Rats and opera glasses

It was on a sunny Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago that I spotted the little blighter myself.  His huge hairy brown backside swayed gently from side to side as he sauntered brazenly down my garden path in the broad daylight; his tail trailing casually along behind him.  He didn’t even bother to take cover in the shrubbery.  “Great”, I muttered to myself as I sighed in resignation and proceeded to fire up the laptop and google ‘pest control, Canterbury City Council’.  My irritation increased as the web page informed me that the council no longer offered a pest control service, and advised me to search under several accredited bodies for a reputable private service instead.

I should probably explain at this point that rats have been recurrent unwelcome visitors to my garden throughout the ten years that I’ve lived in my little house.  When I say ‘recurrent’, it could be worse – the last time my neighbours and I had to call out pest control was about 2012.  However, about a year before that we had a most unpleasant episode when they burrowed down (the rats that is, not pest control) and got into my neighbour’s cavity walls and up into his loft.  That frantic sound of scrabbling in the walls is not one which is easily forgotten, and my skin still crawls at the memory.  So clearly we don’t want that to happen again.

After spotting The Intruder (it seems appropriate to use capitalisation here), I became ever so slightly obsessed with staring out of the window whilst clutching a hefty baseball bat, ready to rush out and whack it over the head the second it had the audacity to appear.  Okay, so maybe the bit about the baseball bat isn’t strictly true, but the first part certainly is.  I’d already undertaken a meticulous examination of my garden and spotted the exact place where I suspected it was making its unwelcome and illegal entrance.  (Maybe I should build a wall there, and get the other rats to pay for it…)  In the absence of Rat Cam, I had to rely on my own dodgy vision to track the blighter’s movements.

A couple of days later, early in the morning, I spotted a suspicious looking brown shape loitering in the middle of my lawn.  As it was so early, I wasn’t wearing my specs.  I therefore grabbed the closest instrument of magnification I could lay my hands on, which just happened to be a pair of antique opera glasses.  I raised them to my eyes with trembling hands and baited breath and spotted… the blurry shape of a blackbird, pecking about in the lawn.  I exhaled, and then set about trying to sharpen up the image seen through the opera glasses.

I figured that the glasses must have been at the optimum setting for my eyes pre-retinal detachment.  I closed my good eye and looked through them using just my bad eye.  The image was very blurry, but surprisingly I managed to improve it by turning the little dial to the right as far as it would go.  Obviously it was still blurred as I was looking through my waffy RD eye which has silicone oil in it; but it was better than I expected and certainly better than when I just have my specs on.  I then closed my bad eye and tried looking through my good eye without adjusting the settings.  It was horrendous!  In order to get it back into focus, I had to turn the dial almost all the way to the left.  I then closed my good eye and opened my bad eye again, but was back to a blurry mess once more.  I tried to adjust the opera glasses so that I could get a decent overall image whilst looking with both eyes, but it was impossible.

At this point, I had to stop as the experiment was beginning to make me feel a little dizzy and queasy.  However, it gave me a greater understanding of why the optometrist had said that my vision in each eye is so unbalanced that it’s impossible to fully correct it with glasses.  It also made me wonder whether this unbalanced vision, coupled with the fact that I’m still apparently right-eye dominant despite the vision in my right eye being extremely poor, is the reason for my frequent headaches, which are sometimes accompanied by a slight feeling of nausea.

Anyway, I’m hoping that Rat Man (aka pest control) will be able to do his stuff and dispatch The Intruder swiftly, in the same manner that Hamlet disposed of Polonius.  At the cost of two full-price return train tickets to Moorfields, the service certainly isn’t cheap, but I guess that’s to be expected when hiring a hit man…

Looking out on the garden through a pair of opera glasses.

Rat-hunting through the opera glasses

Eye to Eye 2017: celebrating our supporters!

