Today has seen driving, chipping and putting, as well as an organ played, some wonderful people met, 1.4 miles walked, some old friends bumped into and 2.1 miles run.

I was driving forward my challenge to retrain the brain and isolate my diseased right temporal lobe and train the healthy left temporal lobe to take over the cognitive and motor function from the right side. So I started this morning with morning prayer on the keyboard at the flat, before taking two buses to traverse Edinburgh and hit some golf balls at the Dalmahoy Golf and Country Club. The club was very quiet on this blustery day so all were extra pleased to have somebody silly enough to want to hit some golf balls. So I collected some tokens for 50 balls and hired a 7 iron, putter and pitching wedge for the grand sum of £6.00 which included time on the short course and the pitch and putt course. I struggled at first, but by keeping my head calm and walking away after each shot, collecting my thoughts and analysing where each shot went wrong, before going through a mental check list of body, hand, and head positions, from addressing the ball, to the backswing, to the shot itself, I managed, slowly but surely, to bring my wayward drives into line. Same again on the pitch and putt short course and the putting green. Persevere, analyse and try, try, try again and after a while I could start to see slight improvements. I have a long way to go but improve I did.

So to celebrate I decided to head into St Mary’s church in Dalmahoy to say hello to Granny and Grampy buried in the graveyard of the church. I loved them both dearly and have very fond memories of them both so it was lovely to be able to go and say hello. Then I tried the door of the church to discover the vestry in the church decorating it for the harvest festival. I was swept up in such a warm welcome by the vestry and Christine, the wife of the wonderful Rector Deryck who had welcomed me so warmly last time I was in St Mary’s, but is sadly delivering his last service tomorrow at Dalmahoy as he retires. I talked about the challenge and the vestry confirmed that they had already been talking about it after my last visit, and then I explained how and why I was learning to play the pipe organ. Then I asked if I might be allowed to play on the organ, while in the same breath apologising for not being terribly good, but I received not only a yes, but a massive yes please. So the work on decorating the church continued and I started to play this wonderful ancient instrument. The most basic of tunes at first as I became used to the very stiff keys over two manuals rather than the one that I had been practising with, and then tune by tune, I played through my short repertoire, each tune becoming more and more complex, as I waited for my brain to cease functioning and my fingers to trip over each other. But they didn’t trip over each other. I played through all my tunes with barely a wrong note. It wasn’t perfect, but it was jolly good and felt really good. That was the first time that I had played my repertoire to an audience. I was nervous, but it went really well and I was so very grateful for the opportunity. So organ switched off I stopped and had a really good chat with Janet Dyer. Janet was so delighted to see me that she gave me her number in order to call her should I ever want to come and play the organ again, so that she could come and open the church for me. Wow. Then sadly it was time to go. I had a bus to catch to get home so, many hugs, kisses and blessings given later, I was on the bus and heading for home with a huge smile on my face but knowing that I would most certainly be coming back again.

Before starting the second leg for home however I realised that I had some shopping to do, so ran into John Lewis, and as I strode around the shop looking for the escalator that went down, not up, I bumped into two old friends from Bridge of Allan. It was such a wonderful surprise to bump into Andrew and Vicky slap bang in the centre of Edinburgh so we had a great chat and catch up. As we parted, after learning of their moves into new industries for work, I realised how lucky I was to have them both as friends. With Vicky working in salmon and Andrew working in whisky it was the perfect combination!!

Back at the flat and it was time for a food shop then time for a run. 2.1 miles run in 19 minutes and 18 seconds which is 9 minutes and 11 seconds a mile. A long way off the 7 mins per mile that I used to run to pass the Army Basic Fitness Test before diagnosis and treatment started, but a significant improvement on my poor, post treatment, running fitness nonetheless. Keep working at it and I will get back there. I felt really good on the run. I was running as if in Isaiah Chapter 40 and running the verse through my head over and over again as I imagined that I was a deer and running as if I would never become weary. I felt good, really good and had not even the slightest whiff of a seizure.

I shall believe in the Lord to renew my strength;
I shall mount up with wings as Eagles;
I shall run like a deer and not be weary;
I shall walk the long path and not faint.

A tea of roasted vegetables, couscous and goats cheese rounded off a perfect day.

Feeling a little slow so evening prayer and more organ practice to do now.

Yours aye