Saturday, 9 July 2016


Never, at the ripe old age of 67, did I expect to be embarking on a cycle ride of more than 850 miles alongside the banks of the River Rhine with my 11 year old son - all the way from Switzerland to the Hook of Holland in The Netherlands. I really think I must be mad! I've lost the plot in my old age!

It all started when I just happened to stumble across something about European long distance cycle paths whilst surfing the internet. As we were living in The Netherlands at the time, I happened to mention that there was a long distance cycle path that started/ended near our home, not far from the Hook of Holland. My son was aged about 9 years at the time. Unfortunately for me, the idea stuck in his mind as being something he fancied doing as soon as possible. My casual words had got me into trouble as this trip was something he wasn't going to forget - or let me forget.

We returned to England where my wife gave birth to a wonderful little girl who we named Annelise Sarah. She was the happiest baby I've ever known - always smiling and laughing and no trouble at all to look after.
Sadly, our happiness was shattered when, at the age of 3.5 months, she was diagnosed with a massive, highly cancerous and aggressive brain tumour. We nursed her throughout her 8.5 month stay in hospital on a 24/7  basis, never leaving her throughout this time. She never complained and came through 8 brain operations still happy and smiling. What an inspiration she was to all who knew her.

She was discharged from hospital on her first birthday as there was nothing else her medical team could do for her. We then nursed her at home for more than 3 months until she went to Heaven at the age of 15 months.

During our stay in hospital, our son had to attend another school; one near the hospital. He knew all that was happening to his little sister to whom he was very close. She always reserved her biggest smiles for her big brother - she loved him dearly, as he did her.

Throughout this time our son never let me forget the proposed cycle ride along the banks of the River Rhine so we are now preparing for the adventure of our lives before he starts high school in September 2016. No doubt he will learn more on this trip than he will in a year at high school so the educational value to him will be of immense value.

And so, I'm letting myself (and my son) in for a huge adventure. I have to say it's quite scary to be even thinking about this undertaking but I can't let him down after all he's been through during the last year and more with his little sister. Throughout all of last summer we never had a break from being in the hospital. Now we're embarking on the adventure of a lifetime and one that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

You can read more about our route at URL: Rhine Cycle Route

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