Related Posts with Thumbnails

Thursday, December 31, 2009

A new decade.

Dearest friends,

I had intended for this blog to be based on the days after my previuosly documented Eurostar catastrophe, but, since my wife has so accurately synopsised it in the "News" section of (check it out please as my lovely lady writes far better than I), I will instead put up the scans of our magazine interview which is due out in January. For those of you with little French in ye olde vocabulary, we will follow it with a translation on the website really soon. So have a peek and Happy New Year to all.

Cover page.

Myself and little Pearl.

Our family picture with a little article and also a mention of our website.

New Years day tomorrow and a nice long run awaits me. I will be blogging a lot on training in the coming weeks and months as the 100km race is inching closer.

See you round the bend.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Where to Start??

Seasons greetings Guys and Doll's,

I sit here in the comfort of my living room watching my daughter stuff her face and watch cartoons at the same time. A calm, relaxing feeling pulses through me. A far cry from the epic week that just passed, let me enunciate.

Last Friday morning I boarded the Eurostar in Paris, London bound and well excited at the prospect of spending time with two great men I am proud to call my friends. It had been a surprise trip as my wife and best friend had been colluding to award me with a few days respite from the weekly grind of appointments and all things Autism related. It worked, and on Friday night I found myself watching "Them Crooked Vultures" live in concert. Great night all round and the days that followed passed quickly with lots of banter between the boys about days gone by, it was also a great opportunity for me to explain to my friends how Pearls diagnosis has changed our lives. So all is well and good and come Monday morning (my day of departure) I am landed a blow, the Eurostar is not running. They had been having some difficulty with trains over that weekend due to the amount of snow that had been falling on both sides, but it was in North-West France where it was really causing problems. One train had stopped inside the tunnel and people were stuck underground for 14 hours. So basically anyone who had tickets for Saturday-Monday had been left stuck in London. Now I am sure you are saying to yourself "Yeah but you get a few more days with you mates." Not quite. Pearl was due to enter hospital the next day for an MRI scan to determine if she will have any problems in the future regarding epilepsy etc. So at 8.00 that morning I hastily packed my bags and left my friends house with a head that was as heavy as an anvil. What was I going to do???

I'll tell you what I did..... I went straight to the station and was thoroughly devastated on arrival. No trains for the day and an announcement would be made that evening as to whether they would actually be running on the Tuesday. I felt lost and hopeless. I thought of my wife and my children who were excited and looking forward to Papa coming home, before I knew it I had started to cry. A lovely Scottish young man by the name of Derek approached me and I will never forget his kindness towards me. He reassured me and he did everything he could to make sure I was OK. But time was ticking and once the emotion turned into motivation I knew I had a choice to make. I could either head out solo and hope to find a truck driver who would take me over on the ferry, which was miles away and the roads were already gridlocked with people who had the same idea, or find a flight or bus. I hit the Internet in a little cafe nearby. ALL FLIGHTS GONE, there was one seat left for £400. I took another train to the bus station, all buses for mainland Europe were sold out. On arrival back at the Eurostar head quarters at about 11.00 it was bedlam. Hundreds of people had showed up and the terminal was swamped with camera crews, reporters, photographers and journalists. This was big news and the English were blaming the French and vice versa. The CEO Richard Brown was being interviewed beside me and said that although the train had been built to deal with such conditions, a "fluffier" type of snow was to blame for the engines going down. That actually cheered me up, good old fluffy snow eh!!

So there we all were, eating our free sandwiches and drinking our free coffee, waiting for the announcement. All I can think about is whether I will make it back to be able to be by Pearls side for her scan. In the following few hours I was on TV with Sky, ITN, Al Jazera English and Catalonian TV. Did interviews with The Daily Mail and The Times newspapers. These all turned out to be welcome distractions and made the clock tick just that little bit faster. In the mean time I had made friends with Richard who was the main PR guy at the station. He told me they had finished testing the tracks and the media would get a press release first, but because he was so sympathetic to my situation he said he would slip me a copy before the official announcement was broadcast. So at about 4.30 he did just that. And my heart just sank. The passengers who had tickets for Saturday and Sunday were getting priority for travel on Tuesday. Trains would start at 7.30 and finish at 18.00 and with 26,000 people to accommodate the math did not favour yours truly, Mondays ticket holders (me) would have to wait until Wednesday. So I decided I would hang around and chance my arm, tired, downtrodden and unsure when I'd ever get back.

