About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Friday, 23 September 2011

WEEK 36--Visit to the Mobile Breast Screening Unit

A visit to the Mobile Breast Screening Unit.  At the beginning of the year this was not on my Must-Do list, I will admit.  But the opportunity arose, so in the spirit of this blog, I embraced it.  The invitation to go along for Breast Screening, the letter informed me, is sent to all women in South Staffordshire aged 50-70.

50-70?! How dare you.  I'm 49.  It's not the being 50 that bothers me.  It's the being prematurely hurtled into the 50-SEVENTY age group.  To me, still clinging to the last embers of my 40s, 70 is OLD.  Admittedly, in cathedral circles 70 is referred to as 'no age' (as in, 'A stroke?  But how old is she?  70!  That's no age!').  But in cathedral circles I'm still something of a fine young filly.

But I swallowed my pride and headed out across Lichfield to the Co-op carpark in Holy Boley (so called because half the cathedral congregation lives there), where the Mobile Screening Unit was parked.

NB. Just in case you've been confused, 'Mobile' refers to the unit, not the breast.  Breast mobility is an issue, of course, especially for the well-endowed jogger.  (I recommend wearing two sports bras, tethers everything nicely.)  

The South Staffs mobile unit is very pleasant, a bit like a tiny hotel lobby housed in a caravan.  Nice and warm inside.  Perfect for inducing those 'Is it just me, or is it hot in here?' episodes so familiar to ladies in the 50-70 category.  Lots of plush seating and glossy magazines.  Two little cubicles where you sit and wait, stripped to the waist, aiming for nonchalance but feeling like a prat, reading Good Housekeeping.  Or in my case, re-reading a Georgette Heyer novel.  La, Sir Peregrine!  It is too tiresome!  I must prevail upon you to wait outside while I have my bosoms clamped!

After a few pages, I was called through for my screening.  You know the score.  Stand right in the middle, pop yourself on the little shelf, stretch your arm over your head, bend double, turn yourself inside out, here comes the crusher! Aargh!  I'm just going to leave you trapped there helpless and in agony while I hide behind this radiation-proof screen and ZAP you.

No, of course it's not really like that, silly.  I'm a novelist.  I make stuff up.  Here are three things that are worse: root canal fillings, letters from HMRC, walking down the street with your skirt tucked in your knickers.  Get over yourself--these routine screenings save countless lives.  And the whole process was about 5 times quicker than the same malarky in hospital.  Very glad I went along.  Thank you, South Staffordshire BreastScreening Service, on behalf of all women in the 50-70 age group.


  1. Hhhmmm - my dentist numbed my face good and proper when I had root canal treatment, so that didn't hurt...the most painful part of dealing with HMRC is paying the accountant who sorts it all out for me, and, quite frankly my dear as I haven't worn a skirt more than about 3 times in the last 10 years (lovely ankles, awful knees...) having my knickers caught in my skirt isn't a worry that I loose sleep over -
    BUT I do agree - a few seconds worth of discomfort and embarrasment is nothing compared to early detection of breast cancer.

    Just Do It Ladies

  2. I am your age, and am really going to resent promotion to the next age bracket. Sigh!

  3. I suppose the alternative is worse.