Farewell You Northern Hills…..

I’m in the Lake District! I couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing the mountains one more time, so here we are. Jane and I are here for the week, sharing the first weekend with Alex, Emma and Will (Emma’s partner) and the rest of the week with two good friends from London. Once again the care services have pulled out all the stops to enable it to happen. I have a syringe-driver attached permanently putting in a particular drug. This needs changing every 24 hours, in Leeds administered by the District Nurse team co-ordinated by the hospice: a fine example of voluntary sector and NHS working well together. The Leeds hospice arranged for a hospice here to deliver the care this week. The nurses come to our rented house every day, and are doing it with a genuine delight in enabling me to do this trip.

As at home, I’m having good days and not so good days here. On Sunday we got out into the Langdales with Alex and Will managing to push me in a wheelchair up a one in four hill to Blea Tarn. I did walk the steepest bits down! What a treat to see Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and all the Langdales. I suffered the day after, but it was worth it. Tuesday we got out in beautiful evening light. It’s a time of day I’ve always loved, with the shadows of crags cast onto sunlit fells invoking memories of returning, tired, after long a satisfying day on the fells. Today we took in the Newlands Valley, Buttermere and Borrowdale. It’s an emotional week with a mix of the joy of being here, the memories it provokes of the wonderful times I’ve spent on the fells, with deep sadness knowing it will be the last time I will see them.

I don’t know what the definition is of an invalid, but I’m sure I’ve now become one! My mobility is very poor, I certainly can’t go out on my own, and some days very basic tasks are difficult. Not long ago I was dreading this bit of the journey but now I’m here it’s not as bad as I feared. I seem to have an inherited pragmatism – almost certainly from my mum. And of course helped by the love and care of my wonderful family and friends as well as the care services.

In a recent blog I spoke of me living with cancer and not battling it. This was reinforced by a further thought I had on this. The cancer is killing me, but ‘it’ makes no gains from so doing. It too will die when I die.

The mystery of the Armorial Bearings mentioned in my last blog is now solved, and I can thank my long standing friends John and Jenny for their wonderful creativity – which continues to make me smile.

So there we are: a bit of a random collection of thoughts this time, but wanted to bring people up to date. My blogs now are probably going to be shorter. Please do let me know if they descend to incoherent ramblings!

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About Richard Crossley

Resident of Headingley in Leeds. Community activist. Soul fed by mountains and the Yorkshire Dales. Follow football and cricket. Career in community development and social housing - cut short in early 2013 by cancer diagnosis.
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21 Responses to Farewell You Northern Hills…..

  1. Bob Williams says:

    That’s a lovely poignant moving entry Richard and like everyone else I’m delighted that you made it to the Lakes. It’s brilliant that you were able to do so much.

  2. Robin Lawler says:

    Enjoy the Lakes. Great time of year to be there.

  3. Padraic says:

    Richard, Sorry I missed you in London. Great you were able to get out in the open air and the hills you so love. Enjoyed reading about it, though it must be hard for you

  4. Mark Whitton says:

    The assault on Blea Tarn sounds a magnificent achievement for all concerned! Beautifully written piece as always. Looking forward to seeing you on your return.

  5. Tom Hopkins says:

    Richard, Ive just read your moving and compelling blog. So glad your trip to the Lakes was a positive one for you and your family.

    Best wishes

  6. Judy Davies says:

    So glad you made it to the Lakes Richard and that you are able to say farewell to what you love there…I can imagine that it has been a very emotional visit for you. Your words conjured up happy memories of the places you visited…I remember falling in Blea Tarn as a child, dressed in red
    trousers which ran and coloured my undies pink! You are certainly not an in-valid person…you will always be a valid ,wonderful and inspiring human being whatever your physical condition. It is only the attitudes of our society and culture which deem us in-valid due to fear of illness, disability, death and things unknown or not understood.It is all so hidden and not talked about.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and moving words so openly.
    Love to you all Judy x x

  7. Julia says:

    Richard, it may be the wrong thing to say but I’ve enjoyed reading your blogs. You write with such honesty and thoughtfulness. Your dignity is inspirational, thank you.
    I’ll always remember with huge fondness (and the odd bout of giggles) our time spent inside a cow suit together all those years ago. We watched the video again recently on one of the cold wet winter days and it still made us laugh!
    Julia x

  8. Joan says:

    Dear Richard, Am reading this with very blurred vision!! many tears and many memories from
    childhood of going to Lakes and being encouraged up hills!! You are truly amazing – an example
    which will remain with me for ever.
    I am so pleased you have been able to visit those glorious mountains once more. It is a great tribute to the health services and your wonderful immediate family.
    I love you loads
    Joan xxxx

  9. Pat and Lhakpa Sherpa says:

    Dear Richard Namaste! from the Hymalaya

    We are so thrilled and stunned that you have been able to see your beloved mountains and spend time there with your lovely family and friends. How wonderful!! We are so pleased for you and so very grateful to you for sharing all your thoughts and achievement with us. We are all in tears here in Nepal for you but so happy you were all able to go and see so much of the Lake District. What an amazing Health Service and private Hospice sector as you say and thank you for telling us what they achieved as we will know this may be possible for others and will be able to pass this onto others.

    We wil be taking the Bhuddist prayer flags to Khiraule in November for you and will be thinking of you as we all quietly stand and think of you as we look out over the majestic and peaceful Himalaya.

    You are a star and such a lovely lovely person, we are so so pleased we got to meet you even though only so recently.

    All our love and thoughts are with you.