At 1 am there were only 20 people remaining, so I made friends with 2 guys from San Diego and we decided to take the power back. We formed a queue with everyone so there would be some semblance of order, therefore when people started arrived at 5 am they would see that we were at the front. Everyone was really cool and rallied around the other. At 5 am the place was full with folks, all snaking back behind our improv queue, our plan had worked. Then an official came up and said we had to start queueing in the proper area, but to pass this guy you had to produce your ticket for Sat/Sun. 5 people went through and then it was my turn. I explained that my daughter was going to hospital and that I personified the "special circumstances" exception. He asked if I had any proof of this, I did not but that's when I remembered I had her handicap card in my wallet and a magazine called 'Enfant' in my bag (they had recently interviewed us regarding Pearls early diagnosis and it included photos, more to follow on the publication on the site and here). I showed him them and he had worked with Autistic kids for 10 years "No worries my friend, we have to luck after the ASD kids". After he said that I just bear hugged him and was on my way. His name was Ron and he was a truly great person. The wait for the train was long and cold but my San Diego mates gave me some Whisky to warm me up and we all chatted and laughed, relieved to be finally in motion. The train took off at 7.47 and I had been up for 24 hours at this point, but the thoughts of embracing my family kept me awake and giddy. At 14.00 on Tuesday 22nd Dec I walked through my front door, 31 hours after I walked into St Pancras station in London. I want to say thanks to all the friends and the Eurostar staff who helped me along the way, my faith in human kindness was bolstered no end.

There is more to write on the 2 days that have passed since I got back but I'll leave that for next time, I don't want to bludgeon y'all with too much. My sincerest best wishes I send to you, from the kind words you write on the site to the e-mails you send us to the text message we receive. The people who have joined us on this journey will be in our hearts forever.

God Bless and Joyeux Noel from the four of us.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Dylan.

Dear Son,

I was so worried when you were inside your mother that you would not make it. When your heart rate dropped dramatically for the second time in as many hours (according to the monitor on your Mum's belly) I remember running to out and screaming at the doctor "get my son out now".

And they did. 5 years later, my eyes well up as I type this, you have made our lives perfect. Pearl, Maman and Papa love you more than our hearts should be allowed to love. You will achieve great things and never let anyone hold you back. EVER. You are your own compass, I am so proud of you Dylan. You are my best friend.

See you later lil man.

Papa xxxxxxx

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Me, grow up... Never

When I was a young boy at school I used to beam with pride if I ever got a new pair of trainers. Does anyone remember those days? You walked in with head held high, feet gleaming, your friends checking out what kind sneakers your mother had spent her hard earned cash on. You would then spend most of the day trying to avoid dirtying them and would even abstain from the playground game of football, just for a day or two, to preserve those cushioned beauties. Of course there was always a few scoundrels who wanted to deface the virginal footwear by stomping on your toes, thus bringing an end to your reign as "the boy with new trainers"

Why am I telling you this? Well, its two fold. As I watch my son grow up and attend school each day I see that, even with all the technology, phones, video games etc that is at their disposal, they are as fundamentally the same at the age of five as I was twenty seven years ago. The arguments over whose father is the strongest and all the rest, I have seen the other dads and its definitely NOT me. I am however regarded as the fastest of the dads, not Usain Bolt fast, but because I run Marathons that qualifies me for that garland. It reminds of of the great line by the late, incomparable Bill Hicks. Kid: "My dad can beat up your dad!!" Hicks: "Oh yeah, when?" Classic.

The second reason for my tale is because I felt just like that on Sunday past. I recently purchased a pair of "New Balance 1063" running shoes. I have really done my research over the past 12 months and the more you get into running the more you realise that whats on your feet is THE most important part of your kit. You can run in a pair of dodgy shorts or a t-shirt. But spending the cash on the shoes will save you knees and legs in the long run(its impossible to avoid the puns, sorry) So here I am on Sunday morning waiting for my wife's uncle, Jean Claude (JC). JC got me into running, he is 55, into rock big time, has done 30+ marathons and a few 100km races and loves a few drinks. My kind of guy. So I am looking out the window of our place and its a reasonable day weather wise but, five minutes before he shows the heavens open and it rains like crazy. JC arrives and takes one look at my feet, stops me in my tracks and checks out the newbies. We chat for the first twenty Min's as we warm up and discuss sports - running, tennis, football (mostly him) and cycling (mostly me). Then we settle into our rhythm and the talking stops, for the next fifty or so minutes is spent pushing each other as much as possible. Of course he picked the route that day and proceeded to take me through the muckiest forest paths I have ever been on. Seriously it was like running a semi-marathon at Glastonbury. I should have been hurting like hell but all I could think about was my beautiful shoes. I don't care what you say, I KNOW he did it on purpose to deface the virginal white of my size 11's (yes I have big feet). We finished and, after clocking a really good tempo parted ways agreeing on the same time next week. Although I usually run alone I have maintained running with my mentor on Sundays as he is still the master. The verdict on the shoes? Sheer brilliance in every, comfort, stability, heel strike to toe off..... I could go on all day.

So regardless of age, we never really grow up do we? A new pair of shoes proved that to me at the weekend and, it felt great! Back soon with a few tales about the lady herself, Pearl. Alicia is in Amsterdam on a conference for 3 days so its just me and the two rascalas. Alice In Chains on Friday night is my reward. WHOO-HAHH.

See you round the bend.

Mally x

Running for Pearl

This blog is dedicated to my daughter Pearl who was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) in August 2009. My goal is to raise funds and awareness by doing what I love....Running.