Rudolph comes but once a year (thank God)

December 26, 2012 § 14 Comments


I’m not going to write a post about being ill or my bad leg today. No, this post is about my new Rudolph jumper and some memories it has invoked.

My brother, Andrew, whom I love and adore and with whom I shared a difficult and mad 70s childhood, is one of the worlds worst buyers of presents, ever. Some of his presents should go down in history for their tackiness, the teddy bear on a  bike is one that springs to mind (I ended up giving it to the scouts for their jumble sale – isn’t that awful). But I have begged my brother to either let his wife, Bev, buy the presents (she is very good) or give the money to a charity on my behalf, or better still, don’t buy me any presents at all, I really am happy to just see him at Christmas, that is present enough for me (at this suggestion, he said I was being selfish, not allowing him to give me a ‘proper present’).

For several years this worked and Bev bought the presents and all was well. Then this year I woke up on Christmas morning to one of the worst presents anyone could have possibly bought me…a Rudolph jumper….ARGGGGGGGG

Now I know they are ‘in fashion’ but really, I don’t care about that, I actually screamed when I opened the package, then sat, face aghast for several seconds while it sank in, then realised, “Oh God, Andrew has bought the presents this year”.

Now me and my brother have a very close relationship, born out of particularly horrible shared experiences of Christmas. Let me give you an example. We were brought up in a very poor household, by quite old parents. Our mam and dad had a full set of grown up children by the time me and my brother were born and so by the time we were around and wondering if Santa was on his sleigh, they literally couldn’t be bothered. Coupled with that, they were of a generation that had lived through rationing and World War 2, so gift giving was not at the top of their agenda.

One year, our mother actually told little Andrew and Susan that they had a choice this Christmas, “food or presents, which will it be?”. Being sensible children and knowing our mother didn’t have that good a sense of humour, we chose the food –  however, it still turned out to be egg and chips for Christmas lunch that year.

So out of this close relationship I am able to be quite frank and honest with my bother, so I called him up after the shock of Rudolph had worn off and I just had to tell him it was possibly the worst present he’d ever bought me and that is saying something. He got quite upset at this and I did feel a bit guilty, but I held my ground, otherwise god knows what might turn up next year. I said that under no circumstances would I be wearing it when I came round to his for Christmas dinner today and in fact I would only wear it under several other layers of clothes, to keep warm. He continued to be upset and I did feel pangs of guilt about being so honest about Rudolph and his merry nose.

That morning I continued to hum and har over that bloody jumper and as I got ready to go to my brothers for Christmas lunch the guilt took over and before I knew it, I was wearing the jumper and you know what…I think it actually quite suits me.

When I walked into my brothers house, he saw me wearing the jumper and clapped his hands with glee, his big ugly face lighting up, how I love him: My brother is one of the best things about my life.

Oh and you can see in the picture of me and Rudolph above, my moon face from the prednisolone has come down a bit, but its still quite puffy.


Andrew with Bev and Daughter Abbie


A holiday before the holidays

December 23, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’ve just had a little holiday break after my treatment.  You don’t realize how fantastic a holiday is and how much you need it until you take it !!! Even though the last few months have not involved much hard work, the ability to just get away and change the routine is itself refreshingly therapeutic.  While of course not much happens when you are  unwell, I never felt quite comfortable  doing nothing – not being pre-occupied with something ‘meaningful’.  For some reason being on holiday gives you permission to escape from all the things you usually worry about.  If nothing else – this is why holidays are a MUST !!!!  Let’s face it, the worries will be waiting when you get back (as I have found out all too quickly).  We really need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

Anyway my list of the ten best things about holidays:

  1. Eating fresh fish and chips
  2. Being anonymous
  3. You can’t get an internet connection
  4. It doesn’t matter what the weather is – you can relax whatever happens
  5. Reading the papers – from front to back over more than one day
  6. Going out for breakfast
  7. Walking along the beach
  8. Slowing down – literally !!!!
  9. Going to bed late
  10. 10. Not having to clean the house

By the way – am still bald !!!!!


A Tale of Two Tities

November 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Father Ted, trapped in Irelands largest lingerie store – I know how he feels

No doubt the title of this blog post is also the title of some sleazy soft porn film. Anyone having done a google search and found this post, expecting it to be a bit…”oh er missus, how’s your father”…is going to be a bit disappointed (although there is a shot of my big fat arse in another post).

No, indeed, this post is about the trauma of badly fitting bras, of which I am a sufferer at present. As readers of this blog will already know, I am now the size of two baby elephants who’ve been eating too much cake and my boobs are like the heads of those baby elephants. None of my bras fit me, wearing them is like wearing some sort of medieval undergarment designed for torture. I can’t, not wear a bra, otherwise, well, people would notice and it’d be VERY embarrassing, so I have to go buy some new ones…and therein lies the problem.

I hate going to the shops. Even as a fit and healthy person it was a bore and I would put it off at all costs. However, I am also a lover of clothes and fashion. I have several wardrobes full of them (my babies). One is a large bank of them in the bedroom (poor Steve has a tiny portion of one of them and even that is squashed in against my clobber). I have another overflow wardrobe in another part of the house and in the attic I have a rail of 80s and 90s clothes that are either too small, or too ‘young’ for me, but which I can’t bear to sell or give away. I admit it, I am an addict, I can’t help it, I prefer however to think of it as a hobby.

