
Bit of an issue as Hollinsclough is in the middle of nowhere. So we're going to hire a couple of minibuses and drivers. Phil's little wedding project is to buy a cheap vintage merc or something which he can drive us around in for the wedding itself and the honeymoon.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Cath - 21 again [Resorting Next to Carrier Pigeon]

Yes, the computers are playing up in the library, not to mention the postal service. Can't seem to operate emails either. The phone, yes is an option but no one is in at this time.

Happy Birthday Cath!

And what wonderful memories of other birthdays we've got. Can you remember, was it your eleventh? When we were dancing to 'Don't Leave me this way' by the Commodores in the Village Hall... I was sick, purely from too much dancing and chilli con carne(those were the days). Your seventeenth - were we camping in France then? I remember getting our AS results anyway (two Bs between us, which we managed to just about maintain for our As). Then there was my eighteenth, which we postponed from my real eighteenth to the 4th July (which happened to be Angie's exes 21st birthday which I hijacked ha ha ha). Then there was your eighteenth - didn't you meet your beloved there? Camping on the Manifold. And the infamous black-tassled-leather-jacket story - I'm sure that was round about your fourteenth birthday when we got on that escapade hitchhiking to God-knows-where after we'd scraped together some cash to get the sorely wanted afore-mentioned item. Luckily you'd already tried it on I think and had decided it suited you. I had the pleasure of being given several leather jackets from people who'd disabled themselves falling off motorbikes, (including a Red one) so I didn't need to get one.

So congrats and many happy returns! Also thanks for the lovely card and photos which have gone into the ever-expanding 'Rainy Day Box'.

Love to all xxx

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Everyone email Nicola Baker, Head of Libraries Services at Hackney Council

I wanted to spend a long time writing today, having abstained for too long (nearly two weeks). However the ludicrous rules on the computers at the library mean that you only get an hour, which is more like 57 minutes when you've walked over from the stupid computer where you book yourself in (why you can't sit down at the thing and start God knows). THEY DO NOT ALLOW YOU TO BOOK MORE THAN AN HOUR IN ONE DAY.

Then I decided to complain about the stupid system to the staff which took up another five minutes, apparently they don't get many complaints. I asked for the email address of the person but they just gave me her name. Idiot. There's about twenty million paying computers just round the corner 'learn direct' ( I thought they'd gone bankrupt anyway?) where you can have unlimited time (£1 an hour). Then there's about five million unused 'children's computers' around another corner. But you obviously have to be a child. Why do children have enhanced rights compared to us other humans? Children don't have to apply for jobs or pay bills or write complaining emails to MPs about the cost of prescriptions for cancer patients and the selling off of the NHS so I really don't see why they should have free unlimited computer use when we're fighting like cat and dog for fifty free minutes on about three totally overused computers in the hottest part of the library. Rant over.

According to my fans (Mum, Dad and Phil) my best blogging is when I'm not complaining so I'll summarise in number form the other nice things which are happening and when Phil fixes the computer (it's Bill Gate's fault as usual but Phil's his number one fan so we'll probably have to wait another couple of weeks before he actually decides to complain):

1) Still off work - Hurrah! It's such a joy having all this time to do lovely things like
2) Holding Car Boot sale - this is worth an entry in itself it was so amazing
3) Been on holiday to Whitby with the in-laws - my new family I've marrying into, which was also wonderful and is going to be repeated on an annual basis
4) Saw all my Yorkshire friends, which made me think about Nostalgia, probably more material there
5) Got books out of the library - Hezbollah, Dave Gorman's Adventure, 365 ways to change the world, An intimate history of the orgasm, a Freelancing book and Tony Benn's condensed diaries
6) Started reading Stepford Wives
7) Rearranged house with Phil
8) Remortgaged house with Phil's name on it!
9) Refiled
10) Refreshed car at MOT

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dishwasher and Filing

This will be a very quick entry for various reasons:

1) I'm in the Library
2) There is a 'Scheduled Outage at 400PMPDT' whatever that means
3) It's too hot (Even though it's a hell of a lot cooler than last week for any international fans of mine out there who haven't got a clue what London weather's up to)

Anyway, To cut a long story short, I've given up (possibly temporarily) on the idea of publishing my short story which I wrote in my youth. I'm carrying on instead with documenting the minutae of my life at the moment which is apparently more therapeutic, and according to my Dad and Phil, better.

