January 2010

Sunday 10 January 2010

The darts was fantastic. It is a great way to start a year. Good company, good craic, a paltry amount of sleep. We had cracking seats and a great time.

On Monday morning I covered the first four miles of the four hundred and thirty eight that I, with luck, will cover in the run up to the London Marathon. I plodded around the icy roads of Aldershot before flying home from the darts. It was very cold and I questioned my sanity.

I ran three miles at lunchtime with Karen on Wednesday and Thursday as the week got colder. Today Karen, Adele and I finished the first week of our training plan with eight miles along the beach between Irvine and Troon. It was magnificent, one of the best runs I have ever had. One week down, fifteen to go.

On Thursday I was asked to do some PR for the Glasgow Mens 10k. The PR agency asked me to wear shorts for photos. I was frozen. Shook like a leaf. Just as I was warming up inside, Scottish television turned up and we had to do it all again! The piece went out on the 6 o’clock news and I was staggered at how little I moved my arm. I was making a concious effort to swing it!

I entered the John Logie Baird awards for Innovation, Scotland’s awards scheme for innovative companies. There is a category for social enterprises. I entered WobblyWilliams.com for our use of positive attitude and humour to deal with the condition and raise awareness. I was staggered to find out this week that we are in the final. Amazing.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

There are certain adjectives which I take exception to. “Nice” is a particular favourite. The ultimate insult in my book is to be described as “nice”. Might as well say “bland”, “pleasant” or “quickly forgotten”. A word used when someone can think of nothing else to say. I was often described as “nice” at school. Often by girls. Particularly by girls I wanted to shag. No-one ever called me hot or sexy or cool. Just nice. What an insult. Given that I wasn’t hot, sexy or cool, my stance was perhaps a touch irrational. Given that I was spottier than a Dalmatian with measles perhaps I should of been pleased to be described as “nice”. I wasn’t.

“Mild” was another one. It didn’t annoy me so much, but I imagined weather systems must have been a trifle hacked off at being described as mild. You trek across the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to park yourself over the UK, a nation of people obsessed with weather, and a weather forecaster, fresh out of Meteorological College describes you as “mild”. What does he know?

And beer. Who drinks mild? and why would you? What marketing genius thought that up? The name says it’s beer for people who don’t like beer. The sort of stuff you give your underage child to get them used to the stuff (on that very subject I went straight on to Courage Directors when I had my first pint in The Sportsman in Uxbridge aged 14. “Doesn’t taste bitter to me” I said. “That’s cos you have a depleted sense of taste and smell, it might be an early sign of PD” would have been the harsh but accurate retort if anyone had thought of it).

Anyway, much to my delight I was described as mild on Tuesday. I was in my six-monthly check up (I refuse to use bi-annual as I have just taken a subscription to Runners World which costs £16 bi-annually. Given that it is £4.00 an issue I thought £16 every two years was great value. Only to find out it is every six months). The PD nurse said “you are very mild”. I was outraged! The woman hardly knows me! She can’t possibly imagine how un-mild I can be! Anyway, I was delighted to learn that it was my PD she was insulting not me. For a fleeting moment I thought I had a new weapon, a verbal insult to throw at the elephant that accompanies me. “Call yourself a disease? You are in the weak beer category, pal”. But that would be asking for trouble.

The Southern General, where my neurologist spends the daylight hours, have implemented a system of measuring your progression. You perform various tasks and try and get as low a score as possible. On a scale from 0 to 164 I came in at 16. Which in some ways delights me as I am still fairly “mild” and in other ways terrifies me because if this mild what is the Extra Special Bitter version like? Maybe I won’t antagonise my elephant just at the minute. “Nice elephant”.

I am going to move on to the one a day ropinirole tablets and up my dose over the next few months.

Saturday 23 January 2010

I started Requip XL, the one day tablet, on Tuesday. It appears to work well for me, the slow release of fake dopamine takes away the fluctuations which I was encountering on the three times a day drug. I am, however, paranoid about forgetting to take the dose as if I miss a dose I have to wait a full day for the next one rather than a few hours. So I have got a Pill Mate, a box with seven compartments marked Sunday to Saturday which I can put my tablets in. I love accessories. Having exhausted running accessories I have found a whole new world of accessories to go down in the field of tablet storage. I quite fancy a silver bullet to hang around my neck with my tablets in.

