WE ARE FAMILY.

Woohoo – just seen a sneak preview of our newest video – My Fair Lady. It’s definitely one of our very best… but then I always think that when a new one pops up. I have also been sat working on a song, that is sung entirely by me and The BIG 3. I realised recently that I don’t have something that I have recorded with just my little family on. I guess really, it was an absolute certainty that they would be so wonderfully musical. They all sing. They all play loads of instruments. They can all write music. They are all obsessed with it. They are, luckily, also all sensible enough to know that the music industry is a minefield and they have no illusions of stardom, or ever thought to chase a career in music. They choose to keep music in their lives, in positive and fulfilling ways, by playing live, recording at home – Butsy is going to return to teaching piano and theory. If you love music (I would think if you find yourself reading this, there’s a good chance you will), DO buy yourself a really good pair of (over ear) headphones, if you don’t already have some. Most people spend more on a single haircut, than a pair of nice headphones that will last them many years. Instead, hack off your own hair and with the £100 you’ll save, you can get yourself some lovely ear candy and no one will notice your crooked fringe. Headphones are essential for your home recordings and choir work, but (and try this) also brilliant for de-stressing and for times you want to lose yourself; to put yourself right inside another truly magical world. Stick on those headphones, then find “Agnus Dei. Op 11. (Barber).” I love this version… Edward Higginbottom and the Choir of New College, Oxford. Then, turn it up, close your eyes and just listen. TURN IT UP! Then try, La Mamma Morta, with Callas singing it. You need to give this one a bit more of a chance. The next one I can only find on Youtube – This Woman’s Work – Jennie Abrahamson & Gothenburg Symphony. Listen to the orchestral swirly, swelly bits. While you’re on Youtube with your new headphones on, you could always check out, “Jennifer Hudson – I’m Here – Kennedy Center Honors 2010.” What a performance! I always round off my listening spells with Butsy, when I’m on Youtube. That’s my girl. She’s sung all her life, which is why it’s as natural as breathing to her.

Dino pumpkins at Amigo II’s house xx

Very nice to wake and notice we topped our £500 target for Breast Cancer Now, with our “Calling all Angels” video. It’s just SO good that we can keep on, keeping on, although we are basically still unable to sing together. Ten days post op and I returned to East Grinstead Hospital today, for a check up and new dressings. The wounds are healing beautifully and although my body looks and feels like a kettle drum, I am assured all is well. I’m told to allow two months for the swelling to go down. My sewn on Frankenstein bits seem happy with their new position on the upper part of my body. So weird to see an entire chunk of my stomach, skin, fat, flesh, as big as a small oven ready chicken, has been entirely relocated! I’m getting more mobile, but not quite ready for salsa dancing just yet. Maybe next week!

Amigo III out Dino hunting xxx

I’ve become quite addicted to French Films. My little cinema is pretty much now open right through the night and there is only room for me and Little Ted. I reckon I’ve watched about sixty foreign flicks over the last couple of months and I think I know why. They are more ‘me.’ I hate fake – anything fake. I like faces that grow old, hair that greys… even imperfect teeth (well that’s lucky!). I like a dingy cafe, with a chipped cup and a well worn woolly, essential for chilly days at home, even if the dog’s pulled loops of wool out of it. Haha. I do love make up and perfume very much though – all is not lost. Speaking of fake – Louis Vuitton are selling face masks for about £700. Absolute insanity! What kind of person could warrant wasting that much money, just to feed their vanity? Ugly. What would Nandad Hughes say?

Amigo III’s great grandpa (Nandad to Ol). Thomas William Henry Hughes, ‘Harry, Hal, Al.’ The lively one of his family, until this day in 1994, when he left us so suddenly. Loved and remembered forever by us all.

BREAST CANCER NOW!

“CALLING ALL ANGELS.” OUR ONLINE CONTRIBUTION TO HELP RAISE FUNDS TODAY.

