Thursday, 28 July 2011

Things Keep Springing Up

Photos Copyright:Maggie May

Things have been sadly neglected in my garden recently because of my ill-health. However, when I went to put some clothes on the rotary line this morning, I noticed these succulents that have burst into flower. They are quite remarkable little plants that seem to thrive on neglect and little water. What more could you ask of any plant, really?

Another plant that seems to do well and spread almost to the point of being classed as a weed, is the Japanese Anemone. Year after year they unfurl their flowers, when everything else is coming to an end.
Faithful friends indeed.

I am in a state of waiting. Since I gave up work, every day seems to merge into another and every one seems the same as any other. My life seems to lack structure. I have a little gap in my hospital appointments now and have to wait until the 11th August for my radiation treatment to start.
Then I will be visiting oncology every day for six weeks barring the weekend. I expect that will seem like an ordeal but at least I won't be in this state of limbo. I will be doing something positive to help my self and probably having a little grumble as I go along. I don't expect it will be a bed of roses.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Gorillas Storm our City

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Come to Bristol at your own risk! There are gorillas everywhere.
Sixty gorillas were painted, decorated and placed in strategic locations all over the city of Bristol.
They will be auctioned later and the money will be used to help gorillas in the wild.

This is Irene, who has been named after The Bristol Rovers. Their theme is the song, *Irene Goodnight.*

This is a smaller model that I came across while shopping. I think it is a pretty design.
It is quite a popular pastime for children and adults alike to travel the city looking for the different designs.
If you'd like to see all of them, then you can have a look here.

One of the gorillas was vandalised recently and unfortunately he was burnt beyond recognition. It was the one with the British flag.
A horrible thing to do and an act that really upset many people in our city and most children are very upset about it. My own grandchildren like to go round the city and have their photos taken whenever they see one a new one.

Concerning my last post...... I have now been to the radiology department to be measured up for the treatment that will start on the 11th August. I have a little tattooed dot on my back and have had all my details put in a scanner in order to eventually fire the radiation into the right places. This apparently takes time and that is why I have to wait another two weeks for it to be processed.
I asked the tattooist if she could put a little animal on my back instead of the dot. It didn't get me very far.
I have seen someone about my pain and am now slotted into a Pain Clinic. It might take a while to find the exact thing to help me while I wait. However all these things have side affects some of which are nasty.
I dare say I will find the right combination before too long. I will let you know.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Battle Goes On

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Some things just go on from one year to the next without too much attention. My roses are like that, appearing faithfully every summer no matter what happens to them. If only humans were the same.

The last few weeks have been difficult for me as I haven't been really well. I have tended to throw myself into other things, like the singing...... to take my mind off my present situation.

Well, I have seen the top Consultant at Onchology and I have had the results of the CT scans and bone scan that I have recently undergone, and there is no doubt now that I have a tumour on the coccyx (tail bone.) This is excruciatingly painful and I am drugged up a bit to mask it.
Well..... what can be done? I was groaning inwardly about having to have more chemo.
However, I am now on a waiting list to start radiotherapy to try and blast this thing off the bone.
It seems that I will be starting treatment next month.
There are various side effects and other organs close by might be damaged, which might mean operations and minor disability if things go wrong.
I did feel rather depressed by all this, but as the Onchologist explained, if the chemo hadn't been as successful as it was, I would have had 4 months to live at the very outside. That was in December 2009, so I am one of the lucky ones, so I have been repeatedly told, to have survived this long, against statistical odds.
This is the first time that I have been told this bit of information and if I'd known this at the time I was having chemo, then I might not have had the will to pull through.
I have a good chance of a longer life after radiation treatment and I completely trust the Onchology team.
So I am mustering up my strength and courage and throwing myself into God's hands and hoping for the best. As far as I am concerned, the sooner I start treatment the better.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Singing For Water West

Sing For Water West happened in Bristol this weekend. I had been working towards this event since I joined the choir earlier this year. Every week we practiced the songs we had been learning and listened to tapes while doing the mundane parts of housework such as ironing.

Choirs all over the west of England had also been practicing these same pieces and on Saturday, they were all brought in by coach from various towns and cities, to make up 1000 of us on the steps of the amphitheatre by the waterfront.

My health has not been too brilliant over the last few months and Harry, too has been having his chemo and is needing a lot more care. It has been difficult to make definite commitments to anyone about anything because we never seem to know just how we will be feeling or guarantee that we will be able to see any promised things through.

