Fat Face on tour '07 (Part 19)


Horace the legend
Last week when I realised I would need another three months of treatment it's fair to say it got me down a bit. The next phase is extremely complicated and not well-understood so I will explain further in the next post.

To boost my spirits I took a road trip to see more of the friends who have been so helpful to me throughout the last year. As I mentioned before, despite bloating my face and body, the steroids are actually making me feel pretty good, so I thought, 'Let's get away and do something positive'.

If you were wondering, the man in the picture is my good friend Horace Woollard - supping the elixir of life. He's 84 and needless to say is an absolute legend. Now you have the opportunity to meet Hoarce too, along with some of the other fantastic charcters I encountered on my A1 adventure down south.

When I started writing this blog I didn't really want to include posts like this because they are a little self-indulgent. However, I decided to write it because I wanted other people to see that I have had some good times and have learnt to really make the most of them when I am feeling well.

The road trip helped clear my head, give me some fresh perspectives and come back feeling upbeat with fresh ideas about how to think creatively around the problems Poppy and I are now undoubtedly saddled with.

So off I cruised, riding dirty in my battered - and suspiciously rattling - Fiat Punto.

1. Peterborough


My first stop was Peterborough's premier Thai eatery for lunch courtesy of former Examiner reporter Andrew Jackson. The now deputy news editor at the Peterborough Evening News is one of the funniest individuals I've ever had the pleasure to work with and is the only person I know who refers to my ailment as 'disco dancer'. It was also pleasing to see his face is still substantially larger than mine.

2. Harlow, Essex


I did my post-graduate journalism course at Harlow College. I was there for six months in 2003 and took up lodgings with Horace. It was a pleasure living with him and we would often enjoy watching the football over a glass of his home-made plum wine.

Horace and I have kept in touch over the years with Christmas cards and the odd phone call but when he heard I was ill he has been excellent at keeping in touch with both me and my family.
I always said that if I was able to come down and see him I would. This sort of year has made me appreciate that too often people say they will do something like that and then never do.

I had a really good heart-to-heart with Horace. He is one of the wisest and most positive men I've ever met and he really helped me look at my latest problems with renewed energy.

He made me a cracking stew for tea and in return I took him some real ale. I should point out for legal reasons that in the picture that was my beer - Horace was just holding it for me!

3. London, South Bank


The next morning I parked the Punto and caught the train into London where I met my friend Amisha Koria. We studied physiology together at Liverpool University and we worked out we had not seen each other since my 21st birthday party.

We had a lot of fun strolling along the South Bank, catching up on all the lost years. While I was in hospital she sent me loads of fun stuff including balloons and a home made card which referred to an old joke about my slightly large hands. This picture is also a reference to that. The coffee cups are actually the same size.

4. Shaftsbury Avenue then onto Bethnal Green

Later on I met up with some of the friends I made while studying in Harlow. Many of them are now high-flyers in media or PR but still managed to come up and see me during these difficult times.

I first met up with Lucy Twitchin and Ashley Rogers and they told me tales of their glamorous lives in PR. Where Lucy works she told me they have a room that converts into a bar at certain times. The Huddersfield Examiner does not have such a room.


Then me and Ash headed off to meet his wife Laura near Brick Lane for one of the most delicious Chinese meals I have ever tasted. There were two signs it would be good. Firstly, it was packed, secondly, it was packed with Chinese people. The food was really different to Chinese food I have tried before but the flavours were fantastic.

Ashley is a lovely bloke who really helped put my problems in perspective when I was in my isolation chamber and was raging at how his fireplace had been installed incorrectly!

5. Camden


The next day I met another Examiner old boy Richard Porritt along with his girlfriend Ellen - who used to work for our arch-rivals the Halifax Courier - and their beautiful new baby Ruby.

Porritt is now doing some great work for the Press Association and Ellen is currently on maternity leave from the Evening Standard.

It was really good seeing them both and talking about some of the old times back up in West Yorkshire. I wondered how they were coping with such hectic careers, living in London and bringing up a little one. They just seemed really happy and I don't think Ruby cried once.

It is always difficult for me thinking about having children but this meeting made me even more determined that it is something I want to do and is still, hopefully, possible.

