Warming His Coals

My entry to the Stanley Spencer Poetry Competition run by the Cookham Festival, celebrating its 50th anniversary and Spencer's 125th. It is about Spencer's 'Shipbuilding' paintings.

 

Frank was the Furnace Man, earnest and warm
The firebox of Shipbuilding, heat where there’s cold
He’s Chalmers by name and embraced for his charm
Stoking the fire made him strong in the arm
His gift to his workmates whatever their roles
Was letting them dry with a seat on his coals

Radiotherapy Day One

Day 1 radiotherapy. Pleasant bus ride. Arrive early. Brought good book, as suggested by several people. The book is actually a course of writing exercises, so it will be accompanying me every day.

See radiotherapist. She's cool. Turns out she's the union rep (unions and lefty politics usually come up in conversation pretty quickly when I am the patient). 

Run through the forms and questions again. If I had a pound for every time I have told a member of medical staff my date of birth, I could probably buy a small pharmaceutical firm by now.

ETF Women's Conference

23/05/2017 - 09:00

The culmination of four years' work on the ETF Women's Committee, and the launch of the next four years.

An assembly of women transport trade unionists from across Europe, meeting in Barcelona.

What We Want

I thought the pay
Was quite OK
When I first came through the door
Then I paid my rent
And it was spent
And now I want some more

The company's board
Say they can't afford
They've got no more to give
But like Olly Twist
More than subsist
I want enough to live

Women's Cancers and Work: what trade unions can do

Each year, there are over 55,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer in the UK, 3,000 new diagnoses of cervical cancer, over 7,000 of ovarian cancer, over 9,000 of uterine cancer, and over 1,000 of vulval cancer. Nearly 12,000 UK women die each year from breast cancer, over 4,000 from ovarian cancer, over 2,000 from uterine cancer, nearly 500 from vulval cancer, and nearly 900 from cervical cancer. 

1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Think of all the women you know: one in eight of them. Think of all the women in your workplace and in your trade union: one in eight of them.

Research has linked 4-5% of breast cancer cases to shift work, due to circadian (body clock) disruption and exposure to artificial light at night. Studies have shown that breast cancer risk is 21% higher in women who have ever experienced circadian disruption, mainly through night work, compared with those who have not. Exposure to certain substances at work also increases the risk of breast and other women's cancers.

Guest post: Veronica writes from her bed ...

The first of what I hope will be a regular feature, this guest post is from Veronica.

I just wanted to say how very much I am enjoying your blog.

I was diagnosed with grade 3 invasive ductal cancer in my left breast on 13 October so your story and experience are similar to mine - although I have just completed four cycles of pre-surgery chemotherapy which has been every bit as vile and debilitating as I feared. I am typing this from bed fully eight days after the last treatment and very annoyed not to be able to muster the energy for a gig tonight for which we bought tickets ages ago.

You don’t notice a lump growing in a big breast, do you, until it’s a real problem? I had the sentinel lymph node biopsy op on 4 November though and fortunately that was clear so I feel I have dodged a very big bullet.

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