Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Hair loss, Humor, Humour

Chemo and Rouge

It’s all happening in London, indeed.

So I go down to the capital to stay with my friend Danie for my final pre-chemo weekend before Round Three. It’s the usual drill – down on the first-class train with my hand gel and medical necessities in tow. This time I decide to wear Valerie from the moment I leave the house, mainly because if I put her in my bag, she’ll get all tangled, and I know it’ll be cold on the train so I need something to keep my head warm.

I get to London and everything is going well but by the time I get back to Danie’s house at 6pm after a few hours in London, I’ve been wearing the wig for a full 7 hours – the longest time yet. I have a considerable headache from the tightness of the wig by this time, so i whip Valerie off the moment we enter Danie’s place and i don my bold beanie for comfort. So, when we head out for a bite to eat and a film a couple of hours later, I think ‘what the hell’ and decide to go wigless for the night. After all, it’s a casual Saturday evening at the cinema with a friend and I’m not out to impress anyone.

Danie and I walk the ten minutes to the main street in Putney – one of the nicer boroughs of London, for those of you unfamiliar with the area. It’s getting a bit nippy and rather autumnal (fall) and we’re both dressed accordingly. (When I say we are dressed accordingly, I mean by global standards, as opposed to Northern England or Irish standards, which would often favour the wearing of a mini dress and no outer garment in temperatures of 8 degrees Celsius (46 Fahrenheit)).

Let me just explain, since it is central to the tale, that Danie is one of my many beautiful, ginger-haired friends.

As we walk down Putney’s main high street, we pass a couple of very inebriated men who are drunkenly ambling along the street. So far, so normal for a Saturday night.

So, imagine our surprise when we pass them and hear one of them shout:

“Well, if it isn’t Chemo and Rouge!”

Chemo and Rouge!!!


It takes us more than a few moments to register what we’ve just heard. Initially, I think “chemo and rouge” is a description of myself, since my coral-coloured beanie could be described as rouge (if one were slightly colour-blind). But within moments it dawns on me that “Chemo” is me and “Rouge” is my flame-haired companion.


Danie spends the rest of the evening thinking up things she wishes she had retorted, while I think of ways i would have karate-chopped them to the ground, had we both not been quite so stunned into immediate inability to react.

After the chemo and rouge incident, we walk into Wagamama and order some food. Our extremely lively young waiter is of bright ginger-haired descent and clearly more than proud of his, ahem, roots, as when I order a ginger beer (no alcohol) he beams at me and says “Ginger beer, the best sort of beer.”

We then head to the cinema across the road and bump into my friend Hannah from Bloomberg, who assures me she is an avid reader of the blog, so here’s a quick shout-out! Rouge and I watch Hope Springs, a great film, which adds up to two great films on two consecutive Saturdays – the other being Anna Karenina, since you asked.

We then walk home to Rouge’s house, discussing earlier incidents as we go. Rouge comments that Putney is usually “such a nice neighbourhood” and tells me she has never been heckled here before. Moments later, from the other side of the road, three young ruffians spot us and the bravest of the bunch shouts a series of things over to us, as we ignore them entirely, in that polite manner that is so customary to us Brits.

“Oi!” (not in the Brazilian sense)

“Looking lovely tonight, ladies!”

“Aren’t you going to say hello?”

“You look very nice,” etc etc.

Just a couple of moments later, a passing car beeps its horn at us. Well, indeed. May I just point you back to the beginning of this tale, where I noted that the temperature has taken a turn for the chillier and both of us are dressed accordingly. By this, I mean that there is not a single bit of flesh showing on either of our bodies, save for our hands and faces, and we are both wearing jeans, Converse and leather jackets (without looking like we’re from a boy band, if you know what I mean.)

Who knew evenings in Putney could be so entertaining?!

The rest of the weekend is pretty tame in comparison. Saturday lunch time, before the aforementioned incident, Rouge and I go for late brunch (more commonly known as lunch) at a trendy new place called Caravan behind King’s Cross station with Rouge’s sister, George (who is brunette, for the record). The restaurant is in an old grain store and has a very cool, New Yorky feel.

I can never resist a brunch menu, particularly since brunch doesn’t seem to exist back in Huddersfield, but everything on the menu at Caravan is unusual, to say the least. It’s one of those trendy gastro-cool menus with all manner of items that require translation to the ordinary British eye (‘satsouki sausage,’ ‘girolles,’ ‘sumac,’ etc) and unfortunately they’ve gone a bit over the top and the food doesn’t taste as good as it sounds. Nor does the service match up, and it’s a good job we’re in for a relaxed, long lunch as we end up waiting 30 minutes for the bill and similar periods of time for service.

I order the deep-fried oyster, bacon and potato omelette for want of something more appealing. It’s an interesting dish and looks quite appetising, but I have to say the omelette I cooked earlier this month was far superior. (See Pricey’s Guide to Hair Loss). The butterscotch caramel pot with salted shortbread dessert is pretty good though.

Here is a pic of me and Rouge earlier in the day at Caravan. Note the purple-haired girl in the background, who tried to get in the picture. Candy Pink would have fit in well!


Chemo and Rouge


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