Archives For Sara Pascoe

The 29th of April.

Today has been so exhausting and so good.

I slept less well – super cold last night and no lung capacity to get more layers so I froze until I was too tired to care. This morning, I decided not to climb the stairs so as not to waste oxygen, so I just hung out in my bedroom until it was time for us to go out to see Tez Ilyas. He was great, as expected, i mean that’s going to be the case for every act I mention. I had to help him out at one point because the members of the audience he picked were not answering the question he asked correctly. Not paying enough attention!

He ran over slightly, so afterwards I literally just had time to grab a coffee before heading over to The Youth Wing to see Phil Wang. That was problematic, because the way I went meant I got stuck at a flight of stairs, but thankfully some very kind strangers offered to carry my chair down the steps (without me in it) and then I was back on my way. I got in and parked on the end of a row, and ended up with various members of sketch groups Pappy’s and Daphne to my right, with Tom Parry sprawled across the floor, snorting with laughter. For a work in progress, it was pretty slick, and I’ll be keeping a lookout for the finished product on tour.

I had Lolly Adefope straight after in The Canteen, so I left The Youth Wing the way I should have gone in, so I could get myself some more coffee before making my way back round to the other side of the school. On the way, I bumped into one of the women I hung out with last night, and she was going to Lolly too.

Coffee in hand, I drove down to The Canteen to join the queue. Being in the chair, I got moved to the front, which turned out to be a blessing and a curse. She was due to start at 4, but there were technical issues – there were cables that were needed and I watched people running back and forth trying to get hold of the right ones. This went on for just over an hour, and every time somebody came back, the hearts of the queue lifted, only to fall again when the doors didn’t open. I felt really bad for the guy who was checking the tickets – he knew nothing more than we did, and there wasn’t really anything he could do, I could hear people behind me getting (understandably) frustrated because this was going to impact upon their attendance of their next show, so they were having to decide who they wanted to see more. I was okay to wait, because my next show wasn’t until 7.15, and I was glad I did.

Her show is a reply to her reviews from her last show at the Fringe, in which she was criticised for not referring to her race enough and for talking about it too much. It would be like me doing a show and discussing or not discussing my disability. I have to applaud her too for her excellent singing, and for dealing with groups of people leaving towards the end of the show. Super impressed.

It ended just before six, and I was starving, having only had coffee since my crumpet at breakfast time. I got myself a smoky sausage in a bun (relatively easy to eat and no danger of spice) and ate it while watching all the fun dogs around. I even met a famous dog, Rosie, who is regularly heard on Rhod Gilbert’s Saturday morning show. She is a very good dog.

My next show, The Griefcast with Cariad Lloyd, was up stairs, but when checking the venues yesterday I’d been informed that there was a lift I could use. Today there was a worry because they had put an Out of Order sign on the door, but that was just to put able-bodied people off using it. Sneaky.

It was a small room and VERY HOT. Lots of people crammed in. The guests were Phil Wang, Kiri Pr’chard-McLean and Nish. Usually, the show is Cariad interviewing a comedian about a particular death, but today the topic was just death in general. In an amusing fashion. The last topic was “last words”, and Cariad asked them all what theirs would be. Phil missed a trick with his answer, and Cariad asked if there were any questions. I put my hand up and Nish pointed me out. I could have asked something poignant, but I had to say that surely, Phil’s last words should be “Wang out.” I saw the pun and had to say it. I don’t know if it’ll be on the podcast but I hope so. The only time I think my brain has worked that fast.

My next show wasn’t until 11.30 and also included Nish in the line up, so he met me back downstairs and the rest of the evening is a blur of faces and saying “Nice to meet you.” I did mean it each time, I just met a lot of people! We went to the bar in Y Plas where pretty much every comic at the show was.

Honestly I couldn’t tell you what we talked about, I just remember that for once, I wasn’t telling the story of my life ten thousand times, people just treated me like I as part of the gang and that pretty much never happens with people who don’t know me. It was just the most fun.

My oxygen ran out in the middle of Beat This, so I had to text Mommy and get her and Daddy to come and swap it over for a new one. I thought that might be enough to tide me over, but thinking about getting the taxi back on my own, having to deal with the chair, I just knew that it was going to be horrific. I cancelled the car, and sneaked out the side door. Knackered, but elated.

