Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Oxford - Race for Life July 12th 2015

The Ragazza participated in the Oxford Race for Life on July 12th.

She'd been shy about asking for sponsorship so I stepped in and we raised over £2000 including a late and much appreciated £500 from Sophos Senior Management which, of course, made me cry.

I must admit that I was anxious.
It was less than eight months ago that she lay in the I.C.U. at the John Radcliffe Hospital, having been, as we were cheerfully informed by one of the doctors on duty, a mere ten minutes from death.
It was only three months ago that she was sufficiently strong enough to walk again without crutches.
It was only two months ago that she was able to return to her teaching post full-time.
She still suffers from the effects of the accident that almost killed her.

And yet she was strong enough, brave enough and determined enough to train for the 5 km race.
I suspect that her decision to do so was, in part, to show me what can be achieved, against the odds, with courage and will-power.  

It was a moving experience.
So many women with their daughters and a few young boys, so many with their sisters and friends, all running to raise money for Cancer Research UK, and I admit that I was tearful.

But the power of people is limitless, I think. And the sheer goodwill and good energy that the race produced will remain with us for a long time to come.

And my Ragazza not only managed to compete the 5 km race, but she also did so in just under 30 minutes which shocked and impressed her family.

Thank you to those of you who sponsored her.
We, her family, are grateful for your generosity.
And we like to think that maybe, just maybe, the money that was raised on July 12th 2015 may contribute to finding a cure for a cancer that would otherwise have touched someone you love.


Julia, Sarah and Jonathan xxx

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Taking time...

to smell the flowers

The apple trees that  border one side of the green have been especially beautiful this year

And as is so often my way, I leave the well-trodden path and venture through nettles and long grass so that I can meander among them

Apple blossom make me think of weddings.
I'm not sure why, my own wedding took place on a cold day in March and there were few flowers blooming and, it being Lent, none permitted in the church.
But if I ever marry again I would like to do so when the apple trees are heavy with blossom.

And wear a delicate pink-tinged white dress.
And carry a bouquet of apple blossoms.

You see, I have it all planned.
Just in case ....

Meanwhile I wander among the apple trees, happily taking pictures, pausing to admire the branches bearing beautiful blooms and taking time to smell the flowers

Nature is such a wonderful healer
N'est-ce pas?

Friday, 24 April 2015

The Natural History Museum, naturally

The Rags and I had wanted to spend a day together and, my son being an impoverished student in London, we decided to meet there and visit a museum. We do like museums, and I've been taking them to the London museums for the last 25 years, but we never tire of them, the same exhibits, new exhibits, the same exhibits in different positions, exhibits ....

By choice I would have gone back to The British Museum and paid homage to The Swimming Reindeer because they are my all-time favourite favourites and I do adore them and could spend hours just gazing at them and chatting about them with other passing fans, but a Tweet from the museum indicated that they were in Japan, on loan as part of a tour of 'A History of the World in 100 Objects' exhibition and so .... No Swimming Reindeer, no visit.

So we went to The Natural History Museum...

And once there we conferred, debated, argued, compromised about that which we would like to see, since experience has taught us to be selective and not to attempt to see everything in one visit. We do so dislike seeing people rushing past, viewing the museum through the lens of a camera/mobile phone/dazed eyes, trying to take it all in in one huge gulp. We do like to wander slowly, to pause and stare, to take our time and to drink deeply.

The Ragazza was interested in the ecology exhibitions, these eco-warrior genes she has inherited from her mother. The Ragazzo was relaxed and undemanding, the giant sloth, maybe the 'earthquake/volcano stuff'. I was happy simply to be there and with them but I did express an interest in Neanderthal bones, should there be any available? Perhaps? Hopefully? Would be nice...
And dinosaurs, well, dinosaurs were a given.

And so...

I found my Neanderthal skull and spent a very long time examining it from all the angles that I could, decently, assume, taking photographs, feeling out-of-place-and-time in that way that I do when I come face to face with something that has remained from our prehistoric times. I was very content.  

And we tracked down the giant sloth and it really was gigantic ...

As you can see, The Ragazzo is over six foot tall and no, those genes he did not inherit from his petite mother ...

And there was the ecology section for The Ragazza who assumed her teacher's hat and lectured us a little, which made me smile ...

And finally, of course, there were dinosaurs ...

But mostly there was just The Rags and me hanging out together, re-discovering old favourites, finding new treasures, making more happy memories.

That's what it's really all about, isn't it?
N'est-ce pas?

Saturday, 7 March 2015


Spring is gently nudging winter out of the way.
Snowdrops, daffodils, crocuses bloom.
Buds burst open to reveal fresh green leaves.
Life continues.

The Ragazza is almost healed.
Not mended. The accident has changed her forever.
She will never be the same again.
But she is healing.
She no longer relies on crutches to support her.
She no longer has daily injections.
Her bones are knitting together.
Her body is healing.

It has been a long and difficult time for all of we who love her.
But I think that we have grown stronger and become better people.

And now I face my own challenges.
Life continues....
To every thing there is a season.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Charlie Hebdo ...

La liberté de pensée et d'expression sont des valeurs fondatrices de notre société.


Saturday, 3 January 2015

January 2015 ....

An update on The Ragazza ...

She's out of hospital after five days of sedated sleep and three days awake in the ICU and nine days on a trauma ward.

Her broken body is slowly mending, her tortured mind may take a little longer as she's experiencing PTSD and flashbacks to the accident.

The injuries that she sustained will continue to affect her for the rest of her life.

And now comes the anger at the parties involved in the accident which I am told is entirely natural.

Thank you for your comments and prayers. I have been sustained by the kindness of people near and far and am thankful