Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Team Tim & 5 'O's are on their way - Day One

Lands End to Golant  -  72 miles

The pedals are turning and pulses race as Tim, Jane, Andrew, Lucy, Will and Tony cycle away from the sea after sipping coffee in the sun overlooking St Michaels Mount in Cornwall.

I am calling them "Team Tim & 5 'O's" for ease and because they haven't given me a Team name!!

Lowered heads watch bums in front as they settle into their day one pace.

They pedalled across 49 miles of cornish hills before devouring pasties for lunch....

Arriving in Fowey to sleep after a breezy sunny ride with only one puncture between them (Jane!)

Day One Typical Route; Tim's Team will do it in 72 miles

Discover why they are doing this ride of a lifetime...just click the link

Friday, August 30, 2013

Leaving my forties behind

As the sun rises over the horizon my big day Dawns.

Twenty nine years ago I stood in a school hall wearing a black suit, red leather bow tie and red lace gloves with a red 21 pinned to my lapel. My hair was swept to the side ready to sing Do you really want to hurt me with my favourite group Culture Club.

On my 30th I clung to the side of a basket and silently soared over miniature villages as I watched toy cars below, the only disturbance was an occasional roar of a flame.

On my 40th Mr H and I climbed to the top of Cadyr Idris in Wales where I rejoiced at the views, opened cards and ate cake.

Now as I open the door on my 50th year, mountain climbing is, for now, out of reach. Evening parties are too late as I need my zzzzzz and loud noise leaves my grey matter  trembling.

So I settle on a lunch surrounded by love and friendship. As Mr H says we have won the lottery. We have life. Love. Happiness.

Sentiments in some of the gifts I received 

Follow your heart anything is possible
People walk into our lives but only true friends leave footprints on our hearts

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Little wasps eat afternoon tea

We settle in 1950's metal chairs around small green tables scattered with a wild meadow of china crockery. Sighs of bliss curl on our lips.

One or two swipes at the air should have sent us inside but we decide to savour this sunny day.

China pots adorned with red roses arrive, followed by three tiers of meadow china smothered in sandwiches, huge scones and slices of sponge cake. Pots overflow with dollop like clotted cream and strawberry jam we can cut with a knife.

The first wasp is swatted away with the swing of a hand, another surrenders at the flap of a white handkerchief. 

But they return with a Pail of friends. We cover cakes, snap lids on jam pots, start the swat flap dance with our hands.  We munch, chat, swat, munch, chat, swat.

The swats are a sign to the wasps to fetch relatives; so cousins, nieces, nephews, uncles and aunts arrive for tea. 

We place a sugar cube on a table behind hoping the family will join that party instead.

But sugar smell spreads like butter and a swarm of others arrive. We abandon half eaten cakes to their mercy, pay the bill and wave good bye to my afternoon birthday tea.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Like a seed acceptance spreads it's roots


Swing my legs into the bath 

Roll over in bed

Pop out

Spring up and down steps


Talk and walk


Carry a full mug of coffee without spilling a drop

Keep upright when I paddle in the sea

Burn endless energy without a thought


A bath seat over the bath

A three point turn in bed as I pull on my bed lever

I slug out 

I grab rails, look for slopes or don't go up

A ten minute walk is my marathon

Sit to talk

Take a bus, taxi, ask for a lift or delay

Half fill a mug

Flop into the sea and giggle as I get wet

Savour the good days, rest on the others

Like a seed as it grows, acceptance spreads its roots and as the stem thickens and new leaves sprout, Dawn breaks through the canopy of change.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Leisurely weekend recharges my soul

Sue and I hug when Mr H drops me off at the hotel in his chauffeurs cap.  Our chatter is full steam ahead before coffee hits the table. Well, Sue chats I listen cos that's what friends do! When she runs out of coal I release my valve....

I flop onto the bed closest to the bathroom to stake my claim, Sue gets the window seat.  We slide into our costumes and trundle to the Spa but my active epilepsy limits the list of treatments available to me, well very; pedicure or manicure covers the selection. My last Spa experience involved a half hour finger drumming wait before the therapist shook her head

Sorry I can't treat you, it wouldn't be safe

Mr H was caught in the backlash of tears and a one footed stamp. 

So I stick to the 'safe treatment list' and clutch my health details close to my chest. None of their business! My pedicure takes my feet to heaven. 

Sue gets the massage I would love, I don't begrudge her as she walks in with shoulders up to her ears but comes out dragging them behind her as a smile lights up her beautiful face.

At dinner we snigger behind our hands as we watch a wedding party struggle under umbrellas on their way to the marquee disco. The arboretum of trees glimmer as flowers bow their heads to stop the sweeping rain stealing their petals as I overhear the man at the next table say:

They have not stopped talking from the moment they sat down.

Twenty four years of friendship and a roller coaster of life changing events have not stolen our ability to giggle and gossip. I recount a time when we gatecrashed a wedding disco after sucking the helium out of all the balloons,  squealing as we recited rhymes with our high pitched voices. We consider the same tonight, but bed with camomile tea wins.

