Anna Donald prepares to move house

Anna Donald We have finally bought an apartment. A home in Sydney. We’ve been renting since October. Being in limbo on two fronts, health and home, was getting a bit much. So we bit the currency-exchange-bullet (our money is in sterling and the Australian dollar is at a 23-year high) and bought something.

We haven’t moved yet. That’s why I’ve taken so long to write this blog. The last two weeks have been full of house-moving preparations amid my daily routine of meditation, pills, exercise, prayers, dreambody work, hypnosis, EFT (emotional freedom technique – aka tapping and talking)  – the whole business is awfully time consuming. And I’m very slow. I still have “wet lungs” due to residual (and hopefully disintegrating) cancer in the lymph vessels in my chest, so have coughing fits if I move too fast. And being on chemo (as tablets) slows everything down, although it’s easy to tolerate, so far.

In any case, I am not a natural nomad. Not only do we have the usual complement of kitchenware, sofas, clothing and shoes (my husband likens me to Imelda Marcos, which is very unfair. He has no idea how many shoes most women own. He thinks two brown pairs, one black, and one for tennis should suffice.) We also have way too many books – I’m talking thousands –  many of which I know we’ll throw out when electronic book readers become as ubiquitous as MP3 players, which is soon, now that Amazon’s Kindle product is out. We’d need quite a few donkeys, camels, and horses to lug this lot along the Silk Road. We’d be the laughing stock of the Khyber Pass, unpacking and repacking our ice-cream maker and golf buggy into a line of yurts.

Happily we’re not nomads – or at least we won’t be any more. And we have a whopping great removal van to spare the animals. Just a few more weeks, a few more days of terse conversations with the Australian telecom providers to move the telephone line to the new address, after being on hold for 52 minutes and then being cut off. At least it’s familiar: “We’re sorry for the delay, please hold and you will be connected to the next available agent.” Who writes this stuff – for Australia AND Britain? Someone has the Monty Pythonesque task of inventing automatic voice-overs. Do they ever flip? “We’re not sorry for the delay; we don’t like people which is why this computer is talking to you. Because we don’t like you we will play just 8 bars of Mozart’s clarinet concerto before interrupting you with this message again, until you are connected in approximately 5,674 hours, 45 minutes and 23 seconds.”

Every time I am put on  hold I feel such affinity for John Cleese and Douglas Adams. Stuck between Panic! and Don’t Panic!. 42. I was in England too long. Rather than say, when, almost comatose, I am finally connected to a human being: “Jesus mate that was a long wait!” I say “Oh hello, thank you so much for your assistance, might I trouble you to ask” – OK. I don’t say that exactly. But I haven’t yet excavated Radio 4 from my head, which is probably a good thing. I miss Radio 4.

So, in essence, I haven’t had much time for cancer. The drugs are working. My feet blistered for a day or two, but diclofenac gel worked wonders as it does for so many things. I can breathe without a coughing fit every 5 minutes and my liver apparently is happier, according to the blood tests. Cancer is still THERE: this ever-present keeper that sticks me to the straight-and-narrow (flaxseed oil every day!). But it hasn’t taken over my life too much. Australia’s call centres, on the other hand…

Anna Donald, Blog 10