Leaking gastrostomy tube

Lavita has been my lifesaver. For those who don’t know Lavita is the name of my gastrostomy feeding tube. Artificial feeding is a way of life for me; feeding tubes, syringes, dressings, huge deliveries of feed by my lovely drivers from Nutricia, etc. For the last few months I have been having a bother with my tube, my nurses have been coming in, giving the usual service, changing water in balloon, etc. However, I have had a lot of leakage (losing water from my balloon ) I have been in an awful lot of pain and three times the balloon has burst. Lavita has been a leaking gastrostomy tube.

Last week I went for a ct scan with contrast at the request of my net consultant. He is worried because my 5hiaa is elevated, I’ve lost weight, been getting a fair few infections and I haven’t been feeling well at all.

This week I have been at the hospital to see one of my consultants. He was able to speak to me about my ct scan and finally shed light on why I have been loosing water every week. And perhaps why I have been in so much pain. He asked me to get onto the couch, he Kindly helped me up, he assisted me off with my shoes, I couldn’t bend down comfortably from the couch and get my shoes off, he could see that so bent down and took my shoes off for me.

I lay flat on the couch and he said Mark requested the CT scan for a totally different reason the problem we are going to discuss and he started to explain what the radiologist reported on the CT scan. The report stated the balloon should be sitting in my stomach, however it is sitting in my jejunum. The doctor decided he would reposition it there and then. Are you ok? he said, I nodded, my tummy was aching. Just breathe in he said to me, and I will get this adjusted and make you more comfortable. He gave a very firm tug on the tube and turned it around, he pushed it into place and gently twisted it round. He pulled the disc tight up to my skin and said the tube needed to be at 4cm. And to check and adjust it several times per day. He is hoping now that he has pulled the balloon back up into my stomach that I won’t leak water any where as much as I have been. Some weeks, my nurse puts 20mls of water in when it comes to the water change there is only 7mls of water in the balloon.

My gastrostomy balloon had fallen into my jejunum.

I got myself decent, he helped me off the couch and onto the chair beside his desk. We now had time to discus what he did, how my gastrostomy tube looked on the scan and how I was feeling. How am I feeling? rubbish, hope to feel better soon….. My doctor did me a drawing of how the tube should be and how mine was when I got the scan. He told me I should get blood tests today; the nurses with a bit of a fight took my blood.

Today I got an email from my other consultant; my net specialist. The one that ordered the CT Scan. He said he was shocked when he read the report that my balloon of my gastrostomy tube was in my jejunum. He asked how I was feeling and said he was relieved that I had seen my other consultant Alan and that he had repositioned it. The prof said he is hoping that the leakage will slow down now that I have had my tube pulled up.

I feel privileged to have very caring consultants that look after me so well. Especially take time to email me out of hours, or give me a call and ask how I am. Thats what I call service.

The Drawing by my consultant

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.

Best Friend

Today is a special day. It’s the anniversary of the wedding of my hubby, Steve and me. We got married in August 1986. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. We have had amazing fabulous times, laughed so much it hurt. Gone to so many lovely places together, shared many happy times and learned to love, live, cry and smile every day. Although life hasn’t always been easy, and there have been turns in the road that have tried our strength. We have always had each other to come home to, share the burden and lighten the load. I feel very happy to have my husband as my Best Friend

STEVE AND ME IN IBIZA

Steve and I are proud of our two children and we are pleased to have beautiful grandchildren. It’s a tremendous feeling to have such little ones warming our hearts.

Our home is a happy one filled with love, laughter and most definitely plenty of chatter. Steve and I at home with two loyal labradors, Buddy and Bella. Regular welcomed family visitors keeping us on our toes and entertained. Never a dull moment in our household.

Never a dull moment in our household. On the day we got married; Friday 22 August 1986 – I woke up and realised I didn’t have an appropriate pair of shoes to wear. Steve and I jumped on his Honda Superdream and went into Edinburgh for a pair. The sales assistant asked if she could help, I told her I needed a pair of shoes for a wedding, when i explained I was the bride she was taken aback. She said I hope the groom is more organised. I laughed and said to her maybe you want to ask him and nodded my head in Steve’s direction, as he stood at my side. Oh my isn’t it bad luck to see each other before the vows. We will take our chances we said. THIRTY FOUR YEARS LATER I COULDN’T LOVE MY HUSBAND ANY MORE THAN I DO TODAY.

