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

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.

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

We’re all Jock Tamson’s Bairns

As the time of the restrictions of the coronavirus goes on not only here in the UK but in a great many countries all over the world.  We have all had to get used to for the time being a different way of life.  Here in the UK we are still in lockdown.  Shops, restaurants, pubs close.   Work places cannot function as they once did.  Schools, colleges and universities have closed their doors to students and staff.  Many personal services can no longer take place; such as hair cuts and styling, nail manicuring, tanning.

 

As someone with carcinoid syndrome   things changed for me quite some time ago and I  had to learn to deal with many issues.  I have had to make many adjustments.  My skin has changed, I have to deal with horrendous flushes, etc.  Whilst I still love to wear make up, dye my hair, etc I have to be careful for reactions.  Looking back as a youngster I can remember pinching my mothers food colouring to dye my hair when I had ran out of money to buy the real McCoy and making sure the earrings matched the colour of the nail polish,  that co-ordinated the hand bag and shoes.  Well I was more of a Dr Martens  student, although I did like to wear the decorative ones, give a bit of colour to my life.

 

The one thing I have never been into is wearing any ‘add ons’ – getting my nails manicured and polished and painted a pretty colour for a special occasion yes.  Acrylics on me? No – just never been the done thing.  Hair extensions are something that have came a long way in the last few years.  And to be honest they look so good and natural you would never know where the natural hair ends and the ‘fake’ hair starts.  And as for any other body enhancements, young women placing an implant in their bra, such as a  chicken fillet insert to make them look on the larger side and give them that extra lift.  In the seat of their pants too bum boosters.  for that additional filling on the rear end.  I’m blessed with olive skin and don’t feel the need for fake tan

 

As a woman who brought up two lads I didn’t have make up,  nail polish, make up, hair extensions, bra, etc requests in our household.  We did have lots of aftershave, mousse and wax for hair styling, and hair dye.

 

In the evening hubby and I find ourselves sitting blethering about our day just the same as we normally we do.    On one of our evening chats we had a discussion about how much time has been spent on screens and the pros and cons of this.  We have been really grateful of the smartphones we both own, the fact that we can FaceTime our friends and family.  If I am going to be in the house for 12 weeks with the garden for light exercise and the only physical people I see are Steve and my nurses I cannot thank enough the progress of technology that has allowed us to move forward and video talk on a call.  On Sunday when my hubby was cleaning our Harley Davidson and I was doing my favourite job of saddle soaping the leather panniers we had a FaceTime call and the 4 year old granddaughter, Alexandra that is mad keen on motorcycles, virtually started the Harley Davidson Fat boy.  She got to hear the roar of the pipes.  And to see the big smile on her face made my day.  As we discussed screen time we went on to discuss social media and what we had seen on it over the last day or so.  My husband had been perplexed and annoyed with the folk that were generally yapping about nothing.  I said to him its simply boredom with people, they have nothing better to write or they are hiding behind their status and making out everything is FINE.

 

What really got us was the folks worrying about breaking their nails and not being able to get to the nail bar…… the hair extensions falling out…….roots coming in and the fear that everyone will see their hair colour (well I hate to tell you, you have just told us, if you hid in your house, and didn’t put a status up no-one would know)………    We have started to see status’s on facebook and people tweeting about their appearance or rather what they believe the lack of it.  They are worrying about what they look like even when there is people fighting for their lives in intensive care.  One of the nicest stories I heard this week was a young family talking, Mum in her late forties was doing the talking, got to admit she looked like she had just got out of bed and it was lunchtime, she was wearing a pair of jeans and a sweater, no make up and no fancy hair do, the kiddies were still in their onesies; Mum was telling the tale of how nice it was to work from home, not feel pressurised to get dressed up and be able to wear the same set of clothes the next day.  Oh and have a day off from make up.

 

I remember a time when I was a bairn and played free, skipped to my lou and sang songs, didn’t bother if there was make up on, what size of breasts or bum someone had.  Yes, its great to take pride in our appearance, however we have to be careful not to become self obsessed.  What we have to remember is  we are all human beings with similar skin and hair.  As the saying goes We’re all Jock Tamson’s Bairns

 

 

baby s feet on brown wicker basket
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Friendship: that stands the test of time

IMG_0307           Friends.  We all have them.  What does

friendship mean to you?   How do you define a good friend?  I guess we would all have different answers. What’s important to me does not necessarily sit high in the rankings for you.  We also have friends and ‘friends’.  There are those that will be by our side for the rest of our days and there are work chums, social meet up buddies etc.  There are friends we will never meet in person; social media hook ups, pen pals.  We can build up great relationships and share common ground, learn all about their country, etc.  The support that can be gained from a friend that you will never meet in person can be invaluable.   The fellow patients and carers/friends/family that I have met through the support network charity The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust has been just fantastic.  We meet , talk about all sorts, support each other and friendships have developed.  To be honest I never thought I was one for sitting in a room full of sick folk, that want to chat about their condition, but actually making the effort to go out on a chilly evening, have a blether and a cuppa and most of the time a jolly good laugh. I usually always go home in a much better frame of mind and feeling a whole lot better than when I woke up that morning.

