Thursday, 29 December 2011

2 days and Counting!!!

I have been fighting a viral infection over Christmas. One thing I have noticed since cancer, I just can't fight off infections the way I used to.

I must admit that today I was very upset, couldn't stop crying. I just want to be the Sara I was before I had cancer. Since 3 years ago next month my health seems to have been in a steady decline. I have never in my life been so fat, unfit and unhealthy. I feel so ugly all through.

Today I did wonder what the point of it all was, I really couldn't see what quality of life I have anymore. I really did lose my fight today.

So I thought about Mike Peters, I thought about other friends, had a good cry, a good moan and then came back fighting!

This year has been a difficult one for me on a lot of levels. You would have thought that 2009 or 2010 would have been worse but having finished the radical part of cancer treatment I am suddenly plunged in at the deep end tryind desperately to stay afloat.

On January 5th 2011, Poppy was run over by a tractor and died in my arms. The memory of that day haunts me. Her head looking up from the road looking for me, scooping her up into my arms, our eyes connected, she relaxed because she was with me and she died. That was the start of a terrible year.

On 14th May I lost the lynch pin of our family, my Auntie Heather. Very suddenly at the age of 65. She has always been a part of my life, always been there for us all giving support freely. Such a kind and loving person with a wicked sense of humour, I still can't believe that she is no longer with us.

I was let down by people I thought were my friends this year too. They told lies about me and attacked me on FB without due cause. If those people have the audacity to read my blog then you know who you are and shame on you.

I would refer to yet another Mike Peters song at this point so take heed and listen if you dare.

"I've been accused of being things I'm not......"

On top of this I have had a couple of cancer scares coupled with excrutiating back pain which has led me to give up my running, walking and riding.

The year finishes on the note it started.

However, in January I have a scheduled bone scan which is purely precautional, I have an orthopedic appointment to look into my back problems and my mammogram which I hope will declare me 3 years in remission!

The pain killers my doctor has prescribed me are working so once this stupid infection is gone I am hoping to be climbing the rosy slopes to good health!

See you in the new year!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Well, I can't believe that another Christmas is almost here. The planning, preparation, saving, legwork, computer work that goes into making it a splendid festivity is culminating in tomorrow.

So as we celebrate the birth of Christ tomorrow I give thanks for everything that I have been blessed with in my life..... my family and my friends who give me the motivation to tackle each day, my animals, my faculties and most of all I thank the surgeons, nurses, doctors and scientists who have made my recovery possible.

My Christmas wish is to have a 3 year remission score next month.

So thank you to all of my amazing friends who have kept me smiling and coping xxxx

Here's to many more Christmas'

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


What a week I had last week. As you know I am suffering chronic back pain, it comes and goes depending on how active I am. This has resulted in me cutting back my walking and I have stopped running.

Last Wednesday I had a scheduled appointment with my oncologist and I explained the problem to him. He took the matter very seriously although not at the pain front! He organised a spine Xray and blood tests straight away and asked me to come back to clinic for the results.

Thankfully, he greeted me with huge smiles saying that he is confident that the bone scan scheduled for a later date will not show up any signs of cancer in the bones.

I visited my GP the next day and in fairness she was brilliant. She has given me a range of pain medication instructing me to start off with low doses and working my way up until my pain is under control.

I didn't realise just how much pain I have been in until those painkillers kicked in. My mood instantly lifted because at last, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I can start riding my pony again, running and walking.... in short I can get my life back!

One thing that Dr Soe's reaction to my back pain did, was made me realise the grade and severity of my cancer. It was quite a sobering thought.

I also met a friend from breast cancer support and she had an elective double mastectomy after finding a low grade lump in her breast. She has a family history of breast cancer. She wasn't given chemo just the tamoxifen which she had to stop after she lost her voice and had other complicated side effects. She was facing another operation last Friday to remove a tumour from her rib cage..... This meeting made me realise that coming off tamoxifen for me is a big NO.

So next month will be 3 years since I found my lump on 16th January, on 4th February it will be 3 years since official diagnosis. I have a mammogram scheduled for the back end of January and I am hoping that I will be reporting my 3 year in remission!

Many hospital visits in January..... bone scan, mammogram and orthopedics.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

I Don't Want to Die

Its almost 3 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I have to pinch myself as I think of the years which have passed in a blink of an eye. It's been quite a roller coaster of a ride!

During that time I have spent 2 years having treatment... operation, 12 rounds of chemo, 15 blasts of radiotherapy and 18 doses of herceptin.......

My body has been poisened within an inch of its life, some parts permanently damaged.... other parts are regenerating with time.

I have got to a different stage in the whole nightmare now. The first 2 years I was in a sort of protective bubble being cared for by surgeons, oncologists and nurses then the last year has been a bit of a different experience..... like using crutches and then starting to walk without them for the first time.

I have had an ache like a bruise in by back, parallel to the breast which had the surgery. There is no bruise apparent and it hurts when I stretch my arm up into the air.

Today I have been made so very happy by my wonderful husband, my beautiful sons, my family and my amazing friends. As I adjusted the shower head and felt the twinge of the "bruise" I was overcome with fear and I suddenly realised the situation I have been in and I also that I really don't want to die. I have got far too much to live for.

For the first time since the shock of diagnosis I cried, really really cried because I am scared.

I have so much to live for and so much more I want to do with my life.

I realised today that being overweight because of the drugs, having back pain because of the drugs isn't important. The weight will come off one day and the pain.... well pain is pain but my life is important to me.

