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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

What a difference a day makes (£1888.00 and rising)

I’m reviewing this post and updating my blog while having my chemotherapy. This is my other life. The one you don’t see.

Yesterday I walked 5 miles with 25 friends around the Gannel. Today I’m with a similar number of very poorly people all fighting their individual battles. I have an hour to update my blog and recap on recent events that I would like to post. That's how long it takes to pump my 1st chemo drug into my body. Yesterday I seemed fit, healthy, upbeat and cheerful but it’s not always like that.

Let me continue to tell you about our latest trip away.

Last Tuesday Tricia and I came home from a few days away in our motorhome. Sometimes I wonder why we spend time in a cramped tin box, parked somewhere in a field. In this tin box we poo into a container only to have to empty it later. Where there’s not enough room to swing a cat and not enough hot water to enjoy a shower. But our motorhome is a nice one. It’s got a proper kitchen with a proper oven, a proper fridge/freezer, a microwave, comfortable seating, proper toilet, a proper shower, a place to eat, a telly and a comfy bed. I like it because it simplifies my life. No nagging jobs to get on with, get out of bed when we feel like it, and we can choose where we park up.

Did you ever make a camp or a den as a child? Or get some food together (usually sweets) for a midnight feast? Or stay at a friend’s house and explore a different neighbourhood. No? Pity. It’s when I think the foundations of my motorhoming were laid.

Our first stop was just outside Exminster. Our first mission, to visit a large out of town multinational shop of Swedish origin headquartered in Delft, Netherlands, that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances, and home accessories, amongst other useful goods and occasionally home services.

Mission accomplished we drove to Starcross to recharge our retail frazzled selves.

On Sunday we relocated to Goodiford Fishery near Crediton. A nice spot adjacent to a woodland nature reserve. After lunch we strolled through the woods to meet our friend, the reason for our visit. We had a lovely afternoon of catch up and a delicious fish pie. We planned the following day and returned to our motorhome for the night.

Monday arrived, we walked around the woods (the woods were just too muddy after a night of heavy rain) to our friend’s house where I simply sat and watched some industrious activity involved around candle making. Very relaxing. I like work, I could watch it for hours. This candle making isn't a hobby. It's a business. I don't think I've spent a few hours in a nicer smelling home.

Then to lunch. We travelled to Topsham and had lunch in a place called L'estuaire (bit pricey). I don't recall visiting Topsham before. Nice, worth a visit sometime but take a picnic. It's funny, I've already begun to occasionally think I'll probably not return.

On the way home we visited an impressive farm shop called Darts Farm to get some provisions for dinner (or is that tea). I can't help thinking again I'll probably not be back, especially at those prices! I know it's not all about money but blinkin' heck! On our return my fatigue got the better of me. (Fatigue, a well documented side effect of chemotherapy) and I slept.

Later in the afternoon I found myself stirring after deeply sleeping for a couple of hours in the comfort of our friend’s house. It’s a peculiar time, those moments between asleep and awake. It seems, to me, to be a time when I’m extremely vulnerable. Don’t forget I’m doped up to the eyeballs, constantly. A wave of abject sadness had descended. I felt totally bereft. Strange really because I’d just had (in Wallace and Gromit terms) “A Grand Day Out”. Tricia was asleep next to me. She woke up and sensed my pain. These moments serve to remind me of my horrible predicament I’m in and it’s impact it has on Tricia and all those around me.

I'm blessed with the friends and family I have. Just thinking about those things that are most precious, nothing is more precious than people. For the record, I’ve never fallen out or had a cross word with any of my four brothers.

We settled in for the evening which started with the consumption of the expensive provisions followed by excellent conversation lubricated by G & Ts and wine. Amongst the topics of conversation were a couple of old mutual friends who, sadly, are no longer with us. Sarah and her partner John. Some of you dear readers will know exactly who I’m talking about. John, in particular, we recalled, didn’t suffer fools in the slightest. I would say he had the most extreme dose of LWT (low wanker tolerance) of anyone I’d ever met. He was the most interesting chap with an encyclopedic knowledge of steam railways and cricket with extensive libraries on both subjects. He was also the best pub quiz team member you could hope for. John could boast that he’d travelled on every rail line in the country, both ways! and he had every ticket to prove it. We worked together, travelled together and even contemplated setting up in business together. When Tricia and I got married in 2006 it was a no brainer to choose John as my best man. Alas he died shortly before. He was 59, ten years my senior. Kindly, Sarah stepped into the breach. Why talk of John? Because he was my friend and it reminded me that he, like all my friends are a privilege and a pleasure to have.

Our evening eventually drew to a close. We were all a little “tired and emotional”. We donned our muddy footwear and found ourselves all crammed on the door mat trying to open the front door. It was like a surreal game of old geriatric twister. Our evening ended with gales of laughter.

The next morning, our friend re joined us for a coffee before we set off for home. When will we see her again? For the walk of course! She drove the 200 mile round trip to join us. One of my brothers and his wife also made a supreme effort to join us. In their case a 500 mile round trip. They’re all stars.

The first walk is now done. What about walk number 2. I’m on the case. I'm thinking of starting in Lerryn on Wednesday or Thursday 29th or 30th October starting at 10am Weather permitting.

Another muddy walk. The walk follows a byway from Lerryn along the former quays of the Lerryn River into Ethy Woods. The route then follows paths through the woods along the edge of the River Lerryn and up the River Fowey to St Winnow. The walk passes through the churchyard and then follows footpaths across the fields to Ethy Mill where the walk re-enters the woods to reach the parkland surrounding Ethy House. The final section is across the former grounds of the house to reach Lerryn.

Who's up for another walk?

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