March 2011



5 March 2011

40 Looming

I had a weekend off the running to overindulge in food & drink on a boys weekend to celebrate Vicky and the girls going on Brownie pack holiday for the first time.

However, Monday was back to porridge, pounding out the miles in preparation for today, 18 miles from Balloch back to Glasgow.  It is a fabulous run along the River Leven to Dumbarton and then up the canal to Glasgow. It is beautiful. There area couple of mad herons on the canal who just stare at you as you run passed.  Thinking those pink folk are truly nuts, and maybe we are.

There are just four more long runs until the Paris and London marathons.  The excitement is building. Chicago was fairly unpleasant and I’m looking forward to putting that day in the dustbin of one-off bad experiences.

This week has not been without its excitement.  We have done the filming at the boxing club involving Alan in the Mr jelly costume battering lumps out of me.  I think I was affected by my pink shirt, pink gloves and pink mouthguard.  It was all a bit bizarre but great fun. The guys from Roger That Productions did a great job, some of the photos can be seen on their facebook page. The film will go to Muhammad Ali in March and hopefully he will give his endorsement to The Greatest Climb up Kilimanjaro.

Alan presented me with a challenge this week, the Great Scottish Swim.  He wants me to attempt the 800m swim in the loch at Strathclyde Park.  I am a crap swimmer.  I have never been a kicker of my legs and they just kind of hang behind me, like  two extremely attractive logs. I will need to get some lessons and a wetsuit me thinks.

So this coming Friday I am 40.  Ouch. I will celebrate in Gosport, in Hampshire, with a few pints and a game of darts.  Simple but extremely effective.  Life is good.


11 March 2011


So here I am.  40.  I have written in my blog on a number of occasions that I was quite looking forward to being 40 because I would rather be in my 40s with Parkinson’s than in my 30s.  I now think this was a rash comment.  Why would anybody want to get older?  I am writing this the night before, during my last hours as a 39-year-old.  Tomorrow I will wake up in the house of one of my great friends, I will spend the day being thoughtful, mature and distinguished, and I will spend the evening throwing darts, drinking pints and laughing at appalling jokes (my boss told me today that one of his friends was addicted to brake fluid, he said it wasn’t a problem because he could stop any time).

The darts will continue for 24 hours until 6 PM on Saturday.  It will be a marvellous occasion.  Vicky, Matt, Alan and Richard are coming down with me and we will have a riot.  The darts shirt is ironed, the wobbly darts flights have been printed and my darts are sharpened.  The darts players of Gosport will never have seen the like.

It has been a busy week, Tuesday was the wedding of a good friend of mine who will remain nameless because only the six guests at the wedding knew it was happening.    When I turned up I believed there were only four guests, the other two guests were a surprise to me, and what a pleasant surprise too.  One was the bride’s make-up artist and the other was the bride’s dresser.  A fantastic pair of characters, they reminded me of the Steve Martin film “The Father of the Bride”.  It was immense.  When we arrived, Vicky noted that the groom’s fly was down.  I waited for an appropriate moment to inform him of this situation.  He said “just want to be ready for later”.  It was a fantastic day.

Last Saturday’s 17 mile run was hard.  We are going to the final few long runs, with 18 on Monday, 20 the following Sunday and 15 the week after that.  We do a lot of motivational gee-ing each other up as we get into the last few miles.  Last year in the run-up to London we kept telling ourselves we’re marathon runners.  One of us would say “what are we?”, to which the others would reply “marathon runners!”.  Karen has given me a pair of cufflinks with these motivational statements on them for my birthday.  “What are we” on one cufflink and “Marathon Runners” on the other cufflink.  They are lovely.  Running in Paris means a lot to me, but that is another blog for another day.

We received one of those “we tried to deliver your parcel but there was nobody in” cards from the post office.  I decided to go and pick it up during my morning run on Thursday.  When I got there, I was drenched and cold, and couldn’t find the little card.  The guy said any form of identification will do and went to get the parcel.  I don’t carry any form of identification with me when I run.  All I carry is my phone.  I racked my brains thinking what could be on my phone which would positively identify me.  Then it dawned on me.  And I thought “if I do this I am going to look like a complete arse”.  Looking (and indeed being) a complete arse holds no fears for me.  So I went into my video archive and showed him the Tonight’s the Night clip where John Barrowman says “but Bryn Williams I think you need to stand back up.”  To be fair to the postman he didn’t say I was a complete arse but I could tell he was thinking it as I walked out with my lovely parcel



29 March 2011

Darts And Other Matters

Apparently being 40 means I don’t blog as much!

24-hour darts marathons are draining.  There is nothing straightforward about walking backwards and forwards for 24 hours whilst glugging beer and eating fried food.

Six of us managed a full 24 hours, John, Matt, Paulie, Gordy, Billy and me.  Others like Eric and Woody managed most of it and many more still played for a few hours.  It was terrific fun.  You learn a lot about a person in a 24-hour spell, they are all great guys.

Alan came down from Scotland and it was good seeing some of my chums from Southampton like Alistair and Julie, Darren and Luke after so many years.  Given that we were in Portsmouth it would have been helpful if Luke’s son kept shouting “Come on The Saints”. You can’t help admiring his bravery.

At the end of the darts marathon I returned to John’s house and slept.  Kindly he had vacated his bed to allow Victoria and I to sleep in comfort.  I was a trifle concerned when he informed me I would be sleeping on a memory foam mattress.  Given the amount of beer and fried food I had consumed during the marathon, and the curry I ate after, I hope the mattress has a particularly short memory.  Spending the night with me in that condition could scar a mattress for life.  I had visions of John taking his mattress for counselling.

Speechwriter, Max Atkinson, contacted me with details of a competition to write a speech for a potentially doomed dictator in Africa to deliver to his subjects with the intention of sending them home with their tails between their legs.  The premise being that the quality of speeches given by President Mubarak and Col Gaddafi are fairly poor and not in the least bit inspiring.  I threw myself into it with gusto, and came second!  One of the judges suggested I take a post in the Gaddafi regime.  I am not sure if this was a compliment or not.  The results can be seen here.

The Paris marathon is just 12 days away.  The wind down has begun and I am a mixed bag of excitement and fear.  Our target is to beat five hours and to have a good laugh. Karen and I are also running London the following week and just to make it a bit more of a challenge, Belfast two weeks after that.

Saturday was a great day, I was speaking at a young person’s conference in Newcastle. It will not surprise you to learn it was a young persons with Parkinson’s conference rather than the young persons in general conference.  I am not managing to shift my “one trick pony” label.

I spoke about the journey I have been on, and where we go from here.  Given that Parkinson’s UK given me the platform to speak, I try to avoid blatantly pushing Funding Neuro but I think a few people got the message and we can build some links in the north-east.

It was great catching up with people I met at the World Parkinson Congress like Ali and Sandra and to finally meet Hugh, who first contacted me nearly 3 years ago when my article appeared in the Guardian.  Much water has passed under the bridge since then.

This Friday is my 40th birthday party.  It will be a departure for me as I never celebrate birthdays.  Believe it or not I do not like being the centre of attention.  But, 40ths should be marked and I am thoroughly looking forward to it.

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