Last week I read three books, which seems to be roughly the average at the moment. Two of them were by Viktor Frankl and the other I’m not yet allowed to name because it won’t be coming out until later in the year. But here’s a brief round-up anyway. Read more
The latest instalment in a series in which I answer the ongoing question “How do you fit it all in?”, which people ask me when I tell them what I do. Read more
On Tuesday I turned thirty. Happy birthday to me.
I’m making up for never talking about or celebrating my birthday in the past by themeing a few posts around the number 30 this week. Also because it’s easy to come up with post titles that way, and I’m feeling lazy. Read more
Last week’s post left off just as I was about to go into hospital to find out when they’d be booking me in for surgery. I had been hoping that it might be fairly soon, since I’m apparently an urgent case and I’ve barely been able to leave the house in months, but hope is a treacherous and flighty beast, and of course things didn’t go quite so smoothly.
The waiting list for surgery is 4-6 months long; the minimum amount of time in which I’ll be booked for surgery is four months. Then there’s an eight-week recovery period, so basically whatever happens I’m essentially taking the rest of the year off.
They can’t push me up the list unless my Angry Internal Organs actually rupture, which made me start wishing they would, until I remembered that would have irritating potential side effects like involuntary sudden death. So I figured maybe I’ll obey the doctor’s instructions and not do anything to make this whole situation any more precarious, and look after my Angry Organs, and hopefully maintain this tenuous truce for as long as I can.
…she says, just waiting for it to be obliterated.
Last week’s post ended with me about to call the hospital and insist that they give me an appointment. According to the NHS website, the maximum waiting time for non-urgent procedures is 18 weeks. I was first seen on the 9th of March, and have been told several times since then that my case is an urgent one, and yet still I have no date for surgery.
I don’t blame the NHS for this. I’m a lefty, so I blame the Tories.
But regardless of who’s to blame, the fact is that the whole thing hasn’t exactly run smoothly. The week before last I was slotted in for an emergency endoscopy after the hospital forgot to send me an actual appointment, and then they were trying to make me wait until the 31st of July for the results appointment, which had originally been scheduled for the 19th of June. Some more digging around on the NHS website uncovered that, if the hospital cancels at the last minute for a non-clinical reason or otherwise messes up your appointment, they’re required to give you a new one within 18 days.
Armed with this information, last Monday I called the hospital.
I’ve never really been into reading biographies. With the exception of pretty much anything about the life of Kierkegaard, I generally stay away from true stories and read either academic non-fiction, or novels.
But this year quite a lot of biographical accounts have ended up on my reading list, and several of them were amazing enough that I decided to do a whole new Reflections post for them.
I’m defining ‘biography’ quite loosely here, to mean anything where the author draws on personal experience (either their own or someone else’s) to discuss the central premise of the book.
“Yeah, but veganising a Romani recipe means it’s not really Romani anymore, because the whole point of Gypsy cooking is that you use just the stuff you find around you,” I protested to Caitlin the last time she came to stay.
She gave me that long-suffering look that means ‘You’re an idiot sometimes, but I love you anyway’, and pointed out that pretty much all recipes aren’t exactly the way they started out. And also that I wouldn’t be foraging these things from the hedges in any case, so it didn’t really make sense to put restrictions on what I could use.
I started the week exhausted and ill, but knowing I had an even more exhausting few days coming up. I was slightly dreading going to Malaga, because conferences always mean getting very little sleep, and if I hadn’t already booked the flights and a hotel with a strict cancellation policy, I probably would have backed out.
I’m so happy I didn’t.
It’s Monday morning. I wake up to the sound of seagulls screeching outside the window, sun straining through the blind.
I work for a bit, perched on the edge of the single bed in the hotel room with a bright pink laptop on my knee and my feet resting on the chair opposite, tapping out replies to emails and deciding on my Out Of Office message.
By 10am I’m on a bus through the countryside, familiar places passing by the window, invoking memories that have lain dormant since I last returned almost three years ago.