Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005

Friday, September 30, 2005


Granny is pigging on apples. Whatever else can be said for or against the British - especially the English - they do know about apples. Even if Tesco etc are doing their best to erradicate the oddities you can still buy good apples here of all kinds. Not so anywhere in Europe, let alone the US, let alone the Canaries. Granny's enforced stay in London is at least allowing her those. (And an Eve too. But that's another story.)

As for serpents.... The good news is that not a one now lurks in Granny's breast. She's CLEAR!! And the expelled one wasn't the vicious kind that got her twin. The more tiresome news is that expelled demon was also not one whose return can be prevented by pill taken at home. (Ie to those who understand these things it was not oestrogen positive.) Means she has to have chemo - which means London. Plus being not just one tit but also hairless Granny. Pity. Luckily dramatic hats suit her. It also means she's less Granny_es than Granny_uk for the foreseeable future. All you poor people will have to do without those lyrical descriptions of volcanoes. (Assuming there ever were any.) BORING, anyway. Though Granny was glad to meet her BRCA1 friend from the ward and hear that she too was clear. It seems as good an omen as any. Meantime; Australia, on 19th October: here she comes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Odd how the years kink up, fold back on themselves sometimes. Everything changes - yet nothing does. Granny and Beloved have come to stay for a few days at house of Beloved Surrogate Daughter. Which means she sits writing this looking at a familiar wall; the very one she used to sit looking at years ago, when writing - publishable then - books, on her beloved ex-husband's desktop, because her own desktop upstairs was not only too buried in papers to be accessible but also left her looking out on overly distracting street and neighbours below. Earlier she lay drinking coffee on the very bed, in the very room where she slept for eight years or so, through most of her second marriage, alongside a different man from the one who cuddled her - a bit gingerly these days - last night. Her ears attune themselves once more to the underground - here overground- trains thumping past the window on the raised lines. She eyes the same trains, same tree, same high-rise block on the other side of the track which used to house local authority workers but now puts up middle-range tourists. Same sky. Same everything, almost. Beloved Surrogate Daughter and husband to whom she and beloved ex sold their house have made many changes to it. But it is one of those lovely, relaxed houses which maintain their own identity throughout changes of ownership. Walking downstairs granny still finds herself turning left to the kitchen; has to pull herself up to turn right instead to where the kitchen now is. Weird.

As is her one tit state. 'Weird' said Beloved Eldest Granddaughter hearing the news of tit removal. 'Even weirder', she said, told that it would be replaced in due course. As it will be. Granny does not much fancy the piece of rubber currently pushing out her t-shirt on one side. She is grateful she maintained her two tit status for fifteen years longer than most of her female relations. On being told last week that she was going down for surgery 3 hours earlier than originally scheduled she found herself to her surprise bursting into tears at prospect of having 3 hours less of it. Odd how attached one is to one's own bits. This one - unless she was contemplating giving birth again - heaven forfend - isn't - wasn't - a particularly useful bit; losing it by no means as disasterous, not to say awful, as losing a limb. But poor thing as it was it was her own. And gave her some nice sensations over the years, as its replacement, minus nerve-endings, won't. 'You could throw a spear better' suggested someone helpfully. 'Didn't the Amazons cut their right breasts off for that reason?' (Referring to a time before the word 'Amazon' meant books..) No good for me, says Granny after a moment's flicker of pleasure. She's left handed. Bother bother bother. (But she could cut the left one off too. It has been recommended.)

Oestrogen she supposes is what fed that nipple-led pleasure - still does just a little she has to admit. Oestrogen is also what more often than not feeds nasty little strangers in the breasts of post-menopausal women. What madness that it can't be diverted to much more useful not to say pleasurable pastimes - ie feeding the bits which cease to so responsive in Granny and her contemporaries. (HRT does do that job of course - Granny's brief recourse to it may have been what led to her nasty little devil. Not that she regrets it. Two extra years of those pleasures? YES!!!- why should she regret it? She doesn't.)

