Why is your mum so fat? Out of the mouths of babes and all that, but why, in this age of moral responsibility, is Fat Shaming still acceptable?

A Weighty Issue.

‘Why is your mum so fat?’


Out of the mouths of babes… I’d nipped into school to drop off PJ’s forgotten sun hat, and came across him and the rest of his class headed out to PE. Putting it on his head, I leaned down for a quick kiss and was given the cold shoulder. ‘He’s 6 years old,’ I thought, ‘Too big for mummy PDAs.’ It was heading back to the car that I heard those words.


‘Why is your mum so fat?’


Anyone who regularly spends time in the company of 6 year olds will know – they have no filter! Much like Roy Walker, a child of infant school age is hard wired to ‘Say What You See.’ From that perspective, PJ’s little friend was absolutely right, I am ‘so fat.’ It was an observation with no basis in malice, but not one I’ve been able to forget since.


At a time in his life when he is already struggling to cope with all of the things that make him ‘different’ to his peers, is my dress size yet another issue for PJ to fret about? It breaks my heart to think about it.


Why Is Your Mum So Fat? A weighty issue by Lady Sketch - Life After Lymphoma.


At this point in time, I am the biggest I’ve ever been. I know these posts of mine are pretty frank, but even I am not prepared to tell you how much I weigh at present. I’ll leave it to your imaginations to quantify exactly what ‘so fat’ is.


Fat Shaming


Having hovered around the size 16/18 mark the majority of my life, I’m no stranger to society’s attitude to the overweight. But we are now living in an age where people are being held to account for their prejudices. The gender pay gap will soon be a thing of the past, it’s an empowering time for the LGBT community, addiction is recognised as a disease, and I for one am delighted that my niece will grow up in a world where it is not ok for women to be groped. So what about Fat Shaming? When does that become unacceptable?


Looking for something a little more light hearted? Have a read of my 32 cheeky cornish patron saints you never knew existed… 😉


One look at the role models our children are presented with on a daily basis and it’s not so hard to see this is deeply ingrained. Sophie Dahl, a plus sized model from my youth has long since shrunk to miniscule proportions. Dawn French, Adele, Sam Smith, Jennifer Hudson… they all come from a long line of celebrities who’ve slimmed down since taking the spotlight. Whilst I applaud them for taking steps towards a healthier life, each time I see another ‘new and improved’ skinny celeb, I die a little bit inside. Apart from the lovely Tess Munster, where are all of the curvaceous body ambassadors? Where are the people we look to, who can demonstrate that there are far worse things to be in life than ‘so fat?’


Yes, we want to teach our kids how to eat sensibly and make healthy choices. We want them to grow up with un-furred arteries and internal organs devoid of visceral fat. But also, don’t we want them to grow up understanding that people (including mums) come in all shapes and sizes? That although desireable, a thigh gap really isn’t the be all and end all of life?


Is ‘So Fat’ The Worst Thing To Be?


I’m acutely aware that weight is an emotive subject to be blogging about. Defending the overweight is practically unthinkable, what with the exorbitant cost to the NHS each year of obesity related illness, and the government’s tireless campaign to get kids more active. I get it, being fat is far from ideal, but, to quote JK Rowling: ‘Is being fat the worst thing a person can be?’


Why Is Your Mum So Fat? A Weighty Issue... Lady Sketch: Life After Lymphoma


I’ve given this a lot of thought lately, and always come up with a resounding ‘no,’ but I find myself in the minority with this opinion. So what is it that makes society hate fat people so much?


I believe it is because we have our weakness out there on display. An alcoholic can recycle their empties with the world at large being none the wiser –  us fatties however, are doomed to display our transgressions on our bodies. Like a coat of shame, we wear each late night snack and every extra piece of cake. We are easy to judge and feel superior to, because there’s no hiding our lack of self control.


Why is your mum so fat?


I had an answer. I wanted to say:


‘PJ’s mum is so fat because she had cancer twice and came within a whisker of dying, was left with a body that doesn’t work too well and complex PTSD. She’s so fat because they medicated her for her crippling anxiety, with something hideous that ballooned her up 4 bastard stone.

She’s so fat because the cancer knackered her balance and her mobility, and plunged her into the menopause a decade early, meaning she’s finding it nearly impossible to shift the excess weight. She’s so fat because she was just getting back on her feet when some twat smashed into her car and crushed her knee against the dashboard.

PJ’s mum is a f*cking survivor, a tigress who never gave up fighting, and earned each and every one of her stripes. PJ’s mum is much more than just ‘so fat.’


Click HERE to read about Lymphoma and thE one where they told me I was going to die.


Of course I didn’t say it. I kept on walking, feeling that little bit worse about myself – not because of the innocent words of a 6 year old boy, but because of the society he lives in, whose values are reflected in what he says.


