I've been asked by a number of people to explain why I would want to move to a secluded island. My responses never seem to do justice to my new environment, so I would like to share a few of my own photographs of our surroundings in the hope that they will adequately convey why I love living here. If you still don't get it, then frankly you're a little weird. Or maybe it's me...
“This wasn’t part of the plan, was it?” my old friend in France messaged. My heart skipped a beat (and not just because of my autonomic neuropathy, for a change) as I thought about what he was going through. A mere three months after his wife of twelve years had died from a reoccurrence of her breast cancer, he remains bereft. Other issues (you know the kind; family disputes that strike at the very foundation of our world view) have crippled him before, during and since her passing, and the poor guy, whose heart is 24 carat gold or else I’m no judge at all, has been left reeling by the cruelty of people he once thought loved him.
By comparison, I’m having a cake walk.
Mmmmmmm. Cake...oops, sorry.
I know what he means, though. All he wanted was to enjoy the semi-retired life with his lady love, and to be left in peace to do so. All I want is to be healthy and to live a long life (largely because it means I get to enjoy the company of my loved ones for as long as I can), but right now my body seems to have other ideas. I’ve been in hospital again, for more surgery.
Several weeks after a man wearing scrubs (well actually, more than one; it was a two-team effort) inserted things up my hooter and messed about with the inside of my cranium and then plugged the hole with tissue taken from my left hip, I had an MRI to plan for some radiotherapy. That was a Saturday. A week later I was back in Vancouver General Hospital for ‘emergency’ surgery to remove some tumour tissue that had re-grown from the original operation site. I had suspected that something was amiss when the sight in one eye had again begun to deteriorate, but this was still a shock.
An even bigger shock was the extent of the ‘damage’ this time around, since the first surgery had been, to all intents and purposes, invisible. I am attaching a photo below…feel free to use it to keep the kids away from the ‘fridge.
Oddly enough, this surgery has been much more straightforward to come to terms with – certainly in terms of physical recovery. That ugly scar is healing well, I have been up on my back legs and out in the community – albeit gently – from a week after they took the top off my skull, and so far there are no signs of another resurgence. My fingers, toes, legs and eyes are firmly crossed that the path back to some kind of normality may be a swift and simple one.
I have even picked up my writing cudgels once more. I’m contributing to our local (very local) newspaper with short articles, I’ve sent an unpublished book to a friend, I’ve written a brief eulogy for her husband who died in the same week that I was re-admitted to hospital, and I have started to finally proof-read and edit an old piece of work with a view to self-publishing it later this year. I had almost forgotten how good it feels to write…
No, none of these things were ever in the plan, but then I am a notoriously poor planner. I’m so poor a planner, I stopped doing it years ago. I never planned to write, and I never planned to be sick, but since I’m doing the latter, I may as well make use of the enforced time spent on my over-sized derriere, and get some unplanned writing done.
As the old medical adage goes: every surgery has a silver lining.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been something of a hypochondriac. I have, ever since I was a young child, worried and fretted about my health. Now, without wishing to be too stereotypical in my thinking (although I confess: a little stereotyping, along with home-made marmalade, helps me to feel safe), I have coped with this facet of my personality in a way that is frequently recognized as a male trait: I don’t tell doctors anything. There’s no use shaking your head and tut-tutting at the page; I’m not here with you, in fact I wrote this some time ago. But, anyway, I have been stuck in this particular rut for more decades than I prefer to count.
Until a few months ago. What began as a routine eyesight test for a new pair of glasses (going to the optometrist has never held much terror for me) suddenly took on a life of its own. Referral to a specialist resulted in a diagnosis of a stroke (what? eek!) and a second referral. A trip to Nanaimo to see a more special specialist had me being pushed into a CT scanner before lunch, and then after lunch being told that they had discovered a three centimetre tumour at the base of my brain. At that stage, it seemed too late to point out that I only wanted a new pair of glasses…
My reluctance to speak to doctors was entirely overwhelmed by what followed: surgery and ten days in hospital followed by…emergency surgery and a week in hospital (which, to be blunt, I felt was taking the joke too far). During that six/seven week period, my medical status was laid bare (along with other parts of me, not least my reticence to discuss symptoms for fear of being told bad news) and my reluctance to engage with the medical world was trampled underfoot.