In taking part in Eye to Eye 2017 and sharing the stories of my fellow team members, the RD Ramblers, it occurred to me that there are actually many more stories hiding behind the scenes in the shape of our numerous supporters who have so kindly sponsored us in our fundraising efforts.  I’m thinking of the people who supported my sister and I last year as well as those who have sponsored our team this year.  The whole purpose of our blister-inducing fourteen mile trek across London was to raise money for Moorfields Eye Charity, and of course we couldn’t have done this without people’s help.  So this blog post is a celebration of the kindness and generosity of all our supporters.  🙂

Having observed the full horror of my painful days of posturing misery following various surgeries, certain people who are close to me probably had more inclination to give than others.  I think perhaps my mum, sister, aunt and uncle hoped that by raising as much money as possible, a magical cure might be found, and hence they’ve all been extremely generous in both their monetary and their moral support.  Certain friends have also been very generous, including old university friends, people I’ve met more recently, and a couple of school friends whom I haven’t seen since I was about 17 years old!  (We’ll gloss over how long that actually is – I feel old enough already as a result of the amount of time spent sitting in eye clinics where most patients appear to be well past retirement age.)  Of course, generosity doesn’t necessarily bear any relation to the amount of money donated.  I’ve been particularly touched by donations from people whom I know aren’t particularly flush, and it’s always the case that the amount itself doesn’t mean as much as the gesture of support in making the donation.  However, having said that, we are trying to raise as much as possible!

With this in mind, I was hugely grateful to my South Korean friend for a rather large donation which came completely out of the blue.  In fact, I had to ask her whether she’d added an extra zero by mistake.  This is someone whom I met back in 2001, during the longest ever train journey from Canterbury to London (never mind Chaucer and his travelling tales).  If I mention the fatal words ‘rail replacement bus service’, my UK readers will know exactly what I’m talking about here and groan accordingly.  In the middle of a busload of grumbling passengers, she tapped me on the shoulder to enquire if she was on the bus going to London.  I nodded cautiously, not liking to betray my distrust of the British public transport system to someone who was clearly a visitor to the country.  We fell into conversation and when it transpired that she was studying for an MA at the art college in Canterbury, we spent the rest of the journey in animated discussion of Morandi and whether his paintings surpassed his etchings.  Upon arrival in London, we swapped ‘phone numbers and promises of meeting up and tasting Korean food at some point in the future, and both went on our way.  Perhaps surprisingly, we have kept in touch – albeit sporadically – right up until the past couple of years when she moved from South Korea to China.  When, after months of silence, I received an email notification of her donation to our JustGiving page which including a message telling me that she was shortly moving to another country, it was like a double blessing.

We’ve had donations from other people which have been equally surprising and touching.  The two people whom we met and walked with during Eye to Eye 2016 made a generous donation, as they’d planned to join us this year but unfortunately were unable to.  A few people have donated whom I’ve never actually met and only ‘know’ online.  This category of supporters comprises mainly my eye buddies, who have an obvious reason for supporting our cause, but nevertheless it’s still hugely appreciated.  My Dutch eye buddy had problems with our JustGiving page last year but she refused to give up and her determined efforts paid off (literally!) in the end when she was able to make her donation.  This year, seven of my eye buddies very kindly donated – five from the UK and two from the US!

When Lucy and I signed up again for Eye to Eye, after taking part last year, we thought that we were unlikely to raise as much money.  I’m very aware that everyone has specific charities they prefer to support, as well as the fact that we all get bombarded by requests to support various charities and sadly we can’t all give to every worthy cause.  We felt that we couldn’t keep asking for sponsorship.  However, many people encouraged us to go ahead with it, pointing out that people aren’t compelled to give, but those who are aware of the importance of Moorfields’ work and the fact that it has such a personal significance for me would probably be happy to support us again.  We’re very lucky that many people have done just that, and I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to all of you ‘double supporters’ out there.  And thank you so much to everyone else who’s donated as well!  I think Lucy just about summed it up when she said in her Eye to Eye 2017 story, I could never do a job in fundraising as I feel guilty asking people to sponsor us to go for a walk as I feel I should be offering something back.  Whenever we have a new donation on our JustGiving page it does wonders for my mental health (and I think Emma’s too) as we get that feeling of “wow, people are supporting us and they don’t expect anything back, they’re doing it because they care”. So thank you!”  🙂

 

Eye to Eye 2017: walking in the rain

Team RD Ramblers at the finish line, King's College.

Made it to the finish line, at King’s College!

Things weren’t exactly going according to plan.  It should have been the final stint of training for our 14-mile walk, followed by a rest period just beforehand.  Instead, just over two weeks before the big day, a white van belonging to a well known delivery company crunched down the  entire side of my newly serviced and MOTed little Yaris.  By the following morning, the slight snuffle and sore throat which had been annoying me for the past couple of days had developed into full-blown (wo)man ‘flu and upon attempting to speak, I discovered that I couldn’t.  I spent the next few days downing honey and lemon, munching ibuprofen, and wondering how the hell I was going to walk 14 miles through the streets of London as it was such a struggle just making it from the bed to the kettle.

