Saturday, 29 November 2008

Things Are Looking Up

This is a photo of my Mum (right) with her sister (left) back home after her operation. She looks remarkably well for someone who has just had a tumour removed - if fact I'm not sure I've seen her smile so broadly for a long time! I think it must be a big relief to be out of hospital and I think she was very touched because my aunt flew out from Florida just to see her and be with her.

The surgeon said that the tumour was 2cm in size and he felt confident he had removed it all. We still need to find out if it is malignant. This is likely, but we are expecting to learn that it is a low grade, Oa or 1a. There are four grades of cancer, 1-4 and the higher the number, the more advanced and aggressive it is. So this would be good news.

Incidentally, would you believe that Mum is now in her sixties? She's very fit and trim.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


Uggh. My Mum had an operation today, on her kidney. They initially thought it was a kidney stone, but a couple of days ago the urologist had some doubts and she's been fast-tracked into surgery.

I understand that the operation seemed to go well and that she is feeling fine. Her sister is there, flown in from the States.

We don't know yet if it's cancer. It is hard not to be scared.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Sharpitor, Leather Tor and Burritor in Autum

I love being out in the rugged, ancient landscape of Dartmoor.

It was a bright day, with the distant sun illuminating soft, warm oranges and golds. I climbed Sharpitor and walked to Leather Tor, climbed that, then followed the leat through Burritor, through the pine woods, along water-soaked logging trails and back to the road.

It was a steep climb to Sharpitor over haphazard clitter. At the top, I ate my lunch and took in the wonderful view. It was such a clear day, I could see the sea. As I continued, I passed dartmoor ponies huddling at the base of Leather Tor. I had a good climb over the clitter and tor there, enjoying the challenge of using my arms to lift myself up into granite crevices. I sat there for a while just enjoying the view and taking photos.

I headed down into Burrator, past some old trees coated with thick, green moss, into the pine woodland. I came across a sheep nibbling on grass in amongst the trees. Its wool coat was thick, making it seem very fat indeed. It seemed oblivious to the bramble it was carrying.

I reached the leat. The flowing water chimed and resonated. It was refreshing and energising, as if I had quenched a thirst I did not know I had. Onwards through the woods, past more ponies and suddenly so many mushrooms, lurking around roots and rotting logs. I flicked through my mushroom book, but couldn't tell what was what.

I noticed the light was fading. I was making slow process today, being much more interested in taking photos and investigating everything I came across. I couldn't resist stopping every time I came across an interesting mushroom or toadstool!!

The ground was getting increasingly boggy underfoot and I was struggling to find a way through. It was a race against the coming darkness. There are no bears or wolves in this part of the world, but still I felt my fear of getting lost in such a place at night. How easy it would be to get confused in the strange shadows! I finally found a narrow point of the stream and jumped, landing a little awkwardly so that my ankle turned over. It is the same ankle that I have sprained three times. It was not sprained this time, just a little sore.

I made it back to the car before the last of the light had faded, wondering at the beauty of this rugged place.