 

For those of you that have read my blog you will know that family is the most important thing in my life.  I’m the youngest of five.  The closest to me is Hazel with a 6 year age gap.  The other 4 are closer tother in age.  Mum and I developed a great friendship, from a young age she took great interest in activities at school etc.  I remember running home from school eager to tell her all about my day.  Mum and I spoke every day, even when I got married.  Perhaps it was just a short phone call, but the blether would take place non the less.  Mum died 5 years ago there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and miss that conversation.

 

IMG_0306

 

I have talked in previous blog posts about friends.  As someone who can no longer drive and with numerous problems such as fatigue, hypos, pain, etc.  Friendship is extremely important.  Now as adults, I’m no longer that kid hanging on to my sister Hazel’s skirt and we are great pals with wonderful support.  Support and help has came in different ways from different ways .  Two friends that I value, really care about and have been particularly helpful over the last year are Sally and Louise.  My  husband, Steve, is  the best friend you could ask for.  We spend a lot of time together and never seem to tire of each others company.

There is a pal that I haven’t spoken about in my blogs.  On leaving high school I decided to go to university in Edinburgh.  on my first day I met this quiet country girl from Callendar.  We hit it off instantly.  At the end of year one I decided to leave auld reekie and study in the city of discovery, Dundee.  This in no way hampered our friendship, we remained friends through studying in different cities, marriage, the birth of both of us having our sons.  Both of us are god mother to our first born.  Tony now 30 and Scott in his 20’s, my how time has flown.  Jennifer was sitting on my sofa a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon chatting away with Steve and I.  Just the three of us, it could have been 34 years ago, with the exception of some of the conversation subjects.  Amongst other things, We had the 4 lads to talk about, Tony, Stuart, Scott and Cameron.   Over the years Jen has been a great loyal friend.  Someone I can trust, share a problem or a secret with.  In the early 1990’s when I needed breast surgery, Jennifer came early in the morning to give me a lift to the hospital, physical and emotional support before the op, just what a pal needs. While my poor hubby was rushing around with two youngsters.  When Steve was getting his radiotherapy a trip to  the country club for one week was organised by Jennifer, really appreciated it.  Since this diagnosis, Jen has been a great pal; known her place.  Text enough, but not too much.  Visited when I’ve been ‘ill’ in hospital.  visited us at home but kept away when she thought we need space.   You know your pal is your pal when you don’t feel you have to put on a face, or tidy up for them visiting.  You aren’t embarrassed if you can’t afford the bill and you can tell them.  We are made of similar cloth and I’m definitely not afraid to say anything in front of Jennifer.  Still a pal after all these years.  Thanks.

Bye Lavita you have been a lifesaver

Its the start of the weekend I’m in my own home and boy am I glad to be so.  A few weeks ago I was in hospital with yet another infection.   It started of I wasn’t feeling too good, said to my nurse I felt horrid, my tummy began to swell, my temp rose, the leakage that came out of around my peg site increased, the smell began to get really offensive.  My energy became non existent.  I visited my GP, within 2 hours I was in hospital.  Before I knew it connected to IV drip and on IV antibiotics.  I was feeling absolutely awful, could hardly put one foot in front of the other.  The familiar face of SPB came to my bed.  He is the surgeon that put my gastrostomy tube in two years ago.  Lavita has been a lifesaver and fed me on demand.  After blood tests, X-rays, scans and careful discussion with the surgeon and the wonderful dieticians Bev and Marion it was decided it was time to change the tube.

 

 

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Im not going to lie, I was bloody nervous at the thought of getting lavita taken out and another tube put in.  The nurse came to tell me that I was getting my tube changed later that day.  just after lunch I could hear a familiar Irish mans voice outside my bedroom.  A few minutes later the doctor popped his head round the door, remember me Elizabeth? He said.  How could I forget.  He was the doctor that took out my jej extension.  I have faith in him.  My nervousness left me and I felt calm.  How could I forget, I replied.  He changed my gastrostomy tube.  I’m not saying it was plain sailing.   Mainly due to the infection,  I had a lot of tummy pain and there was quite a lot of discharge and blood. There was a lot of tugging and pulling.  The burning gastric acid from my stomach was trickling down my skin, it hurt like hell.  He mopped it up very quickly.  The saliva was running down my gums, yet my lips and mouth felt dry.  We agreed that a larger circumference tube would go in this time, in the hope that there will be less leakage.    We have moved up a size and a half and its fitted perfectly.    I was in hospital for 5 days, and got well looked after, support from dieticians, nursing staff, and doctors fantastic.