Don’t Be Too Quick To Judge


And life goes on.


As I decline invitations because I’m terrified people will think me greedy if they see me eat; or because I’ve read the latest tweet doing the rounds where disgruntled of Derby had her night at the cinema ruined by overspill from the fatso in the neighbouring chair. As I refuse to renew my passport, worrying I’d be castigated for needing an extender for the aeroplane seat belt, or, horror of horrors, required to buy an extra seat. As I contemplate having to start walking with a stick (the falling over shows no sign of improvement!) I know there will be many who judge me, who decide it is my weight that disables me and that I’ve brought it all on myself.


I would say to them, as I say to you. Don’t be too quick to judge. Everyone comes with a history. And for each person like me, who manages to shoehorn into every conversation the fact that medication has caused my recent weight gain, as if by absolving myself of responsibility I am somehow more validated, that my fatness is more acceptable; there are a million others who say nothing, and keep walking, feeling that little bit worse about themselves.


This post is dedicated to all of the luscious and liberated lard arses out there. Long may we be the ones people seek out for the best cuddles!


Why Is Your Mum So Fat - A Weighty Issue by Lady Sketch


Life's Too Short...Or So They Tell Me,' by Lady Sketch

Life’s Too Short… Or So They Tell Me!

As I write, the sun will shortly be setting on the last day of 2017. Like most people, I’ve been evaluating the past 12 months and making plans for the next.

It’s been a funny old year, particularly for the Sketches. We began the year in high spirits, with exciting plans, and so many family & friends around us, that organising a wedding guest list became a major operation. Work was looking up, health was on an upwards trajectory and we were riding a long awaited wave of success…

I’d love to tell you that we surfed that bad boy right throughout the year, but as with the good and the bad in life, nothing ever lasts forever. March onwards saw some of the darkest hours of my life, and coming from somebody who has previously planned her own funeral, this is a strong statement. To put it succinctly, life kicked my arse  pretty hard this year!! Anyone who reads my posts regularly will be expecting me to start flipping the negatives at this point, but this post is going to be a slight departure from the norm. This post will not be overly positive, but neither will it be completely depressing. This post is going to be realistic.

So, about that wedding list… well firstly, I remain (happily) unmarried to Mr Sketch, and will be staying that way. Secondly, if I were re-writing the guest list, there would be less of a numbers issue at this end of the year. More than a handful of people we couldn’t even contemplate not having with us on the big day are now noticeably absent from the life and times of the family Sketch.

But hang on a minute, aren’t we all a bit, well, old to be ditching our friends? Well if I’ve learned one thing this year, it’s that a lot of adults never really leave the playground. And so deciphering some of their behaviours necessitates a trip back to the playground ourselves, and before you know it, you’ve regressed 30 years and find yourself gazing wistfully from the sidelines without fully understanding why you weren’t asked to play.

To quote myself, via today’s facebook update, ‘2017 has been waaaay too complicated for me. Life currently feels like a game that I don’t quite understand the rules to. I’ve had so many fundamental core beliefs shaken in the last 12 months that I’m still following the bubbles to find out which way is up.’

Quite simply, I didn’t fight my way through two lots of cancer and a stem cell transplant for this.

‘Life’s too short,’ they tell me. ‘Life’s too short to bear grudges.’ And I must agree, life IS too short to sweat the small stuff. But what about those grudges that serve a purpose? The ones that remind you of why you were so badly hurt, and encourage you not to go there again. Surely they serve a useful purpose?

If life is too short to waste on being negative, then it’s definitely too bloody short to spend on receiving and accepting negativity. And for us, 2017 has been awash with that. From a war which was nothing to do with us, which has slowly but surely dripped its toxicity through the generations, through former friends reverting to out & out bully tactics to have us run out of our home, to other friends excluding us from the circle we so valued with no explanation… we’ve run pretty much the entire gamut of playground politics this year. And so, this year is where all of that will be staying.

We’re striding into 2018 with less baggage and a new outlook. The circle may well be smaller, but the hopes are higher than ever before and the eyes are set determinedly at the horizon. Because life really IS too bloody short. So I’m getting the hell out of this nest of vipers, and you’re all welcome to join me, on the other side of the playground fence, where real life is happening.

Happy New Year x

Hope: A Field Practitioner's Guide by Lady Sketch

Hope Springs A Turtle.

Hope: A Field Practitioner's Guide by Lady Sketch

Hope Rainbows We Created During Our Time Of Who Gives A Rock.

So I haven’t written in a while. Those who know me personally will understand why.  If I’m lucky enough yet to have accrued any non family readers (I can but hope), the many complicated occurences in my life recently have diverted my eye from the ball, work-wise.

