In January 2015, following a routine check by my vigilant GP, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

As a Brit living in Sydney, Australia since 2008, I realised over the following days just how many of my friends and family were scattered across the globe and different timezones.

The Fellowship of the Ringlets was originally just a tremendous pun and the title of a closed Facebook group I created to keep those distant friends and family in the loop and worry-free.

But over 12 months, my little group somehow grew from 80 to 800+ and became a veritable band of brothers, a support team like no other and a true Fellowship in every sense of the word.

Their love, laughter and rallying cries have been the greatest tonic a little ringlet'd cancer-face like me could have wished for.

The following letters, musings, incoherent ramblings and occasional bouts of bad language are for them all.

Welcome to the Fellowship of the Ringlets.

VC x

Thursday 17 November 2016


Dear Fellowship,
It has been more than two months since my last post and to be perfectly honest, I have wondered many times whether that might be it for the old #fotr. A slow but inevitable drawing of the Fellowship curtains triggered by the dawning realisation that I really can't and more importantly don't want to keep playing this cancer card forever (except to get out of stuff I don't like, such as burpees and speeding tickets) and that maybe it's the right time to withdraw gracefully into the shadows, like an ageing, silent film star. More emphasis on the ageing than silent, I fear..
But here's the thing. Last year's musings were, for sure, largely driven by the need to drag as many people as I could muster on the old cancery 'journeeeeeey' with me so that I wouldn't feel quite so like a bald Bridget Jones singing ‘All By Myself’ on the sun-drenched streets of Surry Hills. But I also came to realise that the sheer act of writing it all down was a decent way to process the frankly ridiculous situations that I found myself in last year.
And so now I find myself facing something of a conundrum. Because as of 6 weeks ago, I officially became a 43 year old cancer survivor at drama school in London doing a full-time Masters in Stage and Screenwriting. I own a puppy and live by the river in a cottage that would not look out of place in Midsomer Murders. I can light a fire. On my own. Today I even ordered firewood. I am virtually Bear bleeding Grylls. I commute into London with my 16-25 Student Railcard and I have an app called Unidays that I shamelessly use to drag student discounts out of every retailer in town. I scare my fellow students by reminding them that I was graduating as they were being born and that when I was last at uni, There. Was. No. Internet. 

So in many ways, it feels a bit like what I’m currently doing is even more ridiculous than that time a burping metaphysical hairdresser in Bondi chopped all my ringlets off and sold me a swishy wig for two grand. And I'm itching to write about it because a lot of this shit is comedy GOLD. 
But it’s also absolutely terrifying. And when it’s terrifying and unknown and a bit mad, it’s very easy to get lost in a world of ‘what the devil am I doing here? Where are my flip-flops and where's my green juice? Where are my beach and my boat-based weekend jaunts?Where are my Aussie maaaaaates? Where’s my job?!’ (That last one is blatantly untrue - I was born for this student life). 
Anyway, last year, I thankfully worked out quite quickly that sitting quietly inside my little curly head, over-thinking stuff like a pro wasn’t the ideal way to approach life in a rational, non-hysterical, non-screechy way and so I’m going to try to follow my own example and thus control the over-thinking by occasionally over-sharing on this very page. Ugh. Horror. 
Plus if I’m honest, I’ve come to the damning realisation over the last 5 months (I know!!) that I’m as useless at Skype’ing my Aussie loves as I used to be at Skype’ing my UK ones. The time difference is still baffling to me. So hopefully this way, when we do eventually speak, we can skip the ‘how’s student life?’ formalities and go straight to the good stuff…
But otherwise, apart from it being really quite cold indeed, all is well back in the land of Brexiteers and warm beers. I have my family quite literally on my doorstep, I've assembled a motley crew of specialists / slaves to tend to my every medical whim, I’ve bought not one but two Flump-like bobble hats for this approaching winter and am currently writing a play about a man who decides to better himself by going to university at the age of 43. It’s called Educating Peter. I think it’s going to be a big hit….:)
No such thing as a new idea, right?

VC x
#rotr (return of the ringlets, obvs)

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