Its took me a while to get on my feet since getting out of hospital.    I have been very tired, in fact super exhausted to be exact.    Regular things have taken a back seat and gosh have I missed it all.  In particular not having the granddaughters at the house as often.   A couple of weeks before I went into the hospital our house was full of laughter of two beautiful granddaughter’s.  Our 17 month old princess was running up and down the hall saying Papa Papa, Broom Broom – she is desperate to go sit on her grandfather’s motorcycle.  Grace calls from the kitchen Bella Boo to one of our labs.   The girls are away on a two week holiday at the seaside.  Gosh I miss their visits.

 

 

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Since I have been home, I am getting my regular visits from my nurses.  Getting my tube maintained,  The balloon water changed. My dressings changed.  Working hard on building up the old stamina 🙂

The one important thing that needs to be done next is find a name for my new tube.  Its a balloon gastrostomy that feeds me through a pump directly into my tummy.  Im attached to the feed 20 hours out of 24 every day.  This prevents me having a hypo and helps me maintain my weight.  My wonderful hubby has bought me a lovely new Michael Kors leather backpack to put my pump in, it means I can be attached to my feed, carry it on my back and still be ‘fashionable’ as well as carry other essentials with me.

If you have any suggestion of a name for my new tube, please comment.  All suggestions, comments welcome.

 

Making The Most………

Wow its been a while since my fingers have tapped out a post.  To say I haven’t jotted down anything would not be true.  However, everything I have written recently has been very personal and Im not quite ready to share these thoughts.

It’s the beginning of July the last post was published in March.  Quite a lot has gone on in my life in the last 4 months.  The puppies have all grown, and gone to new homes.  They have left a footprint on my heart – they were jolly hard work but oh so lovely to have.  We kept one from the litter.  A stunning young lady.  We named her Bess.  And yes she is turning out to be just we hoped; a great combination of mum, Bella and dad, buddy.   Bess is already taking note to sit and wait when nurse Evelyn is attending to me.  She is intrigued in all the help that a grown up Labrador parent can be.  

We had the honour of attending and celebrating Sophie’s first Holy Communion in May.  What a wonderful day that was.  Alexandra and Grace were ever so happy to get into their dresses and drive through to Glasgow.   What a day to remember.  So happy, full of laughter and love.  Quite a memory.

Sophie trying to beat Stuart’s time completing the rubix cube. 

Sophie with Alexandra and Grace at her Holy Communion Celebration.

I felt far from my best in the last few months.  Seen my consultant, dietician, several hospital visits.  My wonderful nurses come to the house and cater to my needs.  I’ve lost weight which is a bit of a bummer.   My gastrostomy tube snapped which was slightly annoying- lovely staff from the hospital came out straight away with a new part.  Now that’s what I call service.   There has been a fault with the batch – there has been a run on broken tubes 😂 

On the 10th of each month I get the chance to meet up with net cancer patients.  Through the charity The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust.  We have a great time blethering away, sharing stories.  10th June my sister hazel drove me to haddington to meet up with the others for a coffee on a Saturday afternoon.  July 10th Steve and I went in style on steves BMW motorcycle to the evening meeting.  The meetings help me a great deal.  They give an opportunity to talk, share experience and most important be YOU.   Looking forward to the next one.  

My Shining Lights when the going gets tough!!

For most of us life is hard enough.  We all run along in the treadmill of life in our own way. Me, I try and make the best of it even on the bleakest day.  The last three weeks have been a struggle.  My father is in hospital, he has had life saving open heart surgery, his surgery was fairly extensive; a triple bypass, a valve replacement and a pacemaker.  He has been in intensive care, moved onto high dependency and now graduated to the specialist cardiology ward.  He still has a long hard journey ahead of him.  My Papa is made of strong stuff, he will fight all the way.   I am finding it hard, seeing him lie in the hospital bed looking so frail and lost when I am so used to seeing him going around the family home like a busy bee.  To let you understand my Dad is not one for sitting down, as you would say he has a ‘glass ass’.  He likes to keep busy, making sure everyone is looked after when they visit him.  There is always coffee and a sandwich on offer.

Ive been feeling a tad worse than usual over the last few weeks too.  On the medics advice Ive increased my steroids.  Whats keeping me going and giving me strength?  Love.  From particular special individuals: my hubby Steve, my sons Tony & Stuart and my granddaughters Alexandra & Grace.   They are my shining light, all of them fill my heart with warmth and love.   They light up my life even on the darkest days.  And make me smile – Always.  I love them so much and am so grateful to have them in my life.

