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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

What a Birthday Suprise


Not everyone understands. Abbi, Cal and the kids are visiting at 8:30 for an hour for Tricia’s birthday. We’ll be up because it’s a walking day. Being with Louie and Mila can be quite tiring. The walk scheduled for today is 5.4 miles. Quite tiring. When the walk is done Tricia and I are having lunch at the Borough Arms at Dunmere. All quite tiring. By the time I get home I’ll be flippin’ exhausted.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

So I’m grabbing a little bit of early morning peace before I wake up Tricia with her breakfast, birthday cards and presents that have arrived so far.

Let’s see how today unfolds.

Well, what a day! Abbi, Cal and the kids duly arrived at 8:30 singing “Happy Birthday to Ya!" They were on the way to Bude. The normal hugs and fun from the kids. The door bell rung. Tricia answered the door to Lauren who's not due back from Australia until the 22nd. A fabulous surprise. What a birthday present for Tricia.

We left for our walk at 9:15 the three of us were the first to get there. In fact we were the first 3 of 28. Our best turnout yet. A lovely rain free walk. We could have gone along the Camel Trail, out and back but this walk was much better. At the midway point we gathered for a rendition of Happy Birthday. Another recommended walk from (not the Happy Birthday bit). Actually we sang Happy Birthday twice once for Tricia and once for Arthur who joined us on his birthday.

Then into the pub. 11 of us stayed for lunch at The Borough Arms where Tricia had a bottle of fizzy on the table as we arrived. What a lovely touch. Thank you G & L. We had two tables booked but we were seated at different ends of the pub, correctly so, to prevent us from becoming a big group. Tricia, Emma and I had a roast lunch....delicious. The others Juliet, Chris and Ant had fish and chips. Equally as good. Just as we were finishing our meal my GP joined us, not really, he phoned me, apparently my blood test indicates an infection. Following a series of questions it seems I’ll need more tests on Monday.

More fun with the medics.

We have this system. As we arrive home I zap the garage door which gracefully opens. This allows us to take off our muddy boots in the secondary kitchen/utility room/gym/boot room. (Delete as appropriate). That's exactly what we did today except I went from our very own ‘salle polyvalente’ to our chambre à coucher where I almost immediately fell asleep.

While I slept Tricia had more cards, more flowers and more visitors. I hope she had an excellent day. Not quite the day I would have hoped for but we managed to smile a lot. That's a good thing.

There's a distinct sadness about helping to celebrate Tricia's birthday knowing, almost without doubt, I’ll not be doing it again. At Christmas I may feel the same, a period of simultaneous happiness and sadness. Today’s walk I managed reasonably easily but in two weeks (Boxing day) when the next walk is planned I have no idea if I'll be well enough or strong enough. Now that's scary. As you all know I try to keep my chin up but constantly trying to be cheerful is pretty tiring in itself.


TODAY I’m planning a quiet day. I know I’ll probably fail but I think I’ll try. I have a whole bunch of tools to take up yo the shed and Christmas cake recipe I thought I’d give a go. I think I might use the new kitchen, if I’m allowed.

I’m not going to mention my exciting adventures on Monday but I’ll manage Coffee Club on Tuesday. See you there.

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Teresa Andrew
Teresa Andrew
Dec 13, 2020


I read your thoughts, your comments, your predictions about the future and still feel that your strength and love from your beautiful wife, family and so many friends and colleaugues coupled with the medical profession will enable you to live so many more years than you believe.

Life is a heartache no matter what; with the love of your family and friends, your determination to fight, you will surprise us all I am sure. Neil, you are a fighter and will be here far beyond some of us I am sure. I miss the diy expert next door believe me and wish that we were still neighbours. The love you and Trish gave me as a neighbour will ne…


Dec 13, 2020

What a lovely day it sounds and one full of memories for Trisha to hopefully keep the dreadful sadness in check.


Juliet French
Juliet French
Dec 13, 2020



How I would have loved to have seen Tricia's face when she opened the door to Lauren 🥰 I am hoping that at some point I shall be able to join one of your walks upto now they have been on days I am working as is the Boxing day walk!!! Love you both xxxx


I was doing ok until I read the bit about you most probably not celebrating Tricia's birthday & Christmas again, then struggled to read the last part, due to very watery eyes. You're an inspiration Neil, this blog is a fantastic insight into your Cancer journey. I hope you're not too exhausted after yesterday's walk & excitement x

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