The Ride 2012

Forget the Tour de France and the Olympics, this year’s big cycling event is happening on Saturday the 4th August and you’re all invited.

On August 4th join my sister Jess and my superhero husband Sam as they board our geriatric tandem to ride the 70 mile journey from our Olympic capital to the spires of Oxford to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Whether you’re on a bike, a tandem or even a unicycle, anyone can join and are welcome. It really is a case of the more the merrier, and there is plenty of time to train, every rider who signs-on gets an event t-shirt as a thank you. If wheels aren’t your thing, but you’d still like to support then you can donate on the Just Giving page, or buy one of our ‘The Ride’ t-shirts which we hope to be able to put on sale soon.

Whether you show your support by joining The Ride, through a donation to sponsor the cyclists or just simply wishing us luck it will be so appreciated. Please email or if you have any queries or if you would like to join The Ride.


A well-timed treat

This post is dedicated to the wonderful Sarah Egan who whisked Sam and myself away to Whatley Manor for the most beautiful and memorable weekend away.

Sarah and I met in the most unlikely of circumstances. I’d turned up for an Oxford tri ride – a very rare occurrence – and when I arrived at the meeting point there were two other riders there – Sarah and a guy on the blingest most expensive shiny over-the-top piece of machinery imaginable. Said guy looked distinctly horrified at the prospect of having his precious training ride ruined by two female tagger-oners and cut straight to the chase: “What type of ride did you have in mind because I was planning on long, hard and fast?” Attempting to stifle our giggles we released Mr Bling to do his own thing and ended up having a lovely ride together to Henley. And the rest is history.

Outside in one of the gorgeous gardens

So thanks to Sarah’s extraordinary generosity we were treated to the best weekend away ever. Words cannot describe how beautiful the hotel was – there were tastefully decorated multiple drawing rooms complete with plush cushions and chaise longues to chill out in, the beds to quote Sarah “felt like whipped cream”, the surrounding gardens were simply spectacular.

And it just got better – Sarah had hired out the 40 seater hotel cinema so on Saturday afternoon we had the pleasure of an exclusive viewing of  ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, complete with popcorn. This whirlwind pleasure train continued into the evening with a meal at the hotel brasserie. Sadly the chemo has done very strange things to my taste buds so I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the food but I gather it was very good! Typical, the first time I get to sample truffle oil and I can’t even taste it. (Very odd stuff this chemo business – I actually found myself craving a McDonalds hamburger & fries on the way home. Having given the golden arches a wide berth for the best part of 20 years this was a very odd sensation!)

And so the paradise weekend continued on Sunday with a lazy morning complete with paper and tea tray in bed followed by a suitably decadent breakfast. And what better way to finish a perfect weekend than spending a few hours chilling out in the spa. Because I can’t get the arm with the pic line wet, my sojourn into the jacuzzi no doubt looked a little odd to the bystanders, with my left arm raised, army style to keep it dry. But it was very pleasant all the same.

Sadly all good things have to come to an end. Thank you so much Sarah for making our weekend, month, year – it really meant so much to us both and the timing couldn’t have been better.




The hair and the tortoise

Another week spent largely at the hospital although thankfully not as an inpatient this time. Having dutifully given yet another blood sample on Sunday ready for chemo, I was somewhat shocked to receive a phone call on Monday calling us back to the hospital to give yet another set of samples as apparently the first lot were underfillled. The farce continued when we rocked up on Tuesday and it turned out that the second round of blood samples were also unusable because they hadn’t been labelled properly. So three rounds of blood samples down and finally I was ready to go. It was a longhaul day but made immeasurably better by the fantastic company provided by my parents as well was Polly, Claire and Roberta who dropped by to visit.On Wednesday Mum and I got a real treat courtesy of a ‘Wig Fitting Workshop’ organised by the Maggie’s centre. There was a professional hairdresser on hand to give tips on the perfect hair style for your face shape and how to customise wigs to your liking. As a cancer patient you’re entitled to a subsidised wig on the NHS so my order is in!

My natural hair would never do this in real life!

There were a couple of ladies on hand to give tips on false eyelash and eyebrow application and some truly beautiful headscarves to try out. Having been initially resistant to the idea of a scarf for fear it screams ‘cancer patient’, I was actually quite pleasantly surprised and ended up buying 3!

Thursday back to the hospital again to get my 2 day chemo pump unplugged (I’m sure my parents were sick of ferrying me to the hospital by now!) but we did at least have a Churchill free day on Friday. Little sister Jess came to visit and we continued the girlie themed week with a highly successful jewellery hunting expedition in the Oxford covered market.

Although I’m still very bloated with fluid and generally very weak (even getting up a couple of stairs is a bit of mission), having had such fantastic company and support has really made a difference. And once again I’ve been touched by the amount of suppport that is made available to cancer patients – free workshops, a loan of a wheelchair courtesey of the red cross…

Losing my hair feels like no big deal in the general scheme of things and hopefully the chemo will kick in soon, the bloating will go down and I’ll be able to graduate from my tortoise walking pace and get shot of the maternity clothes I’ve had to resort to, to cover this massive distended belly. Maybe even get back on the bike at some point in the distant future. In the meantime, must work on those wheelchair wheelies!