I am, contrary to all online appearances, still alive. Where were we?

The Centre Parcs tropical waterworld was the crowning delight of Harry’s young heart. Never has ‘more’ been signed so enthusiastically than by a beaming toddler who has just zoomed gleefully down a long water flume that, in his mother’s AaaAAaarRGhhhH! startled opinion, was rather too scary and fast for small people. Rendered unfeasibly buoyant in his float-incorporated swimsuit and little water wings, he morphed into a confident water-baby, happily doggy-paddling several feet between crowing parents.

My two closest friends came to stay with us there for a couple of days and I cruised to great glory and triumph in the resulting Monopoly contest. I would not have bothered to mention this, were it not that the slightest reference to my victory makes my insanely competitive husband break down and cry inside.

It took me a week to tackle the holiday washing. Boo. Hiss. Etc.

I had a 1st of February laparoscopy date through, the day after I actually bestirred myself to obtain and send a copy of my New Cardiac Strangeness report to my consultant.

The aorta and IVC were noted to be transposed, so that the aorta lay to the right of the IVC. This arrangement is a congenital variant and appeared to continue throughout the abdomen, unlike the more commonly seen variation where the IVC crosses the aorta. Occasionally variations in IVC position may be related to abdominal pain, and certainly it would be necessary to make a surgeon aware of it, should the patient require abdominal surgery at any future date. A full assessment on ultrasound is limited and CT would probably be the best method of full assessment. You may also wish to consider a chest x-ray to see whether there is any cardiac anomaly present.

My consultant is on leave until the 1st, so as a direct result of my fannying about and not getting on with things, her secretary and I have been obliged to postpone my surgery until she is back. I’m pretty confident that my abdominal aorta has not managed to migrate the whole unlikely half-foot or so to the front of my uteri, so I don’t expect it’ll hold her scalpel off for long, unless she decides to bung me through a CT scanner first.

I am divided equally between nerves, avid curiosity and an impending sense of Doom. The sedation worries me not one jot, as does the thought of hosting uteri-cam, but I’m squeamish about my belly button, and the whole inflating-of-abdomen thing makes me mentally scuttle under a rock. I do not want post-operative shoulder pain, either. The prospect of abdominal pain I can deal with happily enough – I have a great number of metaphorical t-shirts formally proclaiming me a Big Girl in that respect – but I am a little nervous of making new friends. And, while I am admittedly ON FIRE to find out what my peculiar duo of uteri look like in, literally, the flesh – they’ve been hurting a fat lot more than usual lately. I am consequently darkly suspicious of quite how much adenomyosis I have managed to grow in the last couple of years, and feel even more broodingly about this deforming-uterine-walls-synechium thing I have also acquired.

In a clever bid to cheer myself up, although I was professedly supposed to be cheering her up, I hopped on the train to see May on Friday. It was a day out alloyed only by current circumstances for May, which could hardly be more miserable, and by my stupid, stuuuuuuupid attempt to leave London on a Friday afternoon, on a tight schedule, to get home for Harry’s bedtime. I should have consigned him from the outset to the sans-maternal bedtime experience he happily underwent in any case when I was inevitably delayed, and stayed stolidly and unashamedly where I was for several more hours; I was warm, comfy, nattering blissfully, oh-so-spectacularly very well-fed, having a truly lovely time – and H would have been home for dinner, had I stayed a little longer! Going early was the poorest decision I’ve made so far this year and I’ve kicked myself ever since. Bah, bollocks and bugger.

I also walked away the proud new owner of a simply beeeeoooooouuutiful scarf that May crocheted for me, for our crafty Pay It Forward. My wonky lavender sachet – which is all I have to show for the whole intervening 12 months since actually, you know, announcing it – wilted sadly in comparison to May’s fabulous and elegant woolly warmer. I will post photos tomorrow, as the camera is currently out of sight under the desk-compost. Robyn and Pam, you’re next on my construction list. Don’t hold your breath when your letter-box clatters.

I will tell you of another poor decision I have made, in the hope that you may avoid it yourself. Back in August, I asked you for your literary Top Male Totty: I had been sighing over the same well-thumbed characters for far too long. You responded joyously in spades (any more, anyone?); I purchased a number of new authors as a result and I have, so far, found your collective judgement absolutely impeccable. My mistake centred in delaying a proper tackle of QoB’s suggestion of Brust & Bull’s Freedom and Necessity for so long. I had to hastily scramble off the train back from May’s at Warwick, in comically undignified fashion, completely caught up in this beautifully written little historically-set gem. I could pick the odd hole in it if I had to, but I’m not sat in a classroom, and really, who the fuck cares because, Ladies? 

James Cobham is a guaranteed knicker-dropper.

My top five is scattered into total disarray – again. A good job I hadn’t laminated it yet, eh? This new lad’s going in somewhere high. Fnarr.

