Friday, 04 February 2011
Had a discussion with a guy who the wobbly team had helped to raise money for an operation his son required. Long story short, he returned the favour by helping me recruit a legend for our wobbly golf day. Billy McNeill. The captain of the Lisbon Lions, the Celtic team which became the first British team to lift the European Cup. In the Scottish hierarchy of sporting legends he must be in the top three. Can’t think who the other two might be. Jocky Wilson perhaps.
Shook like a leaf whilst I plucked up the courage to phone Billy McNeil.
Went to the pub when I should of stayed home. Bored everyone with my stories and fell asleep standing up.
Hungover. Curry. Bed at 8.30.
Drove to inverarnan and ran 12.4 miles of the West Highland Way. Hard work. First thing I do as Prime Minister is install a network of bridges and tunnels to flatten it out. Make it a proper walk. Might add a moving escalator.
Saturday afternoon was our annual trip to the athletics at the Kelvin Hall. Again we had seats next to the pole vault pit. That is a seriously nutty thing to do.
Chick Murray joke: a man approaches security at the entrance to the olympic village carrying a long thin tubular case. The security guard, eyeing up the case, says:
“are you a pole vaulter?”
To which the man replied:
“no I’m german. And how did you know my name was Walter?”
Went to work and “enjoyed” Rebecca’s 7th birthday party. Had a session with Ian in the evening, asking plenty of difficult questions of me.
Spent the day in Bristol with Prof Gill. He is going to make an impact on neuro conditions. It was terribly exciting, things are really going to start moving with regard to treatments for brain tumours and Parkinson’s. Cross everything.
I spent Tuesday at Parkinsons UK and I was mightily impressed. I have written many times that I believe they pay lip service to curing this disease. After a day with them I sensed genuine belief that they can make a valuable contribution to the battle to cure the disease.
I visited Vauxhall Bridge Road with Ian looking for commitment and desire. We found both. We spent time with Steve Ford, Kieran Breen (Director of Research) and Paul Jackson Clark (D.of Fundraising). I found them all engaging, smart and cure focused. Kieran was very focused on the cure strategy he developed last year. If you haven’t read it, then I think it’s worth a read.
I left filled with confidence for the future.
Wednesday 9 Feb
When I got back from my two days in London and Bristol I checked on the statistics for the WobblyWilliams.com website. Tuesday, the day after I was in Bristol, there was a spike. Traffic increased on the site by 100%. I dug a little deeper and found all of this increase came from people following a link which had been placed on another website, http://www.gallifreybase.com
I knew that Gallifrey Base had a Doctor Who connection and I guessed that I had been rumbled that my trip to Bristol to see Steven Gill also involved a meeting with John Barrowman, the star of Torchwood and presenter of the Tonight’s the Night television programme on which we featured last summer.
I tracked the link back to a posting on a forum which revealed a great bit of detective work. The forum poster had noted two tweets by the engineering firm Renishaw, which is developing the robot and imaging technology which Steven Gill will use to implant his drug delivery system which will, in turn, deliver the drugs that will relieve the suffering of many sufferers of neurological disorders in the years ahead.
The first tweet mentioned John Barrowman’s visit to Renishaw that day. The second tweet referred to me, or more specifically my twitter name “wobblywilliams” in the context of my visit to Renishaw. The poster remembered the Wobbly Williams episode of Tonight’s the Night and visited WobblyWilliams.com. Sure enough in my Olympic blog there was reference to my impending visit to see Steven Gill.
The forum poster questioned what was going on. Some of what is going on was revealed later in a story on the Renishaw website which can be seen here http://www.renishaw.com/en/tv-star-visits-leading-engineering-business–14565
I had only briefly met John on the day of the television show, whereas my family and friends has spent the whole day with them and they all have the same opinion, he is a great bloke. Having spent an afternoon with him, I am in the same boat. He is an extremely down-to-earth and genuine guy with the desire to use his star quality for the benefit of others.
