Day 155 Has seen 3.7 Miles run and 15 miles walked as well as a biography written, a complaint resolved with the Electricity Company, a residents meeting for the flats and a confirmatory question with AXA insurance about the travel insurance answered but nearly nobody met. 

A silent thread of greenery running through Edinburgh
A silent thread of greenery running through Edinburgh

Yesterday saw some more admin as I spent the best part of the day writing a short biography on my life and career to date. It was only supposed to be short but as I tried to recollect dates, events and the magic moments from my career I realised that my recollection of these relatively recent events was fading fast. I realised that I had to take the time to write down my memories of these key events, that helped to shape me, in detail or they would be lost forever. Not a particularly harrowing prospect for military historians but there were some moments of which I am proud and felt could set a good example for the children in the telling. So I thought that I would capture them before it was too late. This saw the best part of two whole days sat at my computer from Dawn ’til dusk which then saw 19 pages of close type produced before then cutting it down to what was originally asked for. Two days at a computer!! During treatment I was lucky to be able to do 20 minutes before I started to feel very unwell and seizurish. Now I can do 2 days at the computer without a seizure and still managed a 3.7 mile run in 35 Minutes 56 Seconds giving a pace of 9 minutes and 42 seconds per mile which was a pleasing result while ascending 429 Feet and running cross country. So most importantly it helped me realise, after a good resident’s meeting in which I felt as if I contributed in a calm and measured way with constructive points, and after cooking tea for the children, that I haven’t had a seizure for some time and really am starting to find feeling normal well brilliantly normal! 

I am feeling good so to prove it I went to Edinburgh and walked the 13 mile water of Leith walk from Leith to Balerno. Well it was going to be 13 miles but after 2 diversions due to works it was at least 15. 

Moira and Jim
Moira and Jim

15 miles along what is accurately described as a ‘silver thread in a ribbon of green flowing through the city of Edinburgh’. More wonderful smells stirred up by the sunshine. Wild garlic, lilac, cow parsley, bluebells and nettles, with swarms of mayfly dancing their swirly dance in the sunshine above the river. As a Mallard duck flew along the river below me I was almost lost to an illusion that I was walking in deep countryside but such illusions were quickly shattered by the wailing of a siren or the swarms of people out walking or cycling along this gentle route. People. Hundreds of them suddenly descended on me like a tube train had just arrived at a London Underground Station but I felt strangely alone. This was of course the middle of the city so everyone was busy and on a mission to get from one place to another and was perhaps not quite as open to communication. Eyes down, head bowed they just passed me like grey soulless people in this bright sunshine. I did get an urge to stop and talk to one lady and while she politely listened and took my flier I didn’t find any connection. I did manage to introduce the challenge to a pleasant couple to whom I offered to help as they struggled to get their buggy and their children up some steps but I just didn’t seem to be able to connect with them. I did manage to speak to a pleasant gentleman in the Edinburgh Sports Club when I popped in to get directions back onto the Water of Leith pathway after a diversion had thrown me off and also managed to speak to a lady in the Belford Hostel on Douglas Gardens after I again was thrown off the path due to another diversion, both of which were so poorly signposted and every route I tried from the map just hit a dead end fence or wall. But nobody else met. No matter how many times I managed to capture somebody’s eye and smile at them I felt nothing back. I was starting to feel like I had lost my mojo as I wandered on through this swarm of people and bicycles feeling alone. Very alone. Until, just 2/3 of a mile from Balerno I was overtaking Moira and Jim and they wanted to talk. I stopped and introduced them to the challenge with the usual patter and Jim who is ex Royal Navy and his partner Moira very kindly offered me much encouragement with a promise to come and look me up with a glass of wine. Sadly they had to turn off onto the Lanark Road but it was a real pleasure to meet them. So 15 miles walked, hundreds of people passed and only 5 flyers issued. But I have just walked 15 miles carrying 50 pounds on my back and am still feeling normal. No seizure. As I stood at the bus stop for the first bus in my long journey home I was suddenly startled by a gentleman who appeared out of nowhere asking me ‘where are you heading?’ ‘Princess Street’ I replied ‘but I’ve just missed the 44A. ‘That was lucky’ he said, ‘You don’t want that one. You want the 44. But not the first 44 that comes along. No there will be another one due in 4 minutes.’ ‘That’s the one I’m going to catch so jump on with me.’ I thanked him and then seized the opportunity to introduce him to the challenge but sadly the bus arrived in exactly 4 minutes as he said it would so I just had to leave him with a flyer. He hopped on and went upstairs. I hopped on and stayed downstairs and started to write this post. And as I wrote I suddenly realised and became astounded by the fact that this gentleman appeared out of nowhere, that he was so forward, that he knew not which bus to catch but what the running order of the No.44 buses were at this particular time of day and that he knew exactly how long it was to the right bus arriving and then not only that. The No.44 bus, having travelled through a very busy city centre at rush hour and turned around at the end of its route arrived exactly 4 minutes after he said it would be 4 minutes!! That never happens, but it did today and then as I sat writing my post on the bus we came to his stop. He came down the stairs, attracted my attention, looked me in the eye and said, ‘impressed. Yes. impressed. All the best to you.’ Then stepped off. There was something about this guy. But I have no idea what it was.

A tunnel!
A tunnel!

Days completed: 155
Total Miles Cycled: 800.44
Total Miles Walked: 836.38
Total Miles Run: 126.33
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Run and Rowed in the gym: 42.17
Total Distance Swum: 3,780 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.1,816.02
Total Height Gained under own steam: 69,725 feet
Mountains Climbed: 7
Hills Climbed: 26
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: 12
Weight shifted: 10kgs lifted over 318metres or 6360kgs moved over ½ a metre,
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 8
Press Ups: 599
Pull Ups: 14
Sit Ups: 864
People Met and Hands Shaken: 495
Pots of tea shared: 31
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 3
Prayers joined in the street!: 4
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Prayers joined in a Café: 2
Pills popped: 912
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 715
And most importantly – Money Raised as at Week 40 – £7,864

Considering I started this challenge 9 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 £51.39 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 £54.02 a day so please sponsor me and encourage your friends to as well.

The river crosses a Weir near Balerno
The river crosses a Weir near Balerno

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