6. Leicester Square

More friends from university and more drinks. First I met up with Megs and her boyfriend Craig before they were headed off to see Mary Poppins. Then I rendezvoused with Ant, and his girlfriend Vicky, for a crazy Belgian meal which involved descending in a Fight Club style cage and being served by monks! Great food though.


After that we hit some bars and ended up in some Indie club off Oxford Road. If any of my consultants are reading this please ignore the following sentence. The steroids seem to have restored my capacity to drink lots of beer again. I may resemble the Face of Bo, as my sister kindly suggested, but it's a small price to pay.


7. Tooting to Harlow to Northwood (Middlesex)

Got in to Ant and Vicky's flat around 3.30am Saturday morning, alarm went off at 8.30am and I felt surprisingly fresh. Caught the train out to Harlow, picked up the hot wheels, and drove round to Northwood for Caroline and James' wedding. Caroline, I should point out, is Poppy's cousin.

Here is a picture of some of Poppy's family who attended the wedding. From left to right, Rob, Poppy, their mum Pat, Holly and husband Paul.


8. Northwood to Slough

The reception was held at a beautiful location and it's fair to say it was a brilliant night. The newly weds, as you can see from this picture, looked fantastic and all the guests clearly had a great time.


Pops and I were seated at a table with lots of fun people. To begin with it was good thinking that none of them have seen me before so I could have a night of just being a normal guy again.

But then - what are the chances?! A 26-year-old girl next to me mentioned that she had been fighting thoracic cancer for the last year and was only just starting to return to normal life! Seriously, what are the chances? Well that was it, the cancer conversation floodgates opened. I can only apologise to everyone else on the table who had to listen to our hilarious anecdotes.


After dinner it was superb being able to have a right good old dance again. The Arctic Monkeys once sang: “I bet you look good on the dance floor." As you can see here, I don't and never have, but on Saturday I didn't care. I was twisting, air-punching, body-popping, ass-shaking and conga-ing like a demon. It was so much fun.

It's only when you've had to seriously face never getting up to those sort of capers again that you really, really, appreciate them when you are given another opportunity.

Thanks again to Caroline, James and their families for inviting to me to such a good do.

9. Slough to Sheffield

I arrived home tired but feeling much better in myself. Got the news through that I would be starting treatment later that week so just pleased to be cracking on with it. Now I am even more determined to just get through this last phase of treatment.


Hi everyone.

Apologies if anyone had difficulties logging on or posting comments at the end of last week and over the weekend. Apparently there was a problem with 'heavy traffic'. Don't know why that caused any problems but it did.

Just to say thanks again to everyone who let me stay at theirs, treated me to food and drink and generally helped me have a great time last week.

Sudders X

Who is that handsome chap in picture five? Thanks for the pie Sudders, great to see you last week.


I would like to make the following points of general interest:

1. With reference to the picture of your first stop and having seen you in the flesh, I cannot believe that someone has a bigger face. It must be a trick of the light or a bit of excellent photoshop work by the bloke who created the moon landing.

2. I can independently verify that you have huge hands, they're like shovels. If anyone else reads this, please look again at the picture of AD and Mish, and you will see that one of AD's hand is in fact much larger than Mish's face. Not his own face though, obviously.

3. I had a great time at Metro (despite my housemate Danny's condition, which was apparently no-one's fault, but involved impromptu and improper declarations of love for all and sundry) and we were all very happy to spend an evening in your excellent company, big hands and face notwithstanding.

Love you mate.


Many congrats on the award - and on the riveting blog. Sorry to hear you need more treatment - what a bu55er - but hang on in there and give it all you've got.

Jill (ovarian cancer)

PS My chemo nurses think you're "cute".

Hi Jill,

Thanks very much - but they can't really think I'm cute with steroid face!

Thanks for the support and best wishes to you too. Will you be OK?


Hi Adrian
Good to hear from you as always. Sorry to hear about your further treatment but it`s good to know that the doctors are able to offer you this. Hang on in there - Crewe Alex managed a win so everything is possible!
Do you remember me talking about a sponsored run in honour of Will - Great North Run.Over 3,000 pounds has been raised with more coming in. Everyone is fantastic.
Also, Will was a member of the Young Farmer Clubs ( a great youth movement ) and a group of his mates have posed for a 2008 Calendar in various agricultural settings! Haven`t seen results yet but the whole community are keen to buy with proceeds going to leukaemia.
Well, that`s about all my news - keep writing, I`m sure it must be a positive thing for you to be doing and, looking back, you`ll realise that the blogs were literally a life saver together with all these wonderful comments.

