Bagged his first munro

Several months in since Covid first hit us. Our way of life has changed and we have began to look for a new normal. Living life at a different pace. Shopping, working, educating; finding a way that works for us to go about our business safely and hopefully happy. Social distancing – meeting with others safely. Trying our best to get that balance of seeing others, getting out in the outdoors but making sure that we are safe at the same time. We live in the country in our delightful detached cottage, no neighbours, not a street light on our little single track road, not even a cats eye. However, what we have noticed is an increase in people walking passed the house. Obviously they must be taking their daily exercise and what a lovely place to do it. There has been a lot of awful news since covid hit the headlines. Since the middle of March and the big lockdown happened, I feel there has been a lot of heartache and we have had many sad and tragic events to deal with. Couple of weeks into September and I got a message which made me smile from ear to ear, it was to let Auntie Lizzie know that 10 year old Louis Bagged his first munro.

I was beaming, a very proud great auntie. Louis had climbed Ben Chonzie with his Dad Stephen. Lindsay, my niece, and Stephen are fabulous parents. Okay I am biased, but they are. The three children all have handled the situation with coronavirus very well, they very much missed school and the youngest one Patrick started primary one and eldest Sophie started high school. Big year. For some time they could not attend church and that was another blow to the family. Louis is my son, Tony’s God son. All three children normally attend some sort of activities. Louis in particular loves to go to the football and support Celtic with his Grandad and Dad, he enjoys boxing and training at the local club. All this has been taken away. Lindsay and Stephen have not been down trodden. I have been sent the funniest videos. They have set up assault courses in their garden. The children ran round the course and one of the parents would set the stop watch. Their dog Lubo would join in. Fantastic family fun, while gaining exercise, stopping the boredom and learning a few things at the same time – pulse rate, etc. The children soon got the exercise bug and they began family walks, cycles and adventures. Until one day Stephen asked Louis if he would like to train to climb a munro. He explained what a munro was. He told him that a munro is a mountain that is over 3000 foot tall and that there are 282 across Scotland. They decided to attempt to climb Ben Chonzie together. Which they did. They took the dog, had an amazing day. I am so proud of Louis, to climb a munro is difficult, it takes stamina, this young chap was 10 years of age when he bagged his first munro.

Louis and Lubo at the summit of Ben Chonzie

And so the munro bagging continued. My son Stuart and fiancé Laura climbed Ben Chonzie. They had a wonderful time, it was unusual for them to be without the children and only have Hudson, the fox red Labrador with them. You can normally see them out cycling the bikes with the children in tow. Or all of them walking in the forrest all set for an adventure. How I love to get FaceTime calls telling me of the adventures they have had cycling along the forrest track or taking the dog a walk. So young and full of energy. I’m sure when 4 year old Alexandra’s legs are up to it she will be mad keen to get up a Scottish mountain. Get the camera out and take the most superb photographs of our beautiful country and amazing scenery.

Ben Chonzie

Stuart & Laura – Ben Chonzie

Laura & Hudson

A wee bit about Ben Chonzie. Gaelic name Beinn a’ Choinnich – meaning mossy mountain. Situated near Crieff in Perthshire. The great Scottish solitary mountain reaches a height of 3054 feet and rises between Strathearn and Loch Tay. Its a super first climb with a fairly straight forward heather clad route of 9 miles, which tends not to be steep but with rather more moderate inclines and leads to beautiful open country, which is ideal for this current situation when we are needing to social distance. Plenty of space for everyone, even the dogs.

All this talking of climbing has taken me back to pre neuroendocrine cancer days. Life before carcinoid syndrome and days with super duper energy when running up a mountain was Childs play. In the year of 2000 my husband Steve, my brother in law Alan, my sister Hazel (Louis’s gran) and quite a few of our friends were led up Ben Lawers by our friend Gordon Macleod. We raised quite a few quid for cancer charity that weekend. Great fun was had by all. It was the first May bank holiday weekend, I can remember sliding on the snow, what great fun we had. Lovely evening at the Kilin Hotel that night too, the Irish whisky after dinner I can recommend. https://www.killinhotel.com

Alan, Hazel, Steve & Me at the summit of Ben Lawers Year 2000

Louis loving his first climb

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.

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 endocrinologist; a fantastic 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. The prof is amazing, he is caring and always makes sure I am pleased with the service I am getting. He helped set up the Charity/support group, http://www.taect.scot that I now rely on and admire immensely. Gives up his Sunday for Net Cancer Day for an information lecture. All the patients and staff talk very highly of him.

