"Fran, I Didn't Expect To See You Here"

BIGGEST WOOL SALE EVER
all proceeds donated to Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.

 
One  rainy and miserable Saturday morning earlier this year, my husband and I  drove over the bridge to Mercy Hospital. We had  an appointment with Maria, an oncologist. We got drenched in the dash from the car park to the hospital entrance, hadn't a clue as to where we had to be, and having finally found our way, we tumbled into the  waiting room, which was  empty. (I had requested the  first appointment, I had a wool shop to open at 10.am) The lady, seated behind the reception desk looked up to greet us. The welcoming smile rapidly fell from her face as  she recognized me, (she's one of my  lovely customers) and blurted out "Fran I didn't expect to see you here."  Well, we all know that knitting has many beneficial health properties, it reduces anxiety and stress, it's meditative, and it's a distraction from over eating, excessive drinking and smoking, BUT, as far as I am aware it does not prevent you from getting breast cancer.  If I hadn't felt so miserable, my North of England sense of humour would have kicked in and I would have thought of a witty response. 

  Anyway, the whole drama started the previous Tuesday. It was my day off. I'd planned to potter in the gardening, have a leisurely dog walk on the beach and go to to the gym. I'd also  booked a mammogram, the appointment was squeezed (pardon the pun) between all my other more enjoyable activities. I am extra cautious, so have my free appointment with Breastscreen Aotearoa  one year and then have a private screening  the following year.  It was the year of the private mammogram and I hadn't been to Auckland Breast Center in Milford before. As  I entered  the waiting room I thought 'this is my kind of place'...there were super comfy armchairs, glossy magazines, beautiful artwork on the walls, and most most importantly, a large bowl of individually wrapped chocolates. I hoped the appointments were running late so I could get  maximum use from my plush surroundings. 

  Anyway, I digress.  We all know the score, we strip off, get gowned up,  and then endure 10 minutes of undignified discomfort. I have very low blood pressure, and the running procedure of this mammogram was no different to all my others. Mid clamp I was asked "are you feeling alright,  only you have gone very pale?". After a number of  rapid releases,  a sit down with my head between my knees and some sips of water, the ordeal was over.  I dash out and prepare to get dressed, only to be told  to remain in my stylish blue gown and to take a very comfortable seat in  another  luxurious waiting room. At Auckland Breast Center your  images are  studied there and then, you're  informed that everything  is absolutely fine,  and  sent on your way. How good is that? I was happy to put up with a short wait as I'd spotted the tea and coffee making facilities. Although not planning to be long, I never decline a cup of tea, which along with a fistful of chocolates went down a treat. I chatted to other ladies as they came for their screening, waited for their results and went on their way. I  felt myself getting a little tetchy. Why was I left waiting so long?  Finally the radiographer sidled up to me and  asked  if I would mind having another mammogram? I started to feel a little wobbly and my skin began to prickle. She assured me it was probably nothing to worry about, but another set of images were required.  I endured a second  mammogram, returned to my comfy armchair, made a second cup of tea, and dolloped in rather a lot of sugar. The hot sweet tea  helped wash down a further  fistful of chocolates. The ordeal was not over. I  was then asked if  I would like to have an ultrasound,, "no, not really" I heard myself think, but I doubted I had an option. With the ultrasound complete, a bladder fit to burst and sky high sugar levels, I surely would be allowed to go home. No chance! My final procedure that day, was a biopsy, performed in a cool, darkened room by two lovely ladies  who distracted me wonderfully by telling me of their appallingly bad knitting skills, which were, thankfully, paired with sky high knitters enthusiasm and a great sense of humour. 

  I was finally  allowed to get dressed, it was a little tricky as I'd been injected with anesthetic, had bits cut out and was now sporting a large medical dressing. I headed out to the reception, and, glancing at the clock, realized that I had been there most of the afternoon, my lovely plans for the day had turned to custard. 

  I made an appointment for the following Monday to get my  biopsy results. I seem to remember been told to bring a support person with me for the  appointment, but that didn't register as anything untoward. As well as having anesthetic injected into my breast, my brain was also feeling a little numb. I clearly remember, paying the bill though, it was alarmingly large and the loose change  in my purse was not going to cover it.  It was definitely a case of whack it on the credit card.

  I had fully intended NOT letting my husband know about my rather busy and nerve wracking afternoon. I'd get the biopsy results, which of course would be fine, and he would be none the wiser. Unfortunately, I had had my credit card hacked some months earlier, some scumbag had had a very enjoyable  shopping trip at my expense! Since then Neil monitors my spending activities   like a hawk. By the time I had paid the  bill, left the building and reached my car he'd  have received a notification, and would be calling me to find out what  the heck was going on. I hadn't a 'cat in hell's  chance' of hiding this escapade from him. 

