My skinny blister


Early this week Kath was transferred out of ICU onto a ward and now … finally … home. Nothing reminds me how important my sister is to me than when she is ill. Thankfully she is doing better and I am beyond grateful for that. Thankful and relieved. 

Kath is a light … someone who makes life more … life like. Funny and kind, energetic and outgoing, sometimes bossy, irritable, and impatient, but with a zest for life that makes it an absolute joy to share time with her. I love her, both as my sister and as my best friend. 

Things started out innocuously enough … feeling unwell and spending days in bed deteriorating but insistent that all she needed was more water and more sleep. It’s scary how quickly things can escalate from what appeared at first to be gastric flu to ending up with failing kidneys and a scarily long stay in ICU.

Endurance athletes are apparently more prone to this sort of thing. Marathon training has taught Kath to push her body to and beyond normal limits and thus she’s less likely to feel alarmed, even when her body is screaming at her that all is not well. Coupled with her natural resilience and optimism that all will be well in the end and you have the makings of a situation where all the warning signals are ignored for way too long. 

Home but exhausted just getting from bed to chair, chair to loo, loo to bed etc. Days must feel very long when you’ve little strength or energy to do anything more than rest, eat, drink … and rest some more. But with each day little by little, her strength will return, nurtured and encouraged by her loving family and friends.

Kath and I don’t look alike at all, but apparently we have similar smiles and laughs. Here we are on holiday a couple of years ago. Long hikes in the pouring rain are great fun in the right company. I’m looking forward to spending loads of time with Kath as she regains her strength. After all, that’s what skinny blisters do.



Every once in a blue moon we get so lucky I can barely believe it. You can see it in my face can’t you, I’m beyond thrilled. And with good reason. We are at Wimbledon! Centre Court no less. Unbelievable. Fan-flipping-tastic it was. Monday of the second week means we saw Round 4 matches involving some big BIG names, Djokovic, Gauff, Kerber, and Federer. Tickets gifted by my wonderful brother-in-law, who was under no illusion as to what this meant to us. It was an amazing day.

I love sport. Cricket, tennis and rugby are my absolute favourites but I’ll happily stand pitch side in the pouring rain watching nieces/nephews competing at pretty much anything, or accompany family/friends to sporting events of their choosing. Sport might not be everyone’s cup of tea but there is something compelling and in some ways humbling about watching people dig deep and push themselves to perform at the very limits of their capabilities. No matter what their level of achievement it’s the effort itself … the commitment and drive to do better. It’s never “just a game” or “just a race” when people are prepared to expend so much of themselves in pursuit of doing their very best.

I remember when Ollie was a little boy. Poor chap inherited the same sporting prowess (or lack thereof) that afflicts me … often picked last for team games and so on. Well school sports day came round and that is classic Auntie duty material, so I toddle along to shout encouragement as per usual. Lo and behold Ollie came fourth. Well the celebrations in our family were loud and proud as he scampered across the line his little arms aloft in triumph, huge grin on his face as he turned to make sure we’d seen his finest sporting moment to date. That was the day Ollie reminded me that you don’t have to come first to feel like an absolute winner.

And sport has been useful to me. As an engineer I spend my days surrounded by men … some of whom have found it hard to accept that women can be engineers too. I started out in 1979 in a class of 70 odd apprentices where there was one women … me. It’s hard to hide when you’re so obviously different. Being able to talk about sport gave me an in. A neutral subject upon which to find common ground.

Everyone has had a difficult time over the last 18 months or so. It’s hard to predict how things are going to pan out, and that uncertainty is in itself difficult. I guess that’s why this trip out to see some tennis felt like such a big deal. It was a big deal and an incredible experience. But more than that, it felt like life might someday return to something like it was. Please god.