The Beautiful South

The Beautiful South

As I hoped, we had a really fantastic much needed mini-holiday down in Devon/Wiltshire/Dorset recently and I wanted to share the story and some of the pics with you …and bring you up to speed with my treatment to date.

The trip down south was real quality time with family that we hadn’t seen in a while. If you haven’t read my previous post we had planned 3 nights in Devon, a night at Em’s mom/step dads in Westbury, Wiltshire, a birthday celebration for Ems mom and myself (hers is the 20th, mine the 21st) then leave the kids behind for 2 nights down in Swanage on the Dorset ‘Jurassic Coast’.

Weather behaved itself impeccably – except for one morning when we woke up to a howling gale while staying with Emily’s Nan – but we didn’t mind. She lives right on the sea front in Dawlish, the Atmospheric Railway down below the cliff top, and I just love it when the sea gets a bit angry. Big waves, lots of spray, kids shrieking with delight! It was also the Dawlish Carnival week while we were there and there was all sorts for the kids going on. On the Saturday evening we were even treated to a visit by the Red Arrows!


The it was on back up the country a bit to Westbury for the birthday bash. 2 out of 3 of Emily’s siblings made it over – it was great to see them and their families, talk a bit of rubbish over a few drinks and a curry. I even had a few beers and glasses of wine – first time in ages that I’d fancied a drink. On the Sunday I woke up to the kids and family showering me with presents (one advantage of having been poorly as people really do spoil you when they can!).


We then left the girls with Emily’s mom and sister and headed down to Swanage. Em had made all the plans, and having known nothing about the place she got it spot on: we stayed in a fantastic B&B about 200m from the sea front. The town itself is ideal if you are looking for a family orientated seaside resort without too much of the commercial flashing lights and amusement arcades – there are some if you want it, but they are not in-your-face as in some places. Beaches were great for paddling and chilling out and seemed to be full of family groups. Loads of nice restaurants, pubs and eateries as well as quirky shops to browse. Will definitely be back!


Time seemed to fly by (as it does) and before we knew it, it was the long old slog back up north, with the obligatory traffic jam/motorway closure on the M1!  – think that was actually the only part of the trip that didn’t fly by come to think of it! Anyway I got back home to a couple of letters with appointments booked for the very next day @ St James: a range of tests to see if I’m still in remission from the Hodgkin’s and well enough to go through with the stem cell transplant just ahead. Starting at 7:45 it was: line care, a PET scan, a heart echo cardiograph test, and finally a lung function test. Took pretty much the whole day. Talk about jumping in the deep end!

Then it was a wait over the August bank holiday (which by the way was the first bank holiday in ages that I can remember with decent weather!!! Even managed to sneak a barbecue in!). Results and confirmation of the intensive chemo and stem cell transplant going ahead would be given to me at a clinic appt. on the Tuesday. Not ideal for me as I like to plan ahead and have time to get my head around things. But hey I was feeling pretty positive about this one as I have been feeling very health lately, so couldn’t see it being bad news and postponement (again).

At Clinic I heard exactly what I wanted to hear: my PET scan showed I was still in full remission, the heart and lung function tests showed improvement on the ones back in March/April ’16. So full steam ahead! BEAM chemo for 6 days followed by the stem cell transplant starting today. Glad to finally get here!!!

So today was a bit of a strange morning with the girls at home. None of us were too happy with the thought of me going into hospital for an extended period, but glad that things are heading in the right direction and going according to ‘the master plan’. I came in at 2pm and had a drug called Carmustine, which sounds pretty awful, but actually was quite okay. I don’t like to speak too soon but so far so good!

As I’m staying in hospital now (probably for at least the next 3 weeks) I’m going to have a substantial amount of time on my hands, so I plan to post daily with how BEAM and the SCT is going. Only reason why I wont is if I feel particularly crap (which is bound to happen at some stage during this ordeal) but will at least tweet an update I’m sure. So… 1 down 5 to go with the chemo, then its ‘just’ the recovery/isolation to deal with. Failure is not an option!



Your holiday was certainly well deserved for all of you and you all look so happy just to be together, very beautiful part of the country isn’t it? So happy that everything is herding in the right direction, the time away from home may feel like forever but it’ll be all worth it, for you, the kids and all who adore you. Keep up the momentum but with a touch of patience cuz. Love yuou to the moon and back xx


Thanks my lovely cuz! It was a great way to recharge batteries before this final push. Can’t wait to see you all again xxx

Lisa mcloughlin

Wow – your holiday looks amazing. As I’m looking through the pictures I had a big grin on my face as I know what a year it has been and just how much this break has meant for you all. You’re looking great Clive and such a good place to start this next fours of treatment. Do let us know if you can have visitors at any point – we’re with you on this journey . Mcloughlin Family x

John Allman

Glad you have been well enough to enjoy life so much, And well enough to be made worse than ever by the next round of treatment, in order to make you completely better from the Hodkins in due course, God willing. I am/we are hoping to move from Cornwall to Devon soon.


Thanks John. It has been very strange starting chemo when feeling so (relatively) well. But yeah, it’s got to be done. Not looking forward to Monday when I am given the harshest drug of this regimen …or am I looking forward to my time in isolation!


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