Drive through Edinburgh

After my appointment at The Western General Hospital in Edinburgh my hubby was patiently waiting for me. He picked me up in the convenient pick up drop off area outside the hospital. We usually go together, however do to Covid, I was restricted to going myself. We made our way out of the hospital grounds and got ready for our Drive through Edinburgh.

As we drove along Crew Road there were works getting done and the road was closed towards orchard brae forcing us to turn left. We made our way along the road and passed the police training college, saw a couple of dogs in the field and then passed Broughton High School, I had a memory of going to the old Broughton High for health promotion talks, and remember proudly going to the police college with Arthur, when he got a commendation award; what a lovely day that was.

Driving through Stockbridge. The sun was shining, there were hanging baskets flowering beautifully outside many of the elegant Victorian and Georgian houses. This bustling vibrant area on the water of Leith is filled with speciality and charity shops, and delightful cafes and pubs. I love Stockbridge; the new town is my favourite area of Edinburgh. If I lived in Auld Reekie this is the locality I would choose to live in.



Cruising along George Street I saw the changes that were happening over time. What establishments are still here, and what has ‘disappeared’ from the high street. The Standing Order was the first building that jumped out at me. All over the world there will be many well known financial institutions that are now coffee shops, or pubs or restaurants, somewhere for folk to sit and chat. Rest their weary bones and share a story or two along with a drink.


As I headed to Southside Edinburgh, I passed a block of flats that were on a corner site in Newington area. This site used to be a Ford Garage that my sister worked in the accounts department. My friend rented a bedsit on the main road when we were at university.

Gosh Helen finished up at the Garage over 40 years ago and Jennifer rented the bedsit in the mid 1980’s. Jennifer visited me yesterday I was telling her about my journey and reminiscing, we started chatting about her accommodation hunting when she came down from Calendar to study in Edinburgh…….

Jennifer and I met at uni, we became friends the first day of term and have been stuck with each other since. Jennifer came down from Calendar and needed accommodation, the uni gave her some recommendations. She came to my parents armed with this A4 piece of paper. We were going to the addresses. My brother Albert dropped us at the first place on the list, it was near the shopping centre, he would go shopping we would view the room. Oh my goodness; the room was ok, very basic, shared facilities which werent so nice, and the room mates were less desirable. So lets just say this place was a big fat no. We tried a few other places on the uni’s recommendation. Absolutely non suitable. My Mum brought out The Scotsman. https://www.scotsman.com We looked in it, there was an ad for a Letting company in Home Street, Edinburgh.

Off we went to Home Street. We walked in to this office with a white haired lady with 2 dogs surrounded with so much paperwork. I actually felt like I was going for a seance. I can tell you Jennifer and I felt frightened, why we didn’t know. The business was ‘real’, the staff were genuine, informative and very pleasant. And they had dogs, something I especially love. I think it was just the fact that the white haired lady was rather eccentric. The room had a creepy feel. However, the lady was very kind to us, she explained what properties she had on the books and what she thought was suitable. She explained locations and terms of payment etc. She thought the room at Newington would be suitable, told us there were already some young ladies in the building and the location is lovely. Big bonus, the landlord was a really nice man. We were sold. Sounded ideal for Jen.

We made our way from Tollcross to Newington. Met by a raven headed gentleman. True to her words. The whole property was in good condition. The bedsit on the ground floor had its own kitchen, it was ideal. No sharing, no messy dishes, etc. Jennifer decided to rent it. As friends it was ideal, not too far from uni and only about 3 miles from my parents house.

Many properties have changed hands over the years and places we have got comfortable going to are no longer there. However, many of these alterations are good news and society is reaping the benefits both socially and economically. As the saying goes out with the old and in with the new.

A trip to Blackpool

The summer is fading fast and by now we have usually made many trips away. Including day jaunts on the Harley Davidson sightseeing, weekends with Dunedin Chapter http://www.dunedin.hog to Motorcycle Rallies, wonderful sun seeking holidays to our favourite island, Ibiza https://www.tui.co.uk/destinations/europe/spain/ibiza/holidays-ibiza.html

Since mid March this year we have been pretty much cooped up and adhering to all the covid rules and regulations. Steve has been fortunate and been able to work right through although life hasn’t always been easy, making sure maintaining a safe social and physical distance at all times. However getting materials is still difficult at times. Its the anniversary of my Mum’s death on 9th August and its my birthday on 6th August, and we got married on 22 August; it is lovely to do something nice. We usually go to Edinburgh Festival and go to Thunder in The Glen in Aviemore. Both cancelled this year due to covid.

