Sunday, 12 February 2012

Yes nurse, that is a potato peeler on my bedside table and yes, I do need it.

All the nurses are laughing at me 'cos I am in hospital with a potato peeler on my bedside table.
Of course I've got potato peeler by my bed.
Why? I would have thought it was bleedin' obvious?
Hospital sandwiches are lean, mean machines. No trimmings.
A ham sandwich is a ham sandwich.
I need cucumber in my sandwich, so Paul brings me cucumber (and a bonus of some nice cherry tomatoes).
You need my cucumber to go in the fridge (Health &Safety regulations).
Your fridge is too cold (H&S regs), so my cucumber freezes.
I need to peel frozen skin off my cucumber to put in my ham sandwich.
Your knives are all blunt (H&S so I don't injure or kill myself?).
Paul brings me in sharp knife from home.
You promptly confiscate said sharp knife (H&S regs). Paul brings me in potato peeler.
Simples? No? Let me say it again in one sentence:
Peeler on my bedside table, to peel frozen cucumber, in your too cold fridge, 'cos your knives are all blunt and you confiscated my sharp knife.
Not funny now, is it?

Just got to figure out how to slice the damn peeled cucumber.
Wonder if they allow razor blades.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Moi? TV junkie? Whatever gave you that idea?

WARNING - terribly boring story ahead - not really worthy of a blog, but too damn long for Facebook

I'm turning into a right TV junkie, planning my evening's viewing every afternoon. Watching far too much crap and every quiz show under the sun (in the misguided hope that I'll learn something; gloating when I get more questions right than the contestant).
I'm still reserving my afternoons for listening to the radio, so maybe I'm a radio addict as well. Mornings? They're just too action packed to watch or listen to anything. You know the sort of thing - medications, obs (I know the medical lingo, I learnt it watching Casualty), doctor's rounds, bed bath, change sheets, and much much more. Strangely, the NHS can afford to give us clean sheets every single day, which must cost quite a lot when you add up the laundry costs of the 350 patients in this hospital.

But I'm ashamed to confess to inwardly cursing various poor unsuspecting family members or friends who dare to visit me during one of 'my programmes'! They've taken an hour and a half driving up here to see me (often in rush hour and then on dark unfamiliar country roads), brought me fresh food and the odd sweet treat and what do I do? I'll tell you - I silently sigh. I do, I silently sigh.
How utterley ungrateful is that? I'd go so far as to say reprehensible.

Don't get me wrong, I love them all and treasure their visits to keep me sane (and fed), but really, how very inconsiderate to come right in the middle of Masterchef, One Born Every Minute, Room 101 or whatever I happen to be watching.

Hello lovely people, don't you have a TV guide? Couldn't you come during Match of the Day or Alan Titchmarsh something or other.
Only kidding (ish)- you're all keeping me sane in this hell hole.

So on tonight's menu:
Egypt - Children of the Revolution
Safari Vet School (I'll watch anything with ponies, puppies or panthers)
Room 101 (annoyingly clashing with Mastermind - no recording facilities here). I'm rather fond of this totally pointless programme and loved the one the other week with Danny Baker. Tonight it's Alice Cooper, Chris Tarrant and Chris Packham. Hmmm, could be good. Or not.
Law and Order: UK
Eastenders (sorry Tiff),
Graham Norton
Chris Moyles Quiz Show on 4+1 (clashes with Graham Norton)

That takes me from 7pm to 12.30am when I'll try and get to sleep listening to a nice mellow playlist.

Oops, must go now, I've already missed the start of my first programme.
By the way, if you're thinking of visiting, can I remind you that I'm busy till past midnight!

