Beat The Beast Challenge

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Today has seen another 5.7 miles walked while climbing 263.6 feet while ordering a bathroom and loo and enjoying the snow.

The path to Springkerse
The path to Springkerse

I was back into B&Q in the Springkerse industrial estate in Stirling today in order to meet with Scott to design and order a bathroom and toilet for the flat in Doune. It was a good day, a great meeting, and a chance to demonstrate what I mean about being obsessive if you are wanting to beat your own particular beast. A friend of Allie’s had asked how I manage to fit everything in to a day and Scott had questioned my rather odd appearance as I donned my rucksack and carried my overnight bag out of the shop at the end of our meeting.

Life is busy at the moment with a number of projects on the go all at once, but the principle task for each and every day is to pray and play right, eat right and exercise right, in order to beat my beast of a brain tumour. To fit all that in, while getting done all the tasks that need doing each day for the ongoing projects, requires hard work and determination, but also a little imagination and flexibility in its application. For example, this morning I was up, as usual, at 0600 hrs in order to fit in a good 2.6 mile walk climbing 156.5 feet prior to morning prayer and organ practice, which was prior to breakfast, which was prior to jumping on a bus, train, and bus and heading back to Doune, in order to do a confirmatory measure of the bathroom and loo in the flat. Then it was back on two buses in order to get to B&Q. Thinking about it the night before it became apparent that I would need a packed lunch in order to ensure that I consumed the tenderstem broccoli, carrots, brazil nuts, exploding tomatoes and red grapes that I have majored on as part of my daily natural biological warfare against the tumour through these key fruits and vegetables. I then supplemented it with a tuna mayonnaise, rocket, spinach and watercress sandwich, made immediately after breakfast. Knowing that there was going to be no time for a formal physical training session, and for what would have been a loaded walk, I packed my rucksack as if for the hills, but also for the meeting, and with the risk of being stuck due to heavy snow, included a day’s supply of water, anti-seizure drugs, my laptop and notes and diary for the meeting and, of course, my packed lunch. Having checked the bus times I knew that I could get to Stirling train station on time to be able to walk the 1.55 miles climbing 53.55 feet rather than take another bus. But I was going to have to walk fast in order to crack it in 30 minutes.

It was a great plan and in practice it worked perfectly. As I basked in sunshine while trudging rapidly through the snow bordered by the snow covered Ochils, occasionally kicking up a fine spray of snow as my toe caught it, I warmed up a treat, marvelled at the beauty of the hills, and thanked God for another day that he had made.


The meeting with Scott at B&Q went really well assisted by the measurements I had made earlier in the day. All ordered and paid for, I swung my heavy rucksack onto my back and grabbed my overnight bag. Scott was fascinated by the obsessiveness and determined approach in doing anything that I could to Beat the Beast and then, as we wandered outside in the cooling late afternoon, he asked how I was getting on. ‘It is hard work Scott, but if you want to make the impossible possible you cannot just scratch the surface. You have to work really hard at it, be obsessive about it and make things happen. Acta Non Verba should be my motto. Actions not words.’ Scott nodded in agreement then I gave him the really exciting news about the tumour, about how they had in effect extended my prognosis. Scott’s face shone like a full moon and then he asked how things were going with the lady that I met on a train. When I told him that Allie and I were to be married, he could hardly contain himself and with a hint of moisture in his eyes declared, ‘my goodness Archie, they are going to make a film about your story, I know it.’ It wasn’t the first time that I had heard it but the chances of such an amazing thing happening are remote to say the least, but it was great to feel such support and to know that I had cheered somebody up today. Scott was driving home with a smile on his face.

We shook hands and parted. I turned and put on my hat and gloves to protect against the rapid cooling. There had been a very slight thaw over the afternoon and this was now forming ice on the walkways. I could have taken the Bus back to Stirling station but I wanted to walk. ‘Acta Non Verba’ I muttered as I shivered and trod gingerly past the bus stop. ‘Acta Non Verba’ I muttered again and set out on the very cold, darkening and lonely 1.55 miles back. But I smiled in amusement as I thought more on Scott’s comment about a film. ‘It couldn’t happen’ I thought. ‘I just don’t think that they have an actor with a big enough nose to play me!!’

Yours aye
Deo Juvante