The highlight of the week is the arrival of the DISHWASHER which is absolutely amazing and my God, I'm amazed I've got to this age without having one. It's already changed my life and I've only had it 12 hours.

I've virtually completed the FILING of every document in the house. This has thrown up some interesting questions. I asked Blaglady for her views on filing. She says she puts everything in a drawer. This is my method as well, but due to my hoarding genes, this means as each cupboard fills up, I fill up another. Currently the volume of paperwork stands at a large wardrobe capacity. The reason it raises interesting questions is the categories I've given myself:

The 'Sentimental' Category takes up about 40%
Politics - 15%
Career - 20%
Work - 2%
Writing - 2%
Union - 2%

Anyway haven't got time to check if that adds up. My point is that my 'Sentimental' Category contains bits of all the other things anyway so why I'm bothering to separate it all God knows. What is sentiment anyway?

I might go for the Tate Britain method of chronological rather than the Tate Modern method of category. I know the TB way is more boring but I am a historian (or trying to be one) after all.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Introduction to my first on-line publication

Getting ready for chemo has meant chucking out 90% of the contents of the flat, as if any family were ever known for hoarding, mine is the one. I am marrying into another, much more morganised family and am doing the decent thing. I have found every piece of paper I have ever lost (apart from the really important ones like the Deeds to the House and my PhD proposal.) A few pieces of paper I am pleased about finding is a short story I wrote in 1988. When I split up from my ex-boyfriend, and was being bullied at work, and had an arson attack from an idiot, I understandably got a bit depressed and anxious (about three years ago). Mum, did the decent thing as Mothers do, and got out some things to cheer me up. In my case, being the genius I was and am, it was my old school work. Being the proud, sentimental type, she had kept my pre-GCSE English language work. It did the trick and I was quite surprised as to how entertaining some of these short stories and what-not were.

ANYWAY, one of the stories, which I am hoping to publish on this blog, entitled 'Zero Hour' was particularly errm, weird. A playwright friend of ours (N) who Phil has referred to a lot on his blog made fun of writing in the future in her play which we went to see a couple of months ago. There is a scene when the main character (a writer) in N's play makes fun of another character for setting his story in the future. Based on my experience, perhaps what he really needs is a strong brandy.

To make a short story quite long, what I'm trying to get at is is that this story ('Zero Hour') which I wrote in May 1988, and which I set in 2008, had quite a number of what most psycho-therapists would call 'Coincidences'. Everyone else would be reaching for their particular alcoholic tipple, or if you've ever been to the Haven Breast Cancer place, a broccoli juice.

The first major coincidence was that the main character was called 'Louise Powell'. By pure chance, the person dealing with my bullying case when I re-read the story for the first time 15 years later, in January 2004 was 'Louise Powell'. A very common name, according to my therapist who also knew someone by that name. For this reason the story stayed in my mind as you can imagine for the next few weeks.

The second, more tragic coincidence is that the one of the main plot lines also actually happened, in that one of the characters dies. I did reach for the brandy and was most upset about this. In the story, the main character Louise, tries to save a character M, and tries to contact him 'in the future' to save his life. She succeeds in the story, but in real life the person who very much coincidentally resembles this character died, I think in June 2004. It is though, just rather an unpleasant coincidence.

The third coincidence is nicer. The whole story is called as I say 'Zero Hour' counting down to a particular date. The date mentioned is '19th May 2007' which is now of course our wedding day!

There are some other little details which are quite cutish, looking back. My predictions of 'tele-tact' which is a contact lens TV, 'so popular that the tutors do spot checks at school'. Not that I know, but sounds a bit like the mobile phone phenomenon. Back to the Future was probably 90% of the inspiration for this story and there's a not so subtle reference to this in the first paragraph - our heroine watching 'Teen Wolf'. And then there's the predictions I made in developments in food retail marketing; families shopping at the older 'complex.' even though it's less efficient. Sounds a bit like me doing my bit for the British Olympic Queuing bid at Stoke Newington Farmers Market every Saturday.

