Day 142 has taken place over both Sunday and Monday and whose report introduces the new template for the writing of my daily reports.

The Bright and Colourful Spring Blossom Close Up
The Bright and Colourful Spring Blossom Close Up

I was acutely aware that my daily reports had been getting longer and longer and longer until they became so long that they took so long to write that they no longer became daily reports but instead thrice weekly short stories that were read less and less as the lives of you all are so wonderfully busy and full of life. They were equally becoming, no matter how much I enjoyed writing them, an increasing burden to write with my last one taking 4 hours to produce and was not finished until past 1 o’clock in the morning. Clearly this was not sustainable so, with the advice of a friend, I have decided to tailor my report writing to make it shorter and quicker to produce so that I could concentrate on the main effort which of course is trying to Beat the Beast. For without Beating the Beast all this effort will be for nought and on a significantly shorter journey than I would like.

So I have decided to break it down as a snapshot. The template for which I give you below as I write my report for the last two days and would very much welcome your feedback. By doing it this way it should be much quicker to produce and therefore be written daily so you can be sure that I am still around and how I am fairing. But please do not worry. Where there is an extraordinary moment with a story to tell I will still tell them at the end for those that would wish to read about it. It is these stories of the wonderful moments I have been experiencing, warts and all, that have provided much colour to this journey but have also become a source of hope, inspiration and encouragement to those that wish it so. So the stories continue right at the end. A summary of the challenge in numbers will be given at the end of each week in order to keep all up to date as the numbers increase but to keep the daily posts shorter to read on mobiles and IPad type devices.

  1. Miles Covered under my own steam in my drive to improve my physical fitness and so strengthen my immune system to take the fight to the tumour.
  2. Bags of Rubbish Collected as part of my ongoing drive to keep improving my balance to an optimum level.
  3. Time in Prayer and Organ Practice. Prayer is the greatest power on earth and forms a significant part of my day In which I thank God for bringing me out of the shadow of night and into the light of a new day that I can spend in service before praying for healing, for guidance on the challenge and most importantly the healing and needs of others. I also take time at this point to read the daily readings as a source of wisdom while practicing the organ tunes I have learnt and am learning as part of my morning and evening prayer routine to force the cognitive rewiring of my brain.
  4. Food is a huge part of my challenge to beat the beast and has also generated a significant amount of interest so I will mention in bullet points any changes to what was eaten. (Food eaten daily will consist of the following:

    1. Breakfast will almost always be an oat based cereal mix served with a banana, a dozen or so blueberries and a tablespoon of flaxseed served with coconut milk followed by a piece of wholemeal seeded toast with butter and Marmalade and then an apple and a glass of pure orange juice.
    2. Lunch will almost always be either a tuna mayonnaise sandwich with spinach, rocket and watercress salad or a poached egg on toast with spinach, rocket and watercress salad followed by a veggie pick and mix of 50g of tenderstem broccoli, 10g of carrots, 12 red grapes and 4 cherry tomatoes.
    3. Tea will almost always be a home cooked meal cooked from raw ingredients followed by a tangerine so I will mention what it was here.
  5. Achievements. What have I actually managed to achieve through the day beyond cooking, eating, praying, practising and Physical Training.
  6. How was I feeling?
  7. Memorable God Filled Moments. I was going to break this category down into two parts but then I realised that a memorable moment has undoubtedly got God’s hand at work within it so the two go together and remain together as the point at which I tell the story at the end of the post.
  8. Encouragement given. Here I give a summary of wonderful messages of support that have caught my eye and given much encouragement to me and hopefully many others when they see them.

So that is the template and remembering that the challenge in numbers will continue as a very short weekly summary I would of course welcome any comments to what I propose.

A Close up view of the Gauze
A Close up view of the Gauze

So now I give you Day 142:

  1. Miles Covered:13.45.

    Walk Roman Fort 1
    Walk St Modocs Church & Back 1
    Walk McLaren Leisure Centre and Back1.2
    Aerobic Cross Training Circuit 1.84 on bike, 1.56 on CrossTrainer, 0.65 Running up hill,
    1.7 Rowed
    Doune Ponds Steps 1.2
    Walk St Modocs Church & Back 1
    Swim 16 lengths 320 Metres
    School Run Loop 1
    Walk St Modocs Church & Back 1

  2. Bags of Rubbish Collected – 3.
  3. Time in Prayer 90 Mins.
    Time in Organ Practice 45 Mins.

  4. Tea:

    Sunday – Cauliflower Macaroni with chicory salad and insane dressing left over from Saturday night. Reheated in the oven and still delicious.

    Saturday – Tagliatelle of Cabbage with soft cream cheese, garlic, fresh parsley and chives, rind of a lemon and parmesan cheese. Verdict? Delicious, very healthy, quick and so simple with little washing up required!!

  5. Achievements:

    I got to and managed to stay awake, after only 5 hours sleep the previous night, through Heather’s Dance Company Dance Show in the McRobert Centre in Bridge of Allan. I managed to get through a mass of paperwork so now have an in-tray that fits in the tray! Still more to do but I organised the direct debit for my electricity supply. I managed the change of address and account details for my finances. I redirected some mail to Bob who sold me the flat. I reorganised my filing system with the recycling of some folders from now no longer in use from the Future Nation Foundation. I weeded and then shredded the sheets of paper from the FNF folders that contained any personal details. I transferred some investments that I was managing for the children into the management of their Mother so there was one less thing to worry about should I loose my battle.

