Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mothering Sunday and All that Jazz

Firstly I would like to reassure anyone who has been kind enough to worry about me, that being "back at the Marsden" means only for the preventative treatment with the wonder drug Herceptin that I have been so fortunate to be given at great expense from the National Health. Having had the all clear, months ago, with an 80% chance of non return of breast cancer in the next 10 years, my chances are improved by another 50% (taking it to 90%) by a one year treatment of Herceptin which I have been taking as a drip at 3 weekly intervals at the Day Patient Unit at the Marsden. I finish this treatment in about a month.

After that, I have the same chances as anyone else as to whether I get struck down again. I am fortunate in that I shall be watched like a hawk now, just in case.

It's almost as if it never happened.
How quickly one returns to normal life. Apart from being much more tired than I used to be and not able to push myself, everything is returning to as it was before diagnosis, except that I am mentally stronger, and have a different outlook on life and love and stuff, and an awareness of the preciousness of time and the present moment.

Mothering Sunday was one of these precious days. Having only just become a mother by the seat of my pants, as it were, I am always delighted when Aimi wants to mark it as a special occasion. She is very good about this. This year I joined the family at the service at St John's Hyde park. Aimi and Mia were both reading. It was a beautiful morning. The choir there is heavenly and they sung heartily in harmony with pianist and flute.

Before my love affair with the church waned I was a regular at St John's. This Sunday, as little children ran about with posies of daffodils for all the Mums and any other ladies too, I sat whilst so many memories came to mind from over the years. My tears falling in steady stream into the red carpet under the altar rail, when I was going through a particularly harsh time in 1984 and learning to live my life without alcohol. The joy of holding baby Mia in my arms and soothing her under my big black hat with shocking pink roses at her Christening in 2000. The still vibrant and wonderful memories of Aimi's wedding a year and a half ago when the church was filled with dearest friends & family, exquisite flowers and utter happiness as I stood reading the first reading on the same patch of carpet that once held my tears.

In the evening I went to the Ram Jam Jazz club in Kingston to celebrate dear friend, Alan Franks' presence on this planet for 60 years! Alan is a multi-talented writer, musician, poet and playwright and treated us to a fun evening of music and party pieces performed by himself and other talented friends including his two grown ups sons Simon and Jimmy, or the 'Audio Bullys' as they have become, and who are currently touring the country with their new album. I enclose a few photos. Alan also paid tribute to his father in law, Ruth's father Rev Peter Gledhill who sadly died last year. Peter was an intellectual and highly educated man and Alan sent us into hysterics with this quote from the Reverend who had once delivered this worldly wisdom to him in his wonderful slow, deep and brooding Welsh voice.

"You see Alan, the thing is,.......... as one progresses through life,........... one comes to realise that a thorough grounding in the classics; ..........a familiarity with the way in which the greatest observers of human nature set down their wisdom;............. an informed appreciation of their thought processes and linguistic expertise does, in point of fact, equip you for...........absolutely................ ......................................................nothing!"

Here is one of my favourite photographs of him holding grandson Arthur on his knee.

It was also a joy for me to hear Emily Maguire for the first time. She sings and plays with a pure quivering voice not dissimilar to the late and great Eva Cassidy. Unsurprisingly, she has just been picked to support Don McLean on his new tour. Watch this space!

It's a great day for the Whittingham's.
Some footballer called Whittingham
seems to have done a great job today. He scored in an important match and helped someone else to - can you tell? I'm not a football fan? It was on in the background and I just kept hearing the word Whittingham yelled out in that unmistakle 'man excited about sport strangulated voice' . Whittingham is my maiden name and also that of my father Jack, and we were delighted to find a large article about him and his contribution to the 007 genre in the Sunday Times today on page 10. I enclose a link in case anyone is interested and I haven't emailed you already!!

There was also a news item on BBC Yorkshire TV last night Monday 10th, at 6.30 Sky channel 976 in which Robert Sellers, Bruce Sachs and myself were interviewed on the banning of The Battle for Bond book which is all very good publicity for the next edition which we intend to publish in May! As the programe came from Yorkshire they featured my father Jack heavily and showed some wonderful old photographs of him as a young man and later on with Charles Crichton (A Fish Called Wanda) at Ealing studios. I felt proud as I watched with Aimi and Mia as Dad got some of the recognition he has always so richly deserved for producing the screenplay that helped to transform the sadistic, violent and alcoholic Bond into the suave romantic hero that he is today so that the audiences of 1960 and the likes of Messrs Saltzman and Brocolli lapped him up.

For those who have copies of The Battle for Bond, you may be interested to know that it has become a rare collectors item overnight and there are two used copies selling on for £125 and £168 each!. If you still want a copy you can order it from for a lot less but hurry as it is selling out fast!

Watch this space too!!!

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