On the Monday of Eye to Eye week, my aunt (team member Susan) went down with a nasty bug and took to her bed – an extremely rare occurrence.  On the Wednesday, Lucy broke the news that her big toe nail, which had only just grown back after turning black and falling off after Eye to Eye 2016, had started to crumble away when she’d somewhat foolishly attempted to trim it, leaving her with an extremely sore toe.  On the Thursday, team member Nickie emailed me to say that she’d been ill all week but was hoping to be fit for action on Sunday.  On the Friday, I received the news that my 99 year old great aunt was in hospital after breaking her hip and fracturing her pelvis in a fall.  (Upon visiting her, we found her in good spirits and doing well, fortunately.)  On the Saturday, my mobile crashed and died, taking with it my fellow team members’ contact numbers.  After five RD surgeries, I’m well aware of the fact that bad luck doesn’t always come in threes, but this was taking the biscuit.  I’ve also just realised that this blog post is starting to sound like a Craig David song, and i wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Anyway… after all that, you’d hope that the big day itself would at least have dawned bright and sunny, wouldn’t you?  But no.  The sky was painted with colours from Hammershoi’s palette, which didn’t bode well for our hopes of remaining dry.  Lucy and I peered at each other through bleary, sleep-deprived eyes as we donned our Moorfields Eye Charity t-shirts and packed our rucksacks.  I’d been wide awake since 3:20am and felt as if I’d already walked at least seven miles.  We were two team members down, as unfortunately my aunt Susan wasn’t well enough to make it, and therefore Bryn the Welsh Sheepdog had to forgo his London adventure in the big sniffy.  However, we followed that very British advice, tediously repeated on tea towels and cheap mugs in gift shops up and down the country, as we set off to Brookwood station.  There we met team member Alex, who was full of beans and raring to go.  Upon arrival at Waterloo, we had a short wait for team members Nickie and Cindy the Labradoodle, who had missed their first train, but when they joined us I realised that all would be well as Cindy clearly had enough energy for all four of us.  I also reckoned that I could probably hitch a lift on her back, if I really started to flag.

We made it to Moorfields, where we were issued with maps, tracking numbers, and instructions.   There were a few moments of panic as Lucy and I briefly lost our other team members due to the fact that we’d had to split up as dogs (other than guide dogs) aren’t permitted in the hospital, but then we found them… and we were off!  The orange arrows, placed on lamp posts and railings along the route, seemed easier to spot than the previous year, which was fortunate for those of us who are somewhat geographically challenged.  Ironically, considering the subject of our fundraising, the maps had been printed in an A5 booklet rather than the A4 of the previous year and just appeared as a big blurry mess to me, although I was able to read the larger text setting out the directions.

We plodded through the streets and then down along Regent’s Canal, at which point it started to drizzle.  We continued past London Zoo and by the time we reached Lord’s Cricket Ground, the drizzle had become more persistent and we were feeling rather soggy.  We made it to Abbey Road, where we gawped at the hoards of tourists holding up the traffic as they posed on the pedestrian crossing and then happily found our own free crossing just around the corner where it was much easier to take a picture.  We squelched on, resisting the temptation to hijack a narrow boat as we passed through Little Venice.

Upon making it to the half-way checkpoint (hurrah!) with its array of goodies, Lucy proceeded to choose a selection of jelly sweets before realising that the rest of us were munching on bananas and she possibly wasn’t setting the best example as the nutritionist of the group.  However, she did share out the jelly sweets, and they definitely infused us with a sudden burst of much-needed energy.  Next was the welcome greenery of Hyde Park, which Cindy made the most of as she partook of the facilities.

