Firstly, Happy New Year!  Hope it came in with a bang.  We’re ready for 2014 and to embrace all that’s ahead, almost.  Hope you are too.

Over Christmas, we camped with some biking and non-biking friends in Braithwaite near Keswick, which is a picturesque village in the north of the Lake District.  Our three tents were without the company of any others in the field, which was perfect and given the conditions, as expected.  Probably the wettest and windiest it had been all year, but hey, we spent most of our time relaxing around a roaring wood burner in Ian’s large scouting tent.   When those unassuming and small fires get going, they maintain a balmy temperature inside of around 30, dry off all the wet gear in next to no time as well as keep you ‘head-to-toe’ toasty.

Homemade slow-cooked stews from Christmas leftovers, rich puddings and lashings of red wine made for blissful fun while it was blowing impressive gale-force winds outside.  It was also good to put our two-man Hilleberg tent to the test; that little thing proudly stood up to the elements, blowing away any fears around those notorious Patagonian winds.  One less thing – tent qualifies as superbly snug and practical. Check.

I have been feeling sore and a little sorry for myself since New Year.  I’ve had recurring neck trouble, which has stemmed from being shunted on Pearl, my bike, by a double decker bus last February.  Unfortunately I didn’t receive the right level of treatment for the whiplash.

NHS physiotherapy would be wonderful although have been on the waiting list for a while now.  Time is ticking and with only five weeks to go, I’ve had to bite the bullet and invest in some private care.  My physiotherapist is 75 years of age and with that comes a wealth of experience.  Bless him I thought, he looked shell-shocked when I walked into his treatment room.  Apparently, I reminded him of a girl named Wendy from fifty years ago and said he regretted the day he didn’t marry her.  She was a dancer and very artistic with a paintbrush although he opted to build a career in London instead.  I found the story quite moving and felt slightly saddened.

I got the impression that he has never truly loved another woman like he did her and ended up divorcing his now ex-wife who was a top notch solicitor, renowned in the region.  He showed me a black and white photograph of him and Wendy.  They looked very happy.  It was pretty uncanny that she looked quite a lot like me.  It’s official that I have a doppelgänger.  I think we all must have somewhere.  Shame it was my very first session with this chap as I could have gently joked, ‘Ooh, if only you were three years younger!’, hah ha!

I was given a full assessment before any treatment.  He confirmed that I’ve been hunching my right shoulder pretty much constantly since the incident.  I wasn’t even aware I was doing this.  This is still affecting my neck and more so now, leaving me with symptoms worse than just after the accident; chronic problems in the posterior cord of my brachial plexus.  Admittedly, I had to research to see exactly where this was.  This explains the throbbing in the top of my right arm, down my shoulder blade and slightly numb sensation in my thumb.  There’s also tenderness in my right trapezius muscle – all interlinked with the above.  Marvellous!

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Am I fixable?  I should think so, yes.  The physiotherapist is determined to get me back on the straight and narrow in time for next month – he better had – quite a lot riding on this.  Once I outlined our intentions next month, his enthusiasm grew, leaving an enormous grin across his face delighted that I was taking my own bike.  It’s always so gratifying to receive peoples’ support.  I’ve been given a number of exercises and advised to ignore the GP who had not diagnosed my symptoms with much accuracy apparently.   I think my doctor, to her credit, assessed the ‘neck pain’ part correctly enough.  Strong painkillers, heat and rest are the other advisables, along with marking three crosses on my back where Jason has to massage gently twice a day.  Always a silver lining.

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