The £20 note test

images#19 reason for doing the London Marathon: 1-18 again

#19 fact about M.S: Multiple sclerosis was first recognised as a condition in the middle of the 19th century. Prior to this time, there are reports of a few instances of what may have been MS, although the variety of symptoms, the range of other possible causes and the incompleteness of records make these impossible to confirm

I have had flu.  Believe me, It was flu, not just a very bad cold.

The way to tell the difference is the £20 note test. If a £20 is on the floor…. with a bad cold you have the energy to pick it up….with flu you do not have the strength or any inclination. My £20 test was the birthday cards and presents that remain unopened. Need to make a full recovery to do justice to them.

So if you ever wonder if it is flu and you don’t have a £20 not to hand to check, here are the symptoms

  • a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • a dry, chesty cough
  • a headache
  • tiredness and weakness
  • chills
  • aching muscles
  • limb or joint pain
  • diarrhoea
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • a sore throat
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty sleeping

Over the past, nearly two weeks I have had all of those symptoms at some point, and am still suffering from some of them still.

And what does this all mean for the purposes of running the London marathon on April 26th? There are many different opinions on this, which I am not going to go into now. However, Not running on that date does not mean that I am not going to run on another date. When my mother was alive we used to make plans to do things all the time. We always knew that they were dependent on how well my mother was on the day. If her MS was bad, it might mean having to make changes to our plans, but it did not mean that we stopped making plans. You may remember that blog post #14 was about the importance of having goals. I still have the goal of running the London Marathon, just may be in a slightly different way.

More importantly and interestingly than information on flu, my fundraising is going BRILLIANTLY. As I became more ill, more money seemed to come pouring in.

I am past the £5000 mark. So, so amazing, check it out here

Update on all the  fundraising events next time..and  I promise I am not going to mention the ‘F’ word again.


Saying it with flowers

This is the best I can do under the circumstances. Not what I hoped I would be writing a little more than two weeks before my first and only marathon. I have flu. I have never felt so ill in all my life.

It was my birthday on Wednesday and I should have been running my last long run of 20 miles and then writing my blog before blowing out the candles and opening the presents. Instead I was lying under the duvet feeling very sorry for myself and no strength to open the cards.

That’s it.

Down but not yet out.

How I wish I felt

How I wish I felt

How I am feeling

How I feel

A cake fuelled 18.4 miles

#18reason for doing the London Marathon: because one day I will not be able to run a marathon

#18 fact about M.S: although MS is thought by some scientists to be an autoimmune disease, others disagree because the specific target of the immune attack in MS has not yet been identified. For this reason, MS is referred to as an immune- mediated disease.

I am totally exhausted and exhilarated, and perhaps suffering a bit from sugar overload.Ran 18.4 miles today battling against 40 mile an hour winds and sore knees.

More importantly, Sunday was bake-off day, organized by my ever-loving husband Rick. The idea was for our friends and family to enter baked goods into a competition and for their entries to be judged by the talented Izy Hossack of ‘Top with Cinnamon’ fame. Entries were of an extrememly high standard, sweet and savoury and all delicious (I know for a fact as I tasted everything!) The winning entry was the ingenious MARATON cake made by Katarina, and the secondd prize was Chocolate Raspberry cheesecake  invented and made by Alex.We also had a raffle. Top prize being the very classy bottle of wine I won at the winetasting a few weeks back. Guess who won…me, again. I did not take it this time and passed it on to a more deserving? discerning? winner, John Burgess, an old UEA friend. The final total is not in for the event, as some people still due to donate on line, but so far the total is around £490. That includes 2 donations after the event from people buying up the left-overs (Sam’s colleagues and the Franklin’s neighbour)

So many people to thank for the success of the event…if I wasn’t so exhausted I would name them all, but I owe a huge thanks to the Hossacks who provided cakes, raffle prizes and the judge!

A few photos here – more to come in a special Picture Blog extra edition next week!!

Can  I go to bed now please?

Before the judging

Before the judging

After the judging

After the judging

First Prize

First Prize

Second prize

Second prize

The judge and her assistant

The judge and her assistant

The winner- Katarina

The winner- Katarina

Carrying on Regardless

#17 reason for doing the London Marathon: It gets me up in the morning

#17 fact about M.S: , Only the nerves in the central nervous system are damaged by multiple sclerosis. Although MS can affect all parts of the body, this is due to the interruption or blocking of nerve messages within the central nervous system. The peripheral nerves themselves are not directly damaged by MS.

The fundraising seems to be taking on a life of its own. As my donation total increases so does my confidence…£3,408.20 and counting.

On Saturday I did a run with some of the MS trust marathon-running team. I was feeling quite nervous and not particularly enthusiastic due to the cold and windy weather, but just before I left I had two very generous donations on my page and they spurred me on to great things! Starting in Canary wharf it took in some of the London marathon route on the Isle of dogs and then crossed under the river to Greenwich Park and Blackheath. I did 15 miles but felt I could have carried on – a good sign I think! There were hills! I never run hills so took those really gently. Strong support from Rick and Sam, getting some practice in for Marathon day. I listened to music for some of the run; was inspired by Jessica’s choice of ‘Recomposed’ by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons; ran and sang to Van Morrison’s ‘Carry on Regardless’ and smiled through Sarah’s choice of Kasabian’s ‘Shoot the Runner’. Any more suggestions??