Putting that into context, in the last 6 months Sketch and I have experienced the following:

  • Al and little PJ beaten up by local thug-life
  • Sketch and I violently assaulted by parents of thug-life
  • Our brand new car tyres slashed
  • An attempt to set said car on fire
  • Threats of violence whilst holding a sobbing PJ in my arms
  • Intimidation tactics designed to scare us out of our home
  • A breeze block through our window
  • A notable absence of Police protection/justice
  • A midnight flit to a place of refuge
  • A new school for PJ
  • Al living in a different place to the rest us for 5 nights a week
  • Attempting to handle some complex behaviours from my traumatised little boy
  • Descent into the deepest depression of my life
  • Lady Sketch hitting the bottle pretty hard
  • And finally, a nasty car accident (not our fault) that I have no idea how we all managed to walk away from.

But before you hit the back button, this post will not be depressing, despite  the catalogue of catastrophe listed above.

Yet another year has nearly passed, and people sympathetically intone that it wasn’t ‘my year,’ (including me, to myself on more than one occasion). But there came a point last week when I had a re-think. Because if I’ve just experienced another 351 days that nobody expected me to have, then exactly whose year was it if not mine?

When we were pebbles deep in our community project Who Gives A Rock (if you haven’t seen it yet, do check it out as it’s guaranteed to raise a smile, especially at Christmas), I had a particular fondness for painting rainbows. These remain the most popular of all our designs and were accompanied by a positive message, which involved us thinking up many different phrases to express the concept of hope. And I feel that now is an especially good time to revisit that strategy.

So I present to you, (friends, family and the people my Dad has persuaded to read my ramblings), Hope: A Field Practitioner’s Guide.

Let Your Hopes Not Your Hurts Shape Your Future

I’m fairly sure that ‘The Sketches’ are not alone in experiencing those runs of bad luck where you are left wondering what the f*ck is headed your way next. I had an interesting discussion with The Mister about luck the other day, which is actually what inspired me to write this post.

Wenna – 12 Dec 2017 at 10:24 – Via Facebook

Sketch and I discussing the concept of luck this morn. I say how lucky we were the crash wasn’t fatal (as reinforced by docs & solicitor) and he says if we were that lucky it wouldn’t have happened in the first place. Neither would the cancer etc…

The uncharacteristically grumpy bugger then goes on to say he thinks some ppl are born unlucky. I dispute this wholeheartedly: ‘I won a brand new Sony Discman in a competition back in 1992, what you chatting about?!’ ‘Hmph’, he says, ‘That’s your good luck quotient used up right there. And I bet you didn’t have any CDs to play on it!!’

Au contraire… how else does he think I know the cheesy old tunes on SingStar so well? I played my Precious Moments CD (free with Dad’s Sunday paper) back to back on that bad boy for a year!! #OurTimeWillCome #MakeYourOwnLuck

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Hope: A Field Practitioner's Guide by Lady Sketch

The Accident Scene

See, that’s the thing about luck – it is so very subjective. Most people would consider luck to have left the building right about the time that a rock comes flying through the window (thug-life could even be arsed to paint it first!!) but the ensuing chain of events has left one little boy feeling incredibly lucky to have been relocated to somewhere pretty fricking special (no location spoilers please, just in case said thug-life can read and has found its way to my blog).

Feeling unlucky to have your entire family crammed into a 2 bedroom house with scant possessions, few work prospects and no idea what the future holds? Speak to the refugees who’ve been relocated from a camp in Lebanon and cannot believe their luck at having a safe place to sleep and fresh running water.

Obviously there are a shit ton of examples I could spout about, but the point is, you really do make your own luck in life, and hope is an essential ingredient in this elusive recipe.

Keep Hope In Your Heart (And Your Toolkit)

Rock Bottom. There’s not much to recommend it really is there?

You wouldn’t give Rock Bottom the full 5 stars on TripAdvisor, yet so many of us find ourselves checking in there on more than one occasion throughout our lifetimes. It’s a dark and lonely place, despite the constant stream of new arrivals, mainly because dwelling on our own misfortune to the exclusion of all others seems to be the order of the day.

But this is exactly when it really does pay to look around and assess the lay of the land, because it is hope that will be your SatNav out of there.

Back in January 2013 I fell rather spectacularly out of remission and was given a 10% chance of survival (you can read about it here) which is pretty sobering news by anyone’s standards. I then spent a truly depressing weekend contemplating the end of days and trying in vain to square it with myself. It was my wonderful Mum who changed my state of mind with one simple sentence.

‘If there’s a 10% chance you will survive, then why shouldn’t you be in that 10%?’

