Fabulous artwork by the very fabulous Jonny Acheson (https://jonnyachesonart.com) I love a challenge and thrive on the planning, preparation and training that goes with each new one. It gives me a sense of being in control - even if I'm not, challenges my brain and body - which can only be a good thing and… Continue reading New Year, New Challenge
Exercise, the only thing that has been shown to delay disease progression in Parkinson's, should, in theory, be easy to commit to doing on a daily basis. Yet at times it can still be difficult to find the motivation to exercise, particularly on a cold, wet, windy winter's day. In the autumn of 2019, signing… Continue reading Reflections of The Raid Alpine
Time to say 'Thank You' to everyone who supported me to do the Raid Alpine challenge. A HUGE 'thank you' to John Anderson, John Wilkinson, Roland Valori and Claire Lehman for embracing this colossal challenge, all the training involved and for making it a wonderful adventure. To Callum Anderson and Rory Chapell, our fantastic support… Continue reading Thank You!
Setting off in already blistering sunshine, our last day proved one of the hottest. Perhaps a little blasé about having 'only' 834m of climb to do, by the time I was 15km into the ride, already on the wrong road, still leaning heavily on my right hand side in a very lop sided fashion with… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 10
Distance 83km. Elevation 1700m. Our penultimate day saw us leave according to our speed. That was Claire and I setting off first for a ride that would take us 8 and 9 hours respectively. The others who are much quicker were rewarded by a slightly more leisurely breakfast and had still caught up with us… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 9
We expected today to be our toughest challenge for many reasons. Longest rideBiggest climbSearing heatExisting saddle sores, blisters, aches and painsFatigue from the previous seven days hard cycling To add another challenge to the day, was for our support team, Callum and Rory when an erratic / maniac driver tried to overtake the van they… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 8
Col du Lautaret to Guillestre. Distance 81km. Elevation 1392m. What a fantastic day! Today we 'bagged' Col d'Izoard. 19.1km uphill during which we climbed 1173m. At a peak gradient of 11% and an overall average of 6%, it was tough. No nice pictures at the top as it simply resembled a building site. A huge… Continue reading The Raid Alpine – Day 6
Distance Elevation Gain By Rory Chappell (Support Team) ‘Switchbacks are overshadowed by persistence.’ An early start for the cyclists to get a handle on the day ahead: the biggest climb so far. After breakfast, they hit the tarmac and pedalled along to the town of Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. They waited for a top up of water from… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 5
Bourg St ~Maurice to Lansleberg-Mont-Cenis Distance 83km, Elevation Gained 2,238m 'Over the Col and Far Away' By Rory Chappell (Support Team) The day started early high above Bourg Saint Maurice with a fantastic breakfast at our overnight stop, Montagn’Arcs. Joined by the fresh talent from Bolton, Neil and Jane, the cyclists set off up to… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 4
Day 4 - 'Only' I desperately wanted to get to the top of Col d'Iseran, our 'only' Col of the day. 'Only' 2,200m of climb over 'only' 47km, with temperatures peaking at 'only' 28 degrees, with absolutely no shade. At every km on each Col, there is a marker depicting the distance to the top… Continue reading The Raid Alpine
Day 3 - missing from our original blog series as exhaustion crept in and time ran out. For completeness, I've compiled this from a few scribbled notes to support my hazy memory, as Col after Col, the days seemed to morph into one. Today was to be our toughest so far. 75km, hilly from the… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 3
Cluses to Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe. Distance 63km, Elevation Gained 2,200m. '20%' By Rory Chappell (Support Team) Waking up this morning to grey skies after a night of storms isn’t what you imagine when you come away to Southern France for a cycling challenge. That said, it is perfect climbing weather. Today was the first chance some got… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 2
First Time for Everything First Day Thonon les Bains to Cluses Distance: 81km Climb: 1913m First Team Gathering Lake Geneva First Climb Col de Moises First Celebratory Beer First Day Summary Hot, hot, hot, humid,, hilly, hellishly hard, hurting everywhere, happy it's over ....until tomorrow. Personal Perspective - Alison One of our 'lighter' days today,… Continue reading Raid Alpine – Day 1
Here's hoping our initial efforts at organisation are not indicative of how well organised (or not) we are going to be throughout the trip. John W, already proving his organisational skills, arrived at the agreed time, at the agreed location with all the kit that he'd agreed to bring and most importantly with the Campervan.… Continue reading False Start
It was Helen Matthews, the Deputy CEO of Cure Parkinson's who introduced Claire and I in 2017. We have kept in contact since and met a few times. Helen, knowing that we both had Young Onset Parkinson's and both worked for the NHS, thought we may have a few things to talk about. We found… Continue reading The Raid Alpine
