Hero lost, hero found

One of my childhood heroes died last week.

I’ll always remember how he taught me to ski, lessons so memorable I remember them over 20 years later.
I’ll always remember how he was the one who picked me up and carried me over 100m down the ski slope when I fell and broke my wrist as a 10 year old (I still have the scar where the bone came through)
I’ll always remember how he could keep us, we children, entertained with games and tricks using nothing more than a tin tray with a little water, or simpler still just our fingers. I still play those games with my children.
I’ll always remember the barbeque with chicory wood chippings smoking the meat.
I’ll always remember an impromptu game of rounders in the park behind his house.

At his funeral, I found he wasn’t just my hero.

Over 200 people crammed in to celebrate his life and share how Bob had influenced their lives. There were a dozen readings, every one filled with how he’d inspired that person, and often their friends, to achieve a myriad of different things.
I never knew he’d introduced a city teenager to canoeing, who later canoed for England
I never knew he’d inspired so many in Skiing, working at a national level to develop the sport when I only knew him as the instructor at my local dry slope.
I never knew he’d inspired not only the children at the local rugby club, but the parents too.
I never knew… so many more things that I learnt about Bob yesterday.

When I realised being sick wasn't so bad after all

Growing up, I used to hate being sick. I know, that’s quite normal. I also remember Mum and Dad never seemed to be sick (or at least be as upset by it) as I was. Well, whilst growing up I had one experience that taught me being sick wasn’t so bad after all.

In 1995 I was fortunate to go trekking in Nepal (courtesy of some hard work and help from the Boys Clubs). One evening, up a remote hillside in Nepal the Sherpa’s made us soup for dinner. I remember seeing the oily surface reflecting in the half light of dusk. I remember forcing it down because although I didn’t feel to good, I decided I needed the energy having been walking for a few days.

Within a couple of hours I was sick. I then began thinking, “oh well, I’m being sick. Not a lot I can do about i,t just let it happen then get some sleep”.

That trip to Nepal was the first time I realised that being sick isn’t always so bad, just something to put up with for a while until you’re better. I think part of it was resigning myself to the fact that no-one else could help. It was apparent to me then that the nearest hospital was a long way away (a 2 day walk followed by a 1 day drive), so if being sick was all I had to worry about, then I really had nothing worry about.