My scars are a permanent reminder of my ordeal, the numbness in my arm and breast and the pain when touched.

I am seeing the Oncologist next week and I will be checked out and will feel extremely silly in having these fears. As Jason said, I had a massage last week and the discomfort could purely have been caused by that.

I am a positive person, I have to look for the good and discard the bad but the fear is something I will have to learn to live with.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Money! Money! Money!

In my life I have been poor, I have been comfortable but it looks as though I am heading for poor again. All I hear on the news is plans to cut services, increase tax, cut pensions. I never believed I would see fuel at £1.30 a litre and the cost of food is crazy. Every time I do my shop the prices have gone up.

I am lucky to have lived frugally as a child and my mum showed me how to create a meal from nothing. Don't get me wrong, I never went hungry and we always had a decent meal to eat but we didn't have crisps, biscuits, sweets and things like that which people these days see as an essential part of their store cupboard and mum always made food from scratch so no tinned or convenience food, it was far too expensive.

Everything seems to have an expensive price tag and as we move into frugal times the expectations we have created during the comfortable times are still in place. This leads to discontent, a feeling of injustice, anger even.

So now, as you read this try to think of what is important in life...... really important!

  • Health for me is important because without it you can't enjoy life to the fullest
  • My children through them I have learnt valuable lessons in life
  • My husband who is my rock
  • My mum who is my mum (enough said)
  • My family
  • My animals who bring me such joy and sense of purpose
  • My friends who give me more support than they ever could realise
  • My faculties
I could really go on but you can see in my list that I haven't put anything materialistic in there.

So as we approach Christmas, a time which puts dreadful pressure on us to spend, spend, spend. Shall we just try to readjust our expectations. Look at the real meaning of Christmas. Ok, so you might not be religeous but you can still look beyond the religeous aspect of Christmas and look into the meaning. It is  a celebration of the end of winter and the coming of light..... it is a time to show love and appreciate to those who are important to you and most of all, it is a time to celebrate life.

If somebody is kind enough to give you a gift, don't just accept it. Look deeper into the gift... the fact that the person who has given it actually wanted to gift you, the fact that they have taken the time to produce this gift and wrap it for you. If you are lucky, they may have even MADE the gift for you.

So the message from this blog is... we are living in difficult times and things are set to get worse before they get better. However, you don't need lots of money to be happy, you just need to change your expectations and perceptions and look to what wonderful things you have in your life and be content with them.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Normal Service has Been Resumed

Trips to the doctors are always quite depressing! Yesterday really tipped the scales of harmony for me I can tell you! He just didn't listen to what I was saying, it was as though my feelings and opinions were irrelevant! Well..... hello....... this is MY body we are talking about and MY life!

Anyway...... I felt a bit blue, felt a bit sorry for myself but messages of support came thick and fast from the most wonderful friends and family - they make all of the difference you know!

However, this video of Fenton or Benton in Richmond Deer Park chasing deer really did cheer me up! I laughed until my sides ached and giggled alot afterwards too. I am still giggling now!

I also turned to my mentor Mike Peters, I listened to some of his music and watched some of his videos, I had another look at his web site for the Love Hope Strength Foundation and that gave me the strength and inspiration I needed to sort myself out. This particular song says it all.

The tablets the doctor prescribed to help my asthma seemed to have worked and for the first time in months I woke up feeling human. The pain killers have eased alot of the pain and I actually enjoyed walking the dogs today - yes I felt human!

What a difference a day makes but it just shows you that with the influence of your heroes and mentors, the love and support of your friends through whatever medium can pull you through the darkest of times.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Lifes a Bitch!

 Everyone is entitled to a bad day and my bad day is TODAY!

Everything has got on top of me, mainly the pain in my back which has been caused by tamoxifen and which has become almost unbearable lately.

I think that I was easing my way back into physical activity because of my energy levels which were still in recovery but getting that energy back has made me realise how physically damaged I am at the moment.

I saw the doctor today but he was a waste of time! He is referring me to the orthopedic section but I don't need that, I need to come off tamoxifen.

Why don't they listen to me?

This is MY body and MY life and the way I feel right now I don't want to go on for another 2, 3 or 4 decades feeling this crap.

I told him I am worried about my weight and he discounted that, f***k the fact that I am 2 stone over my usual weight, have diabetes in both sides of the family and am in an increased risk bracket. He waved that off as though it was nothing.

Why don't they listen to me?

I need to be positive, I need to keep fighting but at the moment the wounds of battle are still open and bleeding (metaphorically speaking of course).

I am tired of fighting, I am tired of feeling like crap, I am tired of putting on a front!

"Don't you look well" people say

"You look amazing!"

I smile politely and agree.........

But do you know what? I am not going to agree anymore because I feel like rubbish and I am sick of fighting pain and feeling ill every flippin day!

I don't feel like laughing or partying anymore, I don't feel as though there is anything left to party for.


Because I honestly thought that once I went through surgery, chemo, radio and herceptin, I would come out of the other side and resume service as normal!

Will service ever be resumed as normal? I very much doubt it where I am sitting right now.

Yeah! I pop the lanzoprazol to keep my chemo damaged digestion at bay, I pop the happy pills to get me through the day, I pop the tamoxifen because apparently although it makes me feel like crap its keeping the cancer from coming back, I pop the loratadine to stop my allergies, take my seretide and ventolin so that I can breathe without feeling someone is sitting on my chest and now I am popping painkillers just so that I can function normally.

Too right I am angry!!

I am bouncing!!

