London to Brighton Cycle Ride

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Goethe

Or in my case madness…… I have signed up to do the London to Brighton Cycle Ride on the 11 September 2016 to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Action and Rigpa UK, and I could do with some help so if you are able to do any of the following, that would be wonderful.

a) Join me cycling London to Brighton – it would be great to have some companions along the way http://doitforcharity.com/do-it-for-charity-london-to-brighton-2016.aspx

b) Sponsor me – every donation – every £ helps.

http://www.doitforcharity.com/lovingmypancreas
for Pancreatic Cancer Action.

http://www.doitforcharity.com/SuzanneRoe for Rigpa UK

c) Support me – help me tell other people what I am doing, by liking and sharing this page, following me on Twitter @suzanneroe and retweeting some of my posts.

d) Do all of the above – I may be pushing my luck with this option!! 😀

Many thanks in advance for all your help 🚴🏼

 

Enthusiasm

Finally its back, its only taken 14 months since my operation, but I feel enthusiastic and energetic again, yippee.

However, it could just be because it’s Summer, so whilst I am not counting my chickens I am certainly making the most of it, by deciding to go cycling again.

I went out on my trusted and faithful ‘sit up and beg bike’, which is lovely but oh so slow, and means that whilst I am frantically pedalling – hubby is cruising along next to me on his road bike not even having to pedal!!

So I threw caution to the wind and borrowed hubby’s old road bike, which was a total blast, and decidedly nerve wracking going downhill.  After a just a few trips out I was totally hooked, so having purchased some super comfy cycling shorts and downloaded the MapmyRide App I am already for a  Summer of cycling.

The most I have ever been able to cycle in one go before was 7 miles to the local farm shop for breakfast and then an hour later cycling home, delightfully leisurely. But now, no sooner than I arrive home from work I am off out again on hubbys bike cycling along the lanes in rural north Warwickshire – such joy.

Sugar sugar

So sweetly my heart aches for you
Infused in tea from birth
The processed legacy of the modern era

Daily you inflame my body
Destroying all the good I eat
Following Ella with good intentions
My will power is torn to shreds
Addictive like heroin
Slowly slowly I kill myself by many names
Cancer, diabetes, obesity,

WHO advises less than 25 grams a day?
With APPs tracking every gram
A new day with focused new resolve
So wanting to abandon this sweet toothed poison
All undone by a creme egg well before 12
My body burns in the freezing night
A riot of inflammation and immunity

Sugar tax petition signed
Yet my saccharide hypocrisy remains
Killing myself sweetly with mono and di(e)

Fragrant memories

Whilst mulling over which onions to buy in the local supermarket, someone walked passed me and their smell or should I say aroma transported me immediate back to my childhood.

The person in question was an elderly gentleman who obviously had been smoking cigars, as they have a very distinctive and slightly sweet aroma, but it wasn’t just the cigars, I swear he was wearing the exact same aftershave as Grandpa had done all those years ago.

Grandpa - Cecil Mitchell, as I remember him.

Grandpa – Cecil Mitchell, as I remember him.

In one instance, in one inhalation of air I was momentarily in the presence of someone who had died thirty five years ago, and with it came all the memories of my childhood in the early 70’s. My grandparents had a three storey house in Woodville Gardens, Ealing, where they lived on the first and second floors and some of their 4 children lived in the flat on the ground floor.

I remember being taken to watch cricket at the club over the road on summer Sunday’s whilst waiting for Sunday lunch which was usually Nana’s fabulous curry with assorted dishes of pickles, desiccated coconut, and the like. After lunch Grandpa would sit in his favourite arm chair in their elegant but creatively styled lounge (Nana was an artist) and he would smoke a cigar before falling asleep, at which point the rest of the family would disappear into the the kitchen or the garden.

Sanderson 'Arundel' fabric 1960s

Sanderson ‘Arundel’ fabric 1960s

My sister and I still have the huge floor to ceiling curtains from their lounge – made from bright, bold and colourful 1960s Sanderson ‘Arundel’ fabric, reminiscent of a vibrant decade.