What should we do? Steve took the bull by the horns. Once the hotels opened their doors to the paying public once more. He booked two family rooms at a town that we frequented with parents, children and grandparents. We were going for a trip to Blackpool. We were now going to introduce grandchildren to a place that had fond memories to us.

We decided to travel down with very mixed emotions. Our youngest granddaughter, only 4 months old was in ICU after open heart surgery. Also the worry of how safe life will be regarding COVID. The day before we left, my amazing nurse came in, serviced my gastrostomy tube, changed my dressing and administered my octreotide. Evelyn came bearing gifts, she had made face masks for the girls and me for our trip. Steve took Buddy and Bella to Sally at Sals Pals http://www.salspals.co.uk Knowing our babies will be well looked after when we are away.

Steve, Stuart, Alexandra, Grace and I clambered into the big red BMW – all set for our adventure before Grace starts back to primary 2 and Alexandra at nursery school. The journey down was grand, stopped once. As we approached Blackpool I could see The Tower in the distance. We played a game the first one to spot The Tower gets 10 points. The girls giggled, they were so excited. They both looked out of the window and called together, there it is and pointed in excitement. This made me extremely happy.


The Girls and me all set in the car for the journey 😘


we arrived at The Premiere Inn. https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/england/lancashire/blackpool/blackpool-east-m55-jct4.

Premier Inn have got it right. Staff wearing masks or visors. Comfortable rooms were immaculate. Service with a smile. There was a restaurant attached, we booked to get a meal. There was hand sanitizer at the door entrance and everyone used it upon entry. We ordered our food using our mobile telephones and within 15 minutes hot tasty food was served to our table.

We went into Blackpool for the evening after our meal, we parked on the sea front. Made our way to The South Pier. On the pier there are plenty of rides to keep us amused. The girls eyes were like saucers, their heads bobbed from side to side taking in all they could see. The bright flashing lights, beeping sounds and clunking of coins rattling was their first sight and sounds of the pier. Lots of 2 penny machines to play, big glass boxes with cuddly toys to try and grab to win. We played some games, had amazing fun came out the other side to a funfair on the pier. Stuart, Alexandra and Grace had great fun on the rides. This was a taster for the big rides next day.



We had a great sleep, rooms comfortable, had a buffet all you can eat breakfast. Again, Hand sanitizers were offered. Tables clean. Physical distance maintained.

After breakfast we made our way to https://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/

What a day we had. We had already booked our tickets online. When we arrived at the park, all staff had masks on. They maintained a very professional approach. We all went on the rides, and enjoyed them very much. Steve missed out on my mum’s favourite ride, the log flume – oh boy is he glad he did. When I got off I looked like I had fallen in a river. I was drenched. Certainly didn’t stop me enjoying it. Pretty sure the ride we all liked the best was The Wallace and Gromit Ride. It was so good we all went on it twice.


Blackpool has a lot more to offer than most people think. It’s not all kiss me quick hats, candy floss and Blackpool rock. Yes these are readily available and suckers like me, love hats, cannot resist the feel of cotton candy on my lips and so enjoy seeing the rock being made into different colours, shapes and flavours; the most beautiful looking baskets of fruit of rock. Blackpool is UK’s Las Vegas; bright lights, casinos and lots of puggies. What fun we had at Coral Island, playing the machines, collecting the tickets, saving them up in return for prizes at the end of the day. At the end of the excitement we remembered we had parked the car quite some way away. There was no way my legs were going to carry me. Bus, tram, taxi? We were going in style. We were going in a horse in Carriage, it was a princess ball covered trap pulled by a single horse. I was as excited as the girls. What a wonderful ride it was.

Our last day in Blackpool was my birthday. It was as if I had stepped back in time. The sun was shining, it was beautiful and warm and we were going to Stanley Park. This is somewhere that has the most amazing childhood memories. Feeding the birds with my parents and grandparents, walking in the stunning well kept gardens. Chasing my sister around on the large grassy areas. This day was no disappointment, we walked into the park, firstly we played with the girls at the play park then we walked along the path, it took us passed the fabulous cycle play area and then onto The Model Village. We all went in. What a wonderful set up, it looks amazing. The chap that booked us in was lovely, explaining to the girls if they found all the gnomes they would get a prize.

we arrived at The Premiere Inn. https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hotels/england/lancashire/blackpool/blackpool-east-m55-jct4.

Premier Inn have got it right.  Staff wearing masks or visors.  Comfortable rooms were immaculate.  Service with a smile.  There was a restaurant attached, we booked to get a meal.  There was hand sanitizer at the door entrance and everyone used it upon entry.   We ordered our food using our mobile telephones and within 15 minutes hot tasty food was served to our table.  

