Well Hello.

Just checking in here. Nothing much to say. Mainly as I’ve caught the teen’s cold she got at school.

“You should be honoured, I caught it from my friend L” she told me.

I wasn’t really sure what to respond with other than a slightly sarcastic look.

The cold is irritating when I start coughing and can’t catch my breath properly. It’s fine otherwise.

I also realise that as I’ve not had to do one for so long, I’ve forgotten how to do a covid test. Whoops. Anyway, I’m negative.

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I Will Not Buy Anything

Yeah, that’s going well.

  1. Cloth badges. Look, if I see a cloth badge and I don’t already have it, of course I’m going to buy it. It’s getting a bit out of hand, not helped by the National Trust finally making some available again. It’s a weakness.
  2. Smellies. Nice things. Cream. MooGoo. I’ve kept MooGoo busy I think, although I’ve calmed down now my latest order has arrived. I got through the milk bath wash fairly quickly so ordered another, just as they were doing an offer where you can get a free Udder Cream, so I’d like to think I’m saving money in the long run really. I am also buying things I don’t need as I got birthday money and I’m cheering my moods up.
  3. Books. I am not buying new books. Instead I’m reading the ones I haven’t read yet as well as starting the recent Matt Johnson book which my friend sent me (for free).
  4. Music. No more music. Spotify is where I need to play it. Apart from the music I want to buy which of course is a silly idea as I have too many records, CDs and so on. Even after getting rid of a lot when we moved to this house (whispers – five years ago….)
  5. Clothes. No Jo, don’t buy more clothes. OH but this t-shirt is great. Got to have a ‘Bogies’ t-shirt too. Uniqlo has a new range of (insert a brand I like) t-shirts that I really must buy. and so on, and so on. I’m definitely better than I used to be though. I’m trying to make up for it by buying the teen things she needs like clothes that fit her.
  6. Meals out. We don’t do it often, and I’d like to think it’s a nice treat because someone else does the cooking and clearing up and we get to eat. The problem has been of late I have no appetite. Me of six months ago vs me now, well, let’s say six months ago me would be having serious words.

I mean, essentially this is a list of excuses because I’m weak willed, right?

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The Teen Who Occasionally Tricks Me (or tries to)

I think that’s fair, though she’ll maybe see this and be very cross with me. Sorry.

So we’re sat watching tv. A friend is due over so we decided the floor had better be vacummed and make the house look presentable and not like we’re falling apart (we’re not).

The floors are clean but all of a sudden I see an orange wrapper. Not any kind of orange wrapper, a Cadbury’s Roses one. Guess who got a box as a thank you from Brownies? THEN I saw a pink Roses wrapper.

H is unaware I’ve found these. We’re sat together. I asked her a question, one which of course she denied knowing anything about.

“That’s strange” I say “as I found this bit of wrapper on the floor.

“Oh okay then, I might have had one.”

“Are you sure just one?”


“So what was the pink wrapper I found then?”

Rumbled. She admitted it.

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Four months in…

The chemotherapy/radiotherapy went okay. My body doesn’t like chemotherapy much. It comes out in a fierce rash, with a combined electric shock/itchy kind of feeling to it, which only comes out at the time of day you’d really like to sleep. But you can’t sleep because your skin isn’t letting you.

The newest side effect is hairloss. I thought I had got away with it and while not taking in the smugness that comes with it, I was thinking how lucky I was. My head was having other ideas though – I now have a stripe of bald around my head which made itself known when I started phase 3 of treatment – I now have hair with a longer bit on top and shorter bits at the sides. I’ve hit the point it has become difficult to disguise other than wearing a hat all the time. Or getting a haircut.

It’s really weird being in this position. Would I like to go out? Oh yes please. Can I go out? Probably not as I’m on the chemo cycle for a while now, and I don’t want to catch everyone else’s colds. Can I just drive to the shops? If only. I might never drive again. They say two years after I’m fully recovered, but what is classed as ‘fully recovered’? The car insurance premium didn’t even decrease when I removed myself from the car. (I fully expect it to quadruple on our renewal as well).

Bad food. By bad food I mean the kind I can’t eat when I’m classed as diabetic. Which I think I still might be, but I’m not sure. I’m currently not taking steroids which elevate my sugars so maybe I’m not. In this time I’ve made up for it, eating pizza (Yesss!), Ben & Jerry’s, all the chocolate I can fit in my mouth, crisps I couldn’t eat previously, so many more things.

