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On Rebuilding Your Life When Hit By An Exocet.

I have been having some interesting conversations recently that I had not expected to have; with people, who, like me, had suddenly found that through no fault whatsoever of their own, an Exocet had landed in the bowels of their previous life which had reduced to rubble all their expectations of how they would conduct their future life.

They were not, as you might imagine, all fellow patients with physical ailments. Exocets arrive in many forms.

For Mrs Blunt, it arrived in the form of her husband’s gleeful public declaration of his love for his homosexual partner. The media were delighted to report on his new relationship. She was left to rebuild her life with her children. An entirely innocent victim of a life shattering Exocet.

For Mrs Travis, it was the announcement that her husband was being investigated by Operation Yewtree. Mrs Travis had done nothing wrong, yet she lost her home, her peace of mind at a time that she was grappling with breast cancer – and her privacy. Her life would never be the same again.

Other who have been kind enough to make contact with me include a man who has recently been cleared of all charges, a totally innocent individual, yet who must still keep his head below the parapet for fear of further publicity so I shall not mention his name; and Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner who finds time in her busy schedule every day to phone me and keep my spirits up.

That is not to ignore the many good friends I have made whilst running this blog – Gloria Smudd and Blocked Dwarf come to mind in particular, both have given of their time to help me settle into my new home; Andrew Rosthorn, Daedalus Parrot and ‘another’ who shall remain nameless (again with good reason to keep their head below the media parapet)  have given hours of their time to help me stand for election.

It is with those who have found themselves caught up as innocent participants in the whirlwind of false allegations that I feel a particular affinity with. I have a new understanding of what it is like to have your life turned upside down.

My life, their life, can never be the same again. We have done nothing wrong, yet have to accept that there is no road back to our old life – whether it is because, in their case, that the vile accusations will continue to be propagated on an unforgiving internet, their family name forever besmirched; or in my case, that I will never walk again with all the limitations that brings in its wake.

One thing I have quickly learned is to disassociate yourself from those who have a fixed view as to how you should ‘present’ yourself to the public in future.

You have to be true to yourself.

Yet there are many around you only too quick to give you advice as to what you should or shouldn’t be saying, nor how you should be saying it! You can rest assured that my decision to carry on blogging hasn’t gone down well with some people. My decision to ‘go public’ with my story in The Times with James Gillespie and the Mail on Sunday with David Rose in an effort to bring publicity to the issue of people suing the NHS has gone down like a lead balloon in some quarters…..

Fortunately that doesn’t include Mr G who has been a tower of strength for me, not just in terms of what he has had to do for me physically – and I cannot wait to publish the blog post which will carry pictures of the wonderful extension he has built on for me to live in, I am so very proud of what he has done – but he has also supported me mentally; mopping my tears when I have been overwhelmed by self pity, cheering me when I have managed to write a blog post, and, small point, bringing me back photographs of all the little things I can no longer see for myself.

I say ‘small point’ – but have you any idea what a difference it makes to me that he brings back a photograph of what the pub garden looks like now that they have taken down a large tent, rather than merely ‘telling’ me about it? It makes me feel as though I am still part of the wider world.

It was Mr G too, who brought into the hospital that photograph of me at 23, to remind me that that girl was still inside me, even if I could no longer recognise myself in the mirror. (One of the side effects of the massive dose of steroids that I was having at the time, apart from making you talk ten to the dozen in a loud voice, is that they literally change the shape of your jaw and puff out your cheeks, so much so that I nearly screamed the first time I caught sight of myself!)

I have had to get used to the lack of privacy too. I can no longer be alone. There must always be someone with me. No phone call is private. No part of my body is private – I have round the clock care to wash me and dress me. No bodily function is private. That is why it becomes so very important to have some control over some part of my life – and that is where I have some connection with others who have received an Exocet in the backside.

We can’t change the past, can’t change what has happened, but we have control over how we face the future.

Hidden away, licking our wounds; or blazing out in public saying ‘I don’t care what you think, this is the person I am, this is the person I choose to be, this is the person I am – you can either like it or lump it’.

It will come as no surprise to those of you who know me well, to learn that I am choosing the latter path. In fact you could say – the latter path ‘with knobs on’.

As we speak, there are two web experts doing their best to put my blog site back as it was. It can’t be exactly the same, because it will be going on a wordpress.com site rather than a self hosted wordpress.org site and the software is not identical. I’ve chosen not to go the self hosted route this time, because I still have to face the reality that the cancer will kill me at some unspecified time in the future, and if the blog was self hosted, that would mean that it would disappear again.

