Monday, 5 February 2018

Friendship

Friendship has always been important to me, ever since I was a child. I am now approaching 67 years young and after all these years, friendship still takes pride of place in my life.

A very good friend recently passed away from this reality and her passing has given me much to think about. My friend, Alison and myself were part of a group of friends, a sisterhood who worked well together and had played even better together, over the past eighteen or so years.

Many of you will know that I had a very fragmented family set-up growing up and am grateful for all the life lessons this gave me however my upbringing flagged up a lack of camaraderie within the home. No siblings to row with, fall out with and then fall in with.

Perhaps that was why my friend, Alison and myself felt a deep bond. As two only children we were constantly searching for a sisterly relationship. An honest relationship, where you can be your true self, no questions asked.

A search for kinship in like minded souls has been a constant over the years and as my recently enforced leisure has given me much time to ponder, I realise that what I was looking for was "family". Not just a sisterhood or even a brotherhood but a fully functioning family! Who gets one of them? I have to ask. So many of us talk about coming from a dysfunctional family that I believe that this term must now mean "normal"!

I am grateful for the many friends who have been there for me, throughout schooldays, college, work situations and even retirement. Some, like Alison, have come and are now gone. Others are school friends with whom I lost touch and have miraculously reappeared in my life. And a few are a constant in my life, a mainstay core... However all of us feel the connection that pulls us together.

To you all I thank you ... not with the hand of friendship but with the warm embrace of a family hug.
grazie mille mei amici, la mia famiglia...
baci e un abbraccio

Eileen

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Whatever the weather...


Letterfinlay
Well we didn't expect to experience quite such a country whiteout when we went away with our pals Catherine and Billy, to Letterfinlay!

Lovely snow and I even went a weekend without my trusty walking aid. The intention is to start using walking poles to help with the get fit regime as I will need to have good muscles for the new knee, scheduled for the end of March. Probably need to wait until the weather settles a tad,

Below is the view from our bedroom on the Tuesday morn. There is a loch and some inspiring peaks beyond the blizzard. You will just have to take my word for it!
Room with a view



Glencoe

Driving home on Tuesday was challenging. Driving conditions were poor due to the weather and the potholes in the road. An unexpected drop into a pothole led to a puncture and an unplanned stop, tyre change and late lunch. Well I did say I was going to go with the "plan is to have no plan"... however the other three hadn't signed up for any such alteration in the dynamic. And no I didn't change the tyre. Catherine and I left that to our heroes...


Driving conditions
More snow and disruption is forecast and I am seriously thinking of using a similar mode of transport to Murphy's...

The only way to travel



Monday, 8 January 2018

Ringing the changes

We ended 2017 and started 2018 in Milan this year. Andy and I decided that we were spending Christmas and New Year adventuring in Lombardy... and yes there were many, many adventures.

We set off on the 23rd December, ready to travel into the unknown, as this part of Italy is unchartered territory for us.

 We arrived at our hotel after an exhausting day but were delighted with the hotel, its position and its closeness to train station, metro and trams.
Day 1  Eileen and Duomo



The biggest challenge we thought was to cope with me hobbling around with my walking stick. Not so... the walking was challenging but the metro, the trains and the trams were what made me raise my game. The walking, I seemed to take in my stride.

As it was a must to visit the famous Milan cathedral, day one saw us enjoying blue skies and the milling crowds in the square in front of the cathedral that took nearly 600 years to build!


Milan is a beautiful city, especially when there are festivities every day and fabulous meals and wine to enjoy. Every meal added to our adventures. We even enjoyed the intermittent power cut at our restaurant on New Year's Eve.


Eileen's New Year Dinner
Andy at Mamma Rosa's


The weather was variable. We got soaked in some very heavy rain but weren't too keen on photographing the grey and damp times. As you can see from our wine glasses, we were exploring glass half full adventures... and keeping smiling...

