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Oops, I did it again!

Abandoned my blig, that is. Lets try and summarise the last 2 1/2 years for you.

Well my wish for a happy and healthy 2016 didn’t work out. There was I chugging along with my nursing degree when, at the end of my first year I found a lump in my right breast. I dithered for a couple of weeks hoping I was imagining it and it would go away. Don’t do this, people, because it won’t go away. I was impressed with my GP surgery because as soon as I mentioned the words ‘lump’ and ‘breast’ I had a next day appointment with my preferred GP.

From that day I don’t think my feet touched the ground for a year! I knew that it wasn’t a cyst, cysts don’t hurt and this lump was tender to touch. Obviously I had to go through tests and biopsies, and I needed a breast MRI to make sure my lump didn’t have any friends hiding in my dense breast tissue. There weren’t and once the official diagnosis was confirmed I was booked in for surgery. I had the tumour plus some lymph nodes removed and tests showed that the cancer hadn’t spread beyond the 25mm tumour.

Following surgery I was heavily advised to have a course of chemotherapy before the standard dose of radiotherapy. I was reluctant to agree but decided I’d never forgive myself if the unthinkable happened in the future. Chemo was the most terrible thing I have ever experienced. I still get nauseous if I think about it too much or smell certain drugs. During all of this I insisted on continuing my nursing. I knew it would mean slightly lower grades but I just wanted to carry on and keep things normal. Luckily my oncologist and breast care nurse agreed with me and got involved with the uni to fight my case. Once they had been bested the uni were actually very supportive, giving me extensions on all my assignments and insisting on delaying my placement to allow me to recover from my final chemo.

During chemo I vomited on a daily basis, lost every hair on my body apart from a few precious eyelashes and learnt the art of painting on a healthy face. God I was poorly though – luckily I didn’t end up neutropenic and managed to avoid a hospital stay, although my Dad insisted on taking me down very late one night when I couldn’t stop being sick. They gave me extra strong anti emetics and decided I could go home. Phew! It really was a gruelling time and I nearly gave up but I am glad that I didn’t.

After that ordeal, the radiotherapy was a doddle. I found it tiring, especially the last week (I had a 20 day course instead of the usual 15 days. The consultant was blasting this thing good and proper!) Recovery took a lot longer than I thought it would, and I think it has wrought permanent changes in me. Certain foods I absolutely cannot touch any more as they make my brain tell my tummy to reject them. I get more tired than I used to; although that could be middle age creeping up on me. I cannot force down that last forkful of a meal or again I eject it forcibly. My hair grew back black instead of its previous red- blonde, and for a short period I had curls though they are gradually growing out. My attitude to life is very much to wear your favourite dress, go on that holiday, don’t save things for best as you never know what is round the corner.

I completed my nursing degree, although I am still waiting for my final result. I have a job at my local hospital, which promises to be a good one. I have only worked 2 shifts so far so it is a bit too early to say anything definite. Everybody has been very welcoming and supportive though which is a good sign. Having a reasonable salary at last means that I can finally start planning in the long term, and trying to ignore that unpleasant voice that keeps telling me not to plan, it might all go wrong.

Well that is my whistle stop tour. Here’s hoping I can keep this blog up better than I have been!

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This year has been a year of change. Leaving a long term job and getting through my first term of a nursing degree has kept me busy. I start placement in January and I am so looking forward to it, although I am terrified too!


Next year promises to be busy and full of challenges and, if September-December are anything to go by, it will fly by. Here’s hoping for a happy, healthy 2016!

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Merry Christmas!

To the small, select group that are my readers; may you have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2016.

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To be honest September was a bit of a blur. Lots of ending of the old and beginning of the new. However, as usual there was a craft show sandwich; Harrogate Quilt Show at the beginning of September and Yarndale at the end.

There were some wonderful quilts this year.

and as there are still many WWI anniversaries there was a lot of themed quilts.

Yarndale was busy and with a lovely atmosphere. There weren’t as many animals this year, but at least there were some.

Far too much money was spent in September but at least I enjoyed myself!

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All change

I have completed my induction week of my new life. For those who don’t know me in real life, I have left my job in education after 14 years because I have gained a place on a nursing degree, which is a real achievement – 160 places and 4000 applicants – and I’m still wondering how I managed it! I’m doing general adult nursing and although some specialisms appeal more than others I am looking forward to experiencing lots of different areas of nursing.


My Dad has already nicknamed me Nurse Nancy (from the Twinkle comic of my childhood), although my uniform isn’t as attractive as hers! White tunic and grey trousers, designed for comfort and sized very generously. Whilst one doesn’t want to be bursting at the seams I do feel as if I’m in my pjs, which means I’ll have to work extra hard to resist the urge to lie on a spare bed for a nap, lol!

