Your Monthly Horoscope With Dr. Pat Cancer ~ July

Pat Cancer


Aries (March 21-April 19)

As Olivia Newton-John sang in the 1978 movie of the same name, “Sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na yippity dip de doom“. Just harmless fun, you may think. Yes, to the less attentive listener. But dig deeper and you’ll see all words lead to DOOM. Be wary this July when a touring musical rides into town, possibly carrying explosives.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Somewhere in the wild sands of the Sahara a man proposes to his girlfriend as a young woman in Bali first glimpses the face of her true love. At the same time by a fountain in Savannah old friends reunite and recall childhood summers, just as you enter Superdrug in York and find that they have Nivea face cream on offer.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

If every picture told a story books wouldn’t need covers, and covers wouldn’t need books. So when people say don’t judge a book by the cover, they really mean you shouldn’t judge one story by another. So, if you decide to cheat on your partner this month and the relationship ends, twist it however you wish… guilt free.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

You had been feeling inspired recently, but your creativity has just hit a rough patch – the opposite of a smooth patch. Your energy is low, and you crave relaxation. We all need a breather sometimes, but you’re positively dozing. As I write this I have no expectation of you even reading it, you absolute waste of space.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

A friend of yours, who shall remain nameless, came up to me on Thursday night and said you’ve been considering a big change recently. Something involving volcanic rock and dwarf tinnitus. I’ve no idea what to make of this or which of ‘you’ he/she was referring to but she/he was emphatic that you’d know who you are.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll have noticed how stiflingly it has been in the United Kingdom recently – though living under a rock is probably no walk in the park. In any case, Virgos are notoriously sun- shy and most at risk from summer blues. Buy a Christmas tree and place fridge magnets on your radiators.

Libra (September 23-October 22)

With your ruling planet Venus keeping a fair distance this month it may be wise to look closer to home for guidance. The stars are usually our most valuable asset in forecasting when there is something in the water, but often we can use common sense too. A hosepipe ban is sure to be here soon: buy plenty of hosepipes.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

It’s been a long time coming, but the day is finally here – a promotion at work! Your pay rise leads to instant domestic bliss. Holidays are booked, the kids spoiled, and old skeletons shut in the closet or swept under the rug. However, an unscheduled visit from a rug salesman uncovers your ten year reign of merciless killings.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Somewhere around the middle of the month you shall get caught in a digger.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, represents the tenth stage of human evolution. Capricks yearn for control by virtue of authority, which comes from rules and regulations. Sadly, they are often guilty of over enforcing rules they themselves do not follow or question and are usually in charge of small, regional Tescos.

Aquarius (January 20 to February 18)

Stop hanging around in the same crowd. Stop visiting the same bar. Stop hearing the same conversations from the same people. Stop wearing those old tops. Stop trying to be funny. Stop thinking everything will be ok. Stop waving to your blind neighbour. Stop doing things just because someone else says you should.

Pisces (February 19 to March 20)

Appearances can deceive. Some fruits should not be eaten. Always be careful not to leave your spare house key under a hedgehog, and did you know the correct name for monkey nuts is in fact monkey ‘testicles’? Anyway, exercise caution when taking your niece to collect that ‘cute pocket rabbit’ you bought her on ebay.

Dr. Pat Cancer for Pf Magazine



Carol Coombes O.B.E ~ Cracking Wellness


Carol Coombes was awarded an O.B.E, and an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University, for her outstanding achievements in business and her tireless, compassionate, services to the voluntary sector in Birmingham.

We are supporting Carol, and many others, by sharing her stories. This is what she has to say about changing views on health, by looking at ‘wellness’ rather than ‘illness’.

Cracking Wellness

We’re gaining mass and notable support for Cracking Wellness: Please join, and spread the word?

This is a community owned initiative to find out more than we ever have about the human body, wellness, and illnesses including the biggest risk to Public Health for this generation: Cancer. I know we’ve all been affected by cancer, and we need to protect our kids. We’re gathering great notable people together to support this. We’re aiming to hugely enhance the impact and benefits of Public Health whilst reducing pressure on health providers.

Currently, all of us across the world only interact with health care systems at the point of illness. Only managing illness is measured, nothing about wellness as a standard. Myself, and a growing number of others are advocating Cracking Wellness () the intelligent use of current data and collation of wellness data. So much data is collected now, none of it used for public benefit, while incidences of chronic health conditions are continuing to soar, and the most vulnerable being rendered even more so.

This approach, looking toward what sustains and strengthens us would reduce pressure on health providers, equip us to Become Our Own Experts, and much more. We’re just bringing people to the notion of looking for the good, and it’s evolving as we go.

