Management-speak b*****ks of the year

(From a government communiqué)
“..sunsetting low-impact functions…..”
I think it means stopping useless work. Worthy of a Plain English Campaign golden bull award, I’d say.
Talking of sunsets, here’s a sunrise snapped over Sherwood. Solstice tomorrow ..


Trying to organise a fuddle to take to Jane in hospital over the weekend  (if she’s well enough),  but getting bogged down with logisitics and variables to do with people, timings and snow.

For the uninitiated, ‘fuddle’ is a Nottingham word meaning a gathering where everyone brings food. I’m guessing it’s a fusion of the words ‘food’ and ‘huddle’. There will doubtless be lots of these going on in offices across town at the moment. I don’t think fuddles exist outside Notts (but correct me if I’m wrong).

Nice idea but can be a nightmare to plan – who’s bringing what where when why etc etc. Maybe it should be called a muddle…

What a lovely dentist!

He took a real interest. He asked loads of questions, none of them about teeth! He wanted to know how, where and when I found my lump; how big it was (precise dimensions please); what operation I had; which bits of me are being irradiated and who I’m spending Christmas with. Oh and he also cleaned up my teeth. They look a lot better now.

Nobody told me

Chemotherapy affects teeth. Just when I’m starting to feel human again with hair and fingernails returning,  I’ve noticed bits of teeth have gone black. I look like a ‘before’ model in one of those cosmetic makeover programmes, or someone with a 40-a-day habit.

And this really pisses me off because I’ve always looked after my teeth. I only have two fillings and these I’ve had since I was ten.
Google led me to a forum full of horror stories about molars crumbling and front teeth falling out – the internet is a dangerous thing!

Hoping it’s just plaque which a few trips to the hygienist will sort. Booked into the dentist later so I’ll find out the worst. Funny how despite being cut open, poisoned and irradiated this year, a visit to the dentist can still induce such dread. It’s a primeval thing.

A toast to absent friends

Feeling festive after putting the tree up earlier, and looking forward to the usual round of celebrations.

But this year this is tinged with sadness because there’ll be one party-goer missing and that is Jane, who is currently in the Macmillan Centre in Derby Royal.

Jane, who could always be relied upon to come out and party; who would brighten up a room just by walking in; who can liven up the dullest of proceedings.

She has fought off cancer so many times in the past and bounced back more vibrant than ever. And despite her grim prognosis now she still faces up to life with immense courage and good humour.

This year, we will have to take the party to her….

Long dark tea-time of the soul

Around this time of year, especially at this time of day, an oppressive gloom descends. I feel an impenetrable sadness that can make everyday activity feel like walking through thick fog.

It has nothing to do with cancer. I get it every year, a kind of over-riding sense of things coming to an end, as though quite literally when the nights close in so do my options.

I know this is classic Seasonal Affective Disorder. Strange how falling light levels can actually affect your thought processes. Circumstances which at any other time would seem neutral or even positive become weighted with negativity, and I rage against the dying of the light.

Over the years I’ve tried ways of handling it. Forcing myself to do stuff. Allowing myself to hibernate. Taking St John’s Wort. Buying a light-box. Walking to work so I catch at least some daylight. All these things help a bit. Usually closer to Christmas with all its associated distractions I start to pick up, and when the new year comes, even though 1 January is really just an artificial milestone, I feel a huge sense of hope and relief.

It’s almost worth it for the high that comes in March, when everything opens up again and life is once more ripe with possibility.

People say to me sometimes: “Your blog sounds upbeat but how are you really?” I’d say mostly it’s a pretty accurate reflection of my mood. I am glad that diagnosis and the worst of the treatment came in the Spring and Summer months. Had I been diagnosed in November not March, this could have been a very different blog.

The trouble with emergency planners

Squirty in the snow. He hasn’t moved for days.

They predict emergencies….

JP: If this snow keeps up and the power goes, we’re snookered.
Me: We’ve got gas, we can cook on that
JP: Not if we can’t get out for food
Me: I can walk to the co-op in the snow
JP: Not if the supermarkets run out…

Now I’m worried!

Supermarkets don’t have many storage facilities these days so rely on just-in-time deliveries from super-depots in places like Daventry. Which is all very well until it snows and the lorries can’t get through, in which case the shops could run out of produce in a couple of days.

When I was a child in Somerset in the seventies our village got cut off for what seemed like weeks. My Dad walked to work across snow covered fields; when the power went off we cooked on an open fire and we bought unpasteurised milk direct from the local farm – straight from the cows. None of that could happen now because we are much less locally self-sufficient and much more reliant on automation and transport systems.

Meanwhile the white stuff keeps on falling…

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