It was like being given permission to hope again. Why the f*ck shouldn’t I? The hope brought with it a swift change in attitude and a happy return to my usual M.O. with the glass in my hand remaining firmly half full. It was hope that fuelled the beacon when I needed it the most, and suffice to say,  I’ve remained in that 10% for the last 4 years and counting…

Without Hope

John Lennon implored us to imagine a world without possessions, but not once did he speak of a world without hope.  And it is a hard concept to grasp, especially when you consider that the fundamental, beating heart of our existence is firmly rooted in just that. Hope.

Hopeless is a word that gets bandied about with little thought for the deeper meaning contained within it, and has therefore developed a flippant context to it. My eldest is always losing things and will forget instructions within 3 seconds flat – ‘You are hopeless,’ we say, ruffling his hair affectionately. I’ve spent 38 years on this planet and can still barely add up. ‘God, I’m hopeless at maths,’ I grin, as I’m counting on my fingers in the supermarket aisle.

But the true meaning of hopeless? Being utterly without hope in any shape or form? Now we’re talking the end of days.

Absent hope, would babies be made? Would boundaries be pushed? Would limits be exceeded? Remove hope from the equation and would any of us really feel inclined to leave our own little patch that we call home?

Hope is a fundamental part of our existence. It drives us to continue, to progress and evolve, even in the face of the greatest adversity, even when others may think all hope has gone.  Hope is the fixed point on the horizon, it fuels our aspirations and enables us to pick ourselves up and carry on. Hope is the air we breathe, the food we eat, the life we live.

Hope Springs A Turtle

Al must have been just 5 years old when he asked to be taken to Hope Springs. I was confused as to where this might be, but loved the idea of an undiscovered part of Cornwall, and was well up for making the trip, if only my little fella could communicate its whereabouts to me.

Al didn’t know how to get there. It was a place he’d heard talked about at nursery and all he really knew was that he wanted to go there and visit the turtle. He looked at me full of excitement as he described this place, and begged me to take him to Hope Springs. Hope Springs A Turtle.

And I’m not sure I can put it any more beautifully than that. I like to think we’ve established base camp close enough to Hope Springs to feel the benefit. Yes I’ve designed a range of carefully hand lettered products and only sold one tiny card (with a commission of 28p), but it is hope that keeps me putting chalk to board regardless. As told by thug-life, we haven’t got ‘a pot to piss in,’ but it’s hope that prevents us from giving in. It’s hope that drags my aching bones (car crashes HURT!!) from my pit each morning, hope for a better day, a brighter future, a happy life for my little family. And it was hope that pulled me from my darkest hour and kicked me up the arse to fight for what we have.

Hope: A Field Practitioner's Guide by Lady Sketch Oh Holy Nightie Card

One of a Selection of my Cards Available To Buy Via Redbubble.


When all else fails, hope whispers ‘Give it one more try.’ So keep your ears open.


This post is dedicated to the memory of the Penlee Lifeboat in West Cornwall, and the eight-strong crew of volunteers who lost their lives in the ultimate act of selfless heroism.

36 years ago this evening, the Solomon Browne put to sea in horrific gale force conditions, in a determined attempt to rescue 8 people including a pregnant woman and her children, from   stricken vessel The Union Star. Within an hour of the lifeboat launching, she went down with all hands lost, in what has been recorded as the worst maritime tragedy in Cornish history.

The famous christmas lights of Mousehole Harbour will be dimmed for an hour tonight, in remembrance of those brave souls who never came home.







Lady Sketch 32 Cheeky Cornish Patron Saints

32 Cheeky Cornish Patron Saints You Never Knew Existed: Lady Sketch’s Guide To The Lesser Known Martyrs of The Motherland.

Lady Sketch Cornish Patron Saints

Ahhhhh Cornwall.

Birthplace of the steam engine, the telegram, the correctly loaded scone – that is, none of your cream on first rummage – and home to many cheeky Cornish Patron Saints.

Us Cornish have our own identity, our own language and have happily been granted minority status. It might sound daft, but I am one of many who are proud to tick the box that recognises us as ever so slightly separate from the rest of England.

Land Of Pasties, Cream and Stupid People Apparently…

Cornwall is known for so many things, not least our beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets and psychotic sea gulls. Irritatingly, Cornwall’s indigenous people are also known, but not always in such glowing terms. Yes, we find ourselves the butt of many derogatory jokes, the majority of which are aimed at our collective IQ, presumed as it is to be somewhat below par.

There are only so many times you can be labelled a ‘pasty munching inbred’ before the need arises to clarify a few issues.

On the f*cking contrary, Pard!

lady sketch cornish patron saints

Don’t Be Fooled By The Exterior… These Guys Are Pasty Robbing Arseholes.

