Friday 28 August 2009


A hen. Sans plastic penises.

My weekend looks like this:

  • It's my beautiful friend Gemma's hen do in the fair city of Nottingham. I'm travelling down after work tonight for a weekend of cocktails, fancy dresses, high heels, a cabaret show and, most probably, a whole load of novelty plastic penises. If there aren't any plastic penises I might have to ask for my money back. I'm all about the plastic penis.
  • A possible trip to Gay Pride in Manchester on Sunday, depending on who's about, whether I've stopped being sick after a night filled will alcohol abuse (hi, I'm British, it's what we do), and whether or not I can get enthused about paying £12 just to walk into the gay village. £12! To walk! On the streets! We always walk on! Tut.
  • A glorious Bank Holiday Monday (for glorious read rainy) spent either nursing a sore head or creating more of a sore head. It's too early to say yet. I may devote the entire day to my duvet, some wine and some comedy programmes. Then again, probably not. You can't recreate that intense feeling of happiness if you're on your own.

What lies in store for you, my lovelies?

Thursday 27 August 2009

Sweet charity

Sir Digsby and Ginger implore you

This is where I put my begging hat out...

As lots of you have probably heard I'm going to be spending my time on the Fourth Plinth trying to raise awareness of just how rife prostate cancer is amongst men. With men living longer than ever before, the discovery of the disease is becoming more and more common. My Dad was diagnosed just over two months ago and is now undergoing both chemotherapy and hormone therapy. His Consultant believes that his tumour has been growing for ten or eleven years, a thought that I find terrifying. Prostate cancer is often slow growing and can be symptomless but, in many cases, as in my Dad's, the cancer can spread.

To put it simply, I adore my Dad. He's an incredible man and I just want to feel like I'm doing my bit. Research into prostate cancer is woefully underfunded and, quite frankly, every little helps.

So, I've set up a fundraising page ( and me, my Dad and the charity would all be incredibly grateful for anything that anyone can spare. Big, small, enough to buy a small house in the Midlands, enough to buy a lemon muffin from Greggs... all donations more than gratefully received.

"Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the UK. Every year in the UK 35,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. One man dies every hour of prostate cancer in the UK."

Thankyou xx

PS: To those of you who've already donated, you're wonderful. Each and every one of you.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

I wish I was a little bit taller

"If you had but one wish, that you had to use on yourself what would it be and why?"

Back here I asked for any questions that people may have about me, etc. A few trickled through (I must be a massive oversharer!) and first up is the one above from LizSara. By the way, if anyone else would like to delve into my psyche and ask me something, just leave a comment on that other post.

If I had one wish that I had to use entirely on myself, it would be this....

To be able to strip away all the bad memories, bad experiences and hurt that I've experienced in years gone by, thus enabling me to still see love and relationships with the same eyes I had when I was 18 and baggage free.

The older you get, and the more relationships you experience, the more baggage you carry with you into the next relationship (and the one after that, and the one after that...). If you've been treated particularly badly trust issues can develop and, unfortunately, get carried into the new relationship, even though your current partner has done nothing to warrant your mistrust. Similarly, if you felt caged or smothered by someone then a fear of being controlled can develop, and again be carried across into the new relationship, even though the new girl or boy has no desire to smother. Miscommunication and a reluctance to disclose your fears and issues early on in a relationship can then lead to yet another broken relationship. More baggage. And so and so on. Repeat ad infinitum.

So, sometimes I think it'd be nice to be able to visit Lacuna and wipe the slate clean, so to speak. To enter each new relationship with the fresh faced, wide eyed innocence that only those who've never had their heart broken possess.

But then again, love and relationships are nothing if not a learning curve. If you don't remember what went wrong, and don't think of ways to put it right for the future, you're doomed to repeat the same mistakes again.

So, scratch that, my wish is for a penthouse apartment in New York.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Getting on with it

Ah, Theme Hospital. Many hours of my youth wasted.

Visiting my Dad in hospital this week has only confirmed in my mind something that I already knew. I am terrified of getting older. Not getting older as in becoming 30, 40 or even 50. But getting really old. Or, even worse, seeing my parents get really old.

I recently watched that Jo Brand/Vicki Pepperdine hospital-set comedy, 'Getting On'. If you didnt, I implore you to seek it out on iPlayer (if it's one of the few programmes the BBC has bothered to make available). I loved it. Really loved it. Poignant, terribly sad but full of gems of observational humour.


