Think some of you might be interested in this because Junie B is coming this way - courtesy of the Chicken House publishers' (run by the man who gave J.K. Rowling her big break).
Teachers apparently complain about Jacqueline Wilson's grammar too, and if you read the school work of avid ten-year-old girl readers you do see lots of Wilsonisms - doesn't do any harm...but you might disagree...
The tykerb - the stuff I can't get in England for love or money - arrives from Israel this evening (complete with drugs company biro which has also just fallen out of the box), courtesy of Anthony's son Max running round a blazing hot Tel Aviv (40 degrees in the shade these days) from pharmacy to lawyer's office, and after various long discussions with Fedex about VAT, and suchlike, and I open the packet to check it's the right stuff, and of course, the label is proudly emblazoned with the words, lapatinib (tykerb) a Glaxo Smith Kline innovation: Made in Ireland. Must get myself a new digital camera - this stuff needs illustrating, not just describing on blogs...
Peter Ostler chuckles and remembers the last time he had to go through hoops and cross borders to get medicine for a patient - "that time it was made in Amersham" he says, pointing to a place about half an hour away from Mount Vernon.
MRSA seemed to be the thing on all the nurses' minds these few days I had in hospital. All of the ones I saw mentioned it in some context or other - usually new rules that had come in at other hospitals. At Bishopswood, where I stayed - the private bit of Mount Vernon - there is disinfectant gel everywhere, and the nurses all put on thin rubber gloves before each procedure as well. But nobody - neither doctors nor nurses - scrubs hands for longer than thirty seconds or so, and I'm sure I've read that it actually takes a good couple of minutes to clean the hands enough to remove the chance of infection.
In one of the papers last week there was a piece saying that when patients ask nurses and doctors to wash their hands before touching them, it results in generally raised standards in that hospital. But, four years into this illness, and it'll take me another four years (I think) to open my mouth and say, "uh, can you wash your hands for the full two minutes please?"
Had to go to hospital unexpectedly Sunday night for more blood and stuff, but back home now, and update from Daniel on fundraising:
Hi Dina, this should have come last week, but with some more money in today, it is worth waiting.
We have received more money in from both the film show and also your general fundraising.
Income direct to the appeal - £235.00 (including £35 from League of Jewish Women)
Filmshow extra income - £6,231.24
Extra book sale income - £67.02
Total to add to your offline income - £6,533.26
Plus the £5,000 donation I told you about last week, equals £11,533.26 which will push you over the £60k mark. Interestingly, the overall appeal is about £600,000 now, so let's hope as you approach £100,000 the overall appeal can keep pace and reach £1million.
So we're at £60,000 approx and have raised ten percent of the total amount!!! And that's not counting the extras: Mishcon's amount, Sam Jacobs, girlsontherun, David Masters, and new and very pregnant entrant Tammy Jeffay.
Not long till Shabbat, children have their Harry Potters, and after weeks and weeks of getting the whole Guardian quick crossword most days, and thinking I'm ready for the cryptic, I'm stuck on about nine clues of today's Quick...Economic theory favouring state control 12 letters...oh no, Anthony's just got that, collectivism, hurrah!; Join strands together - six letters; leader - knob on shield - four letters; and very puzzling Flower also called Star of David - eight letters and four letters. Anybody heard of a flower also called Star of David???? All I could find out on Google was that there is a flower in Israel whose cells under a telescope, amazingly, form a Star of David - but the letters don't fit the space. Persian buttercup?
The physiotherapist from the local hospice comes round to offer help with getting back on my feet. She comes in, sits down in the living room with me, it's ten in the morning, I'm still in pyjamas, still looking disoriented from the morning battle with heaving stomach, and says, "how can I help?" And then she has no advice to offer. It's constantly a surprise to me how very often these professionals are so unprepared and unhelpful. She has no advice other than what I realise now is the standard, "take each day as it comes". I think that means do on each day what you feel able to do. But what is the point of these home visits, if the people making them are so under-resourced. My impression is they are just coming around to see if you want to talk - it's as if all the cancer professionals think the great need is for patients to talk about their cancer. Actually, I find I'm desperately looking for practical advice: what exercise is good to do? any exercise? none at all? when will I feel normal again? how much fatigue is a normal amount in these circumstances? what can one do to alleviate the fatigue? what do you do about pain other than keeping on upping the morphine doses?
And to every single question the answer is, 'take each day as it comes'...
and the New York Times book review, can you get a preview of the latest Harry Potter - but, here in Hendon too. At 7 tonight, a delivery begins. The local bookstore has a dispensation to take copies of the much prized one round to all the people who keep Shabbat and so are unable to queue at midnight for Harry. So, each year, come July, it's the only bookstore that charges full price for Rowling's work, and the one that has children sitting in silence from candle-lighting until midnight, or one, two in the morning...which is what'll be happening in this house tonight.
BBC breakfast asked me on to a 'disco' they're doing tomorrow morning (a day I can't do!) to celebrate adults and Harry Potter. I didn't tell them I'll already have read a copy; each year the Guardian tries to get me to reveal this bookshop source, but hard-core journalist that I am, believer in freedom of information, I think this is the one secret I have never disclosed...which means when I say it's a local bookshop, that's a red herring - but it is true that we get the books six hours before anybody else. Shabbat Shalom!
Walking...15 minutes, and spotted yet another two hairdressers' I didn't even know about - Yona, which sounds Israeli, and a unisex salon which looks quite promising - well, clean anyway. What explains the proliferation of hairdressers' in Hendon? Meanwhile in the ever-changing Brent Street a pizza parlour has been replaced by a new china store - place settings, dishes etc. Have yet to spot anybody buying or even entering the musical instruments store, which opened three weeks ago.
Magdalenka, our local Polish hairdresser's, i.e. just an empty storefront one weekend, followed by a few days very hard work by team of Poles, the arrival of the orange and red IKEA sofa, and open for business. The tragedy is I don't have a digital camera at the moment, so cannot post these wash and blow-dry photos, but for those who are following the plot so far I'm spicing up my daily walking quota by testing out all the local hair salons, in search of that elusive grail, the natural looking blow-dry. No cutting, no colouring, just washing and drying, and attempting to come out of the hairdresser's looking better than when I went in.
Not easy in Hendon. Definitely not a success today. I thought I'd give the hard-working Polish girls a try; there seem to be about five of them running the place, and every day they add a new inducement: henna, sun-beds, manicures etc etc.
I have come out looking like I just left mittelEurope. My hair has been loaded with mousse and pulled tight strand by strand around a tightly curled brush, then, if that wasn't enough, little pink rollers came out and six choice locks were wound round the little pink rollers. My head was then inserted into a rain-kerchief and popped under huge old-fashioned hairdryer. The hairspray followed, and follows me still an hour later. £18, one pound cheaper than last week's attempt.
I think the simple difference between suburban hair, and "good" hair is just this: movement. Suburban hair has no movement, no lustre, no swing. Will I ever find it in Hendon? The search - and the walking - goes on. (And on...there are at least another eight hairdressers within my walking range - more than any other single type of shop.)