Being in hospital was interesting if wearing. After nearly a week of it and the prospect of reconstructions to come she thinks those who volunteer for such surgery etc etc etc for purely cosmetic reasons must be out of their tiny minds. (By definition tiny to start with.) But also, as in the years before, she came out realising that compared to most she has got off lightly. (Just how lightly will be revealed on Friday.) She encountered two women in their thirties from families with BRCA mutations like hers, with much more advanced tumours; also a woman five years on in the grip of the particularly vicious demon which carried off her Beloved Twin in the space of eighteen months. (There are better drugs now to prolong life if not altogether banish this demon.) That particular sufferer did manifest Granny's worse irritation; the chirpy. She was on the other hand heroic. Granny admired her. Does. A lot, a lot, a lot.

More of all this maybe another day. Meantime she has to go and deal with the leaflets. This is something that has definitely changed over 25 years. These days hospitals fall over themselves to inform you - sometimes on matters of which you might prefer not to know, but also on many alternative sources of assistance - the kind Granny had to dig out for herself, last time round. Looking for free aromatherapy? Reflexology? Counselling? Support Groups? Acupuncture? Etc Etc Etc; develop cancer. Better still; DON'T.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Quick update; granny is fine. All signs look good, though she'll know for sure by end of week. In hospital till tomorrow - out at moment on leave eating nice food! - will report more fully later. Thanks everyone for lovely messages. xxx to all

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sugar Plum Fairies

Almost DDay but not quite. Granny will NOW tell you what's to live for. For autumn - English style - for the first time in 3 years; sun, slightly crisp feel to the air, leaves not quite turned, but starting. (We won't mention the traffic jams..) Oh and sight of youngest granddaughter aged 4 in black velvet cat suit, with tail, and her dad, in jeans, etc, jointly dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy. (We won't mention Jingle Bells played loudly, many times on the electronic keyboard thereafter. Let alone Granny's struggles with her iPod which persists in jumbling her music up; on the whole she doesn't want second movement of one quartet played ahead of first movement of piano sonata; let alone an opera played back to front. Oh dear.) But the Sugar Plum Fairies both? NOW THAT IS LIFE. She loves it. Forget tomorrow, let alone the day after. Those will pass.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Radioactive Granny

This will be brief. Granny at house of Beloved Son has managed to get rid of Barbie site on house laptop and replace it with this. Beloved little girls are off to school, their mum out running (no desperate housewife here). Youngest granddaughter may be developing IT skills, but she doesn't need Barbie site at right this moment.

Granny is a radioactive pincushion. (Don't kiss babies for 24 hours. And by the way you will have radioactive pee.) All this in view of fact that Tuesday was all much as she feared. But still nowhere disastrous. Little stranger less vicious than last time's. Good. Interview with nice but tough ?Palestinian ?Syrian female surgeon had its scratchy moments. (Why, for instance, can you get a verdict in one day in Bristol, whereas here I've been back and forth 4 times over nearly 5 weeks? I've taken that on board, says surgeon, before telling Granny, equally fiercely, that is she not to go running back to the Canary Islands in the foreseeable future. ) However, prospective date for ridding Granny of demon stranger (plus unfortunately her right tit - no getting out of that this time) was moved from 5th October to next Tuesday. It pays to be stroppy. Not least - as demonstrated by her dear psychiatrist friend in a now much quoted study - stroppy patients have better outcomes. Good. It means her intended trip to Australia for family wedding in late October is still on. Better still.

Yesterday then was spent running from bloodtest to bone scan (hence the radioactivity and the needles) to pre-surgical nurses flourishing questionnaires -' Do you have diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure, extra-terrestrial antibodies etc etc. (Guess which she made up.) Answer to all this, no. Those sessions therefore quick. The whole experience not quick. In betweenwhiles Granny retreated to fancy Italian coffee-shops (this is Kensington, darling) and sat in a stupor surrounded by preserved-in-aspic lunching ladies with little dogs.

But now here she is. A bit melancholy and achy but so she always is first thing. Last night she watched wonderful Werner Herzog movie on BBC 4 - about mad(ish) inventor and his exceptionally beautiful little airship - like a plump white fish- floating over jungle and waterfalls in Guyana. Herzog movies are always about mad/melancholy obsessional explorers, mental or physical, always have ecstatically beautiful shots of sky/waterfalls/birds/reflections accompanied by etherial music, this time - mostly- Guyanian ethnic. You could say he parodies himself. But it works. And worked on Granny who needed a shot of beauty and got it. She herself floats hazily over life just now in a rather weird and wonderful way; this past month has been beautiful - more real than unreal, more unreal than real - nothing like deathly things to plug you into life. She is also, daily, reduced to weeping, almost, by sense of being loved all over. Five people have urged her to let them look after when she comes out of hospital. She is spoiled for choice.

