Letter from the North

DIY, bones mending, cooking and diarrhoea -28-Apr-2008

Sat 28-Apr-2018  

Well at last my DIY skills, at least in terms of capabilities, are returning. I have increasing amounts of mobility (and strength) in my shoulder. I have problems with “shaking” in my hands but it’s relatively mild and not a problem unless I am trying to do really fine motor control tasks (e.g. soldering, electronics). The shaking is probably due to the cancer drugs (one of many side effects), but could also be a consequence of the accident i.e. damage to right arm and resulting over stress of left one; time will tell as the accident damage (slowly) heals.  

So, today I put up two blinds, one in our newly re-decorated bathroom and one in the bathroom in the annexe. Both required cutting the main metal structure to fit to the area of woodwork available in the window frame (less than the width of the window). With my new mini-angle grinder and thin metal cutting disc it went well. A lot of sparks (of hot metal) so I needed to wear my “manly” overalls (over my dress) and I needed to get a full-face mask/ear defenders combo (already had the defenders but needed the full-face mask and easier to wear as a combo. Teresa had ear defenders and turned away to avoid the sparks whilst holding the blind in position for me while I cut. There is an action shot of this in action elsewhere next week. 

For both blinds I needed to cut more than once as the dimensions were critical and cut twice is better than cut too much once! 

Fitting the brackets was easy peasy – albeit uncomfortable, leaving me with soreness in the shoulder joint. 

But now I am exhausted and far too tired to look at the easiest frame (no metal cutting) but also a very large blind for a very wide set of windows in the annex. 

Sun 29-Apr-2018  

Hmmm, up bright and ready to get on with the final blind this morning, but the available wood to mount the big blind is not strong enough to support the weight. I need to construct a wooden frame that will take the weight and be able to resist people’s over enthusiastic use of the blind which could pull it off the wall and onto them!  

Timber designed and ordered. Suitable fixings also ordered. Hopefully next weekend I can make and fix up, then Teresa can paint the new wood to match the existing paintwork, then putting the blind up is just a matter of lifting it onto the brackets and job done! 

Despite not doing much, I’m still exhausted. I hate that my capability (after the accident damage) is returning, but my stamina is so weakened (by the cancer drugs). 

Mon 30-Apr-2018  

Hopefully my last fracture clinic today. As reported recently, I am now trying to do these routine visits on my own and let Teresa get on with her normality. The visit wasn’t scary but manoeuvring Angelique around the tight (disabled) car park at Treliske was of concern, she is a big old bus and the turns are tight and narrow. 

The clinic went well – here are my Facebook comments: 

Me: Bean in coffee shop at Treliske having cup of tea, taking cancer pills and reading Kindle prior to what I hope is my last fracture clinic appointment. 6 months since accident! 

Oh, and flying solo for the first time. Teresa is at home 

Now waiting for X-Ray. All very familiar, this must be the 5th visit because the bones heal so slowly thanks to those cancer drugs. 

Teresa:  So familiar I feel as though I am right there with you …. 🙂 ???? 

Me: X-ray done. Waiting to see Dr. Had to fill in a “customer satisfaction” form and it had boxes for male, female and transgender. That’s a good step forward. [Editor’s Note] The Transgender community would not view me as one of them as I do not think I was born in the wrong gender. I just consider myself as not bound by traditional binary gender labels for how I dress or behave. But still, I used the Transgender box because it best describes me given the choices. A bigger step forward would be to forget the whole notion of needing male/female except in purely biological contexts. 

And you are here in spirit pet. We have spent too much time together in this place xxx 

And last visit done. Lots of growth. Still long way to go but they don’t want to see me again. Yeah!!! 

I got to look at the x-rays in detail and it wasn’t just a break (in the collar bone), there were two pieces of bone broken off that were floating around in there too. 

Off to Angelique and then the office in Penryn. 

So far, it’s a good day even though I am shaking … 

Teresa: I have to say my heart missed a beat with ‘lots of growth’ as there’s another area where ‘lots of growth’ is the last thing we need! 

Me: Yup, probably should have said bone, but to me it was obvious, theory of mind anyone?!  

Now at the office and time for food as its 1hr since cancer meds. 

Manoeuvring in the car park was tight, but Angelique managed well and so off I went to work in Penryn for a few hours and then home, exhausted as always :-). 

My feet continue to hurt and my current slippers are just slip on sandals that are old and have very hard footbeds. So, I’ve bought some nice soft slippers: 


What a surprise about colour and style, not sure how I managed to not buy some bland “manly” slippers, must have been finger trouble on the Amazon order. I wonder if I should return them or just keep them? 


Tue 01-May-2018  

Diarrhoea is back, another bad day, do you want details, no, I thought not, boring, but it’s here! 

Today I made a meatloaf. The original recipe was inherited from my first wife (after she left me). I’ve not made it (I don’t think) since she went, thirty years ago, and I never made it then, she did. So, I had to adapt the quantities into something I could use. I reduced the quantity to a third so it made a sensible amount for a trial run. It seemed to go all right, a bit too strong in flavour so I need to adapt some of the quantities, e.g. I think there’s too much dried herbs and I used the wrong proportion of liver to pork meat, but I’m happy with the first attempt. 

