Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A humanist wedding

On Monday some of my choir (The Suitcase Singers) were asked to sing at a wedding taken by a friend of mine who is a humanist celebrant.

I wasn't sure what to expect, and the weather was against us to start with. Jen picked me up on Monday morning and we drove through increasing fog and drizzly rain to pick up two other choir members, until we reached Treslothan church. We parked there and rehearsed under a tree with rain dripping from the leaves - very atmospheric, and surprised the dog walkers....

Then we made our way to the house where the wedding was taking place. In fact it took place in the garden (the rain was sort of mizzly by then and it was warm so not too bad) and a semi circle of chairs for the guests had been laid out. The couple were in their late 50s maybe 60s and obviously really happy to have their friends and family around them.

Sally gave a wonderful service - it was incredibly touching, with each member of the family contributing, and we sang 5 numbers including Perfect Day and It’s Getting Better and Dance me to the End of Love.

True to form, I started welling up at the first reading and by the time we got to the vows I was trying desperately to blow my nose quietly, with mascara running down my cheeks. One of my friends whispered, “Sue’s gone,” and then I got the giggles as well.

Thankfully I didn't spoil the wedding (I am known as the Choir Blubometer) and the happy couple were very happy indeed.

As I said to Sally later, “if ever I get married again I’d like a service like that.”
She grinned and gave me a hug. “I hope I can marry you then,” she said.

NOT, I would hasten to add, that I have ANY plans to marry right now.
But you never know, I may get lucky…..

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Hypertrophic scars

I’m sitting here on tenterhooks as I realise it’s 3 weeks till my book launch and I don’t have a book. I was assured by my publishers that they would be ready for 4th August - but you can’t help thinking….. Still if the worst comes to the worst, I could always take orders. But it wouldn’t be quite the same as having copies in my hot little hands.

On a completely different matter, I went to the see the dermatologist last week about my very large hypertrophic (hysterectomy) scar that hasn’t healed. “That’s some scar,” she said, almost admiringly as I bared my stomach - the scar is about 8 inches down, with a wiggle where it goes round my tummy button. (They couldn't do keyhole in case the tumour turned out to be cancerous - thankfully it wasn’t, but that’s also why the scar goes down rather than across.)

I’ve tried Bio oil, Vitamin E oil/cream, silicone strips - you name it, I’ve tried everything, so my surgeon said to get a referral to a dermatologist.

I expected that he (in fact she) would look at it and suggest - I wasn’t sure what. As it happened, she suggested injecting me with steroid and using a steroid impregnated tape on the scar. Well, I wasn’t at all happy about any injection but somehow before I knew it I was lying on my back on this couch and she stood there with a syringe.

Now I’m not a wimp and have quite a high pain threshold but this was absolute agony. She injected the scar about ten times and I swear (which I did, loudly) the poor scar must have grown some incredible nerve endings. She did apologise for hurting me so I gripped the nurse’s hand and swore and hoped it would be over soon.

It was (though not soon enough) and the strange thing was that the pain kept recurring - for about another 4 hours it felt exactly as if needles were still being stuck in my stomach.

Thankfully the next day the pain receded, and now with the tape on, the scar already looks flatter. I have to see her again in 9 weeks and whether I will let her stick needles in me again is debatable. Depends how soon the memory fades!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Don't mention grid references

This past week has been very busy, proofing my book, “Walks in the Footsteps of Cornish Writers”, doing a car boot last Wednesday where we all made a profit (hooray!) and getting out for a few sunny walks. My dear sister in law, Shelagh, who lives in Vermont, has also been proofing the book, bless her - on the basis that two lots of eyes are better than one.

However, I realised to my horror that I hadn’t provided grid references for the start of the walks, which I needed to do. Well, me and words are fine. Me and numbers are anything but fine. As Mr B says, “I can see a shutter come down” and I panic. Still, I watched a video on You Tube about how to take grid references and thought, “Oh that’s fine.” Well, the first one was. But the second one I started having doubts. And by the fourth I was so confused I didn't know what to do with myself. I asked Mr B who helped a bit and said keep referring to the example last the bottom of the map, but even so my brain swam.

Finally I got them done - I thought. Then I thought, well I really need someone to double check these as my confidence in my mathematical abilities is zilch. Thankfully my dear friend John offered, went over the whole list for me and amended the ones that needed amending. As they obviously needed to be 100% accurate, I am more grateful than I can say. The relief!

One final check, and I can send the whole book with required changes back to my publishers, and they can get going.

I’m then going to lie down in a darkened room. But first I will have a large glass of wine or two.

