Post 24: The Amazingness of Family & Friends :-)

I have just had the most amazing weekend and it has really made me realise how lucky I am to be surrounded by such special people.

I have always been grateful to have the most special family who I love to pieces, and also school friends who have been there for me since I was 11 years old. They are all people that I know I can rely on at any time and who know pretty much everything there is to know about who I am these days, and why!

But this last weekend has reminded me of the amazingness (ok I know that isn’t really a word but I still quite like it!) of my newer friends in life. It was time for Challenge no 6: to visit 40 pubs in 40 hours (and have a drink in each). A small group of us started in High Wycombe on Friday night and by the end of the night we had met with quite a few friends that I hadn’t expected to be there and gone round 14 pubs over the course of 5 hours. I was in bed by 1am and then up the next day by 7am to drop the kids to the fab friends who had agreed to have them overnight for us….and off we went into Marylebone to meet some more great friends and do the remaining 26 pubs! And on our journey round, we were lucky enough to finally meet another ‘Myeloma couple’ who I’d befriended on Facebook. Special mention should also go to my niece Michelle, Claire and Adam who travelled into town especially, Phil and my lovely sister and her husband who came into town despite having only got back from their summer hols that morning! Oh and the random stranger called Carlton who joined us for probably 7 or 8 pubs! But even more than all of them, is a mention to Lisa, Kate, Justine and Sarah…my hardcore! And Nick, Gareth and Dave who put up with us on the two different journeys! (Or did we put up with them?)

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I can’t explain how great it was to get the positive reception that we got from many of the pubs. The Monkey Puzzle in Paddington deserves a special mention as Gary there helped me to plan the crawl, donated cheap drinks and was more than generous with a donation….he even brought a tear to my eye. And whilst we were in there we met a lovely lady who had recently lost a friend to myeloma. The world can be a very small place – I think she was very pleased to have met us and we left her with one of our hats :-). I had written to most of the pubs in advance so people were expecting us and most served us with a smile on their faces, pretty amazed that we were going to do so many pubs! Those that were less helpful tended to only get a glass of water ordered! Apart from by my husband who has kept the whisky industry in business this weekend ;-)

Gaining some energy at the station
The poor people in our carriage!
Pub no 15: 1st one of day two
Look who we found ;-)
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And we'd only had a couple by now!
On route
Nick seemed to enjoy the whisky more as we went on :-)
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My niece Michelle joined us here :-)
Our busker friend
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And then came Megan and Phil
Our interesting addition…Carlton!

The whole challenge was done very last minute and so lots of people couldn’t make it, but due to the perseverance of those that were there, and the amazing bucket collecting by the netball girls on the Friday night and Lisa and Kate on Saturday, we managed to make over £550 over the night and really raise awareness with people of what myeloma is. That awareness is as important as the money. I am pretty ingratiated to all those amazing strangers on the streets who spoke to us, showed an interest in the cause, and who donated. We had a homeless person donating, someone getting money out of a cash point, someone busking to us and people offering help that wasn’t at all expected. The world can really be a lovely place!

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My lovely new friend Gary at the Monkey Puzzle
We gained Claire and Adam, and Liz and Fintan in the Monkey Puzzle
The Heron
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Most expensive round in the Grazing Goat but I'd go there to eat
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Amazing pub - The Windsor Castle - great Thai!
Raphael was lovely in here :-)
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Hmmm….we made him leave it behind!
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40th Pub achieved!

So, that is my 20th Challenge completed and I am now half way with my challenges. Just another 20 to go ;-) I’m hoping the weekend will spur me on a bit as if I’m honest, I’ve been struggling a bit with what I have taken on and whether it can be completed. So bear with me if I start pestering yet again! If you haven’t already, please take a look at my 40 Challenges B440 and see if you can help, or get people you know to get involved. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world..there are lots of challenges that you can help with! And if anyone knows how to get a message going viral, let me know….there’s one challenge I’d like to give that a go with!

And to ALL my family and friends out there….I think you are wonderful even if I don’t tell you enough. Thank you (and I’m totally sober now too :-) )

40th-birthday

If you would like to sponsor me with my #40ChallengesB440, please either

go to http://www.justgiving.com/Deb-Gascoyne

or

text ‘DEBG99 £X’ to 70070

e.g ‘DEBG99 £40′ if you want to donate £40