We plodded on past the Science and Natural History Museums and the Victoria and Albert Museum, keeping a look-out for a dry, dog-friendly place to eat our sarnies.  After a while, we spotted the perfect solution: an empty bus shelter.  We piled in for a rest and re-fuel, briefly considering whether it would be cheating if we actually caught the bus, before trekking on once more… past Harrods and into Hyde Park again.  Next, it was Constitution Hill and Buckingham Palace.  Cindy wanted to nip through the back gate and see if the corgis could join us for the last leg, but it didn’t look as if they were home.  By this point, it had miraculously stopped drizzling – hurrah!  It was probably just as well, as we were beginning to struggle.  We headed through Trafalgar Square and along what felt like endless grey streets, until finally the London Eye came into view – wehey!  We quickened our pace along the riverside and then slowed and groaned when we spotted the huge mountain of steps we were required to scale to reach the bridge.  Despite our screaming muscles, we made it to the top and then back down the other side, past the London Eye, under Waterloo Bridge, and on to King’s College where we were greeted with cheers at the finish line, followed by tea and cake.

We were all utterly exhausted, but thoroughly chuffed that we’d made it and had managed to raise so much money for Moorfields Eye Charity.  We had a lot of fun along the way, despite the rain, and it was good to chat to new people and hear about why they were taking part.  We’re all incredibly grateful to everyone who’s been kind enough to sponsor us, and would like to say a huge THANK YOU!  Amazingly, we’ve made it past our ultimate target of £100 per mile, having raised over £1,400 to date.  Stand by for our final total!  And for anyone who didn’t donate… it’s not too late!  You can still do so, at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rd-ramblers.  😀

Cindy, with her Eye to Eye medal!

Cindy, with her Eye to Eye medal!

Eye to Eye 2017: Bryn’s story

Bryn, the Welsh Sheepdog

Bryn, the Welsh Sheepdog

On 12 March 2017, my sister and I will once again be walking 14 miles from Moorfields Eye Hospital to the London Eye (via the scenic route) to raise money for sight-saving research.  This year, we’re taking part as a team, along with other people who have been affected by retinal detachment.  Cindy the labradoodle will also be joining us, and now we have a surprise last-minute addition to the team in the shape of my cousin’s dog, Bryn.  I thought it would be interesting to share the stories of my fellow team-members, and obviously I’m not about to discriminate against furry folk with more than two legs, so this week it’s Bryn’s turn. Although Bryn is a Welsh sheepdog, born and bred in North Wales, he was whisked off to Gloucestershire by my cousin as a small puppy and doesn’t actually bark in Welsh at all.  This is rather fortunate, as the Welsh branch of my family doesn’t own a dog and so it’s likely that I would have experienced problems in getting an accurate translation from Welsh Woof to English Woof and then into plain English.  But I digress.  Here’s Bryn to have his bark…

I was so thrilled when Susan finally said I could go with her on this massive walk around London that I legged it straight out into the garden for an excited wee and almost forgot to cock my leg!  Then I ran round and round in circles, woofing in delight at the top of my bark.  At laaaaaaaast!  She’d been going on and on and on about this huge walk for weeks – bought a rucksack and new shoes and everything!  All the time I kept barking to her, “Errr, hello!  Walks!  And what about me?”, but she seemed completely oblivious!  I mean, everyone knows that she’s a bit deaf, but that was just taking the biscuit!  (Mmmm, biscuits..!)  Anyway, FINALLY she remembered me and now I’m on the team!  Weheeeeeeeeeey!  It’s going to be such an adventure!  It’s not just any old walk on the Cotswold Common either… it’s London!  Bright lights, big sniffy!  😀

I’ve never been to London before, but it sounds as if it’ll be right up my smelly old alley.  Loads of lamp posts to wee against, parks to pooh in, and I can’t wait to cock my leg up the side of that big wheel!  Apparently that’s where the finishing line is, and we’ll get fed cake there.  I like cake.  In fact, I like anything edible.  Apart from that pack of butter I nicked off the kitchen side the other day – that didn’t go down so well.  I was soooooooo hungry though!  Quite frankly, I don’t think I get fed enough – I could easily eat waaaaaaaaaay more than I’m given.  Honestly, you’d think the war was still on by the miserable rations of Pedigree Chum I get.  But London’s going to have looooooads of food!  Just the thought of it is making me slobber all over my whiskers!  There’ll be lots of people in London, and people always drop food – they’re so careless!  They’re wasteful too; they never bother to pick it up and eat it once they’ve dropped it on the pavement.  It’s okay though – I can take care of that.  ‘Waste not, want not’ – that’s my motto!  I’ve heard all about this place in London called Trafalgar Square which is ram-packed full of pigeons to chase.  I can’t wait for that bit – it sounds so exciting!  The meaty looking pigeons had better fear for their feathers when I bound into town!