There's a little old man on my Dad's ward at the moment. Albert his name is. But he thinks that someone else is Albert and keeps calling out for him all through the night. Oh, and a male nurse cathaterised him yesterday. Albert is under the impression that he needs to give the cathater and colostomy bag back to the male nurse, because he thinks it belongs to him. Cue Albert getting out of bed every twenty minutes and trying to force this bag of wee on the poor male nurse.

Then there was Jean. In her nineties. Jean had been admitted from the local psychiatric hospital. Jean liked to wander. When asked where she was going she'd shout obscenties and scream bloody murder that she wasn't going anywhere. My Dad was convinced that Jean was going to try and get into bed with him in the middle of the night. She didn't.

You have to laugh, don't you?

Friday 21 August 2009

Seesaw Marjorie Daw

Up, down, up down...

No, not my moods (I'm actually a chipper little lady these days). My Dad. He's not doing too well, the poor old chap. Chemotherapy is kicking his ass. He strolled into this with bravado, nonchalance and a feeling that he'd glide through the treatment with not a problem in sight. And, if I'm honest, I did too. He's always been this big, strong, jovial man, always ready with a joke, a sarcastic comment or a bout of sheer idiocy to put a smile on my face. Always playing the fool. Always there.

And now he's in hospital. Weak, frail and struggling to walk. An infection? A bad reaction to the chemo? They don't know. Endless tests, antibiotics, saline drips. Poking, prodding, injections.

As I drove home from the hospital on Wednesday night, the all too short visiting hours having come to an abrupt end, dark thoughts started to creep in. Thoughts that I don't want to have. Thoughts of what happens if it doesn't work. Thoughts of what life would be like without him.

That is not a life I want to contemplate right now.

So I'm not going to. The dark thoughts can stay right where they belong, buried deep amongst the detritus of my mind. Amongst the long forgotten memories of childhood fears, irrational and naive.

Come on Dad. Sort it out.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

I'll tell you no lies...

The Delurks command you. Yes, I know it's a terrible joke.

Delurk! Delurk!

Seeing as a lot of other people seem to be doing this and because I don't have time to think up post ideas at the moment (Hello cancer, you've made me your bitch) I invite you, dear readers, regular commenters, lurkers (particularly you, lurkers, I'm intrigued by you) et al to ask me anything.

Crude, rude, lewd.

Mad, sad, glad.

Happy, crappy, snappy.

I'll answer anything (provided it's not 'what's your credit card pin number?' or anything that asks me to divulge information that could be used for misdeeds) so get your thinking caps on. I like answering questions. It allows me to pretend I'm being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman. I love Jeremy Paxman.

You can even do it anonymously if you wish.


Tuesday 18 August 2009

Culinary nemeses

Get your filthy stalks away from my face

5 foods I can't bear that everyone else seems to love:

1) Coriander. What is it for? Why does it exist? It tastes like soap. It has stalks that make a horrible squeaking noise when I bite into an otherwise lovely salad. I have to pretend I'm allergic to it to avoid it being put on food that I order in restaurants (yes, like Carrie and her parsley hatred in Sex and the City). See also: red chard and rocket. I do not like stalks.

2) Mushrooms. My mushroom hatred is well documented. I do not eat grey food. And don't even get me started on the ones that aren't grey. Horrific.

3) Avocados. Just no. They taste of nothing! And have a texture akin to that of something truly horrific. I can't even think of anything horrific enough to illustrate the fact. I do, however, really like guacamole. I am a fickle eater.

4) Raisins. I've lost hours, nay days of my life picking raisins out of the box of fruit and fibre. But, because I am a mental, I do like chocolate covered raisins and scones with raisins in. Eccles cakes are horrendous though. Actually my worst nightmare encased in pastry. Grapes should be grapes.

5) Goji berries. Super food or not, they are far too closely related to the raisin for my liking. Plus the colour is just too bizarre to be acceptable. I don't care if they contain 6 essential vitamins and 18 amino acids. I do not want to eat something with the texture of felt.

Conversely, foods I love that most people seem to hate: mussels, celery, whitebait, squid, beef jerky. Apparently I like chewy things and things that taste like the sea.