Thankfully the kind reader who had hosted the archive site is going to host the new site as well, so it will stay up and running when I am gone – it does mean though, that all the comments on all the back posts will disappear. Apparently there is no known piece of software that will scrape both the posts and the comments onto a new WordPress site. Edinburgh University have a full record of all the comments for any serious researchers. I’m just explaining that before someone thinks there is some nefarious reason why there are 0 comments on the old posts.

So, my choice as to how to deal with future is to write; what I want, when I want, how I want. Writing is my window on the world, it allows me to reach out to people from this bed. I hope that you will take the opportunity to comment as well – not just read, for it is that conversation that transports me from this bed into the world that I used to belong to.

A world that was full of people and events and colour.

If you have time – you can make it like that still for me, by telling me of what you have been doing, what you are thinking. I know there were hundreds, nay thousands, of you reading this blog before I closed it in December – if just a few of you take the time to continue that conversation you will be helping me to be part of my old world.

Thank you.

{ 32 comments… add one }

  • TheBlockedDwarf May 14, 2017, 9:36 am

    Gloria Smudd and Blocked Dwarf come to mind in particular, both have given of their time to help me settle into my new home
    Smudd yes, me less so…much less so because after what the N&N demanded for 3 hours parking my ardour for you waned . Never tell me you’re a ‘cheap date’.
    https://s24.postimg.org/f8oi4rv1h/20170404_144131.jpg
    (and no people, that isn’t ‘shopped).

  • Joe Public May 14, 2017, 10:31 am

    This old bugger might not comment on every posting, but he sure reads every one.

    Many thanks for your continued efforts – they continue to educate & entertain; and in many cases simply make me stop & think.

    • Anna Raccoon May 14, 2017, 10:46 am

      Thank you Joe, the comments have become more important now that I am unable to get out and have conversations with people. They are my lifeline.

  • pxanthippou May 14, 2017, 10:56 am

    As soon as I started reading this article I recalled last evening’s Archive on Four:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08px9dr

    It was well put together and all about three veterans (one each from N. Africa and Arnhem, N. Ireland and the Falklands), all of whom had lost their sight — not to mention significant parts of their limbs and bodies — in their respective conflicts.

    Just as our landlady, they had picked up the pieces of their shattered lives and continued. The recordings were made near the turn of the century so anything from 18 to 55 years had passed since they’d been injured. What struck this listener above all were their equanimity and cheerfulness. Ever the case, I guess: right down to the poor widow with her two mites, which make a farthing.

    (And, talking of rebuilding the website, additional thanks and a hearty ‘bravo!’ for changing ‘100em;’ to ‘100%’ on the masthead’s styling, thereby making it fit the page!)

    ΠΞ

  • Macheath May 14, 2017, 11:39 am

    “… side effects of the massive dose of steroids … making you talk ten to the dozen in a loud voice…”

    ..and put your name forward for a general election?

    Seriously, it does make one wonder about the innate biochemistry of those who choose to make a career of politics; are they the equivalent of athletes naturally endowed with a higher-than-normal level of testosterone? It might go some way to explaining* why a chemically assisted raccoon is now producing political oratory of the highest order in addition to the customary elegant procyonic prose.

    *Though nothing, as far as I can see, explains Diane Abbott.

    • TheBlockedDwarf May 14, 2017, 11:45 am

      *Though nothing, as far as I can see, explains Diane Abbott.
      /

      • Macheath May 14, 2017, 5:17 pm

        In the time-honoured tradition of the Racoon arms…

        If ever you see Diane Abott
        I advise you to run like a rabbit;
        Her discourse will fill
        Your ears with swill,
        A very unsavoury habit.

        • TheBlockedDwarf May 14, 2017, 5:23 pm

          *applause*
          but you forgot the time honoured and traditional suffix to each line of doggerel, namely *quaffs deeply from his mug of ale* and a *burps* to round it the whole thing off.

        • Gloria Smudd May 14, 2017, 5:53 pm

          And run for the hills far away
          Should ever you see Mrs May;
          Yes, keep your eyes peeled
          For one kitten-heeled
          As those slippers conceal feet of clay.