 

What sights, sounds and smells transport you back to your childhood?

Making it real

Sometimes we come across something totally at random and have no idea from where it came. This happened for me with this YouTube clip, about creativity, reality and habits. It is fascinating seeing someone articulate what I know to be true through experience, but that I didn’t understand how beneficial it could be. While Chris is initially talking in relation to creativity within business, there is so much to be applied that will enrich all aspects of our lives.

Take a look, it’s fascinating.

Cyclone Winston and the wild Rabbit

Currently hubby is somewhere over America on his way home, after his annual fishing holiday, which this year was in Kiribati one of the tiny islands in the pacific ocean roughly equi-distant between Los Angeles and New Zealand.

Yes, I am thinking lovely island, fine sand, lots of sunshine, very remote, no mobile signal and very intermittent internet probably only when a satellite goes over head. Sounds just perfect and a trip of a life time for a certain kind of fishermen.

However, this years trip will be more memorable than most and not for the fishing! To get to Kirabiti it takes time, so having arrived in Hawaii via Los Angeles the guys spent 3 days chilling out watching the Superbowl, visiting Pearl Harbour in the sun and the rain! One of the reasons for spending 3 days in Hawaii was that there was only one flight a week to Kirabati, which they didn’t want to miss so they weren’t going to leave anything to chance. Just a shame they hadn’t had the same thoughts about returning home, but more of that later.

As they were overweight with their luggage they had to leave some bags in Honolulu, now these guys do this type of trip every year and they know the closer they get to their destination the smaller the plane becomes, the lighter the luggage needs to be. So I have no idea what happened this year, as not only did they spend 18 months planning the trip but they were taking two non-fishing mates with them too, so they had extra capacity to carry all they would need.

In Kirabati, it rained and rained in fact it didn’t stop raining, it is of, course the rainy season in this part of the world, but in the months of planning the weather along with the luggage weight didn’t appear to been taken into account.

Having had a week of rain and poor fishing, I know this as I have been getting random Whats App messages throughout the week. The boys head back to the airport on Wednesday, to get their flights home and were due to arrive back in the UK late Thursday afternoon.

However, there is a technical fault with their plane, so they will have to wait for the next one. Did I mention earlier that there was only one flight a week to Kirabati, so yes, there is only one flight a week back to Honolulu and their left luggage!

I will not go into the complexities of working out all the time differences, but the time in Kirabati was the same as Honolulu but it was a different day! Needless to say I had the time of their multiple destinations set on my phone.

So, they check in for the next flight leaving, which was later in the day but to Fiji. This was of course going in the wrong direction but it was the only flight! This too was then cancelled. So that was it for Wednesday. By now I had had one very brief email updating me of the situation and asking if I could contact a couple of the other wives to let them know that, not only they wouldn’t be home as expected, but they actually didn’t know when they would be home. For one wife, her 60th Birthday party was planned for the Saturday night, needless to say none of us were particularly impressed!

It’s still Wednesday in the UK. I get home from work, feed the cats, and start researching flights leaving Kiribati on Thursday and there is again just one flight, and again it’s to Fiji, so I jot down the details and see that after Thursday the next flight would be the following Sunday. By some miracle hubby phones home, for literally one minute, so I just read out the flight details, he says he’ll call back and then he’s gone. By this time I have missed my much loved Tai Chi evening class.

Then, I suddenly realise I need to pop next door to feed the neighbours cats, which I had forgotten about. So with keys, torch and mobile in hand I run out the door to be confronted by Bob. Bob is semi-stray tabby cat of generous proportions, that lives in our wood store. So there is Bob with a rabbit in his mouth. I grab Bob and wrestle the rabbit from him, getting a little scratched in the process. Picking up the rabbit I cuddle it into my coat and wander back into the house, it is then I see a flea disappearing back into the fur on its head. Great.