Haircut Update

The Hair looks really lovely. It is 1920s/30s ish slightly curly and short. Most people can't tell the difference because I wear my hair up so much. But everyone likes it including most importantly me and Phil.

I have taken some photos of it and when I eventually get some IT skills I will put the photos up here. I feel glamourous and it's much easier to maintain so I'm pretty pleased. The people in the hairdressers all wanted to know how it was done so even they were impressed.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Feminism Today

Today's appointment went really well. Not only have all the consultants I've seen been women, which really makes me think the world has changed in the past thirty years, but the Fertility consultant seems to be quite a big wig as she was virtually namedropping Lord Winston. I'd much rather have her job than the poor oncologist's who has to say things like 'You've got a 20% chance of not being here in ten years' compared to her 'And we could try for two babies, and that's just with the frozen embryos'. You see not only are we going to freeze some embryos (hopefully) but also freeze some ovarian tissue, which they can then try and put back in which not only might help me have babies but also possibly reverse the menopause (which is likely to come on early as a result of chemo & hormonal). I thought all this was reserved for celebrities (freezing the ovaries) but apparently not... The ovaries thing is all a bit pie--in-the-sky as I don't think any babies have been conceived from frozen ovaries yet, but it's early days.

We are starting IVF (frozen embryos for now) next week which all seems very quick (GOOD), then whip out the ovary whilst I'm having radiotherapy, then have chemo after that. Followed by hormonal. That's plan B propoesd by Miss M the Fertility lady. Plan A simply is to start chemo, followed by radio. Miss S is going to chat with MIss C and Dr S to check that all this is fine with them. The problem is with the fertility treatment is that the mega doses of hormones may trigger off the cancer, but our argument is that we're blasting it with chemo after a couple of weeks, so if the cancer is triggered off again we're quickly getting rid.

Phil's in a v grumpy mood as he killed his computer on Friday (accidentally). The hard drive has gone to the big computer graveyard in the sky. I tried joking at the Clinic saying we could get his new computer cyrogenically frozen. He wasn't amused. We're both in the v nice internet cafe and must go now.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Causes of Breast Cancer

One of the first things that crosses your mind when you're given your cancer diagnosis is, as I said to our lovely Doctor at the time 'What causes it?' and he said, 'Nobody knows'. Myself and my betrothed had a little discussion over breakfast when I said getting the butter out of the fridge 'I wonder if Anchor Spreadable has given me cancer?'. He said 'There's one thing that's given you cancer and that's the Pill.' It's still a mystery and a depressing mystery at that. The fact is in the industrialised nations there's been cancer and especially breast cancer epidemics. Phil's reasoning is that whilst the Fulham Breast Cancer Haven place harp on about dairy, alcohol and soya (because of the hormones put in) that over the past 15 years I've been putting 100 times more hormones into my body on a daily basis, to prevent pregnancy. They don't go on the pill in the Third World.

The other, more major fact, is that it's extremely depressing thinking about the causes of cancer, especially when you've had it or got it. It's always the nice things that are supposed to cause it: alcohol, fat, diary products, wisdom;age, sex; the Pill, city life. I'd rather leave investigating the causes to the professionals and get on with my brilliant new life which consists of tidying up, gardening, pottering around, meditation, yoga, The Alexander Technique, enjoying being spoilt by everyone I've ever met, reading, writing, drinking, laughing, watching TV, listening to the radio, wedding planning and talking to all my lovely friends on the phone.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hair News Update; PR Watch 6

I was quite amazed that when I typed in Vidal Sassoon To google for a free hair cut at the afore mentioned establishment there were literally essays from women saying how a hair cut works. Fortunately, although I do love my hair and the thought of it growing back straight makes me want to stab my eyes out, I do actually prefer Life itself so it all seems a bit academic worrying about that tiny facet of the side effect of Chemo. Anyway I'm getting a bargain haircut, SHORT for the first time in my life, possibly even shvaven at some bits. Coloured even. I've booked in to Vidal Sassoon no less on 1st August for the whole morning for the princely sum of eleven british pounds. But in order to almost look forward (?) to it falling out I am thinking about getting a tattoo on my head. His Highness doesn't like tattoos - but again if the hair grows back then it doesn't matter... Perhaps a henna tattoo on my head as a compromise. But then I'd have to get it done while I'm not well which wouldn't be very good.