This weekend she will spend putting music into her especially acquired IPOD. (You can get 1000 songs on that, enthuses the young, male salesman. Um, says Granny, I think I'm more into symphonies -sorry, Mark G. Young male salesman looks flummoxed and retreats; returns to say 1000 songs translates to 50 hours playing time. So that's alright). That way she will be able to insulate herself from the merry chatter of the ward - when they are not groaning, cancer patients tend to attempt the chirpy, she has found in the past; alas, she isn't good at that. The rest of the time she will enjoy her about to be wrecked cleavage. Everything low cut, darlings. And how. (And how. She's not bad for her age; really.) She may thereafter even resort to plastic surgery - with more reason than most. They do nice artificial nipples these days, she's been told. She will, though, leave her eyelids and nose and forehead furrows alone. Not least she wouldn't get them done free.

Next week, mostly will be spent in hospital so don't expect much in the way of updates. NHS hospitals don't run to Internet Cafes yet. And though you do get your own phone by your bedside these days she doubts she can plug her MAC into it. No private patient she.

But never fear. She will be back. SHE WILL BE BACK.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

one problem after another..

Well, well. So far this week one dishwasher has packed up. Ditto one loo. Ditto one electric circuit, plunging the Americans with a nine-month old baby into darkness. The gas bottle ran out at lunch time today - on Sunday afternoon of course the Texaco gas station where fill-ups can be acquired is shut. Two guests ate bad shellfish (we think) last night and have vomited all day. Another has started vomiting this afternoon. Yet another man stayed away this morning with stomach problems, but since his wife is now demanding laxatives for him, the food poisoning that was claimed initially seems unlikely. What is possible with others is that bug is going round. Food not likely the source or everyone would be going down simultaneously. Ie it's not the fault of Granny and Beloved's food; (they hope.)

Meantime everyone present seems urgently to need to pick up emails, to send emails, to send faxes, to download lengthy and complicated PDF files, to find out the course of Hurricane Ophelia, to have clothes/nappies washed, to have nappies/papers disposed of, so on and so forth.

Other than which; all is going well. Granny and Beloved are exhausted, but that's to be expected. And she has learned that the word 'stereotypy' means more or less obsessional behaviour in animals (not to say 'stable vices' in horses) . Well well. The wonders of science.

Tomorrow, late, she gets on a plane to the UK. Even if she hasn't by then acquired the household's current bug, she isn't looking forward to it. Tuesday things get serious. Possibly, anyway. Wish her luck.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

In brief

Place full of jetlagged Americans eating breakfast. Granny at a loss for activity just now. So she will merely ask - plaintively - why, when she puts up grannyp's blog address on this computer (her precious MAC remains in London) does she get a large list of sites for determining paternity? At this moment it is the very LAST thing she needs.. (isn't it?)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Granny is back on her island. It is hot hot hot, windy windy windy, dry dry dry. What changes! - nothing much: except that the grape harvest is almost over - late this year but apparently the best ever - and that almost all colour has been bleached out of the landscape. And the chooks are growing and laying - some of them. As for the figs -she hasn't dared yet to inspect if they are still figging; if so they'll have to go on doing it for themselves, she has no time to harvest, let alone process them. Today and tomorrow arrive 12 scientists, plus apendages, making 20 adults in all, 2 babies and one 10 year old. One of the babies has been here since Monday with parents. Beloved's workshop, it's called, on animal welfare - of the esoteric sort. Doubt if the RSPCA would understand most of it. At least the endless emails about car rental, fedex deliveries, artists' supply shops, etc etc etc will now cease. Demanding people, scientists.

And the bread oven is now made and ready to go. As is almost a horrendously ugly barbecue, not envisaged by granny; downside of which is that Mr Handsome has not had much time to water; her citrus, bananas, olives lacking such attention may not survive. She is silently incandescent. Still the cabbages battle on; and the chillies. Cabbage curry - without lemon juice or banana raita, obviously.