Today, is a very important. It is Breast Cancer Now‘s, VERY special day, when we are asked to wear pink and help raise funds and awareness to keep people alive and well – living a life free from bloody cancer. So, I’m not ashamed to say, that the below pic is/was me. That’s what a radical mastectomy looks like and beneath my arm was a massive hole, with a little odd mound, that was left after the excavations (node clearance). It looked like some kind of nuclear explosion had happened on my chest. I didn’t want scars and reminders – I just wanted to be the woman I had enjoyed being for the fifty years prior to it all happening; I was always so comfortable in my own skin. The other boob wasn’t initially removed, because when you need chemo urgently, they only do essential work first. Anyhow – had the cancer gone undetected for a few more weeks, I doubt I would be sat here today. There are no guarantees for my future (nor anyones, so book that cruise, call your friends, go see your grandkids), but I thank God I am here now and can hold my little ones and get to share my days singing with you lovely lot.

The before. Easily mistaken for a joint of pork.

I chose to be relatively uninformed with my surgeries and treatments. They give you books and DVDs and of course, you can google anything, but I never do. I prefer to put my trust in the truly wonderful people who have treated me so far, and walk into whatever hospital I’m attending, with as little concern inside me as is possible. I get a bit worried that my kids get worried, or my parents fret, but I’m fine. I chose to have my babies alone too – I just like to focus, grit my teeth and get on with these things, with a minimum of fuss. I have this odd theory, that if each family is due a quota of hard knocks, then I was the very best choice as our family recipient. I’m thankful it was me and not them. I am mentally strong. Sure, like everyone I’ve had some tough times, but I always get my head back above water as soon as I can. This is also due to having thin, curly hair, that goes immediately frizzy on contact with water, haha. Oh water – can’t wait to go swimming again, in my red polka dot, pre cancer, fave swimsuit! I’m still rather uncomfortable, but doing ok and spent lots of little spells working today, in my comfortable, new swivel studio chair.

The after!! One week post reconstruction. My belly hahaha. How clever is that??!!??

PLEASE WATCH OUR VIDEO FOR “CALLING ALL ANGELS” AND IF YOU CAN, DONATE A FEW POUNDS TO THIS WONDERFUL CAUSE. XXXXX

The return of Nurse Needle!

Over the last month or so, I have been doing an ENORMOUS amount of thinking – choir related thinking and have made firm decisions on how I would like us to move forwards. I have a destination in mind which I think I’ve always had, but I am finally going to put it all into operation. I guess thats a positive thing that has come out of this whole Covid thing – time to think, time to reassess and time to really decide what’s important too. Just like my body, I think that with some major nips and tucks, we really can become what we were always destined to be! The Rockits are beautiful and perfect, where we find our friends, help our community and feel we belong, if only for a few hours each week. Rockits Choral…get your seatbelts on, hahaha.

I’m enjoying seeing all the video clips for the Christmas DVD. Sarah P., alias Delia, in her kitchen

I was somewhat shocked to hear that THE Rock Choir got some kind of financial assistance from the government. This is a bit crazy as their yearly profits were absolutely huge – what about all the little independent choirs, who aren’t run as businesses? Their choir leaders won’t even earn enough to pay tax and they won’t have the resources and backup to work through this period of time. I also do wonder what is deemed essential to keep afloat? I DO want the free school meals to continue for our school kids as my biggest one, tells me that so many of his boys only get this meal each day! I am not worried if The Rock Choir aren’t doing quite so well.

Love this photo of our Les – dressed up for ‘Wintersong.’

I have to have injections every day again, like I did way back when I was having chemo and Nurse Needle (Butsy) would administer them every night. All my family and friends are now rather good at it! I have no idea why I am so uncomfortable injecting myself, but I just can’t. I have been feeling generally rough since the op – I sit upright all night and never sleep more than a couple of hours. My breathing is really struggling due to the op compromising it, my rubbish lungs, getting a heavy cold etc… been put on steroids and antibiotics today to try and help with that as well. I am sure I’ll be ready to run a marathon by next week. I have a lovely new upright studio chair so that I can sit comfortably and work on and off for little spells during the day and night. I am slowly sifting through the Adagio recordings – word by word, little by little. It would have been my Nanny Ada’s 101st birthday today! Happy Birthday Nan – she would have LOVED the choirs so much and this song xxx

Ok Ma – so it’s the camera icon for the photo and then you touch here to forward via WhatsApp.