We went into Blackpool for the evening after our meal, we parked on the sea front.  Made our way to The South Pier.  On the pier there are plenty of rides to keep us amused.  The girls eyes were like saucers, their heads bobbed from side to side taking in all they could see.  The bright flashing lights, beeping sounds and clunking of coins rattling was their first sight and sounds of the pier.  Lots of 2 penny machines to play, big glass boxes with cuddly toys to try and grab to win.  We played some games, had amazing fun came out the other side to a funfair on the pier.  Stuart, Alexandra and Grace had great fun on the rides.  This was a taster for the big rides next day.  

We had a great sleep, rooms comfortable, had a buffet all you can eat breakfast.  Again, Hand sanitizers were offered.  Tables clean.  Physical distance maintained.  

After breakfast we made our way to https://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com/

What a day we had.  We had already booked our tickets online.  When we arrived at the park, all staff had masks on.  They maintained a very professional approach.  We all went on the rides, and enjoyed them very much.  Steve missed out on my mum’s favourite ride, the log flume – oh boy is he glad he did.  When I got off I looked like I had fallen in a river.  I was drenched.  Certainly didn’t stop me enjoying it.  Pretty sure the ride we all liked the best was The Wallace and Gromit Ride.  It was so good we all went on it twice.  

Blackpool has a lot more to offer than most people think.  It’s not all kiss me quick hats, candy floss and Blackpool rock.  Yes these are readily available and suckers like me, love hats, cannot resist the feel of cotton candy on my lips and so enjoy seeing the rock being made into different colours, shapes and flavours; the most beautiful looking baskets of fruit of rock.    Blackpool is UK’s Las Vegas; bright lights, casinos and lots of puggies.  What fun we had at Coral Island, playing the machines, collecting the tickets, saving them up in return for prizes at the end of the day.   At the end of the excitement we remembered we had parked the car quite some way away.  There was no way my legs were going to carry me.  Bus, tram, taxi?  We were going in style.  We were going in a horse in Carriage,  it was a princess ball covered trap pulled by a single horse.  I was as excited as the girls.  What a wonderful ride it was.  

Our last day in Blackpool was my birthday.  It was as if I had stepped back in time.  The sun was shining, it was beautiful and warm and we were going to Stanley Park.  This is somewhere that has the most amazing childhood memories.  Feeding the birds with my parents and grandparents, walking in the stunning well kept gardens.  Chasing my sister around on the large grassy areas.  This day was no disappointment, we walked into the park, firstly we played with the girls at the play park then we walked along the path, it took us passed the fabulous cycle play area and then onto The Model Village.  We all went in.  What a wonderful set up, it looks amazing.  The chap that booked us in was lovely, explaining to the girls if they found all the gnomes they would get a prize.  


After the model village we headed to the pond. Everything was just as I remembered. We fed the swans, ducks and pigeons. The birds were delightful; so calm. Could have stayed there at the pond all day. It was so inviting and relaxing. We went for a walk in the beautiful large park. Into The gardens, where there were so many pretty flower beds and array of colours. Seating provided to enjoy the water feature. Alexandra couldn’t resist putting her hand in the water flow. This made me grin from ear to ear. Stanley Park is a happy place, somewhere that makes me feel at peace with myself. Great for running around with the kids, or dogs and kicking a ball. Or taking a slow leisurely walk and soaking in the rays whilst gathering thoughts.


On the walk back to the car we encountered a doorway. We made up a story who may live there. Stuart, Alexandra and Grace knocked on the door – no answer, I shouted out the giant is coming…….. they about jumped out their skins.

we got back to the car very safely and drove back to Scotland. Until our next visit.

A fabulous time had been had by us in Blackpool. I didn’t buy rock, or kiss me quick hats. No cotton candy was eaten. However laughter was top on the agenda. Many childhood memories were rekindled. Walking along the paths of Stanley Park I had my Mum, Granny and uncle Allan alongside. I could feel their spirits watch over. Feel the warmth love. The girls enjoyed their time in Blackpool I’m sure as much as I did when I was a child.

If you think you know Blackpool think again. It’s worth a visit.