Granny alas cannot stay till the end of the workshop. She did say at the end of her last post that there is more to tell. Dread family lurgy? Well it's back to its wicked ways. A very little demon stranger has taken up residence in Granny's right tit. She has spent much of August alternatively enjoying herself - really - and having needles jabbed into her to establish the demon's nature. Not good alas - but not so bad either, having been caught almost in embryo and to be attended to by the best establishment in England, if not Europe. Having survived the last for 25 years she is not that alarmed. Just fed up. Been here, seen this, done that. BORING. BOR-ING. The only thing that has thrown her every time is the bloody hospital - she HATES hospitals - mixture of bonhomie and doom, plus cups of tea and unwelcome verdicts. No, granny has no desire to be have her nose rubbed in the dangers; she can work those out for herself, thankyou. The only thing that really exercises her is the fights with the surgeons etc, always anxious to be more drastic than she is willing to let them be. Her English pear shape - big bum- generous thighs (that's being kind to them) short legs, long back - means that the only bits of her body she has always unequivocally liked are her tits and her feet.And no, she wouldn't take kindly to an offer to cut her feet off either.

All this will be determined next week. She does not intend a blow by blow account, but she will keep you briefly posted whenever she does have time to get to this. Meantime she is much less exercised by the unwelcome stranger than by the neglect of her garden and arrival of her guests. Latter much more eminent than her demise, which as far as she is concerned will be long in coming. L0ng long long. Meantime it's called 'carpe diem' - 'seize the day' - even the Romans knew how to get it right.

Cheers, friends. Never say die.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

More life stories. BRCA1 -

Don’t let’s maintain the suspense. Granny’s family’s breast cancer is genetic – they found a mutation on the BRCA1 gene – in an unusual place, hence the eighteen months spent tracking it down. Her sister was tested in Australia with the same result. Dire news? Yes of course. Also no. There’s a lot to be said for being medically interesting; ‘no waiting lists for us,’ as someone said. The entire family is watched closely, tested at regular intervals and hauled in at the drop of the hats which drop at all too regular intervals. Granny assesses there has been a scare every two years or so. Most are minor some are not. All the members of her generation are effected, not excluding her brother. His daughter, the only member of the next generation down to be tested for the gene came out negative; thank god. The status of the rest is unknown. In the generation below that 3 little girls - Granny’s grandchildren – may still be at risk. By the time they grow up there should be a drug to mimic the protein that stops cells proliferating in unaffected people – it is truncated in those who inherit the mutation. Better still they should be able to have babies via IVF; only mutation free eggs selected. This would wipe out the defect in a single generation. How she hopes. Still more she hopes for the cell-checking drug to be in time for Beloved Daughter too; and for 3 beloved nieces. She hopes. She hopes.

Should she apologise for stating all this so baldly? Maybe. But she won’t. She has no desire to add to the recent flood of agonised ‘human stories’, so-called. (But what else are they - animal tales? Why not? We are animals. Only this week they told us we are more than 99% similar genetically to chimpanzees, if much more prone to damaging mutations.) Headlines like ‘Our family tragedy’- ‘My/Our struggle with cancer’ shriek from the front covers of women’s magazines, up and down-market alike ‘. Much of them relate to families that suffer worse than Granny’s. She’s written about her mother’s and her twin sister’s dying elsewhere, fictionally in the first case, factually in the second. That’s enough. There’s always the danger – as in writing about any cancer – that it develops a ghastly kind of glamour, like tuberculosis in the nineteenth century; turning us all into ‘Dames aux Camellias for our time.’ ‘Emotional pornography’ it has been called, not unfairly. Think ‘Love Story’ if you want the worst fictional example. Yuk.

Which is not to say writing can’t be helpful, even illuminating when it’s well-done, without sentiment or self-pity. Many of us remember what that brave grump Ruth Picardy had to say. No poor little me there. More plain 'SOD IT'. And Dina Rabinovich has been writing well in the Guardian over the past few months. She too is funny and direct. This helps.
As Granny discovered many years ago there is a huge cancer subculture humming away, unknown to all those who have no need of it. Discussion groups, counsellors, psychotherapists, aromatherapists, astrologers, therapists of every stripe and colour, some of them quite barmy and many of them expensive – and often based in the US or Mexico. Some of it has its uses. She used it. She learned relaxation and meditation exercises from a support group – and, singly, from a wonderful woman, a Tibetan Buddhist, who subsequently died of cancer herself. She uses these exercises to this day. She did not stay in the support group long. She became aware how, for many of its members, having cancer – fighting it- had become their whole reason for existence. One woman burned her kitchen out in a domestic fire then used the insurance money – a large sum - to get her hair and fingernails tested in the US – really – rather than restoring her kitchen; it remained charred and unusable after three years. Enough is enough, Granny thought. And thinks.