Tigers and wonderful friends.

It was all going so well yesterday, until I was sat looking through the many years of photos and videos on my iPad. I got to 4th November, 2018 and it was SO funny, that I burst into hysterical laughter – despite it hurting, I just couldn’t stop. Thank God I am held together with tape, glue and MASSIVE post op pants. The nurse rushed in ready to resuscitate me, haha. It was the day of our 70’s party in St Mildred’s Hall and CP was doing his best Tiger Feet dance, in huge platforms, while a gang of ladies sang in their berets. So funny.

Good choir friends. Helen, Jane and Sarah P. Xxx

Heaven is a shower! Nothing nicer after five days of being tightly bound up, uncomfortable and sweaty, to get stripped off and stand under a warm shower. We have had our top halves swaddled in inch-thick wadding too – it’s quite festive, but blimin’ hot, it was glorious to get out of it all. Release is on the horizon and my flap (!!!) has been declared healthy and warm…

Clip – “she used to be mine.” Sarah W and teapot. xx

…and home and my own bed. Had a reasonably good day today too, although I look like a geriatric Jimmy Krankie, as I’m shuffling around in baggy knee length shorts and full length support socks, with my hair all spriggy, dry and twiggy. Stomach scar is almost 25 inches wide (I actually measured it, as the biggest of the BIG 3 wanted in depth details) and I’m even more bloated than the time I ate 18 profiteroles one night. Top half isn’t too sore at all… fairly numb, but also swollen. I managed to work a little – well, music for me isn’t really work. Since I was tiny, I’ve always turned to music to occupy me. Some people do crosswords, Sudoko, knitting or jigsaws…but for me, for fifty years, it’s been music, in any shape or form. I’d be bored stiff without it. I’ve got plans…

Little Ted is staying with his Auntie Caroline. xx

Lost dogs and Notre-Dame.

What I do here, is document. I document lots of my life, so it will be kept forever, for whatever reason. I also think some of my experiences with cancer and it’s treatments may be of interest to others. I may be wrong, haha. What I am not doing is fishing, or kind of glorifying something, that’s frankly, rather horrible and grey. I blog, but don’t post as such. For me, a post on social media should be funny or informative or vaguely interesting. It should be written for the reader, NOT the writer. I do find those cryptic cliffhangers quite annoying – “What a night,” “heartbroken.” You know the kind of thing, although I find it quite interesting to watch them unfold…will anyone take the bait and comment? Not me! If you need a chat – pick up the phone! If you want to tell your mates something, then do it! On FB, I love seeing my friends smiley grand babies, a ladies lunch, a beautiful holiday destination, a sweet gesture, a magnificent cake, a gorgeous dress, dancing cats, a birthday bash or a dog reunited with its owner.

Amigo II in the pumpkin patch.

My drains are out and I can now get up and shuffle along, at about 10 metres an hour. I’m very hunched over, so really ought to consider taking some panto work quickly, as an old, twisted, wicked witch, or the Hunchback of Notre-Dame. It’s like a ghost hospital here – just us two patients in the entire ward! I wonder if Jack Nicholson will turn up tonight? We have our own team of nursing staff and even a sweet little man who constantly cleans and makes us drinks. I have got my iPad out tonight – home comforts! The nurse has made me a mug of hot milk and I’m watching Strictly. I feel quite lucky (just need to keep very still).

A Woody hat for Amigo I.

I keep falling asleep. I am so looking forwards to working again, when I’ve woken up haha. I really, really am. I am quite excited at the lovely Christmas DVD we’ve been putting together and while semi-snoozing have been thinking about bits for that. More than anything though, I long for the day when we can all sing together again.

An Eskimo Amigo (III).