  6. How Was I Feeling?:

    Sunday was post the seizure and Sunday morning I was feeling decidedly clunky. Decidedly slow cognitively. I woke, walked and went to church and was welcomed so warmly but throughout the service I was struggling. I had used the Anglican liturgy for my entire life so should of known it off by heart and certainly should have been able to follow it but I kept falling behind as I struggled with a headache, struggled to turn pages, struggled to sing the right line in the hymn, struggled to follow the tune, struggled to hold back the tears and hoped that I wouldn’t choke on the communion wine as I did on the water the morning earlier. I felt awful and had what felt like a miserable post seizure hangover for most of the day. That was until another friend arrived sensing that I wasn’t a happy bunny and insisted on taking me to the gym so I could go and burn it off while they answered some emails on the centre WiFi. The Care and compassion shown me that day helped considerably. It didn’t quite rid me of the hangover but very nearly.

    Today saw me feeling so very much better. I managed a solid 7 hours sleep thanks to some cardboard taped into my bedroom window. While a little health robinson it worked a treat and saw me sleep through from 1030pm to 6am. A solid 7 hours sleep so woke feeling so much better and able to launch full throttle in to the day. It wasn’t quite perfect though. Throughout the day I have had a ferret causing havoc inside my body. Do you remember that toy that consisted of a hard plastic ball with an electronic weight in it and a very fluffy ferret puppet attached by the nose to it. When you switched on the ball the weight would make the ball move randomly around the floor chased by the long fluffy ferret. Today I have had extraordinary physical feelings that were hard to describe so after a long period of thought this description is about the best I can do. It is not terrible. Just annoying. This morning consisted of the ball bashing around in my head causing annoying but manageable passing headaches in all sorts of random places just popping up as the ferret’s ball bashed into me, the tinnitus in my ear sounding like the wurring of the electronic motor but while it chased the ball in my head it’s long tail would be tickling the back of my throat, my nose or even trying to wriggle it’s way down my throat until eventually the ferret left my head and somehow inserted itself into my stomach causing significant spikes of pain and wind as it bashed around in the stomach all the while with it’s tail wrapped around and tugging on my heart making it race, then just ache, and then just feel irregular and off sorts while the very tip would be tickling the back of my nose still. It is a most extraordinary set of physical feelings for which there seems to be no explanation rather than the continuing post treatment stabilisation but finally, as I write this post the batteries have run out in the ferret’s ball. I am at peace.

  7. Memorable God Filled Moments:

    Sunday – Was a wonderful day full of love and support from friends and the church family. I must have been radiating something or must have looked appalling during treatment because on so many occasions yesterday and today in fact I have been told how well I am looking. Perhaps it was the sunshine. That always makes things look better!! But God willing I am getting better, getting healed and that gives me much encouragement.

    The dance show was a wonderful evening showcasing the enormous physical and creative effort that these young people put into Dance. Telling a story of Peter Pan and mystical woodland folk tales it was musical, colourful and beautifully put together. As any Father does one experiences a real pang of love and excitement as their daughter takes to the stage with her team and as I promised all those weeks ago in my poem to the children I was in the audience watching and exclaiming ‘’Oh My!’ Then as the dancing became more energetic it became harder and harder to actually keep track of where Heather was and with them all dressed the same in their dancing costumes, in the interval I discovered that I wasn’t the only parent who had found themselves temporarily entranced as we watched somebody else’s daughter or each other’s daughters dancing thinking we were watching our own daughters. It made for entertaining conversation as we stretched our legs in the interval. Thankfully they were all jolly good!

    Before heading out for a swim I bumped into my neighbour while taking a meter reading to start my electricity bill. We got talking and I discovered that my neighbour’s sister was very seriously ill with Parkinson’s disease and all the associated cognitive and sensory deprivations that go with it. It was a terribly sad story so I asked my neighbour if she wouldn’t mind me praying for her sister. We talked a little more about what she hoped for for her sister so that I knew what I should be praying and asking for and then I discovered that they were Catholic. I explained that I was Episcopalian but I would very much like to take on this task of praying for her sister if her sister wouldn’t mind. We giggled about it and my neighbour exclaimed that she was sure that her sister would forgive me and that she was sure that God wouldn’t mind. This was a wonderfully refreshing take in a country that has been so divided by sectarian troubles in the past and which have even overflown into the football terraces and split whole communities for years. It was a further glimmer of hope for the future as I was reminded of the Episcopalian desire to restore all people to unity with God and with each other in Christ.  Today was a gloriously sunny day and as I walked up towards the leisure centre in Callander under the shadow of the mountains I was reminded of many glorious days in the sunshine in my childhood. The Primary School was out playing over lunch. The boys in their shorts and airtex shirts rolling around in the grass as they grappled with each other and the girls in their pale blue check pinnafores running around in the daisies at the edge of the rugby pitch. The calls and laughter of the children happy in play in such wonderful weather was a heartwarming moment and offered a dreamy snapshot of Scotland at it’s very best.

    Finally while sorting out my electricity followed by my finances guess what I did when they asked. ‘Is there anything else I can help you with today?’ I couldn’t resist the opportunity. I hope they enjoy their glass of wine with the video and come and join me on the journey.

  8. Encouragement Given:

    Archie, as always you give us so much food for thought. Love the photo of the primroses. That could be the April or May photo in a Beat the Beast 2017 calendar. Now all you have to do is produce 11 more. The front cover would be taken care of – that would be a lovely photo of you. How about that for a fundraiser and publicity idea Archie? x
    Mirren Robertson

    Tough day yesterday but you got through it. It is Ella’s First Communion so say a prayer for her and she will say one for you xxx
    Polly Kennedy

    It strikes me you are leaving a long trail of footprints through the many people’s lives you meet on the wanders. These will endure, unlike footprints on the beach.
    Gavin Lenthall

    Thank you for all the encouragement you give and I welcome any feedback you may have on this new post format. Perhaps have a look at tomorrow’s too.

    May I ask 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 £52.00 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 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