I am seething!!

Cancer pfftttttt

I really thought that 3 years on I would be me again. I have got hair now, still can't lose the weight and feel like crap but I look ok and yes the hair is there.
Bloody hell what a year!

What pain and loss I have had this year, physically and mentally.

Right now I want to find myself a cave and go into hybernation. Would anybody miss me if I did that?

I just want my life to get back to normal. I want my body back. I want to feel like ME again.

I didn't bargain for this, I didn't expect all of this, it wasn't part of the deal when they were selling me the treatment.

Sunday, 20 November 2011


This is Panda, our 3rd hamster. I bought her for myself really because I fell in love with her in the petshop. However, she soon became my sons hamster and the relationship was a really special one. I loved calling in on Joe and Panda, talk to her, pet her - she was adorable.

She was really good at escaping too, so much so that the portals on the roof of her house had to be sellotaped down because she could twist them open and escape.

Joe made her a special play ground out of his old toy box and she would spend hours of fun in there. She was a very lovely and calm hamster who we loved to bits.

 Just after we returned from holiday last August, we found that Panda had lost alot of hair. We took her to the vets, which, over the next few months became a regular fortnightly thing. The vet was treating her for mites but in the end it became obvious that something sinister was causing the hair loss and the vet could do no more for her.

The intense itching caused her to bite herself and these bites became badly infected. She was put onto a course of antibiotics and I washed her wounds twice a day with salt water.

I contacted Gorgeous Guineas and bought some special cream which was soothing, antisceptic and should have helped her skin condition but it didnt.

I bought some special Camrosa cream which was £16 for a small pot because it has been used on alsorts of animals for mite infestations and general skin complaints but this didnt work either.

Eventually one weekend I realised that we were fighting a losing battle. She cried when I picked her up which broke my heart. I had conflicting emotions..... I knew she needed to be put to sleep but at the same time her skin was so horrid that I knew the injection to kill her would hurt dreadfully. Thankfully before Monday came, Panda passed away in her sleep and her suffering was over.

Panda has left a huge gap in our lives because she had such a huge personality.

Today we decided to find a new addition to our family in Simon another Syrian hamster. This time we have a boy and we havent ever had a boy before. He is similar to Panda in colouring but he is a long haired hamster. Nathon, the boy who sold him to us commented on what a pleasant personality he had and he certainly does seem chilled.

Thing is, its like love or trusting people. You can say.... "I am never having a hamster again I cant cope with losing them...." but if you take that stance then you are missing out on so much more.

I think the old saying is "its better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all..." and thats the way it is with relationships, be it human or animal.

I hope we will have a long relationship with Simon x

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Statement Review

My ten year old son has a Statement of Educational Needs and is granted 15 hours per week with a one to one assistant. Every term, his Individual Education Plan (IEP) is reviewed by the teacher, the SENCO and myself and this sometimes includes input from outside sources who are involved with him.

Once a year the Statement is reviewed to make sure he is getting everything that he needs.

We have just had his statement review last week and this was quite an important one because it will include his transition into high school in September 2012.

The meeting has been arranged since the first week in September but despite this, his teacher told us he wasn't coming as we arrived because he had an after school welsh class to take, the SENCO had to be excused to go to another meeting half way through and the learning support teacher had not carried out scoring which will be required for the high school.

In addition to this the ICT SEN assessment I requested in the summer still has not been done and looks as though it wont be done until he is in high school.

I feel let down by the school, very let down.

I feel as though they haven't taken my sons situation seriously.

This is the fight I have had with the school since my son started there. First was the struggle for them to take him seriously and not write him off as a naughty boy, then there has been the constant struggle to get the school to understand and cope with him.

Its all very well having inclusion in mainstream schools for children with special needs but it cannot be done on a shoe string budget!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Eye Test

I went for my eye test today, good news is that my distance eye sight is great but the bad news is that yes I do need reading glasses and that damage has been caused by chemotherapy.

The optician was very, helpful and gave me lots of advice on how I should use my reading glasses to prevent further deterioration and I was quite pleased that he considered me a bit "young" for reading glasses!

My taid had glaucoma but sadly he died of a brain tumour before that progressed onto anything other than a diagnosis. He was 38 when he died.

I have a history of diabetes in both sides of my family which is why I am stressed over the effects of tamoxifen and me not being able to lose weight. I am not particularly fussed at getting back down to my old size 8, I just want a healthy waistline so that I don't develop this awful disease.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Running High

I have been running for a few years now and in that time I have completed three 5K Race for Life events and a 10K last year which I ran for the Love Hope Strength Foundation. I have done all of my training on my own.... through snow, freezing fog, ice.... I have been up and down and attacked by a dog but now I have entered a new phase of running. I am running with friends.

It started off with me posting on facebook, asking if there were any running clubs in our area. One friend replied saying she would run with me and we have been doing that for a couple of months now. Since then we have been joined by two other friends and its brilliant.

We keep each other going when we feel like giving up, we chat, we laugh - running is great fun.

So I finished my run this morning, only 2 miles, but on a runners high which is the best feeling in the world to have.

A few cups of tea later and I am off to ride my pony, walk my dogs and do a few jobs.

Looking forward to the curry my son is making at school later!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I thought I was ok....

When you have almost 3 years under your belt having fought cancer, you are feeling good about yourself and you feel quite fit.... its easy to think "ha, I don't need to take those meds anymore......"

Thats exactly what I thought about my lanzoprazol.

