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 Kindcardine, 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






Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Eileen's adventures in Canada

Back in Largs just a week and the Canadian adventures are fading into the memory banks. I didn't write an August blog as I was busy getting prepared for our five week sojourn in various places across Canada and as you know it is a very big country... opening up so many opportunities to have adventures.

First of all, here is my latest favourite photo of Murphy... just in case you are suffering from withdrawal symptoms! I certainly was...

+


Warning! There are more photos of Murphy coming up in the rest of this text... most of them taken by Andy as I was being in the moment with my grandson and loving every minute.

We started off with a few days R and R with family at Stratford. That is Stratford, Ontario and visited with more family at Kincardine. That is Kincardine, Ontario. The place names always make us smile. There is a Renfrew, a Paisley and even a Greenock. Not aware of a Largs though.

Eileen and Andy at Kincardine Beach

So... here are Andy and I at Kincardine Beach and it looks like I am giving him a Heimlich Manoeuvre... 

honestly it is just my idea of a hug. 

Yoga class on boards on Lake Huron

















The River Avon







Kincardine is situated on Lake Huron and believe it or not Canada's Stratford has its very own  river Avon and even a Shakespeare theatre. That bard seems to have got everywhere...

-
Aunt Margaret and us!



Thank you so much to the Harris family; Maggie, Mark, Emily and Ryan for your hospitality at Stratford...
And grazie mille to the Vennors in Kincardine; Evelyn,Todd, Matthew and Katy...
Not forgetting Jamie and Giselle... 
and Aunt Margaret, it was so good to to see you looking so well. 

May have to have another family catch up next year!










Where do I begin to tell you about our reunion with our grandson. We have been skyping, so he knows us from the TV screen and we did reacquaint ourselves with him when we visited Whistler in April however we may well be considered to be strangers, speaking in a foreign tongue.

Imagine our delight when we arrived and he recognised our faces and our funny way of speaking.

Ciao Nonna
 We were visiting to share in his first birthday ...


Partay



There was a party with lots of people, including children and an abundance of new toys to play with. Most importantly there was a sense of community and a whole lot of love.


Splish, splash.
Andy and I were staying in a loft apartment at the Mountainside Lodge in Whistler and our every requirement was met both by the staff and the apartment. We even had a swimming pool which was much needed as the temperature was in the high 20s and even soared to 34 degrees. 


Murphy loves his splish, splash and we were able to oblige almost daily.


What clothes!


There were many really melting moments in the heat and Andy and I often envied Murphy's choice of sartorial attire when hanging out together on a hot day.

We got to hang out in lots of places, go to swing parks, babysit, go walking in forests, up mountains and even visited the Sunshine Coast where the sun was indeed shining.

 Andy and I got to experience "glamping" as evidenced below. Unique tent... fabulous view... not so keen on the ablutionary arrangements. However this year I am embracing many, many "out of comfort zone" moments and a visit to an outside loo in the middle of night wasn't my most uncomfortable moment of 2017... 

more of that another time...



We took a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast and the view of the islands on the way were outstanding...
Howe Sound

Bowen Island, on way to Sunshine Coast
Dome tent

Here is our unique abode. A tent with a door and the most amazing view from a place called the Back Eddy.

Gobsmacked





















We went walking to Skookumchucks to see where the river meets the tidal waters and can have a tremendous effect on the rising water levels.


Skookumchucks


Gordon had Murphy in the back pack and Murphy had a ball. He loves this particular mode of transport in fact any mode as long as he can see what and who is around him. He is interested in everything and everyone.


Mum's turn
So in conclusion folks. I ask the question "Is it love?" The answer is "It sure is!"

Who is that handsome devil?

Our short time in Canada wasn't long enough. It just gave us a taste... a brief moment in Murphy's life. We got to see him move from being the speediest crawler in town to standing upright and taking his first few tentative steps.


Innocent!












Of course now he is on his feet, he will no doubt be into all sorts of mischief. It has already started as his Mum Lianne thought she had lost the TV remote and found it hidden in his toy kitchen.



 
My Canadian adventures are over for the moment, Murphy's are just beginning...

The look of love  - 2017.









memory 2016

 Thank you Lianne, Gordon and Murphy for making our Canadian August holiday so wonderful... so full of moments of wonder, so full of adventure and so full of love.