The surgeries and recovery periods were no bed of roses (excuse me if my fingers tremble a little as I remember), but my life was put back on track – or at least it will be once all my treatments are finished. Had I – as I was accustomed to doing - continued to ignore the symptoms that I had been experiencing for more than six months, the outcome would have been very different.
Out of these experiences has come a new appreciation for the depth of love that my lovely lady holds for me (something else I was really not very good at), the importance of moving forward with gratitude and positive purpose, and the startled, fresh understanding that enemas are really not very nice at all. I have learned a great deal, as has my immediate family; they have learned about me, and I have learned about them. In many ways, I am humbled, richer and hopefully wiser for the lessons that I have been taught.
One day, though, I shall wreak a terrible revenge on that surgeon and tell him my life story…
Lots of it. In fact, to use a medical term; shitloads of pain. But in completely the wrong place.
This is the enduring memory of regaining consciousness – or at least something approaching it – after spending (little did I know it at the time) twelve hours on the operating table. The very first thing I had become aware of was the pain – in fact I shall stick my head over the hyperbole parapet and use the word ‘agony’ – followed by lots and lots of noise and a voice shouting my name. Following instructions and opening my eyes, there was a vaguely familiar face – my friendly neighbourhood neurosurgeon, no less…
He is smiling, and as I lie there in a hot pool of pain, I hate him for looking so bloody happy. “It’s all over!” he yells over the background cacophony, momentarily freezing my heart as I think he’s telling me I am dying. “It went very well! We’re very pleased!” he bawls, his smile broadening in what I can tell even then is a rather forced attempt to reassure me. Exhausted by the effort of despising him with every cell in my body, I fall back into my world of agony, the like of which I cannot remember experiencing before.
But it hurts in the wrong place.
I know, for example, that I have had an operation on my head. I can just about recall that it was supposed to entail a graft being taken from my left hip. However, although my nose is completely blocked, my head doesn’t seem to be hurting – at least not that I can tell through the incessant clamour of screaming nerves in the region of my right hip. It doesn’t occur to me that they may have taken the graft from there instead (as it turns out, they haven’t), I’m too busy being very confused and just a little terrified about the depth of that brutal, unremitting pain.
There follows the briefest moment of unconsciousness (it turns out to have been another two hours during which I was – I am told - at least semi-conscious) of which I now have no memory whatsoever. Suddenly, I’m in a different room. I’m lying on my left side and I’m cold - very cold. The pain is still there, but a little less all-consuming. The hated face has gone, and to my startled delight, my world fills with the most wonderful sound I have ever heard. It is my wife’s voice, and she is calling my name (excuse me for a moment…I must stop typing here; there seems to be something in my eye). With an effort, I rise through the fog to meet her. After what feels like ten minutes, my eyes open, and there she is. I’m lying on my left side and she is bending over me, softly calling me. She is smiling as my eyes open, but even then, even with the background of pain and sluggish wakefulness, I can see the lie behind that smile. She is beautiful, she is wonderful and I can feel my tears pooling in my eyes. Just to know she is there is a huge help.
I am not alone.