Told you I've become a TV junkie.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

I will sleep

Nights can be long and lonely in hospital. Sleep comes easy to the other patients; but me - I'm lying here, my mind racing at a hundred miles an hour. I want to sleep. I'm afraid to sleep. Ive been having some medical complications tonight, so I'm wide awake and scared. I crave sleep but I've also been having a recurring nightmare where I turn over in bed and my head rolls off my body, off the bed spinning towards the floor. But it never reaches the floor; it spins and turns in an endless spiral until I wake up gasping for breath and my heart pounding.
So I reach for my iPod and headphones and drown myself in goodness and recognise the immense power of music. So tonight, thank you Mr Springsteen for Thunder Road and Jersey Girl, thank you Steve Miller for Dear Mary, thank you Danny Baker for reminding me about Fleetwood Mac's beautiful and haunting Man of the World. And thank you Simone Felice (Duke and the King) for writing songs like One More American Song, If You Ever Get Famous and Union Street; your talent is immeasurable.

Tonight, you're all on my playlist carrying me to serenity, calm and slumber.
I will sleep. I will dream good dreams.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

'Emma, Emma, 'scuse me Emma'

"Emma, Emma, Emma, 'scuse me Emma."

I'd consider myself a fairly compassionate person. But right now I want to tell her to shut the fuck up and go to sleep.

The ward I'm in has six beds; two rows of three, opposite each other. I've got a prime position next to the window, which not only means I get the most light, see the sunrise and am closest to fresh air when the windows are open (believe me, that's vital here, I'll explain another time), but I also get extra storage place for all my crap on the window sill.

Next to me is Kima, who is from Hong Kong, doesn't speak a lot of English and is quite poorly, so we don't communicate much. She borrows my super duper remote control fan sometimes and thanks me, but that's about it. The bed next to Kima is occupied, but too far away from me to know who's in it. But she's quiet, whoever she is.

On the other side, furthest away from me, by the door is Annabel and I'll tell you about her another day. The bed opposite me is empty and between that and Annabel, is Sarah.

Now compassionate me has every sympathy for Sarah; she has learning difficulties and doesn't really understand what's happening to her or why she's here. But right now, I just want to give her a huge dose of anything that'll knock her out. And I mean anything.

She just constantly calls for the last nurse who attended her. Constantly means non-stop, I'm not kidding. She remembers every nurse's name. Tonight it's Emma. As soon as Emma has made her comfortable and leaves the ward it goes something like this:
"Emma, Emma, Emma, 'scuse me Emma. Emma, Emma, Emma, 'scuse me Emma. Shut up you. Emma, Emma, Emma, Emma, 'scuse me Emma. Shut up".

I can't really do it justice, she works up to a crescendo then has about a ten second break and then starts again. Goes on all day and into the night. Whilst the nurses are great with her and sympathetic to us who have to live with it, once they leave the ward, they can't hear her from the nurses station or other parts of the ward. So it may be half an hour, sometimes an hour before they come back in.

Oh and another thing, soon as they turn the ward lights out around 11pm, she wants her little bedside wall spotlight on - all fucking night. But she wants it pointing outwards, so it's not shining in her eyes. Good thinking Sarah, why not turn it around so it's shining straight into my eyes all night. I put a stop to that, quick smart.

Anyway, soon as the nurse comes to her, she stops calling out, so my theory is that if a nurse sat with her for fifteen minutes, she'd fall asleep and we'd all get some peace. But they have about 20 other patients to look after, so I doubt that's going to happen. So on she drones. And on. I've tried earplugs and putting headphones on with loud music, but still I hear her. It's like I'm tuned it to her, just like I was when my kids were babies and I heard the first little whimper they might make in the night.
I'm fucking tuned in to Sarah's ranting. And I'm here for another two weeks.

I need to sleep - it's getting on for 1am and they wake you up between 5.30 and 6am, even on the weekend. I'm torn between my compassionate side and wanting to rip her bloody lungs out. At this precise moment compassionate is going out the window, which I'm convenient close to. Just STFU.

OMG - she's gone quiet at last (ten minutes after writing that last sentence) - Emma's just came and told me they've given her a painkiller (which makes you drowsy) and a sleeping pill.