Turn that frown upside down

I would like to introduce a young lady who lives in Midlothian, Scotland. At present she works in an office however dreams of one day working full time in the writing world. Whilst chatting to Beth Merry I can feel her frustration and want to break out and get those fingers tapping the keys and tell the world all she has to say. Although Beth writes her own blog https://bethanybloggswriter.wordpress.com I suggested she write a guest blog for my site. Since my site is smile each and every day. I gave her the topic “smile everyday”. This was the heartfelt article I got back from Beth. Its about one of the hardest times in her life when she found it difficult to smile, whilst she was surrounded by sunshine, all that energy and heat failed to warm her heart and make her happy. Despite the rays from the big yellow sun and the beautiful blue sky Beth felt cold and alone and at many times incapable of smiling and having that warm butterfly feeling of comfort inside you when you know you are safe, loved and belong. Would she ever feel like this again, and be able to turn that frown upside down. I hope you enjoy it.

Why 2020 is Better than 2016 to Me

Before 2020, there was another year that as a society collectively decided was – to put frankly – absolutely awful. 2016 saw many beloved celebrity deaths, worldwide panic over the election in America, terror attacks seemingly around every corner, and plenty of other horrors that left the world pausing to catch its breath on the 31 December that year and crossing every finger and toe that 2017 would be kinder.

For me, 2016 was particularly awful because both my mum and my grandad sadly passed away, and I had to pull on my grown-up pants at 19 years old and pretend I was strong. It was one of the hardest years of my life; and now with 2020 being deemed an even worse year due to the pandemic, I’ve had time to do some reflecting on how much has changed.

Moana Beach, Adelaide, Australia

In 2016, I was living in Australia. My family had emigrated when I was 10, and while the first couple of years I had enjoyed, the shine eventually wore off and I found myself desperate to make my way back to the UK, back to my home. I felt increasingly out of place at all times, and desperate to tell people that I didn’t belong – the fact that I had absorbed the accent almost immediately did little to persuade folk. As the next of kin for my mum who passed away in June, I was left in charge of putting her affairs in order for myself and my younger sister which meant a lot of phone calls I didn’t know how to make and, more importantly, arranging a funeral. I grew up a lot that year – and fast. I was still studying, still working two jobs and getting over a lot of heartbreak. It felt like things would never improve.

Seafood Rise, Adelaide, Australia

Fast forward to 2020. As I write this, I’m sat in my house in the Scottish countryside that my partner and I bought together nearly 9 months ago. He’s putting together some units to complete the massive desk he’s constructed for our home office, and I’ve got a stew bubbling away on the stove. I’ve had an uneventful day at work – Sat at my dining room table lockdown style of course – stretching my writing muscles now. Saturday was my birthday, and I had a quiet barbecue in our newly landscaped back garden with some family, and on Sunday my partner and I ventured out to Gore Glen to finally see the beautiful waterfall and connect with nature. I can breathe fairly easy these days and my worries are far less significant than those of 2016

Gore Glen, Midlothian, Scotland

I never could have predicted that in 4 years time I’d be in the space to feel this content. In a time where my world was crumbling around me, I pushed through to venture by myself to the other side of the world where the love of my life and I have made a life together for ourselves. Coronavirus be damned – the opportunity to look back at the last 4 years and see how far I’ve come make all the lockdown restrictions worth it.

These days, I smile everyday because while there are still a few things beyond my reach. I’m a damn sight further ahead than where I was in 2016.and there’s so much to be grateful for! I’m home in the UK where I belong, I wake up everyday to my amazing partner and the views over the Pentland, and I have room to grow at my own pace. What’s not to love?

Me, happy, home

Sunday Afternoon

Our usual Sunday Afternoon consists of a ride on our Harley Davidson.  Meeting up with chums from the The Dunedin Chapter Scotland and visiting my Dad.

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This particular Sunday we are still in lockdown and restrictions still apply.  We are very that we are surrounded in the most beautiful countryside, our garden is larger than most.  And we can certainly exercise and get fresh air without bumping into anyone if we want.

For some time there has been an area near the front of the house that we would love to put some hard standing to cover the dirty area that gets mushy when folk park on it, despite all the chipped area around the house.  Steve brings round to work with some beautiful natural stone.  And begins to lay it.  Our Harley Davidson Fat Boy sits in front of the house looking lonely.  Our labs, Buddy and Bella stand together at the front of the door, waiting eagerly until I finally say they can come and join me while I put plants in the pots at the front of the house.

 

 

 

They are so happy once they join us out the front. Watching Steve cut the stone and lay it.  And me put some petunias, lobelia, pansies and a few other plants in pots.
The one thing that certainly hasn’t changed about the Sunday Afternoon is we spend time together.  Have a lovely day no matter what we do.  Just make the best of it.  Life is for living.  Live, laugh and love everyday.

And always make sure we make time for ourselves.  My time is writing.  Which I love love love.

Have a great day folks.