The 30th of April.

Going home early. It’s fine, we just don’t have enough oxygen for me to do another night.

We had to get into Mach earlier today, because there was a massive cycling race that started in the town and was going to close the road that we use to come in on. We got in at about eleven, and I sat in the car while Mommy and Daddy went to get coffee and some sort of breakfast pastries. I ate my co-op cinnamon swirl, then set off to Y Tabernacl for Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown. Matthew and Ben said hi on their way in, and when the queue started to move, I went over to the lift to go up half a floor so I could enter the hall. There was a step down to the pews, so I just parked my chair at the best vantage point. Josh was a guest, and he saw me so he came over. Kiri was meant to be on the show but had yet to arrive, so other comedians were being texted en masse. Who turned up but ol’ Nishy Kumar? Kiri appeared shortly after, so we just got an extra person’s-worth of funny for free. I had a joyous time, particularly enjoying the quickfire round jingle that Tom and Ben recorded with Nish and Josie last night at Y Plas when Josie was full of Pinot Noir. I can’t wait to hear it when it goes out.

They ran over, as one has to expect, so then I had to bomb it down a rather steep hill to The Mach Arena for Josh and Friends. The wheelchair view in there was less good, but enough that I could just about see. We had stand-up from Josh, Matthew Crosby, Nish and James Acaster, then he read out some classic scrapes from his book which are all hysterical.

Upon coming out, I bumped into Amy, and we talked while Mommy and Daddy went to get food. I informed her of the racist attack Nish had just endured (Josh threw a massive ball at him but he was not injured), then they went to get lunch and we went to eat ours. We discussed oxygen levels, and we only had one full bottle left, so came to the conclusion that I only really had one more show left in me. Mommy and Daddy went back to the house to pack up, and I went to get more coffee and see who I could see before it was time for Sara Pascoe.

Happily, a lot of my lovely pals were still around, so there was Nish, Josh, Fin, Tom, a whole host of people. We whiled away the time together until everyone had to beetle off to our respective shows, and I left loving my wonderful gang.

Sara was fantastic as always, and I look forward to seeing the finished piece when she takes it on tour. I didn’t have time to hang around to see her afterwards because Daddy was coming to pick me up. We returned to the house, packed everything into the car, and we set off on the long drive home. I am so happy and I’ve had such an incredible weekend – definitely going again next year. Hopefully without any extra oxygen.

The 20th of December. 

I am home! Ohh so happy to be back where I belong. 

Last night I wore earplugs which helped me sleep a little longer this morning, although any remaining tiredness was very quickly shaken off when the woman next to me shat the bed. The stench. 

Different consultant but same junior doctor today, and I said I was pretty much losing the will to live waiting for this scan. I also explained that regardless of the outcome, I would be discharging myself today because I could not spend a fourth Christmas in hospital (and I did a small cry). The consultant was very sympathetic and instructed the junior to hassle ultrasound about getting me scanned asap, and having all my drugs and paperwork ready to go. 

A haematologist came to see me with the thought that I might have a fungal infection, and he wanted me to have another kind of scan, but the consultant above him felt that was not necessary, thank god. 

So then all we had to do was wait for ultrasound. A woman turned up shortly after two, and proceeded to scan me right there in my bed! Once again it was commented upon that I am lovely to scan, and having covered my right side in gel, she found no evidence of a clot. Obviously we informed the doctor of this immediately and by three we were out of the door. Just a tiny visit to Pandora on the way home to get the charm for yesterday’s anniversary, and now I am at home in our living room. I have petted the kitties and tonight I am out at The Glee for Joe’s Crisis at Christmas gig. 

I’m just SO HAPPY. 

The 21st of December. 

Sleeping in one’s own bed does not get old, let me tell you. 

I had lots of fun last night – Joe’s friend Ben who I met the other day was sat in front of me, with Jess Phillips (MP), and they were both amazed by my mug of sausages. I pointed out that they too could order one, they are always available. 

I went into the dressing room at the interval and at the end, and got to spread the Anthony Nolan word some more. We also had some chats about which was the best gay Christmas pun, and wondered whether Sara would make it. They were all lovely and really funny; will definitely make an effort to see them again. (On the bill we had Joe and Sara, Guz Khan, Fin Taylor, Andrew McBurney and Mo Amer.)