I had lots of friends when I was well 
but  true friends stay with me when I am not.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Little Stars Shine

Last night I pulled a thick jacket off its hook, grabbed a rug, gloves and scarf and stepped out into the night to lie on my sun lounger. 

Have my drugs driven me mad?

No, I was watching the sky darken while keeping my scarf and gloved fingers crossed that a few shooting stars would cross our garden sky.

Mr H held his phone aloft to locate the Perseus Constellation using an Astronomy App and we moved our loungers to ensure we had the best seats for the show.

As soon as we settled a gasp and whoop slipped from our lips as we saw a ball of flame fall from the sky's screen. Then a second star shot to the right. I blinked and missed it.

We lay catching up on the day and recalled the previous shows we have watched on this black, star studded screen. But the clouds rudely pushed their way in and took the prime seats so there was nothing to see. Another half an hour convinced us that we were going to miss the rest of the show. 

And I need my beauty sleep to stop the meteor showers in my brain from ruining the next day. zzzzzzzzzzz

Maybe tonight we will keep our front seats for the show but the clouds over us are already queuing for tickets.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Let Bees find Pollen

Lottie the allotment is busy with Bees. They are drawn in by blue cornflowers then discover the glory of the sweet smell of wild flowers and delicious sunflower pollen. They feed until they nearly burst. 

Bees are directed to pollen and nectar by the rainbow colours blue green and violet together with invisible ultra-violet patterns. Bees then find their hives by remembering light angles and landmarks from which they have built their navigating map.  

If I was a Bee I would revisit flowers I had just left and get lost on my way back to my hive. My Nan gave me the getting lost gene.  She and I would come out of a shop and head back the way we had come, only realising when we passed M&S, WH Smiths and Woolworths for the second time!

But it would appear that most! humans have navigation cells called 'Grid Cells' as a Built In GPS

I wonder if brain tumour cells inhibit 'Grid Cells?  Mr H is a homing pigeon. His 'Grid Cells' must be huge, firing away like fireworks on bonfire night. When we spend a day in an unknown town I walk slightly behind to ensure Mr H sniffs out the pollen while I have my head in the clouds.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Killing Creativity - Epilepsy at work

My writing has missed the bus. Words, like the end of a rainbow are impossible to find.

I chase red orange yellow and green but they blur into blue indigo and violet.  A sentence is the undiscovered pot of gold.

Keyboard tapping causes nausea then cotton wool fireworks explode in my head before salty rain streaks down my face – another seizure.

I call out to Mr H,

What’s the word for a group of sentences?


I slap my forehead.

I write to keep my grey matter alight, but at the moment the brightness has turned to mist where words get lost or alter their shape as they emerge. Cups are cakes, shoes become slippers, knives are kettles and sentences are a jigsaw with missing pieces.  A thought in the kitchen slips away before I reach the next room.

As I walk in search of a cluster of words, sentences part to let me through. I hunt for a paragraph until the sun disappears. I sleep under a window and dream of floating pages trapped in my minds web.

Morning and evening I gulp down the extra pink and white mind blurring thieves.  Hopefully once the changeover is complete the rainbow's end will be mine.

A Caribbean Rainbow I captured in 2012
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Monday, August 5, 2013

Kindness is Magic

The NHS is broken the media and politicians imply; filled with horrendous care; lacking compassion and basic kindness. More reforms, regulation and inspection will fix it. But is it? And will they?

A bitter sweet comedy drama called 'Derek' (written, directed and starring Ricky Gervais) sent me on a surfboard of emotion. Ricky demonstrates his innate ability to capture reality and illuminate every day occurrences.  

For those of you yet to watch, the series, which was inspired by members of his family’s work in care homes, is set in ‘Broadhill’ retirement home where Derek works as a care assistant. I was reminded that kindness lies at the core of high quality care. Derek is Kindness personified.  
My memory rewinds and I see the kindness that cradled me during my three months in hospital…

A hand on my arm when my inability to stand overwhelms me.

A nurse rubs cream into my lifeless legs and feet at night when I forget they are there.

Carers sit beside me to talk rather than standing miles away at the end of my bed.

We share a belly laugh when a nurse and I paddle in a puddle of urine as my urinary catheter comes adrift. 

I am met with open arms when I waddle across the physio gym for the first time.

None of these acts of Kindness were essential but to me they were 
My Everything Moments.

How do we train this Kindness into people? 

Can Kindness be taught? 

How can Kindness be measured in doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, healthcare assistants… as they embark on a career in healthcare?

At the start of my vocation in nursing I was interviewed. The ‘Matron’ running the hospital asked pertinent questions ‘to get the essence of me’, she watched my reactions, skilfully evaluated my responses. She knew I cared and wanted to care.  But even the interview process has flaws which allow some carers whose pool of Kindness is shallow, to slip through the net.

Now in recruitment the seed of psychometric testing is beginning to grow. But how will that test Kindness? We should ask Ricky or Derek….

Derek Channel 4 on demand Derek (please note this includes some Adult Humour).

As Ricky reminded me Kindness is Magic

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