Living on a Building Site

one lintel cut in half

You will be aware of the building work going on at the moment – well the bit I’ve been dreading happened on Friday. The three huge lintels above the kitchen windows and door came out and the three steel girders went in. One of the builders didn’t pitch up so there were just two of them. Literally a monumental job!

The builders tried to leave the lintels in one piece, trying to preserve them, as there must be quite a bit of history attached – the cottage pre-dating the battle of Waterloo. However, it was just too dangerous, so they cut the biggest two in half.

I have been living on a building site for a few months, but now my kitchen is no longer habitable. I go into it to get water and do the dishes, but otherwise mum and I are camped out in the sitting room. Not easy!

The lintels


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Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

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