I was raised by Cornish parents and, as is often the way down here, my friends’ parents too. Old school Cornish matriarchs who took no shit but loved me like their own. Having grown up immersed in the very best of our culture, I can tell you that, contrary to popular opinion, we really are a canny bunch. Yes, we may play dumb when it suits us, but we are quite used to hiding our lights under bushels/down a mine shaft. To quote my Dad, who comes from a long line of proud Cornishmen:

'The wise men may well have come from the east, but 'tis the clever buggers who come from the west!' Lady Sketch's Dad Click To Tweet

Spend any amount of time with us, you’ll soon realise – we have a unique, quick and very sharp sense of humour.

I reckon it’s a Celtic thing. My very dear and very humorous uncle (may he rest in peace) was a Scot in Cornwall who endeared himself to so many of us with his particular brand of wit. I lived here for nigh on 16 years before hearing of the lesser known Cornish Patron Saints. In fact, I may never have come across them, were it not for Uncle A. He had paid particular attention to the plethora of saints names given to many towns and villages around the county. And, true to form, he had put an amusing spin on them.

The Lesser Known Cornish Patron Saints

The idea for this started with the village of St Teath. For anyone not familiar, the Cornish pronunciation for this rhymes with ‘death’ rather than ‘heath’. So phonetically, it’s pronounced St Teth. It was amid much mirth that Uncle A decreed her (and her lisp) ‘St Teath. Patron Thaint of the D’Urberville(s)th … and so the long standing joke was born.

The concept is simple, but oh so clever. You take the saint’s name, you say it out loud, you pay attention to how it sounds, and you find the relevant humour within.

As far as I can remember, the only other he created was St Issey – Patron Saint of Gossips:

‘Ere! You know that gait tuss up the road’s goin bleddy Butlins for ‘is ‘olidays…’ ‘Naw! Is ‘ee?’

The two were enough to amuse our family for years whenever we drove past the signs, and kept the game alive long after Uncle A’s untimely demise.

When Sketch and I were first together and making regular trips between Truro and Bude, he mentioned the high volume of saints names in Cornwall. A memory stirred and with a chuckle, I clued him in on the family joke.

Lady Sketch Cornish Patron Saints

The As Yet Un-Patronised St Germans.

It was at the start of my chemo in 2012 when we were making the journey even more often, that we resurrected the idea. Many a trip to RCH  passed in hysterical laughter as we patronised the Cornish saints along the way, according to the road signs.

(Check out my Chemo Diaries HERE.)

So, people of Cornwall, and readers of my Cornish witterings, below is draft 1 of the official list (always a work in progress).

Lady Sketch Cornish Patron Saints


Lady Sketch’s Guide To The Lesser Known Martyrs of The Motherland.

Some of the following take a bit of thinking about, and I encourage you to say them out loud, in a Cornish accent. (That’s CORNISH by the way, ie not how they speak on Doc Martin!!)

St Breward – Patron Saint of Poor Performance.

Outside Twilight in Redruth:

‘Any good was ee?’ ‘Naw, too much Betty Stoggs gave ‘im that breward’s droop…’

St Ruan – Patron Saint of Early Doors.

When you’ve had too much Rattler and you’re ruan-d for the rest of the night.

St Keverne – Patron Saint of Wheel Spins.

Named for the boy racers ‘Kev-ing’ it round Falmouth of an evening. Quarry Car Park to Pendennis Point so I’m told…

St Columb Major – Patron Saint of Landmarks.

Watches over Carn Brea Monument, Godrevy Lighthouse, Lanyon Quoit, Bude Light, the many mine stacks of Cornwall etc… those places that attract visitors by day and dealers by night.

St Columb Minor – Patron Saint of Spreadsheets.

Pretty much self explanatory.

St Juliot – Patron Saint of Star Crossed Lovers.

Named for that maid on the balcony in ‘Fair Verona.’ Not a patch on Gylly Beach Cafe’s balcony I’m willing to bet.

St Buryan – Patron Saint of Grave Diggers.

When your plot is getting a little crowded… ‘Bury-un ‘ere shall us, boy?’

St Kew – Patron Saint of The A30.

Anyone familiar with the Temple roadworks near Bodmin (are they completed yet?) will know. Also applies to the ‘Great Cormac Roundabout of Stratton,’ and St Ives Harbour in August. Petition St Kew when you’ve queued long enough and are starting to get teasy…

St Erme – Patron Saint of The Undecided.

With a plethora of ansum local beverages on offer, ’tis no wonder really:

‘What you avin’ then my bird? Rattler or Doombar?’ ‘Errrrrm…’

St Minver – Patron Saint of Abridgements.

Min-ver = Mini Version = An Abridgement.

