Update on the giraffe sticking out the roof

In yet another shining example of the different ways people react to testing circumstances, I am thoroughly delighted with a letter I received yesterday from a firm of architects.  Regular readers may remember the pitch document to the UK’s top architects to enquire about the likelihood of getting a bananagiraffe projecting from the top of my house.

You may be forgiven for thinking this is not an indication of normal behaviour and will doubtless be met with a stern rebuff.  And yes I admit that not all architectural practices are designed with a funny bone in mind.  But we have hit gold with David Chipperfield Architects, who posses not only a fully flexible funny bone, but also a heart of gold.

Thank you sincerely from Bananagiraffes for your generosity of spirit and funds and a big thank you on behalf of beating bowel cancer as well who will I know be delighted to receive such a spontaneous donation!

What a day!

Yesterday I had the rarest of days and went for a girly lunch on my birthday at my parent’s house and it was a real super sized tonic.  As I wasn’t sure until the day whether I would be well enough, the lunch was organised with 5 seconds notice by my BF Jenny and included relatives some of which were so rare only a few sightings or news had been received from them until recently.  So it came to pass that a whole bunch of them who don’t normally feed in public together turned up and were without exception, mad as badgers.  After a few “you look better than I thought” rituals and the passing of cards bearing giraffe motives, I took a few moments out for a quick radio interview with BBC Oxford who wanted an update on the growth of a giraffe out of my roof. Then it was down to a lunch fit for a forever changing her mind cancer diva!

Jenny, I have decided is the type of person who is impossible not to love and I am sure everyone who meets her must fall under her spell and agree to anything she says.  Yesterday, she pulled together the most delicious of meals with more ease than I could display un-wrapping a supermarket sandwich, but I swear she could even feed a puppy into a blender, garnish with a sprig of parsley and ask everyone if they want seconds and we would still say “Oh yes please, she’s such a nice person you know”.

The day went so well, I didn’t even notice myself slipping down the hill of the 40’s mountain and into the next survey bracket. So…. if you want to sit and laugh for hours and forget the existence of sickness, time and space then my cousins are your man.  If, however you prefer to discuss the state of your latest tax return or your bunions, then please go and live in a different universe!

click here for the BBC OXFORD interview

Onwards and 40ft upwards

So… on with challenge 2 and we’re getting a feeling it’s not going to be as simple as it first seemed!

A search for “architects with experience building 40ft giraffes on residential properties” returned zero results in Google.

And they say you can find just about anything online?

I remember when I was young, for my homework I did a cross section drawing of a giraffe lowering it’s head to drink water, showing the leg bones squeezing the main neck artery from the heart. I wrote that if it didn’t reduce the pressure from the heart to the head, it would blow off.

The head that is.

I still have no idea how it works in a real giraffe, but we’re assuming a giraffe, real or otherwise is a highly technical piece of building that we can’t just trust to any fly-by-night architect… so we’re going for the best-of-the-best of famous award winning UK architects.

It’ll be a 10-way pitch situation, so we’ve put together a request for designs (which we’ll upload later).

May the best architect (with no previous experience of building 40ft giraffes on residential properties) win.

[Guest blogged from David, Rachel’s brother, as she’s suffering a fair bit from the 3rd chemo & too sick to post but wanted to get the challenge started.]

(By the way – for the giraffe homework I got an ‘A’, my only ‘A’ ever… until my teacher asked how I knew that was the reason the head didn’t blow-off… and I confessed that I’d made it up as it seemed possible. She immediately marked it down to a ‘D’… in-front of my face! I must have been about 10 at the time and it put me off homework forever after.)

Chemo round 3 – NOT!

Those of you who know me will nod enthusiastically when I say I have a lifelong obsession with arriving anywhere late.  But even I was disappointed with myself when I was sent home again today from the chemo ward and told to return next week when my white blood cells are up to the job in hand!

Yes, I am afraid I am neutropenic again. It’s becoming such as regular event that I don’t even need to check the spelling. See, another unexpected benefit, new vocabulary to help me win at scrabble!

It would be charitable to say it didn’t hurt too much when the deputy vampires tried 3 times unsuccessfully to get blood out of my portacath this morning when doing the normal checks to my blood levels prior to starting chemo (sadly my favourite vampire, Dr Needles is having a nice long lie in until the 3rd Jan).  But after an hour or so plugged into the saline drip, the results came back with red ink all over them and a note to try harder and I was hurried out of my chair before the stampede of patients could take part in what has become a regular game of musical chairs.

There is evidence mounting to suggest that my neutrophils (these are the white blood cells that foreign bodies usually run into first) are pacifists and are no more interested in fighting these cancer cells than I am in going to the Boxing Day sales and would rather sit on the sofa with a nice cup of tea.  So in addition to the bone marrow injections I now enjoy to encourage activity, I can add selenium and resbid tablets, 2 cups of green tea a day, a partridge in a pear tree plus a diet so high in protein that I expect to get automatic membership to the WBF shortly! 

But looking for positives, I have a week off to spend with the kids before they go back to School feeling relatively normal.  Then I need a serious word with my oncologist to decide on the path of lesser risk; delaying each cycle for another week or reducing this early on to chemo for cowards? I think even he will relent from his usual “see how it goes” response and dream up some new delicious sounding chemicals to test drive, and I would have to be an idiot to refuse an offer like that wouldn’t I?

This all leaves me a week to concentrate on starting my challenge number 2, putting bowel cancer on the map by applying for planning permission for an enormous giraffe sticking out of my roof.  If anyone has any ideas or drawings to submit, please send them to Rachelbown12@gmail.com.  I only have the shark in oxford for inspiration so far!

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!