On Day 110 we are still not quite back to normal. I choose the 3 mile route around the river and the castle this morning as I thought it would be the perfect backdrop for such stormy and gloomy weather. I needed a distraction away from my circumstances to stop me thinking and descending into another deep dark hole of depression. I had lain in bed all night churning things over and over in my head. I couldn’t shake it and perhaps thought that the setting of a horror movie with weather effects to boot would be enough of a distraction. It wasn’t. I had just continued thinking. I was in my own world completely. Thinking. Over thinking. I had no idea if I had passed anyone on the way but as I realised what was happening I pulled myself up by trying to engage fully with the world around me. Suddenly, almost as if my hearing was miraculously healed I could hear the torrent of the river gushing past me. The rain bouncing off of my jacket and as I stood there in the dark, my eyes, ears and mind open and straining for God, for some sign of him, I could hear, clear as Crystal, above the din of gushing rivers and beating rain on jacket, individual water droplets from the trees hitting the puddles underneath them with that resonant sound of a dripping tap into a filling sink such as I used to make by flicking my cheek with my finger with my mouth open. By searching for God I found, not God in a physical sense, but God in his creation delivering peace for my mind. By straining to find him and engaging my senses to do so I found myself re-engaged in the present and not descending into another deep dark hole. 

As I set off for home I felt, for a short while, like I was stood on the foredeck of a great ship in a large swell. I could feel the sensations of being lifted up high under foot and then the slightly nautious tummy turning as the ship fell off the front of the wave. Up and down I pitched with the slight roll of the ship sideways too. The rain on the gusts of wind flinging water in to my face at just the right moment enhanced the sensation beautifully. Yet I was not frightened as I strode for home. This was not a seizure. This was just the distraction I had been searching for. This was very real and effective as I heard a bell ringing in the distance like a ships bell in a swell. Perhaps it was the small bell on the top of St Modoc’s Church ringing gently in the wind gusts but it felt heaven sent so I threw in my sea anchor as I pitched and rolled and prayed to keep me on a course straight and true. 

I was still pitching and rolling with the sea as I sat having breakfast with the children and during breakfast we started to talk of my large family. His large family. Of Uncles, Aunts and Cousins spread to the four winds. Of how much he enjoys meeting them. Then the question I was dreading. When are we next all going to get together? The answer lay of course in that popular quip said at Weddings and Funerals. But I couldn’t say it. What if the next funeral was mine? Then if I hoped that it wasn’t mine whose would I hope it to be? I couldn’t do that!! The next funeral had to be mine. My stomach churned as I squeezed out a weak answer. ‘I don’t know James,’ and as I searched frantically for an answer James came back. ‘I know, we could build an enormous shed in the garden and have everyone in there.’ It was a preposterous idea that made me smile as I had images of a quaint family scene straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory playing in my head. If only it were possible. 

Early this morning I was meeting with an old friend from the village so needed to get a wiggle on but needed to go to the loo first. In a rush. Sat down. Did my business then looked for the loo roll. He had done it again!! JAMES!!!!!!!!!! ‘Bye Dad!’ I heard as the door slammed shut. I am sure I could hear James and Jake giggling as they ran up the road for the bus. I really did not want to have to start waddling about the house wrapped in a towel like a Geisher again. ‘Heather?’ Silence. ‘HEAther?’ Silence. HEATHER!!!!!!!! ‘Yes Dad?’ ‘Heather please get me some loo roll’ which she duly did passing it to me with a hand extended through the opening in the door ajar. Her face hidden but she couldn’t hide the mirth as she stated from behind the door, with suppressed laughter in her voice, ‘I didn’t do it!’ I had guessed that from the miscreants flight up the road and on to the bus! But it must have been jolly funny even if you didn’t do it. I’m off to the village store for a water pistol. James has been struggling to wake up in the mornings………

My meeting this morning was great and one in which I learnt of this man’s difficult life after divorce that drove him to homelessness and alcohol as he descended into depression. Yet here he was talking to me because of the way he found God as a source of hope and encouragement to help him sort himself out. As he stood there talking to me and telling me how some of the stories he had heard on his support groups, which were far worse than his, had helped him realise how lucky he was to find his way back to the light. I remember thinking what a man of courage he is and what a humble, gentle and generous sole he is despite all he had been through and how I too have found such inspiration and encouragement from the wonderful people I meet. A great meeting and now time for a run. Popped in first for a Decaf Mocha at the Buttercup Cafe then into the challenge accountants Webb and Wallace to see the certificates and letters sent as thank you’s from the charities for the donations made. So apart from the sea voyage it has been a really good morning. Now definitely time to face the wind, rain and mud. I need some exercise. 

It was a good run. 2.4 miles again. Stiff at first but warming up as I ran on. Wet. Very wet so lots of mud. Glorious. As I hit the section by the river though I hit a problem. For the first time that I’ve seen it the Teith was topping over the bank. Only ankle deep, so I ran on along the bank but quite quickly I was having to raise my legs higher and higher to clear the water. It rose to just above my knees and I started to feel the gentle tug of the river on my lower legs, inviting me to join it. I declined the invitation and turned left up a track away from the river and towards the castle. It felt good. I was breathing hard after all the high knees running through the water and then the slope up and away from the river but I felt really good. Tired. But good as I jogged in home. Back home 3 overhead pull ups, 15 press-ups and 15 sit-ups and some stretching. Shower and lunchtime. Yep a poached egg on seeded toast served with Spinach, Rocket and Watercress salad chased by tenderstem broccoli, carrot, tomato and red grapes!!

More admin to do this afternoon. I had another old bike to prepare for a ride to recykeabike in Stirling. It was my old commuting bike from my days in Barracks and Married Quarters so did a number of miles but was in good nick and could do somebody a good service. So time to recycle it. But first I had to master the fantastic downhills towards Stirling on a gentleman’s bicycle. The only thing that is missing is the basket!! Another exciting day tomorrow I feel.

This evening was finished off with a short 1 mile walk for Georgie before cooking and eating with the children Smoked Mackerel and Sugar Snap Peas poached in Coconut Milk. Delicious and so easy to cook.

Piano lessons followed and then packing for the school skiing trip which leaves on Thursday. There is a real sense of excitement in the air after a good day.

The challenge in numbers in total since the start:
Days completed: 110
Total Miles Cycled: 615
Total Miles Walked: 573.5
Total Miles Run: 32.7
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Ran and Rowed in the gym: 8.4
Total Distance Swum: 700 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.1240.6
Total Height Gained under own steam: 31,973 feet
Mountains Climbed: 5
Hills Climbed: 18
Days of Voluntary Activity: 6.5
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
Curling Matches played in: 5
Curling stones placed on the button (the centre of the target): 1
Weight Training Sessions: 8
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 4
Press Ups: 217
Pull Ups: 54
Sit Ups: 217
People Met and Hands Shaken: 352
Pots of tea shared: 22
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 2
Prayers joined in the street!: 4
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Pills popped: 478
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 725
And most important of all – Money Raised as at Day 96 – £5,802.77.

Considering I started this challenge 20 weeks ago very quietly with no target beyond a fiver, thanks to the brilliant advice from a friend of mine, I am absolutely thrilled and again thank you all. So far that is £60.44 for each and every day that I have managed to find the will and energy to do something worthwhile and my goodness it has been worth it for my peace of mind, for my healing and for the five wonderful charities you are supporting through your generosity. Long may it continue. May I also ask however that if you are not sponsoring me to please consider it for as much or as little as you can afford. My rate of revenue raising has slowed from £70.00 a day to £60.00 a day so please sponsor me and encourage your friends to as well.

Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.

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

Yours aye