Pray to St Minver when your Nan’s gone off on one about fortnightly bin collections again, and shows no sign of stopping this side of Friday… leads nicely into the next one:

St Mabyn – Patron Saint of Bin Day.

Every wednesday, sure as shit they come flocking. It’s like an all you can eat buffet for the bleddy seagulls. Bird-proof bags and bins are available from Cornwall Council at vast expense, but many favour the pellet gun approach:

‘Come near ma-bin again ya buggers an I’ll avee…’

St Ives – Patron Saint of The Materialisitic.

‘I’ve got this and I’ve got that…’ Also known as the PS of braggers and chuffers.

St Mawes  – Patron Saint of Developers.

‘Build MORE properties the locals haven’t a chance of affording and sell them to MORE second homeowners who visit twice a year at best thus eroding MORE communities and contributing to the biggest housing crisis since Shrek evicted the fairy folk from his swamp you say? Geddon…’

St Stephens – Patron Saint of Getting Your Own Back.

When you lob extra strong fisherman’s friends at the seagull who went for your ice cream… ‘Tis even-stevens now yer bugger!’

St Austell – Patron Saint of Those With No Fixed Abode/Those Awaiting Banding On Cornwall Home Choice.

When Cornwall ‘Ousing move you into an ‘Ostel while you wait for a suitable property… could be there a while ‘Pard…

St Neot – Patron Saint of The Pasty Tax.

ASDA hot food counter down Penryn:

”Enny ‘ot ones in there issa?’ ‘Naw… tis that bleddy pasty tax, see.’

St Blazey – Patron Saint of Arsonists.

Again, pretty self explanatory.

St Endellion – Patron Saint of ‘Ansum Cheese.

Home of the best Brie this side of France.

St Merryn – Patron Saint of Carnivores.

Home of Cornwall’s main abbatoir.

St Winnow – Patron Saint of the Well Informed.

‘Ell up! Some bleddy fool on the news said Bude’s in Devon!’ ‘Winnow already! Seen it on Cornwall Live, diddnus!’

St Levan – Patron Saint of Those Who Cannot Last Til Lunchtime.

When your belly rumbles for a saffron bun and you realise, ’tis time for ‘Levenzees.

St Nectan – Patron Saint of ‘Down In One.’

When you’re playing catch up on a night out. ‘Where’s your Rattler to?’ ‘Nect’un diddun I boy!’

St Piran – Patron Saint of Turning Shit To Your Advantage.

Word is, he got thrown off the coast of Ireland with a millstone around his neck. Not to be beaten, the mighty St Piran used said stone as a board, and surfed his way over to Cornwall. That’s some bleddy boy!

St Michael – Patron Saint of Piss Takers.

For those who like to take the Michael. Case in point, anyone who has directed confused tourists to the fabled Porth Emmet Beach – ‘straight up the A30 and just keep going…’ You know who you are.

St Enodoc – Patron Saint of Falmouth Park & Float.

‘Where’s that bleddy boat got to?’ ‘Er’s still inna dock…’

St Clements – Patron Saint of Designated Drivers.

When you’re bored rigid watching your mates piss it up down Sailors in Newquay and all you’re allowed to drink is OJ and lemonade…

St Erth – Patron Saint of ‘Lectrics.

‘Yer, watch out for that green and yellow wire…’

St Wenn – Patron Saint of Dreckly.

When you’ve recently moved to Cornwall and are still getting to grips with the different pace of life:

‘What time can I expect to receive my post/West Brit/Trago delivery?’ ‘Be there dreckly my ansum!’

St Pinnock – Patron Saint of The Silly Billy.

‘What kinda gait pinnock crimps their pasties up the top fercrissakes?’

St Genny – Patron Saint of ‘Foragers’.

‘Genny lead off that roof did ‘ee?’ ‘Naw… ‘ad some copper wire from sub-station, mind…’

St Mellion – Patron Saint of Gamblers.

‘Ere Met! ‘Erd bout that bloke up Trelander estate avee? ‘Ee only won lottery! My Gar! ‘Twas mellions I ‘eard…’

St Lawrence – Patron Saint of Local Radio.

Last, but by no means least. Named for the incomparable Lawrence Reed – undisputed king of the lunchtime phone in on Radio Cornwall. Cannot think of a better chap to put the world to rights with.

Can you think of any Saints we’ve missed? Comment below For A Chance To Appear on the official list!!



Surviving Lymphoma

Surviving Recurrent Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, A Stem Cell Transplant and A Life Reboot.

Surviving Lymphoma

i’m a mixed media, chalkboard and mural artist, based in north cornwall.

(Portfolio available to view HERE…)

I am also the author of Straight talking blog ‘Life after lymphoma – an irreverent look at remission and commissions.’

