Nine years on – then and now

Nine years ago today I was patiently waiting in my isolation room, in the depths of London, for my second bone marrow transplant. I had ‘rejected’ the first and (thankfully) my donor had agreed to donate a second time to me. This is where the Queen and I have something in common: we both have two birthdays. This is also where the Queen and I don’t have much more in common.

For two years I was in and out of hospital. I was blood and platelet transfusion dependent. I was catching every bug going. I was almost living in isolation rooms. I’d been so poorly that I required a temporary colostomy. I’d lost so much weight that I was being fed through my veins. I really was a sorry sight:


I sort of hoped that this would be it: no more bad health. But the summer just gone wasn’t all that brilliant for me. I had a little “blip” – for want of a better word. I had some cervical cancer to sort out and now I have the menopause to enjoy. Thankfully, I’m not all skin and bone any more. However, I think I do need to find a happy medium because according to the NHS website, I’m “obese”:


The most important thing is that I’m alive. Despite nature’s very cruel ways of trying to ensure that I’m not, I am very much alive.

My new haematology doctor said that if there was any justice in this world, then I should win the Lotto. But, the best I win is a lucky dip into the next draw. So, I’m beginning to wonder if I am a cat. Two lives down, seven to go…


Team GB

I love the Olympics. I don’t know what it is about them, but every fourth summer and every fourth winter, I’m glued to my television, cheering on Team GB and giving some of the athletes my own scores. I watch the athletes in awe. I admire what they’re doing and wish that I could do what they do.

I’m not really a “sporty” person. I like to walk, I like to swim, but beyond that I don’t get too excited. I don’t know why. Well, to some extent, I do. There is no way that I’ll ever do anything that involves jumping from a height – I’m not scared of heights, I’m not scared of flying (or, falling) – I’m scared of landing. If I land wrong, I would injure myself. And, I’m not going to partake in any sport that resembles doing housework – every time I watch the curling, all I think is “wow, I really should mop my kitchen and bathroom floor”. Nor do I want to do anything where I might crash – like, bobsleighs, “moguls” and luges. I can’t skate, either. Well, technically I can, and if medals were awarded for the most cushioned participant with the tightest grip to the wall, then I would be collecting gold.

Quick story – I went ice skating in Guildford with my two brothers. SF and the Red Head are more “competent” skaters than me. It’s like that they don’t even care that they could crash into the icy floor, lose their teeth and get their fingers sliced off by sharp blades. I suppose, at the time, losing his teeth wouldn’t have bothered SF.

There they were, flying around the ice rink. There was I, clinging to the wall for dear life, telling myself how brave I was for willingly taking part in this near-death experience. And then, without warning, I was flying around the rink with the Red Head yelling “FFS, Becky, open your eyes!”. I was being spun around the ice rink by my two brothers. In my head, of course, I looked like a Gold Medal Figure Skater…

Back to my blog post…

I prefer to take my exercise in fun ways – walking on the beach, walking up the mountain, swimming, or playing with a frisbee (with other people or dogs). I’m not inactive. I just don’t do anything that will get me onto Team GB – which is a shame, because, I have so much to offer…

Despite my very evident lack of athletic talent, every other year, I participate in the Olympics: from the comfort of a sofa (or my bed) and in front of a TV (or from a device with an Internet connection). For those couple of weeks, I have an absolute blast! In fact, I could sent post cards to my family and friends to let them know how much fun I’m having.

Usually, I get my Team GB flag and drink from my Team GB cup and put my shopping in my London 2012 Team GB shopping bag…

Time for another story. In 2012, when the Summer Olympic came to London, I got a bit too into it all – I had the toys, I had the cups, the bags, the badges – if it had London 2012 written on it, I probably owned it. I also bought some “temporary tattoos”. I was going to put them onto my face. It was only because SF advised me that it was the worst idea that I’d had in a while, that I didn’t put them on my face, but onto my arms – and a good thing that I listened to my brother because I couldn’t remove the “temporary” tattoos for a good 4-5 weeks!! Even with nail varnish remover, they stayed on for a rather long time!!


I think we’ve now established that I love the Olympics. This is year, it is no different. Except, I cannot find any Team GB paraphernalia. I cannot find any Team GB flags to wave, or scarves to wear or anything that tells the world that I support Team GB. I cannot find anything to wave at my TV or decorate my house with to show support.

Thankfully, I have taken this small problem into my own hands and I have remedied this. My friend Joanne and I made a couple of flags and I have knitted and fleece-lined a hat.


The hat is from a pattern that I wrote about before and I just “winged it” and (using squared paper) made some sort of a plan for the Union Flag on the front. I am quite pleased with the end product – the lining could have been done neater, but I have never lined anything before, so this was a real learning curve for me. I will definitely be keeping these flags and my new hat for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. It’s also worth noting that this is the first time I have knitted something which has included a motif and colour work!! Gold medal for me!

Perhaps I should make myself a podium and award myself a gold medal…

TEAM GB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


New Year, New Me?

I hate that phrase.

All that’s really happened is that the date has changed. When you look at it, instead of putting a number 7 at the end of the date, we now put a number 8.

