Kate's Blog

Follow me if you will as I try to navigate through the ups and downs of my world.

I'm writing this blog to help me make sense of all that has happened - from my diagnosis with non-Hodgkins lymphoma while pregnant with my third child in May 2008
, through to my reflections on chaotic family life as I try to pick up the pieces of my life again.

The kids are so small, and I'm working hard to keep us all safe and to stay in remission.

Stay with me - it won't be all doom and gloom I promise!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Here's the latest posting then - from the Western Isles of Scotland. The weather has been fantastic: suncream a necessity and picnics a staple.

We've been cycling, walking and I've been reading as much as possible. Our friends came to stay for the first week with their daughter and the four kids had a whale of a time doing lots of kid stuff - rolling down the sand-dunes, watching films and eating the first round of chocolate easter eggs which seemed this year to have appeared with alarming regularity.

It's tiring though - full-on family time leaves me feeling exhausted. No school to take the kids off my hands for a while, and Hattie's afternoon sleeps have been truncated shall we say. By the time the kids are in bed, I'm kind of ready for bed myself. Rog and I are slowly watching our way through the box-set of 'The Killing' - the Danish series. It's fantastic, have you watched it? The down-side are the subtitles which require more concentration than one might expect, especially when you're trying to follow the intricacies of a fast-paced psychological drama....in Danish! Last night we resolved to watch TWO episodes - and by the time the second one was on we were both falling asleep in shifts and then waking and saying, "What's just happened?" Needless to say much re-playing of crucial moments was happening. I got to the point where I was wondering if I could manage to close my eyes between the subtitles appearing. Time for bed? I think so!

We've another three days or so here before we have to head home and normal life will have to be resumed. We'll avoid the dreaded Royal Wedding - up here in Scotland it's not even a bank holiday thank heavens. Fervent anti-royalist though I am, I have to admit to a sneaking interest in her dress!! So I might just watch the news or something to catch a glimpse. Have I completely lost it? Don't tell anyone! I've a hospital appointment next week, so has Hattie (not for anything too serious) - and she has her third birthday to celebrate too. Three years ago, I don't want to remember what was happening to me. On that note, I have some niggling worries which I can air at the hospital appointment next week. I hope to be reassured of course....

I'm managing Ed's treatment again - touch wood, having had a blip where I just couldn't find a vein and we were getting into all sorts of bother. And yesterday we discovered that Martha had a tick in her neck! They're a bit of a hazard up here - and the kids have been spending large parts of their time outside in various kinds of heathery landscapes. Out came the tweezers and I pulled that horrible thing out accompanied by a certain amount of family hysteria. I was cool as a cucumber. Ed had one last year so I've become something of an expert. I was quite proud of my medical prowess yesterday - tick removal one moment, giving Ed his treatment the next. Maybe I should deliver a baby today?

Actually, that said, all around us in the field to the back and side of the house lambs are being born - a whole collection have appeared overnight. The farmer/shepherd has been up all night. We've just seen him exhaustedly making his way home to bed I hope. There is something so eternally amazing about seeing a new life appearing, and something so touching about seeing the ewe feeling the same maternal pride and anxiety which all mothers, animal or human feel. Quite humbling really - and helps one to feel connected to the world around in quite a profound way. I know, I know.... give me a few days back home in the city and I won't be feeling this mellow. But, hey - at least it visited me even very fleetingly.

And cooking? Oh yes - lots of cooking which is somehow more pleasurable up here when there doesn't feel the inexorable grinding pressure of making porridge at 6.45am, packed lunches, tea for the kids before swimming lessons and the like, and then a rushed meal for us afer the kids are in bed.

And reading? Yes I mentioned reading. I've just finished Colm Toibin's "Brooklyn" which I just thought was marvellous. An incredible snapshot of a young girl's life which was unputdownable. And before that Maggie O'Farrell's "The Hand that First Held Mine", which gave a desolate account of the pains of motherhood, although was an ultimately uplifting read. Now I've just started Douglas Kennedy's "Leaving the World". I've read quite a lot of his books. I always start off quite unconvinced, I think he's quite a light read and certainly a 'holiday' book rather than an intellectual experience. But I always end up thoroughly involved with his characters - and a couple of chapters in I'm hooked.

I've just started reading "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis (as if you didn't know!) to Ed and Martha. They are totally entranced. I've managed to steer them away from the films so they've no idea what the books are about. We read four chapters last night before bed and Ed had to be prised away from the book - I've promised at least another four tonight. The best fun - reading those fantastic classics to your kids. Now I know why I became a parent - I can see the absolute delight that I felt when I read them as a child reflected on the kids' faces. Isn't that worth something? Well it is to me who would happily read rather than do almost anything at all.

Ok - sorry to write nothing on a regular basis and then suddenly subject you to a torrent of inconsequential detail about what's going on in our corner of the world. I'm wondering anyhow if anyone will bother to read this. Perhaps I've lost my blogland friends through my irregular posting. I hope not - my blog is still important to me despite my less frequent posts, and I still enjoy reading everyone else's posts too. It's a funny old thing blogging. Life kind of gets in the way... although I suppose that is how it should be.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


No - I didn't get the job, and although I was disappointed I'm beginning to see it as the best thing really. Two people working long hours is really two people too many when the kids are so small.

So, I'm back to my original plan of looking for part-time teaching work and supplementing that with doing some private tuition and some exam marking. Glamorous it is not, but I think it's the best way at least for the next couple of years before Hat starts nursery and school.

And maybe I'll get my lucky writing break before then and become an official writer! And then again...

I'm finding it so hard to find time for my blog at the moment. I'm missing it - but feeling strangely uninspired about what I want to write. Life gets in the way I guess, and just as my other writing has suffered through the past turbulent couple of months, with family stuff and work stuff pushing itself to the front, the blog has not been paid its due attention either.

The kids finish for the Easter holidays on Friday (I can't wait!) and we're heading off to my mother's house in the Highlands of Scotland for a couple of weeks. I'm hoping for some peace and quiet and some space to try to do some writing again.

I am reading though - lots and lots. If only an avid reader made a successful writer. I'd be sorted.

And for the first time since I was diagnosed with cancer I've re-scheduled my three monthly check-up for after our trip to Scotland. Which means it's more like a four month gap. I know that seems insignificant, but for me it seems to represent something important. Those appointments have always felt written in stone for me, and in the early days were times to dread. As Hattie's third birthday approaches at the start of May, which is also the third anniversary pretty much to the week of my diagnosis, I guess my confidence that I might just be ok is returning.....just a bit!

Monday, 4 April 2011


Happy April!

But it's so cold here, like winter not spring. I'm huddled close to my netbook as I write this, waiting for the phone to ring to tell me if I've got the latest job. I went for another interview on Friday, and wierdly (for jobs in education where you always hear whether you were successful on the same day) I'm waiting to hear today whether I'll be offered it. It went well but I guess it depends what the school are looking for. It's a full-time job so I have many of the same reservations that I had when I went to the last interview.

Yes - I need to write that best-seller pretty damn quickly.

Hattie doesn't like to see me in my suit - I think she can sense that changes may be ahead. Ed very clearly announces that he doesn't want me to work full-time and I have to say that I think he has a point.

Off now to pick up the kids from school. Typical - I bet the phonecall comes when I've three kids caterwauling in the back of the car.