Harley Davidson run in The Scottish Borders

After a day of swithering whether I should accompany my hubby and some of our good friends from https:www.dunedinhog.com on a mates run. I hadn’t had the best of days, had to phone my medic team and get one of them to come in on an emergency. After only two weeks my gastrostomy tube had to get changed. Believe me it wasn’t a pleasant experience. I rested all afternoon then decided the company of good pals and some fresh air would do me the world of good. So at 5pm on the Friday evening I got myself into my bike gear all ready for a Harley Davidson run in The Scottish Borders.

My hubby Steve spoke to our chum Scott and put it to him “show us your ride” Steve and Scott messaged each other back and forth. Scott and his wife Shirley lead a scenic route. We met up with them in Galashiels. The drive from our place in Boggs Holdings, Pencaitland to Galashiels was a reminiscent one. We took the A6093 to the junction of the A68 and turned left, took the first right and headed towards Gorebridge, passed the entrance of Vogrie Country Park, my mind took me back to many walks I went on with my hubby, children and dogs, such happy times we had, I now hear lovely stories from my grandchildren when they have visited and played at the park and walked the dog. We made our way along the narrow twisty road towards Borthwick, passed Borthwick Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots sought sanctuary in June 1567 when she learned Scottish nobles planned to capture her. You can find out more about Borthwick Castle at https://www.borthwickcastle.com I was happy to drive pass our sons old primary school, Borthwick Primary which is now a private residence. We drove up the twisty steep incline to North Middleton.

From North Middleton we took the A7 and headed south. Our destination was to meet up with our group in Galashiels. The drive down was wonderful. We enjoyed a somewhat familiar drive, one we did regularly several years ago, what seems like in another lifetime. The scenery was beautiful, typical of Scottish countryside, as I looked ahead clouds rolling in the blue sky, many shades of green on the hillside; home to the happy skipping sheep, bleeting as we drove passed them. The river looked inviting as we drove by, I could have asked Steve to stop at the side of the road and took a paddle. As we drove down the A7 we rode through Falahill, Fountainhall, Torquhan, Stow, Torsconce, Buckholm and finally arriving at Galashiels.

For the hungry horace’s we met up in Macdonalds car park. For those who wanted could join an organised social distance queue for food or got to the loo. Whilst the others ate, went to the loo and blethered. I sat on the ground in the car park and caught my breath. I don’t mind admitting I was feeling a tad wobbly when I reached my milestone, Galashiels and I could have done with going home. The ride from ours to Gala was more than enough for my body on this particular day. However, my want and desire to finish the route, be out with our friends and enjoy the time on the fatboy outweighed how I was feeling. Despite feeling my heart beating so fast that I thought it was going to jump out of my shirt. And the worry that my blood sugar wouldn’t keep up all the way round despite having my gastrostomy tube running. My body ached. Feed checked, all sorted and feeling better. After the rest, I took photos of the others and their bikes. When we were ready we took the A7 and headed towards Hawick.



Scott took the lead with wife Shirley in her Harley Davidson behind him, both Borders folk made it ideal for them to choose the route. I was looking forward to this run. Will it live up to my expectations? I hope so…….

We drove 6 miles from Hawick, Scott took us to the picturesque village of Bonchester Bridge, lying on the Rule Water. Leaving the delightful village the route did not disappoint and the scenery just kept on giving as we headed over towards the A68 and rode to the border view point.




The Scotland England Border on the A68 is an excellent opportunity to stop, take a break and a wee photo. We all had a great time; even had time for The Vickie Green Challenge.