She is deeply moved, scared and worried, I can see that much. Beyond her is my daughter, her face pale and shocked, and no wonder; before her lies little more than a remnant of the big, strong man she has grown up with. The man who has always protected her now stretched out on a bed, powerless and struggling. I remember my promise to myself and to my wife; I know what I must – what I should – do. As she leans to kiss my cheek, I try to speak but find my mouth painfully dry. “What did you say, my love?” she leans in again to try to hear me. “I’m still here!” I manage to whisper. A brief moment of shock passes over her face, followed by intense emotion as I try again. “I’m still in here!” My deepest fear – that I might not be the same person when I awoke – must be dispelled. I’m conscious of how terrible I must look, yet my focus is gripped by what she says next. “It’s been twelve hours! You were in for twelve hours!” she tells me, and it’s my turn to be shocked. Twelve bloody hours!
I’m forced to shift my attention again as my daughter steps forward and leans over me. “Hi dad!” she says in her soft, gentle voice, and behind her eyes I can see the tears waiting to flow. “Hello my gorgeous girl.” I croak, an emotional tremble making itself evident, and then again in case she too needs to know that the same person has returned to her life “I’m still in here!”. As her face dissolves in emotion, my eyes close and the room briefly becomes a place merely of confusing sounds. I can rest now. I have said what needs to be said. What I don’t know at that time is that the operation did indeed last twelve hours – having been scheduled for seven – and that my wife had been denied the chance to see me for another two hours while the post-operative team tried to stabilize me and make me comfortable. What agonies my daughter -and in particular my wife who had been waiting for fourteen hours - must have endured…
Next, my eyes open upon strangers’ faces. Someone shouts “…moving you in a moment! One, two, three, go!” and I am dragged backwards, reigniting the white hot fire in my hip. To my embarrassment, a loud groan of agony escapes from me, and darkness kindly falls once more.
When my eyes open yet again, I’m moving. Voices – two of them – are complaining about the bed upon which I’m lying. It’s the wrong type of bed, apparently – not intended for an ICU patient - I’m very heavy (agreed) and the combination is, apparently, difficult to steer. They are unhappily discussing their bad luck as I watch a clichéd scene of overhead lights passing from below my chin to above the top of my head. It’s reminiscent of a 1970s TV series, yet curiously reassuring; I’m moving away from the source of my distress, moving towards the next steps in my healing journey.
The worst is, I hope, over. A short journey in a brightly-lit elevator, another brief trip underneath stereotypical overhead lighting and into a dimly lit space – suddenly accompanied by muted beeping sounds - and then finally a brightly lit, small room. I have arrived in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit just as the anaesthetic is losing its insidious grip upon me. Faces gather around, intravenous drips and monitoring devices are attached by invisible hands. I am more aware than ever of my utter helplessness.
For the first of many, many times over the next ten days, the standard mental acuity questions begin. “What’s your full name? Can you tell me the date? Do you know where you are?” Groggily, I do my best to make myself understood through the combination of anaesthesia, a horrendously swollen and sore throat (intubation for such a long time apparently – and understandably - has that effect), a painful, dry mouth and my ever-present English accent.
My recovery -beginning with the longest night of my life - is officially under way…and my hip still hurts like hell.
Only after we had been given an explanation for my symptoms did we begin to properly face up to them and accept their severity. I had first noticed a decline in my energy levels at a damned inconvenient time; just as we were preparing to move house from suburbia and take up residence on a small island (yes, really) off the coast of British Columbia. The timing was poor in more ways than one; aside from it making important, moving -related everyday tasks (including work) far more troublesome than they had any right to be, it also gave me the perfect excuse to pretend it wasn’t really happening and to shrug it off as a combination of lack of sleep and advancing age.
Once we had moved house and had begun a planned extended break from work – with luxuries like a no0rmal sleep pattern thrown in as a bonus – things should have improved. But things did not. Again, with a strange twist of sardonic humour, the universe arranged for my wife and I to both undergo a period of extreme fatigue. Once more my symptoms were masked as we convinced ourselves that we were ‘decompressing’ after leaving the suburban way of life behind. It had never suited us, and fitting in with that whole ‘scene’ (man) had always been something of a deliberate effort for us both. It made sense to us that our eventual ‘escape’ had left us emotionally and to some extent physically exhausted.