Because of my position, I’m working to get others to pick it up and develop it fully. It’s the first time apparently anyone’s thought of gathering wellness data – or using ours intelligently – so we’re having input from across the world, excitingly, as people start to get excited about the information this approach could bring. It’s not a service, based anywhere, it’s for something similar in nature to the NHS, but supporting wellness, not managing illness, to find new info about the body, and reduce pressure on our healthcare systems everywhere.

There’s a bit of early context here, though the situation has evolved somewhat.

I’ve recently had the only blood tests I’ve had in the 15 months. Despite being c 9 months past a potential sell-by date, the tests showed nothing untoward. We know very little about cancer. This would tell us about how our bodies manage all types of illness.

Ignoring all other illnesses, which we can’t, Cancer’s 1 in 2 minimum, current treatments are damaging. No kind approaches to the body are being assessed. Your influence could really help to change that, especially for under 16s, who have no choice of treatment.

Lots of great people, scientists, app developers, techies, are gathering to support this. We’d be really grateful if you would.

Carol Coombes O.B.E




True Stories ~ Love Conquers All


You never forget that moment. That one single moment that changes your life forever.

For me, it was my Father being mowed down by a number 78 bus on his way out from Tuesday night bingo. This weekly trip was his salvation, his escape from a loveless marriage to my Mother – a serial knitter and a crashing bore.

In some small way, I like to think that bingo saved him, and his number had been called.
Soon after the funeral, about an hour to be exact, my Mother found solace in the toilets of the nearby pub with a man named Derek. In the twenty minutes between speeches and sandwiches, she had found her emotional band-aid, while my entire being was an oozing wound, leaking pus-filled heartache.

Mum eventually settled down with Derek, discovered her hitherto buried wild side and moved out of the family home and relocated to Truro. The woman who had brought me, kicking and screaming into this world had made her bed, and she quite enjoyed lying in it. I found a flat above a chip shop, and my life as a single woman continued apace.

I had formed two serious relationships. At University, I had thrown all my eggs into a delicate lesbian-shaped basket. Susan was my everything. She was beautiful, kind and sweet. After four years, she decided to go travelling to find herself. Instead, she found Harry and two years later they married atop a mountain in Peru.

I then met Martin, an emotionally unavailable man with an unhealthy obsession with Britney Spears, but a man who would do anything for me. We moved in together, spoke of children and dogs. He proposed in front of an overexcited American couple in Margate and the date was set. A week before the wedding, he was involved in a cycling accident and suffered almost total memory loss.

My then best friend and bridesmaid, Kelly, suffered no such injury, but married Martin a year later, in the very church we had booked. I was invited, and not wanting to seem bitter, I attended. It was a lovely ceremony, and the whole congregation laughed heartily when Martin accidentally slipped my name into the vows instead of Kelly’s. The reception was a blurry mess of Mum dancing and stolen snogs with the best man’s younger brother. The resulting fight with his fiancé was not a life highlight.

My new-found bitterness took me down self-pity avenue, and after a brief wrong turn into Tinder crescent, I arrived at opportunity lane.

England were playing in the World Cup against a nation I hadn’t realised existed. This seemed like a good time to head to the pub with my friend Marnie. At half-time, 3-0 down and only five pints in, the mood in the pub was equal to that of my Dad’s funeral. The sea of male faces, all wearing the expressions of told off teenagers faced forward towards the over-loud television; all except one.

As our team of overpaid Neanderthals conceded yet another goal, I headed to the bar. By this stage in the evening, Marnie was busy with a man wearing an England flag and little else. I could feel yet another drunken walk home and the obligatory visit to my local fast food establishment for burger and chips.

My heart slid further south as I ordered pint number seven. I turned and there he was, dressed in his England uniform and swaying like a palm tree in a hurricane. I will never forget his opening salvo as the crowd groaned in the background.

“Like footie, d’yer?”

The next thing I recall was the smell of twelve herbs and spices as we fondled behind KFC. Over the course of the tournament, we returned to the same public house and repeated the same performance as actors who knew their lines. Being the romantic type, Mark took me, once again, to the back of KFC. After a smooch, he led me inside for a variety bucket.

My heart filled with a fluttering promise of things to come. Perhaps he was the one, maybe, just maybe I would get what I longed for.

The cruel hand of lady fate pulled down my pants and slapped me firmly on the bottom. On a family trip to the zoo, he was taunting and agitating a group of chimps. One of them decided to take fate, and his faeces, into his own hands. He flung it towards Mark, and the resulting monkey poo facemask blinded him.

The following weeks and months were torture. Mark lost his appetite for life, and I had almost lost my love. We battled through these tough times and took comfort in each other. Mark may have been blind, but it was plain to see that our love could conquer all.

Jason Moody for Pf Magazine


Comedy Monologues

The Monologues of Clementine Close ~ Geoff



Image courtesy of Elsie Bell_Art

Have you ever strolled down a street and wondered what goes on behind the net curtains and closed doors of the resident’s houses?

