Vagabond Shoes

Just sometimes you wake up and take a look at the hand you have been dealt and you can choose your view point. There will be a mixture of cards, some aces, picture cards and a few of the rest of the pack too. Now my guess is that most people would consider being dealt the Parkinson’s card as perhaps a 3 or even 2 of clubs. A somewhat useless card and hardly likely to have been in your hopes and dreams. Nonetheless, there it is as part of your hand and it’s how you play it that matters. My long gone West coast granny used to teach me the nuances of card games, like whist and bridge, would say “every card can take a trick” the_two_of_clubs


So, with those words echoing through my mind, I think me and my duece of clubs did pretty well last month. Below is a summary of what a “bad hand” can do for you.

March was hardly a typical month. It had been looming for quite some time, in fact since the beginning of the Gregorian calendar in 1752 but thats just me being pedantic.

What I mean is that in my own diary the month of March 2016 had taken on a very complex look and was looming, fast.

There seemed to be a blitzkrieg of events rampaging across the dates. All jammed into the thirty one day frame of March. All seemingly independent of one another save for the tight timeline.

In no particular order the following had to take place;

Trip to New York

Final prep for music festival I was helping organise.

Present at a  TEDx event

Attend a new product launch in Kent

Meet with Parkinsons UK chief executive

Present to the Inner Wheel of Pitlochry

Attend British Council reception re Parkinson’s research

Lobby MSPs at Holyrood

Did I miss out anything? Probably.

banner mip

Lets do some cherry picking of the above, the one event that stood out was the “March Into Pitlochry” It was an absolute blast to be involved setting up the inaugumip1ral festival. I am told the theme was loosely based on Americana music and if you didn’t hear about it or attend in 2016 you better get in the queue for 2017 tickets because 2016 was a belter and already gaining plaudits and promises of return revellers.

Already March had produced a lifetime experience or two and there was more to come. I had been lucky enough to be jetting to New York and even luckier that the flight was BA Business Class, you know when you are being looked after when snoozing with your feet up on the footstool and the stewardess pops an extra pillow behind your head to make sure you are comfy. Once awake you are offered another glass of ‘that wine you like os much, sir’ . There are very few times I wouldn’t have minded a slightly longer flight, let’s say the pilot decided to around one more time, I would have cheered. Lets be honest, that has never occurred, ever! It is surely the way to travel and thank the good lord for the airmiles to make it happen.

So to New York City, so good they changed its name from New Amsterdam, who knew?

I don’t  know how long I could stay in New York, I am a country boy at heart, a village person on a good day. New York was therefore the most alien of surroundings, I got a sore neck from looking up all the time, or turning to peek at the myriad of otherwise ignored strangeness all around. My imaginationIMG_1075 is  way behind New York’s reality. Really very far behind indeed.

Two points I will take away and offer to you as sound advice. Firstly, never, and that is NEVER, try and get into yellow cab via the right hand back door, that is against all common decency. At least it is according to the taxi driver, who picked me up from the hotel, very likely to get you thrown out of the States. I think that is what he said, my guess is that this was no Brooklyn or Queens accent!


Secondly, only order cheesecake from Juniors if you want to ruin every other cheesecake you have ever tasted and sideline them onto the subs bench forever. This was the work of a cheesy fingered, biscuit smelling angel. Really that good.


Everything else was just amazing. I would write about the Broadway theatre show but I saw
“The Book of Mormon” and there are no bits of the plot I can tell you about without being obscene or “ist” in some way.

Flight back to the UK arrived just in time to head to Edinburgh to take part in a TEDx event in Bruntsfield.  I am not sure I was at my best, but I tried. There were some phenomenal speakers there and me. Event details are HERE, the videos weren’t live at the time of writing (31/3/2016) but will be up soon. (NOW AVAILABLE)

The rest of the month was made up with mostly meetings with or about people with Parkinson’s disease. I am trying hard to get something approaching a more holistic view of what is happening in the Parkinson’s world and see that those views are represented better on the leading charity, Parkinsons UK’s, web site. Their CEO Steve Ford must be sick of the sight of me by now. That’ll teach him to say keep in touch. MSPs, trip to Kent and a late Burns Supper to round things off.

March over.

2_clubsSo all in all not bad for a two of clubs bad card. I guess what I am tryIng to say is this; When dealt a bad hand, change the game and make up your own rules. Play it your way or indeed play My Way.












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