In due course, my wife ‘recovered’ and regained her old energy levels. Her big fat (and getting fatter despite reducing his food intake) lummox of a husband, however, did not. In fact he got worse. I became more and more tired and listless. Mentally, I began to slow down too. Sleep came more and more easily to me and most strangely of all, my body changed shape at an alarming rate. What greeted me in the mirror one day was no longer something that I recognized as my own body. I was turning into a pear.
Through all this, as I have already mentioned, I became aware of a change in my eyesight. I had begun to not notice some things, and gradually my eyesight began to be consumed with a strange fogginess. From time to time I would think about it and conclude that I was simply aging, but for the overwhelming majority of the time I pretended that nothing was happening; that everything was really alright. Such is the lot of the hypochondriac in denial; I was too scared to face what I believed (something unknown yet fundamental) might be happening to me. I simply couldn’t face that reality, whatever it might be.
When my eyesight had deteriorated beyond the point of being ignored, I finally sought out professional advice and diagnosis. As it turned out, that initial diagnosis (a macular hole in my left eye) was completely wrong, but fortunately it entailed a referral to a more experienced specialist. His speculative diagnosis and referral to a neural ophthalmologist proved to be the game-changer, and a quick and painless CT scan revealed the truth about what was going on inside my head.
To be fair to the man, he was excellent. He showed us the images, gave us the news and discussed it with us in a compassionate yet professional way. He showed great empathy and patience, answering our questions gently and completely. We owe him our gratitude for the manner in which he dealt with the shocked couple before him. It was his office that we had left in a state of this-can’t-be-happening bewilderment, my life apparently in the balance, and with no positive absolutes to cling to. That was the moment when we had held each other and wept for a future that we thought had been ripped away from us. That was the moment I began to think about saying goodbye to my children.
Our next appointment was with the eminent surgeon, an appointment which first alerted us to the fact that the medical profession had decided what to do with me. Having steeled myself for an encounter with a grey-haired, rotund man (forgive my sexist moment) with impressively bristling eyebrows, I was surprised to find myself talking to a slim, fit man of approximately forty, who appeared be in possession of completely tamed eyebrow hairs as well as a cheerful, if business-like demeanour. The meeting was intense, filled with lots of information, lots of questions, and lots of…other stuff. Once it was over, I was completely exhausted, both emotionally and physically.
They were going to go into my head through my nose, for goodness’ sake! I’d never heard of such a thing – hell, I’d never even considered such a thing was possible! The need for urgency, however, was clear. My physical condition had deteriorated rapidly to the point where simply walking a few hundred metres left me physically drained, and sleep filled most of my days. I was, in effect, winding down to a complete stop.
Three weeks later, then, my beautiful, strong, wonderful lady and I arrived at the hospital in Vancouver at the appointed time. That time, by the way, was 5.30a.m. I registered my presence and we waited together until I was called into the pre-op room. There, this magnificent woman whom I am so proud top call my wife, helped me struggle out of my clothes (I had been reduced to stumbling about) and into the standard hospital dignity-absorbing gown. After twenty minutes of waiting and talking to one another against a backdrop of beeping monitors and hushed voices, we said our goodbyes (I struggling to hold it together – and I don’t mean the gown), she was escorted to a waiting room and I was wheeled on a gurney out of pre-op and admitted to hospital for the first time since I was a toddler. It’s fair to assume that I was somewhat apprehensive about having things pushed up my nose and into my skull.
At this point - I am advised by my erstwhile, medically-trained spouse, due to the drugs they gave me before anaesthetizing me – time starts misbehaving itself in my memory (what there is of it). I was semi-conscious when they wheeled me into the suite of operating theatres. Amid great hustle and bustle I asked whomever might be listening how many operating rooms there were (for some reason it suddenly seemed relevant), and being informed that there was a suite of twelve theatres. I recall being quietly terrified by the appearance of the suite, which to my addled mind had the appearance of a white-tiled butcher’s shop. Or abattoir.