Every day, at the stroke of midnight, the date changes. We don’t let off big sparkly fireworks every 24 hours, do we?  Or even at the start of a new month or a new week…

That said, 2017 was a bit crappy. I hope 2018 is a lot better.

I don’t make New Year Resolutions. If I want to make a change or set a goal, I don’t need the date to change for me to do that. So, to everyone, I wish you a very happy and healthy 2018 and I wish that you’re all successful in all that you strive for.

Patsy from AbFab… (Found it on that “On This Day” feature on the Facebook. Three years on the trot I have reposted this apparently…).


My old neighbour sent me a sewing project in the post. She sent me the felt (pre-cut), the string and material. All I had to do was find the needle and thread and see my mouse together.

My old neighbour and I might have half a century age gap but we have an amazing amount of things in common, from opinions to shared interests. While I am more of a knitter and she’s more of a card maker, we still have a cross over where we exchange ideas and share instructions for projects.

It felt great to receive the mouse parts in the post and I enjoyed making it up.  I don’t need to have my neighbour across the road to share a common interest when we have a post service and e-mail to share our projects through 🙂 

HRT follow-up

I have been asked three times in the last week how I am getting on since I began using the HRT patches. I’ve also been asking around: what do other women use in the HRT world. Some people have patches that they change every few days, some take tablets every day, some take tablets for some weeks but not all, some don’t bother at all. Given that I’m 31 with shut-down ovaries, I understand that it is important that I take HRT so that (amongst other things) I keep my bones strong.

Image result for hrt and bones cartoon
Something from Google Images – Glasbergen

My biggest problem before I started wearing my HRT patch was that I kept having hot flushes. It felt like I was having hot flushes every 15 minutes. If I went outside/inside, I got a hot flush. If I drank or ate something hot or cold I had a hot flush. If I so much as looked at the duvet on my bed, I had a hot flush. I woke up several times during the night with hot flushes.

Since I started wearing my HRT patches, though, these hot flushes have become much less frequent. I might get a couple a day on a bad day, but otherwise, I’m settled where the internal thermostat is concerned. However, I am noticing that I have difficulties sleeping.

Insomnia is apparently a menopausal ‘symptom’ but there are other things on my mind which could be causing me some sleepless nights. I have written a few posts lately that might give hints that I have heavy things weighing on my mind. It’s quite hard to tell if the insomnia is being caused by background problems, menopause, thinking about the summer I just had, or a combination of all three. I have found that drinking chamomile tea before going to bed is somewhat helpful in making me feel more sleepy – but I wonder how much is psychological or whether it is working. I don’t mind, if I’m honest, if it’s making sleeping a bit easier!

I’m also finding that my hair is quite brittle and falling out in the shower by the handful! I have come to the conclusion that it’s a menopause ‘symptom’ as some other menopausal women have reported a similar problem. I’m thinking about getting my hair cut off because I wear it up or back anyway, but I’m not decided on how I want my hair, so I haven’t stepped foot in the hair dressers yet.

The biggest things that I’ve noticed about the menopause is that I feel “sad” sometimes – again, I have to ask myself why am I sad? Is it because I’m thinking about these other problems in the background, is it because I’m reflective or is it because I’m hormonal because of the menopause? I have noticed that when I have those zits (from the teenage days) I generally feel glummer. I think the two might go hand-in-hand like from the puberty era…

All in all, though, the HRT patches are doing a good job for me. At first it was difficult to get them to stay stuck on, but since sticking them on my arms, they mostly stick. Sometimes I have to peel them off in the shower because they stick too fast, or sometimes I have to put some surgical tape over them to hold them on for a few more days. I’m not sure if I’m doing things right, but the menopausal symptoms that I was previously experienced are all calming down, so hopefully something is working as it should be!

But, I am eager to hear what HRT other women are using – patches, tablets, etc, and whether it works for them or not…

Lights, shopping, action…


Last week, I went on a trip to Blackpool to see the Illuminations. They were fabulous – I hope to go again next year and maybe stay over for the night in a cheap B&B.


I have also been to 2 1/2 firework displays: one was cancelled, one was on the beach below where I live and the third one was the cancelled display. I love fireworks, so maybe I’m a bit bias, but they were exceptionally good! I always find that they start a bit disappointing but finish on a big bang with the finale – it’s always worth getting through!


I finally finished a shawl that I started in July! I didn’t follow the pattern to the letter, but given that I had so many mistakes in it – who cares? Are they even really mistakes? What if I deliberately put them there?



I also knitted a pair of “boot cuffs”. I don’t know why. I’m not sure that I’ll ever use them – they’re not my “thing”. I think I just wanted a change from scarves and shawls. I amended the pattern to suit me – also, I was worrying that if I followed the pattern to the letter that I might end up running out of that coloured yarn!!