I put the somewhat wilted rabbit into a carboard box, using a Hoover attachment to keep the lid on whilst I dig out a cat carrier from under the stairs. I find newspaper, some shredded purple paper, a dish for water and and a couple of carrots. So wild rabbit in now ensconced in its new home, still alive, lying on one side but moving its legs.

With the rabbit in the box, I finally get round to feeding the neighbours cats, and return home to find the poor rabbit tied up in the shredded paper so I spend another 10 minutes freeing it, from the purple paper.

For some strange reason I wonder if it was the weather that had caused the one flight to be cancelled, so I google weather only to find there is a Category 4 cyclone called Winston to the east of Fiji. There are some great images provided by NASA showing the size of the cyclone from space. Thinking that their flight might be cancelled again I check for other departures to find everything is now showing as sold out or cancelled until the following Wednesday! So that is it, they have one chance to leave Kirabati or they will be there for another whole week.

It’s at this point I begin to think praying may be useful; for the rabbit, hubby and his mates and anyone in the vast South Pacific in Winstons path.

I can hear the rabbit kicking in the carrier so I know that it’s alive. Hopefully it will survive the night and I can release it the next day.
It’s at this point I notice that my arm feels a bit strange, slightly achy and I remember the scratch I got from the rabbit / cat wrestling. Infection isn’t good, if like me you don’t have a spleen, so I rub tea tree oil over my arm as its the most antiseptic thing I have in the house. Although I have to take a daily low dose antibiotic I do have a stash of mega strong antibiotics for emergencies, so I dig them out from the back of a kitchen cupboard and put them in my work bag – just in case.

By now it’s 11pm so I go to bed. The flight hubby should be getting will be leaving 2am my time and if they get it, they will be landing in Fiji about 7am.

I wake at 4am to the sound of the rabbit kicking the sides of the pet carrier, so I get up and take it outside to see if I can release it but something is definitely wrong it’s legs are moving but it’s just lying on its side. So back in doors we go. By now the cats have woken up too and are noisily demanding food, so I feed them. I then check the flight departure details but there is nothing to say if the flight has left or not.

So it’s back to bed. When the alarm goes off at 6.20am I switch it off and roll over, so so tired. Next the phone rings it’s hubby they have finally arrived in Fiji – yeah – and they will be on a flight to Los Angeles in a few hours. It’s also 7.10am oops I am now well late. My arm still feels strange but no more so than last night. The rabbit is still alive so I call an out of hours vet for advice, who tell me to take it to my local vet, which doesn’t open until 9am. So between re-feeding the cats and making my breakfast, I call work to say that I will be in a hour late because of a rabbit!

I take the rabbit to the vets explaining the whole story, but it is too injured to be saved so sadly they have to put it to sleep. So much for my good intentions in trying to save its life, I probably just prolonged it’s suffering.

By 9pm hubby finally makes it to LA, and is offered accommodation and a flight the following day but by now desperate to get home he buys another ticket for a flight leaving within a few hours. I update the wives again. It’s 11pm again. I am off to bed again.

Lessons learned:
If a cat gets a rabbit it’s usually because the rabbit is sick, so let the cat have the rabbit and let nature take its course.
Keep some gardening gloves accessible for rescuing wild animals.
Cross examine hubby about all future fishing trips, contingency plans, fights and weather.
Don’t leave luggage in Honolulu, (chance would be a fine thing!)

Boys Night – Valentine’s Day

It’s a Thursday night, which means that it is ‘boys night out’, so off hubby goes to Lichfield to meet up with his friend for a training session at the gym. Then they walk through the town, well technically it is a city as it has a cathedral, but it feels more like a charming market town than a bustling city. Wandering towards their favourite curry house (Indian restaurant to you and me) they comment to each other  about how busy the town is for a Thursday night in mid February.

