Day 21 feels rather like I have spent the day sipping champagne. Day 1 of this last cycle of chemo’ has been unusual. I have spent the day feeling on the edge of an aura or partial seizure rather like a bottle of champagne with the fizz building up behind the nose and top of the throat like a cork and ready to pop at any moment.

The very scenic Loch Ard
The very scenic Loch Ard.

I am reminded more of those sweets we had as a child with the crackling, fizzing powder inside. Flying saucers I think they were called. I have even found myself having to hold onto the table at times with what feels like a drunken swirly head as I try to write this post. Most extraordinary and rather takes me back to elements of the post for Day 8 in which I talked about the swirling thick fog blowing in and out of the head with the tides. So it has been, in a tidal sense, testing but like any wind that blows or tide that flows they never last for long and frequently change direction giving great periods of clarity.

Sadly I didn’t have a period of clarity when on route to Milton to the West of Aberfoyle in order to do a short walk and stumbled upon a road closure and diversion. By the time I had caught up with what was really going on we had passed the turning for the shortest route round and back up for Milton.

Mum was driving and like the amazing Mum she is said not a dicky bird but instead delighted in the unexpected joys to be found on the scenic route!! Well we made it after a calming mocha and flapjack from a delightful cafe in Kippen. The fog cleared and I managed to navigate us to the wee Loch Ard car park for the start of the 5 mile Loch Ard and Lochan Ghleannain walk. It was beautifully sunny. I had taken Georgie out of retirement and she was rearing to go.

5 miles, 2 hours, 2 couples spoken to about the challenge and a happy but tired old dog meant for a nearly perfect morning.

Once home, a late lunch beautifully prepared by Mum and some admin done it was time for another walk as another flying saucer crackled and fizzed away behind the nose. Again I felt close to an aura with that heady drunk feeling. In an hours time it was going to be time to cook tea for us all and in time for James’ piano lesson. Nothing for it but to grab the dog, who I have to say did not look best pleased about another walk, and go and tackle another 2 miles. Just the tonic. The fog cleared thanks to a quick chat with Pat and Matt on their doorstep followed by a chance meeting and catch up with Christine to hear her good news and then finally the realisation that there was not a shred of litter to be picked up the whole way around the Commonty Walk!?!?

At Loch Ard and Georgie contemplating a day out of retirement.
At Loch Ard and Georgie contemplating a day out of retirement.

When I had managed to get some of my balance back and gotten rid of the walking poles I had been using after the operation on the Cholesteatoma in the right ear there was still room for improvement and on pondering how to get my balance better I realised that I was shaky when required to take my head away from looking straight ahead such as when turning to greet somebody or checking for traffic or checking the lay of the ground under foot. How to train the brain to get better at the balance function through visual references?? Litter picking!!!!!

I asked the Stirling Council Rangers if I could borrow a set of litter pickers then twice a day while out walking the dog I would be picking up litter at the rate of a carrier bag a walk. It was a struggle at first and I must have looked, at times, comically drunk but persevered and day by day my balance got better and to top it off people in the village started to thank me and comment on the visible improvement my efforts had made. It felt good to be doing something that was appreciated. Now however there are others around the village who pick up litter as they go. The village and surrounding countryside is looking great and my balance is so much the better for it. Perhaps I should start a nationwide dog walkers litter collecting club!!

Back to the challenge and it’s numbers in total since the start:
Days completed: 21
Total Miles Cycled: 112
Total Miles Walked: 73
Total Miles covered under own steam: 185
Total Height Gained under own steam: 4,361 feet
Mountains Climbed: 2
Days of Conservation Activity: 2 1/4
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
People Met and Hands Shaken: 91
Pots of tea shared: 3
Pills popped: 88

If you see me around do please give a cheery hello and shake my hand or toot your horn and give a cheery wave to show your support and encourage me on.
Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.

Thank you

Yours aye