Day 43 has been a day in which an extraordinarily heavy tiredness has tried hard to come down with an unrelenting descent like a theatre fire safety curtain attempting to stifle any hope of doing anything useful or even being able to interact with anything other than the inside of my eyelids!! But extraordinary levels of human kindness and generosity has helped me once again defeat such debilitating feelings.

Another poor nights sleep after such a brilliant day has left the head feeling extremely heavy and the mind wanting to do nothing except hide under a blanket and doze. Knowing that such a move, no matter how inviting, would only ensure another poor nights sleep and further compound the problem I needed to find a way to lift the curtain. I had planned a quiet day as a bit of a rest, catch up with some admin and have a couple of meetings but I had to find a way to get motivated so as soon as the children had left to jump on the bus to school I was back in to my boots, Georgie by my side and out to go round the Ponds, up the steps on to the Commonty walk, down onto the old railway line and back home. 3 miles in which I met lots of cheerful people who wanted to chat and show their support. Fantastic because it was those positive conversations that ripped me out from the curtain of tiredness like separating a shadow in a Velcro suit from a Velcro person. Each person either had good news to tell or offers of support and help in delivering challenge activity. Thank you all very much for ripping me out from the curtain and many, many, many congratulations on such great news Sue.

Walk completed it was time for a meeting with Len at the Buttercup Cafe. A great meeting where sadly I had to turn down an invitation to join them on the Climate March in London on 28th November, an event I would dearly liked to have attended but for a clash of dates. However Len also introduced me to the Iona Community and from Len’s Family Group I received a very generous donation towards the challenge along with a book of images and reflections from the Iona Community that will undoubtedly help me relax and reflect on God’s work in the journey ahead. I was hugely emboldened to keep going by such generosity and messages of support so a huge thank you to Len’s Iona Community Family Group and to Len for introducing me and the challenge to them.

I had some photos to deliver as a favour for Len so I popped in to see Pat and her son Matthew who is heavily epileptic, yet one of the most courageous people I have ever had the honour to meet, and greets me nearly every day with a cheery wave and a smile reinforced by a hug from Pat. We had a long chat in the kitchen sharing stories and providing support and encouragement and then a tear was brought to my eyes as Pat, who worried constantly about me being in the hills, with poor balance and on my own, presented me with her late father’s Rowan thumb stick to bring me back safe off of the hills. Both Pat and Matthew decided that I should have it. I am hugely honoured that such a beautiful stick should be entrusted in to my safe keeping and am choking back the tears even as I write this as I know how dearly he was loved by them both. Pat and Matthew thank you for I know that it will bring me back safe.

As I got home after a pair of such lovely meetings, the tiredness once again started descending heavy like a curtain. I had lunch to eat and some admin to get done but the curtain was down and a thick fog started to creep in to the house. Every action became harder and harder. Every thought or decision a real effort with almost every word used in a letter or email that needed written having to be fought for and dragged kicking and screaming from the brain, or when that failed to find the word, searched for with building frustration from the dictionary. Every task became slower and slower with all reasonable order to the tasks that needed to be done being lost in the fog of tiredness. The curtain was down, the lights were out, the fog was in and I was sat on the stage,on my own, lost in a sea of papers that had lost any form of order or reason for their very existence. I was achieving nothing and needed to fight my way out from the quagmire I was in. I got changed, very reluctantly, very slowly, trying hard to convince myself not to go – but I had to – go for a run. 2 miles at a nice steady pace in the Autumn sunshine was a real struggle at first but slowly, slowly, crank handle turn by clattering crank handle turn the curtain lifted. I started to feel less full of lead or even fantastic and with a cheery wave and hello from Liz as I started back towards the village I was alive again.

Time for a quick shower before cooking an early tea to turn James around in time for his drama rehearsal for the upcoming show in a week performance of the Adam’s Family in the Dunblane Community Centre. Wash up and tidy away and it was time to head to the pub! I was having another meeting. The delightful Caroline Barrowman who I had met on the train with my usual chat up line of pour a glass of wine and log onto facebook etc etc etc had indeed looked up the challenge on facebook and decided that she could help. Could we meet???? Yes PLEASE!!!!! I was new to facebook and social media and Caroline thought she had some advice she could offer that might help use social media to raise awareness of the challenge further. I was really excited about the advice Caroline had to offer so arrived early to be greeted by Jamie the owner of the Red Lion in Doune who then gave me the Wifi password for the meeting but also passed over a brown envelope, within which was a donation for the challenge. Excited by what might be in the envelope I tucked it away and started to write my post. Caroline arrived and a tea and coffee arrived. I had met Caroline, very briefly, on the train home and she was in fact getting off but with me not having said a word to her when something poked me and told me to introduce myself. Wow, yet again that inner voice that keeps telling me to stop and talk to particular people was absolutely right. Caroline had read every post and was hugely supportive and encouraging from the start. The fact that she had come, on a dark autumn evening to meet a strange man she had only met for two minutes on the train, in a pub after work and before having even managed to get home, despite her friends initial concern was testament enough to her faith in me and the challenge. Caroline was full of brilliant ideas that I can use going forward in tandem with the website when that comes on line, to increase the appeal of the challenge to those with less time or patience to read long posts like this one initially, and for which I am hugely grateful. It was a hugely useful hour not just in terms of the brilliant advice and food for thought on taking the challenge forward on social media in the future but also in terms of an emboldening show of support and encouragement for the journey I am on. Caroline thank you so very much for your time tonight. You were brilliant.

Back home I started to try and finish this post, again fighting tiredness as the night drew on, then I remembered Jamie’s brown envelope. My goodness Jamie that is a hugely generous donation. Thank you very much indeed. Wow – tiredness gone. So time for the challenge in numbers but before I do a quick plug for the brilliant Buttercup Cafe in Doune who are very kindly holding an afternoon tea as a fundraiser for the Beat the Beast Challenge on the 22nd November. £15.00 a ticket with all proceeds going towards the 5 challenge charities – not a penny less. I’ll be there!!!