On Sunday we had our street sale. That was a fun, community event and we made about £80 through sales and donations with a bonus of having time to chat to neighbours and get rid of stuff from the cellar, so a success! While we were basking in the sun in Hammersmith, brave Torontonians were braving the cold and running around Christie Pitts Park to fundraise for MS Trust. They were treated to a delicious brunch afterwards. My sister Frani organized the event with strong support from Don, Aaron, Andrea and Bruce and bagel donors, Linda and Tom. The final count isn’t in but is around $1000 Canadian.

Monday was Rick’s birthday and we celebrated by taking part in the pub quiz at the Queen Adelaide pub in Shepherds Bush,organized by Susie Jolly. It was so much fun and although our team (Onward Quiz Team Soldiers) did not win, we did not come last! Everyone was so kind and generous. I think the total is around £230. Amazing.  So grateful to my lovely friend for organizing that, and the food in the pub was delicious too!

31 days to go..

Lots more fundraising to come..

Street Sale

Street Sale

Aaron and Andrea

Aaron and Andrea

Organising the run in Toronto

Organising the run in Toronto

Susie Jolly- quiz organiser extraordinaire!

Susie Jolly- quiz organiser extraordinaire!

Pub quiz

Pub quiz

It’s going to be a busy weekend.

#16 reason for doing the London Marathon: It keeps me busy

#16 fact about M.S: is a ‘silent disease’ as many people with MS look no different from a healthy person as some symptoms, such as blurred vision, sensory problems, and chronic pain, are not visible

I am getting nervous. There are only 38 days to go and I am feeling a bit like I am walking on a knife-edge, or as my sister Frani says, I am dodging bullets. Different parts of my body shout out to me that running a marathon is not a good idea, but do I listen? No! I need to keep in good shape, not fall over and get to that start line; if I can get there I will make it to the end! I am spurred on by the phenomenal support of my friends and family. There is a lot going on this weekend…

Kate is organizing her gin evening on Friday night. Sadly I am not able to go as I have to be up early on Saturday to take part in an MS Trust team run from Canary wharf to Greenwich park and back (2 laps for me- about 14.9 miles)

On Sunday I am involved with the Petley Road Street Table sale, a great community event and fundraiser. All proceeds from my stall will go to MS Trust. Meanwhile over in Toronto, Frances, my big sister is organizing a 3k breakfast run which sounds most appealing.

On Monday it is Rick’s birthday. We are celebrating by going to The Adelaide Pub in Shepherds Bush for a quiz night organized by Susie.

I think by Tuesday I will be quite tired!


Wine, winning and walking.

#15 reason for doing the London Marathon: Same as #14

#15 fact about M.S: 3 times more women than men have multiple sclerosis

Excuse my brevity… I could say that it is because I am still overwhelmed by the massive support I am getting from my lovely friends.Christina, Katarina,Ed and Pico organised a fantastic wine tasting evening last Friday.

It was a fun evening and raised £450!! Guess who won the raffle? Is it an omen? Or perhaps I need to drink it to ease the pain in my back-which is why I have been walking on my ‘runs’ this week.

So fundraising is going really well. I am now up to £2,793.20 and still more events to come.

How lucky am I to have such tremendous support. Just need to get to that start line ..IMG_0598


Goals,happiness and daffodils

#14 reason for doing the London Marathon: It’s good to have a goal

#14 fact about M.S: Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world

I have been thinking about goals. For me it has always felt important to have some kind of a goal going on, I suppose I think that having goals leads to a more fulfilled life. At times in my life, just getting out of bed every day was as much of a goal as I could manage, and sometimes that was a huge achievement! I was chatting to my godson Nick today. He is studying for his AS exams, one of which is philosophy so he questioned me on what a fulfilled life means? For me it probably means being happy and as any good philosopher would ask, he asked me, “So what is happiness?” Well for today, happiness felt like running on a crisp blue morning beside the river listening to uplifting music, and returning home to see daffodils (actually, dwarf narcissi) opening up in my window box and then having a good cup of coffee and a bowl of porridge. That all felt good. In the past I think a lot of my goals would have been about what my children were doing, so in fact not really goals for me at all, I suppose you might almost say they were hurdles rather than goals. At this stage in my life I can again think of my own personal goals and it could be for that reason I decided to do the marathon. This goal is just for me.

I have a lot of people to thank for helping me reach my fundraising goal. I have now raised more than £2000 on my fundraising page. And there is more to come…

Cousin Linda is on day 4 of her stop smoking fundraising month. She has promised to donate what she would have spent on cigarettes to the fundraising page. What a goal!(and what a gal!) She says “This is a challenge for me but i can do it !!” And, yes she can. She has £40 in the pot – and is wondering whether putting the patches over her mouth will help…how would she eat chocolate?

Looking forward to Christina, Katarina, Pico and Ed’s winetasting (or sniffing for me) on Friday evening.

Rick has galvanized his plans for a birthday bake-off…with Prosecco,..which I again won’t be drinking.