Fifteen minutes of fame (actually 18:03 minutes)

I posted a couple of months ago about being invited to be the patient speaker at the Lymphoma Association’s Annual Conference in Birmingham. 

Well, wouldn’t you know it, they’ve posted a video of this experience on their YouTube channel. All 18 minutes and 3 seconds of it.

It was a pity that there wasn’t a lectern to use, and that the speaker had to look down too much ( or just did through his ineptitude…), but I am proud of the amount of gesticulation involved 🙂

It was a good experience, as I’m sure I have said before, so if you want to cringe along with me, please feel free to click on the link.

And yes, I do need to lose some weight!

My life is worthless (well, sort of). And the toppest Top Tip you might ever read.

That’s a bit of a dramatic (over-dramatic) headline, but, according to pretty much all the life assurance companies in the country, it may as well be true.

As part of the house move, the mortgage is going to have to increase. Consequently, I have been making enquiries about increasing life assurance. We currently have insurance to cover the mortgage we have now, but I thought I would take out a new policy to cover the new mortgage and some spare, so that in the event of the inevitable, it would be paid off and my Merry Widow could take that year-long round the world cruise…

Unfortunately, a pedalo on the lake at Hove is about as close as she will get. I am uninsurable.

With a pre-existing condition, I knew that life assurance would be a challenge, but basically the insurance companies don’t want to know. They won’t even cover me for any other cause of death, excluding the lymphoma.

The best they can do is insure me after 4 1/2 years of remission. In my case, they take that to run from the end of the maintenance, which would be at the end of 2016. So, we will revisit this at the end of next year. 

The trouble is, of course, that 4-5 years is the typical length of remission before becoming symptomatic again. With the benefit of the maintenance, that should be longer in my case, but who knows. Cleverly, the insurance companies have made the condition for getting insurance pretty nigh impossible for a lot of people. By the time they get to be in a position where they have been long enough post-treatment, they will be needing the treatment again… Clever.

I will therefore have to rely on the death-in-service benefit through my work to cover the mortgage in the event of me shuffling off. Which is OK, but that money should be used for something else. Like that cruise.

So, to the Top Tip.

Please, please, if you can afford it, buy enough life assurance AND critical illness insurance, while you are young and fit. Or even older and fit. And, if you can afford it, DO NOT STOP PAYING THE PREMIUMS. I had critical illness once but I let it drop when we moved north and were strapped for cash. If have posted before that life would be very different now if I’d still had that insurance. 

There. That’s a word from the “wise-after-the-event”. And you can have that tip for nothing. Don’t leave yourself with nothing when you need it…

Moving on

The process of selling this house and buying the next moves glacially forwards. It does take an extraordinary amount of time to get through these processes, but slowly we are getting there.

We signed the contracts on Friday morning and our solicitor anticipates an exchange sometime next week. 13th August seems to be the date for completion – a date dictated by the party at the bottom of the chain, to whose tune the rest of us inevitably have to dance. That will be a year and two days from the date the house first went on the market. My only slight concern is that as far as I know, the new property is still full of the old lady’s things, from dining table to tea towels. I have this vision of turning up one Thursday morning, with a Pickford’s lorry in the street, only to be greeted by a bungalow still full of someone else’s stuff.

So, the clearing the junk out of this house continues. I have ventured back into ebay to sell some stuff from the garage, but to be honest, i am not sure the time and effort is worth it for low-value items. Or at least items that don’t generate many bids and sell for £1.04. By the time Paypal have robbed you of 24p, that’s a whopping 80p in my account. This was for a folding camping table to seat four people. The old car topbox, bought about 25 years ago and unused for 15 years, did fetch £36 though, so that was OK. I am also selling some camera stuff, but that’s not drawing much interest either. Maybe a package to ffordes in Scotland is called for again…

We have decided to pay a removal firm to pack the house. The extra cost is about £400 all told, but I think that’s worth it. The thought of putting 4 bedrooms into boxes isn’t one I relish. I will pack up my study myself, though, as printers, scanners, computers and camera stuff needs to be handled by someone who knows what they are doing, rather than by someone who can lift a freezer full of food and carry it down the drive to the lorry. I am just hoping that none of our stuff goes walkabout like it did when we moved up here. While our house was in storage for two weeks, someone used my grandad’s wheelbarrow that I had ridden in as a two year old (as you do) and filled it with my hifi… Goodbye hifi, hello Barclaycard. A long story…

This week, I have also had done something that I have been meaning to have done for nearly 30 years. In the shed at the bottom of my grandad’s garden was a chair. It was hidden under piles of “useful stuff” and surrounded by cans of creosote, rags, old lawnmowers etc. And spiders. Lots of spiders.

Over the years, I have abused it by varnishing it, staining it, stripping the varnish off, waxing it. All the while, the legs and stringers below have been becoming looser and looser, such that it wasn’t really safe to sit on. Well, now it is. All that structure was removed and rebuilt, with a missing stringer replaced. The repair man who did the work reckoned that the chair is probably mid 19th C, which is much older than I thought it would be. As a treat yesterday, on its return from the repairers, I gave it a decent waxing. And I sat in it. Which was nice.

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In a mere 6 weeks, there may be an update from somewhere else. Fingers crossed.