They enter the curry house to be greeted by the owner, who they know well as this is their regular haunt, he has a perplexed smile on this face.
Have you booked a table? He asks them.
No, why would we do that, we never book a table, it’s a Thursday night?

They slowly look round the room to see identical tables, all with single red roses, occupied by identikit couples gazing longingly at each other.
Then, and only then, do they realise that it is Valentines Day!

So they ordered a takeaway, made a sharp exit and are still chuckling to themselves the next day 🙂

Un posted excuses

I am beginning to wonder what is going on. I was so inspired both during and after doing the Blogging 101 course that I planned to be posting a very realistic twice a week, or so I thought. But this hasn’t happened and I have been reflecting on what has been going on.

Putting the rest of my life aside, two things seem to have happened:

Firstly when I am inspired I start writing, maybe jotting down a few notes here and there in notebooks, on my phone or even more shockingly in WordPress itself! More often than not this happens between 3 and 4am, so whilst inspire I know that I need to get back to bed and sleep. And, that is where it ends, I have about a dozen unfinished posts, and 6 incomplete pages to add to my blog.

This is all quite fascinating for me as usually I am a list person, in fact I  get given List Books as presents. I write lists of what I need to do and buy and then work my way though them, which I love and find wonderfully satisfying and it saves my little brain from having to remember much.  But this writing lark is oh so very different, there are  ideas, topics, words, phrases, sentences, occassionally paragraphs and rarely a post. So over the next month I am going to endeavour to actually complete my unfinished posts.

Secondly, is photos. I like having a photo to go with my post, which is fine and dandy if I have taken it myself which is then super easy to upload. But trying to embed a photo has totally floored me. I have been using Getty to find images which is slow, due to my connection but is awash with fabulous photos. However despite reading and following the instructions many many times either I can’t copy the link, which I think is a device issue or if I use a regular computer I can copy the link but when I paste it I just get a sting of code and no image.  So over the next month I am either going to be taking loads of photos myself, which could be interesting, or just posting without them.

 

Pancreatic cancer – survival rate unchanged in 40 years!

Last week on World Cancer Day, Cancer Research UK released the latest statistics showing that cancer deaths in the UK have fallen by almost 10% over the last 10 years. In addition, the 10 year survival rates from some cancers have significantly improved since 1971, all of which is positive news.

However this is not the case for pancreatic cancer where the rate of people dying from pancreatic cancer has not only increased by 8% but the 10 year survival rate still remains BELOW 1%,  the same as 40 years ago, which quite frankly is appalling.

Pancreatic Cancer has the lowest survival of all 21 common cancers

The general consensus for the poor survival rate is that it is often diagnosed too late, as there are few symptoms. However there is also another factor which is the lack of funding for research into pancreatic cancer which lags well behind that of other cancers.

“While funding for pancreatic cancer research has increased marginally over the past 10 years it still accounts for only one per cent of overall research funding and only two per cent of site-specific funding. This is despite it being the fifth largest cause of cancer death in the UK.”
Pancreatic Cancer Action.

I know that this will change, it has to, because as research into others cancers results in earlier diagnosis, treatment and longer life expectancy then at some point in time the spotlight will eventually be on the incredible low survival rate of those with pancreatic cancer.

Also I believe that the incidence of pancreatic related illness, like Acute and Chronic Pancreatitis, Cancer and Diabetes will continue to increase.  Why?  Because the pancreas is the one organ that regulates sugar levels in the blood and also the only organ that digests fats. So as our diets continue to increase in fat and sugar, namely in processed foods, so to will the stress on the pancreas.

If you want to show your pancreas some love try to moderate your consumption of sugar, fat and alcohol or at least take the time to read the label on 1 or 2 ready meals in your trolley, whilst waiting at the checkout, starting with what you buy the most. You may be surprised by their contents, I was and I had thought that I was a healthy eater.

References;
Cancer Research UK, article and stats on cancer death rates
Funding statistics for cancer research, from Pancreatic Cancer Action