Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Don't waste time!

For some reason I can't upload any pictures today, so you will have to bear with me!

I saw this on a friend's Facebook page and thought it great advice.....

None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought.

Eat the delicious food.

Walk in the sunshine.

Jump in the ocean.

Go travelling.

Run barefoot in the sand.

Dare to love the one who’s right.

Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like a hidden treasure.

Be silly.

Be kind.

Be weird.

There’s no time for anything else.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Getting my nerve back

This was actually taken two years ago, with Moll sitting on Snap, the lovely dragon classic boat we are fortunate enough to crew on.

Last year, as some of you may know, I had a big health scare which resulted in a radical hysterectomy - that’s when they basically take everything out for good measure - and I am left with a large vertical scar down my stomach.

While I am a fit person - I walk a lot, am probably a bit underweight and eat well thanks to a high metabolism, my confidence was really knocked last year. While physically I recovered reasonably quickly, I underestimated just how much the operation affected me psychologically.

The previous year, I had embraced sailing with my customary enthusiasm if not passion. We bought a dinghy and sailed a friend’s dragon (classic boat). I couldn’t wait to get sailing again. But as the months ticked by, I became fearful of sailing. When I did go out, that magic had gone. I felt as if a dear friend had deserted me. I started having panic attacks while driving - something that hadn’t happened for years. I hated becoming a lesser, frightened being, and tried to face up to my dragons, if not slay them.

A year on, I’m driving with much more confidence. And last Sunday we were invited out for a sail with our friend on his lovely dragon, Snap. Having also felt that he had lost the buzz of sailing, Mr B had raced all week (for Falmouth regatta) and was loving sailing once again, but I felt it was too soon for me to race and was apprehensive about my first sail of the year. I so wanted to enjoy it but was worried that the buzz had gone.

You can imagine how nervous I was on Sunday morning. How would I feel? If I hated it, could I hide it from the others? I didn’t want to disappoint them, either - and all that kind of thing.

I took Moll round to Sheila for the day and took a deep breath, looked out onto a calm, benevolent sea. At the sunshine beating down. At a whisper of wind. A perfect day. It was almost as if it was saying, “It’ll be OK. Don’t worry.”

By the time we got on board, having had coffee with friends beforehand, I had rushed to the loo at least 5 times in the last hour. I stood on the pontoon feeling somewhat useless, wishing I could remember what to do.

But we got on board and it started coming back. I remembered how to tack. I remembered to tighten the backstays without being told. And finally, I took the helm and we sailed all the way over to the Helford. With me in charge! And with the two men relaxed and chatting - they were happy with my progress.

We had a lovely time and that evening, after a good meal and a relaxing evening, I lay in bed bubbling with happiness. I’d been so worried that the magic had gone out of sailing. But it hasn’t.

Last week we sold our dinghy and I felt really bereft. Now we’re putting the money towards a bigger boat. So if anyone knows of a Shrimper (preferably) at a reasonable price, please let me know!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Red Arrows and deadlines

After a lot of Will They, Won't They? The wonderful Red Arrows came to Falmouth in perfect conditions. What a treat! We met at my place then everyone went to Mr B's house to watch the Red Arrows from his balcony, then we all came back here for a Pot Luck supper.

Thanks to everyone for a really lovely evening - great food, conversation, company and laughs. Same again next year?!

In haste - got three deadlines before end of next week......

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Book launch!

Well my book is officially launched, though it is not available on Amazon till next Monday - though you can pre-order copies now!

The run up has been a little testing to say the least, as the books were supposed to arrive by TNT on Friday. By 130 they hadn't arrived so I rang my publishers who said the book wasn't available till 10th August. WHAT???? I cried. The book launch is on 4th!!! Thankfully the message hadn't got through that the box of books was coming straight from the printers - in time for the launch. Anyway, the books got to Bodmin at 1.30 but didn't go out in the afternoon as I'd hoped. Saturday morning we googled till we found a phone number for the depot in Bodmin and the guy there said the books would leave at 930 Monday and he would try and make mine a priority as there were 50 drops in Falmouth alone.

Monday morning dawned and I figured they should arrive about 11 to 12. By 1.30 (again) they hadn't arrived so I nipped up to the corner shop. As I came back, there was a TNT van on the corner so I ran, full tilt, and found him standing on my doorstep with my precious box of books. The RELIEF!!!!

I was exhausted yesterday but had lots of help setting up which was great, then we went off for a few hours and came back at 6pm and it went from there. A Curious Hall is a fabulous place - used to be the old WI Hall in Falmouth which was sold and has had a revamp and has a wonderful atmosphere, It's also where we had my darling Pip's wake - we had a jazz band on the stage there - so I felt he was very much there too.

Despite waves of exhaustion, it all went really well and I sold 30 books - a good start. Radio Cornwall also want to do part of my walks as a Poldark Walk, we're going to do 2 book signings, and I've been booked to do 3 talks.

So it's all go. Oh, and I have two pieces to finish for a sailing magazine. I just need a few more hours in the day.....

A very big thank you to all my lovely friends who came yesterday (and those who sadly couldn't make it for one reason or another) - and in particular to those who bought books. That means a lot.

Pictures of the evening to follow so check back later....

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.