My weekend begins with Abraham Lincoln

We sit idly watching ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ and the question that is on our minds is – were there stills photographs in 1812? We don’t marvel at the ludicrous plot or critique the fact that Abe was apparently involved in a war with vampires during the Battle of Gettysburg but we worry about whether they have got a technical detail right. I have to get on the internet to confirm but there are conflicting views so we are left unsatisfied. Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln goes about his business, chopping vampires up with a silver axe and abolishing slavery, all with one deft movement. We feel the actor in the role of Lincoln actually looks quite a lot like the original one but then I venture that perhaps all men look like Abraham Lincoln if they grew a beard like his. Mark is less than inclined to grow one to test my hypothesis and I am barely able to grow hair on my head, let alone on my face so again, I must be denied satisfaction.

Another vexing question is that while hair is slowly growing back on my head, it is growing at a rate of knots on my legs and I wonder how this can be? There are all sorts of complicated reasons why hair removal has to be a challenging business post chemotherapy and lymph node removal. I can’t remember what they are and, worse still, I can’t remember the approved method of hair removal.

I have planned for my weekend, though. It will go like this. Saturday morning: get up around 9am, shower and dress. Go downstairs and grab yoghurt breakfast on the way out to the garden. The temperature will be a pleasant 70 degrees and it will be dry. I will plant all the plants waiting to be permanent in the garden and remove Freya’s alfresco offerings. Sliding through the house at lunchtime, I will sweep all the floors downstairs before throwing a load of washing in the machine. I will then hem the new curtains for the shower and take down the bedroom curtains before I clean the windows in the bedroom and sitting room. I will hang the lace curtains back damp because that’s what they like and then I’ll change the sheets before sitting down to a well-earned spell at the laptop when I will write some new pages for Annabel’s Angels before treating myself to a game of Candy Crush.

Oh the joy of delusion! Fibro and post-treatment will see what I really get up to tomorrow but call back and see how I got on. Any day now I’m going to post the Maggie’s choir video, I promise.

The 70p man

Having had a relaxing weekend, real life is waiting just around the corner like a wet kipper slapped round the face, to jolt me back on my toddler reins. Toddler reins in my attempt to get back to ‘normal’, whatever that is. I have been through my diary like a blitzkreig, cancelling, crossing out and re-arranging dates. If you have made the final cut, you’re doing really well. Even pleasurable and fun events seem too weighty, too burdensome. But something has to stay in the diary so I knock out the slightly less entertaining and keep the better gigs. Everything and anything can bring about a state of panic at the moment, mostly self-induced by being far too optimistic about how much I can take on. At good moments, and it does change moment by moment, I feel I can take on a whole host of challenges. At other times, these fill me with a creeping dread.

I am guessing some people may feel offended by my postponing, cancelling, re-arranging or else by my complaints that I have too much in my diary. Well, who put it there? Yes, I hold my hands up. It was me, not thinking clearly when I added you to my diary. It does not mean I love you any less but just that my head can’t hold enough and my body is too tired. There is a mental, physical and emotional exhaustion that goes with the aftermath of cancer treatment. Beating myself up does no good but does come automatically, somehow.

Leaving Maggie’s after a great singing session this afternoon, I sat on a wall reading and waiting for my lift. A man came stumbling out of the A&E department, shouting loudly and waving his arms about. He caught my eye. “Excuse me, excuse me!” he called as he came crashing towards me. He explained his English was not good and then proceeded to tell me his brother had been taken to hospital in an ambulance but that he wasn’t at this hospital. “He’s not here!” he yelled. “Where is my brother?” He didn’t appear to be asking a rhetorical question and I didn’t know what to answer without getting into a long involved conversation. At this point my lift arrived. I told him I had to go. He asked me for a cigarette but I explained that I didn’t smoke. For a moment he looked at the ground, slumping his shoulders in a defeated way. “Can I have 70p?” he asked. It was such a specific amount I almost gave it to him. What can you do with 70p? You can’t get on a bus with 70p and I doubt you could buy much more than a chocolate bar. Maybe that was what he wanted – a consoling bar of chocolate. I hope he found his brother.