I should have been alerted by the big black needle. ‘I am doing microsurgery today,’ announces Dr Ang. ‘In America they have at least one nurse to help,’ he giggles. ‘But no need in Chinese Medicine if you have a good doctor.’ Continue reading
Day 3, Xizhou, and we meet Hom, our Bai guide for the next three days. He takes us to the market, where we get our first glimpse of Bai women in their national dress, selling all kinds of magnificent fruit – huge green mangoes with bright orange flesh, bayberries, redcurrants, mulberries, large crisp red apples, nectarines and peaches, as well as all the greens – pak choi, choi sum, kai lan, cabbages of all shapes and sizes, red and green spinach, spring onions and chives all shapes and sizes,the list is endless. Plus the more revolting sights of a woman beheading chickens, fly-blown meat, fish, eels and frogs in tanks – we are in China, after all. Continue reading
So here we are, four years on, and I need a new challenge.
Writing the book about my mother and her war (Love and War in the WRNS, to be published in June) – one of the best periods of her life of which she was justly extremely proud – provided solace and therapy after all the bereavements and stress we have suffered over the past few years: the deaths of my mother, father and Louise, plus both Ross and I being diagnosed with cancer. Continue reading
Have spent the past few days making the long-awaited photo book for Louise. I felt compelled after reading my friend Sarah Helm’s harrowing account of the Ravensbrück women’s death camp, If This Is a Woman. It’s one of the real horror stories of the Second World War and was buried behind the Iron Curtain, with the Communists only commemorating their own, and not the thousands – maybe as many as 60,000 (not only Jews, but French, Czechs, Germans -asocials – Poles, English and American SOE agents) – who were murdered there. There was a strong link between the two camps to Auschwitz where all my Czech family, apart from my father, his mother, two uncles and two cousins (who were kindertransport) perished. I will never buy a Siemens product again. You’ll have to read the book to find out why. Continue reading
I thought this post from my healthylivingwithcancer.co site should reach a wider audience….
I was visiting a dear friend who has just been diagnosed with leukaemia and was chatting to him about why some people get cancer and some don’t. I expounded my theory that I am convinced that both Ross and I both became ill after the great grief we experienced when we lost our darling Louise. My friend was also trying to make sense of his illness, coming hot on the heels of his wife’s breast cancer (as couples we are members of our special cancer couples club, but we won’t invite you to join it, it’s terribly exclusive) and was able to contextualise their respective illnesses within a bereavement framework. It was he who pointed me in the direction of Prof Janet Lord’s research on how age alters our immune response to bereavement.
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The change of pace has been noticeable. Whisked away from London in some style on BA ( a windfall trip first class), I find Singapore surprisingly cool and pleasant. There’s a stiff breeze on our 11th floor balcony, and my plants are swishing and swooshing while the sunbirds chirp a merry greeting several times a day. The orchids have sprouted great long flower stems and I can admire them as I sit on my chaise longue, reading my friend Sarah Helm’s harrowing story of Ravensbruck death camp, If This Is A Woman. At times I weep from the gratuitous cruelty of this untold story. Continue reading
Here I am with my boys on top of the world! Skiing in super-Chatel for three hours today, not much snow but enough, and sunshine!