Wasdale. On a Bank Holiday Weekend

So, yesterday, we went to Cumbria to collect the slate threshold for the doors. More of that later.

While up there, we decided to drive round from Honister and have lunch in The Boot Inn, near Eskdale. We stayed there a few years ago and the food is good pub food and the place is welcoming even when it’s busy. We had a sandwich and some juice in the garden and it was a nice lunch.

Afterwards, we went round to Wastwater in Wasdale, fairly remote but very famous and the Lake District’s deepest lake. It’s a lovely spot, most of the time. Yesterday, the bubble burst, for me at least. It was “crowded”. There aren’t many parking spots there, as it’s a long way round to get there and it takes a bit of an effort. But, they were all full yesterday. People were parked on the side of the road and on the grass verges.

People were sunbathing on the lakeside, and there were several inflatable boats on the water. My heart sank. It was such a depressing sight.

As much as they can be, there are some things that should be “sacred”. Just because you can drive your Mercedes 4×4 SUV onto the grass verge, doesn’t mean that you should. Just because you can park 100m from the water and drag your inflatable boat into it, doesn’t mean that you should.

Call me a miserable old git if you like, but there are dozens of waters and lakes in the Lake District where you can paddle your inflatable canoe. Wastwater, beneath England’s highest mountain and on the “difficult” side of the Lake District, shouldn’t be one of them. Yes, I know that it’s a free country. I know that people can go where they want, when they want and do what they want (within reason). And I know that if there is any time that this place is going to be full of people, a sunny Sunday afternoon on the second May Bank Holiday is going to be right up there with the worst of them. More fool me.

I had thought at one time that I would like my ashes scattered on the little island that gets cut off when the lake is full, but is easily reached by a causeway when the lake is low, as it is this weekend. I am so glad that I have changed my mind.

Here is the Wastwater that I know

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and here’s the scene yesterday, early afternoon.

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I don’t think that I’ve been there completely on my own, although I have been close, but there would normally be just two or three cars there.

I blame that ITV programme a couple of years ago which showed “The Best Views in Britain”. This was one of them, if not the best. Well, it certainly wasn’t the best yesterday.

Anyway…

As promised, here’s the slate threshold in its rightful place. I reckon it looks pretty good, with only a little bit of making good decoration to be done when the cement has dried properly.

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After the 9 months, this has suddenly felt like the icing on the cake.

Blitz. And a place called Hope

Well, more of a war of attrition really, but after some extremely hard work on behalf of Ann, double digging this plot and removing at least three wheelie bin loads of roots and weeds, the Lost Garden of Comberbach is finally looking pretty good.

We did manage to plant the trees last week and today, I laid the turf. It looks good already, but will obviously need time to settle down and fill in the joints.

So, in nine months, along with all the other things that we have done, we have gone from this

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to this

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Now, that is what I call “progress”.

Tomorrow, the slate threshold for the French doors will be collected and I will fit that on Monday. I will also be able to finish the final pieces of skirting to the living room and the painting can completed.

The new front door will be installed on 13th June, which will make a huge difference to the look of the place.

Not sure what we are going to do with ourselves now that this is coming to an end. Move on to the back garden, probably.

And all of a sudden it’s June next week. Again.

Time to think about the summer holiday. Orkney this year, in a cottage that is walking distance from Skara Brae, so that should be good in the long, long evenings up there in late June. It’s a long drive just for a week, but we do get to stay at The George in Inveraray on the way home, so that’s good. However, our stop on the way up is north of Inverness, so that will be a bit of a trek one Friday in a few week’s time.

June is also the time to see my consultant for 10 minutes. I am sure that it will be business as usual when I see him. To be honest, I don’t think that six-monthly check-ups are even worth it any more, but seeing as BUPA pay him about £250 every time he sees me, I am sure that we will carry on like this over the next few years. I am pretty sure that if this were an NHS clinic, I’d be on 12 monthlies by now. What these appointments do, though, is get me thinking about “things” again, despite the fact that I’m feeling very well. I AM very well. But the upcoming clinics just get you to think about what might be to come a bit more often than during the rest of the year.