So I'm off to get my five and a half hours (if I'm lucky). That is, unless Kima's drip machine doesn't go on the blink again and start bleeping constantly.... you know the dripping tap one.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Hospital Observations

Where the hell do random thoughts come from?

Yesterday I had a little excitement thrown into my dull as ditchwater hospital routine...They told me I could forego the dreaded bed bath and have a shower. Of sorts. When they say have a shower, what they actually mean is they transfer you to this flat waterproof bed and they pour water all over you from a shower that has practically no water pressure. So picture me on top of a giant blue lilo with sides, on top of a supermarket trolley and you're getting the picture. Anyway, off I went on said lilo to the wet room at the end of the corridor.

Once you've got used to baring your modesty to one and all (which let's face it, for us girls, is usually in childbirth), a lying down shower instead of a bed bath is pretty much a five star luxury. So I have my shower, flat on my back and the feeling of hot water running all over me and being able to wash my two week tangled hair was pretty damn good. Relaxed and good to go was how I felt.

So where on earth, when the nurse said she was popping out to grab some towels, did this come from.... I looked up to the ceiling, saw an air vent above me and into my head popped this... if a swarm of bees came through that vent, would I lie dead still, shut my eyes, cover my nose and mouth with my hand and hope they didn't attack me? ....OR... would I sit up slightly, reach out for the Emergency cord that, lying flat was just out of my reach, and risk them attacking me due to unexpected movements? You can see my dilemma. Play dead and hope for the best, or risk attack by moving and calling for help. It was very real you know.

But that's not all... the image of playing dead just led me straight on to this equally ridiculous scenario .....Shit, I thought, I'm lying here on a trolley (gurney or whatever you want to call it), complete with channel along the side of the matress part with outlets at the end to let the liquid escape (in this case water, but could be blood), in a white sterile room all on my own. I could be on a slab in the mortuary, waiting for the coroner while he sharpens his knives ready to perform the postmortem. It was very real; I was there, on that cold slab, just waiting for him to make his entrance, for more than a few moments, I can tell you.

When the nurse came back in I actually heard myself say the words "I'm so glad you're back, it's really scary in here". God knows what she must have thought.

I want to know what the heck leads to these totally random thoughts that just pop into my head from nowhere, just when I'm feeling pretty damn laid back.

Tell me the truth - am I just really weird?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Don't Google 'Snoodle' ....
there are some things you might never want to know

I can't quite remember how it came up. The word snoodle.
But it went something like this.
I have a relentless yearning to get another dog and somewhere I heard of a dog which was a cross between a Schnauzer and a Poodle, which I thought sounded rather cute, but I didn't know what it was called.
That's where Google, or Paul (my personal Google, when I'm not near the computer or if I'm feeling lazy) comes in so handy. Taking an educated (or as it turned out, not) guess, I thought the dog may be called a Snoodle. Shame I got it wrong cos it's actually  called a  Schnoodle- the dog that is
You have been warned, or maybe you've already been there, done that (if you're a bloke)...

Of course if I'd asked my personal Google, I may have got a whole different answer......

Friday, 5 August 2011

See Saw, Majorie Daw..

What does he mean when he says "I want to be 100% sure"?
100% sure the tumour hasn't come back, or 100% sure it has come back?
'He', is the surgeon, who just a few hours ago turned the camera on me, or should I say in me? Don't you know that's my job Doc Derry? I take the pictures round here.

It's that time of year again. Twice a year, pack a bag, take a deep breath, and do a last minute deal with God, yourself or whoever will listen, that you really will stop moaning about the little things this time, just as long as the exploratory check up shows that you're still in the clear.

Its four years now since they found and removed the tumour.
This is pretty much how it went when they told me....

Bad news... It wasn't as cyst as we'd hoped. It's a tumour.
Oh shit.

Good news...we found it early, so it hasn't spread. We'll whip it out next week.
Fantastic. (I'm saying fantastic 30 seconds after being told I have a tumour? Amazing how your perspective changes in an instant.

