....In the meantime, we've been lucky enough to go to two parties. The first was to welcome back Emily and Nick who have recently returned to Oxford after traveling in the far east for many months. We took advantage of living within walking distance of the venue to stay late and enjoy a few drinks, as well as chatting and catching up on news into the wee small hours before successfully negotiating our way home across the park in the middle of the night....Thanks Em and Nick for a great evening!
The second was a very special 100th celebration - two of our neighbours enjoying 40th birthdays and 20 years as a couple! Everyone was asked to dress as something significant from the last 100 years. We ended up going as modern art movements - Steve as abstract expressionism i.e. he splattered a T-shirt with lots of paint to create his very own Jackson Pollock, and me kitted out completely in black and white as Op Art. Others were far more daring - I think my favourites were a couple dressed as ice dancers Torvill and Dean, complete with gold medals from the 1984 Winter Olympics and an ice dance routine! Good company, good food, good fun and a chance to dance to a good band - it's times like this that I have to remind myself that Steve is living with a time bomb - everyone remarks how well he is looking. Thanks Saskie and Joss for helping us forget our worries and have such a wonderful evening!
Between parties, I confess I abandoned Steve to go walking for a couple of days with a friend, Sarah, who lives in London. We are walking our way round the London Loop, in stretches of two days at a time. This time, to our delight, we managed 15 miles on day 1 and another 10 miles on day 2. On previous walks we have had to stay in B&Bs, but for the Loop we based ourselves at Sarah's house and I felt like I was totally spoilt by the perfect host!
While I was way, Steve worked on prints for the ARPS assessment, now fast approaching. I'm still lagging behind on that front. However, yesterday I heard that two of my images were nominated in the 6th Annual Black and White Spider Awards, announced at an online Gala watched by 35,000 photography fans worldwide. Today we delivered three pictures to the 03 Gallery at Oxford Castle, ready to be hung as part of a group exhibition which opens this weekend.
In between all this walking, partying and photography stuff, we went to see the Merchant of Venice at RSC Stratford last night, via Bristol yesterday morning to pick up Jack. Never thought I would see an Elvis impersonation in one of the bard's works but Shakespeare's words spoken with an American accent work remarkably well! As well as watching the play, we took a trip up to the top of the theatre tower and went out for a meal, so we were pretty tired by the time we arrived home, very late.
It's been a tiring week but great fun. Our spirits were lifted by news that a friend who was diagnosed with lymphoma last year is now in remission, following the completion of his chemo course - great news Richard! We look forward to joining you at the Kings Arms soon. The sad news is that two of the meso warriors from the Facebook Group lost their battles with cancer in recent days. Our hearts go out to their families and friends. We were also saddened to hear that our former GP, Ann McPherson, died on Saturday. Prior to her retirement in 2007, she had been our family doctor since the early 1980s, supporting us through two pregnancies and all the worries that new parents have with small children. A wonderful woman who beat breast cancer, only to succumb to pancreatic cancer. However, she battled on for the causes she believed in right to the end - a true inspiration to all who met her.
We will be remembering another friend tomorrow - Andrew, who recently died unexpectedly in his early 60s. I can feel a lump in my throat and tears welling up even as I write. If I feel like this now, I keep reminding myself how much more difficult it will be for Andrew's family tomorrow. But your family and all your friends will be there to support you Jan, Susie and Charlie. Andrew will live on in our hearts and many happy memories.