Well, we invite you to join us as we glimpse inside this fictional street, with its back to back houses and secret entries, and introduce you to the ordinary and extraordinary people who live there.

Meet Geoff…

I love Thursdays, Deirdre, the Missus, goes to her pottery class and I get a rest from the constant nagging and moans. Oh, she still leaves me a list of jobs to do, fix that; mend this. But for two and a half blissful hours, I get a break from her whining irritating voice.

She’s always harping on about trivial things; not slicing the bread straight, leaving a light on or dribbling the odd spot of piddle on her toilet mat. I told her, you try aiming with a dodgy prostrate. I have to wait hours for anything to come out and when it does, it has a mind of its own.

I’ve taken to locking myself in my shed with Radio 4, planning her demise and reading a copy of ‘Wood-turning monthly’.

I didn’t think I was a jealous man but Gerry from the ‘Man Shed project’ has just got himself a girl from Russia, lovely she is. Blonde hair, all her own teeth and she keeps a clean house. She’s a bit younger than him but they get on like a house on fire. He brings in a decent wage as a landscape gardener and she warms his slippers and picks out the soil particles from under his nails.

He’s always raving about what a good chef she is as well, although he did mention that his piss had turned purple from all the beetroot.

And if that’s not enough, turns out she’s also good at massage, and I know this because she offered to sort out my shoulders with some ointment she’d brought over with her. It was bloody miraculous, cleared up the pain a treat and those hands of hers, nothing like Deirdre’s gnarled claws.

Not that the Mrs would ever massage anything of mine anyway. No, that all stopped when I lost my job at the council. She was happy enough to take the compensation money but defrosting that fridge of a woman was way beyond my humble capabilities.

I suppose you’d think, after twenty-five years, I’d have been used to it, but if truth be told the more time went on, the more discontent I felt.

I don’t know if it was seeing the spring in Gerry’s step and dreaming of a young woman warming my slippers, or whether it was because I felt like I was dying inside, but things just started spiralling into the abyss.

I’d been having dark thoughts for weeks. Every time she bent over to empty the dishwasher or hand vacuum the carpet on the stairs.

Gerry said, he totally got it because his ex-wife had been the same. He even said he’d help organise a Skype with one of Ivanka’s friends.

I was a bit dubious at first, well you hear tales about this sort of thing don’t you, but after a few days I thought, what have I got to lose?

I told him I didn’t want some ‘slip of a lass’, I wanted a proper woman, someone on my wavelength, interested in exercise, walking and if possible someone who liked to handle a bit of wood.

Shared interests, that’s got to be the way forward hasn’t it? My thinking was, if she could handle an Axminster turning lathe, we could be on to a winner.

And that, as they say, is how I met Nikita: thirty-nine, red-head, a trained nurse and an artisan carver. She had a slightly wonky right eye, from a splinter of rogue elm, but I thought the patch was rather becoming.

I’d started talking to her online, sometimes late at night but mostly when Deirdre went to one of her group things. Her English was perfect and we had some smashing conversations about linseed, rasps and coping saws.

She was everything Deirdre wasn’t. Kind, considerate, creative and attentive.

All those years I had to endure her public put-downs and humiliations, preventing me from doing things which I used to love and enjoy.

Nikita made me realise what my life had been missing, so the decision to leave, just became a case of timing and logistics. I would be free from the evil manipulative cow forever.

I didn’t have to wait long, it was only a few days after I’d made my mind up, that Deirdre flounced in and announced that we were joining a salsa dancing class. She didn’t ask me whether I fancied it or gave any consideration to the fact that I had two left feet and hated dancing. NO! She said she wasn’t taking no for an answer and that was that.

I was all flummoxed at first. Partly because I wanted to object but partly because I’d been Skyping Nikita and so had to slam down the laptop lid.

It had been a particularly heated experience too. We’d been sharing a bit of Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ whilst she planed a door down, in just her bra and knickers. It was so comforting that we shared this love of nineteenth-century classical music.

So that was it. I felt the catalyst ignite. I realised in that split second, that I was going to stand this no longer. I didn’t even recognise myself anymore. For years, she’d been moulding me into her idea of a husband and daft bugger that I am, I’d let her do it. She’d crushed every bit of the Geoff Baker, I used to be.

She’s always been like a bull terrier with a pork chop, when she sets her mind to something. There’s never been any point arguing with her. I’ve learnt that over the years.

Oh, I suppose I could have just told her to fuck off there and then and announce that I was off to Russia to be with Nikita, but some twisted part of me wanted to make a more public stand against her.

I wanted her to feel at least some of the humiliation she made me feel on a regular basis. I drew the line at a frilly shirt though.