  • Jacqui Thornton May 14, 2017, 12:55 pm

    So glad to hear this. I have no idea how I stumbled over the Raccoon Arms, but when I did, I became absorbed in the stories and topics covered, working backwards through past posts to gain context. I dropped in to the Arms regularly wondering, ‘What would Anna Raccoon have to say about…’ knowing that if you had blogged about something, it would be well researched and forensically analytical offering me openings to further avenues of knowledge on the chosen subject.

    I did contribute on occasion, once being on your piece on Essex Man. That story has since taken on a life of it’s own back in Castle Point, with the battle between the subject of your blog piece and myself still raging. Conflicting police investigations, wilful destruction of protected woodland and badger setts, false allegations and CPS ignoring the CCTV footage that eventually proved innocence, police investigation into Essex Badger Protection at the insistence in a candidate in the Essex Police & Crime Commissioner Election, and a now Crown Court appearance next month by the Ex MP on 5 counts of election fraud… You really couldn’t make it up.

    Keep writing for as long as it makes you happy, and your health permits. Can’t wait to see the pictures of Mr G’s handiwork, Norfolk is such a lovely place. I think we may have a holiday home not far from you, I go to recharge and take stock.

    All the best with the election.

    J

    • TheBlockedDwarf May 14, 2017, 1:12 pm

      Norfolk is such a lovely place.
      There, right there, is where I stopped reading 😛
      Now I’m going to have to go re-read ‘Essex man’…which will mean postponing my walk in the lovely Norfolk ‘liquid sunshine’ up to the lovely Norfolk tesco to hopefully score some bit of dead piggy NOT reared in the lovely county of Norfolk (I grew up here and know only too well what they put in piggies here).

    • TheBlockedDwarf May 14, 2017, 1:21 pm

      PS. the search function here is still recovering from the Xmas Party before last when someone, who shall remain nameless, typed in ‘most gratuitous use of the Fword’ so incase anyone else feels the need to reread “Essex Man”
      http://annaraccoon.co.uk/2014/10/10/where-are-they-now-no-284-essex-man/

  • K Harvey Proctor May 14, 2017, 2:05 pm

    ” Hidden away, licking our wounds; or blazing out in public saying ‘I don’t care what you think, this is the person I am, this is the person I choose to be, this is the person I am – you can either like it or lump it’. ”

    I find I am doing both, sometimes on the same day, as a result of the “exocet” missile which hit me just over two years ago. However, the example and inspiration of Anna Raccoon and her brilliant article on her feelings and actions facing difficult, almost impossible times, is reassuring and energising.

    Anna’s example of bravery and fortitude, together with her intellect and insight, will be long remembered as a brilliant beacon of light to those whose days have been darkened.

    K Harvey Proctor

    • Anna Raccoon May 14, 2017, 2:20 pm

      Thank you Harvey – and nice to hear from you. Yes, you too have had your life blasted apart – never to be rebuilt in its previous style, no matter how much you may wish it to be so. We will all survive though, with the help of our friends and our own fortitude.

    • Bandini May 15, 2017, 11:00 am

      I’ll just take this unexpected opportunity to wish you all the best with your actions against your tormentors, Harvey.
      Not knowing for certain whether ‘Nick’ is genuinely deluded or purely malicious (as the majority of the self-styled ‘campaigners’ certainly seem to be) makes me hope his exploiters – Exaro – take the brunt of YOUR Exocet… though I might think differently had it been MY life turned upside-down, so…

      But please don’t accept any bloody out-of-court settlement or any confidential agreement that’ll leave us all in the dark over what really led to the mad claims!
      A little bit of digging both above & below-the-line of the following article suggests that those involved with ‘Nick’/’Nick’-related organizations may have some dubious beliefs, all the way from the more ‘respectable’ – Dissociative Identity Disorder and ‘frozen’ memories – to the downright daft: ‘psychic healing’ & Bach’s flower ‘remedies’, for example… maybe they just directed the wrong frequency of vibrational energy from a crystal skull at his head or summat?!?
      http://barthsnotes.com/2017/04/23/police-consulted-dissociative-identity-disorder-therapist-in-ted-heath-abuse-probe/

  • Jacqui Thornton May 14, 2017, 2:19 pm

    Thanks for the link Blocked Dwarf. However, if anyone does choose to reread ‘Where are They Now, Essex Man No 284’, and feels the need to Google any of the Ex MP’s extensive history of alleged scandal and lawsuits in order to piece together how the past may possibly connect to seemingly unrelated police investigations in the present, they can’t. It seems our Essex Man has curiously felt the need to invoke his ‘Right to be Forgotten’.