You see, chemotherapy is still quite raw.... its job is to kill rapidly forming cells but because of its nature not only does it attack cancer cells, it also attacks and kills good cells which is why you get hair loss, nail problems etc.

One side effect I suffered with was my digestion. Chemo completely f***** it up for want of a better phrase. It has damaged the lining of my stomach, probably indefinately and as a result the acid from my stomach comes up into my chest resulting in a great deal of pain. The tablets limit the amount of acid your body makes so that you don't get these attacks.

I thought I was over it all and stopped taking the tablets which was a huge mistake.

At the weekend I was away in South Wales with friends at a 4th Street Traffik gig for Halloween. What a brilliant night but it was spoilt by the worst reflux attack I have experienced in my entire life. I couldn't keep anything down, my throat burned and I haven't been able to eat or drink for 3-4 days.

That will teach me won't it! I think I have finally accepted that I will never be the same person I was before 16th January 2009.

I looked up the effects that tamoxifen has on your body too mainly because I am suffering with severe back ache which gets worse the more active I am. Apparently its typically hormonal but it induces mild sciatica. The pain is almost unbearable at times only eased by pain killers, volturol gel and periods of rest. This is one of the side effects of the drug. In addition to this, it can cause damage to the eye which has settled a problem I have had with night driving. So my eye test is duly booked.

I won't give up though, the hell I will!!!!!

I will not give up horse riding, running or walking. I refuse to take things easy. I have stared my mortality right in the eye and come back fighting.

Life is precious, its for living and loving and appreciating every damned second you have in this life pain or not.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Victory Station

Those of you who know me well will know how gutted I was when Killing for Company announced their cessation..... It was dreadful, I felt totally bereft despite the "good news" Greg kept promising.

Well the "family" were patient... very patient and right at the point where we were starting to lose hope, the new band was announced as VICTORY STATION with an album to follow shortly.

The news was like a beacon in my heart and at now there is something to look forward to again..... a new album....... gigs and meeting up with friends!

Of course I do have other bands I am planning to see, funds allowing.... Mike Peters being one of them. He is playing in my home town of Wrexham on the Thursday night and then in Manchester on Friday. I can't afford to do both so have opted for the Manchester option mainly because my best mate M is going and it will be great to meet up with him and enjoy a good gig together..... its been too long since the Ultimate Eagles!!!

Mike Peters is such an amazing musician and I totally love his acoustic tours. I missed his electric tour earlier in the year because it co-incided with the death of my lovely Auntie Heather but this one I am sure will more than make up.

In December I want to get a day ticket to Hard Rock Hell to meet up with M again so that I can see Tyketto live - what a gig to look forward too! It will be my birthday present to myself lol.....

So guys..... the future is bright...... the future is VICTORY STATION!

Monday, 26 September 2011

What a Week

What a week its been!

Ah well, its my weigh in day tomorrow so lets hope I have dropped some pounds. I am feeling slimmer but I will only be happy if it shows on the scales.

I am still running and active with Cola, today I took out his deep litter to scrub clean his stable in preparation for the winter and that was hard work, mind you, mucking out is hard work full stop so why am I struggling with my weight? Grrrrrr

My friends haven't been having such a good time of it and for that I am very sad. Troubles come in all shapes and forms and I wish with all of my heart I had the power to make them go away.

Saturday, 24 September 2011


I was waiting for my 10 year old son who has autism to come out from his mainstream school. As far as autism is concerned, Harry is on the high end of the spectrum and his main difficulties are speech, language and communication and the latter includes social communication. The subject is very complex and unless you have experienced life with children who have such difficulties you can't appreciate the massive impact it has on every aspect of life not just for them but for the family around them.

I digress......

I am trying to give Harry a little more independence in preparation for High School in 2012 so our agreement is that I wait on the pavement outside of school and he comes to meet me.

Yesterday I was waiting as normal when Ade one of Harrys friends and his mum came up to me in a panic to say that Harry had been beaten up in the cloakroom and was crying.

Like a tigress I leapt out of the car and ran to find him. I regret to say that in my shock I didn't partake in social "niceties" with other mums for which they may think me rude but frankly, I don't care, my priority in life are my children and their welfare.

Harry came to meet me with his teacher Mr Roberts. He was wimpering and clearly in a shocked state. Mr Roberts explained the situation to me clearly and assured me that although the assailant ran off home as soon as a teacher appeared he would be dealt with accordingly on Monday morning, Mr Roberts would not tolerate such behaviour.

Mr priority at that time was to get my son home and quickly so that I could sit him down and cuddle him. As a mum when something like this happens all you want to do is wrap them up in cotton wool and protect them.

Harry drew pictures of his experience for me and was able to talk about what had happened. As he recounted the events I was horrified that 10 years olds could possibly behave in such a way. Harry had gone to collect his belongings from the cloakroom and his assailant grabbed him by the neck and slammed him continuously against the wall before reigning punches and kicks all over him. Harry told me "I didn't know if he would stop".

As soon as somebody shouted that the teacher was coming the coward ran off home leaving my son in a state of shock, hurting and badly shaken.

I expect my children to be kept safe in school and indeed they are under the impression that they are safe in school but this highlights the fact that clearly they are not.

Once I got Harry home, he covered his face with his dressing gown and stayed that way until he was calm which took a long while.

As the evening wore on, I became increasingly angry at what had happened and frustrated at the fact that I have to wait two days before I can vent my anger and concerns.

Harry told me that he is scared to go to school now. He asked if school could be at home until he went to High School.

