A few days after the stroke, the physio who came to work with me on Ward 31 discussed setting some goals. She suggested that it would help my focus and motivation if I gave myself mobility targets to aim for. I decided that, by mid April, my goal would be to walk the four miles along the Fylde coast that separate the pier at St Annes from the Lytham Windmill. At that point my left leg was completely dead, and I was getting about in a wheelchair, so it seemed quite an ambitious target. I’ve been thinking about this walk every day since then, and have been working hard on my leg and foot function with it in mind. It is a walk I know well: Tom’s family home is in St Annes, and it has become a sort of ritual with me to walk to Lytham each time we visit. Readers of this blog will have noticed the Fylde coastline popping up in my photographs at regular intervals over the past few years:

The walk I’d planned is a familiar one in a landscape I am very fond of. That bit of Lancashire faces South and West and in all seasons, the light along the coastline is amazing. I love the spooky endless sands; the sea birds; the empty dunes. And with its novelty cafes, its boating lakes, its miniature train and golf course, the walk also has a feel of the civic English seaside which I particularly enjoy . The length of promenade connecting Lytham and St Annes has been well-maintained since the late nineteenth century. There is some fine iron work, as well as some interesting architecture featuring the large pebbles which were once used to supplement the lack of locally available quarried stone.

Anyway, I had decided to attempt my walk on Saturday, joined by my Dad and Tom. I confess I felt incredibly anxious when we set off: I’d been working towards this for many weeks; four miles seemed a very long way; and my leg and I are not really very strong. I’d agreed that if I was feeling weird or exhausted I would stop and try not to feel that I’d let myself down. Tom had parked the car about two miles in near Fairhaven Lake, and was ready to run up to retrieve it. Here we are after leaving the St Annes promenade, passing the trees which you may remember from this post. I began to tire near the lake, but revived myself with a rest and the 35 grams of sugar that I discovered one can of coke contains.

Then it was back to the promenade for another two miles. Under normal circumstances, this walk would be an easy and a pleasant one for me. I would ramble up and down the promenade or along the beach, enjoying the familiar landmarks, pausing often for photographs, people or bird watching, and general taking-in-of-the-view. But on Saturday the walk was the antithesis of leisurely. By this point, I was only thinking about whether or not my muscles and my brain were going to be able to carry me to Lytham.

I have climbed in Glencoe, North Harris, and the Cuillin. I’ve walked hundreds of miles up and down the country, across bog and rock and bracken, braving tricky terrain in terrible weather. I’ve done a fair few difficult walks and climbs, but I would say that those last couple of miles between Fairhaven Lake and Lytham were the hardest that I have ever covered on foot. It was very good to round the corner after Granny’s Bay, and to finally see the windmill in the distance


(you can just see the windmill here to my Dad’s left across the green)

This windmill is a symbolic site for me for many reasons, and is a place associated with many good memories. On Saturday I added to its store of happy personal associations. I hope you will allow me a moment of hubris to say that I’m as proud of making it all the way to that windmill as of anything I’ve ever done.

The last nine weeks have not been easy. I have often felt removed from my life and detached from myself. I am someone who is used to being very busy, and now I have neither a working day, or any leisure time. My hours are filled up with grueling exercise, necessary rest, and the tricky activities associated with just getting through the day. The stroke in itself gave me a lot to deal with, and I’ve also found out about some heart problems and an autoimmune condition I had no idea I had. The long term implications of these things are uncertain: I have felt fearful, and found some things very hard to deal with, but Tom is always there to help me stay focused on the only really pressing business, which is getting well. This singularity of focus; the pay-off I see in small improvements; and the enormous pleasure I feel in getting small things done at all has meant that I’ve stayed largely positive and motivated. I know what depression looks like, and it is interesting to me that I haven’t seen a flicker of it over the past few weeks, even when things have been at their most weird and difficult. Through compromised mobility, I’ve begun to think about my own body, it’s behaviour, and it’s capabilities, very differently. I never thought I would find sickness or injury intriguing, but I have done, and continue to do so. It has been a horrible, insane upheaval, but I have not been alone: I have been moved and encouraged by so many people’s love, friendship and support, particularly that which you have shown through your comments and your correspondence. In fact, over the past few weeks, I have been heartened and reassured by many, many more things than I have been troubled by. I didn’t know I possessed the resolve or resources to get through all this, but I do. I would rather not have been weighed in the balance in this manner, of course, but I am very determined not to be found wanting.

