Smear Campaign…

One of the to-dos on my early morning, bleary-eyed bus trips is checking out some of my favourite bloggers. It’s an efficient and effective use of the 15 minute trip. I am not ‘at my best’ first thing and habitual early rising for work ‘starts’ over the years means I rarely sleep past 6am – so rigid routine is the only way to get me out of the house and engaging with the world at large at the hour of the sparrow’s fart.

On Friday morning, I popped over to check out the goings on of fellow Aussie, The Vegemite Wife. Her caustic wit and antipodean observations of life here in the UK often have me nodding in agreement or chortling quietly  on the bus like a mad woman and even though we’ve never met (she lives somewhere ‘up north’), I feel a certain kinship.

Her post last Friday gave a nod to an important anniversary: one year since she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. It’s not for me to share the details of this with you and I would suggest you read her update one year on to understand the context of her story. Needless to say, she’s not one for wallowing in the ‘tragedy’ of it all and like any self-respecting Aussie, simply gets on with it. But her main point is this – she went without a Pap Smear for 15 years and when she finally ‘got around to it’, things were far more advanced than they would have otherwise been.

I have a wonderful friend that I have known my whole life. Literally. We are the same age – actually she’s a day older – and from the neighbouring bed in the maternity ward, her Mum (of 3 children) was responsible for keeping my ‘first-time’ Mum just a little bit sane. Both the Mums and daughters share a special bond that defies our lack of proximity. And a few years back, this life-long friend of mine learned that she had cervical cancer.

I don’t know what shocked me more – her diagnosis or the fact that this was a woman my age, an aware and pragmatic person who never seemed (to me anyway) to shirk life’s personal responsibilities. The treatment she underwent was incredibly aggressive and while successful, gave her a new perspective on what she wanted and she chose to move to India as a more conducive environment for both her physical and spiritual recovery. (She has blogged about her experience and recovery here.)

It had been just 4 years between Pap Smears for Nathalie.

I have no doubt there are many other stories like this – it seems that cancer touches us all in some way, whether directly or by association. My purpose in writing about this today is in the hope that these two women – who face(d) this and have the courage to share their stories – will encourage some heads out of the sand and a flurry of female footsteps treading paths to local clinics for regular Smear tests.

It’s summed up perfectly by my fellow Aussie up north…

Don’t be a twat like me and leave it .. to have a Pap smear. Do it now.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Under The Bonnet…

I’ve noticed a bit of a boost in the number of you popping in to Gidday From The UK recently. January’s witterings prompted an all time high of 6,241 page views and some time over the last couple of months I passed the 50,000 views milestone. 

So I’ve taken it upon myself to have a little rummage around under the bonnet here at Gidday to see what the deal is. Here’s what I found.

For a long time, coffee held a seemingly unassailable lead at Gidday with my post on the art of latte in July 2010 in first place. But it would appear that while I wasn’t looking, a fair few of you became enamoured of my first time as a guest blogger in February 2011 (yes, two years ago – I can still remember the excitement) and it now holds the top spot. My observations on mid-life, duly recorded in September last year, have also shimmied up the ranks to a respectable third, pushing both Christmas and Australian fashion down the ladder.

Indications from views of the Gidday! (512) and Book Nook (490) tabs also suggest that there are many new visitors to Gidday curious to meet the (t)wit behind the (t)wittering and a multitude of bookish types who like to keep abreast of Audrey’s latest Commuting Gems.

Unsurprisingly the most frequent searches leading to visits are latte/latte art (over 1200!) but strangely enough the number 42 ranks next, leading neophyte Giddayers to a little birthday poetry. (If you like a rhyme or two you might like to catch my crime series in two parts – yes that’s one, two.)

Gidday would not be where it is today without my lovely fellow bloggers who are generous in both visiting and featuring Gidday From The UK on their blogrolls. Many thanks to those of you who do this – a special nod goes to fellow Aussie The Vegemite Wife who, in the face of many advertised and agreggated expat blogs, is the the number 5 provider of visits to Gidday. Thanks mate!

And finally I had a squiz at where my ‘readership’ has hailed from. Sites like Seen The Elephant and The Displaced Nation have lifted Gidday’s profile in the USA (and since Seattle-A moved stateside, she maybe doing her bit as well). And being a blog about an Australian living in the UK, you’d expect the 2nd and 3rd places to be held by the UK and Australia (respectively). But who do you think has crept into 4th place?

Who knew that Ruskies liked a little irreverent Aussie banter in their digital mashup.

Oh those Russians!

A Game Of Tag…You’re It!

I got this game from a fellow blogger Ladaisi, via Seeded Buzz. Seemed like a fun thing to try and she wrote out the rules so beautifully that I couldn’t help but leap in and ‘have a crack’ at it.  So, these are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.  Yep
2. Paste these rules on your blog post.  Yep
3. Respond to the following prompts (in bold).  Yep
4. Add a prompt of your own and answer it.  Yep no. 8
5. Tag a few other bloggers at the bottom of the post. Yep
6. Leave “Tagged You” notices on their blog/Facebook. Soon
7. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve written the post. Before Soon
1) The best investment you ever made:
Travelling and books…both expand minds, possibilities and stomachs.

2) If you could’ve written any book, directed any movie, and composed any song, which three would you pick:
I would have written The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (such a gloriously unexpected surprise), directed The Devil Wears Prada (all those fab clothes…sigh), and written Born To Be Alive by Patrick Hernandez (showing my age a little here!)

3) Weirdest quirk:
My adoration of Alfie Bear…oh and a serious addiction to peanut butter…and cheese (although not together!)

4) One wish immediately granted:

5) Most expensive hobby:
Eating out…I just love great food (and wine) in great company! And it doesn’t always come cheap…

6) An inexhaustible gift-card at which store:
Waitrose…there’s that food thing again!

7) In another lifetime, you’d be:
A writer…although this life’s not over yet…

8) The most famous/interesting member of your family tree:
Famous: Bernadette Devlin
Interesting: Bishop Ferdinand Hamer

So I’m tagging:
Seen the Elephant, Marmite and Fluff, The Vegemite Wife, Clever Girl Goes Blog, Memoirs of a TSUNAMI Girl, Postcards From Across The Pond, Ham Life

So the game is afoot! And you are IT…

ps…If I haven’t tagged you and you’d like to participate, don’t be shy…jump on in! And if you are one of these annoyingly organised, OCD types and have done all your Christmas shopping, I could not think of a better way to while away the 43 days until the fat man in the red suit pops in…