Can you imagine my frustration now? This boy up until 2 years ago point blank refused to go to school, I had to drag him there, and after school I would have a child in a black mood all evening. To have made a break through that he is happy to go to school these days and then have this situation knock him back is totally unacceptable.

So the plan is on Monday that my husband and I will escort Harry into school and to the safety of the Head Mistresses office and we will be asking for a guarantee for Harrys safety, re-iterating that he has autism, he has special needs and the school are obviously not catering for him. I will be asking that the childs parents are contacted, that the child is taken out of range of contact of my son and he is punished accordingly!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Same old, same old....

I am back to Weight Watchers but am doing it online. I have taken advantage of an offer they had and signed up for 3 months. I have 22lbs to lose to get back to being comfortable and happy in myself. I am not sure if I am going to be able to achieve my goal because of the tamoxifen but I am going to really try.

Slimming World was great but it just didn't work for me. Weight Watchers is a plan that has always worked for me and I like the freedom you have with it.

I discussed my weight issue with the doctor the other day and she is happy that it is the tamoxifen causing the weight issue and because I am active and fit she doesn't see it as a problem. As she said, if I didnt follow a healthy eating plan and wasnt as active as I am the situation would be much worse.

So I wonder how I will do this first week back on the plan? Lets see what Tuesday brings hey.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Andy Whitfield and Bearle

As you can see by my previous post, September isn't a good month for me! This was deepened by the fact that two deaths have impacted on me this last week.

The first was my neighbours cat Bearle. Yes, I know he wasn't my cat but he was my friend. He used to always come over to say hello and I would fuss him until he had had enough. In his last weeks he actually made a point of hanging out with me if I was in the garage. He particularly enjoyed to suck the jelly off the cat food I gave him, it gave him alot of pleasure.

In hindsight, following his death on Saturday 10th September, I like to think that this increased affection was his way of saying goodbye.

He passed peacefully at home with his family and died in his sleep. A gentle and kind end to an equally kind gentle soul. RIP Bearle x

The second loss was the Actor Andy Whitfield who played the part of Sparticus in the series.

I was amazed to find out that he was originally from Amlwch in North Wales because when I looked at his face they only way I can describe it is that it was like "coming home". Strange way to describe a persons face but thats how it felt for me. His eyes and bone structure remind me of so many of my family, my Auntie Heather, Nain and my Great Grandparents!

He was just 39 years old and died of leukemia, cancer.

He leaves behind a wife and two young children and my thoughts and prayers are with them and those he loved and loved him in return.

Cancer is such a dreadful disease. The death of Andy Whitfield, so young and fit shows you that its not fussy who it chooses to affect. Age, fitness, sex, stardom - cancer does not care a fig about any of them. Its the only exclusive club which has no queue to join!

I hate cancer.

I will always continue to fund raise because the more money we plough into research then the more chance we have of making cancer a liveable, treatable disease and not a life sentence.

I know I have said this before but I am lucky to have had my cancer now because progress has been made to ensure that I am safer these days of its return. The drug of herceptin has put me on an equal playing field for other forms of breast cancer.

So September sees the loss of two more lovely souls.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Peter Geraint Kyffin - My Big Brother

Ah September!

This video says it all for me, how I feel about September and sadly it probably says it all for those affected by the 9/11 tragedy ten years ago.

Tomorrow is 10th September..... at 6.42am on the Mold Road, my big brother Peter Geraint Kyffin was driving to work when he had a blow out..... A bright, dry morning, perfect driving conditions but that day his number was called....... He hit the curb at 70mph and ricocheted into a lamp post on the other side of the road. His car was shaped like a banana and the lamp post came down on top of him.

Peter was dead straight away. Massive trauma to the back of his head.

I heard from emergency sources (Wrexham is such a small town in that way) that when they turned up they knew he was gone and were more worried about the child car seat and the possibility of there being a child involved.

That day I was in work as usual. My colleagues were talking about a big crash on Mold Road and not being one for "cashing in" on peoples misfortunes I carried on with my work while they chatted. A phone call from reception to tell me I had a visitor. I always planned my appointments and no visitor was scheduled. I was then told it was my dad.

I went into reception and as soon as I saw my dad, things magically seemed to click into place. All he said to me was "It's Peter"..... my fiance at the time was called Peter but I knew straight away he was talking about my brother. I remember sitting down on the reception sofas, then standing up, doing this repeatedly until I was ushered into a room with my dad.

Nobody would let me drive home.

When I got home I was met by my mum, in tears. She was wearing a floral dress and had no shoes on, in the street! This wasn't like my mum......

After that the years went past in a blurr..... I don't remember allot of my life back then, I think your brain shuts down to save you from further pain which frankly I can tell you is unbearable.

I remember seeing him at the Chapel of Rest and he was lieing there so perfect.... so perfect.... and that's when it hit me...... I doubled up and cried.... I felt as though I had been stabbed.

I have never felt pain such as that since and I hope to God I never will.

So 21 years has past tomorrow at 6.42am when he left us and there is not one second of any day that I don't miss him. I can put the pain and sorrow away under lock and key but then days like today hit me and I am reliving the nightmare again and again.

I talk to my boys about Peter..... Harry looks remarkably like him in so many ways..... His hair line, the shape of his face, his head even...... They like to hear stories about him and that's my way of keeping him alive although to me he never died, he has been a constant in my heart.

I miss sharing stuff with him, I miss the fact that he never met Jason or my children.

I take comfort in the fact that I know he is out there somewhere looking after all of my beloved animals. I talked to Harry about this and he said "well I hope that when I die Uncle Peter will give me my hamsters back". Of course he will!