My taste buds were having none of it – I’m not allowed to have food fun – so whenever I ate anything it started to taste wrong. By wrong, husband would put some Nooch on there and it would taste hideous. (and I love Nooch) – anything like that. I was regularly only eating half of my meal because of the taste.

Anyway, that’s that.

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2022, I did not expect that.

It had been a good year generally, nothing major to report – other than Australia opened its borders and we got back to see the in-laws for the first time in five years – something Shaun needed very much, we all did. A whole month.

I saved up my annual leave and also worked remotely while I was out there, the hours fitted in with UK ones later in the day and I had my own little work area I could potter away. It was all good.

After we returned from Australia we got straight back into our everyday routine, and it was probably around this point that odd things started to happen to me – obviously odd things. Things I’d say or do which a month beforehand I’d have known were wrong were my opinions. It was kind of strange, and looking back I can remember some of the things I’ve said.

Then I lost my sense of time. I could take an hour to eat food. Two hours doing other things. But in my mind it was ten minutes, nothing more. But for Shaun he was worried, something wasn’t right. “Oh it’s nothing to worry about” I’d reassure, “it’s just the menopause, it’s brain fog” – all the excuses. Everything fit, this was very menopausal.

Except… some mornings the alarm would go off and I’d not be able to get out of bed. Getting ready for work was a mammoth task and something I really had to focus on. Considering I was out of bed at 6.30am every morning and in the shower, it was odd. One Saturday I did get up at 6.30am, had a shower, washed my hair and got ready for work. It took Shaun a while to convince me it was the weekend.

On the Friday of the week that gave us the answers, Shaun was worried. I was acting very strangely and he had convinced me not to go to work. He phoned the GP and spoke to them about what was going on.

“Take her to A&E immediately” was the response. He weighed up whether to call an ambulance and decided to drive me to the local hospital there and then. My memories are practically non-existent at this point, but he stayed with me until 2am the following morning, with H staying at a friends house while tests were run on me. The downside of it all is I was admitted on a Friday, so I think we only really got proper answers on the Monday.

Lesion. That’s what they found. A lesion.

“a region in an organ or tissue which has suffered damage through injury or disease, such as a wound, ulcer, abscess, or tumour.”

I’m pretty sure the Monday I had a CT and MRI scan done which confirmed a brain tumour. The next course of action? An operation the following week to remove what they could.

I was moved to a ward at some point, where I knew two ladies – I’m not sure from where but I knew them. Both have dementia-related problems. One wailed all through the night while the other screamed out most of the day about how everyone wanted to kill her.

I craved peace and quiet at home. Best way to do that? Do as you’re told.


Because it’s a brain tumour I was put onto steroids. Guess what? Like clockwork, my diabetes came back. Oh how I hate having diabetes. Almost immediately I craved pizza and chocolate and felt like everything was being taken away from me. So I was kept in for longer “to keep an eye on your sugars” – I promised I would eat only porridge and proteins if I could sleep in my own bed, but it didn’t work.

Then the nurse added “by the way, you won’t be able to drive for two years” to the mixture.

Positive me is now making the most of being driven around all the time. Positive me is looking for low GI pizza recipes (or stealing a slice of H’s), and positive me is being sensible when it comes to chocolate and is eating one piece a day, thus I have a happy part of the day.

Because ultimately, if you don’t go into this with some positivity, the fighting the cancer becomes difficult. I’m a week into chemotherapy and radiotherapy which so far aren’t giving me too much bother though I know I’m likely to have total hair loss (eyebrows and eyelashes too, the joys).

I’m signed off work sick while I deal with all this (understandably!), and I’m trying not to be all “Dr Google” about it. I am in good spirits, I get tired easily if I do too much, but so far I’m still just me. I forget words in sentences (it was “chair” last week) as my brain repairs itself and finds new pathways to function as normally as it can again.

My prospects have been given, but using data from ten years ago. Treatments have changed over time with new ones cropping up all the time. I don’t want to name the tumour nor my outcome here, but whatever happens I’ll fight this as much as I’m able to. I’m strong, wobbly, got a good sense of humour and I write really annoying long blog posts sometimes.