    Pat, Lhakpa, and Shange – in Nepal

  10. Pauline Bispham says:

    Richard, your lovely blog got me out of my flu bed and on to the dank streets of Edinburgh. to get some shopping! ( food I might add ). I only enjoy the eastern fringes of the Lake District when on the train to Liverpool to visit my folks but you have inspired me to get back there. Lots of love to you and Jane and Emma and Alex Pauline B

  11. rafisaville says:

    Dear Richard it’s little old me again . I’m so happy you made it to a place that holds so many special memories for you . You may have left there now I’m not sure but if you close your eyes and have a think it will still be all there locked in that mind of yours . So I had my spinal operation last week and my gosh thank god for PCAS I have a most wondeful combination of morphine and ketamine flowing through my veins as we speak . It may dull my pain but my senses are just as strong and I’m still as stubborn ! And as naughty ! The lady that did my ultrasound today told me about a lady she had just scanned she must have been 40 stone and she was angry because the scan of her baby wasn’t clear ! She was in hysterics telling me this saying what does she expect with a BMI of 60 ! Well if I could have laughed any harder I would have cried . I just thought I would tell you and make you smile 🙂 I hope it does . I’ve started making a few enquiries about ! Yes climbing mountains ! I just need to get these legs stronger 🙂 then I’m off ! In my mind I’ve been many many places infact whilst I was in my coma I swore Id travelled the world . So there was my bit of banter ! I like writing about things and life things . My own version of the EPP will be called Expert pain professionals please stop moaning about your hips and knees when your 30 stone overweight life enhancement group 🙂 I don’t think I will get many to join though 🙂
    Your a great man and it should have been the Queen who have you the Medal ! Enough of my nuttiness . Stay pain free x and nice dreams x try flying again in your dreams I forgot how amazing it was . Xxxxx Danny

  12. Chris Outram says:

    Richard, I’m so pleased for you that you’ve made it to the Lakes and I hope the rest of the week was as good as the start. And that it didn’t rain too much. Thank you for sharing your experiences so movingly; we will all be there one day and it is wonderful that you have been so open about it – it is a very hard time for you all. I’ve been thinking about you; and thinking back to how loving and kind you and Jane were to me when you met me off the train at Northallerton at new year 1985 – thank you. Much love to you and Jane, Chris xxx

  13. Karen gouly says:

    Hi Richard I so enjoy reading your beautiful blogs and I’m so pleased you’ve had the chance to say farewell to the northern hills. Hope the weather stays good for the week – external and internal emotional and physical! Your blog is being appreciated even more widely than you know about! Our friend chris came to stay last weekend and is sending the link to another good friend who is at a very similar stage in her journey as you are. That’s all for now. Loads of love and good wishes from Karen xxxxxxx

  14. Liz Jeffery says:

    Dear Richard

    I was so delighted you were able to visit the Lakes again – and even get up to Blea Tarn and see the Crinkles and Langdales. You must have been so pleased and despite everything it must have been a very special time to be there with your family. I was so pleased to know the health services have been able to help make this possible too. Good to hear, as you say, of the statutory and voluntary sector working so well together – and in such a very good cause…
    With much love
    Liz J

  15. Lucy de Groot says:

    Dearest Richard
    What a great piece you have written. My memories of Blea Tarn are from a childhood holiday in a cottage in little Langdale where as a reluctant (and no doubt truculent) London teenager I discovered the wonder, wildness and peace of the fells. Your trip sounds really powerful and poignant with some great backup from the hospice and of course the family. Jen and Steve came round for a meal last night so you have brought us together again which is lovely! Jen said it had been great being with you and Jane (and Jane) in the Lakes. We had many good thoughts of different times past and toasted you and your contribution to our lives.
    with very much love
    Lucy

  16. Ernest Dobson says:

    Richard
    Only just heard about your illness. I am of course very sorry to hear the news, but as someone who is healthy and approaching 62, I’m inspired by your lovely blog and attitude. Hope you enjoy your time in the Lake District and whatever else that is good in your life. Thinking of you.
    With all best wishes,
    Ernest Dobson

  17. Christine Smith says:

    Richard I’ve been reading your blog since you started, thanks to Steve H who pointed me to it. It’s an amazing journal. So glad you were able to get to the Lakes again, have just been walking in Queens Park with Jen and Jane, and hearing all about it. Thinking of you …
    Love Christine (ex Lanhill)

  18. Richard
    Your blogs have inspired me beyond words. Time up in the hills is precious 🙂
    Best wishes
    Carole x

  19. Diana Martin (Dizy) says:

    Richard, I have only just heard the news about your illness, and read your blog, which made me feel I wish I knew you better. So much of what you say about life, friends, family and place resonates with me. Your trip to the Lakes sounds extraordinary.
    Thanks for your support when you were evaluating us in Salford, you were the best.
    Thinking of you.
    Diana (Dizy) Martin

  20. Tim Morton says:

    Dear Richard

    I don’t think any of your ramblings will be incoherent, judging by the clarity with which this blog has been written. Of course you may have a wonderful editor?

    Seems like everyone loves the Lake District and has vivid childhood memories, views, hills, lakes and rain! I remember a primary school trip back in the 1960s (insert own joke about 60s memories) we stayed in youth hostels (3 in a week) and as 8/9 year olds we had to hike with our packs from one to another, not sure if they did risk assessments in those days!

    Ah well, I’m glad the NHS and the hospice movement worked so well together, long may it continue.

    Travel safe
    Tim

  21. Sarah Lerner says:

    Hi Richard

    So glad you made it to the Lakes.. and I am reminded again of our lovely holidays in Yorkshire and Shropshire… much love to you all

    Sarahx

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