Bad news... It's a grade 3, that's an aggressive type. It's quite likely to come back.
Oh shit, not so good then.

Good news... It's enclosed by four layers of muscle wall so long as we do regular check ups, it shouldn't spread even if it does come back.
That's good?
It may come back?
Shit, that's bad.

See Saw, Majorie Daw is pretty much how it's been over these past four years. A load of ups and downs.
Tumour out (See), treatment of live BCG (tuberculosis) IN my body (Saw).
Six months normal life, followed by invasive check up and hospital stay every six months.
And so on....

But mostly it's been more ups than downs as I've been well all this time and Doc Derry has pronounced me clear of any reoccurrence at every check up. Until today.

I went into theatre this morning, naturally a little anxious and apprehensive - nothing new there. But soon as I saw my lovely anaesthetist, Dr Willie Sellers, I felt at more at ease. He has a wonderful bedside manner and has been present at every cystoscopy I've had since diagnosis. We chat about our kids, music, food, drugs, travel, anything really to keep my mind off other thing and he's a real good guy. Gives me just a tad of sedation (sometimes none) and humours me every minute of the horrible invasive procedure.
Today he even let me put my own drugs through the needle thing (canula?) that he'd just stuck in my hand. Apparently that's a first in Theatre Two.
Big needle in my hand.

Then I'm on the operation table in theatre - it's quite weird being awake in theatre and you can really see what goes on. Today they were chatting about Willie's tasty flapjacks that he'd baked and brought in and politely mentioning that next time he might want to use rice paper to bake them on, as the greaseproof paper which had stuck to them wasn't very tasty. Oh and his daughter is getting married in Hackney next month. And yes, I am on christian name terms with Dr S.

Brief interruption from writing now, as dinner has arrived. Well I say dinner, it's 5.15 in the afternoon for god's sake. What's dinner doing here? And more to the point, do you call a measly wafer-thin tuna sandwich and two crackers with 20grams of cheese dinner? I don't. That's afternoon tea. But I'll save it for later as I suspect there's nothing more coming till tomorrow morning.

So, back to theatre, they are still chatting about the greaseproof paper not being very digestible, and then one by one they go a bit quiet and are all looking at the monitor. This is the bit where you wish you'd had a general anaesthetic and were oblivious to any ominous blobs on a monitor. After a pause, he told his theatre staff that he was going to take two biopsies.
So, as I was awake I asked him if he'd seen anything nasty.
This is the bit where he didn't say there was another tumour, but he didn't say there wasn't. He hummed and ha'ad while looking down his microscopical camera lens and then back at the monitor and said:
"I just want to be 100% sure". and that's pretty much all I got out of him.
But I'm thinking 'does he want to be 100% sure of what he suspects (that the tumour has come back), or does he want to be 100% sure that it hasn't come back'. But I got no more out of him other than the biopsy results take a week and so if I hadn't heard from him by this time next week to assume it's good news. A week eh, won't be looking forward to answering the phone then.

So the big question is, right now am I a glass full, or a glass empty kind of a girl?
Don't he infamous 'they' say your frame of mind is supposed to have an effect on the Big C?
There now, I almost said it.

I won't be going home today, as having the biopsies means an overnight stay with about two litres of fluid an hour being dripped through my body. Not to mention breakfast at five thirty am.
Come to think of it, I'll probably be well up for it by then.

Drip, drip, drip, two litres and hour. And a room with a view. What more could a girl ask for.

Monday, 1 August 2011

I'd like a Leica, but if not,
one of those nice new TVs'll do...

We found ourselves in John Lewis in Kings Rd today, for no other reason than to get out of the heat and have a bite to eat. But although the view from the sixth floor cafe is pretty spectacular, a chicken sandwich was a whopping £8.95, so we wandered down to the fourth floor camera department, going past some pretty massive flat screen TVs on the way, one of which I commented didn't have a very good picture for the price tag of just under 2 grand. Paul laughed, but as he laughs at most things I say, I didn't find it particularly unusual.

