Friday, 27 March 2015

Thanks for the poetry ...

I wasn't exactly inundated with poetry after my request on World Poetry Day, but I am grateful for those who found the time.

Here - published as promised and donation to Cancer Research UK made.

Strictly Drip-stand

Dancing with a drip-stand, it ‘aint easy,
its tubes and wires threaten to impede
attempts at forward motion; Bloody-minded
it has five wheels so thinks that it should lead.

It helps a lot if you pick the right tune
for your vaguely ballroom progress to the loo,
something like a graceful waltz or foxtrot
(a Charleston, jive or quickstep just won’t do).

There’s just one more thing that you should remember,
to avoid an unexpected tango dip,
don’t forget to take the damn thing’s plug out
before you set off upon your trip!

Samantha Newbury

Bramingham Woods – May

The tide of Spring has broken in the woods
and now the blackthorn drips with foaming spray.
Wide pools of bluebells lap the beeches’ roots;

Legacy of the wave that’s ebbed away.
The whisper of the new leaves in the breeze
reminds me of the quiet surf at play

and verdant scents, that tantalise and tease,
entreat like tiny ripples on the shore;
The wistful ache within my heart is eased

by diving in to wander and explore,
the limpid blue-green depths that lie within
whose dancing leaves and sunlight can restore,

just as saltwater gently soothes the skin,
my weary soul that’s Winter-worn so thin.

Samantha Newbury

Whilst in my daily boring strife

from unknown darkness you arrive

Obscure, Heinous and Brute

You try to usurp my own  life's fruit.

Fadel Abou El Ola

From My Always Beautiful Daughter

I shall probably be in major bother when Jane finds that I have posted what she has written here.
But her thoughts and words are too powerful for my eyes only, so here it is :

How Can I Be Beautiful ?

How can I be beautiful with this "Thing" inside me ?!
How can I be beautiful with this frumpy, short, boy hair ?
How can I be beautiful with these needle marks, holes and bruises ?
How can I be beautiful with these tired tear stained cheeks ?
How can I be beautiful when crying and feeling so weak?
How can I be beautiful when I'm so vulnerable and needy ?
How can I be beautiful with these poisons and toxins inside me ??!!!!!!

I am beautiful! ................
I am beautiful to my young boy who says I'm gonna be a princess in my new hair
I am beautiful to my husband who every day treats me so tenderly like a precious gem that mustn't break
I am beautiful to my parents who would literally die if they could to stop me being in any pain 
I am beautiful to my siblings who tell me they love me, cry with me, want to help me be strong
I am beautiful to my friends and colleagues who have showered me in flowers and gifts and say it's so quiet without me
Beauty ... they say it's in the eye of the beholder ....well ..... I think I have enough beauty for ME!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

World Poetry Day : Send Me a Poem for Cancer Research UK - Pay With a Poem

Today, 21st March is World Poetry Day 

To mark World Poetry Day, over 1000 coffee shops around the world will use poetry as currency today.

Julius Merinl, a coffee roasting company is marking Unesco's World Poetry Day with a promotion in 1100 cafes, bars and restaurants across 23 countries. Most of these are in Europe but theres 5 around London and 1 near Winchester UK.

Watch video here :     World Poetry Day - Julius Merini    

As there aren't any participating places  near me, I will donate the cost of a cup of coffee for every poem that's sent to me to Cancer Research UK    and I will publish them on this blog. 

Either post as a comment on the blog, or email to

It's also the first day of Spring today, so that may inspire you, but any form and any theme is fine. Get writing and sending now ! 

Look forward to receiving your poetry.

World Poetry Day - Send Me a Poem for Cancer Research

Today, 21st March is World Poetry Day 

The purpose of the day is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry and was declared by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 1999 : 

"to give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements"

To mark Wor
To mark World Poetry Day, more than a thousand coffee establishments around the world will use poetry as their currency this Saturday

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

It's Wednesday again, a week since Jane had the third biopsy and this afternoon's appointment at the breast clinic will hopefully give us a treatment plan.
I was going to wait util after this appointment to post here, but am like the proverbial "cat on a hot tin roof"

As I write this, Jane has

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Remembering Makes Us Forget

According to an article in the Telegraph, if you remember this post, the memory of another one will die off. 

Not just this post, of course, but all memories.

A study by researchers at University of Birmingham  and  the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge have shown that remembering  makes us forget as the process of recall actually causes us to lose other memories.

Doesn't seem a bad thing, does it, if we could actually choose which memory we wanted to ditch when the new one was formed, but I don't think it works quite like that. 
It's the 'intentional recall' apparently that leads us to forget other experiences which interfere with retrieval.  The research is published in the Nature Neuroscience. and is the first to isolate this 'adaptive forgetting mechanism' in the human brain. 

