DATE                                   16.04.06

DISTANCE                          6.2 MILES

WEATHER                          BRIGHT BUT WINDY



Today was going to be different, I knew that when at some god forsaken time in the morning  I got hit very hard by phantom pain, wave after wave of agonizing pain swept up and down my non existent leg , I lived and relived my run in with the lorry over and over , I felt my flesh getting torn off by the lorries tyres and scrapped off along the hard road surface , then just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse the bike frame decided to join in the fun and got mangled  and wrapped itself around my lower leg and proceeded to cut off huge chunks of my flesh , I felt the hot blood pumping all over the place , I felt my shoulder snap un der the extreme pressure ……………..Bloody hell I think to myself how many more times do I have to go through this , I know from previous experiences that there is nothing I can do and feel sick inside , what caused or triggered it this time I haven’t got a clue , I expect that it’s the weather , a sudden change in pressure seems to be the best I can come up with , another wave of pain hits me as I feel my ankle being twisted 180 degrees and feel the bone breaking and grinding as it moves way past its natural position . I curl up in a ball hoping it will all go away , it doesn’t help but I feel that I should do something …………anything , next minute I am jerking all over the bed as my muscles go into spasm , I cant help it but I am now thrashing about on the bed , I wake Yvonne up (boy am I in trouble now) she asks if there is anything that she can do , there isn’t as she knows it but I know that she feels  helpless , I must be hard for her , the pain lessens and I decide to get up , I have found that there is nothing worse than laying in a dark room waiting for the next attack far better to try to keep my mind working on something , it takes me twenty minutes to get arty leg on and dressed , I have to stop twice and roll around the floor waiting for the attack to die down a bit ……………….Bloody hell I must have really pissed someone off big time to suffer like this I think to myself , I eventually stagger downstairs , its pointless keeping Yvonne awake as well  downstairs I put my iPod on and turn the music up to full and blast my ears , I am using the distraction method , if I can get my brain to concentrate on the music it sometimes helps a little bit or does it , a look at the clock tells me its four thirty in the morning , I stagger into the kitchen to make coffee ………………..I know I will most likely bring it up in the next hour or so but I need it now , peering out of the window I can just about make out the trees blowing around in the wind ……………yep a sudden change in the air pressure there wasn’t even a breeze when I went to bed last night , this cheers me up a bit because I know once my body gets used to the sudden change the phantom pain will die out and stop but I know that I’ve got to get through the next coupe of hours first .

I find myself laying on the floor , blasting my ear drums with some older music trying to escape to a different place , just when I think I am winning the next attack starts and I’m back on my side curled up squeezing my stump trying not to cry out , slowly it starts to get lighter outside and as dawn approaches my body starts to get use to the air pressure and things start to settle down , or I think its because my body is getting used to the new air pressure I really don’t know , but I feel like I am covered in what feels like a slimy greasy sweaty layer , shower time I think but first past experiences tell me I had better get close or sit down on the toilet (and open the window )because my tummy has got one final trick to play on me first  its not very pleasant but at least I am in control now and things are getting better . After I have spent a while sitting on the toilet its time for a shower and I start to get back to normal. I ache all over and feel as weak as a kitten but I know a couple of hours resting up and some good food inside me and I will be on the mend …..Phew another attack survived, I try to go over the attacks in my head are they getting better? Or are they worse? No I haven’t got a clue; I tend to break them down into two categories the “zingers” attacks that I can just about handle if I am strong and the zapper attacks that have me rolling around the floor wishing I was dead, even the thought of the Zapper attack makes me want to sh*t myself with fear I simply cant explain in words how painful they are and yes its real pain.