We intended to use Milan as a base and take the train to various destinations but ended up only taking one journey... destination Verona, a very popular and fascinating town. Not sure how much Shakespeare knew about Italian towns or he might have mentioned the hilly, cobbled streets and the massive Roman amphitheatre! when telling the tale of star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet




Modern  architecture
Milan is working towards a greener environment. A far cry from its recent industrial focus. There are car sharing incentives and "no car" days as well as planting trees wherever they can!

We explored much of the city although a return visit to take in more of the museums is a must. Leonardo da Vinci's experiential museum was a mega three hour delight exploring what a human mind can envisage. His connection with Milan is so much more than the famous painting of The Last Supper, which is on the to do list next time...

First visit, get orientated... second visit, who knows?
New Year's Day

 Milan on New Year's eve was awash with street parties and fireworks seemingly on every corner and come the 1st January you would have thought that the party animals would be sleeping in. No... in fact they were queueing up to enter their cathedral to celebrate a new year.

Our adventure was thrilling, even in some ways life changing however it was good to get home and enjoy the sunset over the River Clyde...


Tanti auguri....




Thursday, 30 November 2017

Together again

Christmas came early to our household with the unexpected arrival of Murphy and his Mum, Lianne.

 It was a wonderful surprise and I was/am delighted with how I wasn't really involved in the planning. Just a recipient of other people's plans creating something wonderful and allowing me to be part of it.

 "Going with the flow" is the new addition to "Life's a journey - enjoy", intentional lifestyle. I will keep you posted as to how I get on with it as I embrace "flow" and all the surprises that will be round the corner...

Making sweet music together again
.

Friday, 3 November 2017

More delight!

Two blogs in the one week. Must be a record...

Last weekend I had a fabulous weekend, sharing time with my friend Liz.

We took the train to London on Thursday, attended a Michael Neill workshop on the Friday, visited the British Museum on Saturday and in the evening went to the theatre to see Dream Girls, before returning home on Sunday.

Wow! you must think. Especially when you see the wonderful museum roof, that encourages you to look upwards.

Onwards and upwards is such an inspirational saying and we took it to heart as we visited some of the fabulous artifacts showcased in many of the halls. We spent 4 delightful hours wandering round the museum and returning is a must, especially as this time we really only focused on the Egyptians ...
so much history, so little time!

Museaum's  glass dome roof
Now, what I haven't mentioned is that I injured my knee before travelling south. Yes I know what am I doing to myself? Well I have to say... I don't really know, except, the knee has been unstable for a few years so perhaps it is time to improve its stability! D'ya think!

Walking, limping and then finally hobbling required me to dig deep into my courage box. I had my friends... Rescue Remedy, Arnica, Heat lotion and MSM... my aloe and my argi+, not forgettingt the many physio tricks to keep the knee moving. However the biggest inspiration was my friendly lion, Murphy.

Yes another chance to share a Murphy photo. I just have to look at him and I immediately feel better... who wouldn't. Such a delight...

Roar!
p.s. once home I moved from two elbow crutches, to one and am now using a stick. I can't begin to tell you how delightful that is...

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Delight!

Do you remember the first time you saw snow?

Were you a child?

I ask the timeline question as I know that some people live in environments that don't experience snow.
Here in Scotland, we can get to experience snow in the winter and my memories of it as a child were sheer wonder and delight.
What is this white stuff Daddy?


   Just like Murphy...



Snowflakes falling slowing and carpeting everything in white. Softening and brightening everything around, creating a playground like no other. It would have been an experience beyond any previous experience...
and yet, I bet as a child, it held no fear...




especially if someone was holding your hand.


 


Let's treat everything new as we once treated snow... with delight. And once the experience is a regular occurrence for us, hold someone's hand and introduce them to the feeling of delight when they face a new experience.



p.s. this was the first "dump" of snow in Whistler... in October!


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Continuing with walkies

I promised I would tell you more about my friend, Sue's momentous walk and also my most uncomfortable moments of 2017. Some might call them challenges that just happened to occur whilst I embraced "walkies". So here goes the saga ... and the happy ending of course.