Sunday, 30 July 2017

Walkies


Sometimes I am amazed at the repetition of life. You know when you think "I've been down this road before". Well this time it is both literal and metaphorical in that I walked to get fit for my trekking in Nepal all those years ago.

Steep climb

On my way to the top


... and Gordon and myself at the top


Then walked to get fit for the Moonwalk in  2008

Some gear eh!

We had to wear a fancy bra and this was my idea of fancy!

Marathon walk starting at midnight now whose crazy idea was that?





Walking round Cumbrae Island
... and now here I am walking again. This time to get fit and for the chance to spend time with a friend in September as she comes over the border to Scotland as part of her Land's end to John o' Groats walk.

I have offered to walk 32 miles over a two day period on the Clyde Walkway and so far am increasing my fitness level incrementally every day.


 On one of my solitary walks round Cumbrae I realised that I had lost my identity as a fit woman. As a child and a teenager, I walked everywhere and thought nothing of it. As a teenager I played hockey, tennis, netball, skied and swam. Continued to ski and swim regularly in my 20s and 30s and learned to play golf and squash. Then in my late 30's something happened...

It wasn't just that I became ill... it was that I stopped thinking of myself as a fit person. She no longer existed...  and although since then I have repeated the walking to get fit for an occasion, I never took on the identity of the fit person just because!

So here I am, as they say fit and well, and living in gratitude for being given a chance to rediscover that woman I lost all those years ago. Welcome home Eileen... you have been much missed.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Radical Forgiveness

Three months ago I had never heard of Radical Fogiveness or its author Colin Tipping. Now I am delighted to say that by reading the book and becoming emersed in its philosophical approach, I have discovered a whole new way of looking at life.

What has made this book different from the thousands of books I have read in the past...

Well... to start with it is a simple concept, easy to read and the radical part is that it is far-reaching.

Don't just take it from me. Why not purchase a copy and see where this book could take you.

Trust me... it is life changing!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Not so random acts of kindness...


I have been on a metaphysical and physical kindness journey recently and have been blown away by the power of a kind word or deed. My physical journeys were in a car, on four trains and in two taxis. Metaphysically at a course for Radical Manifestation in London, a follow on from the Radical Forgiveness approach.

I was surrounded by many kind companions in my various modes of transport... and supported by kind fellow attendees at the course but also blessed by kind hotel management and staff. Now my question to myself is. " were they always there and I didn't see the kindness, due to my looking in another, more critical, direction?"

We have been aware through the many acts of kindness during the recent disasters that have occurred in Manchester and London, that there is still humanity to be found in the darkest of moments.

The Dalai Lama is a font of wisdom and his quote below is one to take to our hearts and work with kindness on a daily, hourly, moment to moment basis. Let's be kind on purpose, not just randomly, although I know the power those acts wield.


Let's be kind to ourselves and look after ourselves better.
Let's cherish our loved ones. Be kinder, less critical.
Let's be kinder to strangers, less judgemental.
Let's be kinder to our environment, take care of our surroundings.
Let our mantra be "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible"
Let's open our eyes and see kindness in every other person's form.
Let peace be what we focus on.

Om shanti


Saturday, 27 May 2017

Friends reunited

So much has happened in a short space to time.

I am delighted that 6 years ago a friend recommended I start blogging. It has meant that every month I have had something to reflect on, something to cherish and so much to be grateful for. 

Forgive me for the mega photo "fest" below. Be grateful that you are only viewing a few of my celluloid memories!

Empire State Building
Do you recognise the tower on the left? Yes, that's where we were - New York, and like the good tourists we are, we visited this iconic tower, the Empire State Building. Although it is showing some similarities to the Leaning Tower of Pisa due to the photography. 

Our holiday cruise with our friends Billy and Catherine, started in the Big Apple. Andy and I had a quick turn around after our impromptu visit to Canada and returned once more to trans-atlantic travel. 

View south from the top of the Empre State Building
We made some new friends when we boarded our cruise ship. Claudia, our cabin... sorry stateroom steward, used towel art every night. Meet two of the cool dudes, Nellie and Oscar. Shades are compulsory on a Caribbean cruise...

Yep you read right... we were cruising the Caribbean after a few wonderful days in New York.