Somebody greeted me in a hale-and-hearty kind of way as my immense gown-covered bulk arrived under the lights in THE room. I managed a feeble mumble in reply. A different voice began to talk to me and unseen hands began to pull at my hands and arms. The voice said “Now I’m just going to give you some medication in a moment.” and I watched an oxygen mask (which seemed far too small) descend onto my face – I swear it was exactly like a cheesy movie representation – I remember one breath, one blink, and then…
In and out of…
It began almost a year ago. I was, I thought, simply experiencing the same sort of deterioration in my eyesight that I’d witnessed my father undergo many years before. Focusing was less and less straightforward, my glasses needed updating and age was creeping up on me in other ways; less energy, a slowing metabolism resulting in weight gain as well a hundred little symptoms which reminded me of the onset of true middle age. I thought. I’d always had ‘floaters’ in my eyes despite – until the age of forty anyway – having eyesight which was so good, it astonished anyone required to measure it. I had in the past been suspected of cheating in eyesight tests for police advanced driving (not so), but now my eyes were, I felt, beginning that long slow decline to permanent spectacles. One of the floaters in my eye seemed to be more troublesome – more noticeable – than before. The decline seemed inevitable with the passage of time.
In the spring of 2017 I had an eye test and purchased some new spectacles. Two weeks later, they were ready for me. Immediately, I could tell that they were not working, but the rest of my life seemed to always divert me from going back to remonstrate with the optician (why, by the way, do these people always have raging halitosis?). Fast forward a couple of months and something new is becoming evident. We had just moved to our home on a small island, and life seemed good. But my energy was still decreasing – in fact I was starting to sleep almost every day in the afternoon. My eyes were deteriorating, and there now seemed to be a fixed floater in my left eye. One day, while driving slowly through a village, I simply didn’t see a car heading towards us until it was almost upon us. Something wasn’t right.
As a diabetic for twenty-two years, the onset of blindness has always been a threat, and one of my greatest fears. Losing my sight would change my life so drastically, I have trouble imagining how I would cope. This was partly why I basically ignored my new symptom for several months; why I convinced myself (at least partially) that everything was actually OK, and that I simply needed to wear glasses full time. It took me three months, however, to take the logical step of having my eyesight tested once more.
The optometrist – a very pleasant young lady sporting surprisingly tight clothing and truly appalling halitosis (why do these people….?) tested me thoroughly and diagnosed me with a new problem. I had, it seemed, a ‘macular hole’ in my left eye; a serious but manageable situation. A little shaken by this unexpected development, I dutifully made an appointment to see a specialist for confirmation and treatment.
Several weeks later, therefore, I dragged myself along (my energy levels were by now very low and I had put on a great deal of weight without changing my eating pattern) to the specialist where I underwent a number of vision tests. The rather shy young man (yes, you guessed it: halitosis) finished his overview of my results. In my left eye the results were very clear; I was missing a full quarter of my field of vision. My right eye was almost as bad. Holy shit, I thought; it’s worse than I imagined. “You don’t have a macular hole.” he said quietly. As I stifled outraged thoughts of “Well why the hell did she tell me that I did?”, he continued. “In fact I don’t think that this is a problem with your eyes at all. It’s either an optic nerve issue…” (Holy shit!) “…or it could be something…” and here he paused ever-so-slightly; “…something growing in your brain.” At this point I gave up on ‘Holy shit’ (it suddenly seemed inadequate) and began thinking in terms of “Fucking hell!”
Another referral to the next level of specialist followed and two months later I lay in a CT scanner while pictures were taken of the inside of my head. In the intervening months I had quite successfully convinced myself that I had some optic nerve problems. It was inconvenient and maybe life-changing, and the idea was not welcome at all. When, therefore, my wife and I sat down with the doctor and he said “Well I think I can see where the problem is.”, I had a pretty good idea of what might come next.
