Vegan Chocolates Roasting on an Open Fire

Dec 21 2009

The previous week had been extra-ordinarily busy with the trip to 10 Downing Street and the Christmas Ball. As feedback rolled in the following day it was clear that the evening had been a major success....

The previous week had been extra-ordinarily busy with the trip to 10 Downing Street and the Christmas Ball. As feedback rolled in the following day it was clear that the evening had been a major success; all we need to do now is keep up the momentum. So, with Camille still in hospital from the mystery infection, Lucia and I ventured to Stansted Airport to join the rest of the “can shakers” for a day in the terminal.


We arrived at the same time as June and Rags (Hayley's friends from work) and set about tackling a Burger King breakfast before hitting the public. We were joined by Rag's daughter and a friend as well as Rachel and Andrew making us seven and a half in total.


After polishing off the greasy delight we trotted along to our station for the day, somewhere between EasyJet, Security and the Bar. We decided that the best course of action would be to have a presence at the station at all times with the rest of the team walking the aisles. The airport was tough, in fact I had never imagined how tough it was going to be, it didn't help that the general public were a high proportion of non-English speaking tourists and also that another charity had set-up camp around the corner accompanied by a twenty piece choir ripping out the classic Christmas carols that is a universal treat for not only British travellers but also our continental pals.


After a couple of hours from being sneered at and ignored we decided to call it a day, the short session was enough for anybody and from then on, we've decided that the best approach to our fund raising will be event based where the donors actually get something in return for their cash. The day at Stansted did not yield anything of any value, but on the bright size we did get a box of Celebrations and a can of Pepsi Max from friendly passers-by who needed to shed some non-essentials before crossing the security barrier.


As I arrived back home the phone rang; it was Hayley to tell me that Camille had been discharged. It was fantastic to have her at home even if it was just for a few days before her next bout of Chemotherapy. This session was only a one night stay so we were hoping for a quick stop before getting home, hopefully for Christmas. We also had an Audiology test booked for Tuesday morning at Addenbrooke's, so before checking in we decided to finish off some Christmas shopping in Cambridge City Centre. Yowser! That's all I've got to say about that.


We wanted to get a few of the team at Addenbrooke's a little something to show our appreciation for the previous six months, and after a conversation with Banana Mick the ward's chef, we were under the impression that Amos was a Vegan. Why shouldn't we believe Mick, he caters for staff from time to time. Anyway, as Amos popped in to say hello, we unveiled our special Vegan chocolates that Hayley had scoured the internet for the previous week. “We've heard on the grapevine that you're a Vegan, so we managed to find some...” I sprouted, “I'm not a Vegan” replied Amos with a smirk transmuting on his face. Imagine the embarrassment as Amos' smile turned into a chuckle followed by a bellow. We'll get that Mick, oh yes, we'll get him. Now, poor old Amos is left with confectionery that even a dog would think twice about while the Neurosurgery team are wiping the caramel dribbles from the box of Hotel Chocolat off of their bottom lips.


After the Chemotherapy we only had one last little task before we could go home and that was to take Camille's stitches out. Harry, the special nurse, stepped up to the task and took Camille into the treatment room with me there for restraining purposes. As she peeled back the tape holding a particular area together the wound appeared looking “fresh”. Camille was in hysterics and Harry rightly called Time Out. After a quick call up to Mr Garnett, Camille was being readied to go back up to surgery for a swift tidy up and stitch extraction. We again followed her up to the 6th floor and waited patiently back at the room for news of her coming out. Harry went up to get her and brought her down to find us sat by the doors. She was fine but has had to have a couple of extra stitches to tidy that small “fresh” looking area up.


As soon as she woke up properly we made a break for it and we've been at home ever since. We are now hoping and praying that we can keep any temperatures at bay so that we can spend Christmas at home.


So this week has been last minute Christmas shopping week having had the past four weeks obliterated by hospital stays. Christmas shopping also involves spending money on ourselves after getting some money from our parents. Like any equal relationship, Hayley let me get one gadget with the money while she made a beeline for soft furnishings. Now I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but I will be damned if I can understand the mysterious world of cushions, curtains and sheets. Is it a man thing or do scatter cushions actually have a purpose? As I stood at the till with two rather fancy looking scatter cushions and some pillow covers, I was taken back by the shop assistance demand for seventy English pounds. For all of you guys out there I said, seventy English pounds. As I requested the insistent assistant to breakdown the figure into an itemised list, my horror was confirmed by finding out that two scatter cushions came in at £50. I was left aghast, but Hayley reassured me by letting me know that they were reduced from £76. I still feel numb, give me a few seconds........





OK. We're a few days from Christmas day and as Lucia was playing with her cousin upstairs today she stumbled across a pile of presents destined for Father Christmas' sack. Not only did she find them, when I caught her red handed she was playing with one of Camille's presents. We've managed to convince her that we've had to wrap them for the big bellied saint because he's a bit under resourced this year. I was tempted to expand about how Lapland's economy is in disarray after the collapse of the banking system; Father Christmas has had no choice but to cut back on Elves.


We were treated today by a further surprise, a Christmas card from Gordon and Sarah Brown. Marvellous. Is it wrong to want the Prime Minister to be your mate?


Merry Christmas everyone.