After ruling out buying a Leica and its cheaper Panasonic cousin we headed out past that aforementioned blurry TV. Paul stopped me, handed me some plastic glasses and although I realised what was coming, I didn't realise what was coming. 

When you get to my age, there's not really that many totally new and mind-blowing new things left to experience. Laugh if you must, but I have never seen a 3D film, never been to one, seen a clip, or worn those funny glasses. Bloody hell - WOW, WOW, WOW, it is a total new dimensional experience, if there's such a thing. There was a part when the footballer kicked the ball 'out' of the TV and I instinctively ducked. And a man walked in front of me right through some snowflakes that were drifting in my direction. Good God, no wonder babies are born with blurred vision; imagine if you came from the dark womb to full blown colour 3D. You'd pop straight back in.

The only downside of the whole experience was when the lift arrived to go downstairs, a woman stepped out thinking it was the sixth floor, so I said to her that she could always stay on the fourth floor and take a look at the amazing 3D TVs. I was still quite giddy from the whole experience. She looked at me quite disdainfully and said without a hint of humour, "I've already got one" and stepped back in the lift.  There's your Sloane Ranger right there. She was probably heading to the sixth floor for that £8.95 chicken salad sandwich!
I had to suppress my smirk, when she got back in the lift, which proceeded to descend to the ground floor. Duh, not so smart now, are you lady?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

How does my garden grow?

Well I say garden, technically it's the neglected concrete area outside my flat which I converted into my 'patio' a few years ago. Put in a door from my living room to said area, planted a few (well a lot) of things that had no labels and were going cheap at the garden centre, stuck a table and chairs out there and abracadabra I now have a 'city garden'. You know, round here they add on at least £100,000 to the price of a flat.

Well, how does my garden grow? As a matter of fact quite nicely thank you very much, since you ask.
I just ate my first ever home grown strawberry.
Really quite delicious. Well yes, it did have a spiky little bit in the middle that almost choked me (thanks for the slap on the back and glass of water Paul, but I'd really rather you didn't save my life on a daily basis).
My first strawberries (minus the bottom right hand red one, which is, as I write, travelling south into my tummy). 

So what else do I have apart from my strawberries in a hanging basket? - I hear the birds find them harder to steal from something that swings about in mid-air. Tomatoes (ditto in a hanging basket), which quite frankly don't look like they are going to amount to very much. Lots of little yellow flowers, but not much else going on up there.
(see what I mean about lots of yellow flowers)

Then there's my herbs (or 'erbs as you Americans so quaintly call them); I've got masses of mint (delicious with Jersey Royal New Potatoes), an army of Rosemary and now my oregano and chives are coming along quite well since the sun started to shine last week. My 4 bay trees, (as if anyone would ever need 4 bay trees) are plodding along rather boringly, but I do cook with the leaves nearly every day.
That brings me nicely to my fig tree, which Dina said would grow as fast as a giraffe, and my high hopes were aiming for edible fruit this year, is disappointingly about the same size as when I bought it last summer. Only last year it had a few immature little fruits on it, whereas this year it yields precisely - none. Ah well, they do say never trust an Italian - I should have known better than to listen to someone whose surname is Piselli (go on, Google it, I dare you!).
Herbs, fig tree and somewhere amongst this little, I believe there is a blueberry tree.

I had a lime tree (or is it a bush?) with lovely shiny leaves which I used regularly in thai curries. I had been wondering why the flavour wasn't so good recently, only to discover from my neighbour (who kindly spends quite a bit of time tending my 'city garden' as well as his own), that the lime tree/bush died, so he uprooted it and planted something else there that was most definitely not another lime tree/bush. Hmmm, yes that means I have been adding goodness-knows-what to my thai curries for quite a while. No matter, we're all still alive and kicking, so I haven't poisoned anyone. Not yet.
That's really the extent of my edible - whoops I tell a lie, I have a blueberry bush out there somewhere, but for the life of me I don't remember where I planted it, but it's of no consequence, because I have since found out that it takes a few years before you get any fruit.

