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

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 ...


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.


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.


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.


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.