    A brief background history can be found on journalist Ted Pugh’s Blog: https://canveybeat.wordpress.com/

  • Jonathan May 14, 2017, 6:25 pm

    My Exocet hit 17 years ago and I rapidly discovered that it was not it was all that it was cracked up to be (I agree with Corbyn on Trident; why bother with chain mail, horses and cannon balls when today’s weapon of choice is cyber, not nuclear). Your life changes. So what? Many others have had far worse. Harvey, as I tell Gambo and Cliff – hey, you weren’t even charged let alone wrongly convicted. Check out David Bryant, Geoff Long, Ched Evans – or the thousands who can’t afford the expensive lawyers to get their appeal heard, let alone granted. Dear Raccoon, I do hope G is still getting you The Times; please read Melanie Reid whose weekly columns (Saturdays) are inspirational, not just well written but highly original. Virtually totally paralyzed for years, she tells us this week she’s planning a two week trip to France via Spain. Not easy, but what the hell? One of my very favourite writers. I do hope, when you are elected, some brave editor (I know, haha) will sign you up for a daily column.

    • TheBlockedDwarf May 14, 2017, 6:53 pm

      I do hope, when you are elected, some brave editor (I know, haha) will sign you up for a daily column.
      even without the mantel of parliamentary power being draped across her shoulders , she could a better job than some journalists I could name (yes cub-girl From Rabbit Breeders Weekly, I do mean you,amongst others) and I’m sure a better job than some editors. Being a landlady means she is well practiced at keeping the ‘Gentlemen Of The Press’ in line.

  • Jacqui Thornton May 14, 2017, 7:16 pm

    I seem unable to ‘like’ any of the comments, it just throws up a window to Log in to WordPress, or open my own site? Anyone have any idea what I am doing wrong? Thanks.

    • pxanthippou May 15, 2017, 5:02 pm

      Some time ago, Jacqui, I wrote articles on Anna’s site and another and, to that end, had a Wordpress account; what ever I do here seems to be permitted by that account, never cancelled.

      I suggest you open a Wordpress account:

      https://wordpress.com/

      (I think that’s the right link. Already having such an account and permanently logged in, I’m taken straight to my page; it ought to take you to the right place to get started.)

      ΠΞ

  • Lisboeta May 14, 2017, 7:37 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a long time because what you say is always worth reading. I’ve rarely commented because either (a) you’d covered the issue comprehensively, or (b) other commenters had already said what I might’ve added. It never crossed my mind that responding to a blog that I had enjoyed reading and which made me re-think issues, however inane my comment might’ve been (“I endorse what s/he said”), would’ve encouraged the blog writer who, in effect, was flinging his/her effort and words into the void in the hope that they may strike a chord somewhere. I now realise that feedback is very important. If we value something, we have to add our voice — even if it’s via something as inane as “I endorse what s/he said”.

    You have my total respect.

    • TheBlockedDwarf May 14, 2017, 8:10 pm

      however inane my comment might’ve been (“I endorse what s/he said”),
      Even the humble ‘+1’ has made it’s appearance here on occasion, although it’s usage here is perhaps more akin to that slight raising/toasting of a glass in acknowledgement when one agrees with what the man in the corner just said. This very morning i answered a comment with a simple ‘/’ (meaning ‘end of discussion, all is said’) which in virtual pub terms is my nodding to the Landlady to make that bloke’s next one on me.

      • pxanthippou May 15, 2017, 5:07 pm

        Thanks for that explanation, T.B.D. I’d seen that solidus and assumed you’d just accidentally hit the ‘send’ button too soon.

        ΠΞ

    • Anna Raccoon May 14, 2017, 10:13 pm

      Lisboeta,
      I think it is fair to say that the feedback, in the form of comments, HAS become important to me in the light of recent events. Yes, I admit it, I need my friends around me right now to keep me going. It’s a physical effort to keep writing, but an effort I am making for my own sake. The blog is my window on the world outside of this bed…
      I am struggling to stay positive and to find some good out of what has happened to me – it would be only too easy to give up and feel sorry for myself, so I’m not ashamed to say that if you drop by and read, say hello at the same time – as you would if you called in to see a friend. You are all my friends, and maybe I’m just asking that you show me a little support right now, because like I said – I am struggling.