One interesting thing that seems to be emerging from studies of people who have had stem cell transplants ( a real possible treatment for me some time in the future ) is that they seem to be presenting with heart disease much more often than the general population. Given that the process involves harvesting your stem cells, growing them in the lab, while simultaneously killing off your entire immune system, such that you have to spend three weeks in complete isolation in hospital as they reintroduce your stem cells and you grow yourself a new immune system, is it any wonder that other parts of the body decide to rebel? Heart problems could be a price worth paying to avoid the consequences of not having a transplant, though. I don’t know. If ever that were to be a possibility, that’s a long way off, so I shall file that under “not yet pending” and not worry about it.

What I have also learned over the past weeks, having attended the Lymphoma Association’s Annual Conference in Nottingham at the beginning of the month (and elsewhere) is that it is a good idea to volunteer for clinical trials if one is available when you next need treatment. There is a lady who attends the support group in Manchester for example, who was on a trial for a new antibody therapy and her disease has been all but wiped out completely. To be fair, so has mine at present, having had the best standard treatment available at the time when I needed it. I have said this before, and I will no doubt say it again, but I am a very lucky man. I know it. And I am very grateful.

A question was asked at the Conference as to whether there was a link between pesticides and herbicides used in agriculture and lymphoma. The expert consultant on the panel (who also happens to be on the NCRI Committee that I joined recently) suggested that there was a definite link, when the population as a whole is considered. It is impossible to say whether an individual’s lymphoma can be attributed to these chemicals, but the growth in incidents of lymphoma over recent years mirrors, but lags behind, the growth in the use of agrochemicals. Never was there a better time to eat organically and stay away from farms than in the 1960s and 70s.

Oh well… If only we had known then, what we know now.

It doesn’t really matter what the cause is, or was. I have this and while it’s dormant now, it’s not going away permanently and I’m fine with that. What does matter, and I believe and hope that things are improving, is that we as a society, continue to reduce the use of agrochemicals and give our children and grandchildren a chance of avoiding lymphomas, or any other disease for that matter.

If the link with farming is proven, (can you prove that?) wouldn’t it be nice to live long enough to see that the incidence of new lymphoma falls year on year as the use of agrochemicals reduces too?

Bill Clinton once said “I still believe in a place called Hope”.

So do I.

(Blimey, I’m sounding like a tree hugger)

(Blimey 2, I have actually written something about lymphoma in this blog about lymphoma. What is the world coming to?)

 

 

So here we are, seven years on

Time flies when you’re having fun

Exactly seven years and over 300 blog posts later, I am pleased to say that I am still here (obviously) and as fit as I will ever be. My next appointment with the consultant isn’t until next month, but I know that there will be nothing for him to find and I will be good to go for another six months. So, that’s all good.

It’s been a very interesting period, as all those posts will testify. I defy anyone to read back from the beginning – that way madness and a very dull morning will lie – but I am glad I started this blog and I am glad I keep it up. One day it will revert to its original purpose, but I am pretty confident that day will be a long way off. So much for only five years to live! Pah!

A lot has happened in that time of course, but I know that in so many ways, my life has changed for the better. I wouldn’t change a single day and truly appreciate everything that this part of my life has brought to me.

Once again, sincere thanks to everyone who has and continues to support me, even though, at the moment, I am in a quiet patch as far as needing support goes. I will let you know when I need a shoulder!

In other, more important, news, I am also pleased to say that the living room is now 99% completed. I need to order the slate threshold to the patio doors, which will allow me to complete the last of the skirtings, but everything else is just about finished. I have to say that the room looks 100% better than it did a month ago and it is now possible to foresee a time when there isn’t anything to do inside the bungie. It’s been bloody hard work (not just by me!), as previous posts have described, but it’s been worth it.

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The outside is a different matter…

A new front door has been ordered and should be fitted by the end of June. Steps are being taken to order a new bathroom and it looks like a rotovator will be hired for a weekend soon. May Bank Holiday as a blitz on the garden?

It will be good to get some turf down there, plant the fruit trees that are still in their pots, and generally tidy the front garden up.

The frog spawn doesn’t seem to have come to much. The cold spell must have done for them, which is a pity.