Of course, brother Wallis won’t be coming on the walk with us, because it’d be way too much for him.  He’s getting old now and he’s only got one eye, poor blighter.  He had to have the other one removed because of glaucoma.  So now he sometimes bumps into things, he’s crap at catching sticks, and he’s nowhere near as fast as me.  We’re doing the walk to help humans with eye problems, not dogs.  It seems a bit mean, cos dogs have eye problems too, but I’m not about to miss the opportunity of going on such an exciting adventure!  Weheeeeeeey, just think of all the people in London who’ll make a fuss of me… and all the FOOD!!!

If you’d like to sponsor Bryn and the rest of our team, you can do so at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rd-ramblers.  Alternatively, you can donate by texting: “ISEE66 £5” to 70070 (or whichever amount you prefer, of course).  All donations, no matter how small, are hugely appreciated.  Although Bryn has also requested donations of FOOD, this is unnecessary as he will be provided with adequate rations on the day.  Whether this will be sufficient for his requirements is another matter entirely, but I’m sure he can supplement them with lashings of podgy pigeon as we pass through Trafalgar Square.

Bryn and his 'brother', Wallis, enjoying some sea air

Bryn and his ‘brother’, Wallis, enjoying some sea air

Paintings for sale!

“What can I do to help my eyes?”, has been a recurring and increasingly desperate question put to various surgeons during my hospital appointments over the past couple of years.  To my dismay, I’ve always been told that there’s nothing that I can actually do, although there are certain things which are certainly best avoided (have a read of “Don’t get a head trauma”, if you’re wondering what).  However, one positive thing I am able to do is to fundraise for Moorfields Eye Charity, and this is the main reason I’ll be taking part in Eye to Eye again, in March 2017.  Although this isn’t helping my eyes directly, there’s a possibility that the results of research undertaken by Moorfields may benefit me in the future.  And if it doesn’t, at least I know that it will be helping other people suffering with sight-threatening conditions.  With this in mind, it seems like a good idea to have  a bash at selling some of my paintings and donating the proceeds to Moorfields Eye Charity.

Although I’ve sold a reasonable number of paintings in the past, I haven’t ventured down this route for many years.  Two of the little galleries which took my work have now unfortunately closed down, and the third has expanded into an enterprise which no longer has space for the likes of me, exhibiting work for sale at jaw-dropping prices by well established, proper artists who are actually able to make a living out of putting oil on canvas.  Selling work through galleries probably wouldn’t be the best method of raising money for charity anyway, as usually they insist that paintings are framed first (which can be pretty expensive), and they commonly take between 20% and 30% commission.  Having said that, nothing quite beats the confidence-boost of being contacted by a gallery with the news that a complete stranger has parted with their hard-earned cash in return for one of my paintings.

But I digress.  The point is that I now have quite a collection of paintings propped up against the walls of my spare room, which I’d be happy to part with in order to raise money for a cause which is very important to me.  I’m not going to start putting price tags on them as I was always hugely embarrassed at that aspect of selling my work and asked the galleries to price them for me.  A painting is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it at the end of the day.  They’re all oil on canvas, and  if you hover over each image, you should be able to read the titles and dimensions.  If you’re interested in any of them, please drop me a message or an email, or just comment on this blog post.  Feel free to share, if you think others may be interested.  There are no prizes for correctly guessing which were painted before my retinal detachments and which were painted afterwards… 😉

Note: An explanation of ‘Eye Chart’ can be found in the blog post, Oil on canvas.

 

 

Blind baking

During a conversation with my sister one day, when we were mulling over how to persuade a few more people to part with their hard-earned cash and donate to our fundraising efforts for Moorfields Eye Charity (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rd-ramblers), I suggested the idea of making a cup of tea whilst blindfolded and taking a photo of the results to put on Facebook.  I wanted to somehow get people to think about the fact that even the simplest and most mundane of everyday tasks could potentially be extremely difficult for someone who is blind or visually impaired.  I thought it would be great to make it a challenge and get other people to join in and post photos of their efforts in return.  My suggestion was met with a gasp of horror from Lucy, and the disapproving exclamation of, “Errr – health and safety!  You could end up pouring boiling water over your hand!”.  I was slightly crestfallen but had to admit that she did have a point.  Anyway, she must have felt a bit bad about pouring cold water over my idea as a few weeks later she came up with a far better one herself: blind baking.  Obviously, I’m not talking about pastry cases here.  Along with assistance from her talented filmmaker and kitchen guide, Ginny, she proceeded to prepare a cake whilst keeping her eyes tightly closed (she promised she didn’t peek!) and making a fair amount of mess in the process.  The film of their efforts can be watched here, and you can read Lucy’s comments on her experiment below.

