There has been a fair bit going on in my life, but I’ll try not to bore you too much with ALL the details. As my dabbling with leukaemia is the main reason almost all of you are reading this, I think that takes priority in my ramblings…

All continues to go well. I’m still having weekly blood tests, though at St George’s they’re starting to consider making them a little less regular. The idea is that the chemo tablets make my blood counts fluctuate, and that’s approximately what they’re doing. The next three-monthly dose of intravenous vinblastine is due in a couple of weeks’ time, and I’m hoping they might be a bit kinder with the dosage… Last time, if you remember, I had a very sore jaw, and back, and was very blocked up downstairs.

I’m also going to see Dr Willis, my consultant, for the first time in several months – possibly since I stopped being an inpatient. I’m hoping it’ll just be a short consultation, as from my perspective everything seems to be going pretty well, and I’m quite happy to carry on as I am. It will, however, be nice to be sure that the right things are happening… I actually found myself with two appointments to see her, but assumed that was owing to a lack of communication, so have cancelled one.

I was slightly snotty yesterday, but seem much better today, so don’t feel it necessary to ring St George’s. It’s a good sign, I reckon: my immune system seems to have managed to deal with it very effectively. Hurrah!

Outside the medical sphere, life has generally been enjoyable, and has included:

  • John Monckton’s memorial concert in Chelsea. He was the banker killed on his doorstep a couple of years ago by burglars – it was all over the news. He was Chairman of the OMV in his time, too, so a few of us from the OMV helped with ushering etc on the night. It was a beautiful concert, with a fabulous Bevan-based choir (they sang Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Ave Verum) and readings by Julian Fellowes.
  • The Battersea Real Ale Festival. I was about to leave London, but thought I’d pop in for a couple of pints with Rachael and Chris. That was an underestimation. Nice beer, as far as I can remember…
  • Aoifeu’s surprise birthday party. Great fun, and entirely unexpected for Aoifeu, so well worth it. Here she is with her man, Jon. It looks as though he’s wearing a tiara, but I think that was just a trick of the light.

  • OMV Monthly Reunion. A good night, and a decent turnout. Unfortunately we made the mistake of accepting the waiter’s suggestion of plates of cheese and hams without asking the price; fortunately the evening was entertaining enough for that not to ruin it!
  • Patients’ meeting with the cancer team at St George’s. Or did I mention this already? I brought up my two bugbears – internet access and food – as well as some other useful points (I think). A helpful evening.
  • Visit to Downside. I went with Giles to give an OMV talk, which was slightly more difficult than intended, as my collaborator hadn’t warned them we had a Powerpoint presentation, so we didn’t have a computer. But it went well, though unfortunately a lot of people are likely to miss out on coming to Lourdes due to oversubscription. The next morning the two of us wandered the school, seeing the developments (impressive: Caverel is cosy, too), getting used to girls being there, and meeting staff who are still there. I still think it’s a great school, and it seems to have taken the change to co-education in its stride. We also attended Head Master’s Assembly, at which I was prayed for by the entire school, and Father Leo explained my healthy presence as being proof of the “power of prayer” (they have been praying for me at Assembly since I first got ill). I was very touched. I even got on the website!

  • Granpa’s funeral. It was a good send-off for the last of my grandparents, with a lovely eulogy by my aunt Katie.
  • Norton sibling celebration of Granpa’s life. The five of us (Alice included) went to Tomandalice’s, and accidentally drank quite a lot. Here we are before the beer (Duchy Original’s Ale is lovely), wine and gin started flowing.

  • Dragonboat racing and Charity dinner at Sandhurst. Organised by Tom’s Company, these were both fun, and raised plenty of money for ‘Hopes and Homes for Children’. In the first Dragonboat race, the winning boat began to sink as it reached the finishing line, and ended up completely underwater, and therefore out of action. Fortunately there were two other boats… At the black tie dinner in the evening, it was lovely to get to know a lot of Tomandalice’s friends a bit better.

6 thoughts on “Say it with beers

  1. Today website front pages, tomorrow… anything you darn well like, I should imagine.

    Really nice to hear about your adventures – especially to hear about your brush with boatie-ness 😉

    hannah xx

  2. Just so you know, although one certainly wishes you well in your battle with leukaemia, that I started reading your blog when you got a job in editorial at a real literary journal, the sort of thing I’d have killed for when I finished my studies. I was keen to learn if I had missed out or got lucky. Can we hope to see a return to that life?

    In the meantime, of course, the life you have led for the last year has commanded attention, and I feel as if I were hearing about an old friend (well, acquaintance) now. Still, no one should allow himself to be seen, by anyone, much less himself, as the ailment he is fighting, so I’m reminding you that the interest in you, from your old friends as well as anyone who has met you through your blog, is primarily about George, not about leukaemia.

  3. Cuore, ho letto il commento di amphimacer e francamente mi ha regalato un sorriso durato un bel pò…:-))))
    Perchè?beh,ciò che ha detto è maledettamente vero..stramaleddetamente vero:-)
    Il mio è un commento sconnesso, ma a volte è cosi, leggi qualcosa che ti da una piccola scossa..piccola ma forte, per un insieme di ragioni.

    Spero di riuscire a chimarti oggi, mi manca la tua voce, e non solo.



  4. phew…feel as if i have been standing still.lovely to read your reflections on your grandfather-a grand fellow and a grand age..
    the photo of you 4 Nortons is puzzling-i have one similar from 1985…Tom looks exactly the same!The rest of you look fab also but age appropriate….if he has found some energy youth potion please would he send to middle -aged aunt & uncle(speed post preferred)love from rappsx

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