How Wide the Moorland Sky

How Wide the Moorland Sky


Just in time to solve all your Christmas present problems, my new book of poetry comes out today, and is available from Amazon.

Title: How Wide the Moorland Sky

ISBN-13: 978-1978235700

Price £5.00, or equivalent $ or Euros from Amazon

Publisher’s Blurb:

This new collection of poems by the Yorkshire poet, Steve Hobson, includes pieces that go back over forty years, from his time as a member of the Huddersfield group of writers that included Simon Armitage, Peter Sansom, Clare Chapman and Duncan Curry, through his time working as a classical librettist, to his recent poems that deal with getting older with disability and blindness.


Don’t miss this opportunity to sort out all your Christmas presents nice and early!



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Eating Babies

Treatment starts


I start taking my drugs for the cancer on Thursday of this week. I have to take one tablet a day of Bicalutamide for two weeks before my first injection. The purpose of these two treatments is to shrink the tumour, so my fingers are crossed. I can’t stay on the drugs for longer than three months because my body will learn that it is being chemically tricked and stop playing the game, so that’s when the actual radiotherapy starts, with the intention of killing all the cancer cells.

It’s strange to know you have cells in your body that are designed to kill you. This is planned obsolescence taken to extremes. Just as the inevitable breakdown of our washing machines keeps the washing machine factories working, so our inevitable deaths keep the baby factories working.

It begs the question of what happens to new babies when humans achieve immortality. Will people have to do what Swift ironically suggested in A Modest Proposal, which is to grow them for food? Or will sex become illegal?

Everyone keep smiling.

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Guest Posts

Just to announce that two guest posts by George Monbiot have been added to the Guest Features page. Both of them are worth thinking and talking about.

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The Cards Have Been Shuffled

As you may know, I have elected to undergo a radical prostatectomy operation for my cancer. It’s wasn’t easy, but I came to terms with the decision and all seemed settled.

However, the Dealer who gave me my hand of cards to play in this life thought all was too easy, so he/she/it has shuffled again and given me a new hand. The Dealer’s default position is a snigger.

Apparently, I will be upside down for three hours during the operation, to allow gravity to make more room around my prostate, and this will massively increase the pressure in my head. There is a danger of losing the little sight I have left in my left eye. I’m already totally blind in my right eye, so there is a risk of being in total darkness.

To me, along with anaesthetic problems with my MS, this is not a risk I’m OK with. So I’m back to the radiotherapy option, and I’ve set those wheels in motion. Treatment begins next week with three months of hormone treatment, followed by daily radiotherapy in Leeds for a month, then some more hormones.

When I meditate, I can feel the anger inside me, my raised heart rate and the tension in my legs and arms. I am angry with the cancer, of course, but also with my own body, my dad for his genetic gift, the doctors and nurses for not being magicians, and all of you who are healthy for being just that.

I am in a constant state of fight or flight, and I’m aware of little rushes of adrenaline. This is how it feels to be angry all the time. It’s just not healthy.

Just as my meditation practice has become important, it has become really difficult to stop myself pacing up and down



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The Decision is Made

Finally, I have made the decision, a decision that, who knows, might be the most important decision of my life!

The experts have been consulted, the internet has been trawled, the lists of pros and cons have been made, friends and family and blogs have been questioned, and now the research can stop, and I must now fully commit to a course of action that everyone has pointed out is entirely my responsibility.

Time to trust the experts.

Following the advice of some, and disregarding the advice of others, I have opted for surgery. There is a complicating factor, which is the effect that the general anaesthetic might have on my MS, so I have to go see a consultant anaesthetist first.

Were it not for the pain, I would like to watch the operation, because it is performed through five tiny cuts in my abdomen, into which they put robots. The robots are controlled by the surgeon with a screen and a mouse. For him, it’s a three hour video game.

The operation should be in about six weeks. If I hear any more I’ll let you know. All other engagements for November and December are now on hold!


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On the Horns of a Dilemma

Just as I had worked out a strategy to postpone the ultimate defeat, the Dealer has shuffled the pack and re-dealt the cards.

My hand is worse than it was, so it’s all back to the drawing board.

The latest MRI scan has revealed that my cancer has become Intermediate on one side of my prostate. It is thinking of moving on and has started to pack its bags. Active surveillance no longer seems to be the treatment option of choice, and I’m now being offered surgery or radiotherapy with hormone treatment.

I can’t pretend I haven’t got it now and I can’t rely on positivity bluster any more. I need to act wisely and decisively. A sort of Napoleonic surgical strike.

As things are at the moment, both treatments will aim for cure, rather than management, and both treatments have the same statistical outcomes, which are good.

If I opt for surgery I can have radiotherapy later if it’s needed, but if I go for radiotherapy I can’t later have surgery. 1-0 to surgery. Surgery would remove it entirely from my body, so that’s 2-0.

Most people seem to have some degree of bladder incontinence after surgery, and some have bowel incontinence. Either of these impact on quality of life, so the score is now 2-1. The consultants are worried about the possible adverse effects a long operation would have on my MS. So radiotherapy has just equalised.

I’m leaning towards radiotherapy preceded by a course of hormone treatment to reduce the swelling of the prostate. This would start as soon as I decide, then a month later I would go to Leeds every day for four weeks for the radiotherapy itself. Some logistical issues here, but I’ll work that out. I should be fit for England selection by Christmas – bluster bluster.

Actually, I’m worried. There – I’ve said it.



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It’s interesting to observe that now I’ve received the official technical description of my tumour, I appear to have been reluctant to share it here. So I’m now going to take the plunge and fight the evil monster by exposing it to the oxygen of blog readers

Ten days ago I had my scan to establish the base line by which we can judge the growth or non-growth of the tumour, and thus make rational decisions about treatment options. The result of the scan is that my tumour is T2C. T1 and T2 are tumours that are still in only the prostate gland. T3 is when the cells have decided to go sightseeing to see if I have another desirable property in which they could live and have more babies, like my lymph system or my bones or my liver.

Mine is T2, so it is still happy staying at home. T2 cancers have three stages, A B and C. C is the biggest. The next stage is T3, so my tumour is on the cusp. It is just thinking about looking in the windows of estate agents. I feel a bit unsafe now, and am waiting for appointments in Bradford to see a surgeon and a radiologist, to see what delights they can offer. At the moment, I’ve ruled nothing out and nothing in.

As you can imagine, my two new books are not at the front of my mind. They’re both still going ahead, and I’ll let you know when they’re available in Amazon.


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