Some time off in London

I was away last week hence my absence from FEC-THis.  Although the FEC-T part of my treatment is over the H is still ongoing and boy is it proving to be a challenge.  There are days when I contemplate cutting off my own hands and legs just to stop them being so painful.  Fortunately common sense gets the better of me and sore as they are, my hands and legs are still useful appendages.  It’s possible the inflammation flared up again not only due to herceptin but also because I walked a lot last week and climbed numerous stairs while enjoying some time in London.

J and I went to see Muse at the Emirates Stadium.  It’s the home of Arsenal FC, a team one of my best friends supports. J said the Emirates was “too posh” to be a football stadium… personally I think all football stadiums should be like Arsenal’s 🙂  Muse were excellent, they played a selection of new songs as well as some of their older material and the show included amazing lighting, chimneys that emitted flames in time with the music for certain songs (locals have been reported as thinking the stadium was on fire!) and a floating light bulb with a trapeze artist drifting above the stage.  As I haven’t been to any events for almost two years being in such a big crowd was a little daunting at first but I soon adjusted to the environment, singing and dancing along with everyone else.  As part of J’s birthday present it turned out to be a good choice of gift because he enjoyed it and was singing Muse songs throughout the week.

As Monday was a Bank Holiday we took a boat trip on the Thames from Westminster Pier to Greenwich. I’ve never visited Greenwich before (how is it that I’m over 40 and haven’t had chance to do that until now…?) and really enjoyed it. I want to make a return visit to see the Maritime Museum and Observatory.  There are some photos from the boat trip below as well as a couple from the Muse concert.

After the boat trip we just had time to change into some smarter clothes before heading off to Mama Mia at the Novello Theatre.  When I asked J a few weeks ago what he’d like to do in London for his birthday he suggested seeing Mama Mia because “it’s the ultimate feel-good musical.”  He was right. Whether you like Abba songs or not the way they’re put together in Mama Mia along with the comedy in the storyline just makes you smile, laugh and sing…. then sing some more.  The Novello is a small but beautifully decorated theatre and although drinks were a little on the pricey side, it was a good night out. We were both singing bits of Abba mixed with bits of Muse over the days that followed… anyone listening would think we were very odd 😉

Our final event in celebration of J’s 20th birthday was a trip to Wembley to see England play the Republic of Ireland.  Although it was a cold evening, the football was lively and there was a good atmosphere in the stadium.  Our seats were close enough to the pitch to be able to see the players quite well and even though it was just a friendly match, there’s something special about watching your home country.  The result was a 1-1 draw and to me that seemed fair.  After walking to and from Wembley and encountering numerous steps my knees and ankles were pretty unhappy… but I wasn’t going to let them ruin anything.

All in all the events celebrating J’s upcoming 20th birthday were a success and I’m so glad we had this precious time together. It’s not all over yet because I have another little event planned for him tomorrow lunchtime and I finally managed to finish decorating his birthday cake this afternoon ready for the big day on Monday.  I can’t post a photo of the cake because he might see it here and that would ruin the surprise!

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Inhumanity: when a “cause” spawns horrific consequences

Two wrongs do not make a right.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

When I woke up this morning I was preoccupied by thoughts of my 9am hospital visit. My preoccupation lasted approximately three minutes because I quickly discovered that a young soldier was brutally hacked to death on the streets of London yesterday. He was ambushed in broad daylight not far from the largest military barracks in the capital and pictures of the perpetrators soaked in their victim’s blood are now all over the press. Various reports suggest the two attackers viciously stabbed the young man and decapitated him all the while encouraging members of the public to take photographs or film of this sickening event.

Whilst officials were desperately trying to play down the motives for this act of barbarism eye-witness statements and footage of the culprits ‘explaining’ themselves are crystal clear.  One witness said “They grabbed the guy towards the wall then stabbed him – stabbed him, stabbed him, cut his neck, and then dragged him into the middle of the road.  They dragged the poor guy – he was obviously dead, there was no way a human could take what they did to him.”

The poor guy was Drummer Lee Rigby,  a 25 year-old from the Royal Fusiliers. Tonight his two-year-old son no longer has a father.

No doubt when Drummer Rigby joined-up he realised becoming a soldier meant operating in war-zones and placing himself in situations fraught with danger.  No doubt his loved ones also realised the significant level of personal risk that went along with his career choice.  I suspect neither Drummer Rigby nor his family and friends expected he would be ambushed and hacked to death in London all in the name of a “cause.” 

Irrespective of your position on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the Falklands, Uganda, the Niger Delta or any other troubled place on our very troubled planet, two wrongs never make a right.  Irrespective of your beliefs or religion, Christian, Muslim, Judaism, Buddhist, Sikhism, Hinduism, Agnostic, Atheist, Pagan or Wiccan, two wrongs never make a right.  Irrespective of your ethnicity, culture, class, origin or status, two wrongs never make a right.  We of all faiths, colours, religions, countries and castes would do well to make this our mantra.  We should ensure our children – let’s not forget the men who committed this crime are someone’s children – respect the sanctity of life, all life, even if it happens to be different to our own.

When a “cause” becomes so all-consuming that it permits one man to murder another, to boast about that wrongdoing and encourage others to do likewise we have slipped from humanity into inhumanity. As a mother and a peaceable citizen living in a country that is supposed to be “safe” I can only echo the words of the person who left these flowers for Drummer Rigby. I hope your suffering was brief and that you are at peace now.  I am disgusted that my child is growing up in a world so full of corruption and unnecessary violence. I am ashamed to call myself human when this kind of depravity exists in our world.