Flowers? got some gorgeous geraniums and there are some lillies that come up for a few weeks later in the summer and smell divine, but other than that I don't really know what the flowers are. I just buy job lots of anonymous little pots and hope for the best.
Geraniums and other stuff. Oh and that's my patio heater stuck to the wall - it dos a good job on chilly nights.

That's pretty much how my garden grows. Sure, it's a bit of a jungle out there, but that's the way I like it. We have some magical evening meals out there on the precious sunny summer evenings that we get. Yeah, it may be small, I can still hear the traffic and people can peer over the railing and look down at me. But it's mine and this is how it looks when I open the door. Certainly not a disused concrete rubbish tip any more. 
It's my little city oasis.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The leader - that would be my daughter

Lillan (Kerensa's mum) found an old diary that Kerensa had written when she was a child. One entry said:
"I went to the Adventure Playground with Dani.

We played 'Follow the Leader'. Dani was the leader."

That was it. She might have been the skinny waif like kid whose friends towered over her, but that didn't stop my little girl - she knew what she wanted and where she was going in life. And wasn't afraid to say what was on her mind. She was a leader in all the best possible ways. If a girl twice her size was bullying someone in the playground, she'd be straight in there to defend the victim. If someone told a lie to get themselves out of trouble and someone else into trouble, she'd be in there with the truth. It's almost like she never learned how to lie, fib, distort the truth.
Some might say it's a social skill that she lacks, because her absolute inability to deviate from the truth gets her in deep water. But infuriating as it is sometimes, I admire, respect and am in total awe of her. She just can't tolerate people who aren't totally truthful.

Last night I emailed her asking her is she would like to come to a rather difficult business dinner that I have tomorrow night (she knows the people involved) and I thought she would be a good person to be there. Strong, direct, as well as charming, funny and nobody's fool. I tried to tempt her with a really great restaurant that does puddings to die for. If she has one weakness, it would be fair to say it's food (well, maybe, and I say just maybe, on a good day her boyfriend Mark might pip food to the post). Might she take the bait and get drawn into my devious scheme?
The email reply popped straight back.

That's my girl. Not the answer I'd hoped for, but true to form. She hasn't changed one bit since she was that skinny little 3 year old, still not afraid to say what's on her mind. And if she can say it in one word, all the better.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Some things never change

When when Sebastian was just a baby,
 until about three years ago,  there was hardly a day when I didn't go across the road to Holland Park. That's over 25 years of enjoying one of the most lovely parks in London. 

My children spent their childhood in Holland Park. They both went to Playgroup in the park where they forged lifetime friendships.

They thought the park was their back garden.

Both of them are still closest of friends with the children they befriended at playgroup. From playgroup, to primary school
to secondary school, to this day they still have their Playgroup friends. (my oh my, how they've grown! - can you see who's who?)

And I made wonderful friends, some of whom are still the closest and most trusted people in my life. We spend endless magical days and wonderful summer evenings bringing up our children in what really could be described as in idyllic city life. The cafe was run by an Italian family and all the food was home made, so we ate there as much as we ate at home. My kids (well Dani actually) must have eaten more spaghetti than the average Italian child living in Naples.
Even after our children grew up, we still met for coffee and catch up at every opportunity. Yes, the group got smaller, friends moved away, some to the other side of the world. But when they came back to visit, you can bet one of first things they'll suggest is meeting at the cafe in Holland Park.
Even when I didn't have anyone to meet, I walked my dogs, Poppy (left), then Oona in Holland Park every day.