      • TheBlockedDwarf May 14, 2017, 10:20 pm

        ” I am struggling.”
        I would be worried if you weren’t. What you describe as ‘struggling’ would have anyone else in a hospice with incense, soft lighting and bloody Native American Shamans Whale Song Collection or on a one-way ticket to Switzerland.
        You can expect too much of yourself you know?

  • dioclese May 14, 2017, 9:59 pm

    Hi Anna.
    I am glad to hear that your blog will not shuffle off the mortal with you. That would be a shame.

    I advise that you put moderation in place at your new home. Such security against a certain trolling type will be essential and if you’re not self hosting – as I myself do not on my own blog – moderation is the only answer.

    I don’t recommend it, but should read how you-know-who has been obscenely badmouthing you and I in the comments of the top post over at The Ranting Penguin. The Penguin has been dormant since 2012 but is still there on Blogger. Tommy Twelvetoes of Upton is using it as a platform for his nonsensical trolling and revelling in the fact that we can’t stop him on a dormant, unsupervised blog. He’s then going around trolling other blogs telling them to read it!

    The guy you visited all those months back is, of course, completely innocent of all trolling offences which is why the ‘other bloke who isn’t him’ keeps banging on about it. Perfectly logical…

    Unfortunately there’s no email for The Ranting Penguin on the blog. If anyone reading this knows him, perhaps they would be good enough to let him know what’s going on.

    I know you can do without crap like this, but forewarned is forearmed.

    Hang in there old girl. Polling day is coming. The way things are you might even unseat Corbyn yet, although according to McDonut today the polls indicate that Labour is on track to win the General Election. I kid you not. You couldn’t make it up…

    • Anna Raccoon May 14, 2017, 10:20 pm

      I am hanging in there. I haven’t heard from the Penguin for a year or so, I don’t know what happened to him. Whilst the blog will stay it will be watched over by the man who was kind enough to save it and host it – comments will be turned off when the time comes, it won’t just float around in cyberspace for the amusement of idiots, fear not. Right now it is a welcome alternative to staring at a blank wall in a hospice.

  • Bandini May 15, 2017, 10:05 am

    Off-topic, though it may amuse, horrify & enrage some…

    Deputy Chief Constable Lisa Winward, North Yorkshire Police:
    “Further to the announcement I made back in March, I’m pleased to say that from today North Yorkshire Police now recognise misogyny as a hate crime.”

    They’ve made a little film to explain what it’s all about.
    “Their [the stars of the film] experiences are proof [!] that this behaviour is something that EVERY woman has experienced and been affected by at some point in their lives.” [My emphasis.]

    So, that’s approximately half the population (females) as a victim of a crime at the hands/vocal-cords of the other half (males). Where are the Two Ronnies when you need ’em? The Worm That Turned (or just shrivelled in fear of ‘assaulting’ someone with a mistimed compliment or clumsy flirtatious comment). What a world!

    https://northyorkshire.police.uk/news/misogyny-recognised-hate-crime/

  • Gloria Smudd May 15, 2017, 12:52 pm

    “I have had to get used to the lack of privacy too. I can no longer be alone. There must always be someone with me. No phone call is private. No part of my body is private – I have round the clock care to wash me and dress me. No bodily function is private. That is why it becomes so very important to have some control over some part of my life – ”
    ……………………………………..
    I spent 3 months bedridden in hospital when I was 20 and the experience of those 12 weeks has never really left me. It was everything Anna describes; the absence of solitude, privacy, dignity and control eventually becomes in itself an intensely stressful, round-the-clock condition of existence. Anna is candidly ‘telling it like it is’.

    Ms R has got this blog ‘up and out of bed’ on her behalf and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort & determination she has made in doing so.

  • Mr Ecks May 15, 2017, 5:21 pm

    The return of Mr Ecks will hardly be a pleasure but for whatever its worth I m glad to see you active again Ms Racoon. I was saddened to see some sort of kids clothes advert replace your blog and then even that disappeared. I still kept checking back from time to time tho’ and lo you have reappeared. All thanks for that.

    • Anna Raccoon May 15, 2017, 7:28 pm

      On the contrary Mr Ecks, your return is welcome as is everybody else’s. There is a drink behind the bar especially for you (so long as you are not a voter in Islington North – in which case I would be guilty of ‘treating’!)

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