I’m proud to be a Social Media Ambassador this summer for my local cancer charity, the Big C. I’m supporting their new campaign #CancerConversations by blogging for charity . Here’s my post themed around well, erm, conversations of course.
A Conversation with Roots and Toots
Q: What’s the funniest conversation you’ve had to have with a stranger?
During a stay in a 1-star hotel in India. Something along the lines of:
Me: There is a rat in my air conditioning unit
Hotel manager: Oh but that’s a pigeon
Me: Um, I think it’s a rat. I saw his tail poke out
Hotel Manager: Pigeons have tails too, Mamn
Q: Have you ever had a conversation with someone famous – what was said?
Me: What’s this you’re working on?
Heston Blumenthal: Leather chocolate
Heston Blumenthal: What to try one?
As you’ll see from the above exchange, I once met Heston Blumental. It was literally days before he became very famous after winning the Best Restaurant of the Year, circa 2004. We were in his test kitchen or should I say science lab in Bray and he offered me one of his leather-flavoured chocolates. The dark chocolate he used worked really well with the earthy, rich and almost smoky flavour of the leather – I have no idea how he developed the flavour but if leather had a taste, then I’d say he was pretty spot on and was actually pretty delicious!
Q: What’s your favourite coffee shop or pub in Norfolk to have a heart-to-heart with a friend?
I have too many to list here really. All my favourite spots are in Norwich currently.
But I LOVE Kofra for a chin wag with my brother who lives nearby.
Little Red Roaster for a pre-work coffee.
Figbar for a special catch-up with a good friend.
I don’t know why but when it’s just me and my other half, we always end up in Franks Bar for coffee and cake.
On my bucket list to try is a new joint venture of Kofra’s, Gosling and Guzman in Charing Cross, Norwich. I’m still yet to visit but I know I’ll fall in love.
Q: What’s the hardest conversation you’ve had to have?
I’ve had to deliver news to friends after a mutual friend passed away. My heart was racing. I talked a too much. I can remember it now. All the best hard conversations start in my head and end up in my notebook. When I’m nervous I talk too much. So I tend to write down my thoughts in a letter if I’m about to have a hard conversation. It’s the only way I can collect myself, formulate what I have to say.
Q: If you could have a conversation with your 18-year old self, what would you say?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Be friends with kind people. Don’t work too hard and lose sight of the important stuff, life is too short. Always take the middle road. And trust your own instincts, listen to yourself more than anyone else in the world, if something doesn’t chime with your soul then it’s probably not for you. Find out what YOU really want and do what makes you happy. Don’t compromise too much. Be free.
From frank conversations to frivolous chats, we’ve had to have different kind of conversations with family, friends and colleagues through various stages of our life. One conversation, which is challenging for many is anything that mentions the C-word. That’s why my local cancer charity in Norfolk – the Big C – has launched a campaign this summer across Adnams pubs and social media, to encourage younger people and blokes specifically to engage in this subject.
I think guys find it harder to open up about health issues so it’s essential for campaigns such as #CancerConversations to help others discover the support that’s available to them.
Both of my parents have had cancer scares in the past and there’s no doubt about it, it’s a very worrying time. Especially if you’ve never encountered anything like this before. If you or a loved one is diagnosed, where on earth do you start? Where do you go for advice? Does the NHS provide all of the support you could possibly need? Do you speak to a special cancer advisor? How do you know what support is available through local charities? I’ll admit I’m clueless on the subject.
Reiki and Cancer
But not so much as I was. Below I’ve listed just a few of the services available to men (and women) in Norfolk & Waveney. I was really pleasantly surprised at the sheer amount of brilliant support available not just to those diagnosed with cancer but to their families as well. One of the free services, which is available at two of the Big C Centres, caught my eye.
From a personal point of view, I’ve always found reiki to be an extremely beneficial alternative therapy. It’s helped me through various health issues and times of stress in the past. I actually took my reiki first and second degree during my pregnancy and was able to self-treat myself and give my baby reiki during this time. It was life-changing for me. From studying the subject I’ve heard how helpful it can be for those with cancer, it brings an enormous sense of peace and relaxation. If our bodies are as relaxed as they can be, then it makes sense that any medical treatment you receive during this time is more likely to be of benefit, if you’re in a more relaxed state. It gives you a really good sense of emotional wellbeing too – a positive outlook can only do good things. You can read more about my experiences with reiki here.
Free Cancer Services in Norfolk
Chaps – don’t bottle up your cancer health issues. Big C can help support you through your treatment. You can access a wide range of free services at one of our local support centres in Norwich, Gt Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Gorleston including:
Men’s Cancer Support Groups
Join one of the Big C’s cancer support groups to share experiences at the Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn Centres for men who are living with and beyond cancer. An informal, non-judgemental, open environment where men can share their experiences of cancer and support each other.
Financial and Welfare Advice
A range of welfare advice is available with a specialist adviser, helping you sort the practicalities so you can concentrate on getting better. The Big C offer practical advice and information on benefits, loans, housing, employment issues, travel expenses, childcare, blue badge applications, help with form filling and much more.
The Big C provide a range of complementary therapies in their Big C Centres. If you are a cancer patient, you and one carer can have up to six sessions each of:
They also offer relaxation classes as well as nutritional workshops.
Please contact your nearest Big C Centre to for availability and to book an appointment.
*Reiki is a relaxation technique that was developed in Japan in the early 20th Century that looks to relieve stress and tension, helping with a person’s overall physical and emotional wellbeing.
Complementary therapies are provided as part of Big C support services, not as an alternative to conventional treatment.
Available for both you and your family. Counselling is a more structured form of support than that offered by regular staff and volunteers at the Big C Centres and Support Hubs. It may be appropriate when things seem so overwhelming that your usual ways of coping don’t appear to help.
We can offer up to six sessions each for a patient and one significant carer. The time and day can be arranged individually.
Contact your local centre today:
Norwich – 01603 286112 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Yarmouth – 01493 855297 or email@example.com
King’s Lynn – 01553 818737 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Louise Hamilton Centre, Gorleston – 01493 453100
All services are free of charge thanks to Big C supporters. To find out how to support Big C click here.
This blog post supports a new local awareness campaign created to help signpost men diagnosed with cancer to the different services and support available to them in Norfolk. Men – don’t bottle it up, join the conversation and if you have any questions or want to share your experiences go to @BigCTweets #CancerConversations. For more information go to www.big-c.co.uk/conversations