I received a somewhat irregular comment on a previous post and I have decided to respond to it.

In Bob’s poetic descriptions he seems to indicate that he progresses through Scotland in a daze of wonder at the beauty, the company and the midges.

Amongst those things that slip his mind are the many injuries that he has received en route. He wears a support on one knee after climbing a part of the “walk”; one ankle is twisted and has a pronounced limp; the soles of both feet are a mass of torn flaps of skin (hidden under padded bandages) and a toe on either foot with all end skin removed.

The pack affects his shoulders. It seems that many years of legal work were not the adequate preparation for the weight that Bob anticipated. The week off has started the healing process on his feet but he clearly requires another week to finish it off.

We had strong words about this but Bob was resolute almost to the point of rudeness. He has a determination to finish what he has started and his swivel eyed attempts at reason eventually defeated my attempt to foist obviously unwanted medical assistance upon him.

This man is clearly suffering for this charity walk. It is not the pleasant saunter that he would have you believe.

My response to this is as follows:

t’is true my friend Harry and I had a strong exchange of views.

I’m disinclined to moan about my sufferings because it seems cheap to do so when my late wife and others with MS experience paralysis, loss of mobility, loss of feeling, bowel and urinary incontinence, paranoia, symptoms akin to dementia, blurred vision or even blindness, loss of speech and even death.

And I want to talk about blisters and sprains?

Having reason to hate disability more than most I’ve not a particle of intent to harm my most prized mobility and will, as I told my friend, seek medical help as needed. But as things stand my feet, knee and ankle are all fit enough for me to continue and so I do, until I need to stop.


Before my enforced, long planned, but providential break down south I was in pretty severe pain with each step but much healing has occurred and taking days off does not, with careful thought, seem right.

MS sufferers get no ‘day off’ and for the vast majority of their (relatives/partners as) carers they don’t either. I ought to know.

So with all due respect to my friend who has rendered truly beautiful* and sacrificial service, travelling many hundreds of miles to help and support me, I don’t think I can have a week off either – not in my condition and not in comparison either.

It is a learning experience: To walk at all, when it might randomly be taken from any one of us at any time, requires ‘walking humbly with our God’^ and in such knowledge it behoves us all to care for our weaker brothers and sisters who cannot do so.

In such circumstances can I urge you to give generously to the MS Society, which aims to give the much needed care and support to sufferers and their suffering families.

* I do not mean this poetically. In the circumstances I’m not able to share with you his gift was truly beautiful and I am deeply grateful. He’s gone to his other duties now but we parted on good terms.

^ See Micah 6, in the Bible.

Postscript: I remain implacable in my hatred of midges and aim to kill as many as I can while I’m up here. The tally stands at a paltry “two” certain kills so far, but I’ll keep up my campaign. Only another few trillion to go….