 

Hold your hand everday

As the pandemic continues.  We are still in lockdown.  Life continues to be on a different path.  Real life physical human beings I see; my husband of coarse, I live with him and so very grateful we have not only been lovers since 1982 but best friends.  My nurses; to tend to my gastrostomy tube, change dressings, etc, etc.  And see anyone from a distance at the door when they deliver parcels and mail.

Modern technology has saved my sanity.  Steve and I having a long lie on Sunday morning, it’s 9am and my mobile telephone has that distinctive ring.  I know it’s a FaceTime call.  Simultaneously Steve and I say know who that will be.  I click the phone and can hear the joyous tones.  ‘Morning, what are you doing in your Bed Granny’?  ‘Having a got chocolate’ is my reply.  We are having a three way conversation between our house (Steve & I) , Stuart & Alexandra, and Teeny & Grace.  It’s fab, we all blather loudly, the girls can’t believe we are still in bed. It’s Sunday, I say in my defence.  They have us laughing.  Along the hall we can hear the dogs.  They can obviously hear the girls talking and they are excited.  Can we see Buddy and Bella please.  I toddle Along the hall.  Bella is actually smiling.  They are pleased to hear the kids.  Morning Bella Boo, Morning, Buddy Boy, says Alexandra, miss you,  the labradors tails start to wag frantically.  Grace calls on Frieda the cat.  Alexandra asks ‘Granny can you go out the back and say morning to Birdie please’.  I go see the beautiful black lionhead rabbit.  The girls are ever so happy.  Right that’s enough I say, granny is wiped out now.  I sit on the seat at the table very happy and blether away .  I maybe can’t see them all in the flesh, however a video call like this makes the world worth living.   We all chat say what’s been happening and what the plans for the day are.

Both girls had plans to play in gardens.  Alexandra said she was going to be drawing and colouring in later.  Grace was going to be playing games.

 

Hold my hand and Smile Each And Everyday

Alexandra drew round her hand in her notebook,  she tore out the page.  Left the page for me with the drawing.  She said I can hold her hand anytime.  She said on a FaceTime call to me Granny I would just love to hold your hand everday

 

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I was so chocked up, it’s difficult to believe Alexandra has just turned 4 years of age.

At this difficult time in this crazy world we need to be grateful for what we have.  Make the most folks.

Alexandra and Grace:

The Arrival of The Coronavirus

We are approaching the end of March 2020 and this weekend we should be away with friends from the The Dunedin Chapter  ,

I so enjoy being part of this group.  It is our biker family.  From the second we joined we felt part of something.  A warm welcome always awaits us, a support network is available in variety of ways.  Help with the physical Harley Davidson motorcycles; buying, servicing advice, etc.  Things to do; runs, rallies, etc.  Friendship; many friendly faces, great companions, lots of advice, etc.  Socialisation; we all get together and have meetings, weekends together, nights out, lunch meetings, breakfast clubs, chippy runs, etc.  All in all I love belonging to The Chapter.  We are now on to our second Harley Davidson, I have been on motorcycles since I was under 5 years old,  on the back of my brother when my feet couldn’t reach the footpegs.  I have been a pillion to my hubby since I was 17 years of age and I’m now nearly 54.   We have had motorbikes the majority of our married life.  Fifteen months ago we thought we would dip our toes in the water and visit West Coast Harley Davidson for a look at the bikes and what they had to offer.  before we knew it we had  decided it was time to get ourselves a Harley, it was a little Street Rod.  We thought best start small  and not break the bank.  Just to see how we would like the ‘Harley way of life’ and boy do we love it.    While we loved the wee bike, it was just that, too small and So a few months later we traded it in for a beautiful fatboy low.  We got this one at Edinburgh Harley Davidson

This weekend a trip to Aberdeen had been organised by our Harley Davidson enthusiastic friends.  We were all getting together to stay a night in a hotel and have a night out and raise money for the air ambulance.   The plans were, to take a drive up together on the Harley Davidsons if the weather was warm enough and I was feeling up to it, if not take the four wheels and book in to the The Craighaar Hotel in Aberdeen

 

I was so looking forward to going to Aberdeen. Due to my health, the neuroendocrine cancer, the carcinoid syndrome, the treatment I need and the fact that I get fatigued very easily I don’t go out that often.  I find life difficult, some days a general task feels like I am walking around with a 25kg bag of sand on my back.  Needless to say I am very familiar with my own surroundings and am used to being in the 4 walls I live in.  I can be home for three weeks without crossing the door.  My district nurses come to ‘service’ my peg.  Change my dressings, administer my octreotide injection and deal with any other at home health condition I may require. They are wonderful and I couldn’t do without them.