I fear I may be beginning to sound like some sorta motivational speaker, or (worse!) one of Tom’s marathon training manuals, so I shall now stop talking in this vein. Suffice to say, it meant an awful lot for me to make it to that windmill, and it was a moment full of joy when I finally got there. I was physically fine, you’ll be glad to hear, but more than ready for the deluxe ice cream which Tom ran across the green to bring me, olympic torch style. I shall spare you the grim pictures of him racing in brown the following day. . .

178 thoughts on “to the windmill

  1. Kate ~ Are you okay? I check your blogsite everyday, of course, and it’s been quite a few days, and I’m hoping you’re not feeling depressed or down. That is a ridiculous thing to ask of you , to not feel down, oy, sorry about that. But, it’s not entirely for our supporting you that we wait for your letters, it’s also that ~some of us~ know it is the best thing for you, to talk to all of us. I imagine at times you must wish you had privacy to go through with this rehab ordeal, but, we’re here, like a flock of bleating sheep, and I suppose there’s no getting rid of us. I hope your spring days are a little springier each day.

    I’ts raining up here on the mountain over Napa Valley, and I am grateful that I have my various NeepHeid tams to knit, and if you look into my blog, they’re there. Fancy that, I’m actually knitting for Christmas presents in April ! That’s new to me, for as you, I tend to wait until two weeks before christmas to begin. ;-) Your NeepHeid is so fun !

    Love, Jen

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  2. Congrats! What an accomplishment to add to what is already a long list. You have a done so much, so well!

    Now I, on the other hand, have slipped up in the accomplishment area: just found the sadly unmailed card with the Bell Pavilion address on it. Will they forward? I’ve sent the good thoughts on but the physical manifestation remains stateside.

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  3. I think about you so often each week. I don’t know you at all, just your pictures and posts. Somehow, though, I think that you are striking out for all of us. You’re brave and strong and somehow still joyful and curious on this bewildering journey. What I see in you is what I would hope to see in myself under such circumstances. The reason your trek seemed so daunting was because you were carrying me too. Thank you and bless you.

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  4. I’ve been frequently thinking about you this past week and your accomplishments. They are incredible. I admire your tenacity, strength and wisdom to rest!

    Best wishes,
    Lisbeth

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  5. Hello Kate
    I just discovered your blog (through ravelry) and i’ve been sitting here for ages back reading. it is a really wonderful and inspiring blog! thank you for sharing your trials and thought with us. I felt so proud of your achievment, after reading about your illness and recovery, and it is wonderful that you pulled through it in such a positive way. hope you will be able to rumble through the mountains soon again. well done! what an achievement!
    xo

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  6. Like everyone else has already written (but I wanted to add to it just one more time, because it bears repeating), well done. Very well done indeed!

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  7. Congratulations, both on making it to your walking goal, and on so many other things – of which *not* undermining yourself or under-rating what you’re achieving is not the least. Hubris nothing! You’ve earned your pride.

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  8. Your determination and fortitude are incredibly moving. I hope I never have to go through what you have done so well but I know my attitude would not compare.

    Thank you for sharing your struggles and accomplishments with us.

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  9. I don’t know you yet I feel very proud of you ! I greatly admire your emotional strength and resolve and appreciate your openness and candour. You make me question my own abilities and fortitude – no bad thing!
    You are doing so very well. When you are tired and filled with fear and doubt, just look to see how far you have come. All the way to the windmill.

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  10. Dear Kate,
    I dont know you, have never commented in here before, I came across your blog by random surf about a year and a half ago and I started to read it for knitting inspiration and, I soon realized, to pick upp a bunch of scenes from edinburgh, which i had visited earlier on that summer. I was very inspired by your patterns, and by the pictures, the walks, the rituals, your language, the little details in all your stories. Now I follow your struggle and, Kate, I’m extremely impressed by your determination, your hard work, your open attitude towards everything you have to go through.I realize there are many days when you feel down, worn out and totally uninspired, BUT reading about the walk to the windmill made me see a smile on your lips, it made me happy!

