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Monday 5th September. Travel Weary and Rather Autumnal


The flight back from Mauritius was interminable. It was creakingly uncomfortable, and I felt like ‘self loading baggage’ the term that is apparently used for economy passengers. Still, I wouldn’t have missed the trip for anything. My highlight was watching older Hindu women in bright saris dancing in a small room before a wedding. My low point was a migraine during a sight seeing tour. Actually, I’m not so keen on sight seeing. I far prefer talking to people, and I met some great characters. I also saw my friend the novelist Lindsay Cullen and her husband Ram. Lindsay’s latest book is called ‘Boy’ published by Bloomsbury, and she is a very interesting woman and writer. We had an evening at their house eating oddly shaped vegetables from their garden. It was my perfect night out, a sofa, and someone bringing me a tasty snack every so often.

Still, I am back now. There’s no point talking about trips away unless they are interestingly awful, and this one was such a mixture of things. I feel as if I have glimpsed paradise, but it’s nice to be back with marmite and PG Tips.

This morning I had to go up to the hospital for my pamidromate drip, and they did a blood test and said my blood count had sunk to new depths. No wonder I feel a bit weepy and useless. We would all be crying if our brave red blood cells weren’t marching about doing their job. Or is it the white ones? Today it’s a grey, sullen kind of day, and I find I have so much to do it makes me dizzy. But it’s rather busy and optimistic in the university, with people coming back from their summers, and all the workmen’s ladders tidied away.

Tomorrow I am running a workshop with GPs about the vocabulary of pain. I really love doing these kinds of workshops. They feel rather useful, and always remind me of the power of words. We’ll be doing writing exercises and reading things out, and hopefully everyone will go home with their vocabularies sharpened up, and their ears too. Then on Wednesday I have to have another long, boring blood transfusion. The thing I hate most about my condition is the time it requires. I suppose it has taught me to be patient, to learn how to do nothing, but I find it difficult.

I have read The Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which is delightful, and bound to become a feel good movie. Also Jill Dawson’s Wild Boy, which is a fascinating read. She wrote a book called Fred and Edie which I loved, and is I think a very talented writer. And more Phillipa Gregory, and Clan of the Cave Bear, which I have thankfully nearly finished. It’s a bit like binge eating, somehow, this kind of obsessive reading. My head is filled with salacious sex scenes!