Vicky Green Challenge


We stopped for a while at The Border View Point, giving us a good rest point as well as the opportunity to take photographs. Then had an enjoyable drive down to Jedburgh. Memories came flashing into my mind as we drove through. Passing the rugby ground, seeing the large posts, wonderful recollection of my son Stuart playing second row for Haddington. The sheer delight of Haddington under 16’s winning the cup. What a day that was. Such a great feeling standing at the sidelines cheering the team on, screaming at the top of your voice. Regardless of the weather, rain, hail or shine. Continuing our journey we made our way to St Boswells, turned right, opposite The Buccleuch Arms. Lead by Scott we climbed up a beautiful steep road with some unpredictable twists and turns. Drove a route with amazing trees, lush grass and beautiful plantation. We arrived at Scots View; one of the favourite views of not only Sir Walter Scott, but of my parents. Looking over the valley of the river tweed I could clearly see why. It is not only a beautiful view, it is calming and relaxing. I felt quite at one with myself soaking in the atmosphere. My parents took my sons Tony & Stuart and their cousins Lindsay & Robert here, as well as many other places. However, Scots View is particularly memorable not only for the view, but it was the day my son Tony fainted.

Scots View



After spending time at Scots View we took the back road and headed to Lauder. Thereafter, our wonderful hosts, Scott and Shirley headed back to their home in Ancrum. The Edinburgh based folks headed towards auld reekie and Steve and I made our way to Pencaitland. We went straight down the A68 turned right signposted Haddington on the A6093, through Pencaitland till we reached our home in Boggs Holdings. Buddy and Bella were pleased to see us, as I was to see them. As much as I enjoyed the ride it was good to get my feet up. I had a beautiful evening with lovely people. It’s so nice to be tired for a reason. It’s good to meet up with others and see places I haven’t seen in a while, especially ones that provoke memories. Looking forward to the next run.


Scots View

Felt like a teenager

Last Thursday after a horrid infection to blow the cobwebs away I went out with my Hubby and mates from The Dunedin Chapter Two Palaces and a Castle. You can find out about The Dunedin Chapter at Dunedin When we left Linlithgow we drove home a different route and lets say it didn’t go as smoothly as getting there; not that I minded mind you, looking back I Felt like a teenager.

Steve & I on The Fatboy

As we left Linlithgow we headed along the B9080 and made our way for Winchburgh, my the little place is growing. New houses popping up. As we were approaching Winchburgh I snuggled into Steve and rubbed his leg we drove passed beautiful newly built houses on a very dusty road. Steve slows down, realises he had gone too far and should have veered to the right at the new houses. All ten bikes turn round and head in the right direction………we make our way for Kirkliston. Lovely smooth drive till we get to the lights. Look up, familiar yellow sign with a black square, diversion, the road on the right was closed and we had to turn left. Making our journey longer. We headed down toward Queensferry. Then followed on till we got down to the A90. Where on earth did all the traffic come from?

The traffic queuing to go to Edinburgh was heavy. Steve took the lead with the others behind him. I stretched my head to the side in front of us was a trail of cars, vans, and lorries for as far as the eye could see. As we sat breathing in the fumes, listening to music from the cars, watching frustrated faces on the drivers of the four wheels I saw Stuart glide past us like a beautiful bird carefully weaving through the traffic. Next Colin manoeuvres and drives down the middle of the two rows of stationary vehicles and then in formation all us Harleys follow on. As Steve and I weave through the traffic I have amazing memories of being 17 and on the back of a sports bike, feeling the need to draw my knees in at every opportunity. I turned my head to the side and saw a young chap in a fiat 500 look at us, he smiled and waved. I lifted my hand and waved back, he had that look of envy. Sitting on the back of a bike, driving up the middle of two lanes of congested traffic; wow what a feeling. For some scary, for me utter bliss, I love it. I live in the country, our road is a single track road, not a cat eye in sight. No street lights, no orange glow of the city. And thats how we like to live. But the drama of feeling that you need to pull your knees in to pass a car, feel the rumble of the big trucks as you fly pass them. Made the traffic jam worth every moment.

Sitting in the traffic most certainly this day was better to be on 2 wheels that in 4.