Although I am used to spending time at home on my own, with the company of my two Labrador’s within my four walls I do spend quality time writing, which I enjoy a great deal and I have embarked on a course which I love the challenge.

Suddenly the world has been hit by an eerie storm, one which we have never seen the like before. The human race has been struck down with Coronavirus.   The arrival of the Coronavirus is here.  For a great deal of folk it has been fairly harmless, however for many it has proven deadly.   To find out a little about coronavirus visit – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

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Countries such as Spain and Italy are ahead of the UK and have many deaths and have put in strict measures. Here in the UK, we have had to take on a different way of life. Schools have been closed, where possible people are working from home, people are instructed to stay home unless exercising, which is only once per day. Social distancing has been put in place, with everyone to keep 2 metres apart. All these measures have been put in place to try and Stop the spread of Coronavirus. This virus is escalating and getting out of hand, we need to self isolate and stop it. Many people have it, are in hospital, some very poorly and on Ventilators. It’s all such a worry. People are wearing gloves, masks and using hand gel in abundance. Hospitals are running short of ventilators. There are more people needing the machine that the country has; something has to be done.

A team put their heads together – staff from formula 1 Mercedes , staff from University College London hospital (UCLH), and a team from university college London to adapt and improve existing CPAP in a process known as reverse engineering.   Basically they have helped create a breathing aid to help keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care.  You can find out more at the following – Mercedes F1 team helps create breathing aid

Life has become very strange for many people, our country is in lockdown, bars, cinemas, restaurants and many shops are closed.  Public gatherings are banned.  Plus many more other measures are put in place.  Some people feel sorry for themselves and are sitting at home whining and moaning, complaining they are bored and wishing they could get out of the house.  Whilst its understandable that they may be bored, sitting at home when they are used to working several hours per day and keeping busy.  Or going out and having fun, playing sports or going to the cinema, etc.  However, these restrictions have been brought in for our own good and it won’t be forever.  We should take time at home, learn a new skill, cook, draw, do a bit of gardening, enjoy reading a book, do some knitting or sewing, play old fashioned board games.  And most importantly our thoughts and prayers should go out to people that are in ICU beds in hospital, on ventilators, fighting for their lives.  This virus not only attacks the vulnerable like me, or the elderly like my 87 year old father, it sadly took the life of a young lady of only 21 years of age with no known underlying health conditions, it also took the life of a 54 year old doctor, the youngest person to die has been 18 years of age.

I did read a couple of pieces of good news the supermarket Asda is donating £5 million to   fareshare and  The Trussell Trust to help the country’s most vulnerable people through COVID019  Asda will prioritise access to stores for NHS staff as of next week every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8am – 9am in larger stores.   Well done Asda

I know the next few weeks are going to be very trying for us all.  The NHS are doing a fantastic job in looking after the patients in the hospitals, at home, etc.  Carers are looking after the vulnerable the best they can.  Supermarket staff are stretched and pushed to the limits at times, the shelves look like its christmas, with the exception its not happy, clappy cheerful customers, its frightened folks walking into the unknown.

For me tomorrow Ive got my district nurses coming to do my dressings, service my tube and give me my two weekly octreotide.  Tomorrow the nurses will be gowned up, masks on.  Whatever will my labradors Buddy and Bella say, they won’t be getting their treats for mummy being a good girl and getting a very large needle jagged into her.

First Person with Net Cancer that made me smile :)

Over 6 years ago I went to an information day hosted by   Scotland’s Neuroendocrine Cancer Charity; The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust  I went on to go to support meetings every month.  There is a group of us that have became friends and a firm support to each other, which is lovely.  Some days its good to be able to talk to someone that you know really understands how you feel and you never feel patronised when talking to each other and at times you really need that ‘I know how you feel’ conversation’

The first person I saw at the information day was such a lovely chap and his wife.  He was  smiling from ear to ear and guiding all participants that were going into the conference.  Despite having never meeting the man before you couldn’t help smiling back, he had the kindest gentle smile.  He would stretch out his very long arms and direct  you into the room.   We have became friends very quickly and seen each other at most meetings.  There is a nice core number of us that try and get together and blether and spend time together.  I have had help organising the tea party and we all went out to the theatre, day out on the barge, a night in my local pub, singing songs and doing magic tricks and said friend getting up and helping out with rope trick – oh boy we  had so much fun.    Norman was twenty years older than me and called me the youngster.  I felt he looked out for me in a way when we sat together, it was his nature.  When I organised the tea party, and my goodness what a lot of work went into it, he said, now young lady before we open the doors to the public you get half an hours shut eye.  Sometimes he would quietly talk and other times he would stretch his long arms like a giant and bellow what he wanted his audience to hear.  Norman’s first words to me were always and how are you today my dear, is life treating you kindly?  He would have that big grin on his face and it would warm my heart.   Although Norman was his own man, him and his wife came as a pair and they were very much together.  One of those most beautiful relationships each partner knows when the other has had enough and needs to leave, when they are tired, hungry etc.  They have the best tales to tell from their travels on holiday.  They separate across the room and yet communicate with just a glance and before you know it they have made a decision and you are saying cheerio to both of them, see you next time.