“If someone told you you didn’t have cancer after all, what would you feel?’ the Tibetan Buddhist asked Granny. The sinking feeling she had – what drama was left without it? - warned her just how easy it was to fall into the same trap. As soon as she’d got the hang of the relaxation exercise taught there, she ceased to attend her group, comforting as it was.

Presumably the subculture is going strong; even though the cancer hospitals have adopted some of the more benign alternative therapies. Counselling, aromatherapy and relaxation exercises are on offer all over. During the genetic consultations, Granny found ‘Nurse Counsellors’ popping up round every corner; she appreciated this mostly, though she does have the impression they can add to the alarm. ‘Honesty’ is everything these days; no more prevarication. At times Granny would prefer to put her mind elsewhere; ‘sufficient unto the day’ and so on. But that’s her.

The thing is; it is not nice, not nice at all being prey to such a disease – especially when the remedies for it are so unpleasant; burning, poisoning, mutilation; take your pick. Granny suspects that in 50, even 20 years time they will be looked back on as barbaric. It is bad going through them: almost as bad – in some ways worse - watching your beloveds go through them. It’s worse fearing they will die, worse still watching them do so, watching them turn into other people in the meantime if given no help. Granny’s mother was dying during the Cuba crisis. Granny only realised just how far away her mother had gone from her, from her whole family - previously her whole life - when she could not arouse in her one flicker of interest as to the outcome; the fate of all of us. Granny’s younger sister says; ‘I wasn’t mothered from the moment mum became ill.’ She was thirteen at the time. It’s one reason she’s grown up to be tough. Another motherless child in Granny’s family. As we all were really in some respects. It would have been good to have our mother around when our babies were born, not least. You are not as grown-up, you discover then, as you think.

On the other hand: let’s be quite clear BRCA1 – defective genes – cancer itself – is/are not life. Real life goes on all round you every day no matter what. Years after her mother died, a kind friend, an artist who ran classes in a cancer hospital took Granny as an assistant for a few weeks. As therapy, she said. It was too. Granny discovered that even the terminal cases she met were not simply people who were dying; much more significantly they were living still. Not only pain relief, but depression relief helps them do that. Granny’s mother got the first. She didn’t get the second, ever. She lived three sad and frightened years: awful; no, worse: terrible.

But everyone has to die sometime. Fifty? Seventy? Eighty? So what. It’s all short enough. Sometimes, as the next ninepin totters, threatens to fall Granny says to herself: it could be much worse; we could have inherited the gene for Huntingdon’s Chorea. (For which there is no cure. Imagine that.) In the meantime you have to live and live and keep living. Wasting your life in fear is simply – A WASTE.

But she still worries for Beloved Daughter and the rest of them. And these days, a bit, for herself. How can she not?

In New Orleans the US – Bush – displays all its failures; forget bad genes; think poor and black, In Iraq they are burying other poor people crushed on a bridge. She is spending the weekend in rural Leicestershire with dear oldest friend, looking out as she writes on a garden full of sun, roses, sweet peas, an enormous walnut tree. On Monday she will go to her island for a while. She will write more when she can. She has a lot to tell. Rather wishes she didn't.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Life stories; BRCA1.

Granny was talking once with a writer friend – an Israeli. When she told him she had never known any grandparents he said: ‘But who was there left to tell the stories?’

Yes. One reason Granny has had to resort to websites to find out about her mother’s family, in particular, was that she had no such input. The one grandmother she did encounter briefly was too old to tell stories; or maybe she never had told them.