That was, until 3 years ago, when my soppy Golden Retriever Oona went to stay with my inlaws while I went on holiday. And then I got ill, so they kept her a little longer. And then they couldn't bear to give her back and I was so busy at work that I thought she'd have a better life with them.
So I got out of the habit of going to Holland Park every day. I had my new patio where i could sit and take the afternoon sun and it just seemed easier and lazier than going across the road to the park. Yes I go through the park when I go shopping, but I'm always in a hurry, so it just became the quickest way to the High Street.
And then this week, we have been treated to the most glorious Indian Summer.
 It's been just beautiful the last few days so yesterday my Italian mate Dina and I went for coffee at the cafe, which for so long was literally my second home. I grabbed my camera and off we toddled.

And how some thing never change. It was like going back in a time capsule. We weren't the only regulars at the cafe back in the 80's and 90's. There was a group of guys who were there every day playing chess. Just like us - every day, come rain or shine. And to my astonishment yesterday - there they were.  Still playing chess, still making one cup of coffee last 3 hours. Talk about blast from the past.

 Just twenty years older - just like me. God, isn't ageing beastly (this really is (was?) me)

Then Dina and I took a leisurely walk to the Japanese Garden, it was always a favourite place to go with the children.

OH MY GOD - are those my kids on the bridge? There, with my sister?
And there's Lara on the little bridge. Don't get too close to the edge Lara.
No of course not - I saw her last week and she'd just turned 30 (she still loves the water).

And there's the playground which our girls thought they owned.

Hey, they've got a new slide, but not much else has changed.  One day Lillan and I got severely reprimanded by another mum for taking Dani and Kerensa there when they were 3 and had chicken pox.
'Kerensa, stop picking the scabs, you'll make them itch more'.

And I can't believe those funny flowers are still there.

We never knew what they were called, but Dani used to love blowing them and seeing if she could make fairies in the wind.

I don't know why I'm so surprised that things haven't changed much in Holland Park. Why would they? - it's us that changes, not the things around us. Yet I felt quite emotional - it really was as if I'd gone back twenty years.

It even smelt the same - but I'm really sorry,  I couldn't photograph that.

More Holland Park photos from yesterday

Saturday, 12 September 2009

In England 9/11 is the 9th of November.
At least it used to be.

For over 40 years my birthday came and went pretty much the same as everyone else's. But all that changed in 2001.
I was sitting chatting to a friend who called to wish me a happy birthday. Sky News was on the TV with no volume and I wasn't really watching it.
Gill, my business partner had been to the dentist and was on her way back to work, via the nice cake shop on Melbury Court I hoped. I'm a bit partial to their squishy chocolate cake. And although our friendship was on a bit of a rocky road, I knew more than likely she'd stop by and get me a birthday cake. Couldn't afford to buy it on the company back in 2001. She have to fork out from her own purse.

As I chatted to Joe about this and that, I subconsciously and gradually became aware of the silent TV screen. There was a building on fire; it was a big fire and come to look at it, it was a bloody big building as well. I glanced at the subtitles which Sky news annoying run along the bottom of the screen 24/7. A light aircraft had crashed into a New York building. In fact it looked awfully like the World Trade Centre.
'Have you got the TV on?' I asked Joe. 'A plane has crashed into a building in New York. It looks pretty bad.' As I said those words, the second plane hit the South tower.

My last eight birthdays have fallen on 9/11 and still the emotions of watching the footage are as terrifying and moving as they were on the day the live images beamed into our lives.
Just this week we watched 2 documentaries about 9/11. I even started to question why I was watching them. Whether it is morally wrong and morbid to watch the devastating footage year after year, or is it our moral duty to re-watch those images so we never ever forget? I think I can understand a little of what Monica talked about in her blog about working in a newsroom

The defining moment of 9/11 for me (and millions I'm sure) was the moment the second plane hit that South Tower.  In that split second America and the rest of the world who were watching knew this was a momentous, historical moment which would change the world for ever. The documentary footage highlights this so clearly; capturing live on camera people in the streets and buildings of New York who are watching the North Tower burn with mesmorised human curiosity, which in a split second turned to raw human terror.

In that split second my birthday ceased to be 11/9.
It became 9/11