… is a word best not bandied around in the company of those with spinal cord injuries.  The chances of ending up with a severed spinal cord and condemned to a wheelchair for life, are infinitesimally small.

However I want to say I’m fortunate ( lucky) to have so many friends – those friends having made my transition from upright to sitting , so much easier.

A close friend said to me recently that no one else she knows would have had so many  people wanting to help. I said I’m sure that wasn’t true. She looked me in the eye and said ‘ you and Dani have gone out 5 times a week for 25 years and had fun every time, with so many people.  And it’s now payback time’.

I dont know if she’s right, but it would be a viable explanation, I guess. That ‘investment’ in friendship, if that’s what it is, has paid off.  I’ve gotten to sort of know a few people with injuries like mine, of late, and I’m so saddened to hear how many have been deserted by people  they regarded as mates, pre injury, their only friends now being post injury  ones.

Also, a close friend of a friend, has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, with not long left. The visitors have been few and far between, I’m horrified to hear. Do people not know what to say, how to act, faced with this situation?   Some don’t, it would seem, so simply avoid it altogether.  How does that make their ‘friend’ feel, you think?

I know how, as one or two people I know behaved like that, in the early days of my paralysis. .. It made me desperately sad, that’s how, at a loss to understand their actions, or lack of.

I suppose what I’m saying is that when the chips are down , you really find out who your friends are.   But too, that you do reap what you sew in life, and that friendships don’t just appear, you have to make them. Let friendships slide, at your peril, you really don’t know how valuable they are until  the shit hits the fan.

This last week I’ve seen a lot of great people ( friends), like Anna Hugh- Jones, Clair and Charlie ( at Charlie’s bday party), Sophia and Nick, Mac and Laura, my Godson Freddie, his bother Louis, Rich and Trudy, Debs, Pia, Adam, Dan, all the year 5 parents at Amber’s class party ( hosted by Bret n Chrissy ), Cherie, Ina, Irinder, Alison S, Carol, Bev, lots of friends at the Hogarth Club and loads of parents at Amber’s Sports Day today.

Pia also came with me to trial a second hand arm bike, which went pretty well I think. Obviously it’s a whole new sport, so whilst I seemed ok at it, I’ve got little idea how I’d compare to other blokes ( not that I’m competitive or anything )…. I did note that I was an awful lot stronger / faster  than the lady  who sold it to me, in our little ride together, and she’s been doing it for years, so I guess that’s a good sign.

I’ll take it for a spin in Richmond Park tomorrow , with a few legged friends to cycle with me.. And yes, I am wondering already how my speed with just arms and compromised lungs will compare to theirs with legs. ..theoretically I’ve got no chance, right?

Amber was narrowly beaten into second at the school sprint today, whilst Lily came home from hers on Monday, having won the 100m, the Sprint Hurdles, the Long Jump and the relay. That’s my Proud Dad bit done.

I’ve been to work again and find myself thinking like I used to, spotting areas that  need improving , the standards lower than I would like. That’s what the boss is supposed to do, I think. It was great to spend time in the room with Nital, amongst others.

I attended a 100 strong meeting of my peers last Friday. I was nervous about going and seeing so many people who knew me before, fit, strong and tall, and now far lower down. I almost didn’t go.

My friend and Chairman, Guy L opened the meeting by saying how pleased everyone was to have me back in the room after a year’s absence. It made a huge difference to me that he took the trouble to say what he did, more difference than he would know.

Thanks especially to Steve J  for his help that day, navigating the conference room to the loo miles away so helpfully, and to Sel for sharing a taxi in and out, making life far easier for me. It was great to see lots of  colleagues/friends that I hadn’t seen for 13 months, so many of whom looked genuinely glad to see me, both in the meeting and in the pub afterwards ( of course).  I really fancy a few pints, but am acutely aware that what goes in must come out, in terms of fluid volume, so can’t. It’s wine and shorts for  me from now on.

Thanks to Carina too for her help in the admin of my day. I appreciate that it’s a bit of a pain ensuring henceforth that all venues are ‘accessible’.

A bad week for Andy Murray, but a pretty good one for me then.

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