Monday, 25 October 2010

reunion, celebration, exhibition

In recent times, I've enjoyed a girl's weekend get together around this time of year; Prue, Chris, Jenny and I go somewhere like Bath, Glasgow or St Ives for a bit of culture, exploring, lots of talking, eating and drinking and the occasional bout of retail therapy.  

However, this time last year Steve was in his 5th cycle of chemotherapy, so leaving him for a weekend wasn't an option as far as I was concerned.  Rather than abandon our get together, my wonderful friends came here to Oxford, bunked up (literally!) in the YHA down the road from us and made Steve an honourable girl for the weekend, so that he could join us for meals and walks, between naps and taking the anti-nausea tablets.

We've had to modify our plans again this year, for health reasons - this time it's Jenny's husband who's being treated. As a result, this year's get together has been postponed until the spring, when it looks like we will be heading north to Edinburgh, within striking distance of Jenny's home. However, three of us did meet up in Oxford again last week, at the Historic Towns Forum Annual Dinner - which was also a celebration to mark Chris's retirement as the HTF's Director.

Steve was delighted to have the opportunity to take part in this momentous occasion, and honoured to find himself sitting next to Chris at the "top" table, as were Prue and I. We raised a glass to absent friends, and your were foremost in our thoughts Jenny. Hardly a dry eye in the house by the end of the evening, but tears of laughter and joy as Chris unwrapped her surprise thank you presents!  

After seeing Prue off to the station the next morning, Steve helped me print the last of my pictures for the Art in Woodstock exhibition, ready for hanging on Friday and the opening of the event on Saturday. If you are anywhere near here this week, I hope you can find time to drop into The Place Cafe Bar, 59 Oxford Street, Woodstock.  Make your way through to the back and enjoy looking at the pictures over a cup of tea or coffee. The exhibition closes at 5 p.m. Sunday 31 October.  

Which means that Hallowe'en is fast approaching, likewise the birthday of Steve's dad.  He died of mesothelioma in 1992 as a result of exposure to asbestos when working in the Bristol shipyards in the run up World War II, years before Steve was born.  The horrible co-incidence of father and son contracting the same disease but from completely different sources has not escaped us. I'm pleased to say that treatment, attitudes and survival rates have improved immensely since then.  But there is still a long way to go, as we know.....

Last but not least, happy birthday for yesterday Sarah! 

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