Saturday, 31 March 2007

An hour and 12 minutes to go!

We are going to eat supper early so that we are ready to direct all our attention to the 'Doctor', as he is known. If you are thinking of calling, don't between 7:00p.m. and 7:50 (it ends at 7:45 but we'll need a bit of de-briefing time). Cliff has suggested that I could use a blanket to hide under instead of pulling out the sofa but I think that I'll stick with my first plan. Time seems to be going so slowly. Alas!

Dr. Who is back!

For those of you who are asking themselves, 'Who is Dr. Who?' (how sad!), he is the hero of countless generations (well, perhaps not countless but at least a few). He has been saving the world from alien invasion since the 1960's. In particular, he has saved us from the dreaded daleks whose very name strikes terror in the hearts of countless generations. Here I go again!. As you may have guessed, he is a television character and he is back tonight on our television sets at 7:00 p.m. Emma is coming home to watch with the family. Naomi and James in Swansea will be huddled round their set. In fact, all across the country children and adults alike will be waiting to be scared silly. I will be moving our sofa out from the wall so that anyone who feel the need can hide behind it during those unbearably frightening moments!

Thursday, 29 March 2007


I am exhausted! That means that I won't be writing much today. In fact this could be it.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Blogging off!

According to an article in the Guardian today, people are starting to abandon their blogs. Now, most of the bloggers named in this article were celebrities. I wonder if they simply didn't have the time or perhaps they ran out of things that they felt comfortable putting on-line. An interesting statistic to go along with this is that 200 million people have abandoned their blogs. I can imagine that to be the case since so many people abandon their written journals. Why should blogs be any different.

I am now half way through my radiotherapy and beginning to be very tired. Today I had to have two naps. I'm still a little tired even after all that sleep. There are a few other side effects but I won't go into those. Just 3 and a half weeks to go and it's all over...April 20th in fact. I think that I'll have a celebration.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Rosaleen sings!

I work with a wonderful young woman named Roasaleen. (I had a shock the other day to realize that I was old enough to be her mother!) I knew that she played guitar and sang but I haven't heard her recently. Yesterday I overheard her talking about a song that she had put on YouTube. I just watched it and it's great. Here's the link. Have a look, listen and enjoy!

Friday, 23 March 2007

I am proficient in my PPE and I bet you are all very pleased for me!

I imagine that you are all as pleased as I am to discover that I am 'proficient' in my 'positive professional ethos'! Actually I think that I am distinguished as I said yesterday (either that or 'unsatisfactory') and that they should build a statue to me somewhere on the grounds. (Hopefully, you realize that my tongue is firmly in cheek again when I say this!) However, I suppose that I should be happy that I've been identified as an inspiration to all, and therefore deemed at least 'proficient'. I would have to have achieved sainthood to have gone any further.

I just want to say that I don't think of myself as inspirational. In fact, I feel very uncomfortable when people say it. I do what I do because when you are sick, all you can do is whatever it takes to get better. I go to school because I won't get paid if I don't go. How can that be, in any way, inspirational? I suppose people can take inspiration from the actions of others but isn't it dangerous to call the person, inspirational. I don't know. All around us, people are coping in silence with the most dreadful situations. The only difference between them and me is that I am obviously ill (especially evident since I lost my hair).

Then there is this question: Do we actually take inspiration from others and if so, what do we do with it? I can't think of any instances in my life where the actions of someone else have actually inspired me to do something. Can you? I'd really like to hear about the experiences of others.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Warm again!

Outside, it isn't warm but it certainly is indoors, ever since the furnace decided to turn on moments after the repairman arrived. He left quite quickly and arranged for another man to come today, just to do a more thorough check. No problem was found. Just ghosts in the works!

Today I came face to face with the idiocy of my school. I have managed to avoid it for most of the year by being sick and being there as little as possible. In order to be paid more next year, we have to prove that we show a 'positive professional ethos'. It doesn't matter how good a teacher we may be, if we don't have this positive professional ethos, we can forget it. Some people have spent so much time trying to prove this, that the time spent must have effected their teaching.

I've been thinking of where I stand on this rubric of positiveness. (Is there such a word?) I'm sure that my head of school would say that I am unsatisfactory because I always point out the absurdities in the world of ACS. I've decided to say that I am 'distinguished' in my positiveness. (Tongue firmly planted in cheek!) I am in the process of writing my rationale now and it revolves around the positive model I set by going to school all through my cancer treatment. I am an inspiration to all. (See Mary Jane, I have gotten over the guilt of using the cancer. It must be good for something!) If I don't receive the money, I may consider the possibility that they are discriminating against a disabled person. What fun!