I caught myself earlier looking at the date on the computer screen.... 9th...... and the thought crossed my mind that 21 years ago on this day my brother had everything to live for. A lovely home, a caring and loving wife and a one year old daughter.

Its such a good job that we don't know what lies ahead.

So to Peter, my big brother, my mentor, my heroe...... Missed and Loved Always....

Your Yiper Doll xxx or YaYa xxx

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Making Time for Friends

Since coming back off holiday I have been busy beyond belief, hardly having time to draw breath. Part of the problem was caused by some nastiness but that has drifted over me now and I feel genuinely sorry for those people who gain pleasure from others pain.

However, I get great pleasure in making time for friends. I have to conciously do this though otherwise life takes over but the last week I have had really pleasureable moments passing time with people who count.

My lap top has died a death but this has been good for me in a way because with restricted access I am more fussy about who I interact with on Face Book. Its also given me time to persue my other intersts which had been sadly neglected! Reading, rock painting oh and the special project I need to forge ahead with for a certain Miss Woods special day next year!

I hate speaking on the telephone, really I do. I am partially deaf (don't feel sorry for me, its self induced after years of nightclubs and rock concerts without ear protection) so I have to concentrate really hard when on the phone because there are no facial features to read and no body language. Despite this I have had some great telephone conversations this week with friends who really have put a big smile on my face!

The other day I spent time with my friend who I re-met through beauty and horses.... we were in school together and we worked in Scotts nightclub together too. Such a genuinely kind and caring person with the an equally wonderful daughter. Having left her home I bumped into the father of one of the friends I grew up with on the Goulbourne estate. I had such an entertaining conversation with him it really did leave me glowing.

By this time I realised that my husband would be wondering where on earth I was but in true SDW style my phone was flat. That was ok though, I was nearly home, just needed to pop into the local post office to send some packages to two great friends...... I almost made it! Then I got chatting to Jean from the village who I have known all of the 15 years I have lived here. I first got to know her as I walked to work at BASC. Always a smile to spare and time to chat.

I realised this week just who is important in my life. Who the real people are whom I need to care about. Those who seek to harm me deserve not a moments thought or worry I am surrounded by family, animals, people and friends who I am privelaged to have in my life and THEY are the ones who matter!

Monday, 22 August 2011


I have just been for a great run, my first in a week and a half. Fighting off a bug then my holiday gave me that break from running.

It felt good today. I ran 1 1/2 miles, the sun was shining and there was still that morning chill in the air, it felt good to be alive.

I am not a natural runner, not by a long shot and there is no way I will ever come first in a race but running helps me focus my mind and it helps to release negative energies. Put it this way, I started on my run feeling low and ended up singing "I stand accused of being things I'm not..... I'll never fall at your feet, I'll never bow down..." Great tune, "Without a Fight" by Mike Peters my lifes signature tune I feel.

I looked for that dieing rabbit on the lane but there was no sign of it. It had been too weak to move so I think that it must have died and been taken by a predator of some sort.

So I am pleased with my running so far, the compression shorts are a success, I am definately converted even though they are expensive. (I got mine from - you can get quite a few bargains from there).

I plan to run most days this week but I think I will be aiming to get up an hour earlier just because I prefer running in cooler climates and even by 7am the sun is up and burning through.

On a slightly different note..... I know that I have a family of hedgehogs living under my shed, I see their droppings and the mess of cat/dog food which I put down for them every night but I haven't actually seen one since 2009. The lack of slugs and snails in the garden was an obvious sign that they were about. Last night, I my dog and I heard a rustling in the garden, Wilbur ran out to check what it was (such a good guard dog) then I followed with my maglight only to find my hedgehog curled up into a ball on the footpath. Really did make my night!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

North and South Wales are like Chalk and Cheese

Before I start writing this post let me explain about the title. I am not criticising any part of my country, I am purely making my own observations which to be perfectly honest with you, after my South Wales holiday has been a bit of a shock. The view I have always held of my country is that of unification, as one-ness but it isn't.

I suppose I could compare Wales to a beautiful and amazing diamond.... unique, priceless, beautiful, sought after and if you hold it in different lights it changes........... No matter what the change it remains utterly beautiful and the light can show you hidden aspects.

I live in North Wales, in one of the largest towns in the country - Wrecsam. I actually live in the borough of Wrecsam in a border hamlet called Lavister which is now part of Rossett (Yr Orsedd). Its very agricultural in the North with farms and cattle all around us. Even towards the Llyn Peninsula and Anglesea the story is the same.

Farming is a tough industry and alot of farms have either failed or diversified in order to stay alive. So sadly the North part of Wales has become a mixture of farming and tourism. In fact places such as Abersoch and Llandudno are nick named by us locals as "Little England". Abersoch is a particular eye opener with the amount of range rovers, yahts, boats........... we feel quite poor when we visit in Jason's "truck" in comparison.

The North Wales welsh tend to be insular, and that isn't a criticism, I am a northerner myself but I think it must be the structure of our towns and villages and the fact that everyone *used to know everyone in their town.

The impression I got of the people from the South was warmth, friendliness, a more cosmopolitan feel.They didn't feel as aggressive... Maybe that description is a bit harsh but whenever I have used public facilities in the north, there has been an element of aggression to the point that I can't leave my 10 year old son who is on the autistic spectrum because he usually gets picked on. I know I have only used the LC2 in South Wales but the feel I got from that facility was one of fun.... people were there to relax and have fun..... I felt relaxed and didn't feel the need to be on my son's back all of the time...... Guess what??? he didn't get picked on once!

