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No fear of the grizzly

Two years ago this month I blogged about that great big grizzly bear (otherwise known as cancer) that confronted us (Dee and me) as if when walking around to the corner shop for a bottle of milk. Dee had been diagnosed with non-hodgkinson's lymphoma. Then exactly one year ago I told of how, after the most aggressive chemotherapy, she was signed off as untreatable with only 'weeks or months' to live. She duly died 29th November last.

Now it's my turn to meet that grizzly, having a couple of weeks back been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Tumours have invaded my bones. I am having hormone therapy that will hopefully stem the rate of proliferation and the growth of these tumours at least for some time and maybe even for some years but that great big old grizzly does loom large.

So now for me it's taking stock time. That is, taking stock of my past seventy nine years; the things I have done and the things I regret having have left undone. And of the present; living alone if surrounded by good people, good friends and close but distant family (even if with much of life's flavour faded away following the death of  Delia). And of the future; how best to use the time I have left and the sixty four dollar question: then what? Anything?

I'll be addressing all three stock-takes in the following blogs, but let me say just one thing now; I have no fear. Really. Life is an adventure for each of us if it is to mean any damn thing at all, and death is an even bigger - indeed is an ultimate and inevitable adventure. Pain is an irrelevance. If one believes in the promised land one has to say just; bring it on!

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First of the many - Me and Billy McGhee (alias Dee Islip)

First of the many - Me and Billy McGhee (alias Dee Islip)
Photograph courtesy of Colin Robertson

How it all started...

Our packaging business was based in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. On the 11th of September 2001, in a hotel bar, I watched the fall of the twin towers.

Three days later I met my wife, Dee, at Heathrow. We made out way north to a long planned holiday in the north west Highlands of Scotland.

By the end of that holiday our decisions were all made; we would close up our Middle East operations. I would come home to Winchester and in due course we would move up to Wester-Ross.

All my life I had played around with painting pictures and with writing verse and fiction. Now I would do this for our living, and in a place where you only had to lift your eyes to lift your mind.

In September 2002 we moved north; we had come home.

What you see here and at Pictures and Poems is some of the result thus far.

'Come on along o' me, for the best is yet to be.'