Todd Alexander, author of Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga, pays tribute to his mother

Todd Alexander, author of Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga, pays tribute to his mother

About the author

Todd Alexander is the author of eleven books including his latest novel, Tom Houghton, released by Simon & Schuster in October 2015.  A graduate of Law and Arts,Todd started his career as a bookseller and spent 12 years working at eBay.  Today, Todd runs a boutique accommodation business and vineyard in the Hunter Valley with his partner, cat, pigs, ducks and chooks.  He is also an advisor to the online marketplace, Bountye.

Purchase a copy of Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga here

Words // Todd Alexander

‘What have you got there?’ Jeff asked my mum.

‘Just some scarves, just in case . . .’ Mum tried her best to hide the tears.

‘Oh Jude, if you go bald you won’t be wearing some two-dollar op shop scarf, give those to me.’ He took them off my mother and ran to put them back in the basket inside the cancer centre.

‘It’s okay to be scared, Mum,’ I whispered, ‘but you don’t need to be, because you have me.’

‘If you go bald, after I slap your head like Benny Hill used to do to his sidekicks, I will be going out to buy you the fanciest scarf I can find. You don’t need to look sick and cheap, Jude,’ Jeff said when he came back.

We all got the giggles.

‘Oh, what about hair in a can, Mum? I hear these days it comes in more colours than just baby shit green and mission brown.’ 

‘Our cat loses a lot of fur too . . . I’ll brush him every night and pop it all in a freezer bag for you.’ Jeff added helpfully.

‘Thanks, you two,’ Mum said wiping away tears that were thankfully now happy ones, ‘I really don’t think I could do this without you.’

‘Rubbish,’ I said. ‘You’re the strongest person I know.’

For six weeks I took Mum to some of her radiation and chemotherapy sessions. Those hours with my mother were among the most beautiful we have ever shared, or are ever likely to share again.

At one of her first treatment sessions, the nurse couldn’t find a vein to insert the chemo needle. She poked and poked, and having never been a fan of needles (or doctors or hospitals or medicine) Mum turned green but never once lost her cool.

‘You should be used to that sensation,’ I told her after the nurse had left, ‘Dad’s been sticking pins into a doll resembling you for years.’

I feel honoured and privileged that Mum allowed me to share those moments of intimacy and fear. Yet in our determination to defeat cancer, we also shared some of the biggest belly laughs of our lives. I remained a bastion of positivity and hope while in the presence of my mother but would come home to Jeff and burst into tears, overwhelmed by the sickness surrounding her every day; amazed at her strength.

‘How have you stayed so calm and positive, Mum?’ I asked toward the end of the treatments.

‘There are a lot of people a lot worse off than me.’  She said simply and on the inside I just howled like a baby.

 

 

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                      Publisher details

                      Thirty Thousand Bottles of Wine and a Pig Called Helga
                      Author
                      Todd Alexander
                      Publisher
                      Simon and Schuster
                      Genre
                      Biography and Memoir
                      Released
                      01 March, 2019
                      ISBN
                      9781925791334

                      Synopsis

                      Once I was the poster boy for corporate success, but now I’m crashing through the bush in a storm in search of a missing pig. How the hell did we end up here?Todd and Jeff have had enough of the city. Sick of the daily grind and workaday corporate shenanigans, they throw caution to the wind and buy 100 acres in the renowned Hunter Valley wine region, intent on living a golden bucolic life and building a fabulous B&B, where they can offer the joys of country life to heart-weary souls.Todd will cook, Jeff will renovate. They have a vineyard, they can make wine. They have space, they can grow their own food. They have everything they need to make their dreams come true.How hard can it be?
                      Todd Alexander
                      About the author

                      Todd Alexander

                      Todd is the author of eleven books including his latest novel, Tom Houghton, released by Simon & Schuster in October 2015.  A graduate of Law and Arts, Todd started his career as a bookseller and spent 12 years working at eBay.  Today, Todd runs a boutique accommodation business and vineyard in the Hunter Valley with his partner, cat, pigs, ducks and chooks.  He is also an advisor to the online marketplace, Bountye.

                      Books by Todd Alexander

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