This holiday was organised long before our Canadian adventures and our home relocation and it seems that every two years we go on a cruise ship with our pals, Catherine and Billy. Much fun is had by all.


This time we visited islands under blue, blue skies.


 Folks on Water taxi to Bermuda

Eileen chillin'

Sheltered under palm trees...
Beach at St Maarten
when the blue, blue sky was a tad too hot and...




San Juan, Puerto Rica















There were even moments when I couldn't believe my eyes. The cruise ship was bigger than some of the buildings in San Juan! Andy and I are looking down from the battlements of one of the San Juan fortresses at the Anthem of the Seas. Although the mega size of the ship challenges me regarding what effect it has on the ocean; the many towns, villages, cities and islands of the Caribbean rely on the tourist trade from the cruise ships to survive in a very fragile economic climate.

Billy and Catherine on a ferry
So many moments to be grateful for ... fun, laughter, friendship ... not to forget the "odd" gin and tonic and frequent visits to the spa. Every ferry trip a delight and so much fun to be had when there is a cruise "eye" taking you well above the normal level to view the horizon. No whales or dolphins spotted but a fun moment with children insisting that they saw mermaids!

Eileen on Balcony
Eileen taking flight
Being up high was what I thought would be my 2017 moment of taking myself out of my comfort zone. However it was surprisingly comfortable ... my out of comfort zone is to surprise me on my return home ...
What a view!
 

We had a balcony and enjoyed many views and even dressed up for the posh events although not without some resistance. We also enjoyed many evenings of chillin' and know that we are blessed with our friends and our retiral situation...


 There were also some "uniform" moments when the "me too" was very obvious


Andy and Billy shipmates


"Landmates" on Labadee

Reconnecting!
We went internet free for nearly two weeks ... and at the end of the hols ... look who is trying to reconnect now!

We have much to be grateful for and top of the list is our family. For those of you having withdrawal symptoms from no recent Murphy photos ... here he is with his Mum, Lianne, as she enjoys her first Mother's day! No matter what is happening in our lives we should work at being this happy!
A smiling Lianne and a laughing Murphy

p.s. Now just a little mention as a postscript for my 2017 out of comfort/enjoying life moment. I will be featuring this over the next three months. A friend of mine, Sue Bradley, is walking Land's End to John o' Groats this year as a life affirming exercise. I did say to her that she could jump out of a plane but she is steadfast in her commitment to walking.

She sent an email requesting some moral support on some of the "legs" of her walk and I have signed up to accompany her on the 32 mile Clyde Walkway. Training began this month with the intention of walking 5 miles every second day and building up to 10/12 miles twice a week. 

It will be great to be reunited with Sue and to put another two of my friends to work ... my legs!








Monday, 1 May 2017

Family reunion

Guess where we have been and who we have been with?


The Adoring

... and doesn't Andy look surprised. Yes we enjoyed a wonderful impromptu visit to Canada to see the adorable Murphy and of course, his adorable parents, Gordon and Lianne and the added bonus of Kenneth and Natalie being there too... and yes they are adorable too!


The Adorables


 Our plan of changing homes and altering our lifestyle to give us the opportunity and the "where withall" to travel has been realised. This holiday/vacation with our boys and their partners is a fabulous outcome and Murphy is the icing on the proverbial holiday cake ...
all the family


Sleeping Beauty

He looks like the perfect angel when asleep but believe me, he loves to be part and parcel of the party when awake...


 Bedtime reading was an awesome moment in his Grandpa's schedule. It even outshone the golf! and that is saying something...

Story Time


The many changes in our recent lives have given me much to be grateful for... and a lot of time for reflection.

Taking time to reflect is essential if you want to notice your blessings. Sometimes they turn up as opportunities disguised as obstacles and I am not sure how good you are at hurdling. I know I have the tendency to knock them over in the pursuit of a goal... metaphorically speaking of course. My legs are just not long enough to ever hurdle in reality.

So back to obstacles, they are there to challenge your understanding of what you are capable of or how much you are willing to commit to. And once overcome, you look back and reflect on how everything worked out despite your misgivings... and of course also when it didn't work out it, you realise that not working out was the perfect solution all along!

It is, what it is folks. So let's have fun with it, whatever IT, is! Life shows up as swings and roundabouts... which one do you prefer to be on...


Swing Time