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Pink Flamingos, Sweet Dreams


Did I say that Tiger, my new neice, arrived last Tuesday, so she is now a week old ? It was a calamitous birth, involving ambulances, devices like sink unblockers, long agonies, but thank god for my sister, it’s all over now and there is a lovely baby. What an amazing business it is! And how delicate and complicated!

I am back in Newcastle in a cancer limbo. Actually, I am developing a theory that the hospital has muddled me up with someone else, another Julia Darling who is terribly ill, but they keep telling her that there is nothing the matter with her, whereas I am being told the opposite, but seem to be able to get up every morning and do up my shoelaces, and go to the shops. They will feel awful when they find out, especially as I have ruined my poor body with all these potent drugs!

I am taking so many things at the moment…tamoxifen, milk thistle, floradix, progesterone cream, fentanyl patches, pamidromate, and rather alot of neurofen. Most of it has no side effects, thank god.

This weekend I am getting on an easyjet plane to Palma on my own…I want to disappear for a bit. I used to do that alot….just stepping out of my life and going to some strange place where I know no one. Of course, you can end up feeling like a mad person, stuck in a strange smelling hotel room, miles from everyone you love. But these journeys are oddly liberating and memorable too. For a start, no one will know that I’ve got cancer, and that’s quite a relief.

Yesterday I went with my friend Emma Holliday to look at pink flamingos at Washington wild fowl park. They are unreal. Who thought them up, with their swollen red knees and bizarre hooked noses? And what a brilliant colour they are, but a bit bitchy looking, like thin drag queens pecking at each other ! Emma has an exhibition in June at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle, and I am going to write some poems….perhaps one about flamingos. I forgot about birds laying eggs while we were at the park, and suddenly imagined, probably because of Tiger being on my mind, ducks being in labour. How bizarre! Is my brain decaying?

Been reading like mad….The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory is a very juicy read….now reading Lucky, by Alice Sebold, which is well written, but I can’t get into it after the court of Henry 8th and all those corsets and flirtations. Just bought Hilary Mantel’s autobiography, and Paul Durcan’s poetry collection ‘Greetings To Our Friends In Brazil.’