If you want to give riding a motorcycle a go. Why not visit these pages. And then pop down to the shops and have a look and a chat. Ive been on bikes since I was 3. Honestly they are great fun and you meet wonderful folk and see fabulous places.

https://www.twowheels.co.uk/pages/learn-to-ride/motorcycle-training.htm

https://www.saltiremotorcycles.com/rider-training-edinburgh/

If you fancy a Harley Davidson. Look no further than your Scottish dealerships.

https://www.edinburghharley-davidson.co.uk

https://www.westcoastharley.com

A Glimpse of the Harley Davidsons that were on the trip

Two Palaces and a Castle

Well these last couple of weeks haven’t been the best. Yes the restrictions on lockdown are gradually easing and we are getting to meet up with others, most folks are being careful and abiding by covid regulations. For example, wearing face masks in shops, keeping a safe distance from others, washing hands, carrying hand sanitiser. I’ve not been feeling on top of the world. My nurse has been coming in and she has got to know me pretty well. One look at me and she knew there was something wrong. Two months ago I had the burst balloon in my gastrostomy tube and I felt that I hadn’t really gotten over it, the entire tube has been changed twice due to problems of it bursting in my tummy and extreme pain.

Last Wednesday I just wasn’t feeling good at all. Evelyn my district nurse came in to service my tube. She looked at me. Elizabeth she said, You are looking a shade of grey. How are you feeling? I pathetically winced and answered her back, Oh my, I feel absolutely shocking. In fact I feel like I have been kicked in the tummy by a horse. My solar plexus area was excruciating, everything and anything was an effort, to do the simplest task took maximum effort. Evelyn got down to business and attended to my tube. She could see that I was experiencing a lot of discharge from my stoma site. Time to change your tube again early…………

And so down to business instantly. Oh my goodness it was absolute agony, I could feel the saliva run down my gums, feel chest palpations banging in my ears; throb throb throb. The perspiration beads running down my head, I could feel my hair getting wetter. Finally the tube pulled out. It was gunky. Changed for another size 18 French tube. The gunky tube sent to the lab at the hospital. Skin covered with creams etc. Dressing on. In the afternoon the phone rang, it was the doctor, asking how I was, I told her how awful I felt. Antibiotics were prescribed. I need to get either IV antibiotic or antibiotics that get put into a syringe and put in my peg. I got a sledgehammer set of antibiotics and told to double my hydrocortisone replacement therapy. This medication for one week.

Following Wednesday I get my tube dressed and my octreotide injection; my two weekly expensive injection in the bottom. Not feeling on top of the world but feeling much better than last Wednesday.

Thursday my NET specialist telephoned me. We discussed how I’ve been. Long and short I’ve to get a CT scan and an echocardiogram. He is concerned since my last results were in the high region.

To blow the cobwebs away on Thursday evening I had a lovely trip as a pillion passenger on my husbands Harley Davidson Fat Boy Lo with some of our friends from The Dunedin Chapter. https://www.dunedinhog.com My hubby organised the mates run. It was a great wee run for a mid week trip in the evening – Two Palaces and a Castle.

Meeting up at The Gates of Holyrood Palace

We met at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. https://www.royal.uk/royal-residences-palace-holyroodhouse Holyrood Palace is situated at the bottom of the Royal Mile with a beautiful view of Arthurs Seat. It is the official residence of The British monarch in Scotland. The drive through the park towards the palace was beautiful. Arthurs seat the extinct volcano makes a stunning backdrop for many photograph. The loch has swans and ducks is attended by lots of keen visitors. Many folks choose to jog around the park and I can see why they want to run on this lush green grass. We wait at the gates of the Palace until all friends get together. Once we are all on board. Steve talks to everyone and lets them know what the route will be. Next stop will be……

Our capital city: we had a beautiful drive up through the park, round by the commonwealth pool and through some sights of the city. As we drove along George IV Bridge we passed Grey Friars Bobby, we turned left at the lights and up The Royal Mile. All ten harley davidson motrocycles drove carefully over the cobbled streets of Edinburgh and into the entrance of Edinburgh Castle. The sun was shining, the roar of ten bikes exhausts; music to my ears. As we drove through the entrance you could hear the vroom vroom echo. There were people up the castle enjoying the views over Edinburgh, as we entered they turned their heads and watch us come in. By the look on their faces you could see this was not an everyday occurrence for most of them.

