Venice

We went to Venice at half term and I’ve only just got around to blogging the pics (they’re already elsewhere on Google Photos)

It was beautiful. I loved every second, even the rain, the semi-flooded streets, the fog, the mosquitos and the damp. I loved getting lost in the maze of alleys and cut-throughs. Surprisingly, the actual ‘sights’ weren’t as brilliant as just being there, shopping in the supermarkets, having a quiet coffee and watching the world go by, and investigating many many glass shops. We’ll be back.

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Been a bit busy…

… honest.

So, I had my last day. Decided not to have a leaving do because…I’m not very good at leaving dos, and there is a possibility that I might (one day) be back as an associate.

There were a couple of days left to that last week, so I spent them developing an idea for interactive textbooks (still technically in development, but…hmmm). Then on the following Monday I started a three-month contract working with a virtual team for an e-learning agency. Its a bit odd, this working at home lark. It took a couple of attempts to rearrange my work area (in the back living room) and it still isn’t quite right. But after two months I’ve worked out a daily routine and all I’ve got to do now is build a little more time in for exercise and fitness.

Pepe We all did a house swap in Cornwall for Easter, looking after the lovely Pepe for Lone, who looked after the guinea pigs, cats and goldfish in Nunhead. Our usual approach to Cornwall is to load up with the wet weather gear and plenty of reading matter for rainy days but the climate decided to pull a fast one on us and give us more than two warm sunny days in a row! We actually got out for plenty of walks (minus Pepe, who is feeling his age a bit and just about manages a toddle around Loe Bar before getting homesick).

Our trips included a walk around the Lizard Peninsula, which was busy but absolutely gorgeous. We did our usual thing of getting lost on the way back, but I really didn’t fancy chancing my dodgy hip on the cliff path again. But it was fun and we ate pasties and took photos and muttered at the prices charged by the National Trust cafe.

Funnily enough, I was expecting to see more UKIP posters, like the last time we were in Cornwall, but they weren’t much in evidence. One estate we drove through had a street-full of Labour posters, but there were fields of Conservative posters and a couple of LibDems. Think Cornwall feels abandoned by all the main political parties. There were a lot of Independent councillors and a few Kernow-style nationalists. Still, it was good to get away from London for a few days.

When we got back, it was back to work in the study and a visit from my baby cousin Chanelle. She needed to get some shopping out of her system after a month in the middle of nowhere.

Charlie also got into her first choice school: Deptford Green. It’s a modern comprehensive with fantastic facilities, nice teachers and umm…improving…exam results. I think she’ll flourish there and the school will give her plenty of options. She’s pretty clever but she’s also got a real head for business that I’m not sure would be encouraged at a more academic school.

Still haven’t blogged

There have been a number of reasons for this. One is that the new job turned out to be very full-on and intense (it still is, but at least I’m not crying with exhaustion at the end of each week). That led to me dropping most of the things that interest me in life, apart from the family, the cats and the odd knitting project. I even gave up the choir, though there were other reasons for that (let’s just say “musical differences”).

So, a brief summary.

  1. I work in a tiny team, doing more projects than I care to mention (though it’s relatively quiet right now) for a big training company.
  2. I dropped out of my MA for a year or two because I didn’t have time to devote to the study. Since then I’ve been looking at the Allotment movement and pondering a change in subject. There’s a lot in there about land rights, working class organisation/agitation and the management of leisure time.
  3. We acquired a rabbit called Smokey.
  4. We lost a rabbit called Smokey to our friendly local fox. Charlie found a small mammal’s digestive system neatly arranged on the lawn and we worked out that that was what he left of Smokey. She was a lovely rabbit.
  5. Charlie is in Year 6. This means looking at SECONDARY SCHOOLS. So, here are our choices:
    1. Deptford Green
    2. Harris Girls Dulwich
    3. Haberdashers Aske’s Hatcham
    4. Addey & Stanhope
  6. Martin is still playing with Konni Deppe, and he has a new trio called The Neighbours Trio, made up of a couple of excellent young local musicians (they have beards) and a grumpy balding guitar player. They’re playing at the Ivy House in March sometime.
  7. Errr…
  8. That’s it.

Nearly summer and I haven’t blogged ONCE

Oh, I’m going to have to do something about that, aren’t I? Well, it’s 2014, I’ve completed the big quilt that I started about a year ago. The other things that have happened are that I’ve got a new job as an instructional designer with a big UK training company. It’s quite a culture shock from staid old Thomson Reuters, but I think I’m slowly getting to grips with the job. I’m having to unlearn a lot of bad habits from the last nine years, and there’s a new challenge every day, but it’s definitely not boring.

What else? Well, we got through Easter without any major incident or hospital episode, which makes a nice change. Martin and Charlie went to Cornwall to look after their favourite dog for a couple of days. I joined them on Good Friday (I’d just like to say here that First Great Western is…meh), and we all drove home on Monday.

Charlie is now ten years old. She is very cheeky, but still doing well at school. We’re not looking forward to starting the big quest for a decent secondary school, but I think she’ll do well wherever she goes. She passed her Grade 2 Trumpet with a distinction, which is possibly cooler than the Blue Peter badge, but I may be overdoing the proud parent thing here…

So, we’re all fine. Life is fine. We live in a beautiful city that is being ravaged by the super rich, but they haven’t quite reached our little hill yet, so we’re safe…for now…

The Big C

Just in case you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, and you don’t get my emails…

Well, it’s not good news. I’ve been on cancerwatch for about 5 years, after a dodgy smear test. I had my third cone biopsy on 29 April; and then the hospital called last Tuesday to say they had arranged an appointment for me with another gynaecologist for later in the week. Two sleepless nights later, I decided that I couldn’t face it on my own, so took Mum with me. And it’s a good thing I did. I never like crying in public, particularly in front of my mother.

The new gynaecologist was a more senior chap who told me that the histology reports had found that the pre-cancerous cells had started moving below the surface, and were pretty sure to be getting cancerous. So there you have it. I have Stage 1 cancer of the cervix.

It’s still very much in its early stages, but they want to move quickly to make sure it doesn’t spread. I’ve got to have a few more tests to make sure that the rest of me is OK. If the rest of me is OK, they’ll book me in to St Thomas’s (more convenient for the surgeon, apparently) for a full hysterectomy, including ovaries, and the removal of a few lymph glands to make sure that the cancer isn’t spreading elsewhere. Not sure when this will happen, but it will probably be in mid- to late June. After that I’ll be convalescing for however long it takes to get better (around six weeks, apparently).

On the good side, The Baronistas are being really supportive, and my boss is being practical and sympathetic. So at least I don’t have to worry about work – except that I’ll be crawling the walls with boredom after a couple of weeks. .

We’ve also accepted an offer on the flat, so we’re going ahead with Mum’s Master Plan, though we might all be living together in the big house while I get better and Mum finds her granny flat. Which will be…interesting.

I might blog and twitter, but it depends on how I feel. We had a nasty scare yesterday, when I started bleeding profusely for no apparent reason. The doctors in A&E said that the cone biopsy wound was particularly deep and it looked like it had picked up a mild infection, which made me bleed. A lot. It’s all cauterized now, but I can’t tell you how scared I was. Mr S was brilliant: calm and quietly supportive, and only leaving my side to get me a copy of the Guardian.

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