Having recently watched 'Belfast' and then 'The Tourist', I was reminded of the time I met the actor Jamie Dornan, originally from '50 Shades of Grey' fame. If laughter is the best medicine, this one photograph has done much good for my health and that of many of my friends. Enjoy a laugh at my… Continue reading Shades of Grey
The challenge at a previous outpatient appointment was being asked to rate how I was feeling on a scale of 1 - 10. The challenge for my most recent appointment was to quantify what percentage of the time I was troubled by the symptoms I had just been asked to describe. Another trick question! Last… Continue reading Outpatient DisAppointment
Being cold and having Parkinson's is not a harmonious relationship. A couple of degrees below comfortably warm and my body reacts as though I was in the Antarctic. It displays a shivering that is completely out of my control. It is not particularly uncomfortable but it is obvious to me and to others. The fire… Continue reading Body Language
When my mobile phone was new, a 100% battery charge would fairly reliably last two, sometimes three days. After a few years of regular use, I'm lucky if a full battery charge keeps my phone functioning reliably until lunchtime. Regularly running on red, I receive frequent messages offering the option of switching to 'Low Power… Continue reading Low Power Mode
Last week, my boxing was as good as it ever has been since I started training four years ago. My personal trainer noticed immediately. I responded quickly to instructions and was full of energy, my movements were fluid and fast and it felt fantastic. Same time, same place, one week later, same personal trainer, same… Continue reading Unpredictable (I)
I recently read an interesting blog by Miriam Bram, a fellow Ambassador for the 6th World Parkinson Congress to be held in Barcelona in July 2023. The title, Shame & Stigma of Living with Parkinson's caught me off guard. Until recently, I hadn't consciously considered shame as something that might play a part in my… Continue reading A Link Between The ‘Shrinks’
Back in the Day 6am AlarmSnoozeAlarmJump out of bed and into showerShampoo and condition hairBrush teethBlow-dry hair Make upJewellery onFavourite dress on6.30am ready to face the day Time to Get Up Today 5.45am, no need for alarm, I'm awake! Snooze! I wish! Take meds Wait for meds to work Jump Crawl out of bed and… Continue reading Time to Get Up
During the current heatwave, many of us are feeling uncomfortably hot much of the time and that's certainly my experience over the last few days. Being of a certain age, like many other women, I also have the joys of hot flushes to contend with. I could blame the heatwave. I could blame the menopause.… Continue reading Sparkling!
I am driving down to Exeter today to pick one of my sons up from his student accommodation to bring him and his belongings home for the summer. It's forecast to be a scorching day, one of the hottest this year, of which I will spend at least five hours driving, an hour or so… Continue reading I Can’t Wait…
I've finally found my exercise mojo! Having lost it somewhere during the mid winter long lockdown, it's been elusive over the past few months but it's finally back. It has taken a few friends, a good helping of sunshine, some gentle encouragement, a cycle challenge and a dogged determination. It’s definitely harder to regain your… Continue reading It’s Back!
I remember reading Ronald Dahl’s story about The Twits, a hideous couple who catch the 'Dreaded Shrinks’ which causes their bodies to gradually shrink until there is nothing left of them except a pile of old clothes and a pair of shoes. I think I've got the 'Dreaded Shrinks'. Fortunately, I'm 5ft 11” tall, so… Continue reading The ‘Shrinks’
Six years ago today I was diagnosed with Parkinson's. It's not like a birthday or wedding anniversary to be celebrated with balloons and banners but it is an anniversary nevertheless. One that is imprinted on my being in indelible ink. I received a message yesterday from a friend, Paul, whose ninth anniversary was yesterday. He… Continue reading ‘Happy’ Anniversary?
At an out patient appointment recently, I was asked how I had been feeling on a scale of 1 - 10. 1 = As bad as it gets 10 = As good as it gets. I pondered. It had been 398 days since my last appointment. A lot of things have happened during this time.… Continue reading Time to Change…….
I feel strangely delighted today having read the results of my most recent cognitive assessment. The results identified some areas where my cognitive ability 'fell below the expected range'. Thank heavens! I'm not going mad, I haven't imagined it, there is actually a problem, a small one but none the less, a tangible, real problem.… Continue reading Strangely Delighted!
"Hi! How are you?” Almost without fail when meeting someone, our first exchange is “Hi! How are you?” By far the most common, and indeed the most socially acceptable response is “I’m fine, thanks. And you?” In fact, I would argue that this is the only socially acceptable response in this context. Herein lies my… Continue reading A Social Dilemma
The weather forecast looked awful for the entire day today. How easy it would have been to stay home, where it was guaranteed to be warm and dry. We could have been forgiven for curling up on the sofa with the Sunday papers for company and it was certainly tempting. However, then we would have… Continue reading What If……