I expected the South part of Wales to be industrial but I found that it was a mix of the two.... Consider a beach town right next to or part of an industrial and countryside community..... I found that very odd but very attractive.

Having had a hard day at the office........ take your family down to one of the local beaches for a BBQ and some beach fun.

The beaches themselves weren't crowded either as they can be in the North but I suppose that is because North Wales lives on tourism whereas the South doesn't have to.

So.......... I fell in love with South Wales!

* I will cover the town of Wrecsam in another post. I started to describe the town but it became to complicated to include in this post and I felt that it deserved one of its own.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

South Wales Holiday

I have just returned from a fabulous week away in South Wales with family and friends. We stayed in a renovated farm house situated in a small village called "Three Crosses".

Let me tell you about the farmhouse! It was pretty darned WOW! backing onto a field of horses, raised decking area with BBQ, hot tub, 3 bathrooms with showers, 2 double bedrooms and 2 single bedrooms, 2 living rooms and a super huge kitchen with aga and to top it off..... the loft had been converted into a childs play area complete with TV, sofa beds, toys and mini pool table!

The farmhouse and barn conversions had been tastefully renovated and we lacked nothing on the holiday, apart from a wok!! There was a trivet for one on the aga but we couldn't find one anywhere!

The hot tub was a hit with the kids, they loved it! Sitting in it sipping their J20's and enjoying each others company. My friend Jan and I didn't fancy a dip but promised Harry that on the last day we would get in there with him which we did for half an hour and I must say it was rather nice sitting in a bubbling hot tub in the drizzle!

We had a lovely time exploring the different beaches. We had Monty Doodle dog with us so we were restricted to dog friendly beaches, despite that fact we were spoilt for choice.

Our first beach was recommended to us by a friend who lives in the area called Rhossili and that was totally amazing. The children thoroughly enjoyed body boarding there and the views were simply stunning. We visited Oxwich and Horton which were equally beautiful.

One day was spent at LC2 Leisure Centre, the water was a bit too cold for my liking but the children enjoyed themselves. Joe, Chloe and Lydia had sufing lessons there and did pretty well at it too. I have never been into a public pool which is so well staffed and so clean! I suppose it could be right that the money goes to the South of Wales and the North doesn't get much..... I mean.... FREE hair drying facilities??? Clean pool floors?? I was spoilt.

I wasn't too impressed with the Mumbles and it was a shame that the pier seemed to be in disrepair, it paled in comparison to the pier in Llandudno. However the children had lots of fun looking for crabs and they found a few as well!

We had such a good holiday we all got quite emotional saying goodbye to each other. It was fun and has given us lots of memories to treasure.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Killing for Company

 Anyone who knows me will know just how passionate I am about animals and rock music!

My devotion to The Alarm has spanned almost 30 years.

I first heard their album on my boyfriends turn table and I thought "yeah, yeah, whatever" but shortly after that he took me to see them play in Liverpool and what I saw that night roused a passion in me that other music had or has never done. It was the raw energy on stage, the conviction, the belief in what they were performing. That was it, an Alarm fan was born and an Alarm fan I will die.

Then the Alarm introduced me to Killing for Company and for the first time in almost 30 years my passion was re-ignited by this new band with the same energy, the same magical chemistry and the most amazing vocals from Greg Jones.

My passion for their music has taken me on a couple of brilliant road trips, and has forged friendships even stronger. I have shared many a laugh with Greg on facebook and some great banter has been enjoyed by many. We did become a family and as Greg says on the photo, we did watch out for one another.
The death of Stuart Cable was hard for the band to cope with, his untimely death threw the band into a quandry but with the love and support of their fans/family they continued and the fan base grew.
So as you can imagine, when rumours started to fly around this morning I felt physically sick. Killing for Company - dis-banding? Never!
 However at lunch time today my worst fears were confirmed, the band was finished.
The band has brought me alot of personal happiness, so many giggles and laughs and the music has spoken to my soul. 

I have been to see many live bands perform in my life..... The Ramones, Big Country, The Damned, Stranglers, The Fall, Wedding Present, Pogues, Men They Couldnt Hang, Inspiral Carpets, The Pigeon Detectives, Edwyn Collins, Depeche Mode, Spear of Destiny plus many more... and yet none of them can hold a torch to Killing for Company.
Killing for Company has brought me back into gigging. At a time when depression, fertility issues, autism, cancer etc got in the way of my life.... they brought it all back for me.
I am so lucky to have a signed album by Stuart and I am amazed it hasnt worn out yet as I have played it so much and even more lucky to have had the privelage of getting to know the band members. They are so kind and caring, always quick to sign something, say hello or have a photo taken with them.
Killing for Company united our family and the fun impish humour of the band made it possible to dabble in a bit of video filming. The band could have gone premadonna on us but they didnt they took the video in the spirit it was intended and we all laughed together.

In the mourning of Killing for Company I take comfort in the history of The Alarm, Mike Peters has resurrected the music so many times.... The Toilets, The Alarm, Mike Peters and the Poets of Justice, The Poets, Coloursound, Dead Men Walking, Mike Peters and The Alarm (new line up)..... I remember the sadness I felt when I found out the Alarm were over, that empty, bereft feeling..... I needed have worried because he is still around after all this time getting bigger and better.

