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Saturday, 21 September 2013

Well, did she? I think she did...

Did Jackie have her hair shaved last night?

Well?  Did she?
Yes. Indeed she did.  Last night Jackie had her hair shaved off by Paris from Simpy Hair in Bognor Regis, for our awareness and fund raising event Going Bald in Aid of A Graceful Death. I know for a fact that Jackie's hair had been falling out by the handful, and it has been very uncomfortable for her.  We needed to have at least some hair for the event, otherwise we would have to have had Polishing Jackie's Head in Aid of A Graceful Death.  So, Jackie was instructed to sleep sitting upright, with cling film on her head, and not to sneeze or move at all, until Friday at 9pm when Paris was going to shave her head to thunderous applause and cheering.  Well, dear Jackie, ever helpful and ever game for a laugh, ignored the advice and carried on as normal while wearing a hat, and so last night, was put out of her discomfort (no hair washing, was one of the things that Jackie did for AGD before the run up to Going Bald for AGD, God bless her) and the last of her hairs were removed.  And blow me down, didn't we all think she looks fab like this?

We were entertained by Quiz Master Extraordinaire, Alan, who prepared some excellent questions and organised four teams who actually answered the questions.  Very early on, I realised that I was not going to be much help to my team, so smiled and looked pretty instead.  I didn't know anything. "I live," I told them, "in a bubble of my own, the outside world does not enter."  They seemed to accept this, and I thought it let me off the hook, so all was fine and we all relaxed.

Alan asking some very hard questions.  As I was in my self imposed bubble, where the rest of the world does not enter, I was free to take the photos.
A real stroke of luck yesterday saw us receiving a £50 Amazon Voucher for our raffle, donated by Nigel Neville of the Rotary Club of Bognor Hotham.  Nigel came along to the event and we were delighted to welcome him.

The following businesses, apart from the Rotary Club for Bognor and Hotham, donated for our raffle.  We are so thankful to all of them.

  • Kirstie, from Kirstie's Kitchen in Bognor.  Excellent hand made and decorated cakes, all made and delivered by Kirstie herself
  • Grande Wines in Bognor, donated a bottle of wine, thank you
  • Theme Party Fancy Dress in Bognor donated two displays of helium balloons, and a child's elephant costume which went very fast in the raffle
  • Runcton Farm Shop donated a lovely basket of veg and fruit, made up freshly just before our event
  • Paris from Simply Hair donated not only her time to come and shave Jackie's hair, but a voucher for a cut and blow dry.  
  • Walnut Tree Pub donated a three course meal and we all know, their food is excellent
  • Jackie!  Not only is she undergoing chemo, feeling rough, having to sit still for a week so her friend can organise a fund and awareness raising event round her, but she donates 4 bottles of beer too.  Amazing.
And of course, Dave from the Walnut Tree pub donated the room, and his help, for the evening.  I understand now why everyone says they know Dave and the Walnut Tree, it is rightly a wonderful place to eat, drink and be merry.

And so.

What is next?  I shall answer that in two sections.  Section A is "What is next in your life, Antonia" and section B is "What is next for AGD"

Section A  "What is next in your life, Antonia?"  

I am utterly pooped.  Thank you for asking.  My house needs cleaning, and I want to eat brown bread and butter and jam a lot.  But, onwards and upwards.  Today, my ex sister in law remarries, and I am going to the party with my daughter.  She and I are going to dress up to the nines, because my ex sister in law would love that.  But what to wear!  A big white dress would not do.  My pyjamas?  No, even if I am this tired, my ex sister in law would see through however much I jazzed them up.  I have a very high pair of cream shoes, and I am building my outfit around these.  So far, I have decided on my tights, soon I will decide on a dress to go with them.  I have a few hours before I have to go and collect poor Daughter from her nursing shift in Brighton and make her dress up and come with me for a night out in Eastbourne.  I shall arrive as if I knew all along what I was going to wear, and no one will know it was nearly jazzed up pyjamas. Daughter may well put some lippy on and go in her nurses outfit after a cup of tea and a brief nap.  She too is pooped big time.  Actually, those that know her, know that daughter would rather shave off her eyebrows than go out into the public looking less than perfect.  She will transform into Dolly Parton and we shall have a wonderful time and she can sleep in the car.  I can't.  I shall drive slowly and listen to Radio 4 with my windows down.  

Section B  "What is next for AGD?"

AGD goes to Brighton University Medical School on the 3 October.  I was hoping to have Mike with MND join me for the evening and be interviewed as part of the presentation.  (See the painting of Mike behind Jackie with her shaven head above).  Mike is not too well at the moment, and is not going to be able to cope with the long journey there and back, and the time in front of the audience, and so I have hastily reverted to plan B.  Plan B is to find someone with a camera to come and film an interview, the interview Mike and I had agreed upon, and spend the whole day with me doing things for AGD.  Who to ask!  Eileen is overwhelmed with work, and in London, Jackie was not up yet due to just having had more chemo, Alan may not have a camera that can take film - and so I asked my new lodger, as he arrived into the kitchen at that moment.  I know that he has a camera, and he has been in my house for nearly a week, plenty of time to have settled in.  I now have a startled and well behaved Hungarian martial arts expert coming all the way to Dorset with me to film me and Mike and Mike's wife Michelle, talking about having Motor Neurone Disease.  On the one hand this seems most unorthodox, on the other, what the hell.  If a Hungarian martial arts expert has no objection to an adventure of sorts with his landlady, then I have no objection to making a Hungarian film for my A Graceful Death exhibition and project.  

Save the Dates

3 October, the exhibition goes to the Brighton Uni Med School, and I will give a presentation for the Performance in Ethics series.  I will be talking about the work I do, with the dying, and the art.  I will spend some time on the sitters with MND, Julia and Mike, and will show the film (Hungarian subtitles) of Mike's interview.  The exhibition will be on show in the foyer for that night.  For more information go to


1, 2, 3 November  "A Graceful Death and Soul Midwife Event" in Bridport.  A celebration of end of life awareness, and thinking.  We are delighted to have author and founder of the Soul Midwife movement Felicity Warner to give a talk, and healer, Soul Midwife and second in command to Felicity, Mandy Preece to give a workshop.  We have a concert by musician and composer Lizzie Hornby, who has composed music for AGD, and we have Soul Midwife and sound therapist Sarah Weller of Sounding for the Soul giving a sound bath and talk on her work with the end of life.  More on this very soon.  

Some time in December an evening of fun, awareness and luxury with my lovely friend Bette Ward. Bette will be offering pampering therapies for the evening in my home here in Bognor, and while not having a small session of reflexology, Indian head massage, or Swedish massage with Bette, we will eat mince pies and Christmassy fare, and drink fruit punch and tea.  More on this soon too.

Before I go (probably to sleep) I want to thank Jackie Keogh.  Jackie does not complain, she does not give in, she keeps laughing and helping others, and is having some fairly tough chemo.  Because of Jackie, I had the most wonderful event last night, and met and talked to more people about the work that I do, and how I do it.  We raised money to help us put on our next event, and none of this could happen without Jackie.  And, incidentally, it was Jackie who contacted Nigel Neville who then donated the £50 Amazon Voucher for the raffle last night.  See?  Jackie is a bit of a star.  Thank you Jackie.