Saturday 19 February 2011
My Parkinson’s is definitely on the move. I feel like I am in a trench peering out across no man’s land knowing that my Parkinson’s is up to something. It feels different, as if the realisation that I have been engaged in a phoney war for the past three years and now it is time for the real thing. I have reinforced my defences, as best I can, by going to the maximum dose of ropinirole. I have the comfort of knowing that my heavy artillery, levodopa, is behind me ready to come to the front if required. But for the time being I am on my own.
But Parkinson’s is up to something. It’s been building for a few weeks and today is a test of my resolve. Running has become difficult over the last few weeks, as we increase the mileage for Paris. I was so shaky on Thursday I thought I had missed the dose for that day. I didn’t do my scheduled 3 mile run, which is okay, but today it is 16 miles. If I get through today, I will get through Paris and London. If I fail today then I have to fight harder or fight differently.
I know there are people who read this blog who think I have been living in cloud cuckoo land, divorced from reality, who will probably read these opening paragraphs with a certain amount of “I told you so”. But nothing will change. When the disease catches up with me, I will still do what I do. My brother came out with a great line this week: “the pessimist may be proved right in the end, but the optimist had great fun finding out”. How very true.
We are trying to bring together a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro in January. We hope to get Muhammad Ali’s endorsement of The Greatest Climb. To that end, we are filming a promotional film this week, with the assistance of Roger That Productions, to be placed in his hand during March. We are going to do some filming at a boxing club, and I will have to get into a boxing ring. A more terrifying place I cannot imagine. Okay, I will be in there with Mr Jelly. But, it is still a boxing ring, a place where I do not belong. I can smell the excitement. Or is that fear. I am on the lookout for a pink silk boxing robe. If anybody has one lying around, please get in touch.
Vicky and I went to the cinema this week. Amazing. Two hours without mobile phone or laptop to look at. And I was awake. This combination has not happened for a while. We went to see The King’s Speech. It is a great movie, and one which I particularly enjoyed as I listened to speech in question during my preparation for the World Parkinson Congress opening ceremony. At the time I thought the speech was fabulous and very brave because of the long pauses he used. Nothing is harder in public speaking than leaving long pauses (I left one long enough to insert Tam O’Shanter into in my Congress speech, not for dramatic effect but because I had forgotten my lines). Having seen the film I now understand why there was long pauses. It is a cracking movie, and a week on I’m still thinking about it. The only other film which stayed with me as long as this one was Of Mice And Men. We are thinking of buying one of those cinema cards which gives you unlimited access to the local cinema. We would have to go twice a month (which is 23 more times than we usually go in a year) but it would get us out of the house and spending more time together which can only be a good thing. Or so the salesman at Cineworld was telling me.
I am presently planning my 40th birthday party and having a marvellous time doing so. It is being held in a bar in Glasgow called Sloan’s and will include all my favourite things. Darts and beer. What more could a young man ask for? Rather than provide food for the revellers, I am spending the money on entertainment. I work on the principle that nobody ever remembers what the food was like at a wedding or party. So I am not providing any. So you had better have had yer tea if you’re coming.
22 February 2011
The 16 mile run on Saturday was tough. But we did it. Karen and I ran from the house along the railway path (which I assured her was always dry, but today was flooded. Wet feet within half a mile, great start!) and around The Pendicle to Westerton where we joined the canal.
This was a new route, we discovered earlier in the week that running the same routes the whole time makes them feel longer as you know all the milestones. We are trying to vary them.
My foot from dystonia plagued me periodically. It was sore most of the time. I adopt a kind of sidestep technique when I run, to compensate.
Ever since we started running together Karen has wanted to run over the Erskine bridge. What a good shout that was. It is truly dramatic. The views are magnificent. We crossed the bridge, turned and ran back into the teeth of a gale! A snowy headwind is no fun.
The run home was cold and unpleasant. My legs felt detached from me. My nagging doubts of earlier in the day being fuelled. But I plodded on.
Including loo stops we finished with an average speed of 11 minute miles exactly. 4 hr 45 pace for a marathon. Delighted and sore.
I did pay for it however. Big soreness around the hips on Sunday. Went out for a 6 mile recovery run. A 6 mile recovery run. I remember the first time I ran 6 miles. I was nearly sick. Now I do it as a recovery run. Where did it all go wrong?