However this was a very short phantom pain attack (only a couple of hours ) so past experience tells me if I take it easy for a while I will be fine , longer attacks will see me heading off to bed totally knackered and aching all over when they have finished , I still consider myself lucky with these attacks I have spoken to other people who have to get doped up to the eye balls just to get through them , there is one person I know who has to go on morphine so I suppose I should consider myself lucky (I don’t feel that lucky at the time though)

Yvonne has finally dragged her sweaty bum out of bed and comes down stairs and asks if I’m ok and we discuss what’s happened, there not much to say really, neither of us know why it happens or what to do other than just live with it, over breakfast (porridge with jam) we talk about getting out someplace for the day , Yvonne knows that I really need to get out someplace and “prove to myself that life is back to normal” and we decide to head up to the Coquet Valley for a walk , nothing to hard as we both know that I wont be at my best today but I love the area and always feel so much better after a day’s wandering around up there .

Gear was sorted and thrown into the car and off we went, our destination for the day would be to drive up the Coquet Valley park up at the old school yard at Barrowburn, sort our stuff out and have a wander calling in at the farm tea room at Barrowburn on our way back for a well deserved coffee and slice of cake.

Our route for the day would take us past the farm at Barrowburn up the side of Lounges Knowe & into the forest at Kidland, from there up Middle hill then down out the forest and onto the middle from there we cut down onto the rough track from there we walked past the Trows plantation past the farm at Trows then down onto the track to Rowhope and from there back to the farm at Barrowburn where we called in for a well deserved scoff, a good and proper way to finish a walk.

The weather was good, bright sunny but was very windy in exposed places, now that I had adjusted to the windy weather I wasn’t bothered with phantom pains anymore, however the events of the night before caught up with me about half way through the walk and I found myself totally knackered, we wasn’t in a hurry so we did what all good but very tired walkers would do and that was find a sheltered spot in the sun but out of the wind and had a snooze , I have to say there is something very relaxing laying down in the sun all snuggled up in our coats and having a snooze , Yvonne much to my surprise actually dropped off to sleep for a while , I guess my problems the night before had kept her awake as well , its really surprising how much better I felt after a coffee and a hours laydown , there is something very peaceful about laying on your back nice and warm watching the clouds go whizzing past and branches in the trees blowing backwards and forwards  as if we didn’t have a care in the world .

We did about  6.2  miles not that really mattered but I have to say I felt a lot better in myself driving home than what I did on the drive up , these hills have that sort of effect on me  a few photos enjoy :

 A Deer we spotted on the drive up

At the start of our walk just past Barrowburn …… of the locals


Me on the track heading towards Lounges Knowe


Yvonne having a pose, what we didn’t know was how windy it would be later in the more exposed places


Part way up looking back down towards Barrowburn


Yvonne with her bad hair day (it’s a bit blowy up here)


On the track in Kidland forest heading up the middle Hill


Out of the wind it’s quite warm and the coats came off


Furry friend


Heading up the Middle looking back


Me waiting for Yvonne to catch up


Who lost her hat after the wind blew it away; she’s not taking any chances with it now


Yvonne (with hat firmly on) leading the way down


Looking along the Usway Valley (beautiful isn’t it) I love this view


Heading down, Yvonne still taking no chances with her hat


The beginnings of the Hepden Burn


It was at this point we decided to stop for a rest, laying down looking at the tree top swaying in the wind was very relaxing


I think that Yvonne has dropped off to sleep by the snoring sounds coming from her

Bless her (she has a lot to put up with


Me on the track heading to the Trows (I feel so much better after the nap)


The Trows burn


Now at the Rowhope burn (we was tempted to have another snooze here)


Looking back towards the farm at Rowhope


Just having left the tea room at Barrowburn (the car is only 200 meters down the road) I must admit that I am feeling tired again, the phantom attack has taken more out of me than what I thought


Looking back, just about made it as there is a shower heading our way.


Day after thoughts , straight home and after a hot bath I once again perked  up a bit , but I felt myself getting tired so an  early night was called for  , as far as arty leg and my stump was concerned there was no problems.  So all in all a good day just what I needed.

One last thing this walk is called the old school house simply because we parked there.

ABOUT ME             NORTHUMBERLAND                 WALKS 2006