The marathon training is going well. We have run 59 miles in three weeks. It doesn’t get any easier because you increase the mileage every week. It’s like continually moving goalposts. This week we ran 3 miles twice, 6 miles once and our long run today was a 9 mile grind around Bellahouston and Pollok Parks. Pollok Park is one of those unusual places that is continually uphill yet you start and finish at the same place. A bit like that Esher painting of the water flowing uphill. I should really try running in the opposite direction.

After our long run last Saturday, Karen and I went to Achilles Heel, a running shop in Glasgow. There was nothing else to buy. I have all the different lengths of tights, different types of base layer, shorts, coats, hats and gloves and trainers. Then hanging up on the wall I noticed a belt with multiple compartments for storing your heart desires. I salivated. I decided that I needed it, I presented a compelling case to myself, and I bought it. When I put it on a look a bit like a joiner. With my shaky hands, probably a joiner you don’t want to stand too close to.

Today, in the various compartments, I carried a water bottle, my phone, keys and jelly babies. The only problem is the holsters for storing the water bottles are a bit tight and I kept catapulting the bottle down the road as I forced it out. Although I only took one today, there are holsters to carry four bottles, the idea being you can spread the load around your waist and carry different drinks in each bottle. A bit like a mobile bar. There is a whole market for these belts for rugby weekends. It would be marvellously useful.

I hadn’t had jelly babies out with me since the half marathon in Fort William. I had forgotten you have to be careful when you put one in your mouth. I fired one in just as I was running over some rough ground and the jelly baby went sideways down my throat, a breached baby.

My Great Aunt Ailsa died this week. She was 96 and is the last of her generation. She was a lovely woman and brought much happiness into my life when I was younger. In the last few years she had turned her hand to fundraising for Parkinson’s. Thanks GAA.

Monday 25 January 2010

The longer I live in Scotland, and the more exposure I have to the works of Robert Burns, the more I find I can tolerate him. As readers of this blog will appreciate, I am no literary genius. I have never appreciated literature and especially the incredibly tedious books I was made to read at school. I never got my head around the double meaning to Animal Farm, to me it was a book about a bunch of pigs being cruel to a horse called Boxer. And whoever thought it was a good idea to impose anything by Thomas Hardy on suicidal teenagers should be taken to Mexico and murdered with an ice pick.

When I moved to Scotland 10 years ago I went to my first Burns supper and it was fearfully dull. I couldn’t understand a word and thought you sang Auld Lang Syne with your hands crossed from the start. Why this drivel is imposed on Scotland’s schoolchildren is beyond me. The guy is hardly a role model. The politicians berate the Scots for having a lousy diet, difficulty in forming lasting relationships and a drink problem yet inflict the life and times of Robert Burns on the young at school. The interminable evening went on forever. I understood what it meant when a newsreader says “He was taken to hospital suffering from severe Burns”. When I left I decided there was not a Snowball’s chance in hell that I would go to another one.

However, when you live in Glasgow, Burns suppers are a fact of life and this year I had two. The first was on Thursday night, the Glasgow Rangers Burns supper and the second was on Sunday night hosted by my pal Willie.

The Rangers supper was a corporate event, I was entertaining clients with a table in the sumptuous grand ballroom at the Glasgow Hilton. 500 people, tons of booze, the great oratory of the Old Major himself, Donald Findlay QC and the “wit” of Andy Cameron.

Sunday’s Burns supper was a complete contrast. Willie organises the event for his trade unionist friends. He is insulted if you call him a socialist preferring the much less fashionable title of a raving communist. He travelled to Cuba last year for the second time, twenty years after his first visit to see if he could get his hands on a photograph which was taken on his first visit of him and, Napoleon himself, Fidel Castro.

Sunday’s event was for seventy people in Partick Bowling Club. The cast was a selection of amateurs. Now I have nothing against amateur dramatics but I do agree with the sentiment I once heard on the radio that “amateur dramatics is a bit like naturism, those who are most enthusiastic are those who are least worth looking at”. In this case, however, this sentiment did not apply. The cast were were utterly brilliant. I have listened to Tam O’Shanter a few times but this was the first time I have seen it truly performed. It makes much more sense.

Not everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. I asked Ian what he thought at the end of the night and he replied “I’d rather have carpet burns”

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