Back from wine gathering in Italy and France, I spent last Thursday on the glorious coast of North Cornwall. At this point I remember that I had intended to do a regular “Coast” spot in the blog and as yet have not delivered that promise, sorry about that. The weather has been a bit mixed since the heat of Italy, but Thursday was glorious.
Shortly after I got home the phone rang, it was my old friend G. We go back quite a few years to when we were both running railways, we also share the common interests of motorcycles, shooting and Welsh rugby. G’s sing-song Swansea accent always gives me a lift as it usually means we are about to get up to some new adventure! For the first five minutes of our conversation it was typical G, asking how I was, what I’d been up to easing into retirement, how were the bikes and of course enquiring after Mrs Dookes. Then, almost as an aside, he slipped into the conversation four words.
“I’ve got cancer mate.”
The world stood still.
I could almost hear my own blood hissing around my head as I took in what he had said and then all I could say was “Where?”
Dumb, stupid and clumsy, that’s me in certain situations.
“Every f****ng where, it’s a form of leukaemia.”
G went on to tell me about his diagnosis and the tests he had recently been through, including an excruciating bone marrow sample taken from his hip bone under local anaesthetic. He had been informed that his condition was quite rare and the type was viewed as highly aggressive. His treatment starts next Tuesday with a blood transfusion and then he is straight into chemotherapy.
Outlook? Well, I don’t really know. G is always an optimistic sod, to him it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty as there’s a bar in the room anyway! That’s one of the reasons I love that little bugger!
All I know is that he’s my friend and I’m here for him and his family; I told him that and at that point we had to sort of stop, because we were both near to tears.
The next day, Friday morning, I wheeled Harls out of the workshop and hit the road, I needed to get my head around the previous evening’s conversation and find some space to take it in. I found myself drawn to the beautiful setting of the ruins of Restormel Castle, a good place to think.
The castle was originally built nearly 1000 years ago, most of what remains dates from around 1300 and is pretty impressive, with truly lovely views that are very easy on the eye.
After the tranquility of Restormel we hit the road again and reeled off another 60 miles. I’m glad I took Harls my beloved Softail, the staccato growl from her shotgun pipes and the way that I was able to aggressively, yet safely, ride her were just the tonic I needed. The ride was for G as well as me!
So please can you do me a favour?
Think of my mate and all the others like him. If prayer is something you do, then by all means say one for all those that have to deal with such situations, if not just positive thought will do. . .
And me? I’m here ready to do anything I can, he’s my mate you know.
Catch you soon and thanks for listening.