Monthly Archives: July 2014

What can I say, but thank you.

Toby (a cycling buddy) and Josh (his sixteen year old son) have just
completed a cycling trip along the Latvian coastline covering 400 kilometres
over four days. This was Josh’s first long distance cycle ride. I am
delighted that Josh wants to raise money for my charity ‘The Back on Track
Trust’. Please scroll down to the Donate button if you’d like to support these fine fellas.

Some things never change.

This weekend I’ve been on my arm bike in Richmond Park again.

Christ, it was hot. Double Christ, I was hungover.

The last outing I’d done the first lap in 36 mins, riding clockwise around the park, which meant scaling the steepest hill. This time I tried the other direction, having spotted another guy on one going that way.

I made a quick mental assessment of him as I tried to catch him Рdouble leg amputee ( far less weight to carry ), a lot younger than me ( an advantage to him ), by himself ( therefore quite experienced as a rider ), able to sit up and move around his bike seat ( abdominal control ).  I concluded that he probably had full lung volume/ function too, unlike me.

In theory therefore he was gonna be very hard to catch and keep up with.

On the first hill I overtook him. Obviously he had no idea that I was behind him, so wasn’t ¬†trying to stay ahead. I sort of smiled as I passed him, too breathless to actually speak.

A mile or so later, he flashed past me on an uphill section, really going for it. My gears were slipping all over the place, really interrupting my pedal action. Obviously I gave chase, slowed to a standstill at one point by a Chelsea Tractor.

Up the hill by Kingston Gate, he stayed 30 metres ahead of me. Along the flat at the top, I reeled him in, waiting for my moment to pass him, managing a few words as I did, something like ‘ it’s hard, this ‘, and trying not to show my exhaustion.

Determined to stay ahead I really pushed the last 2 miles, looking in my little rear view mirror to make sure the bastard wasn’t closing on me.

32 minutes for the lap , 4 mins quicker than my previous best.

Pathetic isn’t it, I’ve only been on the thing 3 times, and already I’m trying to take on the world.

Last year.

It was my daughter, Lily’s, 13th birthday yesterday.

She had a party last year, despite my survival being very much an uncertainty.

She told me last night that last year she’d ¬†expected me to come out of hospital to be at her party. It would seem that the severity of my condition hadn’t been shared with my children, a good thing I think, given that I pulled through eventually.

Last night’s celebration was all the more special to me, just because I was actually able to attend , and sit next to her to see her blow out her candles.

Being a dad is a wonderful thing, sometimes. image

Life is so much better than I thought it would be.

imageI’ve just spent 5 days in Portugal, at our little appartment there.

Pia came with me, to stop me either starving, or  possibly drowning.

I’m so pleased to say that my friend Issy, a fellow patient from Stoke Mandeville, came too, with her best Friend, Holly. ¬†It’s the first holiday she’s had, since her car crash last July, that ‘ended the life she knew and loved’.

We had the best time, it has to be said. Two wheelchairs, 8 legs in total, but only 4 that worked. Despite that, we laughed, went out, drank a fair bit, and made new friends, lots of new friends.

The kindness of strangers continues to amaze me. Fraser, Chris, Ed literally carrying me out of the pool – all guys I’d not met before.

John, Rupert, Helen, Katie, that I knew before my accident, all helping us have poolside showers, get on and off sunbeds, onto the grass etc etc, so patiently and thoughtfully.

Trudy, Hannah, Jamie, Wendy, and lots of others having a laugh with us in the evenings, and generally being considerate and attentive. My faith in humanity is re confirmed daily.

On day one I struggled physically and mentally with swimming half a width of the pool – 5 metres.

By day 5, I swam 220metres without touching the side. Ok, it took bloody ages, but who said it was a race?

I swam or Triked every day. Not easy, the Trike, just arm power through sand, but on day 6 I managed 8km in about 90 minutes, going along paths that I used to mountain bike, and thought would only exist in my memory. Not so, it would seem. We went to the beach, and guys carried us in our chairs, smiling, to the sea’s edge.

It further served to prove that so much more is possible, than I considered a short while  ago.

My horizons are once more retreating in the direction from whence they came rushing towards me, so very recently.


( in the picture with Issy, Hannah, Trudy and Chris  ).