We're having a lovely time up here in the Highlands after a rather inauspicious start. Inauspicious as the kids were being monstrous and I couldn't imagine enjoying spending large quantities of time with them (I love them.... but you know!!!). But things seemed to have settled. Or rather Ed has settled down which has helped us all to settle. And he has quite a lot to cope with - giving him his regular treatment for his haemophilia has, for the past couple of weeks, been awful. I haven't been able to find a vein and the resultant poking and re-positioning of the needle has meant that Ed got very stressed. Not to mention his mother. Tonight he has the most enormous bruise wrapped around his shin and calf and his knuckles on one hand are black with a new bruise and his hand swollen and puffy. We're trying again tomorrow -it should have been tonight but he was vehement in his determination not to have the treatment. So we compromised, trying to give him some sense of control over his condition. But if I can't do it tomorrow morning we'll have to make the 4 hour round trip to Inverness where the nearest hospital is, so wish me luck.
But back to Scotland. We have been for a picnic bike ride and been on several long walks and I have achieved something which I have always wanted to do since long before I was ill. A couple of days ago, while my mum (who was up here for a few days) looked after the children for us, Roger and I climbed a mountain near the house called Stac Pollaidh. It's not the highest mountain in the world (607 metres) but it signified to me a return to good health and reasonable fitness which nothing else quite could have done for me in the same way. It was hard going and the last part was a real scramble but reaching the top was such a kick.
We had coffee from our flask up there on the top of the mountain surrounded by nature at its most fabulous and powerful - and I felt literally and figuratively on top of the world. I've taken pictures and when I'm home I'll post them on the blog because I want to show you what I did. In our family I've always been known as the bookworm who'd rather stay behind and read than stir myself in any strenuous way. But if my illness has changed me in any fundemental way I think it is that I value my body, its health and fitness and what it can do, much more highly than I ever did before. I still want to lose weight but I'm less focussed on that now. I'm enjoying being active and eating well - not a bad way to live I reckon.
Talking of books - I've just finished Audrey Niffenegger's book, 'Her Fearful Symmetry' which I really enjoyed. I didn't think I'd found it scary until I had a night of terrifying dreams at least ostensibly connected with it. Now I'm reading Penelope Lively's latest novel, 'Family Albumn'. I love Lively's writing - I read her children's books avidly when I was a kid: 'The Ghost of Thomas Kempe', 'The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy' - and her books for adults are beautiful with her intricate and unsettling characters.
And I have a real, proper deadline by which I have to send my piece to the magazine I mentioned before. It's going to go in the Christmas edition of this upmarket and glossy magazine. And I'm going to be paid! Proper money! And a reasonable amount too. I'm totally excited and totally terrified and have major writer's block. The deadline is August 25th - so I'd better get moving. Suddenly it seems an impossible task. But I do really hope it might be the start of something for me so I want it to be the absolute best it can be. No pressure then. And writing it while trying to have a family holiday is certainly not easy as I'm discovering.
We're here until next Saturday and then home for a few days to prepare the camping gear, before we head off to Wales for The Green Man Festival. I'm kind of looking forward to it and dreading it in equal measures. It's that obstreperous 2 year-old again putting a spanner in the works. But when she talks about Incy Wincy 'pider climbing up the pout - all is forgiven. Oh the folly of parenthood.
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