This post is all about another moment that has led to another change of plan.

For the last few days I have been really struggling with the weight of the challenge and the administrative burden it had created. How I was to manage everything to Beat the Beast while maintaining some order in my life while laying the foundations for my future life or end of life care was weighing heavy on my shoulders. That was the reason for the new challenge template for the daily report but it felt as if the soul had gone from the challenge. It felt as if I was no longer living life to Beat the Beast and had let a pleasant and very comfortable routine become my guide. In the Buttercup cafe yesterday afternoon I was reminded that the challenge was about people, all about people. But I was also reminded that what had captured people’s imagination and created a wave of interest and sponsorship was the miles that I was covering as I undertook some journeys day after day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month and that I was going to do it for as long as ever I could. I went in to the café to see if they might be interested in having a collection jar on the counter with a Beat the Beast flyer to encourage some donations from customers but the boss was out so I ordered a mocha instead. Why not!! But as I turned around I heard a shout from the other side of the Café. It was Pastor Jon calling me over to meet a friend of his and a fellow Pastor. I of course wandered over delighted to see him and found myself being introduced as the guy who was covering all these miles and meeting all these people in amazing ways in order to help as many people as he could while trying to beat his disease. I was flabbergasted by the introduction but it had really made me think. Pastor Jon also asked if I would like him to pray with me to which I did of course reply ‘Yes Please,’ so we prayed and as he prayed for my healing and a successful journey I also prayed for some guidance on this journey. What was it I was supposed to be doing?

As I woke on Wednesday morning I knew that the challenge was really all about how much good could I do and for how many people and for how long and therefore, the more success I was having in my attempts to beat the beast, the longer I could go on for, the more miles I could cover, the more money I could raise and the more stories about incredible people I could find and share with you, the more people I could help through the improvement of lives and life chances. But to do that I have to travel. I have to cover some miles on foot and on the bike and in a canoe for it is in covering those miles previously that I have been meeting all these incredible people. But I also wanted to spend more time at home to sort the flat and make life comfortable for me and for the future and go to the gym and learn to play golf and learn to play the organ and do other fun stuff like ice skating or cricket or curling or working at the safari park et al and in wanting to do all these things I was in danger of suffocating the very being for it’s existence out of the challenge. During my enforced rest after the fall on the Ochils I had lost my rhythm. I had lost my mojo. The soul had gone. I had become a slave to a routine and my own personal desires and wants. I needed direction.

As I prepared to play my first tune at the organ during morning prayer this morning the ferret’s feathery tail returned. It was sudden. It was quick but it also led to a wake up call. As I focused on the music my body shivered and my eyes watered as the most unpleasant sensation akin to the long feathery tail of the toy ferret being pulled through my nose and down my throat. It tickled in a stinging slowly burning sort of a way forcing the neck to the back of my collar and tears of discomfort to well in the eye. I could do nothing but sit, bolt upright, on the organist’s bench and wait for the discomfort to pass. It did with the stingy burning cooling slowly but I couldn’t focus on the music and felt very groggy. I couldn’t focus on morning prayer. I couldn’t even see the music through the tears so I searched around me for a distraction. I picked up a copy of the liturgy and opened it. It fell open on the page from which we read about the holy living sacrifice. That made me think. It made me realise that I was going to have to be a little more radical perhaps. That perhaps he was telling me that there needed to be some form of an element of sacrifice. But I wasn’t sure quite what until I shared my concerns and thoughts with a friend and then told Allie about my experience in the church. Allie immediately pointed me towards a modern version of Romans 12 Verses 1 to 2.

‘So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.’

I got it. It was the original epiphany all over again. I was reminded of the two wonderful quotes brought to me at that moment:

‘Go forth in to the world. Be of good courage; Render to no man evil for evil; Strengthen the faint hearted; Support the weak; Help the afflicted; Honour all men; Love and serve the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit’

‘Do all the Good you can, by all the means you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.’

‘What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.’

I just need to get back to covering as many miles as I could under my own steam while meeting as many people as I could and telling the story warts and all as I go. Now my treatment is complete and we are just waiting to see if and when the beast wakes up, I have no excuse but to just get on with it 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month as previously promised. There is still the flat to be decorated and some preparation to be done for my future so as not to become a worry or a burden on the family but the process has been set in motion. I just need to be in the right place at the right time when needed. Otherwise I should be out beating the beast. I can still learn to play the organ during morning and evening prayer when I can fit it around bus timings etc. I can still learn to play Golf. Both excellent tasks to help to try and beat the cognitive and motor function degradation and I can do those over the weekends while the body rests. The children can come and join me on some of the walks and rides in the holidays and we can spend time together at the weekends. But I must get out there and cover the miles and meet the people and cook and eat freshly prepared fruit and vegetable heavy food to beat the beast. This means that I am going to have to largely turn away from the nice comfortable routine I had established for myself and instead drive hard to do the best I can. I would hate it if when one day the buzzer goes and I loose my cognitive and motor function to the extent at which I can no longer deliver on the challenge activity, and find myself lying there with nothing to do but be bitterly disappointed by the fact that I could have done so much more had I not wanted to hang on to my nice comfortable routines. I do not want to miss my opportunity to make a difference to at least somebody else so I start again tomorrow.

Now to help me on my journey. To give me the best possible chance of delivering I so desperately need some assistance in the form of a PA to help me keep up with the mound of paperwork and emails and messages that I seem to be generating while also assisting, in deed leading in the development of some of the exciting projects I need to bring on line to help carry the message and awareness about the challenge further, much further. I cannot pay anybody but if there is somebody living in Doune or close to Doune who is recently retired and looking for something to get their teeth into but that can be done at home and flexibly but also offer a little excitement do please get in touch with me. I could really do with your help.

Finally. I need to carry this message far further than the central belt. But the village halls have proved to be unresponsive in my appeals for accommodation for many health and safety type concerns. Equally I need to be somewhere where I can cook for myself the freshly prepared meals I so need to be eating to beat the beast. Perhaps a company that rents out self catering cottages around the country and might be willing to let me stay for a few weeks at a time in various cottages around the country in return for my stories of the adventures I have had in the countryside around each of the cottages may be the answer. If you know of somebody who might be able to help do please get in touch. I cannot afford to self fund such accommodation and will take NO costs from any sponsorship money. I really need some corporate sponsorship for such a plan.

Thank you

Yours aye