    Love to you from me! : )

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  11. I just discovered you, thanks to one of your knitting designs on raverly. This is the first post I’ve read and I want to wish you the best. Amazing!
    Warm thoughts,
    Kim

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  12. HI KATE – am so glad to see that you have overcome this hurdle , ie the walk to the wind mill

    – truely , after reading your many posts , I am not the least surprised at your strong motivation and hard work to learn and push ahead to wellness

    – you tackle this like you do anything in life, researching , exploring all the possibilities ,and then getting to it

    – great that you have your family and TOM there for you

    – am hardly surprised at the emotional upheaval that all this has put you threw

    – but , hey what do we know whats out there for us? – all we can do is work with what comes

    – cheers to you for all your continuing hard work

    hugs —-pat j

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  13. Thank you for being so brave to share this with us. I just prayed for you that you would continue to heal and grow in all ways and see the hand of God with you. Hugs, B

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  14. you are fantastic!! I love and admire how you have not let this — let’s say “challenge” in your life turn you into a victim of any sort. you continue to rise to the challenge each and every day. I salute your bravery.

    and I love the olympic ice cream torch :)

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  15. I have not been tuned into your blog for very long, but I admired your photos and knitting and patterns and writing, all very inspirational. Now your posts are inspirational in such a different way. Keep going and keep the wonderful perspective.

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  16. What a fantastic achievement! Go girl :o)
    Fantastic heel strikes in all the shots.
    I love the photo of Tom with the olympic icecream. I bet you’ve never had one taste so good.
    Keep up the terrific work. Your writing is as wonderful as ever.

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  17. Thank you for sharing your triumph! Your description of what it was like for you brought on the tears of happiness that you are walking (and walking a long way!) in your beloved landscapes. Wishing you many more well-earned ice cream cones in the coming months!

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  18. I am full of admiration for you, and I wouldn’t call your pride hubris at al – I think we should have a whip-round to hire a plane to write it in the sky! I’m also grateful that you continue to take the time and effort to share your thoughts with us through the blog, your posts are always interesting, and are often beautiful and inspiring.

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  19. Oh well done Kate, that’s fantastic news. I’m running the first of 3 marathons this weekend and I shall think of you with every step and send you the strength of my legs that you might soon know the joy that comes from running. Love and hugs, Susie xxx

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  20. What a wonderful achievement! I am continually amazed at how positive your outlook is, and I’m certain that your attitude has everything to do with your improvement. Keep up the good work!

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  21. Well done! I doubt that any of your readers would have ever assumed you would do anything less than pass this most difficult of tests with flying colors.

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  22. Kate, the thought of sounding (reading?) like a motivational speaker might embarrass you but, like it or not, it’s what you are. On a subject that’s far more important than most. I’m so, so sorry that you’ve suffered but, like Nic and others, I am so proud of what you’ve achieved. Indomitable :-)

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  23. Fantastic! Well done you. And thank you for keeping up the blog with such inspiring, eloquent, interesting and heartfelt posts. Once again, I had tears rolling down my face – you’re not the only one who’s proud of what you’re managing to achieve every single day.
    Loads of love and cheering from the internet-sidelines
    Nic

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  24. Returning here after a time away from the interweb I was very happy to read that you’re home (and that Jesus now has his PSP back :) and that you have been making good progress with your physio. Many congratulations on your Windmill Walk success! Kate, you are remarkable and hugely inspiring.

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  25. I’m so pleased for you that you achieved your goal. I’m not a walker to the same extent that you are, but do go regularly for 4 or 5 miles. I had a health problem a couple of years ago that I didn’t think was affecting me too badly, until we went for a stroll round the local nature reserve – usually a 30 minute scamper for us, with stops to watch the birds – and I had to have a sit down! That was scary, and I was enormously relieved when a few weeks later all was well again. I can only imagine how an active person like you has been feeling these past weeks, but that experience has given me an inkling of it.
    You’re clearly doing well and it WILL all come back, I’m sure. Keep taking things steadily; it’s working so far!
    All the best to both of you,
    A

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  26. Wow, look at You!! How brilliant and well done to you both. What a wise physio to suggest a goal. What a clever and determined person you are. I bow to you (but can you help me up again, please?!)

