Thursday, 8 November 2018

Over The Rainbow


Saturday, 3 November 2018

Twenty Years On

On 3 November 1998 an event of great significance to me (if not in the greater scheme of things) occurred: I was operated upon for prostate cancer and had my prostate removed. At that time it was an operation involving major surgery and a long stay in hospital. Now it is possible to have it removed by keyhole surgery.

It happened as a result of my GP asking a consultant urologist to examine me and perform a biopsy despite the fact that I had no evidence of prostate problems never mind prostate cancer. Indeed to all intents and purposes I was as fit as a fiddle and felt great. The only problem was that I knew that I had cancer. I just had no idea what sort or where in my body it was. 

The rest of the story is history and I have been treated ever since as a result of the cancer cells that had already escaped into my body before the operation.

Those decisions by the medical profession as well as their skills have given me 20 wonderful years. For the most part they have been amongst the best years of my life and include a decade of a whole different life in New Zealand.

So today I shall raise a glass and toast the dozens of people in the medical profession, together with many other people, who have been instrumental in not only keeping me alive all these years but also enabling me to have a great quality of life.

Thank you one and all.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Home - again.

I arrived home last night. The original plan had been to come today but several texts from Calmac made it clear that the weather could well affect the ferries today and tomorrow and they could be cancelled. As I had to be back this weekend and for appointments at crack of dawn on Monday and visitors arriving on Tuesday, I decided to make a run for it yesterday. I was obviously not alone and the ferry was full of vehicles. The ferry was actually the MV Isle of Lewis which is covering for the MV Loch Seaforth which is having her annual overhaul in Aberdeen.

Today broke with a stiff breeze from the North (the worst direction for the Stornoway to Ullapool ferry) but cold and sunny. As the wind rose the sea swell got worse. The ferry left Stornoway after lunch but it came past my house and when that happens you just know it's going to be a choppy crossing in places. Shortly after these photos were taken I received a Calmac text saying that the ferry would not be coming back tonight. There could be considerable disruption because the supermarket was short of some things this morning and the freight ferry won't be running today or overnight either and they do not open on Sunday.

The picture on the right shows the position of the ferry in the last of the photo sequence below.

Sailing up the coast and towards the rainbow.
Into the rainbow
Turning across the direction of the swell
Turning towards the South and East
Next stop Ullapool (nearly two hours away)

Monday, 22 October 2018


Invictus: Latin adjective, "unconquered, unsubdued, invincible."

I'm not a Royalist as such. I'm not a particular follower of the Olympics or of athletics competitions.

However, having watched Prince Harry at the opening of the Invictus Games I was exceptionally impressed by his sincerity (and the fact that there wasn't a cue-card in sight). So I decided to learn something about the Invictus Games which he brought into being after a trip to the Warrior Games in the USA in 2013 when he saw first-hand how the power of sport can help physically, psychologically and socially those suffering from injuries and illness.

For those who might not know, Prince Harry was a member of the armed forces who saw active service and rose through the ranks to be a Captain in the Blues and Royals and served in Afghanistan.

Most of us will never know the full horrors of combat. Many Servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, visible or otherwise, whilst serving their country.
The Games embody the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel and personifies what these tenacious men and women can achieve post injury. The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country.

"The Invictus Games is about much more than just sport – it captures hearts, challenges minds and changes lives."
Long may it continue so to do.