Monday 17 August 2009

I'm not an English Yah

George Square Hullabaloo beer garden

So, Edinburgh then.

Let's take a look at the facts:

Men in kilts seen: 5 (only one was anything approaching hot, boo!)
Tartan bus seats: Multiple
Displays of irn bru, haggis and flat sausage: 1
Irn bru adverts seen on tv: Multiple
Gin drunk: Too much
Bottles of wine drunk: 3 and a bit
Cider consumed in beer gardens: 2 pints
Bloggers met: 1

I think that sums it up pretty well. Miss Smidge and I drank, laughed and pretty much never stopped talking in the two days I spent in Edinburgh. I squealed with delight whenever I saw a tartan bus seat, wanted to punch most of the English people we happened upon ("Yah, yah, yah!", "I'm doing the festival daaaahling") and marvelled at the shortness and general aesthetic wonderfullness of Scottish men. I heart short men.

Now I'm back in the real world where my Dad has to deal with the poison coursing through his body. He's remarkably chipper actually, aside from suffering from constant hiccups. One of the side effects of the anti nausea drugs, apparently. Poor bloke. I despise hiccups. One of the most irritating afflictions known to man. Still, in the battle of hiccups vs cancer, I think cancer has the edge.

So, hiccups, if you're a necessary part of the process that's going to heal my Dad, feel free to carry on...

Thursday 13 August 2009

"I'm serious as cancer..."

So, tomorrow is the day it begins...


The c word that helps to treat the other c word.

The beginning of the road out of this nightmare. I hope. I haven't written a huge amount about it here. About the fatigue he's feeling, the pain, the awful hot flushes. Having to face the mortality of my own parents is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I'm not going to lie to you, I fell apart for a while back there. I felt like I was losing everything. Like everything was slipping away. My Dad's cancer combined with various other issues made me feel like everything was falling through my fingers.

But it's not.

He's not.

He will beat this.

We will beat this.

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Rain keeps falling on my head

Apologies for the presence of my breasts in this photo

So, Summer then.

Not to be incredibly British or anything but the weather really has been pretty shocking hasn't it? Sitting where I do in my little office enables me to spend an inordinate amount of time staring glumly out of the window at the weather du jour (productive to the max). Sometimes I provide a running commentary on the same to my workmates. Lucky them. I bet you wish you worked with me don't you? One day two weeks ago there was rain, hail, sun, cloud, thunder and lightning all within the space of an hour. I'm sure you don't need me to describe just how informative and necessary my commentary was. I'm like the Michael Fish of the legal costs world. And I'm not talking about my penchant for tweed, leather arm patches and grossly over sized glasses.

To combat the gloom (although it's actually rather sunny today) I've compiled a list of the five best things about Summer. In no particular order. Except for the first one. Hot naked people is obviously number one.

1) People wear less clothes. Now, this isn't always a good thing. Many people (Vanessa Feltz, I'm looking at you) should be forced to wear the maximum amount of clothes possible at all times. This also extends to men who think it's ok to walk around the town centre topless. It's not ok. I don't want to see your faded bulldog tattoo, your pigeon chest or your t-shirt tan lines. But in many situations, less clothes = more perving opportunities. And who doesn't love a bit of perving.

2) Beer gardens. Wine. Cider. Sun. Benches. Grass. Afternoon drinking. WIN.

3) Costa Coffee's citrus fruits Frescato. Do they do these all year round? I don't know. But even if they do, I'd only want them in Summer. So cold they'll freeze your face off. In a good way.

4) Happiness. People are happier in Summer. This is a cold, hard FACT. Kind of. Sun = endorphins = happy. No matter what the problem is it never looks quite as bad when the sun is shining and the evenings are longer.

5) Ice cream vans. I may be in the minority here but I love hearing the sound of an ice cream van wending its way towards my abode. The tinkling sounds of 99s, screwballs, fruit pastille lollies and calippos. How can that not make the world a better place? Always beware an ice cream van that makes the rounds in Winter. They're quite clearly selling crack.

