Day 54 has been one of frantic activity as I fought the beast and prepared for a weekend away to join the family and celebrate my Aunt’s 80th Birthday.

I caught the school bus this morning, with James’ blessing; although I wasn’t allowed to sit in the back with him just in case I burst in to tears, or started laughing hysterically, or started making animal noises – too embarrassing.

So instead I sat in the front amazed at how beautifully the children were behaving. Perhaps it was too early in the morning for them because the only excited person on the entire bus was me – I was going to the gym to do an upper body session to try and fight off osteoporosis which can be brought on by such a long period of chemo while also trying to beat the beast by getting fit again and therefore strengthening my immune system. About half a dozen senior pupils had a study period first period so were also in the gym. Again I was delighted by their behaviour as they were polite, considerate of other gym users and courteous. A real testament to how well McLaren High seems to round off it’s pupils and reassuring for a father. It was a great session in the gym all thanks going to McLaren Leisure Centre for sponsoring me with gym membership and therefore helping to keep the costs for the challenge as low as possible. Thank you.

I got back home and met up with Siobhan and Laura and had a quick catch up. They were both so positive and full of life I couldn’t help but smile.

I then learned that my laptop was repaired and ready for collection but in order to collect it before disappearing South I had to jump on a bus for Stirling pronto in order to be back in time to make tea for the children. I amazingly managed to remember that my Sainsbury’s food order was due in at the same time I would be out. A quick phonecall to the store in Stirling and the wonderful lady who answered the phone got hold of the driver who then very cleverly reorganised his schedule to get to me on time so I could still catch the bus. What a team and thank you for enabling the delivery – awesome.

Computer collected and back home. Just time for a late lunch of yep, a poached egg on toast with Rocket, Spinach and Watercress salad followed by a pick and mix bowl of broccoli, carrot, tomato and red grapes. Time to walk the dog and get back for the children. Happy dog and then it was time to start cooking tea in order to get James away for Scouts in time. Heather was brilliant and made the radish, lettuce, tomatoe and cucumber salad while I made the lamb meatballs in the tomato, garlic, coriander and chickpea sauce with garam masala and turmeric. With a natural yoghurt and harissa paste dressing these make excellent, if a little messy wraps. Thank you Jamie Oliver!! Remember, remember the 05th November. For the last 5 years we have been going to the Bridge of Allan fireworks which is a most excellent display but this year, with a head minced up by 18 months of brain focussed treatment from Brain Surgery, through Radiotherapy and 12 months of Chemotherapy, I completely forgot the 05th November and promised to play in a Curling match. Both Heather and James were really understanding and the Scouts and friends visits seemed equally exciting but James, over tea, asked me to promise that we can do the Bridge of Allan fireworks again next year. Without hesitation I answered, ‘Of Course James’ but then quietly choked up a little uncertain of the chances of being able to keep the promise I had made. I gripped myself. ‘Be positive Archie – medically the team believe that there is a good chance and God willing I will be here for many more fireworks nights. This simple promise just brought home the fragility of my/our situation and reminded me of the couple of friends made as I started out on this treatment journey just 18 months ago but who are sadly no longer with us. So having fed the children and seen them off to Scouts and friend’s houses I caught the No59 and climbed to the top deck of the bus to be wowed by fireworks as I travelled in to the city to go curling. 3 fireworks the whole way! Very sad but it gave me time and cause, after all souls and as we approach Remembrance Sunday, to remember those friends I have lost on the way. Both in service and in treatment. All good men and women. May they be content of all they achieved in their lifetimes of which there is so much achieved and may they be resting in peace.

Once off the bus I started the walk to the Peak , over the railway then along a wide avenue leading past the cinema and a number of restaurants. As I walked I noticed the metallic taste bubbling up inside me and realised another aura was coming. I quickly checked I was well to the left of the pavement away from the traffic and looked up to keep walking and breath it away. There were no bees just an increasing of the fuzziness to a vibrant tingling but then time seemed to slow. Like a time lapse camera the headlights and taillights of the traffic started to blur in to long streaks of red and white light and reminded me of the photos from a text book on human geography from school. Almost as quickly as it arrived though it went away and I made it to the Peak strengthening by the minute. Then I remembered that I had forgotten to take my anti seizure pills. The match was about to start and cursing my poor memory made a call requesting a delivery of the pills which arrived 20 minutes later. Thank you Moira. The match kicked off and after a shaky start was back in to the swing of things the video below being proof of my push and glide. I even nearly managed to get one on the button (bullseye) twice and wanted to claim it on the theory that two near misses equals one on the button but then realised that that is like claiming that getting two golf balls on to the green is the equivalent of a hole in one. Clearly utter nonsense so the figures for the challenge have changed little for today. I am off for a long weekend down South so will not be reporting back until Tuesday 10th November. I will catch the two days missed over the weekend but until then have a great weekend yourself.