It has been a now or never decision, the constant changing of circumstances, and having to deal with chemo meant that I was close to abandoning the blog altogether. There have been times recently when updating the blog has been the last thing on my mind. My last chemo hit me hard again, the fatigue extending well into the following week, leaving me unable to do very little. Thankfully Kendal called and gave me something different to focus on for a few days.
Deb, her boys and myself travelled up to the Lake District on the Thursday for what turned out to be a fantastic weekend, full of great music, great company and lots of humour. Oh, and a little wine as well. It soon became clear as to why Kendal Calling had won the ‘Best Small Festival’ award for the last 2 years. It’s large enough to have lots of things to do and different experiences, and small enough not to have to walk miles and miles to get from A to B. This really was an important element when calculating the overall enjoyment of the weekend. Yes it was tiring and difficult at times, but there was plenty of sitting down to compensate. The setting was perfect, although the naming of the festival confuses me a little as it’s far nearer to Penrith than Kendal (the festival site is just outside Shap). The rapidly spreading policy of deposits on cans, bottles and plastic cups ensured that the site was relatively clean, and the food was pretty good when compared to other festivals. Food and drink is never going to be cheap at a festival, everyone knows and expects that, so I don’t see the point of complaining, and the lack of commercial sponsors is refreshing. It’s worth paying a premium on drinks to enable the festival organisers to maintain that. And music, that’s what it’s all about after all, well were more than happy to spend most of the time at the new bands stage, the Calling Out stage in this instance, conveniently situated close to a collection of hammocks, which for some strange reason keeps kids amused for hours on end. The best find of the weekend? Scottish band ‘ Admiral Fallow’ who filled the marquee as people passing were drawn in by the great sound they were producing. Described as folk/pop, I strongly recommend that you check them out if that’s your cup of tea (or IrnBru maybe). I wish I had believed in my first disappointing experience of seeing Maximo Park, years ago at reading festival, they are nothing more than an average pop band. I can’t see me ever watching them again. And despite my best efforts, it was disappointing to have missed the two bands that had been recommended to me, The Gramotones and Catfish & The Bottlemen. That’s festivals for you, last minute changes to performance times. I’ll be making renewed efforts to see them locally, as I value the opinion of the people who recommended them highly.
Festivals are as much about people as music, and it was a delight to have the two boys around, putting a different perspective on the festival experience. I’d forgotten what it was like to have kids around, it’s a long time since Lew was that age, and it was a highly entertaining and enjoyable experience and a pleasure to be in their company. My brother and sis-in-law were there also, great to be spending time with them, and appreciate their support over the weekend, including the 30 year old blanket. It was brown !
Finally I got to meet the lovely Emily (MyShitty20’s) and Tom, and once we had met we seemed to be bumping into each other all the time. I hope this continues to be the case now we are back home. And Soggy, a name from the past. Not seen or heard from him for years, he spotted me before James on Sunday night, although I’m not so sure I would have recognised him. Oh and yes, did I mention that we had lunch with Tim Booth ? We were in the queue at Chai Wallah’s, certainly the best food we had seen, and I commented to Deb that the guy in front of us looked amazingly similar to Tim Booth. A few whispered yes and no’s, nods and winks, I’m not sure who was convinced and who wasn’t. You would have thought that it might be Tim recognising Deb, as she has been to so many of his gigs across the country. Deb was waiting at the service counter so we sat down awaiting our lunch, on the same table as the singer, and after a few pertinent questions he admitted his identity. You can’t fool me Tim. We chatted about music, Manchester and back pain. He even gave me the number of the guy who had fixed his back, but as it’s Harley Street, I don’t think I’ll be visiting. Why I should be surprised that he’s such a charming guy I don’t know, but he was and it was a nice little chat whilst we ate lunch. I had to take the obligatory photo, after which we were approached by people asking “who was that?”. The Sunday evening programme was Inspiral Carpets (good) Feeder (excellent) with James headlining (absolutely superb). The huge audience obviously enjoyed James headline set, and more importantly so did the band. They ended to huge roars applause with an encore of Laid & Sit Down, a perfect end to a great little festival weekend. Kendal, you keep on calling and I’ll keep on coming back.
I had postponed a weeks chemo to enable me to attend the festival, and was due my next treatment last Thursday. Tuesday morning I telephoned The Christie hotline for advice, as I had developed an abscess under a tooth. They advised me to immediately see my GP for antibiotics. I turned up for my chemo knowing that there was a danger of this being postponed due to the infection. The antibiotics were not working, and as chemo kills the infection fighting white blood cells, I was not surprised when the doctor told me that they could not go ahead with this weeks treatment. The risk of the infection getting out of control was too high, and could change from a minor tooth ache to a life threatening infection within a few hours. Not a risk I fancied taking either. So I left hospital with stronger antibiotics and the hope of the infection clearing up in time for treatment next week. Just another thing you have to worry about when on chemotherapy. I am grateful that my dentist saw me straight away and took x-rays. The infection had already spread across my gums and I will need two teeth extracting. No dental treatment can be carried out until the infection has cleared up, and I have been referred for hospital treatment so the surgery can be carried out under sterile conditions, where any increased risk of infection can be managed. I’m now waiting for yet another hospital appointment to add to the ever growing list. No matter how much I try to ignore everything that is going on with my health, there is always something to remind me. One thing’s for sure, life is never dull when you’ve got cancer.