However, earlier this year, I made a commitment to learn these songs and I booked my place for the Big Sing and paid my deposit.

I have really enjoyed learning the songs and felt quite liberated after singing together with new found friends each week.

When I woke up on the Saturday of the Big Sing, I was rather dismayed to see that it was raining. We all were due to meet up for a rehearsal at 10 am that was to last 2 hours. I packed essential things in my back pack and dosed myself up with Paracetamol and just hoped that I was strong enough to do all that standing with a raging back/hip pain.

By the time I got off the bus to the appointed place, the rain was now very steady. I met up with people I knew and eventually got to chat to people from other towns, who I didn't know.

I was amazed that the two hour rehearsal went quicker than I had imagined and I really loved the feeling of a mass sing, even though the rain was still steady and some of the women in front of me insisted on putting up umbrellas which meant that I couldn't see the conductor properly and had to watch that my eye wasn't poked out.

By twelve o'clock, the practice was over and I decided to go to a quiet place and eat my sandwiches and have a rest from all that standing.

I found a covered shelter and enjoyed my lunch. I decided on a hot drink in a cafe next and met up with other singers I knew who were going on to do some busking to help raise money for the Water Charity.

I'd never done anything like that in all my (nearly seventy years) but I suddenly thought, YES! I could do it.

So although I didn't know the songs well because they were different from the Water pieces, I think I managed to bluff my way through because there were people there who knew the pieces well. Busking involved more standing but I was really enjoying doing this by now.

Eventually it was 3pm and time to assemble for the grand entry of the Big Sing which meant more standing.

However, a little miracle happened..... well a big miracle really...... the skies were by now, blue and the weather was warm. I took out the sunhat that I'd optimistically packed. All of the singers had been asked to wear blues and greens to signify water. We were trying to raise money for the needy people of other countries who die every few minutes because of lack of water or through drinking dirty water. There we were with wet things all rolled up in our back packs because we get too much over here..... but that's the way it is on this Earth.... all or nothing.

Bristol people turned out in force to come and watch and support us.

After filing in to our appointed places, we started to sing for 45 minutes. We were not allowed to use our sheet music but we had learned it all by memory and some of the pieces were in other languages, which is not easy to learn at my age.

Singing en masse like this, made me feel tremendously good and everything seemed suddenly to be very worth the effort of standing in the rain. I felt part of the *big picture* in life and this brought me out in goose bumps of pleasure.

Whatever should happen to me health wise, from now on...... nothing could take this feeling away from me. I had followed something through and it had been good.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Carnival Faces

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

When I was at the carnival, which I told you about in the last post, every now and then the procession ended up grid locked while the ones in front negotiated turnings, narrow roads and crowds of people and every one could have a rest and group together for instruction and information.

I noticed some very lovely and interesting faces and took the opportunity to snap a few of them.

It was lovely to see the many different cultures and traditions that seemed to derive from the crowds and the procession.
It is one occasion when everyone seemed to get on well and be able to share.
There was some problem in a different area of Bristol..... but not here.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Carnival Time

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

Bristol sometimes has a bad press in the media and all sorts of things seem to crop up from time to time, leaving people thinking its not a safe place to live in.
I personally think it is a great place and it is always good to show off our city, which is what I do whenever possible.

One of the things that Bristol is good at, is the yearly Carnival at St. Paul's.
This year I decided to go and see the parade of dancers, drummers and displays. I went on my own..... just one person out of many thousands, because this occasion draws people in from all over the place.
When I arrived in this vibrant area, where many diverse ethnic people live and every year come onto the streets to celebrate, I found a low wall to sit on and waited for things to happen.
There were barbecues all along the streets and some of the dishes I could smell were jerk flavoured goat and rice, which I resisted, being a vegetarian. However it did smell good.

The Carnival would go on all weekend and there would be bands going on all night. However, not for this grannie.
I pushed myself forward to take photos .

Sometimes it seemed as though the skull guided itself.......

.......and I had to search for the person inside the display.

Fortunately, it was not too hot or too cold, which was just as well because the dancers had to carry on for 3 hours.
The parade took one and a half hours to pass me by.

There were so many children in the parade and many of the local schools were represented.
I think everyone enjoyed it. I definitely did. If you happened to be there and saw a little grannie sitting on a wall.... then it was me!