   Well to cut a  long story short, of course I did had breast cancer, the tumor it was small, early and very treatable. That Saturday I discussed my treatment options with Maria at Mercy Hospital and the following week I had surgery and inter operative radiation. Apart from having to take medication that blooming well makes my legs ache, and having regular checks, everything is back to normal. I feel extremely  fortunate.
 
NOW THE REALLY IMPORTANT PART


a rather perky line up
 
Now of course, all of the above  has absolutely nothing to do with my wool shop and knitting, however I have spotted an excellent opportunity to raise some money for Breast Cancer Research NZ and to allow you all to grab the chance to add some rather lovely goodies to your wool stash.

  Here's a little background information....I e.mailed all my suppliers, I don't have too many, but they are all rather lovely  people. With my business I work on the  principle that I only buy damn good products, but even more importantly I only buy from people I like. It's stood me in good stead for nearly 20 years so I'm sticking to this method of doing business. I  asked if they would like to donate any unwanted wool, deleted lines, and anything that was surplus to requirements, my only stipulation was, rather cheekily, that what sent, had to be of exceptionally high quality.  Well, within an incredibly short space of time absolutely everyone agreed to 'come to the party' Over the following few days box after box of the most amazing products turned up at the shop and I mentally totted up how much money I would be able to raise. My initial estimate was in the region of $1000, but knowing what has arrived I know that amount is going to be blown out of the water, I expect to at least triple that!.
 
a titillating selection
                   
 So, starting at 10 am this Thursday and continuing on Friday and Saturday, I will offering you the most amazing yarns at rather ridiculous prices. ABSOLUTELY every dollar that you spend will be sent directly to Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.

  And here's rather a sobering thought. Over the last week I have been verbally telling ladies who come into the store about my intended plan. I kid you not...almost every one of you responds in a similar manner. You say "I/ my mother /daughter/ sister-in -law/ best friend/ work colleague  had breast cancer. Doesn't that send a chill down your spine, you realize it doesn't just happen to someone else.
 And of course, I know it's a cliche, but can I please urge all you ladies to go and have regular checks...lecture over!
 
  Now for those of you who can't reach the store until Saturday, and maybe have 'the family' in tow, you'll discover Milford buzzing with activity. From 10 am until 4 pm the village will be hosting a  Pirate Market Day. I see this as an excellent opportunity, you come and have some respite in my store, while the kids take part in a treasure hunt, or use up surplus energy on a pirate ship bouncy castle. 

  In entering into the Pirate themed spirit, we'll be  dressing up the outside of the shop with swashbuckling bunting and our looted treasure chest will be overflowing with our glorious fundraising gems and jewels of glorious wool. 

  Also on Saturday, there will be  a Vintage Fashion Show and Vintage Market along with buskers and a heritage photography exhibition. Maybe go along to these activities once you have spent a great deal of money in my shop!
                                       
very high class odds 'n' sods 
 
Now most importantly I would like to give a HUGE mention to to  all my suppliers, who, without hesitation, sent me box after box of fabulous wool's and products. There generosity has been astonishing, well  beyond my wildest expectations.

 Wentworth Distributors, ever generous,  Patty and Oliver had a good rummage through their warehouse and packed me up the most luscious selection of New Zealand specialty yarns.
Touch Yarns, Glenn and Kylie selected some rather lovely  nuggets of top quality New Zealand merino.   
Trendy Trims, Brad excelled by sending me all his remaining stock of Debbie Bliss Yarns. Paloma, Donegal Tweed Fine and Aran weight, Cotton 8 ply, Rialto and Cashmerino. Our prices on these rather sexy yarns will be ridiculously low.
Alpaca Yarns, Jan supplies me with the most incredibly soft Pure Baby Alpaca Yarn. She's sent over a scrumptious selection of very high quality 'odds 'n' sods. Alpaca lovers will be fighting over this yarn.
 Ascott Lane. Jess and Jo sent a super package of pirate themed fabric, so on Saturday we will have swashbuckling bunting decorating our sale table. 
Lisa F Designs, Lisa designs the most adorable knitting patterns, many of the knitted samples on display in the shop  are her creations. Despite working, designing and being an incredible busy mum, she also packed us a parcel of products to add to our fundraising sale. 

Well, that's your lot. I know I have not given any indication of prices, there's just too much to mention. Rest assured, everything on offer will be available at stupidly low prices, ranging from from as little as $1 up to about $9.  

See you all soon and thank you for reading to the end.
Fran and The Woolly Girls
November 13, 2019 by Fran Stafford