After a stunning view of auld reekie from the castle and a quick presentation of a very small cake (one that fits in the day pannier of the Harley Davidson) to Hazel to say Happy 60th lockdown Birthday sister. We were on our travels again. We were heading to our destination. Fifteen miles west of Edinburgh, we were heading to Linlithgow. We took our way through the town, down the Mound, along Queen Street. Along Davidsons Mains heading to Barnton, on the outskirts of the city approaching the beautiful view of the forth. We took the A904 from Queensferry to Linlithgow. We found an excellent place to park. I sat at the benches and had a lovely chat with my friend Colin, whilst most walked down to an excellent fish and chip shop and got some tasty fish and chips; on location between Edinburgh and Glasgow the evening meal came with a choice of salt and sauce or salt and vinegar. Great food was had by all.

Found A Great Place To Park The Bikes And Rest In Linlithgow

You can look up Linlithgow Palace at https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/linlithgow-palace/

https://www.thecastlesofscotland.co.uk/the-best-castles/magnificent-ruins/linlithgow-palace/

It started with a puppy

Most of my regular readers with be familiar with Buddy and Bella my labradors. Buddy is my assistance dog, knows when I’m especially not too great, when the old sugar levels have taken a dip, he alerts me to take the appropriate action. He knows when the old ticker is playing up, the irregularity is a bit of a pain, sometimes the palpations are bangning through and I know that my heart rate is racing, however, when the blood pressure has dropped dangerously low, Buddy knows before anyone. Bella is his wife. And a great couple they are. My life is never been dull with my amazing beautiful fox red boy labrador Buddy and delightful loyal golden girl Bella.

The day I decided to breed them did not come lightly. Both my babies have great pedigrees. Exellent temperments and I had the confidence that they would produce fantastic puppies. However, there is always the worry – will my bitch be ok? how will the puppies be? The hard work it involves. I didnt want just to have the puppies and leave them in a room. I wanted them to be socialised, toilet trained, etc. Which would most definitely be a lot of hard work. Looking after my girl through pregnancy, sitting up with her during labour and helping look after the pups till good homes were found.

Soon Bella was pregnant, quickly she was a little barrel. We made her a breading box, gave her a room all to herself, so that when the pups were born, she would have peace and quiet. Time passed quickly and the pups were born. Dad was on hand, sat all the way through the labour. On the first of March 2015, 8 beautiful puppies were born.

This is the 8 Puppies

Bella & pups 1st March 2015

Eight healthy puppies looking for new homes. Ive got to admit I was apprehensive letting the puppies go. Leave us and stay with what to them would start of as strangers. As well as the folks phoning me asking questions, I asked them questions too. Good homes were imperitive. All prospective new owners came to view the pups, made a decision, had the opportunity to see them twice again before finally getting the pup at 8 weeks. One young lady that telephoned was called Sally. She already owned a labrador, a horse and lived with her Mum. Both of them worked, but it appeared that their work hours would suit perfectly.

First visit they were fair taken with the pups. They chose the lightest coloured pup, and told us his name would be Harley. Little did we know our friendship would grow into one of the best, all I can say is It started with a puppy

Harley & siblings having breakfast

This is Harley

Harley is three weeks old here

The weeks flew in that we had the puppies. Buddy and Bella’s romance grew. And the puppies soon went from mums breast to porridge to puppy feed. I socialised them a great deal. Let them run around the house. Our hall is very long they ran along it daily when they were able. They played with toys, got used to the noise of the vaccuum, washing machine, etc. Let them get used of children and people.

Bella and Buddy having a cuddle

Over the period of a week the puppies went to their new homes. When Harley went to his new home, his went to live with Sally and Marie. Sally worked at Edinburgh airport, two minutes from her home, The hours worked in great with her mums and Harley soon settled quickly with the resident labrador Cooper.

I am very fortunate that all my puppy owners have kept in touch with me and I know how they are doing and where they are. Harley is a very lucky boy. Harley grew up in a very loving environment with the company of the other dog to help him guide him on his way. He also had a great, firm however very loving and loyal owner in Sally.