Like now. We’ve got this.

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Dennis & Lois

In this mid-post lockdown haze we’re in where everyone thinks it’s all over (it is now) but it isn’t really, we’ve settled into the world of quiet tv nights. This is helped a lot with new series of Taskmaster and Inside Number 9 (to name two), with more good series coming up. We introduced the 12yo to The Breakfast Club (“it’s a bit boring, too much dialogue and nothing happened”) and we stumbled upon Amazon Prime’s new free streaming service. I can’t even remember the name of it, had to google what it was to work it out, but within the service was a load of documentaries I’ve had starred for a while in the hope I can watch them one day – and lo! They’re all available. Including a new A-ha documentary which I’ve read about today.
So in an attempt to try and blog a bit more or talk about things a bit more, and be a critic for my Rebel Badge I’m starting with Dennis & Lois.

Dennis & Lois met many years ago, don’t have kids (the bands are their kids) and have spent most of their lives going to watch bands. That’s bands from the Ramones to Happy Mondays, New Order to Fat White Family. They’re fans, they’re mega fans, they meet the bands and they’re legends. They’ve worked on merchandise stands at the shows and they’ve befriended the bands, often putting them up when they’re in town.

So what to expect from Dennis & Lois? I was quite charmed by it – by the end I felt like maybe I had seen them selling merch at one of the many shows they might have, and that our musical tastes aren’t that far apart. There feels like there’s no musical snobbery in their lives – they just love music, purely, exactly as it is. If it sounds good, if it makes them feel then they’re there.

Alas, Lois has health issues, one small section of the documentary focuses on how she is unable to walk and has to stay in the car while Dennis watches Fat White Family – and they’re both upset they’re not with each other. It’s quite a sad moment, they’re always alongside each other at shows, dancing to the side or down the front.

By the end of the doc Lois has mobility issues and uses a chair and stick to get around (and always drives!) – and has a wonderful moment while watching Elbow.

Dennis & Lois met in 1975 and have seen over 10,000 shows, usually four or so a week. They both held down jobs as well – and of course inspired the Happy Mondays song of the same name.

The difference with this documentary and how you’d expect huge fans of music to be, you feel like you’re there with them all the time, that you belong and they’re not untouchable. That everyone who meets them knows them, and respects them too. Their house is a treasure trove of everything everywhere ever. From autographs to old photos – including a section where Dennis shows some photos (slides) he took when he saw Elvis live.

Dennis & Lois is available now, give it a watch and if you read this, let me know what you think. Also, bear in mind it has been so long that I’ve given my opinion on something I’ve probably missed loads out.

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What a Strange Year.

I mean, could anyone have predicted it would turn out like this?

I haven’t worked in the office since March, and I have no desire to take public transport to do that (and can’t at the moment thanks to Lockdown #2).

I’ve developed a healthy addiction to Animal Crossing. Haven’t most people who have the game?

Everything is slowly falling apart, and I’ve got my bubble.

I turned 50 and had a lovely day at home with the food coming to us. H started secondary school and got to finish primary school. Shaun got a temporary promotion which has enabled us to get that new cupboard for the kitchen. It looks quite organised, unlike most of the other rooms in the house.

How is it that we can spend all day at work, get home and find time to tidy stuff, yet when you’re at home all day you just can’t find the energy. Maybe it’s just lockdown fatigue.

We’re lucky, we still have jobs, H is fine at school, and things are tickety boo. There’s absolutely nothing else to report, I just felt like 2020 needed an entry.

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Our 2019 Gig

The eighteen year old me would be wondering how it was even possible to only go to one gig in a year. I’m still not sure – other than my hearing is deteriorating quite a bit (even though I’ve worn earplugs for over fifteen years at gigs) and there comes a point where it isn’t as enjoyable. Oh, and add the costs of babysitters too – it can get pricey.

So my 2019 gig ended up being Adorable at Bush Hall. Adorable were a band I was never an obsessive fan of – I like the band, I own the records, don’t get me wrong. But they weren’t my House of Love or dEUS type of obsession. BUT. My friend was in the band. A friend from my past who I knew well before the band, so I knew I had to be there.

