Thursday, 27 July 2017

Just Giving: Fundraising for Esther

It's a year ago today that my sister passed over to the other side at the age of just 46.  I shared the eulogy, which tells the story of her extraordinary life in an earlier post.   Before she died I spent three nights in the hospice to get her used to accepting care from the staff.   I talked about how I'd started running and she suggested that I completed a marathon.  I refused but said that I'd work up to running half that distance in her memory.  Eek!  What possessed me?   When I went away I looked for the flattest course possible.

It turns out that the Great Bristol Half Marathon 2017 is pretty level.  It's on 17th September so cheer on the woman who runs like a crab if you're in the area. Coincidentally it would have  been Esther's 48th birthday on that day.  I'm going to be raising money, at her request, for IIH UK who support those with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, the neurological condition that caused my sister to go blind.

So I've set up a 'Just Giving' account to collect sponsorship.  To mark the anniversary of Esther's death I'm starting my fundraising campaign on my social media accounts today.  If you enjoy reading my blog please consider making a donation towards my target of £1,175.   You can do so by following the link here...or the one above.  I thought I'd put in two for good measure!  My family and I will be ever so chuffed if you do give money.   We are trying to keep my sister's memory alive by doing as much good for others as possible in her name.

I went to one of the inpatient wards for a meeting.  While I was there I told some of  the staff about what I was doing.  One of the nurses who I didn't know very well pulled out a tenner from her pocket. Thanks so much Becki.  That first donation really touched me.   Only £1,165 to go!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

'Helicopter Parenting': Not My Style

Louis, my fourteen year old son,  goes off to  Essex today...on his own.   Gulp!  I'm popping him on the train and after two changes which includes crossing London on the Tube, he'll arrive at the home of his grandparents.  It's a somewhat scary prospect, but only for me.  He's as happy as Larry that he's allowed to do something so grown up.

No-one can describe me as a helicopter parent, overprotective with a tendency to swoop down and protect my child at the first sign of trouble.  In fact, I'm  quite the reverse.  Because Louis has achieved markers of independence early on for a child living in the UK in the 21st century I think I've been seen s a bit reckless.   At five he started to play out in the village where he still lives half the time with his father.  It's the norm there but I have to admit to feelings of terror the first time I agreed this.  At eight he walked to school on his own down a  country lane.  I was too ill to take him.  But given that hundreds of families took the same route day in day out I reckoned that he'd be safe and could call on help when he needed.  He sacked himself from after school club and was a latch key kid for an hour a day at the age of ten.  I'd find him happily curled up on the sofa eating crisps.  Yet another person I know did a trial of leaving her child of the same age at home while she popped to Tesco Extra for a pint of milk.  She came home to find them brandishing four big kitchen knives out of fear that there would be an intruder.  Clearly they weren't ready to be left.

What people don't always appreciate is that my actions are not borne out of recklessness.  Each time I allow Louis further and further off the leash I risk assess the situation.  Each time  I have a feeling of trepidation.  Lots could go wrong but in reality the chance of a major disaster is low.   I'm not reckless.  Everyone knows the plan.  And the benefits of preparing my son, bit by bit, for independence as he approaches adulthood are pretty enormous.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A New House: Pronto!

I've put the label 'Homemaking' on this post because it's literally what it describes.  I remember someone saying that a 3D printer would  become essential kit for all of us.  I'm sceptical.  Hell, I don't even use a 2D printer much anymore.  Paper free is almost a reality these day.   But I'm loving this nerdy video showing a low cost house being printed and completed in extreme temperature  in just twenty four hours.  What a wonderfully versatile small space!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Cool With It

Photos:  The Poke

I think I may have been hit upon by a lady at Chagstock.  She was all over me like a rash and then expressed a desire to take me home.  Even though she appeared to  be a sweetie I declined.  Although 'Never Say Never' is one of my mantras it seems that sexually,  my preference so far is for the male of the species however unfathomable they are.

I have plenty of gay friends though.  They bring a rainbow of colour into my life.  Today's post is for them.  Cheeky Jesus making a stand gave me a good giggle.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Chaggers 2017

I set out on Friday to our eighth Chagstock in a row with trepidation. The weather forecast was awful and there were monsoon conditons as I drove down the A38. When we arrived at the field poor Klaus the Knaus couldn’t muster up the momentum to get himself over to where most of the other motorhomes and camper vans were parked. ‘We stopping here.’ he seemed to say as he ground to a halt about ten metres from the gate. Not to worry. There are worse places to be stuck than the beautiful Dartmoor countryside.

On this little island of our the weather is changeable. It gives those blokes at the swanky Met Office in Exeter a run for their money. Yes, Friday was a bit of a day. For Saturday we were scheduled thunderstorms and hail. Eeek! Instead the gods smiled benevolently and aside from a couple of light showers it was dry with rather more sunshine than we ever could have hoped for. Instead of being one of those events where we avidly watched bands it was an eating, drinking, chatting kind of day with music as the backdrop. And not too many ‘Plastic Free July’ demeanours either. My festival beer mug is now three years old and serving me well. And here’s Lou who chose one of the many sin-free options from the food vans.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

In The Drink

'Bring spare clothes,' said Salty Dog when she suggested a paddleboard evening, 'for if you fall in.'  Shouldn't that 'if' have been a 'when'? And of course it was inevitable. Unbeknown to me the others had been betting on how soon it was going to happen. With hindsight demonstrating 'The Tree' yoga pose just as I'd got my balance and stood up for my first time was a little rash

Ah here's me in a much more natural habitat.  I can wild swim until I'm bored. Aren't we so fortunate to have beautiful places like this to picnic and play after work?

Friday, 21 July 2017

Without Trying

'When at night I go to sleep
Fourteen angels watch do keep'

I'm still sleeping through the night.  For the first time in years I consistently pop off to the Land of Nod and stay there until the morning.  No special tips about temperature of the room, blocking out all light, barring caffeine....... I even had a bit of wine yesterday.  That used to be a complete no-no in terms of shut-eye but not any more. As sleep experts have noticed, those who are not insomniacs don't have any special tips to share.

What has changed is that, in spite of a busy life where I am subjected to trauma in my working life on a daily basis, I no longer fret and worry.  I haven't eliminated stress altogether but it's very much on the back burner.  I attribute this to the meditation, running and taking on board some of the spiritual musing I've been doing over the last  few months.  Friends are continuing to comment on how calm I am.  Now serenity isn't something I've ever been accused of in the past!