 

 

 

30 Years On……..

Well it’s nearly 2am and I’m wide awake. It’s been a great day.  Today was our 30th wedding anniversary and we are in Boat of Garten, near Aviemore to celebrate.    I can hear two very familiar sounds.  The first is the whiring of my feed pump, the other -rumbling snoring; my hubby, Steve, this gasping pup pup sound coming methodically from him.  I wake up often at this time, giving me the opportunity to reflect on what’s going on in my life.  

I’ve had two lovely nights in Aberdeen with Steve.  We were staying in a lovely hotel, went to a great party to celebrate the 60th birthday of his cousin, Annette and the 30th birthday of her son Lee.  Great seeing the family and spending time with Steve’s aunt Margaret and her children.  Steve’s sister Julie, Nicole and jack are here too.  Lovely quality family time; had a super family meal and went back to cousin Jimmy and Teresa’s for a visit.  Steve and I had some time on own too, the drive through Aberdeen for me set of many childhood memories.  My aunt lived in Aberdeen and we visited often.  As we drove passed Duthie Park my heart leapt and I can remember it as if it was yesterday playing in the hot sun with my mum, granny Baird and auntie Nellie.  I yearn so to take my grandkids there, share my happiest times with them.  The time went so fast over the weekend.  After breakfast we popped in to see auntie Margaret.  She was telling us about manuka doctor honey.  And how it helps health conditions for some people.  She brought the jar through to show us, steve took a photo of it. We have since looked it up and we can purchase it at Holland & Barrett for £28.99 and get a second jar for 1penny.  We are going to give it a try.   For a lady of eighty years of age she is marvellous.  When I was there I had my backpack feed on.  She was open and asked me about it.  I wish there were more people would ask when they really want to know.  I really don’t mind answering the questions.  You tend to find its children and people over the age of 75 that ask.  
  

Our anniversary day was wonderful.  Drive from Aberdeen to boat of Garten was delightful. We drove passed the lecht ski centre, one of my old haunts.  For me so strange to see it covered in Heather rather than snow.  A warm welcome awaited us at our beautiful hotel, we have a garden room, so somewhere to sit out with a pot of tea 😘.  A huge six foot wide bed – could do with that at home.  We literally dropped our bags and drove into Aviemore.  We were booked on the strathspey steam railway for first class afternoon tea.  What a great journey we had.  Our own we private compartment, pot of tea, coffee, and lots of lovely food.  I thought this would be a great treat for Steve, since he is always running about after me, working so hard with his business and rarely gets time just to sit and watch the world go by.  And we both love the idea of the steam train.  An hour an a half of relaxation was wonderful.  I’m sure it did the two of us the world of good.  We had parked the car about a five minute walk from the train.  As we were walking back, I said to Steve I needed to go to the toilet.  We immediately saw a tesco – bingo, that will do,  I was bursting now, thank goodness I had an insurance policy on.  Steve put his hand gently on my shoulder you are too close to the edge of the road he said as a large lorry rumbled passed feeling like it was about to take of my nose.  At last the green man, we could cross.  Yes, they had customer toilets.  Thank,goodness.  Oh the relief. 
  

We came back to the hotel at 5pm for a rest before going downstairs for a wee while at dinner time.  I sat on the decking with a pot of tea, it was was a lovely day and at 5.10pm it was 19 degrees – in Scotland, nearing the end of August that’s pretty good.  Sitting watching the world go by, soaking in the atmosphere, beautiful.  Suddenly a wave washed over me and I could feel a chill to my bones.  The wee voice was saying watch you don’t get overtired now – you have done much more than you are used to.  The tummy started rumbling, get to the loo woman and deal with it.  I said to myself,  it’s your blasted anniversary.  So I did.  A beauty of a major explosion in the bathroom – the sweat running down my back with the pain.   Along with my teatime medication I took extra anti sickness pills.  I lay on the bed for twenty minutes with Steve.  Much better.  

We had a wonderful evening downstairs.  Gosh, not a late night for us though.  We went down at 6.30pm and we were back in our room  at 8.15pm.  Before we came to our room we walked round a beautiful community garden opposite the hotel. Lovely way to finish off the evening.    Back in our lovely room, we had time to relax and planning our Tuesday.    

We have to make sure we get plenty time to do my creams,  dressings, medications and my feed.  Two 500mls on the pump overnight, one or two 500mls during the day depending  and 4 bolus feeds during the day.   Steve is very  organised and methodical when it comes to my medication.  He sorts it all out first thing in the morning, puts it in little pots and transfers if medicine containers if we are going out. 

Looking forward to today.  We are meeting my sister hazel and brother in law alan.  Going up in fenicular railway.