Teresa is out all day, shopping in Truro for a sofa, bedding and other bits and bobs ready for letting the annexe to holiday makers. 

Wed 02-May-2018  

Today I made a loaf of bread. I’ve still got sandwiches in the freezer but wanted to make meatloaf sandwiches while everything was fresh. 

So, loaf done by mid-afternoon and made the sandwiches. The meatloaf is definitely too strong on its own, but more diluted with the tomato chutney, bread and butter. 

I froze most of the meatloaf sandwiches and saved some to try for lunch tomorrow.  

Hmmm, the editor in chief – aka Teresa commented that the original version of this paragraph “does get a bit confusing and does go on a bit”. How dare she, well, OK, this is better than the original, at least I think so ???? 

After the cancer drugs have had their 1hr absorption period – around 11am, I am always very hungry and if I don’t eat I start to feel nauseous. So, I try to divide my lunch into two parts, half at 11am and the other half at 12:30. 

The meatloaf sandwich is rather thick and substantial due to the thickness of the bread (impossible to cut thin) and the thickness of the meatloaf slices (a quarter of an inch in old money). 

So, I only have one slice of bread made into a Sandwich for the combined repast. Unfortunately, that means my two “portions” are quarter sandwiches, i.e. half a slice of bread each. They look very small but are, I suspect, filling enough and I need to watch my weight as I’ve gone from drifting down to drifting up, not sure of the cause, but I need to return to slow fall. 

That said, a slow fall instigated by me is fine, a fall due to the cancer itself is time to worry – loss of weight is one of the key indicators of the cancer’s activity. For goodness sake, you can’t even lose weight without having to worry is it good or bad loss. 

Thu 03-May-2018  

“Normal” day’s work 

Fri 04-May-2018  

Teresa and I had planned to go to Falmouth on Saturday combined with another trip. The second trip was cancelled and so Teresa then didn’t think the Falmouth trip was sensible.  

That’s in my words, I know it doesn’t sound so bare a statement for her.  

I don’t like changes in plans, I really don’t like them at the last minute and I really, really don’t like changes without alternatives (Plans B-Z inclusive). So, we had a “discussion”, no fun for either of us, we took “time out” (eventually) and, as we always do, we put things back together and worked out what to do. As it happens we are probably going to Falmouth but ONLY because Teresa does want to, NOT because I wouldn’t let her change her mind (all too easy to do I am afraid – see the article on autism and relationships when I eventually get it published). 

Still, I was emotionally wiped out for the rest of the day. Fingers crossed for tomorrow. 


The gradual restoration of physical capabilities after the accident feels like it is being matched by a decrease in capability (primarily stamina) due to the cancer drugs. I can understand those who refuse to take the cancer drugs because they feel better without them. I would feel better without them. But, it’s a question of “for how long” and I’d rather more time at a lower, but acceptable, level of fitness than a short time at full fitness. I know there will come a time when that is no longer the case and that will be a tough call for both of us. Hopefully that’s a long way in the future, but this disease rarely grants you that much hope, oh well. 

Live for the day 

The Bean, Pendeen, 05May-2018 




  • Kate Mole

    Dear Bean,
    Even better than last time….. Great to hear.

    • Bean

      Hi Kate,

      Indeed, from a physical fitness point of view things are moving forwards in leaps and bounds, shame that the cancer sits there like a silent menace ready to bite whenever it feels like it. But on the positive side, feeling able to get things done is really nice and I know Teresa loves it, she has such a long list of jobs for me to do 🙂

      Linda and Kate, yes we are very much looking forward to Litfest and for those that have never heard me speak publicly, well to paraphrase the (old) children’s TV program Stingray “anything could happen in the next half hour” as I have as many issues with spoken language as written – though anyone who just talks to me for a short time will probably not realise but Teresa and my daughter can confirm, talking to me is a challenge if you need it to make sense as there is no time for editing it!


      • Kate Mole

        Dear Bean,
        Re the LitFest: I am sure your audience will be there for you, and will be understanding of how it is for you to speak. It’s a hard subject and everyone will know that. We will be on your side!

  • Victoria Osborne-Broad

    I see you’re joining in the holiday lets business! If you mentioned it before I must have missed it – though I read every word of your blogs, promise. Good luck, Victoria x

    • Bean

      Hi Victoria, chances are you didn’t miss it, one of the fun parts of “theory of mind” (one of many autistic characteristics) is that if I know something, I assume everyone does. I try my best to work out if people actually know but I rarely succeed because it rarely occurs to me to think about it!

      So, I may not have said, but Teresa (and me on the building work side) have been doing up our annex for a couple of years in fits and starts and Teresa was gung ho on the last stretch of decorating and final touches (like blinds) until I went and got smashed up, now I can start to do my bits we are trying to get it finished for the summer, but my stamina still gets in the way from time to time 🙂


      • Kate Mole

        Dear Bean and Victoria,
        Well, I’ve stayed in your annexe, a while ago, when the property was owned by someone else. And I really enjoyed it – a pleasant, private, airy space, with an enclosed garden – I used to go there to write and think! Good luck with the renovations – I’m sure it will be worth it.

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