The love and enjoyment Harley gave had a huge impact. It actually was the turning point in Sally’s life when she changed her journey. And started a whole new career. She started dog walking and dog day care. Her Mum Marie is very proud of her, its a big step moving on from employment to self employment; and making a success of it is admirable. You reap what you sow….. Marie your hard work has flourished. And beautiful Harley is the proud resident Labrador of Salspals.

You can find out much more at their website Sal’s Pals

Anytime I need Buddy or Bella looked after Salspals is the place I choose for my precious labradors to go. Whether its for a hospital stay and I’m forced to stay in due to treatment or an infection and my hubby has comittments that leave the babies at home all day, we will use the services. Or most definetly when I am feeling tickety boo and we manage a travel trip, especially on the harley davidson, and meet up with friends from the http://www.dunedinhog.com to attend a harley davidson ralley. Sally does a tremendous job of making you feel welcome, she really does love the dogs. And our dogs undoubtedly enjoy their time at Salspals. Their daycare is tailormade to your needs. Salspals is special.

Salspals is in an exciting period they are moving to their new premises; this is a fantastic new time for the business. It will allow the dogs to rest in comfortable and safe surroundings. Run around in a safe and secure area. However, dont worry there will still be plenty walks on the cards for our four legged friends.

Life is short and most certainly precious. We have to look out for those that we care for and those who care for us. The familiar sound in my house is the padding of Labrador feet at my side. Buddy and Bella are never far from me and that’s how I like it. The first time I left Buddy I don’t know who was more upset, it was like leaving a child at the school gates. I could hear him whimpering. In the 5 years I had him we had never been apart. Not for one night. When I left my tummy was in turmoil. I felt tears pricking in my eyes. Phone in my bag, so wanted to reach for it and call and say I would come get him. Not that I knew what I would do with him, it was 10pm and I was due at the airport at 5am. 10.45pm my mobile made a familiar sound it was a text with an image of Buddy and Bella on the sofa cuddling in. At 4-30am I received another one to say they were both ok, and asked how I was. When I landed there was a text and photo waiting for me. Then I knew my babies were going to be ok, in fact I knew they were going to have a great time.

Sally at Sal’s Pals – it started with a puppy

A Walk With The Dogs

Well its been quite a while since we have had limitations due to coronavirus. For many of us life has became a new normal, there are folk that listen to radios and watch the news on the tv in the hope for lifted restrictions. In the passed weeks restrictions have been gradually relaxed to allow us to see one another, within certain restrictions. I’ve been at home with my dogs and what I have wanted most is A Walk With The Dogs.

In Scotland this is our advice for now https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

We are blessed to live in the country. Surrounded by beautiftul country side and not see a person, shop, house, or car for miles or hours. You may think that after being cooped up in the house you are desperate to talk to someone, alas no. The beauty and tranquility of our surroundings brought the most fantastic memories flooding back. Such wonderful thoughts and recollection of amazing trips with the boys, paddling our feet in the water and building a dam. For this walk I had the perfect company; my beloved husband and faithful labradors. They were just what I wanted and needed on this midweek evening.

We took a drive to St Mary’s Loch and Megget Reservoir. One of our favour places to walk the dogs in the evening , not a person in sight. At St Marys Loch there is a lovely cafe, that is usually open during the day, serves not only a great cup of coffee and cakes, but does great lunches too; fills the belly of many a biker with delicious homemade macaroni, curry, lovely sandwiches.

St Mary’s Loch is a lovely spot to sit and have a rest after a walk or drive. The drive to the loch is pleasant whichever way you are coming from, either Edinburgh, or down south. The loch is the largest natural loch in the Scottish Borders, its 5km long and 1km wide. It lies on the south side of the A708 between Selkirk and Moffat and is only 45 miles from Edinburgh, well worth the drive. The loch was created by glacial action during the last ice age. Why is the loch called St Mary’s? There was once a church dedicated to St Mary which once stood on its northern shore. Unfortunately only the burial grounds are now visible.