For more about Lady Sketch, have a read of my other posts HERE.


How It All Kicked Off…

Christmas 2011, and we were sitting for a family photo, our youngest child a matter of days old in my arms. Within a few days I was crammed into an MRI machine, awaiting staging for Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and facing up to the prospect of a pretty hairy trip down Shit Creek.


Lady Sketch Life After Lymphoma Blog. Hand Painted Shit Creek Survivor Sign #LSKLettering

Personal Disaster Can Give The Best Inspiration…


Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

It was stage 4B Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. Whilst there is no stage 5, we were told it was eminently curable and treatable, but to expect a rough ride. Hmmm. This turned out to be the biggest understatement since Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon described the sinking of the RMS Titanic as ‘rather a serious evening, you know…’ but for now I’m hanging on to my gory stories of chemo horror & unimaginable beastliness for another day 👌

Lady Sketch and Baby, With No Hair, During Chemotherapy.

Halfway through chemo the first time around.

After six months of intensive chemotherapy and in grateful remission, I bounced back quickly and cracked on with life. We consigned the Lymphoma to the shitty annals of history and it didn’t enter my head that it might come back. So when my left arm went numb another six months later I visited my doctor fully expecting it to be a trapped nerve.

Get Your Ducks In A Row

This time the news was fairly horrific with Lymphoma growing and metastasising all over the shop and a twenty percent chance of survival. This swiftly plummeted to ten percent once we knew exactly what we were up against. I was told ‘There is great potential for catastrophe, you need to get your ducks in a row.’

Evidently someone had forgotten to tell 2013 that it was going to be our year… This time it was much worse because Lymphoma were growing inside my spinal column amongst other places and causing havoc within the central nervous system. In short, the walking gear was packing up and I was in shit order.

This time we started with Radiotherapy. It seems like the kinder alternative (much less vomit and you get to sleep in your own bed) – it’s not! Being strapped face down to a table, in a mask moulded to your skull, is not fun for the claustrophobic.

Within forty eight hours my walking gear really did pack up, with bladder reliability shortly behind it. The lowest point of that period was being pushed everywhere in a wheelchair with rustling tenna-lady knickers and steroid moon-face. It would have been around this time that Mister Sketch and I invented a rather non PC game, ‘Who is worse off than you right now,’ which diffused many tense moments and made us laugh in the midst of misery.

It Gets Worse…

Three weeks of radiotherapy was followed by more chemo and the few ups and numerous downs this entails. Chemo-puke-chemo-puke-home-puke-infection-hospital-recover-chemo-puke… and so the cycle continued.

Then came the news that treatment wasn’t working and they believed my Lymphoma to be chemo resistant.

It was a devastating blow to say the least. There had been talk of getting me into remission just for long enough to have a stem cell transplant. My own previously harvested stem cells were ready and waiting to be defrosted, but now I wasn’t a suitable candidate. So I went home  on the Friday and planned my funeral. I wrote letters to my boys for the future, tried to put my affairs in order and cried a lot. I believe there was also swearing.

Come Monday, my consultant had returned from an overseas course, with news of a new, experimental treatment. It involved using conventional oncology within haematology (basically using Cancer drugs to treat Lymphoma, which is actually a blood cancer). Did I want to give it a try?

Obviously I said yes and embarked upon what may well have been the oddest few weeks of my life. The drugs made me feel like the top of my head was melting. Any social activity was abandoned while my brain checked out and I wandered the house dazed and confused…

Lady Sketch With An Anti Cancer Message Writing On Her Bald Head In The Middle of Chemotherapy for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

Bald Bonce

LYmphoma to Stem Cell Transplant

But it did the trick. Come September, Mr Sketch and I were headed over the bridge to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth for my Stem Cell Transplant, with strict instructions to return me to the correct side of the bridge should all go tits up. There was a high chance I wouldn’t survive treatment and I wanted to make bloody sure I was back in Cornwall if the worst happened.

It didn’t however, and within seven days I was transferred back to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske for six weeks in isolation. Again we were warned to expect the worst. It certainly wasn’t pleasant, but I beat another set of odds and was discharged early, home in time for Halloween with my kids ❤


As I write, I am pleased to say that October 2017 marks my fourth year in remission. I’m left with mobility & mental health issues and, not gonna lie, life really is hard. BUT, it’s my life, I fought bloody hard for it and it’s pretty sweet.

I’m still making sense of it all and adjusting my compass so I can navigate this new and unforseen bend in the road. Because that is all it is really.

Life has a habit of flinging us around sharp corners and down steep drops, but like my dad says, once you’ve slipped down as many snakes as I have, sooner or later life will provide you with a ladder.

You can read more about life after Lymphoma HERE.