Do yourself a favour and beg, borrow or steal a copy. Sadly, there is no sequel to enjoy; it stands proudly – snigger – alone. It has also managed to largely distract me from the fact that I woke up Saturday morning with my tonsils resembling red golf balls and my chest, in addition to feeling sat-on by, say, a hefty-arsed pony, producing things I would prefer not to look at.

I am heading back to my pit of tangled duvet and throat sweets, clutching my copy protectively to my quivering bosom. I may be some time.

Fetching Figments

Thank you to the 88 kind souls who took part in my Show Yourselves! exercise; it was very nice indeed to encounter some more personalities behind the traffic-graphs. For the considerable number of you who didn’t feel ready to commit themselves to a mouseclick (surely I had left no possible permutation of reader type unamed?!) – I am glaring slightly huffily at YOU. Right now! Ok. As long as that’s understood. And… according to my not-so-clever poll, although the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one (he said), I have somehow managed to defy the intergalactic odds and 1% of my readers are intriguing little green men! Coolio!

(Whisper: I would have been awfully disappointed had no-one clicked that option… I want to believe you see..)

Anyhoo, I’m not much the wiser after it, but I’ve not done an opinion poll before, and a change is as good as a rest, they say. 

I am an only child, and my parents have lived (in a delightful pink house) in the sticks since I was 18 months old. Mum taught me to read when I was 3, and, given the absence of distractions, I never looked back. Or up. Throughout my childhood I was stoked with a highly eclectic selection of reading matter: a combination of children’s stories, my father’s book club anthologies, second hand books given to us by family friends, and the local library.

A decent narrative reaches into my mind: a peculiarly intimate form of hardwiring takes place that I cannot quite describe and suddenly I am no longer in the same room as my body (Yay! Goodbye, you fat bloody thing!). I like reading. A lot. And yet, lately, my acquiring of new authors has been simply pitiful. My progress on the various ‘100 best books, ever’ lists: pitiful. My attitude towards tackling a new, challenging read is… yep, pitiful. I can’t seem to find the revs, somehow. I can generally only read when I go to bed and it’s so much easier there to slip into something… gentle. Familiar.

But I do get a little sick of going over old ground, so I was particularly pleased when Shannon, after eliciting the fact that I was an Diana Gabaldon virgin, sent me the first Outlander book. Like Ms Pru, I whizzed through it avidly (and am keenly awaiting next installment!) and greatly enjoyed my quiet musing afterwards as to quite where I’d plonk Jamie Fraser in my all-time ‘Literary Characters I’d Rather Like To Marry/Do Filthy Things To/Have Fall Passionately In Love With Me/Fall Beautifully In Love With/Have A Wild Fling With’ (delete as applicable) list. He was very fanciable young man indeed, but after giving him due consideration, I regretfully announce that he didn’t quite crack my personal top 5. 

I can never quite decide what order these lot actually come in (Fnaarrr…! Ahem...) but I don’t think Marcus Didius Falco is quite top 3 these days. The later books have rendered him domesticated, and my passion has died a little. Perhaps I should give The Silver Pigs and Shadows in Bronze another spin.

The corrupting influence of film has shaped my pre-existing preference of Aragorn a little: that bit that Viggo whatshisface does in the Prancing Pony at Bree –

minute 3 until 4 here

… well… fwooaoar. With great big fantasy bells on. 

The insinuous cross-contamination of TV continues its deadly work within my list: Mr Darcy’s character never really had me by the throat… until I watched THAT episode. UK readers will immediately know the one I mean. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s serious contention for that number one top spot is absolutely conditional upon him channelling Colin Firth in all things…

Henry Crawford may well have been already ruined by early independence and bad domestic example, but I think I could happily ruin him a little more, regardless.

And finally, I proffer to you – provided you give him back when you’re finished – Rupert Campbell-Black. If I really, really had to pick, I think… he’d clinch it. He’d clinch pretty much anything female, in fact. You must steadfastly blot out the slight emasculation of the later cameos: Riders and Rivals are the ones to sink yourselves… into. *Blushes*

These are not my actual best-loved or most mind-formative books, you understand. I have a looonnnnng outstanding meme from Aphra regarding those, although there is certainly some crossover. These are merely my literary top totty, so to speak.

(And speaking of deadly attractive young males who ride… ummm… very well – Harry went for his first ride on a proper horse last Friday – bareback, too – and I have never seen such a wide beaming smile on his little face before. Whenever Sally – a distinctly fat and rather amiable piebald, although she does have the distinction of being the most recent horse to chuck me off – stopped for another great chomp of grass, Harry bounced energetically up and down, kicking his little sandalled heels into her – well, her back, because she’s broad as a car – and waved his mane-gripping hands about like the conductor at Last Night of the Proms. I was very proud; I am now, naturally, daydreaming about cheering wildly as Harry jumps the only clear round at Horse of the Year Show, 20 years from now.)

Tell me about your totty, people?

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