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

My New Computer

I'm so excited! I got my new laptop today and it's wonderful. Don't let anyone tell you that Macs aren't the greatest because they are. So simple to use, so many features for the regular user that you won't find elsewhere! Tonight, I'm going to find out how to do pod casting so that I can start with my students. I'm also going to develop a website for my French classes, perhaps even for the whole department. Of course, I won't be doing that tonight. However, I must admit that the first thing I did was play with my camera (on the computer) taking lots of pictures of myself and anyone else who was interested.

Having a laptop back also means that I can spend more time developing ideas for school, working on my novel and my personal blog. I have found it so difficult to sit for any length at the desktop computer. No more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

Spring has truly disappeared! It's freezing outside. To add to all of this, our furnace broke down today and we are sitting in the cold waiting for the repair man to arrive. At least cancer has been good for something! I can use it to get a repair man out on an emergency call. That and my _____ year old mother. (If I wrote her age, I would be dead!) Is it a terrible thing that I'm doing, that is, using the cancer to my advantage. I'll have to think about that.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

A morning at RHS Wisley

Another day, another garden experience! Mum and I had tea at the Wisley coffee shop on Friday and decided that we should go back today and take a walk in the gardens. Well, we did and it was wonderful. So much was in bloom. We're going back again next week, hopefully to see the tulips in bloom. However, we are supposed to h ave a cold front moving down from the arctic so wondering through gardens may not be on the cards.

A Hillside of Crocuses at RHS Wisley

Friday, 16 March 2007


I only have 17 sessions left to go. Well, yes there are those last two treatments which involve (please excuse me saying this) two radioactive tampons that get put up my... We won't go there. Thought someone will, I suppose! I get them during the week of the 16Th of April. I was telling someone at school and she thought that I should be off work during that time since I would be radioactive. Just to put all your minds at rest, I won't be. I've already reassured my students that should we turn off the lights, I would not glow!

To date I have few symptoms of the therapy. I am slightly nauseated and I do need to run to the bathroom from time to time but that is all. Thank heavens! I've posted a lot of pictures of England in bloom and I must admit that visiting gardens has really helped de-stress me, especially after the treatment. Mum and I often stop at RHS Wisley on the way back from the hospital in Guildford to have tea and chill out for a while before rejoining the world.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Another walk in the park

I came home from another walk in the park wondering if it was April and not March. There was blossom everywhere. The picture here is of a Camellia in bloom. It's not unusual for them to be in flower in February and March but the rhododendruns are more puzzling. The Observer today has an article about the early spring and reports an oak tree that never lost its leaves. It's wonderful to have this warm weather but you can't help but wonder what price we will pay.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

What a beautiful day!

Beside the fact that I don't have radiotherapy today, it is beautiful outside. I went for a walk in Windsor Great Park and there were all sorts of bushes and trees in flower. The rhododendrums were budding and some seemed ready to bloom now. Everywhere under the trees were daffodils and crocuses. By next weekend the park will be alive with colour.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Radiotherapy has begun!

Yesterday, I had my first radiotherapy treatment. It didn't hurt and I didn't feel sick afterwards, well at least not from the treatment. I was extremely tired and had some nausea but I think that was from anxiety. I am much more anxious with this than I was with the chemo. How odd! Perhaps it's because it happens every day! It doesn't last long, about two minutes but that doesn't seem to make a difference. Alas!

I will write more over the next few days but for the moment this is all. I'm off to bed and I'm already feeling anxious about tomorrow. I'm going to have to find something to take my mind off this.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Lost for Words!

I haven't been writing much of late. It's probably because I have been so tired after teaching each day that I just don't have the energy for it. I've also lost the laptop I've been using and I find it difficult to sit for long at our other computer. Finally, I find that my cognitive powers are even more reduced after this chemo than before. Perhaps it is cumulative. I often find myself lost in revelry...about what I'm not sure.

Though I may not be writing I have started to read again. Since last Thursday I have read 3 books and I'm on my 4th at this moment. I am filling my head with other people's words since I can't seem to come up with any of my own. I haven't read anything particularly stimulating but they're kept me entertained. Intellectual satisfaction can come at a later date. So, if you are interested in mysteries and the Roman empire, they are well combined in the books of Steven Saylor. I also have 2 John Le Carré's waiting on the shelf (The Mission Song and The Constant Gardener) and another mystery that Emma raves about called The Athenian Murders by José Carlos Somoza (translated from Spanish). I can't leave out the novels of Fred Vargas (woman who took her pen name from a character played by Ava Gardener). They are the best novels (also detective fiction) I have read in many years. Try starting with 'Have mercy on us all'.

I've always enjoyed reading mystery novels which probably explains why I'm trying to write one. Easier said than done, of course. I have a third written now and have thought of looking for a publisher but how do you go about doing that? Any ideas from anyone?