But looking at the effort these women go on the shopping websites to do reviews of these services, one does wonder if they are getting any money for it? Book Reviews I've written on Amazon are shorter and in my experience at least books change your life more than hair cuts. I do wonder about the women of today. On Woman's Hour (which annoys me almost as much as the Today programme) they had 3 'young' women on asking them whether Girl Power had worked yesterday. It's ten years since the Spice Girls uttered the words apparently. One of these women (who admittedly was 21 so hardly counts quite frankly: My Granny didn't get the vote until she was 31) said she didn't describe herself as a 'Feminist'. She thought these days it was more about equality. This had me in my usual shouting rant at the radio, except it wasn't 7am it was about 11am. 'Have you looked in the f***ing dictionary? You stupid f******* *****'. The Oxford Compact (Folio Society 2005) describes it as thus: 'A movement or theory supporting women's rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes'. Even Phil and the two Richards have ascribed to it using that definition. Feminism isn't just about equal rights for women, but also for men; equality being the key word here.

We're getting Cookie's Rainy Day Box Ready too - visit on Saturday and might visit Auntie E too.
We're booked in to see the Fertility Clinic on Monday so I'll be fresh faced from the joy of that ready for my new hair do on Tuesday.

I've bought a crap book (again!). Too American (nothing new there) and about to go out of date yesterday. You can only understand 90% of it with a degree in computing. But perhaps the chapters on writing tips and increasing traffic are worth 8.99. I'm sure Alvin Hall would blame my parents.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Busy Week

We had a v busy week. Friday night - drinking, Sat night - drinking etc etc. The Fulham Haven would not be v impressed (Heavy drinking is a risk factor for b c). In fact I'm not very impressed with myself. Several days wasted, when I could be watering the garden, reading some books and sorting out my literal-ton of paperwork.

Chemo will probably start in about two weeks and the pact I've made with Phil is that in return for doing this I will never voluntarily wear a flourescent tabbard. Ever again.

I am going to have a 'Kylie Kut' before it starts and get my hair all cut off.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Message for my Fiancee

Love you, can't be bothered to email any more - it takes too much time and Microsoft are making too much money out of me. Plus we got rid of sploggers but noone can get rid of spam.

Anyway the Holloway Road Rubbish Tip is just off Hornsey Street. Romance is of course, not dead. At all. The reason I'm doing it like this is because Orange are keeping me waiting while they chase up the broadband which is about a month late now. Apparently we are 'not registered' despite me ringing up at least twice.

While I've got a few minutes I may as well tell you I want to learn how to categorise my entries like Blaglady and Joella have done. Mine might be: 'dull' 'No one understands these entries' etc

Umming and Ahhing over Chemo

I seem to oscillate between the 'Yes, I'll be fine, Jules worked her way through Chemo' and 'No, not on your Nelly. Good God - the Early Menopause, no kids and feeling like death warmed up for six months. You must be joking'.

It's only ten per cent difference. If that and that's only with hormonal too which is virtually as bad on its own - early menopause.

My Mum's friend Camilla didn't have Chemo, and apart from being told she's only got six months to live she's absolutely fine.

But myself and my lovely friend Blaglady had a lovely time painting our nails yesterday. Something I was thinking to myself I should do more often, except when I started trying to do my right hand. I practised the Gail Porter 'Shroud' look with a green silky thing I usually wear as a beach wrap. Phil says he's going to get me a combat scarf for my head and a Che Guervara T shirt. He says he's also going to go with a shaved head in sympathy.

The problem with the Cancer is I keep on shrieking 'I need more information, Why havem't any clinical trials been done on vegans?' And then I get presented with the information and promptly start reaching for 'Shropshire Life'.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mentoring your Mentors



All the rage these days is ‘Mentoring’. I’ve got about two hundred of them (mentors/tees) and the trick is you have to keep on reminding yourself of what you’re mentoring them about and what they’re mentoring you about. I think you get to a certain age and you suddenly lose the plot and think, hang on a minute ‘Who’s the Mentor?’, then you come to your senses and say ‘Oh Yes, half a sugar please’.

