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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

The Snakes are Coming to Get Me.

Sometimes my life seems to emulate a strange kind of game of reverse Snakes and Ladders. Two months ago I started at square 100, a fairly fit, active, healthy and happy, young 63 year old. I’m now an unhealthy, unfit, sometimes (but thankfully not often) unhappy, old 63 year old heading towards square 1 before falling off the board. Today has mostly been a snake. Probably because I woke up on a snake.

Throughout the night my skin started to feel like I had a kind of mild sunburn. Anyway we had a fairly relaxing morning before driving the 4 miles to IKEA. The trip to IKEA was pretty good. We had to queue but not for long and a big shop like IKEA meant we didn't feel too crammed in. 2 hours and I’d had enough. There's a limit to how much retail therapy can help and frankly IKEA just didn't come up to the mark. In on a ladder out on snake.

It's very easy to find the snakes and sometimes hard to find a ladder.

After our successful shopping adventure, successful because we escaped without spending our usual £100+, (we only spent 52 quid) we visited Starcross. We parked up, in the best spot in the village, and Tricia, as usual, produced some lunch which we feasted on while a rain shower passed overhead. Starcross is an interesting little place. Partly because the parking is so cheap and it’s really convenient for the train to Exeter.

You can walk miles along the banks of the Exe or catch a ferry to Exmouth. Visiting Starcross was a ladder. We went for a little stroll. If you have ever caught a train on the Penzance to Paddington line you will have zoomed past Starcross. What a busy line, a train every few minutes. Then, to our surprise we found a footpath, going nowhere, right across the tracks. Obviously we had to cross. I was pooped after walking just a mile, another bloody snake.

I know I've a lot of snakes ahead. Ultimately more snakes than ladders. All my planning, my activities, building the kitchen, planning the walk, writing this blog, all ladders. Spending time with you, with my family especially Louie and Mila, having time and sometimes the energy to do the jobs around the house, going away in the motorhome meeting up with special friends near and far all ladders. Watching hours of crap on the telly or having a safe fart, all ladders. I do my very best to look for, find, create and invent ladders. Hugs are ladders. Good food, nice wine, a good coffee, in fact anything I can eat without feeling sick, all ladders.

Sitting in a T25 going nowhere in the sun, a ladder. Spending time, real or virtual, with Tricia and my girls ...long ladders. I make as many ladders as I can, I am a woodworker after all. You are all a part of my reasons for making ladders.

The snakes are far more difficult to control. Loads of medication, even working out when to take my pills are snakes. Missing a whole course of steroids, a nasty snake. Endless trips to hospital often for cancelled procedures, snakes. Feeling sick for days at a time, wearing my chemo like a medallion, snakes. Feeling too wobbly to drive, a snake. Having burning skin, a snake. Having sore fingers after doing, sometimes, just a few minutes work, a snake. Needing to sleep most afternoons but not being able to sleep at night, snakes.

Being in hospital with the shits and actually filling the little cardboard bowl to the brim with puke, a big snake. Spending alternate Friday’s in hospital having vicious drugs pumped in, snakes. Knowing I still have 20 weeks still to go before I rest, snakes. Not knowing if any of this is working at all a bloody python.

Ultimately the snakes will be everywhere, like an Indiana Jones movie, except this time they win.

So let’s make ladders while we can. Tomorrow morning we are planning to walk to the golf club, just up the road, training for Thursday, a ladder. Then we move to another interesting site, Goodiford Mill, where we'll walk around their fishing lakes, a ladder. We’ll meet up, after walking to her house (more training) with Marilyn and her family, ladder, ladder, ladder. Tuesday the rest of the kitchen units arrive, ladder. I’ve ordered a new phone case and a cookery book, ladder ladder. On Wednesday the long awaited fridge/freezer arrives, ladder. Then, ta da, The Walk, a definite ladder.

In case you haven’t been concentrating there's this little walk going on this Thursday. For Bowel Cancer UK my friend Emma devised a 5 mile circular walk from Crantock across the Gannel estuary (at low tide) to Newquay Boating Lake then across the Gannel again to finish back at Crantock. I’m doing the walk with Emma, Tricia and as many friends (or complete strangers if you want to join in) as possible, to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK.

Come along the details are here.

If you come, or perhaps not, but if you’ve read this far and haven’t, then spare some loot by following this link

And if you have a wheelbarrow then bring it along.....I just might need it.

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