Thursday, 14 April 2011


My darling David’s journey came to an end peacefully and painfree at 04.30 a.m. on Tuesday 12th April 2011.
I send my love and thanks to all who supported him, and our family during his journey which proved to be far too short.

I would like to close his blog with this final post of a poem that I feel David would approve of

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep,
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow,
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain,
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing,
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.

Love and best wishes from Geraldine

Friday, 18 March 2011

New Horizons

Seven months since the home page photo of the grandchildren was taken on Ellen's 7th birthday I now have a replacement which shows us all a little bit older and definitely a little bit wiser when it comes to dealing with granddad's illness.

The most significant news to date relating to future objectives along this journey is that within a fortnight it is anticipated that I will be back in my own home. Somewhat incredulous that all this is feasible in such a short space of time I am at the same time excited by the prospect and determined to do everything in my power to ensure all goes as smoothly as possible.

In celebration a bottle or two of Batemans was cracked open to accompany my lunch and the answer to any doubters about the question on the label is a resounding "Yes I have!"

Monday, 14 March 2011

Grasping for inspiration.

"Life's truest happiness is found in the friendships we make along the way".

Recent days have proved difficult in finding something positive to cling to in my journey forward; and family and friends have shared my frustration despite witnessing remarkable progress.

One milestone which gives renewed hope is illustrated simply and succinctly by the images of friends old and new who have today travelled  to Phyllis Tuckwell from near and not so near to lend their support. We see Susie Milbank sitting in the Hospice gardens; her preferred location in view of the fact that we first made contact on the website of 'Wild About Britain' and finally met, thanks to her endeavour, for the first time today in order to share a common bond in our love of things natural though marginally disperse, and our experience of heartache at the hands of a cruel disease within our respective families. It was trually a pleasure meeting Susie and I thank her for the choice gifts of wine, 'fruits' and chocs and not the least her kind words of encouragement.

Susie soaks up the rays after travelling from Sussex

I hope it will be possible to share more with Susie especially if we can revert to our original plan, whilst I was more mobile, to explore Minley's wildlife treasures. (Working on a wheelchair access as I speak)

Minley of course takes us to my home patch where previously I often met up with another of today's visitors to PTH; Toni, a member of our dog walking community (thanks for your goodies [;0)] and your company) along with Caroline and company.

Toni, with Woody, sharing a coffee and a 'Twirl'
in the Tarbutt and Slocock Room

Forever in attendance family, friends virtual and actual like Trevor 'at the match', and hospice staff who keep me constant company at these trying times.

What more do I need than a reminder of these loving words from Geraldine in 2001:


When you are sad.....I will dry your tears.

When you are scared.....I will comfort your fears.

When you are worried.....I will give you hope.

When you are confused.....I will help you cope.

And when you are lost.....And can't see the light.

I shall be your beacon.....Shining ever so bright

This is my oath that I pledge to you.

Why you may ask?.....Because I love you

Geraldine xxx

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Spring is in the air..............

............and hope reigns eternal!

Today's atmosphere on the ward is enhanced by the fragrance of hyacynth from Fi's bouquet on my bedside. Also her tales from the lambing shed and photos of the ewes and their offspring bring welcome momentos.

With such encouragement we are due to follow up yesterday's successes whereby time was shared with friends and family in the Coffee Shop before a relaxing head and shoulder massage.

I am amazed at the progress we are making but still very aware that it is early days and that objectives must be on a day to day basis

Enjoying the spring sunshine in the gardens at Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, Farnham with Bob and Rosie


Wednesday, 2 March 2011


''The Only Way Is Up''

Yesterday is history,
tomorrow a mystery
and today is a gift
that's why it's called the present.

My gift on each and every day is the hope you all give me to reach the journey's end as peacefully as possible, knowing that the next steps will be enormously difficult. Together we have made encouraging progress and with the continuing help of the MDT I have every reason to think the days ahead will be just as rewarding in eliminating the dreaded fear of the situation in which I find myself. Unanswered questions cloud the path ahead but positive steps have been taken to ease the passage and I trust no new hurdles spring up before I have a chance to draw breath and more strength.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

'While the train is in the station, please refrain from urination.........................

....................have respect for railway property!'

Laying in bed confined to rest I am waiting for the signals to change allowing me to leave the platform of Onslow Ward fitted with a shiny new catheter (can't fault the timing by these hospital doctors: 10 minutes before KO, 6 Nations, England v France and armed with KFC and a Boddingtons - least the property will be respected!)

After the the latest results of tests it now transpires that surgery is no longer viable for attacking the numerous thoracic compressions within my spine. The final efficacy of the completed radiotherapy remains in the melting pot but never the less means that at this moment I am in the capable hands of the physiotherapists and yours truly for any hope of getting back on my feet and walking again: The one place I dreaded reaching but at least I was not buried in the rubble of Christchurch, NZ or shot up and blasted by a despotic government in Tripoli. There is always hope and Chaka is still waiting by the front door at home ready with collar and lead. Furthermore Crystal's reminder sits poignantly on my bedside lest I should momentarily forget my band of angels waiting, not only driving chariots at Twickenham against France, but also ever present to carry me home!

The thoughts and prayers flow throw cyberspace to one and all even if the means  to communicate more directly are somewhat curtailed by this freebie hospital internet access.

David (X)

Friday, 25 February 2011

The Marshalling Yard

I guess it was inevitable that at times on this journey the train would be side tracked and forward progress hindered almost to a standstill. Laying semi paralysed in the bed rest siding at The Royal Surrey is one of those interludes during which spirits and positivity reached an all time low because of the discovery, treatment and  further investigation of the mets in the thoracic spinal region and all the negative  implications associated with this frightening situation.

On the up track the news is slightly more encouraging having, with the best support in the  world, come to terms with the  indignities, loss of independence and fears of the unknown accompanying this current condition, now seen the glimmer of a green light ahead as I complete the 5 sessions of radiotherapy later today and await the results of a full spine MRI (30 minutes in that tube with tumour pains nagging is no joke so it had better be a good result!)

The continuing care from the ward staff and and all the other teams involved, both personal and professional keep me bouyant and for that I am eternally grateful and do my utmost to reward such stirling efforts by trying to stay as upbeat as possible - but it ain't aways easy folks!

Apologies for the limited means of communication with you all as editing and updating this blog alone is a mammoth task using the hospital facilities, but do please know you are all in my thoughts and I miss the news and the banter.

Love, light and blessings to all you angels, who ensure it's 'Marshalling' in the title and not 'Knackers'

David (X)

P.S. In the interests of common decency and to save my dignity there will be no photos of my bed baths (or, sadly, any others), but without much sense or feeling and occasionally being outnumbered 3 to 1 by pretty nurses I do feel somewhat cheated  :)