St Mary’s loch is fed by Megget Reservoir. The Reservoir is in the valley in Ettrick Forest in the beautiful Scottish Borders. The 259 hectares reservoir is held back by the largest earth dam in Scotland. The reservoir collects water from the Tweedsmuir hills.

The drive to St Mary’s loch was a fun packed one. Steve and I were singing songs in the car like a couple of teenagers, the dogs were panting in time to the music. They look out of the window and you know they remember every last stop and treat they had the last time they were in the car. As we drove through Innerleithen they got excited in anticipation, thinking we would stop at the ice cream shop and treat ourselves to a cone. No such luck, shops closed. Buddy’s face fell like a sulking child getting the wrong toy, However, the elation when we opened the boot and they got out into the open space. They ran about 10 yards, both of them came right back to me, Buddy gave me one almighty slobbery kiss so hard on the lips he almost knocked me over. Their way of saying we love you guys. You could see the happiness on their faces. Buddy my ever so handsome Fox Red Labrador and Bella, Golden Labrador; she is sensitive. Both dogs are very loving.

Buddy at Megget Reservoir

St Mary’s Loch

St Mary’s Loch

The road alongside the reservoir is fairly uneven and narrow

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir


Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Bella testing the water at Megget Reservoir

Buddy exploring at Megget Reservoir

Steve, Buddy and Bella having a walk at St Mary’s Loch

On the road from the loch to the reservoir it is narrow and somewhat uneven. It is a fairly steep incline to get up to the reservoir. As you are driving you pass some beautiful scenic landscapes. The road can get a little hairy at times and you have to remember what goes up usually comes down. Lets just says we were going slow enough to take in the enjoyable scenery.

Megget Reservoir


Megget Reservoir
Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

Megget Reservoir

The dogs reluctantly jumped back in the car and we too grudgingly took our seats in the car and made our way on the scenic five and a half mile journey to Talla Reservoir, just one mile from Tweedsmuir in The Scottish Borders. Talla Reservoir is an earth-work dam fed by Talla water. And is supplemented by water from the Fruid Reservoir nearby. It was opened in 1905. To assist in bringing the materials for its construction, the Talla Railway was built.

Talla Reservoir

Talla Reservoir






Second exercise of the evening and the dogs were very happy, tails wagging franticly. Big labrador grins on their faces; all labrador owners will know exactly what I mean. And if they could talk they would be saying thanks ever so much for coming here, we know you love it, so do we. There was a bird chirping its head off and yes it though Bella was going to go chasing it and have it for dinner. Bella wouldn’t. She would be more inclined to go get it some food or give it a cuddle. She has such wonderful mothering instincts, but the bird didn’t know that and it was quacking its head off so we moved on and left it in peace.

We had a wonderful time, it was peaceful, the dogs really enjoyed. Scenery was beautiful. Weather was dry what more could you ask for.

Time to jump in the car yet again. One last pit stop to do. It has many childhood memories for me, lots for my children. Was the route my uncle Allan took me on when I was learning to drive. We did many charity cycles, predominantly The Borders Push for Testicular Cancer. We were now travelling the 22 miles Talla Reservoir to The Meldons. As we took the right hand turn, signpost “Eddleston via The Meldons” and started climbing the narrow unmarked road. Buddy couldn’t contain his excitement, tail wagging, and his quiet panting sounded like an anonymous heavy breathing caller on the telephone. “Nearly there sweetheart” I said to him. Bella licked his ears. At last we arrived.

Steve, Buddy and Bella at The Meldons
Steve crossing The Water With Bella at The Meldons
Steve at The Meldons

The drive down to The Meldons was more than a pleasant one. Looking out of the car window as Steve drove and we chatted, there was so much going on. Sheep in fields, birds flying in the sky, so many different hedges, trees, etc. Various crops growing in fields, an array of different colours. We didn’t pass one car on the road. But then it was midweek and after 8pm by this time.

The dogs jumped out of the car as if they had never been out all day. Bella loved the water and paddling around, Buddy not so by this time in the evening he didn’t want to go in the water. Instead he was on a rabbit trail, nose to the ground and sniffing around and around very happily.