Today I finally finished my wrapping, watched Elf and decorated our tree. Daddy came home with Christine while I was mid-tree, so she helped me finish. My right arm is still huge and I’m coughing but I’m trying not to care. I’m okay and I’m home which is all that matters. 

Today is eight years since my liver transplant. Back then, nobody thought I’d even see Christmas, yet now I’ve had eight more. At what should be the best time of the year, my donor’s family went through the hardest thing I think there is: the loss of a child. But they were selfless enough to know that they could stop another family feeling that pain, and they gave us that. A Christmas miracle. 

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The 11th of June. 

It is Daddy’s birthday weekend, so we are having family bonding fun time. 

We have celebrated by going to the Cholmondeley Power and Speed Festival. We were leaving at eight, so I was the first one up, at six. I don’t know why I require two hours to be ready, I just do. The weather was supposed to be pretty grey all day, so I did not take my sunglasses. As soon as we arrived, I realised this had been a mistake. It was cloudy, but too bright for me, and I was struggling. Thankfully, Daddy had his clip-on sunglasses and they fitted on my specs too. Without them, I’m not sure what I would have done. Probably bought some sort of hideous hat with a large brim (not that hats with large brims are hideous, I look great in them, but this was not the sort of place where they would sell good hats). I was also grateful we’d brought the manual wheelchair, because although I do not love being pushed around, the motorised chair would not have coped with today’s terrain. There was a stand selling fancy off-roading chairs but they cost about £4000 and I am not in regular need so I don’t think that’ll be necessary. 

To be honest, there is not a great deal to say about what we saw. Lots of cars and motorbikes, some helicopters and a plane. Oh, and many retro ice cream vans. I had a pulled pork bun for lunch which was only a tiny bit spicy so my mouth could tolerate it, then we had some tiny fried funfair doughnuts and frankly I could have devoured the whole bag on my own. 

We left when we’d seem everything we wanted to, about half two, and on the way home it chucked it down, so I listened to Pillars by Josh Record and my sore eyes didn’t really matter anymore. 

The 12th of June. 

I came downstairs today with arms full of presents, and I interrupted Daddy’s viewing of the Grand Prix qualifying to give them to him. I bought him a Rubik’s Cross (like a cube but harder) which I suspect may never get scrambled, and a Vinyl Pop figure of Flash, the sloth from Zootropolis, who brought him much joy. 

My breakfast was very exciting because it was an enormous crumpet! I have wanted to try one for ages but we couldn’t find them in shops, and suddenly Tesco decided to stock them so I got to eat a crumpet as big as my face. Hooray!

I let the kittens have a run around while Christine and Mommy were very busy in the kitchen, ganache-ing Daddy’s cake and making delicious foods for us all. Grandma was collected from up the road to join us, and we were round the table by half past one for roasted venison, followed by our favourite, chocolate mousse. There was also rhubarb galette but I had no interest in that. 

Spent the afternoon watching the Queen’s celebrations, letting the food to down, while I crocheted a dumpling kitty (as it’s called in the pattern). We paused for birthday cake, chocolate and vanilla marble, then Daddy took Christine to the station so she could go home. 

This evening, I went to see Sara Pascoe at The Glee. I was sat on one of the side benches, along with all the other lone people. So cool. Obviously she was brilliant, even when a lady fainted in the middle of the first half. Lights went on, the line “Is there a doctor in the house?” was heard, and Sara told us some lovely stories about Lanzarote and did some impressions (once we we fairly sure the passed out woman was awake and okay).

I went to see her in the interval, any we talked about her book and the dramas of the first half (she was fine, awake and talking, paramedics in attendance), then she had to work out if she needed to cut stuff so I left her to do that. 

I’m still trying to compute the massacre in Orlando. Their laws won’t change, because the NRA is too powerful, and they love guns so much. Gay clubs are supposed to be a safe space, somewhere to escape the stares and prejudices of Straight White World, and that security has been shaken. But I am heartened by the queues of people wanting to give blood for the casualties. Most people are good. 

The 24th of April. 