This blasted life limiting illness  at times imprisons us in our houses, makes one feel so ill you can’t do a thing, medication, hospital appointments, etc become a way of life – however, meeting each other and sharing some of the good and the bad really helps me get on with my journey.

I found out sad news last week, my pal passed away.   Norman was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer 13 years ago.  I feel privileged to have known him and spent time with him and Margaret for the last 6 years.  I was diagnosed with carcinoid syndrome 10 years ago, whilst a sad occasion like this leaves one thinking about our own mortality, I count every day as a blessing and am happy with the treatment and care I’m getting from my consultants, doctors and nurses.

Today was Norman’s funeral, unfortunately with the coronavirus the world has gone a little crazy.  We are on a lockdown situation and are living under certain restrictions.  Funeral services are allowed to go ahead, however are restricted to immediate family.  I was able to watch the service on a live podcast.  I sat in the comfort of my own home in front of the open fire and watched Norman’s funeral service.

Norman Boe was The First Person with Net Cancer that made me smile 🙂  and I will miss him so very much.   Thank you for being my friend.

“Go my friend and enter into eternal joy and peace, dance with angels in eternal light and love”

Warm Welcome in Ellon

As I woke on a bitterly cold February Saturday morning to the sound of my granddaughter’s singing voice I remembered I had something to look forward today.  We are making the trip over the Queensferry Crossing, over to Fife,  driving up the M90.

For me this is the best week for travelling, Evelyn had been in on Tuesday not only to service my gastrostomy tube but to administer my octreotide.  This is a malignant suppressant injection I get every 14 days.  It is licensed for every 28 days at maximum dose for people like me with added complications of carcinoid syndrome.   My ‘numbers’ are on the high side with my 5hiaa, my symptoms are awful and so we have it – maximum dose every 14 days.    The nasty injection is worth it.  Fewer visits to the bathroom (reduction from 12 times bowel movements per day to 4) and looking less like a character thats on tour with Ribena Juice Company.

The Our destination is a few miles north of the granite city, Aberdeen.  I have visited Aberdeen on numerous occasions.  My Grandmother is from this wonderful area of the world and my great aunt after a great deal of travelling finally settled and ended her days in Aberdeen and I have such  fond memories of visiting with my Mother as a child, playing in Duthie Park, building sandcastles at the beach. There is so much to do.   My most favourite thing alrways a visit to The cathedral church of St Machar

We were travelling up to stay over with relatives, Steve and I are not always the easiest house guests, we both blether at a million miles per hour, talk over one another, and finish each others sentences.  We bring an awful lot of luggage, I alone need a suitcase and a holdall for one night’s overnight stay, I have my pump, a lot of medication, syringes etc. I know I have my blog, however we are private folks and there are things we like to keep to ourselves.  We very rarely stay with family or friends, we usually book into a hotel however we both felt we would feel comfortable staying with Pauline and Les for our first trip to Arthrath.  Located 7 miles north of Ellon.

 

 

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Pauline sent me a photo of the sign at the end of their road, heading to their house.  The road is rough.  To me if it was covered in snow it would be more suited to skis than a car,  the large ditches in the road resemble the moguls on the ski slopes I have skied, it distinctly reminds me of the white lady I skied on the cairngorms, everywhere you turned there was another mogul to go down.  Ah, such happy memories.  As we drove down the road to the house the car bounced up and down, in and out of the ditches.  I had the feeling I wanted to lift my legs, I could hear my ski race trainer from my youthful days, the wonderful Hanz Kuval, say bend, stick, turn. As the now not so shiny BMW’s wheels dropped into another deep hole.   We parked round the back of the house as recommended by our hosts.  And so it was so much easier to get in the house, sheltered from the wind, a straight walk from the car across the decking into the porch.