On the other hand, on the side of the family without a single grandparent, there was one good storyteller; granny’s mother. Almost everything granny knows about her and her family in the past came from her - most of it related to her mother’s childhood, to the family members she encountered then. She too, like Granny herself, had only one living grandparent, the rich one, chairman of Lloyds, MP for Yarmouth, her mother’s father; whose second wife had seen to it that his first wife was written out of history more or less. Granny’s mother's own mother dead, she knew nothing about her grandmother. It took Granny herself much research to discover her name and when she died and what of; aged 31 and suffering from ‘congestion of the lungs’. According to her death certificate too, she was one-legged; for reasons that history presumably, never will tell.

On her mother’s father’s side, Granny’s great-grandfather was also one-legged; in his case history does relate; he lost his leg aged 18 in the battle of Alma, during the Crimean War. Could it be that Granny’s family tended to be a little careless with their lower limbs? He died in his 60’s well before his granddaughters were born. As for his wife, her mother’s other grandmother, she died aged 56. A significant age, given the family lurgy which almost certainly came down through her, Although her death certificate talks of ‘pneumonia’ and ‘dropsy’ – not a diagnosis which would be used by an doctor now – it seems likely that the underlying cause was the disease with which Granny and all her family is over well-acquainted; about which she has yet to write. Though she is advancing on it: oh yes she is. She must.

But not before passing on what she was told of her mother’s own motherless childhood. Of her ten schools; where she was always taken on out of pity for her motherless state much younger than she should have been, though no allowance for her youth was made thereafter. Her exercise books came back covered all over in red ink and 'must try harder.' Then there was the dreadful food –'northpole' pudding, made of gruel seemingly, water and gelatine; soup with rabbit fur floating in it. (Granny wonders how Beloved Granddaughter would have fared..) The horror of having her hair cut off by the school matron when she contracted scarlet fever; the disgustingness of something called Gregory Powder used to dose her when she was sick. The discomfort of her school uniforms, the heavy woollen underwear, the obligatory long black stockings. (When Granny herself adopted the latter in her beatnik days she was asked not to wear them by the school where she was teaching, on the grounds that they set the senior girls a bad example. So it goes.)

It was not a happy childhood. The highlight appeared to have been visiting their father on the ship he commanded during the First World War, where the officers made pets of his two young daughters. ‘We made them all apple-pie beds,’ Granny’s mother reported. There is a picture of the two sitting on the ship, officers’ over-sized caps jammed on their heads; both of them looking glum. Maybe it wasn’t such fun after all. The only thing that saved them somewhat was the adoption of the motherless little girls by their father’s two maiden aunts: lovely souls who made up for it as much as they could. Alas both of whom fell ill in their early fifties, this time for sure of the family doom, breast cancer. One of them died then and there. The other survived into her early 70’s. She continued to look after Granny’s mother till she was eighteen or so.

Granny was away at university when her mother started talking about the family problem; but only to her twin sister, who still lived at home. So she never learned just how frightened her mother was, always, of the same disease catching up with her her. And she was still at university when it did catch up with her. Some time during her last summer term, before schools, her finals, she was summoned to the pay phone in the hall of her hostel – no useful things like mobiles then. ‘Your mother has breast cancer,’ announced her father baldly. ‘She’s having a mastectomy.’ Granny had never heard more than vaguely of such a thing. She did not know for sure how dangerous it was. She was scared just the same. Though not for herself.

Her mother lived for nearly 3 years after that, the last nine months of her life under ever more horrendous treatments. She died aged 53. Her elder sister fell ill too a few years later and died in her late sixties.

Granny still did not fully take in the implications. Both her sisters she discovered subsequently spent their lives in a state of terror assuming that at the menopause this would be their fate too. She did not. As it happened she got hers anyway at the age of barely 40 and still lives to tell the tale a quarter of a century later, more or less. Her sisters both succumbed at 50; her twin survived a mere 18 months; her younger sister, much brasher, more robust, demanded a double mastectomy and is still flourishing – more than flourishing – she represented Australia in the Dragon Boat World Championships in Shanghai last year in their senior women’s boat; she’s like that.

In consequence of all this Granny at last, a few years back, took herself off to be tested in the genetics unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London for the BRCA1 gene.

(You will have to wait for the result, reader, till her next post; which will arrive for sure a good deal quicker than the result did. After 18 months to be precise. But don't worry, it's not going to be one of those 'poor little us' stories; let alone 'poor little me.' Heaven forfend.)

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