Last night at Tiff Stevenson was great fun. I haven’t been to The Old Rep since I was at Hallfield and we went to see George’s Marvellous Medicine. It feels a lot smaller than it did then; row C was really quite close to the stage. I just wish the lady in front of me hadn’t been there as she was drenched in perfume and it kept making me cough. The show was really good – I was surprised to hear her talk so much about Black Lives Matter but she was really well-informed and we all did lots of clapping. After the show, she was in the bar so we had a chat and a selfie in which I looked awful. I need to just smile instead of pulling a face. She’s in the cool gang. 

Today, I’ve been trying not to succumb to the heavy cloud. For some reason, I decided to Google bronchiolitis obliterans (the technical term for what I have) and I found some information saying that once it develops, most patients die of respiratory failure in five years. I already seven years post-diagnosis. What does that mean for me? How long do I have left like this before I get even worse? How I’ve been was okay, I could cope with that. I am really scared that I’m going to lose the tiny amount of independence I have left. What if I become so breathless that I need the wheelchair even more? To the extent that I can’t wash and dress without gasping for breath? I really don’t know if I can deal with that, and suddenly it feels ever so real. 

The 25th of April. 

My shoulders ache this evening. More jabs today. I can understand why babies find it so distressing – it doesn’t just hurt at the time, every time I raise my right arm, I am sore. I am having lots of paracetamol. 

My mood has slightly improved; I do not feel quite so morose. I don’t know how proactive I can be about my breathing, I’ll just have to go to the gym as much as possible, really build up my muscles. I got my appointment for my next set of tests in October. Maybe I can improve things by then. 

For most of the day, I have been crocheting. I am making a Moomin to take to Robyn and Stu’s in May, and so far I have done the nose and the body up to the armpits, so it currently looks like a rather large nappy. We had to go out just after two to go to the GP, and today there was no palaver about what I was to be vaccinated against. Two in the right arm, one in the left again. Two more lots to go; one in a month, and the last one in seven months. 

Before going home, we went into Sutton because I had had a text from Waterstones to inform me of the arrival of my copy of Sara Pascoe’s book, and while there, I also ordered the new Harry Potter book because y’know. We went to Tesco too for some naan bread because we’re having curry tonight and the naans at M&S were unacceptable. 

Ouch. 

2015 has been pretty fucking fantastic, overall. The beginning and past few days have not been ideal, but other than that, so many great memories! The crazy Valentine’s Day, when Josie, Josh, Joe, Tom, Romesh and Mat all came to visit, coming off steroids, Lyme Regis, the Comedy Gala with Aisling, Katherine, Sara etc, meeting Dawn O’Porter by chance, going to see Heidi, The Hand and Flowers and meeting Tom Kerridge, getting my electric wheelchair, going to The News Quiz and meeting Sandi, hanging out with Elle, Ben and Luna, Hallfield Day with Thor the raccoon, Padstow, Becky and James’ wedding, meeting Yaser Martini at Tom’s Kitchen, getting kittens, visiting Naomi and seeing Curious Incident, Duck and Waffle, my autumn of comedy and hanging out with Suzi, Josh, Joe and Nish, Death Cab, Christmas, now here we are!

I couldn’t be more grateful for such a wonderful twelve months and I am indebted to all those who made it possible. 2016 is going to have to be really incredibly astounding to beat it but let’s give it a go! I hope it’s just as good to all of you. Be kind to one another and yourselves.

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The 15th of May.

Tonight has been the most fun. I have come back on a clue.

This morning we packed up everything in the house and drove straight to Axminster. We bought a couple of sandwiches from Tesco for the train journey, then killed 45 minutes in the River Cottage Canteen before Mommy and I needed to get the train to Waterloo. Our assistance man bore a strong resemblance to Nick Hewer and he had to move loads of pushchairs and suitcases to get me on the train, so I stared at a wall of luggage for three hours.

Upon arrival, we went to Alchemy for a quick coffee before getting a cab all the way to our hotel near The O2. It was so far! We asked the driver how much time we should leave to get to The O2 and he said 45 minutes, so we basically checked in, dumped our bags and went out again! We were early, but I’d rather that than be stressing about lateness. I’d just picked up our guestlist tickets and wristbands when Christine and Kim arrived, at which point we went straight to Byron. I essentially inhaled my smoked cheddar cheeseburger and Oreo cookieshake, then we went to our seats.

