Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Emz Cariad Am Byth!


Where did you grow up?
In Abergavenny, South Wales, galloping about on the mountains (on a horse, not being weird pretending I was one) and later, getting roaring drunk at the parties, until I was 20, when I headed to London for a while.

How did you find London? I don't mean "Did you use a road atlas to get there?" obviously. What was London like for you, especially as a 20-year old? Did you stay long?
In my first term at college (London College of Printing Elephant and Castle) I was late every morning because I could NOT face getting on a tube packed tight with people! I loved the freedom, the eclectic mix of people and cultures, all a complete surprise and delight after living in rural Wales! When I left college I got into road protesting, climbing trees and helping secure squats. With my totally unsuitable boyfriend, some 10 years older! We also put on full moon parties with DJs and bands. Then I fell pregnant and got a part-time job with Greenpeace, coordinating and training volunteers and going on protests, etc. After a few years I trained as a holistic therapist which I worked at part-time whilst working in a special needs school in the section with children with autism. Shortly after I realised I didn't need to put up with the abusive boyfriend, and moved back to Wales. I'd spent 10 years in various locations in east and north-east London. My first 2 daughters enjoyed a fabulous social life even from babyhood. I met amazing people, absorbed all it had to offer, and when its shine began to fade, went back to my mountains in Wales, which I then appreciated a lot more!

How would you describe yourself?
Mum of 3 gorgeous girls.  Mainly laid-back hippy type, messy at home and super-organised at work!

What's been happening in the last year?
Found a new job which I LOVE, then found a lump in my neck last June. I was diagnosed with cancer and have been treated with chemotherapy and had a stem cell transplant. It's been hard on my girls. They've been brilliant. I've been writing a journal about it all.

Okay, I knew about some of your last year, but for anyone who reads this: can/will you share your journal online? It might make an interesting and helpful read for other people affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly.
Yes. Some who have read it have already told me it's been inspirational! Which is an added bonus as I started it purely for self-help purposes! I would love to have it published for that reason. I think the perspective of a single working mother who lives with 3 kids, 3 ducks and a dog, and kicks cancer's arse, could possibly be useful!

Damn right it could! Here's the link, so see if it could. Hopefully, it WILL!

Who would you think of your family (living or dead) would have the most interesting biography for people to read, and why?
Well, there is Elizabeth Morgan, my great gran, who worked with Nye Bevan in the Welsh Valleys and campaigned with him for the NHS. He went to her funeral, and  Mum's cousin has the cards from him and other politicians. Or you could have Hanging Judge Jeffreys (ancestor on maternal grandmothers side) from the 16th century, made Chancellor, then given the job of witch-hunting back in Wales - he used the Skirrid Inn as a court and you can see the rope burns on the hanging beam today. He got over-zealous and ended up incarcerated in the Tower of London!

Nye Bevan is (as I think you know) a personal hero of mine! What do you think your Great Gran would make of the modern NHS, especially considering what you've recently been through?
I think she would be overjoyed at the level of service I have received and be disgusted by the multi-layered and unnecessary levels of management, taking away much needed funds from the actual patients,making the staff who have looked after me even more special.

It really is good to know there is faith in the system at its most basic, caring, intended level. Especially from someone so deeply and personally affected by it.

If you could change just one thing about the way the world we live in is, what would it be?
Abuse and neglect, on all levels from local to global, of any living being, human and animal.

What's the funniest thing you've ever experienced during the course of a working day?
Being called out to the school car park (I was working in a high school) where a 12 yr old lad was refusing to let his mum drive off and refusing to come into school. He was swearing like a trooper and ripping bits off his mum's car. I was both troubled by his issues but also in great admiration of his style as he threw hubcaps into the field behind, and I had to look and sound professional and NOT burst out laughing at the absurdity of it all.

How did that work out in the end? Did he finally make it into school? I have this vision of a safari park-type monkey-on-the-roof type situation!
I persuaded him that if he let his mother leave and came into school, he could sit in the SENCO's (Special Education Needs Coordinator) room and show me his favourite motorbikes on the computer and not have to go into lessons. The SENCO and the deputy head were in the car park by then too, so I guess he felt he had caused enough chaos to get the attention of 3 members of staff! Of course, when we were at school, we would probably have been dragged in by our hair and then given detention!

If someone made a film about your life, who would play you?
Helena Bonham-Carter.

What's the best joke you can think of, off the top of your head?
An Englishman, an Irishman and a Welshman walked into a bar. 'Hang on', said the barman, 'is this some kind of joke?'

What song means the most to you, and why?
Kate Bush, Jig of Life. Because it was 'our' song between myself and my first boyfriend. We were together for four intense years, and it always did and still does, give me a shiver down my spine.


And so ends my first attempt at interviewing a friend. I hope you've enjoyed reading it, and for those of you who did, may I recommend taking a look at Emz's Race For Life page and donating a little to help her and her friends help people who have gone through what she has endured.