We often say "the more I try to remember, the more I forget" and this research more or less sums this up.
Brain imaging in the study shows that the forgetting mechanism itself is implemented by the "suppression of the unique cortical patterns that underlie competing memories."
(I've italicised that explanation in case anyone thought I was pretentious enough to use those words from my own mind)

Patterns of brain activity were monitored by MRI scans while participants were asked to recall individual memories based on those they had been shown earlier. Competing memories were less well reactivated as the trials went on.
The article goes on to suggest that most people are surprised to learn that the recalling of memories makes us suppress others and so forget them. 

A Nerve Cell

I'm not a scientist, but I find this perfectly logical and in my own case 
                               more like the only possibility of remembering anything at all.

Most days I find I have a job on to remember what I've walked into another room for, and I know that applies to many people. I couldn't possibly expect my poor memory to recall things without getting rid of some others. It's a bit like buying new clothes -  you have to have a clear out of the old stuff before adding the new otherwise your wardrobe becomes totally unmanageable and you can't distinguish between what's worth keeping and what's not.

Seems to me that this is exactly what our minds are doing and I'm glad that my mind does this automatically without me having to worry over which memory to discard. 
I shall have to have faith that the discarded memories weren't particularly important or rather that the new ones are. 

It shines a whole new light on who has a good or bad memory and makes me feel less concerned about what I thought was my bad one. It's not bad at all, it's just being efficient.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Cancer, Chlorophyll and All Things Green

Start of another week  and another stage in our moving forward and getting to know what's what with Jane's diagnosis and treatment

Friday, 13 March 2015

A Very Long Week

It's been a very long week. 

Can it really be Friday today, and not only Friday but the 13th too ? 

Yes it can and it is, and whether the superstition of today being unlucky is true or not, I don't think it's going to make much difference to us as a family. The news that we have had to digest is, almost, digested and I had a bit of a crash in my car yesterday (no one hurt) so am not expecting anything major happening or any news that will unsettle us further.

Of course, we weren't expecting this either. 

From an appointment with the GP to a diagnosis of breast cancer five days later - with mammogram, scan, biopsies and CT scan in between - is pretty fast moving. The emotional and physical stress that Jane has gone through in that time is immense. Added to this is the experience and memories of her eldest child , my eldest grandson now 14, having non Hodgkinsons - T Cell Lymphoma, when he was 2 years old. He is now well and ready and able to support his Mum, along with us,  in the same way as she got him through.
(more on this later)

Today Jane is smiling and off for breakfast with The Girls  - her lovely sister and her equally lovely sister in law and friend. 

We know that this is only the beginning of a difficult journey. 
What we don't know is how long this will take, how Jane will respond to the treatment and how well we can support her. But we are thinking positively and that can only be a good thing.  
Together we will beat this.

More soon.  


Macmillan Nurses

Cancer Research UK

Breast Cancer Campaign                                               


Sunday, 8 March 2015

International Women's Day - "Make it happen"

Today is International Women's Day

Over the past week I have read numerous articles and discussions on International Women's Day  which has been celebrated annually since 1909, when it was first organised by the Socialist Party of America.

This was in remembrance of the strike the previous year instigated  by the International Ladies Garment Workers union.    

There have been events to celebrate and applaud women's success in all walks of life, including Business, Science and Technology, the Arts, Sport and Equality. The theme this year is "Make It Happen".
Amongst the discussion has been the question of whether we really need the day anymore - we have after all come a long way since 1909. Though progress has been made in many areas there are women in the so called "most developed" countries who do not have equal pay, are subject to exploitation and violence and and are far from equal  even in the basics of human rights. 
In my own town - and many others in this country, it seems - we are continuing to experience the aftermath of the Child Sexual Exploitation scandal, where hundreds of girls have become victims of appalling abuse. The abuse has been allowed to happen and perpetuated by attitudes and actions that I find hard to believe are still possible in the 21st century.  (It is written about elsewhere and does not need further explanation here. ) 
International Women's Day is a product of women wanting, needing and working for change.  It is more than teaching our girls the power of believing in themselves. It is more than appointing women to be councillors, directors, lawyers or any other traditionally male roles.  
There is much that has been changed in the last 100 years, but it is not enough.
We must continue to "Make It Happen" no matter what or how difficult the circumstances are and no matter how many the defeats. 
Women can not do this alone ; the support of the men in our world is vital to achievement and success, and vice versa. 
Make it happen today and every day in the future.