Getting to grips with everything being online is my first challenge. Considering my first university experience was in the days when assignments were handwritten and each student had a pigeon hole for messages I will need to get into the routine of checking student email and the Blackboard system regularly. I am really looking forward to getting stuck in…

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I arrived home today to find a For Sale sign planted firmly in the garden. Somewhat taken aback, as this was the first I knew of any potential move, I went indoors to investigate.

The sign was the first that Mum and Dad knew that they were moving too. Mum had already called the estate agent and was told that they didn’t know how it had got there but they would “try” to remove it later today. Clearly they hadn’t bothered, so Dad rang up and was Extremely Firm in his demands. He spoke to a different person to the useless piece of goods that had been so feeble earlier, and this person was much more obliging. She searched all the records and there was no record of any house being registered for sale with them, or indeed any house on any similarly named street in the area. She even contacted the company responsible for putting up the For Sale signs, who conveniently had no record of the sign in question. I suspect that they were covering up their mistake, although why they would erect a sign in a random garden is beyond my simple brain capacity.

The estate agent has promised faithfully that the sign will be removed tomorrow and if it isn’t then the manager is going to get a right dressing down before close of play tomorrow!!!

But……what a bizarre occurrence!


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Yves Saint Laurent

My mum booked me a spot on her quilting group’s outing a while back. Ordinarily I wouldn’t really be over enthusiastic about that but it was a visit to the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition at the Bowes Museum, and  tickets are as rare as hen’s teeth so I was rather pleased. In with the ticket price was lunch, served in one of the museum’s sumptuous rooms rather than taking place in the cafe. It felt very grand even though we only had soup and sandwiches! The Bowes museum was built by John and Josephine Bowes, to store their amazing collections of pictures, ceramics, antiques and general stuff. Due to Josephine’s French origins it was built to resemble a French chateau, not what you expect right up Teesdale!


I’ve been going to the Bowes museum ever since I can remember, so I am familiar with a lot of the collections. They often have some very well known exhibitions and if I’m interested it is close enough to visit whenever is convenient. The gardens are wonderful, especially in the summer on a rare day of sunshine and when the fountain is playing.


After lunch we had time to look round the museum, as entrance to the exhibition was on a timed ticket system and our time was 3pm. I mooched round the collection of paintings, which I love, ending up in the gallery in plenty of time for the daily performance of the famous Silver Swan. This automaton was created in 1772 and still works! The only other automaton of the time is in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. I have also seen that one, which is a peacock, but not seen it working. I did take a video of the swan in action but WordPress doesn’t seem to allow me to upload it, so here is a picture instead. The craftsmanship is wonderful, don’t you think?


Onto the exhibition. There wasn’t just clothes, there was a video of the clothes being modelled on a catwalk, so that you could see how they moved on a real person, there was another video of YSL and one of his working partners describing how the clothes went from idea to model, which was very interesting. As well as examples of outfits, there were the toiles that he used to finalise details, which were wonderful to see.


There was also examples of prep work for beading and embroidery.


There was a shawl made entirely of beadwork, which was stunning, although I’m not sure how wearable it would have been. Possibly I don’t mix in the right circles!


Mum is of the right age to remember these styles coming out, and how different they were, although she didn’t wear designer labels. One of her sisters in law did and Mum can remember her “swanning about in them” as she put it! She remembers how avant garde trouser suits were and how people weren’t allowed to wear them to work for a long time.


Being more of a dress girl I loved many of his dresses, although there is no way they would go over my left leg, let alone fit me!!

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Some of them seemed to be a bit over the top to be worn to any function, but I am sure that they must have been, especially in the 70’s and 80’s, when fashion did go a bit over the top, led by haute couture.

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Some of the outfits haven’t really dated, or they’re coming back into vogue now, I’m not sure which. Mum really liked the Mondriaan inspired dress and said that she used to wear dresses of that style when she was younger (i.e. pre-children!)


I thought this one looked like a 1920’s schoolgirl outfit, clearly YSL was inspired by school stories!


And a few more gratuitous photos of clothes.

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The exhibition runs until October and if you are given the chance to go, I would. There was an interesting mix of people there; many were of an age to remember the clothing styles first time around, they may even have worn them. Others were clearly fashion students; what a great opportunity to have! Others just amused me. They tottered their way around talking as if they knew all about the fashion world when it was clear that they didn’t, they just sounded silly. I found it wonderful to be able to see the design and the workmanship that had gone into each piece, some of them really were labours of love.

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