My mother was a dress maker, a brilliant one, you should’ve seen the amazing elaborate wedding dresses she would make. She didn’t even have to measure people, she just looked at them and knew what size to make. So I blame her. I was surrounded by fabrics and clothes from birth, it obviously affected my cognitive development.

To service my obsession, I buy online. And I don’t mind buying second hand. As long as the item is good quality and not overly worn, it’s fine by me. I’ve bought some beautiful pieces from eBay, one woman’s cast off’s is another woman’s dream dress: I bought a Missoni dress for a tenth of the price if bought new and it is worn, but still beautiful. I’ve spent quality time learning my size in different brands so that I can almost, without fail, get a good fit, even when buying without trying on.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t extend to bras. I have failed to buy bras online that fit me, I just can’t get it right. So…this means a trip to the dreaded shop to try on and buy bras. The boredom of it all sweeps over me and makes me want to become a 1970’s feminist and burn the damned things.

I’m going to go with my daughter on Friday and just do it. We will go for a vegan breakfast at a lovely cafe in Newcastle first and that should bolster me for the onslaught. Wish me luck, as you wave me goodbye, a tale of two tities will hopefully have a happy ending.

And now for a bit of mirth – the bit in Father Ted where the priests get trapped in ‘Ireland’s largest lingerie department’ (said in an Irish accent please!)

Something I Remember From Last Week That Made A Difference

October 25, 2012 § 4 Comments

I meant to write about this last week, but with my usual chemo brain I forgot !!!

I was having a really great coffee in a little cafe in town and on my way out heard someone call my name and say hello.  I have to admit I had no idea who it was but said ‘hi’ and obviously looked sufficiently dopey and vague for them to remind me of who they were.  Well even that didn’t click immediately but we started a short conversation – with me madly trying to remember who this person was.  Thankfully it finally dawned on me, but not until they reminded me that I gave them their first permanent job some 21 years ago.  And so now I remembered.  He went on to remind me that he was just out of school at the time and was engaged in the organisation I was in as a very young trainee.  On reflection I remembered him as a really nice, friendly, motivated guy and yes did recall helping him out with a job for all those reasons.  Anyway in the course of the brief conversation he went on to  tell me that he is now doing consulting work in the IT industry, earning an excellent executive salary.  He concluded the conversation thanking me for helping him on his way – in fact said that that was the important break in terms of getting him on track for a decent career in the IT industry.  I felt very proud and very humbled.

Why is this story so important?  Well for me its important because it reminded me that despite the ups and downs of this year (of which there have been plenty), that I have made a difference that counts to someone.  For me it was a reminder to look at the good things that happen rather than the things that are bad or don’t work out.  It made me realise that the impacts we have we may not realise until years later or may never even know at all – but notwithstanding that, the impact has been made and someone has been touched.  It was a sobering conversation at a time when I am thinking abut my future.   I think we all have these moments. This is the one I am sharing with you.



Chemo Brain – Is there such an affliction???

October 5, 2012 § 1 Comment

Is there such a thing as ‘chemo brain’ – there certainly is in my case !!!!

Over the last week in particular – I lost my credit card in a cafe (luckily found it the following day after retracing my steps); have signed up for things with the wrong email address; misplaced work papers; called my daughter everything but her real name – after going through the alphabet; walked from one room to the next to get something and forgotten what it was by the time I got there; got half way through sentences and forgotten what I wanted to say; forgotten to turn off lights; been left grasping for words that usually come pretty easily……..  I know I do all of these things fro time to time but this week seems to have been particularly bad.  I’m convinced it is the chemo!!!!

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think

September 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

I just thought that it might be nice, this Saturday, to encourage whoever reads this, to dance naked around their living room, arms flailing in the air, singing along to The Specials rendition of “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”.

I can’t dance right now, but soon, very soon, I will be able to and I’ll do it (I might keep some clothes on though, I am British after all).

Might be a good idea to close the curtains!

You don’t realise what you’ve got till it’s gone . . . .

September 20, 2012 § 10 Comments

You know how I said I didn’t mind losing my hair – well I take it all back.  Having to look at  a bald head is bad enough – but the itch, well that is killing me.  And to call it itchy isn’t quite right either. It is sort of itchy and sort of sore and irritating.  In any case, I’d kill for a bad hair day in preference to the bald, itchy one I currently have.  To make it worse it is a patchy itchy, sore head  – smooth and soft in places, prickly in others and a little round black spot of stubble on the top of my head (about the size of a coin).  Hideous  – what more can I say.  As much as I love the hats they keep falling over my eyes (because nothing sits on my small potato head head) and I either feel too hot or too cold.  Yesterday in the car I thought my head was going to explode if I didn’t release some heat (ie take the hat off) – but of course then I worried about looking like some weird carjacker.  Needless to say the hat was off before i could get the keys out of the car when I got home.  Fashion and pride has never come at such a high price!!!!

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the laughter category at stonesintheroadblog.