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.

Carcinoid Syndrome Investigations

So as usual life goes on, and as my half full glass is starting to waver I feel my flushing increase. As I struggle in the Wetroom with a shower, turning off the water I sit on the stool provided by my occupational therapist. I look down at my mottled feet as I struggle to get my breath. I used to get just a basic carcinoid flush – the face and neck; a red rash. However, now when I am utterly exhausted I experience a full body flush, from my toes to the top of my head and believe me it’s not pleasant. At times it coincides with palpitations. Steady thumping, loud familiar beating that I have become accustomed to. Net Cancer with carcinoid syndrome requires regular Carcinoid Syndrome Investigations.


Carcinoid Syndrome

When I last saw my NET specialist I had bloods taken and was asked to pee in the usual container for 24 hours. He telephoned me a couple of weeks later. He asked how I was feeling. I told him the truth, I am struggling some days more than usual, he said he isn’t surprised. My results are elevated , well a tad more than elevated. He recommends an early echocardiogram and a ct scan with contrast of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. I told him I’ve been having problems with the peg; the balloon bursting and the nurses putting in 20 mls of water on The Monday, the following Monday only 9 to 12 mls of water left in the balloon. He said he would get them to look around the peg site whilst in ct scanner.

Within 10 days I was seen at East Lothian Community Hospital in Haddington for my echocardiogram. Steve drove me right to the door. There was masks, hand gel and gloves provided on a desk. At the reception desk the receptionist directed me to the appropriate area. Just a very short walk down the corridor and I was there. Waiting area 3. Five minutes later a lovely radiographer called my name. She had her mask on and escorted me to the room. She asked if I had an echo before, I said I had. She explained exactly how things would go today, helped me onto and then told me how to lie on the couch, put my left arm up and hold onto the handle. This lovely lady made me feel completely relaxed. She talked me through the whole process. Despite the procedure taking around 45 minutes it was painless and actually dare I say it relaxing. Echocardiograms are a necessity for people with carcinoid syndrome. Since many of us get carcinoid heart disease.

CT Scan

Seven days after my echo I was at The Western General Hospital in Edinburgh for my CT. I got a letter explaining it would be best if I entered the hospital alone. Detailing exactly where to go and what would happen. When I entered the main building, again a table with gloves, gel and masks. Off I went to the desk of main X-ray. Approximately 24 inches from the reception desk there was tape as a marker to stand at. I held up my letter and the receptionist scanned it from afar. I took a seat in the spacial distance waiting area. A warm friendly face came to me with a jug of contrast. Yes you do have to drink all this I’m afraid, but you have an hour to do so. Hour passed, Jug drunk, radiographer took me to the CT area. I sat on the big blue chair. She looked at my arms, which one is better? Take your pick I said. She tried the right, got in, blood bounced back into the syringe, vein collapsed. Tried the left, nothing. I will go get someone else she said. I told her it wasn’t her fault, getting into my veins is always a problem, the phlebotomist usually uses a butterfly to take blood. Unfortunately today the cannula needed to be on the bigger side, the solution that was going through whilst I was getting my scan was going to be thick and sticky. After a second try the next radiographer finally had better luck. Time for my CT scan. Escorted to the room, the pleasant ladies assisted me on to the scanner, hooked me up and the donut did its business. The familiar voice of breathe in and hold. Then the solution going in. No matter how many times I get this scan, know this is going to happen I still have the same feeling; strange taste at the back of my throat, oh my that hot flush feeling and then the thinking that you have wet yourself. All finished. A lovely young gentleman came in the room, helped me of the scanner, escorted me out the room and took me to the waiting area. He asked if I was ok, I was shivering and pale, I explained I’m always freezing. A nurse came with a blanket and wrapped it round me. Pampered or what!! He told me I would have to sit for 15 minutes before getting my cannula out, just to make sure I was ok. I was; a jolly nurse took it out. I set up my peg feed and resumed my body back to normality.

I met my hubby at the entrance of X-ray and we made our home. When I got home I was ready to put my feet up for the day. In the evening I checked my emails, one from my net consultant checking in on me. I let him know thats the scans done. He sent a reply back. Wonderful service from our NHS. Especially during these difficult times. Many tasks have become a new normal for some. Maintaining social distance, offering masks, gel, gloves, etc and keeping everyone happy and getting things right is an extremely difficult job. For this I Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without my district nurses, doctors, consultants, hospital staff, dieticians, occupation therapists, pharmacist etc My family and I would find life impossible.

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

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