Not for the first time (as you will know if you follow my other adventures in life), I was wide of the mark. The doctor pointed to his computer screen as he swivelled it – bearing a picture of the inside of my head - towards us. “Here it is.” he said. I looked at the point he was indicating and my insides performed a somersault. “You have a tumour.” I was already ahead of him, however. I could see it on the screen, right down at the base of my brain. It looked as if it were in the worst place imaginable. “Oh shit.” I said out loud, and looked at my lovely wife, whose face seemed like an immobile, pale mask.
Shit, shit, shit. A tumour. In my brain. Death, I thought.
The rest of that conversation – conducted very skilfully and with great empathy by the doctor – is preserved as a blur in my memory. All that seemed to count was that I had a brain tumour; that this wasn’t happening to someone else (as it surely should….not to me!) after all. It was, of course, very real. It was my turn to have this conversation and to face a bleak future – if I had a future at all. Holy fucking shit, I thought (well if you can’t use profanities at such a time, when can you?) as plans were made to see surgeons and undergo further tests. Holy….
As we left that hospital, we bumped into one of our new, friendly neighbours who was helping an aged, ailing man into the building. Perhaps he wondered why we seemed distant, devoid of small talk, and why our smiles didn’t seem to reach our eyes. The truth was that we had no time for social interaction. We needed one another, we needed privacy, and we needed to come to terms with the conversation that we had just experienced. We said our goodbyes – perhaps a little too hastily – and stumbled to our parked car.
The doors closed upon the outside world, bringing a sudden painful silence. I took a deep breath, looked at the love of my life alongside me, and as her eyes filled with tears, I began to cry.
You’re due an explanation. Even by my normally rather feeble standards, I’ve left it far, far too long to contribute to my own blog.
Had I been writing this a little more than three weeks ago, I would have struggled to find an explanation for my absence, apart from a general lack of enthusiasm to commit my thoughts to print. Today, I have more information; information which sheds some light upon my recent literary shyness. It seems that I have been unwell. More than that; I have been - and currently remain – what is generally considered to be ‘seriously’ ill, thanks to the presence of a moderately-sized tumour deep within what passes for my brain.
My wife and I have tried to come up with a name for the tumour; something appropriately combative or disrespectful through which to convey our lack of appreciation for its existence. Sadly, perhaps, I keep reverting to ‘Timmy’….it seems to be suitably demeaning (with my apologies to anyone out there by the name of Timothy) and ever-so-slightly silly. Timmy is approximately 3cm in diameter (which sounds fucking huge to me, but I’ll nevertheless try to be modest and stick with ‘moderately-sized’ for now) and resides on top of my hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
I’ll resist the temptation to bore you with a description of the symptoms and the short story of the discovery of Timmy (the wittle wascal), but suffice to say it came as a complete surprise, and not a very nice one at that. It’s the kind of thing that normally only happens to other – usually anonymous or at least unknown – people; the kind of thing you only hear about third hand. The kind of thing you find yourself thinking “Shit, glad that’s never happened to me!” about.
Well, now it has indeed happened to me.
I suppose there was no reason why it shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean that I feel any less victimized, however. Over the last few weeks I’ve ridden the same emotional roller coaster that so many people have found themselves upon; the one that makes us realize how fortunate we have been, how many things we are grateful for, and how much we would dread leaving them all behind.
Currently, my thoughts have centred round the most valued things of all; my loved ones. I have cried a great deal at the thought of being gone and leaving them in grief (they’d better be grieving, or else I’d be haunting them) and the prospect of the process of leaving them in full awareness of what is coming down the line. The horror of such thoughts is overwhelming and even now, far too painful to revisit with you. Let’s leave it here; a possibility that is acknowledged without further attention being given to it.