As you know Sue had committed to walking Land's End to John O'Groats and I had agreed to accompany her on the Clyde Walkway portion of her walk. I had been getting fitter by walking around the 5 miles every second day and a long walk every weekend, which ranged from 10 to 14 miles. However all of my walks were on the flat.


I intended to keep up my walking schedule while in Canada and I even took my walking boots with me. Then of course bought some fabulous walking shoes when visiting relatives in Kincardine, Ontario. They were a must, a bargain and so comfortable...

My continued walking commitment was much supported by Andy, Lianne and Gordon, who looked for walks that would fit in with my mileage requirements. As I needed to get fit for the stupendous 32 mile trek across Lanarkshire on my return to Scotland. However very few of them were on the flat and all seemed to meander through woods, up and more importantly down forest paths.



peek a boo
All is going according to plan but this is when the story changes.  I tripped in the apartment, fell backwards... I know, not easy. Landed on my bottom and bounced my head off the bedside cabinet and thanked my lucky stars that I hadn't hurt my knees.

Fast forward to two days later while searching for a famous elusive train wreck in the woods, I slid on some scree as I manoeuvred downhill. Continued on the walk, as you do, with jelly legs, sore right knee and elbow and feeling a tad sorry for myself until we found the train wreck

and then the suspension bridge!
Yes, I am holding on to the railing. It was moving and my legs were having difficulty holding me upright.

So two falls down, thinking my bruised knee and elbow will recover soon when I took a mammoth fall down the stairs in our apartment and injured my left side including knee and elbow. I know, I know, I hear you asking "was alcohol involved?" and the answer is sadly, no. Perhaps I would have fallen better if it had. Although I doubt it, as I landed on a tiled floor and it was not what you would call a soft landing.

Now I am thinking, three down... that is enough and off we went on a family trip... sorry... change that word... family jaunt to the Sunshine Coast and although we did walk up hill and down dale, I didn't fall. Phew!

I saved my fall for on the return ferry journey when I tripped over a stanchion and rolled! Andy said that I was like a paratrooper. The only injury I was left with on that occasion were two tiny bruises where my hips hit some rivets.

Now picture this, and no I won't share the photos, I am hobbling around with two gammy legs and my two injured elbows would hinder me using walking poles, so I have to accept that I won't be walking the 32 miles with Sue on my return to Bonnie Scotland.

Now that isn't the end of the story, I promised you a happy ending, remember.

After many emails back and forth, Sue and I agree that I can join her on the 11 miles of the Kelvin Walkway, with the proviso if it gets too much, too painful etc I can phone Andy and get picked up. Perfect...
Here we are at the start of our walk, enthusiastic and delighted to be with each other and catch up on all our news.

We walk initially with Kenneth, our eldest son, who leaves us enjoying our walk through the hidden wooded glades bordering Glasgow's River Kelvin.

The river meanders and so do we. The terrain gets muddier and we try to avoid the muddy puddles but to no avail. The rain comes on which makes the path we are walking on treacherous as the walkway edges very near the river bank. Onwards we travel, through heavy undergrowth and I have to say, "over the head" growth and "coming in from the sides" growth. I was expecting Dr. Livingston to appear at any moment.

Over stiles, dreeping down walls until eventually I fell. Yes.. you could see it coming. I fell into a patch of nettles, lost all dignity and couldn't get up for laughing. You see I hadn't fallen in the river, I hadn't injured knees, hips or elbows. I had just slowly and softly landed on a welcome patch of earth, albeit a bit stingy.

Sue says that the Kelvin Walkway was the worst terrain she encountered in her 650 mile journey, so far. However we have lived to tell the tale. We laughed, we cried, we chatted, we put the world to rights and we reconnected, remembering why it is that we are friends.

Thank you Sue for a most memorable day and a wonderful friendship.
Grazie mille, mia amica Sue.
baci e abbraccio
Eileen