Chin up.

Best Wishes as always to you and your family.


Hi Liz,

Great to hear from you. Brilliant result from the run. That's a very impressive amount. When that calendar is out feel free to give it a plug in here - I'm sure lots of readers would be interested.



Hi Adrian

The crazy 26 year old girl from the wedding here!! Hope you are well. Thought I would have a read through your extracts, it's always interesting to get inside the thoughts of someone else sharing something similar. Even when you mentioned the dancing at the wedding, that's exactly how I felt. It put's a new spin on the 'Life is so short so dance like no one is watching' and boy did we do that partner!?

Anyway, looking forward to continuing to read this and catching up soon I hope.

Take care


Hi Lizzie,

Thanks for getting in touch. Really enjoyed meeting you and talking to you. Seriously, what were the chances of us two sitting together? I felt really sorry for your colleagues! It really helped knowing that someone else has come through such a terrible year and then danced the night away in Slough. Can I say, you and Steve had some significantly better moves than me!

All the best to you and hope to see you soon,


Hi Adrian,

That's bad luck about the needing more treatment. When do you go in for it?

I had my transplant done at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Victoria, Australia. Had my first week out of hospital last week, and am just dealing with the side effects of all the medications and stuff that I'm on at the moment. Did you have any of that?


Hi Kim,

Greetings from England!

Congratulations on getting out. It's lots better being at home isn't it? I found it a really slow process but it does get better with time.

I found it hard because I felt sick and very weak initially but things do improve. I found taking some of the tablets quite difficult because there are so many and some are ridiculously large too!

It takes time but you will get there.

I'm writing about this new treatment this weekend and should post some more info in a couple of days. Basically its twice a week, every two weeks. A bit of a bummer but you kind of get resigned to it don't you?!

Best wishes to u and your family.

Thanks for the message.


Hi Adrian

Looks like you were busier than I was leading up to my wedding! I've always thought that being ill meant you stay in bed and moan a lot - but you have completely destroyed that stereotype!

Had I not already known, I would never have guessed that you were anything but fighting fit (with an slightly larger than normal head :) ) and I think that's amazing!

It was fantastic to meet you, and I hope to see you next week for fireworks and fajitas! (If you're still taking the drugs, don't forget the alcohol!)


Dear sir, I would like to complain in the strongest possible manner about the scurrilous accusations about the square footage of my client's face (Mr A Jackson).
What you do not point out in the text is that when the picture was taken was that you were 17 yards behind my client, and as such perspective made it look like your fizzog was normal sized.
We all know that this is not the case.
The prosecution rests.
I expect substantial damages for hurt, loss of earnings, face related one-uppery etc etc etc.

Mr G Carmen (deceased)

ive been watching your story on calender and was touched by the way you are stil so positive even after everything u have been through! Your amazing good luck with the rest of your treatment and keep smiling! X x soph x

Hi - you don't know me but after hearing you on the radio this morning I felt compelled to come and visit your site and am trying to find the voting bit........
Although I have never been through anything like you have I have to say I found you truely inspirational, your outlook is amazing and I am sure you will have helped so many people, you said something about playing the cards you have been dealt (one of my nan's says it was lovely to hear it again!) and I feel you are playing a blinder, I wish you well for your future.
I too have had to have blood transfusions and will be eternally grateful to those people who give blood.
Good luck (if luck has any part to play), best wishes and here's to a long and happy future.

Dear Adrian:
I am new to your blog and I'm sitting here at my computer, laughing like an idiot as I read about your Nov. road trip - and the equally funny comments posted below it (Mr. G. Carmen (deceased) wins:)
I know things look grim for you right now but I just want you to know how much I wish you well and how much I appreciate your writing skills and your so cool sense of humour.
I'm sending positive thoughts your way from Canada.
(I found your blog and the article about you on the BBC website today 5/21/08)

Just read your blog again and enjoyed hearing all about your sister. dont you look alike? i bet someone is going to make a film about you so who would you like to play you????ah yes Tom cruise. Keep writing.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Liam McNeilis published on October 23, 2007 1:25 PM.

Baldy's Blog scoops national award! was the previous entry in this blog.

Treating chronic Graft versus Host Disease (Part 20) is the next entry in this blog.

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