I can’t really compare this experience of baking a cake with my eyes closed to that of being blind, but it was an interesting experience!

I had put all the ingredients ready first, so could remember roughly where I had put them, but I had to feel for the different shapes and sizes of packaging.  The main difficulty here was that I was conscious of avoiding knocking anything over whilst feeling for the right packet.

I chose a yohurt pot recipe because all the ingredients are measured in the yoghurt pot or cup, so it’s really easy (with your eyes open!).  I normally hold the cup over the bowl, but found that with my eyes closed I needed two hands to do the actual measuring – one to hold the packet of whatever I was tipping into the cup and another to feel for when I’d reached the top of the cup.

Having managed to get the ingredients in the bowl and mix it to something I hoped resembled cake mix, I realised a mistake: I hadn’t got the cake tin out ready.  I had decided that a cake tin was more practical than cupcakes, but had forgotten to put it ready.  As we ran out of video space by the end, we finished there and I opened my eyes to get the cake tin, grease it and fill with the cake mixture.  However, had I carried on with my eyes shut, I would have had trouble finding the right sized tin in my very full cake tin cupboard.  I think to cope with practicalities of being blind or partially sighted, you must have to really minimise your whole home in order to be able to find things by touch.

So, I managed to prepare a cake with my eyes closed, relying a lot on guidance from Ginny, who was filming, and familiarity of my kitchen.  It was a very thought-provoking experience and the main thing which stayed with me was that the process of preparing the cake was do-able, but the thing I would really miss would be seeing the end product.  Our running commentary gives an idea of what it was like, and I don’t think I made that much mess really, did I?!?!

Huge thanks go to Lucy and Ginny for doing this, and for allowing me to share the video.  If you’d like to give it a go yourself (note: it’s not compulsory to keep your eyes shut whilst doing so), the recipe is as follows:

Using the same size cup or pot of yoghurt, add the following and mix together:
1 cup yoghurt
1 cup oil
1 cup egg (1 egg = 1/2 of a standard cup measure)
1 cup caster sugar
3 cups self-raising flour
Add flavouring of  your choice, for example:
1 cup dried fruit
1 tsp mixed spice
Mix together and pour into greased loaf tin.  Bake at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. (Note: the video shows the recipe being made with a standard 1/3 cup measure.  A larger cup mix will take longer to bake.)

Lucy's 'does exactly what it says on the tin' picture of her yoghurt pot loaf cake

Lucy’s ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’ picture of her yoghurt pot loaf cake

 

Eye to Eye 2017: Susan’s story

Susan, showing off her pink wellies

Susan, showing off her pink wellies

On 12 March 2017, my sister and I will once again be walking 14 miles from Moorfields Eye Hospital to the London Eye (via the scenic route) to raise money for sight-saving research.  This year, we’re taking part as a team, along with other people who have been affected by retinal detachment.  I thought it would be interesting to share the stories of my fellow team-members, so this week it’s my aunt’s turn.  After featuring in a few of my blog posts, she gets to have her own say…

I think it’s worth mentioning at this point that my aunt has been a huge support to me throughout my ongoing RD journey, not only with coming to the rescue in helping me through the most difficult ENTIRE MONTH’S worth of posturing back in July 2014 (https://rdramblings.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/pondering-posturing/), but also in the constancy of her caring and understanding.  She never fails to text me before an eye appointment to say she hopes all will be well, and rings me up afterwards to ask how it went.  She shows a real interest in the medical complexities of my case and both she and my uncle have helped me a great deal with their emotional support.  So… if you’d like to sponsor Susan and the rest of our team, you can do so at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rd-ramblers.  Alternatively, you can donate by texting: “ISEE66 £5” to 70070 (or whichever amount you prefer, of course).  All donations, no matter how small, are very much appreciated!  🙂