July 1, 2024


Try not to make life more nasty, brutish, and short on election day...

Photo by rivage / Unsplash
Ford Madox Brown painting
Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust / Unsplash

my first impression.

I remember walking up the hill, along Vicarage Gate towards our house, and halfway up the road there was a house on the right that was surrounded by a gloom, the curtains were drawn. It looked foreboding.

I asked my aunt Dorothy why it was always so dark. She whispered the word Cancer. The man who lived there had not long to go, an illness of pain and terror it seemed. In the 1970’s the word Cancer made people fearful. And so it should. The chances of survival then were slim, and a Cancer sufferers life was indeed nasty, brutish, and short.

It seems that survival rates are higher now, but are still not high enough, and sadly more people are likely to get it.

When I was diagnosed I was scared and I remembered that walk with my Aunt up Vicarage Gate in Kensington.

My first real experience of an adult dying was my "Uncle" Teddy Machin dying. Perhaps I shouldn't mention how he died. He went to a fight with a man armed with a knife. The other chap didn't follow "etiquette" and went armed with a gun. My mother told me about the last time she saw him. Mum was about to close the hotel bar and he asked her to leave a cheese sandwich and a whisky on the side. He had some business to attend to, and he told my mum to give me his love. Teddy used to drive me around in my grandad Charlie's Rolls Royce. Often we would stop for ice cream. It was only later that I learnt of his sordid ways. But he was my "Uncle" and he never harmed me. Strange was the cabal I lived with. Can't change that.

What we can change is the chances of Cancer survival rates and making it a less fearful illness. On our general election day we might might make a step up the hill towards that outcome?