YouTube has been invaded by bananagiraffes

I am now the lucky recipient of not 1 but 2 youtube videos!

First one by Lauren Pettitt age 13 and pretty fantastic it is too! I think there is part 2 coming soon.  She also took all the photographs of the day, quite a few are on her movie and some more are on the bananagiraffes facebook page.


Second one by Tom Van Kaenel (age …no I can’t do that)from  huge thanks for all the support on the day.


Bananagiraffes can play the piano (well badly)

Huge thanks to everyone who donated money today to Beating Bowel Cancer, not least BBC Radio Oxford and Malcolm Boyden who publicised it so well yesterday.  Will let you know how much we raised later. Photos coming later for Decembeard, courtesy of our photographer for the day Lauren Pettitt.  And I may dare point you towards a YouTube video courtesy of Tom Van Kaenel from Hopeful Notes and the Sea2Sea challenge.  Massive thanks for his excellent compere duties today and drumming up such great support.

Here is the audio clip from the BBC Radio Oxford telephone interview after the piano knock about.  Listen out for Lois, very moving.

And Challenge number two – watch out for news of a 40 foot Banana Giraffe poking out of our roof!

BBC Radio Oxford interview updated and working now


Had a lovely interview with the nice people at BBC Radio Oxford.  Malcolm Boyden made me so relaxed I think I nearly moved into his comfy chair.  Mentioned bowels on the BBC! Shocking.

Reiki, Relaxation and family life!

My Reiki session this afternoon wasn’t quite what Mary, my therapist was aiming for as she pressed play on her relaxation tape and asked me to breath in peace and love and breath out stress and tension.

The assault on my senses didn’t match previous sessions where a kaleidoscope of colours danced in front of my eyes.  This time, it was more akin to a freight train thundering between my ears.

The first clue that relaxation might be an illusive goal was the arrival of 3 boys on bikes who galloped 2 stairs at a time into my son’s bedroom.  I have heard rutting stags make less noise. I breathed in deeper, my diaphram emptying faster than JD Sports in Croydon. “keep the noise down please I begged”.  A moments silence followed by the bedroom door shutting and then the punch bag being knocked into next door’s hallway and more sounds of cats being neutered.  Why aren’t boys taught in science that 3 inches of MDF doesnt cover them in a cloke of silence?

The door bell rings and yes it’s the arrival of my mother (or as she is fondly still remembered in Sussex, the Hassocks loud speaker). “JOSEPH, THERE ARE 6 PAIRS OF SHOES BLOCKING THE DOOR, I CAN’T GET IN”.  Two more children, one of them mine fall in behind her.  The dog barks.  The phone rings. The boys fall over each other to get down the stairs first.  Joseph begins his ernest attempt to play “Mad World” loudly and repititively and the poor strains of Mary’s relaxation tape give up their feeble attempt to distract and start to wail disconcertingly. We both collapse into giggles.

In the space of 30 mins we have moved from a relaxed family house to a lunatic assylum without the usual familiar interval of a mad hatter’s tea party. Mary tells me the Reiki will still do it’s work even if I am unable to benefit from the normal levels of relaxation and makes a mental note never to turn up again outside of school hours.

From Hungary with Love!

So let me get this straight, you are going to fly to Budapest on the 8.30am flight, meet a women you have just made contact with through a friend in Israel, hand over money for a suitcase of medicine and get on the next flight back home without leaving the Airport?  And you don’t think any of this will alarm the authorities at the airport? ” No, why should it?” says superdad, adjusting his flat cap nervously.

nothing to declare here!

It does seem too good to be true, but these were the actual events that unfolded yesterday in Budapest!  Here is the background…

My Dad had researched a product called Avemar : and as I mentioned in an old post (are my white blood cells French c 1940), had set about securing 6 months supply in the most economical way possible.  Having found out that the product is manufactured and sold in Hungary, my Dad dusted down his little black book and remembered that on one of his visits to Israel, he had got talking to a lovely lady called Eva who had lived in Budapest during the war. Her story was worthy of a film script.  For much of the war she was hiding in a mine shaft until she was discovered and imprisoned.  Thankfully she survived and emigrated to Israel.  In passing she must have mentioned she had a niece in Budapest called Erika which my Dad had tucked away for future reference.

Now Erika is a women who in the truest Jewish sense, takes hospitality as an olympic sport and not only did she research where the product could be purchased even cheaper, she sourced it and made the 2 hour journey to the airport to save my Dad the time and bother.  And if that wasn’t enough, she came armed with Hungarian wine and chocolates for me and my Mum!  What an amazing gesture for someone she had never met!

So, if anyone is harbouring any delusions that we are a hard hearted species, let me put you straight!  In my experience, kindness and compassion are the norm, not the exception.  It just needs a little permission sometimes.

p.s. just got this comment in from my brother, David which is too good not to share!

I remember another story to do with Dad, a suitcase of perishable goods, and travelling:

A family holiday to Israel in it’s early days meant bringing your own food. So, just incase we got stuck somewhere in the Golan Heights without a Harvester in sight, Dad decided it’d be good to take our own food.. Something portable that was easy to prepare.

Cue family sitting round table sampling a range of early Pot Noodle on a rainy day in Bucks.

It’s difficult to say whether they tasted good or bad. In those days things like stuffed marrow were popular, and with dishes like that anything with any taste whatsoever was welcome.

Anyway, Dad packed a full suitcase dedicated to Pot Noodle. Rachels and my clothes were the space sacrifice.

I can’t remember where exactly we had our first Pot Noodle in Israel… but if you think Pot Noodle taste salty in wet Bucks, you have no idea just how salty they taste in the burning heat of Israel.

Salt content of the Dead sea compared to salt content of a Pot Noodle. Pretty similar.

It says a lot that dad, (who early in his accountancy days calculated that the core of an apple is still ‘apple’ and to not eat it would be like throwing away 28% of its overall worth, leaving you with no option but to either barter down wholesale apple costs to 72% of market value, or if that wasn’t possible, to eat the core.. Which he did for every apple he ever met.) couldn’t bring himself to eat them… but also couldn’t bring himself to waste them… so for that family hol in Israel we were accompanied everywhere we went with a case of Pot Noodle.

Dad even brought the entire uneaten suitcase home… and that’s where my memory fades… I have no idea where they went after that. Whether dad ate them secretly instead of wasting them, whether they’re still in the attic… or whether they’re now in Budapest I have no idea.