Why not give me a cheeky follow for an irreverent look at life in remission… there may be swearing…




Lady Sketch Life After Lymphoma

Life After Lymphoma Is My Ultimate Work In Progress.

My life after Lymphoma is a work in progress. Like unfinished projects and half forgotten ideas, waiting for motivation or inspiration and in need of a fresh approach. 

Life after Lymphoma really is bloody hard… but it beats the shit out of the alternative, right?
Yup. And for each of us that survives there are countless others lost along the way. It IS important to remember how f*cking lucky we are ☘☘☘ but it’s also cool to admit that life after Lymphoma is anything but straightforward.

Life After Lymphoma

For me, life after Lymphoma is not the calm after the storm. It isn’t as simple as picking up the threads and cracking on where I left off. Life after Lymphoma may well be exactly as I left it, but I am very much not.
Life after Lymphoma is a complicated old business. It was gathering my component parts, assessing the damage and jamming the pieces together again as quickly, but not necessarily accurately, as possible. It is an acceptance of new limitations and unlearning things previously taken for granted.

Life after Lymphoma has been perceiving every ache, pain, lump and bump with the utmost trepidation. It is an emotional circus, balancing euphoric excitement at planning for an unexpected future, with the relentless, damaging whispers of survivor guilt.

Life after Lymphoma is a trip. It’s sweet and hard-won and unpredictable and exciting and terrifying. It is unknowable.

Lady Sketch and Baby, Life After Lymphoma Is My Ultimate Work In Progress Cancer Blog

In hospital awaiting treatment.



I went into my first remission in June 2012, six months after a diagnosis of stage 4B Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was one of the lucky few who manage to bounce back relatively easily after treatment. Sure, I had the energy of a supercentenarian and an immune system barely in the black, but the transition could have been much worse. Maybe I was too complacent, but in my head, the Lymphoma was consigned to the past. I had all kinds of shit to be cracking on with. It didn’t occur to me that Lymphoma might have other ideas. 

Lady Sketch - Life After Lymphoma Is My Ultimate Work In Progress. Cancer Blog

Me In Remission, Being Blissfully Unaware…

I came out of remission six months later when the Lymphoma re-invaded, mob handed and hell bent on mass destruction. Within a few short weeks I was in a wheelchair, with a complete loss of independence and 10% survival odds. How to rock my regrowth and shifting the steroid weight suddenly plummeted to the bottom of my worry list.

Stem Cell Transplant

It was only after the Stem Cell Transplant in September 2013 that we were able to fully assess and process the fallout from life’s latest barrage of bitch slaps.

Read more about the diagnosis and treatment HERE.

First came the mobility. Tumours growing inside my spine had knackered various nerves and processes integral to walking. This meant the legs that had supported me unfailingly (give or take the odd boozy mishap) since 1979, were now somewhat compromised. In fact, my whole left side had proven itself fit for light duties only, and seemed to be pushing for early retirement. Would this improve with time and determination? There was no way of knowing, but in all honesty I was so f*cking relieved to still have my head above ground that I didn’t stress massively.

Then came the menopause. Fifteen to eighteen years early. No need to dwell, but suffice to say, it’s waaay worse than just contemplating the end of your baby making days.

Lady Sketch - Life After Lymphoma Is My Ultimate Work In Progress, Cancer Blog

Between Chemos, at home with my fam-a-lam ❤

Hidden Damage

Next arrived a brand new catalogue of concerns. The hidden obstacles; equally as debilitating but minus the outward symptoms. Nothing that could be zapped with radiation or shrunk into oblivion with cytotoxic chemicals – The Head Stuff.

A simmering soup of anxiety, memory loss, flashbacks, catastrophising and much irrational flapping about the children. Henny-Penny has my respect, it is supremely stressful waiting for your own personal sky to fall in. For the first time in my life I encountered something I couldn’t talk about. This was a foreign concept to a chatty-arse like me and therefore even more unsettling.

So I dealt with it in time honoured tradition. I threw a birthday party, got pissed with my mates and re-launched into the party lifestyle. It helped that 2015 was a warm summer and we spent long hours in the garden entertaining while I worked on the mural.

OK, I’ll be honest, I may well have done a bit of a Solange in my efforts to ‘drink it away,’ but as we all know, booze is not the answer to life’s problems (although it does impart a certain rosy hue) and a year later nothing had changed except the size of my jeans.

Lady Sketch - Life After Lymphoma is my ultimate work in progress. Cancer Blog


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

It took me two and a half years to ask for help. And it wasn’t until I did ask for help that I realised exactly how much I had needed it. That was in 2016 when I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and shit finally started to fall into place.

It is now the beginning of 2017. I’d love to tell you that everything is back to normal, but that would be a big old fib. Continue reading