Today saw 1.7 miles walked this morning followed by an upper body strength training circuit. A tentative breakfast, an afternoon of fabulous music, another magic till and an amazing light show.

As I woke this morning I immediately scanned my body for any sign of the intestinal discomfort from yesterday. I felt remarkably well. So I went for a short 1.4 mile walk around the block this morning before a good strength training circuit that saw 42 press-ups, 112 sit-ups completed before moving 5 kg over 84 metres or 840 kgs over a metre. I still felt remarkably well so after a good shower I sat and ate my usual healthy breakfast. The very same breakfast of banana, oat based seedy muesli, granola, flaxseed and blueberries with coconut milk followed by seeded wholemeal toast and marmalade and an apple, that set off the excruciatingly painful attack of wind yesterday morning. So I ate slowly, very slowly to give the stomach a chance to digest. I finished breakfast and still felt remarkably well. Yesterday, I only got through half the bowl of cereal but today I was feeling good. Not perfect, the odd twinge, but feeling good.

The Christmas Service Light Show
The Christmas Service Light Show

Some admin and morning prayer done, it was then time to head into the city to finish off my Christmas shopping. I was just not able to find what I was looking for, and had arranged to meet Allie for lunch so headed to New College on the mound in Edinburgh, where Allie had been in her final choir rehearsal for this afternoon’s service. I sat next to John Knox in the School of Divinity quad and waited in this fabulous space within an ancient building, people-watching as tourist after tourist came in to take photos. Having lived in Edinburgh years before and travelled to the city often, one forgets what a beautiful city it is. So watching the tourists made me smile and be thankful for this city, this country and the wonders within it while being especially thankful for being able to enjoy it all.

Allie finished her rehearsal so we went for a quick lunch in Zizzi’s before heading over to Greyfriars Art Shop in order to get my final Christmas present. I knew what I was after so popped into the shop and asked the assistant for help. She was brilliant and helped me decide on what to buy for the present. It was cheaper than I had thought it might be so I was pleasantly surprised. We went to the checkout and she rang it through the till and then, just as yesterday in Stirling, as I was handing over my card the till buzzed. The assistant looked back at the till and said, ‘Gosh, that’s strange’, then shrugged and said, ‘must have been discounted. Lucky you, you are getting this for half price!’ She put my card into the machine and sure enough it was half price. A significant saving in a shop that had not got a single sale poster, advertisement or sticker to see anywhere. Most extraordinary.

So, happy as Larry, we walked back to New College for the Christmas Carol Service. Allie was singing in the choir so we arrived a little early. That meant that I had a great seat in this wonderful wee room in the college with the tiniest wooden organ that had quite a powerful sound for such a small organ. The service was a feast for the ears as the choir were singing beautifully, the readings were delivered with real passion, and the moderator for the Church of Scotland gave his reflections on Christmas: how at this time of giving and celebration with family and friends, we should try and remember those who find this season hard and do what we can to relieve the suffering of those that we can at this time especially, but also throughout the year. He almost said for as long as ever you can. I smiled and was again thankful that I was able to travel on this fundraising journey to beat the beast of a brain tumour, while helping to improve the lives and life chances of so many more people. I was very lucky to have my senses and my cognitive and motor functions in good working order, in order to do what I do and enjoy life.

After the concert Allie and I wandered up to George Street to catch the bus back to the flat but as we were up there we thought that we would have a look around the Christmas market. I saw a perfect gift for somebody I was seeing very soon and then some more magic happened. The stall assistant threw in an extra item that he was meant to be selling for free. Awesome, and then, even better, we realised that we were in the middle of a massive light show. We knew that the structures were there, they were clear to see, but did not know the show was due to take place. We stood there in awe as this massive construction pulsed to the wonderful music performed by the Scottish Philharmonic orchestra and a really powerful children’s choir. It was a great way to end a great day of celebration with more magic tills.

Tomorrow I go to Glasgow to meet with Heather McLeod to discuss future project options for me. As recently as 6 months ago, that was a conversation I never expected to be having. How very thankful I am to God and my family, friends and supporters of the challenge, for such an opportunity.