We had a pretty great view and there isn’t a great deal to say about the show itself apart from that it was ace and you should watch it when it’s on TV. The men in front of us kept leaving and coming back, as did much of the audience it seemed, all throughout the show! It was so bizarre.

Afterwards, I spoke to Aisling, and we had to go practically all round The O2 in search of the green room. By the time we arrived, Christine and Kim had to go to the tube, but I was left in capable hands. I then got to spend the evening hanging out with most of my favourite comedians and their friends! Aisling Bea, Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan (plus her daughter who is adorable and enjoyed my and her mum’s names both sounding the same), Rob Beckett, Romesh Ranganathan, Jack Dee, Jason Byrne, Josh Widdicombe, Seann Walsh and Becky Humphries, plus the people whose names I didn’t hear but pretended to. They are all such gorgeous people and I feel like I am their actual friend which I ridiculous but never mind. Writing down what actually happened sounds so mundane (e.g. Josh talking me through signing up to Uber) so just imagine I had a wonderful, magical night which culminated in wangling a free Addison Lee car back to my hotel with an absolute delight of a driver.

Tingling with joy.

The 16th of May.

Officially one of the best weekends ever. Slept in a little, and just had a croissant at the hotel before going to Timberyard for proper breakfast of a crodough! A chocolate crodough and a flat white, and I also got an Oreo cheesecake one which is purely for research purposes, you understand (ETA: the chocolate one was way better). When we came out, we happened upon Dawn O’Porter’s BOB by DOP shop and I absolutely adore her clothes particularly the skirts. We went in and there she was! I tried on the geese one that she was also wearing and we had a photo in our matching skirts and Tatty Devine name necklaces before I tried on the dogs one too. I couldn’t decide so I bought both.

We spent the remainder of our time looking around the forensics exhibition at The Wellcome Collection where we also had lunch (apple, celery and kale juice and a toasted Brie, bacon, onion marmalade, Dijon mayo and rocket sandwich). Grabbed another coffee from TAP then headed to Euston and almost immediately were on the train, and now here I am, home.

Exquisitely happy and so in awe of how simply astonishing and sweet people can be.


 


The 6th of November. 

Monotonous day. First thing, we went to the sorting office so I could pay the customs charges for my phone skins from Nuvango. £12.48! I was not impressed with them for that. 

I had photopheresis at half one, so after lunch, we went out and thankfully arrived early enough for the enormous queue at Costa not to be a problem. ECP was fine  – blood numbers were all good, got done in about an hour and a half. I read two chapters of The Architects and crocheted a lot while I listened to 1989 because I love a bit of Swifty. 

Since we’ve been home, I’ve finished the scarf I was working on and have started on Lauren’s. 

That is all, really! More of the same tomorrow. 

The 7th of November. 

Suddenly super sweepy tonight and I was expecting it, considering I’ve been awake since approximately half one. Thankfully, Sara Pascoe tonight was more than entertaining enough to keep me alert. 

So this morning was more photopheresis. I took full advantage of Costa’s new range of Christmas beverages, so I had a gingerbread latte and a gingerbread man, but the latte also came with a tiny gingerbread man so I was fully overloaded on ginger. I read the paper, crocheted  and when it was all over, I got the brownie hot chocolate which is really quite rich. I’m not sure I would recommend it unless you have a very sweet tooth. 

After we got home and I had my lunch (cheese on toast with ham and sultanas yesss), I felt really full of wind, so we spent the rest of the day with Mommy trying to drive all the little pockets of wind during Sara Pascoe. 

Traffic getting there was really bad so I was nearly late, but Daddy’s parking fairy was with us. Mommy ran me down to The Glee Club where Rachel was waiting. They wouldn’t let us in at first, but two minutes later it was all fine. A man came to take me to the lift because I couldn’t climb the stairs, but the trip out and round to the lift was just as hard – I might have just as well climbed the stairs, it would’ve been less exhausting. 

Sara Pascoe was really good! I need to look up sperm selection theory and Marie Bonaparte. She had her clitoris moved. TWICE. But yes she was superb and I love her. We hold many similar opinions. 

Daddy came to pick me up in the chair and we came home so now I’m having toast then Zopiclone sleeptime.