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Beat The Beast Challenge

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Today has seen 16.32 miles cycled while climbing 1,826.78 feet in order to receive some good news before experiencing a most wonderful evening.

I have been having some problems with my eyes. Pain in my right eye and a left eye that on waking will take some time and significant discomfort before it would open. The wipes and drops previously prescribed helped at first but the situation became steadily worse. My sight is so very precious to me as it is to most and having suffered a seizure on Day 36 in which I discovered the true horrors of blindness I have been particularly sensitive about my eyes.

So today I cycled the 8.16 miles up through Dunblane and on to the Sherrifmuir before plunging down through the dramatic Kippenrait Glen into Bridge of Allan. A delightful ride done in the dry I arrived at the wonderful Emma Drewerys for a thorough check up. The great news is that the problem is all down to one simple problem. De-hydration. I drink masses of water every day, normally with a slice of lemon in it and with the exception of the odd Mocha to celebrate a successful day and a mug of Horlicks every evening that is all I drink. I have a 2 litre water bladder that I carry on every ride and walk with 1.5 litres in it at the start of every adventure and usually next to nothing left in it at the end. I seem to do nothing but drink water and pee constantly yet overnight my eyes become dehydrated. This is due to a chemical inbalance created at some point during the 18 months of treatment. Over time it might slowly rectify itself and the better news is that there is a gel that I can now apply each evening to keep the eyes moist and lubricated overnight. Good news indeed.
So I went for a celebratory Mocha before heading home.

The ride back starts with the long grinding ascent back up through the Kippenrait Glen before then plunging down from Sherrifmuir and into Dunblane before then heading along bumpy farm tracks and then the excellent cycle track on the National Cycle Network route 765 back into Doune. It would have been another delightful ride except that the heavens opened so my head was down as I drove hard through the rain to get home. It was, despite the rain actually rather enjoyable and bizarrely proved to be an excellent ice breaker for strangers that I was passing on the bike. ‘Delightful weather!’ I would call and every time I was met with a grunt, a wry smile and a wave of bemusement. So I cycled home with a happy smile.

Having oiled up the chain and locked the bike away I was back in the flat for a quick bath and change before cooking tea for the children. It was an exciting evening. My niece and Nephew were up from Poole for the week in order to spend some time with my two, their cousins, Heather and James. They are the same ages and have always got on beautifully. They had spent the day reacquainting themselves with each other and then were all coming over for tea. I cooked Sausage Gnocchi with a warm kale and bean salad, a really healthy but delicious meal, easy to cook for 5 and a firm favourite with the children. We chatted away and I caught up on the children’s plans for the future before going to wash up. The problem with cooking from fresh and raw ingredients to such nutrient packed recipes like Jamie Oliver’s recipes is the copious amounts of washing up created. But today, as James and Alex went to play in the park Sia and Heather got jamming. Heather on the keyboard, Sia on the guitar and both of them singing. I turned the radio off and listened with the largest smile on my face as I washed up. Slowly and quietly I washed up not wanting this angelic music to end as the giggles of two teenage girls having such fun creating music drifted through the flat. I finished washing and they were still singing so I went to join them. Or I wanted to join them but didn’t know what they were singing so just listened as they played, sang and harmonised. Too soon they stopped and as they looked for inspiration I saw my chance. I knew that Heather could play and sing this song, that Sia would be able to play it on the guitar and most importantly I could sort of sing it. So I asked if we could sing ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ by Elvis Presley. I had heard Heather and Eva harmonising to this song and had loved it then and while I learned over the weekend that bats sing to the females to attract a mate I had a very strong and amusing mental image of the bats flying around singing this very song. So I asked if we could sing it and before I knew it we were all three singing it while Sia played the guitar. Not only did I think that we sounded quite good, that our voices seemed to work together, but I experienced feelings of great joy in so doing. My heart swelled with happiness as Heather and Sia looked at me with huge grins on their faces as we sang together. Sang to each other of our love for each other before my emotional cortex, instable as a result of the tumour got the better of me. I started laughing but I tried to keep singing but it didn’t help. In fact it sounded really silly so just laughed a little more and very soon the girls were laughing too which spurred each other on so we laughed and laughed until our sides ached. It was a wonderful moment. Then the girls started singing a much more modern and much faster number. I grabbed two knifes and started playing the drums on the table to the music. Heather was far too young to remember that I used to play the drums as a hobby until I finished at staff college 8 yeas ago so was rather surprised to see me jamming along with Sia on the guitar and rocking to the music. More laughter and mobile phone videoing followed before, sadly, and with great regret I called the jamming session to a close. Time was marching on and we had neighbours so it was time to stop. The girls understood but then Heather came up with a great idea. Let’s practice some more then give my 92 year old downstairs neighbour Margaret a concert. She loved the last one we gave her and would love to meet and hear Sia playing and singing too. I was thrilled to hear the girls thinking in such ways. It was a perfect night that sadly ended far too soon for me but probably in good time for my upstairs neighbours! Another bank of wonderful memories for Heather and Sia to stash away in their memory banks and to bring a warm smile to their faces whenever they hear ’Can’t Help Falling in Love.’ Perfect. So after hugs and kisses goodnight it is time for the challenge in numbers

Days completed: 168
Total Miles Cycled: 939.75
Total Miles Walked: 937.31
Total Miles Run: 158.43
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Run and Rowed in the gym: 53.53 miles
Total Distance Swum: 4,580 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.2,099.15
Total Height Gained under own steam: 87,852.37 feet
Mountains Climbed: 8
Hills Climbed: 32
Days of Voluntary Activity: 9.5
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: 14
Weight shifted: 10kgs lifted over 558metres or 11,160kgs moved over ½ a metre,
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 9
Press Ups: 761
Pull Ups: 26
Sit Ups: 1226
People Met and Hands Shaken: 573
Pots of tea shared: 34
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: 1056
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 701
And most importantly - Money Raised as at Week 48 - £9,160

Considering I started this challenge 12 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 £54.52 for each and every day that I have managed to find the will and energy to take on an activity designed to help me Beat the Beast 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.

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 give me a cheery wave to show your support and encourage me on.

Thank you
Yours aye

Archie

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

Archie