When she rocked down the stairs looking like an oversized piñata, I knew I was making the right decision, Lord knows where she got her outfit from, but suffice to say she might be needing new curtains in the back bedroom.

There was going to be a lot of our friends there, it seems they’d got roped into it as well. As I said, she can be very persuasive.

You could hear the South American music as we pulled up onto the car park. A heady mixture of Spanish guitar and snare drum. It took me right back to the summer of ’78. It’s strange how music can do that isn’t it? I was so different back then, full of life and optimism. Like I feel when I talk to Nikita.

The place was heaving when we got inside, full of Deirdre’s people, the whole hideous bunch of them. A perfect audience.

I bided my time, waiting until the opportune moment, and it came as I was heaving a large lady with a facial mole into a reverse embrace. I suppose I should have waited for the break but I got a sudden burst of confidence so I let go of Busty Bertha and jumped on to the stage, snatching the dance teacher’s radio mike off his head and holding it to my mouth.

And then it all came flooding out…

I think most of you know me, I said, and know that woman over there is my wife Deirdre. I didn’t want to come tonight but Deirdre insisted I did. You see, Deirdre insists that I do everything she says. She buys my clothes, tells me what I should eat, tells me where we are going on holiday.

My wife has publicly humiliated me on numerous occasions and I’ve just smiled through it. She’s turned me into a man that I don’t recognise anymore and I don’t even like him.

So now it’s my turn. Deirdre. I hate you. I have probably hated you for twenty-four of our miserable twenty-five years of marriage. I hate your face, I hate your voice and I hate you.

I could see she was giving me one of her looks but I was on a roll.

So I wanted to tell you, I said, in front of all your friends, that I’m leaving you and yes I have met someone else. She’s a beautiful Russian called Nikita and she can build her own cabinets.

Oh, and by the way, I’ve emptied the savings and the bank accounts, after all I earned it all, and I’ve told the housing association that I’m moving out.

Years, I’ve envied the lives of those people who had happy marriages, a sex life and someone who loves them to come home to, well now I’m going to be one of those people.

I could see Deirdre, out of the corner of my eye but I walked right past her.

As you can imagine, everyone just stood there open-mouthed. Watching me jump off the stage and march out of the centre.

I’d already packed my bags and left them in the garage at home where she wouldn’t find them, so I had no need to hang around and wait for the repercussions. My midnight flight to Pulkova airport wasn’t going to hang about, just this last tube journey to Heathrow and I have my whole new life ahead of me.  

Jules Garvey Welch for Pf Magazine



I Love Big Knickers Because…


Oh come on, who doesn’t? I love them because they are comfortable. The ones you can pull all the way up to your boobs. No, not the incredibly uncomfortable spandex ones that just push the fat up underneath your armpits so you have an extra pair of boobs. The nice, soft, cotton ones that don’t roll down beneath your tummy apron; that constant reminder that you were probably the last person to have an operation before they invented keyhole surgery.

Visible panty line is a thing of the past when you’ve got your big knickers on, no tight hems highlighting all your lumps and bumps, digging in halfway through your love handles accentuating your Michelin man physique. No silly triangles riding up your front and back bottom all day, flossing your lady’s chamber with every step you take. I lose concentration quite easily at my age, if I’m not in my biggest knickers I will be adjusting them every five minutes whatever company I’m in.

My favourite days of the week are the ones just after I’ve done my laundry. I don’t have a whole week’s worth of the best big knickers, just four pairs, four days of bliss. I’ll approach that clothes airer with a spring in my step as I take the biggest pair and smile, safe in the knowledge everything will be in the right place that day.

My only real disappointment with my big knickers is that they started life as white knickers. I’m too lazy to separate my whites and coloureds, well I don’t really have many white clothes. So I have big grey knickers. Totes embarrassing on the two occasions I found myself in A&E and had to strip off; coupled with the fact I was also wearing my white/grey bra!

I’ve heard women saying that they feel sexy if they’re wearing lacy, ill-fitting, pants and matching bra. I wouldn’t feel sexy on a date if I was constantly shuffling from one bum cheek to another, trying to free the G String from its stranglehold on my trapped pubes. Far from it.  I certainly wouldn’t feel sexy undressing to reveal my tummy apron in its black lace hammock, or my boobs spilling out over the top of my push up bra (picture melons housed in two eye patches sewn together, on second thoughts…don’t!)

OK, being honest here… in my younger days, before babies, the menopause, an under-active thyroid and a penchant for beer and cheese… I did browse, and purchase, some delicate little frillies. They were reserved for the bedroom though, so I didn’t need to suffer the torment of having to dress to suit my underwear. But, one of the MANY things I love about being fifty is not giving a damn (or pretending not to give a damn). Forget learning to feel comfortable in your own skin, I want, and do, feel comfortable in my clothes, especially my big knickers!

Lisa Ives for Pf Magazine