Villagers

The local manor accumulated wealth at a rapid rate. Peasants worked the land for farmers or laboured underground in chalk mines. Landowners made money and merchants sold wares. Snookington became a wealthy village, attracting market traders from around the Kingdom. Successful commercial men took pleasure in showing off their newfound status and found favour with Lord Snookington. The village was nicknamed the Snook and its traditional High Street boasted a bakery, butchers, greengrocers and tavern. A half-timbered house rose toward the crest of the hill, just in front of the church under construction. Flint and stone were arranged in piles as stonemasons laboured under the warm sun. Continue reading

Contempt

Early evening was setting in and an old man sat on a patch of icy grass opposite the church building site. He pulled a blanket up to his chin as a respite from the biting cold air. A couple in impeccable attire carefully walked in the fresh snow from beyond the churchyard. Their upturned noses raised a little higher when they saw the smelly down-and-out man. He had an apple by his feet. In one swift movement, the well-dressed man kicked the apple away as the prim lady tittered. Ice struck the tramp’s face and he flinched. Standing over the vagrant, a loud plummy voice cheeped out. Continue reading

Olden Days

In a bygone age, Snookington Village was home to more animals than people. The streets were well trodden by horses, cows and pigs. Villagers worked on the many farms or in mines. Life was hard for most, but there was enough food to go around. The village nestled by a woodland at the border of a wealthy Kingdom. The Lord of the manor was a man called Snookington and he managed its affairs in line with the King’s wishes.  Continue reading

New Blog

After getting through cancer, l began to write a series of books for young adults. The first three books are complete. These stories are a mixture of imagination and reality. Many of the places in the books exist and I have either lived or spent a lot of time there. These books continue the theme of resilience and determination. Continue reading

The Beginning Of Something New

A lot of people have been good to me over the years and I have been lucky enough to meet people who are caring, giving and inspirational. Others have thrown criticism, ridicule, snobbery and violence my way. I have been called an anomaly, liability, arrogant, liar, over-achiever and lazy. But these people underestimated me and I was strong enough to push past their nonsense. Continue reading

Unfinished Business

The economic downturn had a massive impact on my workplace. Things were a lot quieter on my return after getting the cancer all-clear. Job losses and a reorganisation had occurred during my extended sick leave and I was allocated a new boss, who was tall with pushed-back shoulders and an overbearing manner. He used to work at Jemunt – a former workplace where a triad of bullies tried to break me, but I spoilt their game by walking out – and was in league with my enemies there. You couldn’t make it up. My return to work was met with indifference, which soon mutated into hostility and badgering. It was obvious he intended to finish off what Jemunt had started. There was bad blood. Continue reading

Different Thinking

Since I got cancer, I have been asked several times by doctors and nurses if I smoked. I assume this was to find out if the cancer was self-inflicted. Each time I replied ‘No,’ they looked at my hands, presumably for nicotine stains. There were never any. Continue reading

Over The Years

One autumn afternoon, I’m at The Royal Marsden Hospital for a check-up with Dr Gavaghan and the latest CT scan result. It pours down as I walk along the South Kensington streets and pause by the green doorway to reflect on how ill I’d been there. I get to the hospital, check in and wait for an hour, flipping though newspapers and messing about on my iPhone. Eventually, I’m called into a small room and wait there alone. The familiar feeling of fear is in the pit of my stomach. My breathing is quicker and I can feel sweat on my brow. Heartbeats seem to reverberate at the front of my throat. Dr Gavaghan walks in and wastes no time in checking my neck and doing a nasendoscopy. I close my eyes and gag during the procedure. He sits back in his seat, looks over the top of his glasses, smiles and puts two thumbs up. Continue reading

Lucky

The mental aspects of going through cancer are enormous. I have literally been given a new lease of life. I feel different as the weight of illness lifts. I enjoy the small things more, like the feeling of raindrops on my face and the morning sunlight shining through the branches of trees. After enduring a sustained period of sickness, I savour being able to go for a run, eat a salad or just drink water. I am happy to be alive. Continue reading

Scanned

I now have CT scans about every six months to see if there are any signs of the cancer returning. These are at The Royal Marsden Hospital and I do my usual walk from the tube station listening to music and turn right onto Fulham Road, cross over and head towards the hospital. On the left are some shops and I always look at the street corner where I used to vomit before going into the radiotherapy sessions. My experiences there are drilled into my brain. But I take reassurance from how far I have come since those times. Continue reading