So let’s skip back a couple of decades. I can’t remember how our paths crossed, possibly bands and fanzines and chatting and writing letters. We all wrote letters, lots of them. We all chatted on the phone a lot too. Robert was in a band, The Applicants. I know I met all of the band when they played with The Williams in Scunthorpe, and I remember us all the following day hanging out at Paul and Alan’s house. The Applicants were a fun indie band; female singer and the sort of music which fitted in with that late eighties early nineties sound.

Somewhere further down the line Robert ended up playing guitar with The Williams, and indeed by the time they got to support Primal Scream on their second album tour (just Egham, Oxford and Aldershot) the band were powerful and things seemed to be moving in a good direction. I think we may have all joked how Robert was in eleventy billion bands and how did he get the time to play in them all.

That tour was the last time I saw all of them, time meant we all moved away, the letters and phone calls and fanzines stopped and we all lost touch. That was until Facebook came along where you’re guaranteed to find most people again. We all got back in touch. We all got back to Bush Hall. Half of the Williams and that fanzine writer from York.

I only saw Adorable the once at Leeds Duchess in 1992. That was the last time I saw Robert, he thought I might hit him. I didn’t. I was pleased, delighted, full of happiness he was in a band who had been signed to a label (Creation). Everything was fine again.

But it didn’t end well for Adorable. The press gave them a hard time. They split feeling like they were a hated band, that nobody liked them. They weren’t on speaking terms.

In 2019 they got back together for a few gigs, to split up properly on their own terms. I think it worked.

So here we all are in 2019. Married, kids, still going to gigs. Alan found us in the crowd easily, Robert found us afterwards. We all grinned, reminisced and felt like it was a bit weird we all knew so much about each other thanks to our Facebook statuses.

The gig itself was great. So much energy and power, all the old songs, no new ones (of course) and so much love for the band in the room. Other people can talk about that who deserve to. For me, for my only gig this year it was a happy memory. We’re all older and if, when you’re older you get that chance to put right what didn’t go right when you’re younger, take it up. Do it. Don’t live with ‘what if’s’ and ‘should I?’ or ‘I wish I had’ regrets.

My 2019 gig going started and ended at Bush Hall in November.

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The Past Never Disappears

My not-often spoken about job involves me trawling YouTube looking for videos that are incorrectly claimed. This week I’ve been on a bit of an Ultra Vivid Scene good mood – and have found all manner of oddities dating back several years. Any excuse to listen to this several times, eh?

And what a great song it is.

I probably wrote the blurb underneath it too, and let me tell you it is NOT easy writing lots of YouTube blurb. If you see any videos with useless text about the singles or album that the track has come from, that’s me in the late afternoon having run out of things to say but being desperate to set them live. Then again, if I were to post things like ‘Oh, isn’t this a great song? Remember when (insert tv show) used to play this all the time back in the eighties? How I miss the programmes like that” etc etc bla blah. It sounds like me rather than someone at the record label. So you can’t really win.

Anyway, on a completely unrelated note, my brainwashing of H is going well. She knows plenty of songs by The Breeders. Ruddy marvellous.

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2018. Great.

When you’re a parent all you do is babble about being a parent a lot. Which I do. I’m very proud of my daughter and every day she does a proper decent human being thing. So when she does that I allow myself a pat on the back that we’re bringing her up properly. (she’s 8 now)

But when you’re a parent you sometimes lose a bit of you which disappears for a while. Or maybe it’s just me. So many friends kept doing what they did when they had kids while I looked on enviously. Going to a gig and then dealing with the following day (and the overnight which would probably involve broken sleep). Repeat to fade… dealing with each day was hard enough let alone anything extra.

Then there’s the issue of having no family nearby, or any babysitter we could call on (or afford!) – these things don’t come cheap. So things have fallen by the wayside.

However, I’m getting out to gigs again, almost always work gigs (as they’re free tickets and we can afford a babysitter) and I don’t feel like I’ve missed out. Now I wish all these bands would do lower-volume afternoon gigs for the next generation of music lovers.

Given the majority of this site is old-school html and I don’t have Dreamweaver any more, I’d love to add my photos of Lush, The Breeders, Queens of the Stone Age, Absolute Bowie and more to the photo section. However, it’s not that easy.

Then again, in the days when this site would be somewhere great old photos live, vs now when it’s on YouTube or Instagram within seconds, maybe that’s just how it’s meant to be.

I’ll get around to it. Probably in the next year or so.

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