Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Not knowing what day it is

One of the things about being off work for such a long time is you don't know the day or the date at any point. The days merge into a sort of grey durge. And I haven't been on TOP FORM the past two weeks. The Radiotherapy has done its work - and finished - but left me feeling exhausted, a very sore left breast which is inflammed and that's apparently what's making me feel sick. But I start work next Wednesday, with an interview too and so has Phil.

I'm reading Possession by AS Byatt at the moment, which is a great read prior to me starting an MA in October as it's all about academia. I am hoping that all this reading is improving my writing - Mum always said that's the best way. I haven't found 'Possession' as good as 'Kitchen Confidential' in this respect. Perhaps I feel overawed by the quality of the former, overawed to the extent of total inactivity.

I think Mum gave me Possession for my sixteenth birthday - so it's taken me seventeen years to read it! And this sort of random fact makes you think about other objects and influences in one's life. What's the oldest object I've been given? Why've I kept it for so long? And what about 'services' you've benefitted from years ago. School teaching. But also learning to ride a bike, swim, read and talk. Skills that most people take for granted are passed down from parents. The wonders of science, rarely lost from the first generation that learns 'the truth'. AS Byatt's character 'Ellen' is given laudanam for a headache. These days everyone's got a stash of paracetamol or ibruprofen. And they're not addictive.

But - we may have to move. To the 'West Midlands'. Where Phil's got his interview. A big area. Phil's already saying Ludlow. I was impressed as it was mentioned yet again in 'Country Life' as the best place to live in the country. Not just for foodies. It has a good Council. Very tempting. For someone like me who values local government.

And I think we've decided to go ahead with the marquee on the school field. Yes, it'll be hassle but as Phil pointed out yesterday I've got four weeks of holiday to take before April as I've been off sick for so long. The gorgeous dress is finished. As soon as I'm better I can start getting excited about that again.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Philosophising whilst cycling

I'm cycling to my radiotherapy appointments every day which is an hour of exercise so the diet has been binned. And cycling is wonderful, the flats you pass with tiny balconies, the houses with still-to- flower climbing trees, the cafes with scents of coffee and curry, the long nineteenth century tree-lined roads with families on their way to school, the beautiful parks thronging with bird song,(which I can't identify and wish I could) even in the rain . Then at the bottom of Pitfield Street you arrive in the city, at a junction I'm so happy to say adapted for cyclists with a crossing for us and the pedestrians. Then we all cycle the same route (they always overtake me) and the buildings get taller, the pedestrians more numerous, and the streets darker. Finally I arrive on Moorgate and waiting at the traffic lights to turn on to the Roman London Wall and the sound of footsteps is hypnotic. E taught me to say 'Ohm' in my head whilst meditating and it's so lovely to do it just there, where right in the thick of the action all you can hear are thousands of feet softly tapping quickly to their different destinations. And I'm overtaken again as I wonder how many millions of journeys have occured on that straight road and how it might have looked two thousand years ago.

Mum's best friend J's philosophy was 'to enjoy life as much as possible without harming anyone else'. I love thinking about thinking, nowhere more than on my bike where if I think a dodgy not-nice thought I can quickly think about avoiding hitting the pavement or how wet my bum/hands/legs are. I think about Dave Gorman and his quest to find other Dave Gormans. And my quest to find other A. Tattons. We found one last night - perhaps the only other in the country - on 'my tube'. She recorded a twenty second song 'Santa Baby'; coincidentally on my birthday. She's probably twenty years younger than me. Are they any thirty three year old, breast cancer inflicted, ex-Kylie-Minogue lookalike, NHS manager, expert patient trained, engaged, left-wing, feminist, cat loving, arctic-monkey-loving, food loving, aspiring writer/historians out there with the name Tatton? I think about feminism and its economic basis - equality of pay but not culturally.

Then I arrive at the hospital and you're in and out in 2 minutes, while they play 'Coldplay' on their ghetto blaster and you're zapped. Inappropriate I think, as not only is it too gloomy but 90% of the clientele are over 50. I ponder the merits of not only the 'gowns' they give you, but why they can't give you a bag to put all your stuff in each day as you trail round from waiting room, to changing room to the space age treatment room.

And the journey home. Empty streets on the way back as everyone's at their desks. Jeeves and Wooster take me back to the twentieth century and I wonder how people become butlers.
We had a lovely meal last night - at the Three Crowns on the High Street. High Standards and not too high a price - Phil got the champers and the roses. I bought the meal. We both ate, listened, talked and laughed. That's twenty-first century feminism for you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Spoke too soon - feeling rough

Quicker than you can say 'Feminism is dead - look at the popularity of Life on Mars' I feel ill again. An overwhelming tiredness, which even for me, is unusual in that it's stopping me watch 'Diagnosis Murder'. Also haven't done the jobs I wanted to do like book my hairdressing appointment (Phil now says I look like David Milliband and that, believe me, is below the belt). I haven't done things like put the tins away from the shopping. But the Tattonmeister came round yesterday for a short trip - he has now played on a grammy award nominated song so that's very good. He kept making me laugh - like when we tried to visit the Church Street squat and they wouldn't let us in because they were 'shut'. He said he was going to complain. Tiredness is one of the side effects from radiotherapy so I don't know why I'm so shocked. I was just hoping I might feel like doing slightly more interesting things than lying around dozing.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happy again

It takes a hell of a lot to get rid of my brilliant mood from the 19th May last year (a certain proposal) so I'm as happy now just about as I was then, having recovered from chemo, psychotic episode, cancer, work etc. I've just submitted the application to do the MA I want to do in October and really looking forward to that. We've scaled down the wedding considerably - Mum has found a marquee for hire for £400 - ten times cheaper than the other one we had booked. We're going to get married late afternoon so we can get away with giving everyone one meal - which is going to be a buffet. And I've cancelled the creche - nobody seemed to be into that idea. I've read two books in the past week which I enjoyed very much - going through chemo I couldn't even concentrate long enough to watch telly or listen to the radio - had to do jigsaws. I've read 'Small Island' which was a look at post-war racism, but I didn't like it that much, couldn't empathise with the characters. Then I read 'the Time Traveller's wife' which I really loved - always had a fascination with time travel; examining questions of philosophy, free will and history.

My hair is long enough to have a parting now - although Phil's calling me Hitler, I think I look like Maria Von Trapp.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Change of plans

Had a terrible week of illness - just a nasty virus which combined with radiotherapy has left me unable to get out of bed most of the week. Just recovering now. This has put the wedding plans on the back burner, in fact on a slow, conservative, back-burner. In fact on a bunsen burner. Yes, the wedding plans are on the brink of being totally changed. Being genuinely sick all week has made me feel like the mutated son of Gordon Brown and Ebeneezer Scrooge on a Monday morning. The half pay is starting to bite, combined with daytime TV which seems to be constantly about 'Cash in the Attic', places in the sun, spendaholics, adverts for loan sharks and debt agencies. Inflation's rising, unemployment's rising & both me and Phil might be out of a job, interest rates are on the increase and polar bears are dying. It's starting to seem ludicrous to spend not hundreds, but thousands of pounds on one day when we haven't got that money. Yes we have 'equity' but it isn't cash. But then, our revised wedding list (of ten guests each) includes no aunties, cousins and hardly any friends. And what would I spend what in real terms will be £50K on? You can't get much for that these days apparently, apart from a decent wedding.