Busy, busy, busy

Well my plan to update this blog weekly has gone out of the window. When did life get so busy!

November and December is always busy in our house. Lots of music with brass band contests and Christmas concerts. This year, with the kids having left school I thought we would have less concerts to attend. However they may have moved away but they are still playing in various groups – unfortunately we only managed to go and see the one (Into the Woods). My other half has, so far, only agreed to help out one other band last weekend, but it was 75 miles away!

We also thought we would have weekends to ourselves but out of the last 6 weekends we have only had 1 without visitors – and they return from uni this weekend.

3 years ago was busy too. After 4 rounds of “FEC” 17 December was my first round of Docetaxel. I had been told this would be easier than the FEC, although to be honest FEC was easier than I had expected. The first treatment went fine and two days later I was playing in our annual Christmas concert. The next day however I started to feel strange. Aches and pains all over. It felt like I had little people inside me running around and hitting me with hammers. One minute the pain was in my feet, the next in my back, etc. Sleeping was impossible.

I was due to play yet another Christmas concert on the Monday but had to cry off. It was the only engagement with the band that I missed during the whole of my treatment. It was also going to be somewhat exciting for me as, unusually, I was  going to get to play the drum kit (normally I play the timps and tuned percussion). The rest of the family went off to a concert some 25 miles away. I was left in bed.

Feeling “off” I took my temperature. It was somewhat higher than I would have liked. I phone the help line who told me to go to hospital if it reached 38 degrees. I kept monitoring my temperature and it kept going up, albeit slowly. So do I leave my bed, drive myself 12 miles to hospital a couple of days before Christmas. I stayed where I was and luckily my temperature peaked at 38 and then began to fall.

I didn’t get the opportunity to play kit with the band for a few years after that but last weekend, due to the unavailability of our kit player, I got to play at the Albert Hall. OK so it wasn’t the Albert Hall in London (one day I will play there).

Boobs & Brass

What is the connection with brass bands and breast cancer?

The answer is Boobs and Brass an all-girl brass band who came together in May 2006 for a one-off fund raising concert.

B-B-2160x1080-980x245[1]Well the one-off concert turned into 12 years of music making and fund raising and to date some £241,892 has been raised for charity – of which £206,900 has been donated to Breast Cancer Now.

My first encounter with the pink ladies was at Butlins in January 2010. Every January Skegness Butlins is “invaded” by brass bands. This time Boobs and Brass had a mass “Boob Blow” and some 370 players played together to raise money for Breast Cancer Now. My daughter, then 9, was I think one of the youngest playing that day and I also played cornet that day. I started playing with them on percussion in 2016 whilst I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

The band’s fabulous organisers Jane and Maggie have accepted numerous awards over the years for their fundraising including in 2009 an “Outstanding Achievement” award by Breast Cancer Campaign (now Breast Cancer Now), in 2017 the BBC Music Day Brass Band Award   and this year the Northamptonshire Community Award Charity Champion Award.

Unfortunately the band may cease after a couple of final concerts – as you can imagine organising something like this takes over your life. So on Saturday 13 October some 70+ of us ladies will be performing at Lincoln Cathedral and trying to get to that £250,000 donation target.  We will also be honouring the NHS in their 70th anniversary year and joining us will be the Lincolnshire Hospitals Band.

Before anyone asks, yes we know that men get breast cancer too and for this concert we have a male conductor. We have also had male guest players in the past.