Pattern (the amendments I made and followed):
Cast on 55 sts (3.75mm needles)
Rib for 10 rows
Knit – increase by 1 stitch every 9 stitches (6 extra stitches)
Switch to 6mm needles – stocking stitch for 25 rows
Switch to 3.75mm needles and garter stitch for 8 rows
Cast off and stitch up…

Boot cuffs

I also visited a shop which sells a lot of yarn. I mean, a lot of yarn. Like, loads of yarn. I think I need to sell my house and buy a house closer to it…


I had a call from Claire (the Clairvoyant (such a bad pun it deserves a LOL)). I was preparing to go out and I was somewhat suspicious because I had just written her name on a piece of paper so that I could buy some yarn for her. I seriously thought that she had a secret camera placed in my house and was phoning me to freak me out. She’s a turquoise lady (more aqua than green) so it’s been a bit tricky searching for the exact yarn for her. I think that I have found it now…


Well, I am being organised, aren’t I?! So far, I have bought one Christmas present, I have made another one, I’m refurbishing a third one, and I’m possibly making a fourth one… It’s a long time since I’ve been this organised – except in the summer when I bought / made and wrote birthday cards for the rest of 2017. I have also bought a 1 foot tall pink tinsel tacky Christmas tree to sit on my window sill once the 1st December arrives…

October 2017 revisited

Out and about...

I took a trip to Ireland at the beginning of the month, which was a bit of an adventure. I’d not really done a holiday where I haven’t had beds booked or a solid plan of destination, so it was quite nice. It was different to be carefree and uncommitted to any given place. I have a mass of photos on my computer relating to this trip which Rayna sat through. We played a game: Where’s Wally? because some of my photos contain my holiday buddy, but he’s hidden on the mountain sides! I haven’t posted any on social media yet, because there really are loads! But here’s my favourite one:

Taken one evening near Letterfrack, Co. Galway.

I’ve been on (another) steam train… Actually, I’ve been on two. One I went with a friend and another I went with my family. Both were very good and I recommend them both.

Onboard the Ffestiniog Railway

I did write a boring blog post about an amazing curry that I had while moaning that I had to wait for 2 hours to get it because of restaurants tricking me with takeaway menus when their eat-in menus are so different. But, amazing curries aren’t the only thing I’m excited about eating this month…

Ok, I’m missing burgers, but after regurgitating a couple (while on strong pain killers), I don’t think I could possibly eat a burger for a very long time. Unfortunately, I have discovered chicken burgers. The chicken burgers are probably a bit healthier than the beef burgers. Or, that’s the lie that I am telling myself.

I’ve also gotten myself a “vegetable sharpener”. Or, a spiraliser. Not a posh one. It’s not an electric one. It’s just one that I can use to sharpen my vegetables to make courgette into long strands like spaghetti. It’s actually quite fun – I get to eat the bits of vegetable that I can’t sharpen, so, I have tried some raw courgette and actually prefer it to cooked courgette!! And, it’s better to eat a lump of carrot than to get another biscuit out…

“Spiralised” (or sharpened) carrot and courgette

I have, until this month, had three knitting projects on the go: a scarf, a shawl and another shawl (which I actually think is a big scarf!). I now have only two knitting projects in progress as I have (finally) completed the scarf. I made a mistake at the end, so I abandoned the pattern that I was working to and I switched to a moss stitch for the remainder of the wool that I had and fashioned a ‘pocket’ that the scarf can roll into. The pattern was repeated over four rows:

Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Row 3: k1, k2tog x3, [yo, k1] x6, k2tog x6, [yo, k1] x6, k2tog x6, [yo, k1] x6, k2tog x3, k1
Row 4: knit


I complained to O2 that being an adult sucks. I spent one afternoon looking at house insurance and thinking of ways I can save money. One of the ways was to terminate my contract with O2 and switch to the Pay As You Go option. However, because being an adult sucks, O2 sent me a box of stuff. It was a nice surprise to receive in the post, but Twittering (?) a thank you just wound up with me being unindated with notifications saying “I’m a customer of X years” and “where’s mine?”. All I did was complain being an adult sucks. It’s not my fault that they sent me a nice box of stuff, is it?

The box of stuff from O2

The drinking bottle thing is quite good – it doesn’t leak (LOL) or taste of plastic. I don’t know how the Smart Power Card + thing works, but it’s in my bag. Presumably I will have to charge it after using it…?

A week of Flossie

A week feels more like a month when I’m around certain people. I love spending time with my younger siblings, so I have to tolerate Flossie. Thankfully, Grandad was able to come and I ended up having a flying visit home to see Nanna (who had to stop at home).

The most important thing to emphasise about the last week of October is that Flossie survived. It’s an impressive feat each time.

The kids and I went for a walk – a small walk, because I still can’t do a long walk. Grandad and I sourced a new sofa, and we had a trip on a steam train along a lake. I think the kids definitely had a good time. I enjoyed spending time with them all, that’s for sure. I taught Himmy how to knit, and we made soup together.


I saw my Oncologist and Haematologist this month. I’m guessing at some point in the near future I shall return to see the Gynaecologist, but this hasn’t yet been communicated to me.

The Oncologist is happy, so I’m happy.

My Haematologist is happy, so I’m happy.

I’ve also played the Lotto because the Haematologist said if there were any justice in the world, that I would win. I’m yet to check the ticket. I’m too scared to find out that I’m not a millionaire…