What you’re hoping they’ll do is encourage you to give up sugar completely and refuse to put any in, then when you’ve had a nervous breakdown about that it turns out that they actually say don’t take Milk. So you have to go out and get some Peppermint Tea, can’t be bothered and end up drinking the left over Baileys in the fridge from Christmas.

To take the ‘Mentoring the Mentors’ a bit further but without the tea analogy , I personally think the line from Aretha Franklin & Eurythmics line ‘Behind Every Great Man is a Great Woman’ - Sisters are Doing It for Themselves (1986) could be explored further. What about the Muses in Art & Literature? OK, granted they didn’t do anything apart from sit there – but purely to inspire is enough isn’t it?


Isn't it amazing that those photos are the same person? David Clutterbuck who wrote 'Everyone needs a Mentor'. I could write a book called 'Everyone needs a mentor for every single thing they do'. I could do with one for putting out the washing. And one for Cellulite. Etc. Anyway, I'm working on it. David Clutterbuck could do with one to sort out his photos on the web. Ditch the one with the blue background Dave.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Making of Love - Part 3



This image is a lovely Hydrangea from the Hampton Court Palace Show ten days ago. I'm thinking about Hydrangeas for the wedding but in 'flower language' they mean 'Boastfulness'. Am I bovvered?

Anyway, I learnt three things when the monitor cable got detached from the computer an hour ago:

1) The addition of the 'neurochemical' sentence on Love in the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology, between 95-01 - hadn't spotted it before.
2) I don't understand Wikipedia. An hour or so ago on their page defining Love they were very negative and were quoting Nietzsche. I had prepared a whole paragraph dissing them too. Now Nietzsche's missing. Was it a matter of great minds think alike? Did my psychic dissing of them affect them? And this is the point with the internet - you can change your mind just like that. History disappears before it's been made.
3) That Love beats all other quotation references hands down in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations including God, Life, Death, Art and Dog.

Love Begets love. (C17 proverb) That's more like it.

The Making of Love - Part 2


Philosophy, the 'Love of Knowledge' - as Phil means Love as we all know - has been dominated by men all these years. Consequently the one area where women share an equal platform with men, if not dominate - the Making of *Love*, not only are women completely excluded but the concept of *Love* itself is absent.

I have four Dictionaries of Philosophy from different publishers (Blackwell, Macmillan, Penguin and Oxford). Love isn't in any of these apart from the Oxford. But a pathetically small entry, where even 'gnosticism' is longer (a second century belief which died two centuries later).

And the definition is very negative too '...love has been thought of as reducible either to the sex drive...or to a struggle for power'.

I have two dictionaries of psychology, which coincidentally are the same publisher (Penguin). The earlier one (pub 95) was left by a disturbed Richard Dawkins fan who tried to burn me alive, which thank the Lord I survived, and am here to be able to not only tell the tale but compare the two dictionaries. And again, the Editor did not agree with me in that Love is an ideal to be aspired to. In fact, Psychologists like Philosophers seem to think that this important aspect to our lives has nothing to do with them:
'Psychologists would have been wise to have abdicated responsibility for this term and left to poets.'

But most interestingly, the change in definition from 95-2001 is in the last paragraph of their definition of Love 'Is Love merely an emotive state that results from particular neurochemical actions, and by implication, crassly manipulable?'

Feeling more depressed, I turned my attention to Wikipedia and managed to get the photo above.
Make Love not War.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Making of Love

One of my favourite books is 'The Making of the English Working Class'. For about ten years I've been thinking about 'The Making of Love' but people including most people have said to me 'But you don't know what you're on about. You know Jack-shit. You need to have studied feminism/cultural studies/music/classics/English Lit/poetry/Biology to do something like that. Anyway no-one will buy it.'


And Now. Five years Later. I don't care. I'm just going to do it. Write a post-modern social history of love. What's the difference between care and love?

It's a Long Way to the Top if you wanna Rock and Roll.