Monday 10 August 2009


My weekend looked like this:

Sunshine (well, a bit anyway) // 'Scene It' for 6 hours with three of my bffs and lots of booze // Sex and the City - series 6 - "I'm having a Jewish wedding and I look like Hitler" // a horrendous hangover // too little sleep // Villa Maria sauvignon blanc // Louis Theroux // buffalo wings and blue cheese dip // Little Boots on repeat // Wii Fit // fresh pineapple // singing along loudly to 'In For the Kill' by La Roux, particularly the 'OoooOOOooooOOOoooo' bit in the middle // Family Guy // the gym // lying in the garden reading Bete de Jour's book // plinth planning // dozing on the sofa with my dogs, under my Glastonbury blanket // nettle tea // making plans and resolutions & lots of lovely 'me' time...

In other words, it wasn't too shabby at all.

Your turn!!

I'm still waiting for it to stop feeling like someone's something's missing though. That'll happen soon, right?

Friday 7 August 2009

Taking the Plinth

1. Do more things that scare me...

It's good to shake things up. To terrify yourself occasionally. To sign up for things that you wouldn't normally do... that people would never EXPECT you to do.

So I have.

I'm going on the Plinth.

Now, if you don't know what's happening on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square this Summer then you're clearly not skiving enough at work. Go here to find out the concept behind the whole thing. And watch a little video of Anthony Gormley. Yep, him what dun created t'Angel of t'North and those people in the sand in Crosby (otherwise known as Another Place). In a nutshell though, it's the creation of a living monument.

An hour of time to do what you want. Say what you want. Show the world what you want (and I don't mean genitalia, although that has been done).

I'll take my place on the Plinth at 7pm on Wednesday 16th September.

What am I going to do? I haven't quite decided. Any suggestions are very welcome. I may just dress as Richard O'Brien, shout 'START THE FANS!' and then just throw gold and silver paper at people.

I'm absolutely terrified.

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Dear Diary...

I've started writing a diary.

A paper one.

I've always been full of great intentions whenever I've bought one in the past. I remember to carry it with me for a few days, I enter a few half hearted musings and then... I change my bag du jour and the diary gets forgotten. So I bought a Simple Diary (found via wishwishwish). It's much easier to write in than any other diary I've ever had as there are no blank pages staring back at you, waiting for you to fill them with angst or woe or happiness. Each page is filled with little quotes, prompts and questions to answer. You don't have to work through the book page by page, instead you can dip in and out of it... find a page that matches the kind of day you're having and scrawl away!

I've written a little paragraph inside the front cover. A list of goals if you will.
  • Do more things that scare me
  • Worry less
  • Love myself more

Dear Diary,

Today I started on a journey. It's going to be a long, hard journey. But I'll get there. I've never been more sure of anything.


Helen xx

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Never a truer word spoken...

Poros, Greece - One year ago...

"There is no point even trying to convince someone that everything has changed when they choose to believe that everything is exactly how they left it. Why waste your energy?"

-- returntosender

Monday 3 August 2009

Pastry days

Pasties - making diets cry

I've been in my current lovely job for about 8 months now. It's frightening how time flies. However, this means that I've had 8 months experience of the culinary delights that Warrington has to offer. And by culinary delights I clearly mean bakery products. Because Warrington is filled with only two types of establishments: bakeries and recruitment agencies. Seriously.

Top 5 pasties (pastry wonderment, not burlesque nipple coverage, just to clarify):

1) Greggs meat & potato. Hands down winner of the pasty award. Pros: moist crumbly pastry, a tasty meat filling, few chunks. Cons: pastry so crumbly that my hair ends up covered in it. It's a good look.

2) Waterfields sausage & beans. A controversial pasty this one. Like beans and sausage on toast. But encased in pastry. Without the toast. It really is a delight.

3) Sayers meat & potato. Slightly dry when compared with the Greggs offering. Still a flavourful treat though.

4) Greggs cheese & onion. As above, but with cheese and onion. Not too much onion so your work mates won't suffer from an onion backlash later in the afternoon. Win.

5) It's not a pasty but how could I not mention the Waterfields jumbo sausage roll. It's a delight. Although give it a couple of minutes to cool down as the heat that radiates from it's pastry joy could take your face off.

Sunday 2 August 2009

Here comes the sun

And just like that....

I've turned the corner.

The tears have dried up. The positivity is back. The feelings of hurt and pain have faded to nothing more than a dull ache. I'm waking up with a smile on my face most mornings. I'm also really enjoying work (I know, loser). I have a hen do, a wedding and a weekend in Edinburgh to look forward to.

The sun is even shining today.

Hello world.