Tag Archives: Being Sarah

Ten years

Ten years ago today Sarah and I got up worried and early to begin one of the longest days of our lives. We travelled to the Royal Hospital here in Liverpool, to the Rapid Diagnosis Clinic, to find out what we found out.

And ten years later part of me finds it hard to travel back to what Sarah has written here. But most of me is immensely relieved, and grateful, that she is alive to write it. And that the years have in no way dimmed her fire and passion for our National Health Service, or her determination to keep it safe from officious predators, as you’ll see when you read on.



22nd February 2007

This is me on the 22nd of February 2007. It is the day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, age 43.

So today, the 21st of February 2017, marks ten years from that diagnosis. There is no whoop of delight, no fist pumps here. No, this is not a celebration. It is a mere observation of a fact, a fact that I am still here to observe. And of all the questions I asked that day ten years ago during the hours in the hospital, the main question, the one I remember the most, was when I said, ‘Will I die?’

But thanks to modern medicine and surgery, some great doctors and surgeons, a hefty dose of luck and some of my own tenacity, I did not die of breast cancer. At least, I haven’t so far. Continue reading

Enjoy every sandwich

car-next-to-you1 Ten years ago, before a ‘big’ birthday, I wrote Sarah a book called ‘The car next to you.’ Oh yes I did. And a few years later she described the book on the ‘Being Sarah’ blog she used to write:

“Ronnie wrote the book in 2003, during the six months before my 40th birthday, for a present for me. As it happens it was a year in which nothing in particular happened. So Ronnie writes about sitting in the parks in Liverpool, the allotment, my energy levels dipping as my period arrives, painting and quilting, my little blue 2CV car, about stillness, observing tulips, making films, lunch in cafés, our first holiday in a camper van, our lives for six months of 2003. The book is illustrated with small photographs, some of Liverpool, some of the pots and pans in the kitchen, our coats hanging up together under the stairs. It’s just perfectly ordinary. Ordinarily perfect.

The title, ‘The car next to you’ is a joke we invented together. It’s a made up American style self-improvement book we’d been talking about writing:

‘Your fate could be riding in the car next to you.’

We know it’s a joke, but even so Ronnie writes that maybe he should put some ‘homely car tips’ in the book: Continue reading

2012: Friday Walks, North of Southport

So what is North of Southport? Well apart from the obvious things like Blackpool, the Lake District and, erm, Glasgow? What’s just North of Southport?

We had to admit, we didn’t know and had never really wondered either. But as we seem to have embarked on the gradual walking of all the coastlands round about us on our not working Fridays, our Friday Walks, we thought we’d better find out.

And we had a great time, like we do on our Fridays. And this week Sarah’s blogged about it too, over on Being Sarah.

We’d heard rumours of a place called Churchtown, an old settlement apparently close to where the coastline used to be a couple of hundred years ago, the wider area known as North Meols. So we go there first.

And find thatched cottages and general ancientness.

Continue reading

The Last Word

It’s not a tragedy but it is a shame.

This week my favourite magazine, ‘The Word’, dropped through our letter-box for the last time. A victim of ‘the wider economic climate, the competition with free media and the erosion of traditional advertising’ as Mark Ellen explains in his farewell editorial.

‘At last, something to read’ the magazine used to boast on early covers, when it began nearly ten years ago. And indeed it always was. Broadly about music. Broadly. But also films, literature, technology, politics, society. Entertainment generally. Latterly its sub-heading has been ‘Entertainment for lively minds’. Reckoning that if you’re the kind of person who likes at least some of the music of, say, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Louis Jordan and Half Man Half Biscuit, then you’ll probably be curious about society and interested in their observations about it. Well I was. Continue reading

2012: Friday walks, Lost Liverpool

Lost Liverpool, walking through the past

Resuming the walks reports, after last week’s walk was lost to Sarah’s jet lag. And reflecting on time’s effects on caring, friendship and mortality.

This week’s walk is now more normally done as a run. Was introduced to Sarah as a run, in fact, by her former running mates, the ones who disappeared soon after Sarah’s diagnosis. But today I’m doing it as a walk. Because running with a camera is hard. And because I want time to think.

The route was originally known as ‘Camp Hill’ – but we call it ‘Lost Liverpool.’ It’s a mostly off-road route that shows you a version of Liverpool very few people get to see. Very, very rich, eighteenth century Liverpool. We will walk along ancient lanes where elegant horse-drawn carriages once drove. And I will show you some of the houses of the slave traders. Continue reading

2012: Friday walks, To the island

From West Kirby, the beyondness of things

Long, long ago, well, last winter anyway, before this blog was even thought of, my writings would sometimes turn up on my partner Sarah’s blog. She has now made a gift to me of these writings, and over the next short while they will be appearing here, along with all their original comments.

First one, our Friday walk from early in January.

If you’ve read every word of our website (and if not…?), then you’ll know that we don’t work on Monday mornings or Fridays. The reason for Mondays is obvious. But Fridays?

Well, when I was caring intensively for Sarah in the years following her breast cancer diagnosis, we found it was essential for the health of both of us to get out into nature as often as possible. We also found we could get by on considerably less work than we used to think we had to do. So we evolved ‘walking Fridays’ as part of our lives, reasoning that if it’s in the diary, we’ll do it. In the summer it’s sometimes too hot to walk. But we still don’t work. We go camping instead.

So, we thought we’d take you out on our walks each week, to see some of the things we see. We have about half a dozen regular walks, which we do several times a year, observing the changes in the seasons as they happen. They’re not usually challenging walks, but meditations and observations of nature and our lives in nature.

And now and then we’ll take you on a new walk too Continue reading