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.


Vince said...

On the dress, it'll be white. And the only thing in common with the Jordan hitchin will be the horses.
I expect you will have found another dimension for yourself also by reading those classics out loud.
Oh, did You promise to obey. The whole thing sounds mightily implausible these days.

Tracey said...

It is great to be an American on days like these. There is all of that pomp and ceremony and really rich people in very fancy clothes to gawk at, all for nothing of course. BUT, I am not expected to foot the bill. Which is nice.

I would hate to live in a monarchy. What a waste of money, especially in times like these. But, as I don't live in a monarchy, they are fun to watch from here. Sorry, Kate. Don't hate me.

I did promise to obey. Has that come up with W&K? With all of the media blather about this wedding, I must admit, that with homeschool and house work, I have missed most of it.

I am glad you posted, even if it was in one big burst like this. It is nice to hear from you. And I don't begrudge you not being around more often. Honestly, it is hard to keep up with one who posts everyday. SO, keep up the good work. Enjoy the rest of you holiday.

Vince said...

By not inviting Blair and Brown, the Labour party must be delighted. I reckon it's worth ten MP's in the next election.

legend in his own lunchtime said...

It's always good to catch up, whenever you get round to it.
I will be coming home on the 9th and will hopefully come up to your Mom's pub either the weekend of the 14th or next, whichever is better for your Mom. I'll have a friend over from the states who is an amazing singer/songwriter, so I hope we can get to play.

Rebecca S. said...

Kate! Your time in Scotland sounds almost perfect and I do hope you know we are still here! I hope you were feeling ready for the regular routine when it arrived, and that the doctor's visits went well. xo