As I gently plonked my bottom on the heather and sat down to check how much feed I had left in my backpack, after all we had been out for quite a while. Great I still have at least over an hour on my pump feed to run. Sitting on the cushioned purple heather I looked around. Such happy memories came flooding from over the many years, lots of fun and many trips to this lovely location with family and friends. Sadly some people that are no longer with us but the reminiscence carries on and I will always have wonderful thoughts and memories. This is one of our happy places. For us a go to place.

Big boys do cry

Being at home permanently since March 12th has certainly given me time to think.  There has been many a lonely hour to reminisce.  Its been lovely to look back and remember events that have gone by, places I’ve  have visited, people that have came into my life and made an impression; left their mark.

In my 54 years of life its been happy, eventful and surrounded by a great many beautiful caring characters.  From the moment I have been able to comprehend I was showered with love.  As I grew up I was always shown kindness,  the family philosophy was treat others as you would like treated yourself, I will never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself.  Yes these days as I am getting less able and I  will pay someone to clean, paint  or fix something  – I’m sure these tradesman appreciate the work.

Getting back to my time to think.  When I was sitting putting my feed on I was thinking about when part of my job included listening to people and their problems, how they were feeling.  I encouraged them to talk about their feelings.  Express exactly how they felt at that particular moment and how to deal with it.  I would gently persuade them to chat and through time just by talking they would soon realise what made them happy and what made them stressed and sad.  We would work on the positive aspects of their everyday living and help them get back to a happy place.   One thing that did happen to several people is that at some point during their journey was they would face an emotional encounter.  Regardless of their gender, age or size they would talk about whatever may be bothering them, or perhaps on the contrary what has made them very happy that day and then suddenly the voice would go quieter,  and that emotional encounter would take place; the real journey had begun and I would consider my work as continuing success…. Looking back at how a lot of us are feeling at the moment, frightened to show our emotions, a lot of people get told to be quiet, not talk about their feelings, not cry.  If they do cry many are met with Now come on, stop that crying, pull yourself  together.   Stacy Solomon on Loose Women was talking on ITV and said her mum used to vacuum when she was crying, to hide the fact that she was.  All very sad.  We need to be allowed to show our emotions.

I still remember one particular chap when I was working, he was your average build gent, and a father of three, he felt he was failing all round, his family, his work, his health, and most importantly himself.  Of course he wasn’t.  When he got to his emotional encounter he quietly sniffed away the tears and continued to talk, shortly afterwards he described blurry vision and tears threatened to spill from his eyes.  He wiped his eyes so much they were red and swollen. I handed him a handkerchief and said let the tears happen,  please don’t be embarrassed.   His lips trembled, an involuntary whimper escaped his lips as tears spilled over the sides of his eyes.  He looked over at me, his face shouting out help me and please listen.  His body wracked with an onslaught of sobs and tears.  The tears raced down his cheeks.  He cried for a few minutes.  When we discussed events he explained how relieved he felt and thanked me for getting him there.  We still had a way to go, however, the big lesson learnt was not to these suppress emotions;  and deal with them appropriately – the basic emotions are happiness, fear, surprise, sadness, anger and disgust.  The message from this experience I took was most definitely people gain from expressing their emotions, getting upset, talking about their problems; a problem shared.  Big boys do cry.

 

IMG_0671-0

 

I most certainly do know being home on my own and having this time to think I also have to to shed a tear and I have probably cried more in the last few weeks than I have done so for quite some time.  Although I do have to say my life is made so much better by those folks that message me and ask how I am, who give me a phone and have a natter.  Please drop an email or a text or give a quick call to your pal or your mum, brother or sister, etc.  I have noticed there are some folk that I only get texts if I send them one first, would I get one asking how I am if I didn’t send them one?  Perhaps I would, maybe I wouldn’t!!! But one thing I do know there are some folks in my address book that we send messages to each other regardless, sometimes I’m first, sometimes their first.  But one thing I do know we deeply care about each other and look out for one another.  You guys know who you are; I love you.

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

 

D5608B24-7817-4587-8FBD-6137A3D0E4DB

 

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: