Day 132 has seen 2 miles walked 5 miles travelled at a cost of 249 calories, a song re-written with a smile, a delicious tea, a promise delivered and a musical extravaganza.

I started today with a 2 mile walk filling another carrier bag of rubbish from around the castle and bumping into the ever cheerful Margo for a quick catch up before heading home.

Breakfast and some admin done I made my way via the No59 bus to the McLaren Leisure Centre for a Cross Training Circuit. This sort of circuit is very much aerobic training in which I start on the bicycle, then the cross country skiing trainer, then the running machine before finishing on the rowing machine. A round robin on each machine to work up a sweat, get the heart pumping but work the entire body. A good 5 miles covered in total.

Then back down to Callander for the bus and with 30 minutes to wait there was nothing for it but to go and get a Mocha and a flapjack from the Deli Ecosse. The hug was given with just as much enthusiasm by both Julie and Debbie and even came free. I left the Deli for the bus with another smile on my face as the odd spit of rain fell.

It was then time for a late lunch followed by a little bit more admin in which I managed to confirm that my offer on the flat had been accepted and that my Mortgage was also ready and waiting for me. All I needed to do now was to pop into Dunblane, sign some paperwork and the flat is as good as bought. Brilliant!

So next on the Agenda was cooking an early tea for the children and I as James was playing in the Musical Concert at McLaren High School. Yes, I had both the children over after school. Heather practicing her Piano playing while James got himself dressed for the concert and while they did that I cooked some potatoes for the Mash. Tonight I made a spicy bean mash for tea which was a protein hit of Butter Beans and Cannellini beans cooked with onion, tinned tomatoes and mild chilli powder, then topped with mashed potato and lactose free cheese before being baked in the oven and served with a spinach, rocket and watercress salad. It was a hit and disappeared in good time which was fortunate because as I cooked I was listening to Music and a Dolly Parton classic came on. ‘My Coat of Many Colours,’ a song that I have long liked and found it an emotional but heartwarming story. As it played I suddenly found myself singing along to it. Not with the original words, I could only remember a small few but with my own words that kept coming to me. I put the song on repeat and listened to it again and again, scribbling down the words as fast as I could, checking the potatoes every so often but determined to get these words down and the more I wrote the more I liked it so I share it with you tonight.

I was lucky enough to be given a lift to the concert tonight by the wonderful Alison and Robert Turnbull and as they picked me up I was still scribbling the last of the words down having finished tea and washed up with Heather drying. Jokingly Alison asked me to sing her the song when I offered to share it with her. So I did. Badly. Very badly! So be thankful that you only have to read the words with the wonderful tune sang by Dolly Parton rather than Archie Douglas in your head. It is lovely I think.

‘Back through the years
I go wandering once again
Back to the seasons pre disease
I recall a healthy guy for whom life was just a breeze
Then we had two young children
Each child was so small
We had much to learn together
But soon each child could crawl. 

We grew and grew together
Bonded at each step with love. 
We made many happy memories
That I am so proud of. 
When I was just a young boy
Granny told me a story
Inspired by the bible she had read
About a route to health and happiness
Should I ever need it. 

And Oh I couldn’t understand it
For I felt that I was rich
I was surrounded by such beauty
But then I heard that I was sick. 
And I told my children the story
Granny told me when I was a kid
About how God would want to heal me
And this was just a skid

But they didn’t understand it
And I tried to make them see
That one is really only ill
Only if they choose to be. 
Now I know I had little hope
But I was as well as I could be
Helping many many people
While improving the chances for me
With the idea of the challenge 
That God and granny gave me. 

Through this life I’ve remained happy
In the knowledge that God is on my side
I have everything that I could ever want from life
But nothing is as precious as my children’s memories
And my many happy memories of friends and family.’

This song needs some tweaking
Of that there is no doubt
But I think it tells a story
That’s positive and worth a shout!

Whilst still scribbling and before Alison collected me the doorbell rang. Cameron had arrived with the flyers printed as a form of sponsorship for the challenge by Alba Printers in Dumfries. This was hugely exciting and added further light to what was already a sunny day.

Thank you so very much Cameron and Kirsty for all your efforts and time while so busy with Iberico Foods and thank you very much John Currie of Alba Printers for your generosity in producing a run of hundreds of flyers. These really do make a difference while trying to reach out to people and encourage sponsorship.

Then it was off to the concert at McLaren High School. Music beats through the very heart of the school so I was expecting it to be good and there was such a variety of instruments, modern and traditional that these cool young men and women were playing so confidently and beautifully. From full orchestral pieces in which the rich tones of the strings section and especially one of my favourite instruments, the cello, resonated throughout the auditorium, to jazz and blues, to film scores, to solo performances on vocals, violin, fiddle and piano, of such perfection by the prize winners of the recent Music Festival at the school, to a brilliant little folk group with small pipes, guitar, banjo and Bodhran to, for me, the most important parts, the school pipe band which James had very recently helped to set up with some friends and also the ukulele choral peace in which James sang a solo and tugged hard at my heart strings. The concert was a huge success. I was so impressed by the standards in the school and the talent that performed today. Well done McLaren High School!!

Tomorrow I am supporting a friend who has so supported me.

But before I go:

The challenge so far in numbers in total since the start:
Days completed: 132
Total Miles Cycled: 635
Total Miles Walked: 667.7
Total Miles Run: 44.2
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Ran and Rowed in the gym: 28.3
Total Distance Swum: 2,420 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.1,385.5
Total Height Gained under own steam: 34,679 feet
Mountains Climbed: 5
Hills Climbed: 18
Days of Voluntary Activity: 8.5
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
Bats Found:0!
Curling Matches played in: 8
Curling stones placed on the button (the centre of the target): 3
Weight Training Sessions: 10
Weight shifted: 10kgs lifted over 102metres or 2040kgs moved over ½ a metre,
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 7
Press Ups: 380
Pull Ups: 79
Sit Ups: 465
People Met and Hands Shaken: 383
Pots of tea shared: 29
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 2
Prayers joined in the street!: 4
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Prayers joined in a Café: 1
Pills popped: 688
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 664
And most important of all – Money Raised as at Day 126 – £6,710.77

Considering I started this challenge 6 months 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. That is £53.26 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 to £53.26 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 for joining me on my own personal journey and encouraging me to walk, cycle, climb, paddle, sport and do good deeds each day to ‘Beat the Beast’ while helping to improve the lives and life chances of so many more people through sponsorship. The Five Charities that I have selected to support are:

  1. Cancer Research UK – My Father Succumbed to Lung Cancer; a couple of friends are currently fighting cancer and I am fighting a brain tumour. Let’s Help to Beat Cancer Sooner.
  2. The Prince’s Trust – Inspiring and preparing disadvantaged Young Lives for success.
  3. British Red Cross – helping those in need around the UK and the world whoever and wherever they are.
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature – For a Living Planet and a Future Where People and Nature Thrive.
  5. Help for Heroes – Support for our Wounded and their Families. To learn more about my story that brought me to this point, how I plan to ‘Beat the Beast’, what activities I plan to do within the challenge and why, please see my welcome video on this page.

How to Sponsor Me

The Beat the Beast Challenge is self funding through my own contribution while keeping costs to a minimum with voluntary support and corporate sponsorship in kind. Therefore the entirety of every penny donated will go directly to the 5 charities listed above.

Please sponsor me by completing a standing order form either through your own personal internet banking or by completing a hard copy standing order form in your branch of your bank and then handing it in to the teller.

It is entirely up to you how much you would like to and are able to sponsor me for so do please give as much or as little as you can. Every penny will be very gratefully received.

While I hope you will encourage me to keep going by sponsoring me for every day I survive and am able to find the cognitive and physical capability to complete a day’s task designed to improve my chances of ‘Beating the Beast’ or improving the lives of others, 5 days a week, four weeks a month, for as long as ever I can. Any One off Cash contributions will be most gratefully received and distributed in exactly the same manner to the five charities as the sponsorship. Any one off donations can be made by BACS or cheque.

Thank you for having enough faith in me to sponsor me.

Yours aye