Pictures taken at Rinsey Cove with Mel and Moll on Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Review, Js, and car boots

Life has been incredibly busy recently what with doing a review at Mullion Cove for a website, then last Thursday we went on the press boat for the J Class yachts who were racing in Falmouth Bay. They are the most incredible boats and despite not much wind, they had a good race or two. The press boat was not quite what I'd enjoyed last year at the Pendennis Cup, though. This year it was a deep sea fishing boat (with no seats) - quite a long time to stand (6 hours) with camera etc. along with four professional photographers. Mr B pointed out the only thing that was missing was ice and fish.... Still it was a real privilege to get that close to the boats and I've got a good library of shots now.

And Mr B's taking me to the eye department at Treliske this afternoon as I have a Foreign Body in my eye which they have to remove. I am trying my best not to think about that right now. Oh, and the dentist before hand.

Tomorrow we are doing the car boot at Rosudgeon to try and make some money. All go here!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Party, proofs and publishers

Paul’s party was great fun - good singing, grub and company - shame to think that’s the last one for a year or so.

It was also the Falmouth Sea Shanty festival so Falmouth was ringing with singing, and it was the Classics (boat) festival, so the town was buzzing which was lovely.

The sun has finally come out so we went out on the boat at the weekend (hooray) and yesterday Moll and I went over to Rosemullion Head with my friend Suzanne for a fabulous sun drenched walk.

Last Friday my friend Emma and I had a meeting with the owner of A Curious Hall in Falmouth (the old WI Hall) which is where we will be having our joint book launch in August. It’s actually where we had Pip’s wake and the building has had a complete makeover and been painted and it looks amazing. I love the little touches like a bowler hat downstairs for a lampshade, and upstairs there are musical instruments as lampshades. Very me!

Just having last minute emails from the cartographer regarding the maps for my book and I should bet the proofs back from the publisher by the end of this month. Exciting!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Peace Walk 2015

At the end of July, my friend Paul Haines will be walking from Rome to Jerusalem with the focus on Peace and Reconciliation in the world. He will be wearing the peace dove symbol, carrying a book for people to sign, and asking for Messages of Peace that he can take with him as he walks, planning to be in Jerusalem sometime in December.

Paul would like to engage with as many people as possible, before, during and after his walk, hoping to help raise the profile and awareness of peace and in some way, hopes his walk will have some effect.

He is linking up with two charities, “Children of Peace” a UK based charity that offers a non-partisan approach to conflict resolution in the Middle East and “Postcards for Peace” a UK based charity that provided the dove symbol.

Paul started long-distance walking five years ago. Last year he walked from London to Rome in aid of two charities that are involved with health, dementia and music. He talked to many people as he walked for three months, and tried to help raise the awareness of the issues connected with dementia and the benefits of music for health.

On Saturday Paul is having a Mix where everyone is invited to come along and eat, drink, and listen to him talk about his walks past and future. We will also sing, read out or play anything to do with peace. These are always good evenings, but we are filled with admiration at what he is setting out to achieve. If you have a look at the messages of peace he has already collected, you will see that these range from Archbishops, the Queen, Tim Smit - and me....

He asks that people will follow him on his website, Peacewalk 2015 and leave messages of peace.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A blast from the past

Last Friday the postman came running up my front steps with a big parcel, just as I was coming back from walking Moll. I frowned, thinking - what? I haven’t ordered anything. It must be for Mel and Joe upstairs.

But it wasn’t. So I took it inside, fought with layers of heavy tape and ripped off sheet after sheet of brown paper. It was like being a child at Christmas. Finally, I unearthed a big, blue box. I opened it hurriedly, ripping the lid off.

Inside, encased in bubble wrap, was one of Pip’s half models of a 28’ working boat made of Cornish holly in 1990. (He used to make models for the Maritime Museum in Greenwich.) And inside that was a card from one of Pip's cousins - he'd given the model to her mother as a present in 1990 and she was returning it to me, as both her parents had now died.

It was, as Paul said, an “Oooh er,” moment. Pride at the exquisite workmanship of the boat, made by big, outdoor hands that looked far too chunky to make anything as delicate as that. And a swoosh of emotions concerned with loss and disbelief that that part of my life was over; had ever happened.

The ending came so quickly it was hard to make sense of, and yet I looked at those pictures of him, and am reminded of the reality of the joy on his face the day we got engaged. A quiet moment of contentment taken when out sailing on his beloved White Heather. Us together, me laughing up at him, with those strong arms around me.

Of course I miss him, particularly his enveloping cuddles. His all encompassing, unswerving love. His irritability at the news in the morning, ("shoot the bastards!") and his devotion to Moll ("she's very bright you know.")

It seems another world. Another life. And yet it’s part of who I am now.