So although I feel immensely sad at the end of the era that was Killing for Company I am extremely proud of what they have achieved and so very grateful for having had them in my life. What is the old saying? "Its better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? pretty apt I would say!

Rest in Peace Killing for Company x SDW x

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Rioting Britain 2011

Words fail me! I never, ever believed that I would witness something like this in my country! 

This is total anarchy like I have never seen in my life before and its spreading throughout the country.

I am really worried.

I am also thoroughly disgusted at the mentality of the rioters. One teenage girl was saying "that will show the rich ones with businesses" excuse me, but I ran my own business before I was ill and I am not rich just a hard working, honest and respectable British citizen.

I was especially touched by the furniture shop which has been going for 140 years, its survived two great wars and now its gone in 45 minutes it was burned to the ground.

People are in tears and in shock.

They are drafting more police into London but where does that leave the rest of the country?

I wonder if the Prime Minister is regretting cutting all of those police jobs now? I wonder if he will do a U turn on cutting police pay and conditions?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Rhuddlan Rocks 2010

Its almost a year since The Alarm rocked an ancient welsh castle to raise money for the Love Hope Strength Foundation. It was an amazing event and I was so proud to be part of it along with some good friends.

So much has happened in this last year and not all good. Friendships have failed, I have lost loved ones and the economic climate has put more pressure on us as a family.

I am always sorry to lose a friendship but if the friend is not tolerant and forgiving then ..... are they really the type of people I want or need in my life? The answer to that is very clearly NO.

I miss Poppy. I think that her death on 5th January 2011 was an omen for the year to come. She was a lovely dog and even better friend. I sometimes relive that awful afternoon when she was run over by a tractor. I can still see her head looking up confused. The only thing I can say that I am happy about is that I was able to pick her up, she looked at me as if to say "ah you're here" and then she died in  my arms and broke many hearts.

I will never forget Poppy and the fun and love she brought into my life.

After that I lost my beautiful and wonderful Auntie Heather. She was such a lovely person without a bad bone in her body. She died before her time and has left us all bereft. A huge gap has been left which will never be filled.

At a time when I needed friendship and support I was turned on by those I thought were true friends. I still don't officially know what I have done!

I have "been accused of being things I'm not" my crime being forgiveness..... and giving second chances.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

People and Power

There are many forms of bullying, not necessarily the one that you automatically think of which is the hitting, pushing around etc.

Bullying takes on many forms.

It could be manipulating mutual friends to turn their back on a person...... It could be using social networking sites to play with peoples feelings.... that delete button is so easy to press and so clinical. With that one action a person can be cut to the core.

Bullying can be telling lies about a person.

Bullying can be making a person doubt themselves with little jibes, little barbed comments.

Bullying is a horrible thing to do to another person. I have tried to think why anyone would want to make another person unhappy and the only conclusion I can reach is that the Bully gets a great sense of power by carrying out such actions.

All I want out of life is to have peace.

I treat others as I would have them treat me and I forgive very easily. Some might see forgiving another person as being "two faced" but I see it as being a show of strength. Its easy to hold grudges and easy to make people feel miserable but it takes a great deal of inner strength to forgive and move forward in life.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Killy for Company - Crazy People!

What can I say?

Crazy guys, brilliant music cannot wait for the new album and the tour.

Check out

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Friends come in various forms and for me, animals are my favourite types of friends. They don't judge you, they don't care what you look like, they love you for who and what you are. I find the greatest peace with my animals.

Pickles pictured above is my little girl! She is independent, bossy and loving and she is devoted to me. I adore her and her quirky little ways that make her my special friend.

Wilbur is a goofy kind of friend! He is so silly but loving in a different way to Pickles. She is always on the hunt for food or cups of tea whereas all he wants is YOU. At night, he snuggles himself so tightly and squirms until he is virtually on your knee.

Other friends are special in a way I can't describe. Always there through good times and bad. Not many words are needed with this sort of friend, silence is as acceptable as noise. These friends are solid like the rocks you need in your life. They keep you afloat and keep you safe.

Some friends you just know are going to be with you for life and others maybe just for a weekend. That doesn't matter though because friendship is unique and friendship does not require the confines of time.

Social networking has meant that friends from all over the country, indeed, all over the world can meet and share common ground. In some instances we actually get to meet up and share good times.

The social network is newly established and sadly as the likes of Face Book are the property of USA, the UK laws have no powers. I have personally made many friends through the social networking sites, and I thoroughly enjoy chatting with them on a regular basis. Now and again, Face book puts us in touch with people we would not normally socialise with and this creates its own set of problems.
You may go on journeys with some friends and then not speak for months and months. This doesn't mean that your friendship is lesser because speaking from my own personal point of view, I might not talk to certain friends all of the time but they are rarely far from my thoughts.

Good times and bad, special friends weather those storms with you and you sail onto placid waters strong in the knowledge that if that storm comes again you will get through it together.
Some friends like Albert the rabbit are grumpy and moan allot, That doesn't matter because they bring their own treasures and no matter what, they love you whatever.
This particular friend, Cola is more than that to me. He is my confident, my best friend, my physiotherapist, my fitness coach - he is my life!
Some friends are with us for a lifetime, others a moment, some a short time. Each friendship brings something into your life to help create the person you are yet to become. They might bring with them bad experiences or good but there is no difference because each type makes you stronger and more whole.

Many friends creep into your heart and when their lives are cruelly cut short they leave a gaping wound.

Friends...... they are the souls who share our life's journey. No matter where they go or what happens to them or us, they remain with us...... some in our memories and others firmly planted in our hearts.