 

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Where a very warm welcome awaited us.  From the minute we walked in the door nothing was too much trouble.  Thirty seconds in and the kettle was on.   The most beautiful  house with comfortable furnishings, welcoming signs of grandchildren; some toys, photographs, canvases, etc that made me feel very much at home, however, gave me a pang in my insides and a yearning to see my beautiful granddaughter.  There is an array of animals located in various parts of the house – they are amusing and you feel you want to have a conversation with them.   And I most certainly did.  Although I’m not sharing any secrets.  As I said our hosts were fabulous, they couldn’t do enough for us, coffee, tea, beer and wine on tap.  Nibbles to munch on whilst lounging on the sofa and leisurely blethering.  A lovely enjoyable afternoon to sit and have a natter, let me get another afternoon feed on pump and a bolus before getting ready to go out for the evening.  Pauline is the constant nurse and continually picking up after me, a welcome help and yes you feel safe and secure in her company.

 

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I go through to our bedroom for the night to get ready, the room is huge, I more than appreciate the space, plenty of room for all my gear.  The bed is ever so comfortable with luxurious bedding and the most comfortable plump feather pillows.    I was most appreciative of the large ensuite bathroom.  It was bigger than most peoples family bathrooms.  there was a stand alone bath, toilet, sink and bidet.  With plenty of room to move around which is very important to me, especially first thing in the morning when the bones are not quite moving as they should be.  The room is so inviting I could climb onto the bed and snuggle in and relax.  However, I know I will enjoy the company of my hosts for the evening and get myself ready.

Les did the honours and drove us to Ellon .  We were booked into The New Inn Hotel, Ellon for a meal.  The hotel was bustling and nearly every table taken.  We arrived half an hour earlier than our reservation.  The staff greeted us with a warm smile and were very accommodating and set us up a table within a couple of minutes of us arriving.  We ordered drinks.  Looked at the menu.  The delightful waiting staff were very efficient and very soon my three companions were enjoying their evening meal, Steve and Les began with starters which they enjoyed immensely and then fairly quickly the main meal came,  our hosts both ate Seabass, my hubby ordered the house burger and I picked at the scampi.  We had this delightful waiter that looked latin, he was tall dark and handsome.  Most of the evening Pauline and I teased him, as we ordered our desserts we asked where he came from since we thought he had an unusual accent.  He told us he was from Peterhead,  Oh we thought you were from somewhere like Italy we said in disappointed voices, you are a “Peterhedien”  oh what fun we had.  The desserts arrived,  and yes, naughty me  had some,  I had a little eton mess.  And yes it was worth having.  Steve had the cheese cake.  A nice touch on top of the cheesecake is scottish tablet.   We all enjoyed the food, the service was excellent.  Would I go again.  Certainly would.

 

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On leaving the hotel we went a short walk across the car park to a friendly pub,  The Tolbooth Pub, Ellon.  As I walked in I soaked in the atmosphere; it was warm and friendly.  It was busy with a variety of ages of folks.  Sitting up at the bar stools were a group of ‘middle aged ‘ folks.  At various tables were various people, as were in the lovely booths.  We made our way to a table beside one of Les and Pauline’s friends.   In one of the booths were five young lads, I’d say in their early twenties.  They looked happy and were sitting blethering and laughing, next thing they started singing The northern lights of Aberdeen.  I felt my heart pang, it was a song sang to me by my Mother, one we would sing together.  They sang, when they got to the last line Pauline and I sang along “To my home in Aberdeen” I could feel the tears, however happy tears.    I turned and looked over to the lads at the booth the young chap with the curly hair lifted his whisky glass in my direction, gave a wink and a cheeky smile – made my night.

On returning to the house Pauline and Les looked after us, we chatted into the small hours of the morning and before we knew it, 3am hit the clock.

I woke on Sunday to my FaceTime call with my 4 year old granddaughter, Alexandra, we had a wonderful discussion.  Her first words  of the conversation were you are coming home today and final words were I love you…. lots of stories in between.

At 10.30am we went to visit Steve’s auntie Margaret in Aberdeen before going out for lunch at  The Cove Bay Hotel . There were 11 of us for lunch.  And what a great lunch it was.  It was so lovely to spend some time with Steve’s cousins and have time for a catch up and a blether.  We had a table by the window with a beautiful view of the sea.  Auntie Margaret and I were right by the radiator, we were toastie.

After lunch Steve and I made our way back to East Lothian.  We had a quiet drive home.  It didn’t too long at all.   It was lovely to see our cottage.  Spent a relaxing evening with our dogs at our feet.

A massive thank you to Pauline and Les for introducing us to Arthrath.  And making us feel ever so welcome and not like visitors at all.

Big thank you for The Warm Welcome in Ellon