Today, I’m awaiting my surgery day (I was originally told that it was probably inoperable) with no little trepidation and steadily worsening symptoms. My eyesight is deteriorating, and my short term memory seems to be faltering a little. I’m devoid of energy (this is the second attempt to finish writing this short post) and experiencing a number of other niggling annoyances which plague each day. I sleep a lot, but my night time rest is disrupted and unsatisfying. I’m unable to work and so we will have to explore the mysteries of the welfare system and discover what we can ask for in support. Shit.
So, please forgive me if my posts are less than frequent (!) but I will try to keep you up to speed and share my thoughts of the process with you (hopefully without becoming too dramatic or maudlin) and hopefully emerge on the other side pf the treatment process as a beautiful butterfly (now there’s a weird idea) with the rest of a long life to look forward to…
It is, as they say, all part of life’s rich tapestry. I suppose.
Once again, it’s been a long time since I posted here. Life has been busy – both in a literal, physical sense and in an emotional sense. One of the results of this period of my life has been the acceptance (I’d long suspected it but had been living in a river in Egypt about it: denial) of the truth; I am an anxious man. I’m also incredibly fortunate, since the lady with whom I shall live the rest of my life is not only very intelligent but very strong too. Having lived most of my life being the ‘rock’ upon which others have leaned (or for that matter, sat), the realization that underneath I am a quivering mass of fears has been both a relief (no more concealing the truth) and an enormous - if short - emotional journey. I’m still coming to terms with it and what it may mean for my writing, which has been put on hold while my head felt so full.
Part of my world is this: two days ago, my youngest child left home to begin the journey through adult life. I am thrilled for her (this is the point to which we parents are supposed to bring our children, aren’t we?), while being a little frightened for her. She is setting out on her journey alone (as I did), and I have every finger and toe crossed for her wellbeing and happiness. I will miss her terribly – our house is now empty of offspring - but this has been the moment her life has been heading towards until now.
Another change is afoot. In three weeks, my wonderful wife and I will begin a new chapter of our own lives. With the world seeming to close in around us, we have decided to step outside of the accepted and expected routine. Both literally and figuratively, we will be living on an island from the beginning of August. Our new home will be a project; there is much work to be done, but the result will be a home that is truly something of our making. Once established, I know that I will write again; I have a number of unfinished projects to pick up, shake the dust from and grab by the scruff of the neck. I will be writing in a place of tranquility, where the ocean is a two minute stroll from my door, where the loudest sound is birdsong, and most of all, where I feel that I belong.
I can hardly wait...
Since I am awful at self-promotion, I'm going to let the latest Amazon review do the heavy lifting for me regarding 'Signs of )a) Life'...
"Laugh? I almost did...
Seriously, a very funny book. Apart from the bits where it's not meant to be funny. At least, I hoped I laughed in the right places. And cried in the bits that were sad bits. Maybe I'll never know.
Liam's childhood experiences sound very much like my own: brought up in a pleasant little seaside suburban town, being unfortunately bright enough to go to the all boys grammar school and thus missing out on any interaction with the opposite sex (although at least Liam didn't have one older and two younger sisters - twins at that - too deal with). Although I think I beat him in the shy/sensitive/antisocial stakes: while Liam was at least taking part in extracurricular rugby matches, I was sat in my room reading Marvel comics. And while he was experiencing his first awkward encounters with the local girl at the bus stop, I was sat in my room reading Marvel comics. And when he was a wet behind the ears bobby on the beat in dullest suburbia, I was sat in my room reading Marvel comics and smoking crack cocaine... or down the pub, most likely. Yeah, it was down the pub, I'm sure - I never did smoke crack...
Oh, sorry, I was meant to be reviewing the book... Buy this book! Buy it now! Don't think twice! Get it on Kindle coz it's a bargain at a couple of quid! You'll cry with laughter! You'll wince with recognition! You'll feel vaguely nauseous during the sex scenes! You realize that fart gags are STILL funny, even as an adult!
I did. "