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  27. Bravo!!! Hooray!!!Hooray!! Even the mountains I see from my desk are glowing with pride for you! Indeed, what joy to have achieved that windmill goal!!!

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  28. Once more, Kate, you show the reason to continue at all the hard work recovery requires. It is simply worth it. Your struggles inspire us to move beyond our limitations. You certainly deserve to be proud of your progress to walking to the windmill!

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  29. Just wanted to add my very best wishes to all of these lovely messages. Seriously unfair thing to happen to you, but you are seriously inspiring in battling back.

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  30. Dear Kate, it was so moving to see the pictures of you, a wee, slight girl who has come through what you have done, undertaking to walk the four miles from St Annes to Lytham windmill.
    Hope there was plenty of ice cream still in the cone after its olympic style delivery. You certainly deserved it.

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  31. Congratulations, Kate. My partner had similar problems after back surgery a couple of years ago; I remember how proud and elated she was after her first walk round the block. Thanks for telling the story.

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  32. When I got to the part in your story where you were standing in front of the Windmill, tears sprang spontaneously to my eyes and rolled down my cheeks! I could so feel your sense of accomplishment and determination and faith in the body’s capacity to heal. It is amazing. I’ve asked some friends who are going through difficult things to read your posts as it puts so much in perspective and gives them a glimpse of the possible in the midst of the impossible. Thank you so much for writing the way you do about this. I wish you’d send it to the AMA Journal.

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  33. You have had to learn so much over the last weeks but in taking the time and enormous energy I am sure it must take to write your blog, you have taught me, at least, a great lesson in humility. Be proud of yourself Kate, and enjoy your success.

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  34. Congratulations Kate!

    Thank you for letting us know about your feelings, your successes, and your passions.

    This is another beautiful post.

    Cheers Toronto

    Maria

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  35. Dear Kate,
    What a wonderful post. Like one of your commenters above, I believe that every comment gives you strength and I am delighted to add to it.

    Your trials and triumphs inspire recognition in your readers in many different ways. For me it is that I have had a diagnosis of diabetes which very quickly needed insulin (also autoimmune) and I am struggling to retain my sense of self too. Similar yet so different from what you are coping with.

    Congratulations on achieving your goal. I hope we will see you in your beloved mountains again soon.

    Dawn

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  36. Thank you, Kate, for being willing to share this journey with us, and for showing us that a person can get through difficult times with grace and courage. It is a message that I, and I’m sure many others, need to hear, as we attempt to tilt at our own windmills.

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  37. This news is absolutely GLEEFUL !!!! It is really difficult to tell in photos, that you are injured, you just *look* so fine, so straight, so …. normal. Really, as attractive as can be ! I know, I know, that is all on a flat photo, and not at all how you feel beneath the surface. And well, let your heart, your eloguence and lovely spoken words express your feelings, motivational, depressional, or otherwise, and try not to be self-conscious or afraid of this New Voice of yours. Wisdom now inhabits your life, in most every aspect, because there is nothing wiser than a person who has touched bottom and must reconstruct unfamiliar shapes of new life. You can have light and dark, and all the grey inbetween the contrasts. You were yes, but much more so now *are* brilliant, and remain to be a real motivation and inspiriation for those of us who are perfectly capable to do for ourselves, but lazily and thoughtlessly shirk off opportunity of betterment on a daily basis.

    You are confronted with each breath to partake in full overhaul of your Self, inside, outside, and well, it must be overwhelming but I see you are made of the stuff which the historic names of great achievers are. You are on your way to get past this hurdle, but then, you will have such immense influence toward the greater in your life, from your rehabilitaion. Setback? I just have to rethink that word. Easy for me to say, and rethink, but I just know you will look back retrospectively some day and realize the same.

    I have perused and pored over your earlier posts a lot in the recent weeks, and I still am amazed by that which is Kate Davies.

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  38. Hip Hip Hooray! 4 mile walk = W00T!

    (And now I am going to shamelessly say, I haven’t purposefully walked 4 miles since highschool…many years ago.)

    Thank you for sharing your story, your insights and your goals. I have always admired your designs and photographs on your blog. But, now just weeks after a serious life event, you amaze me. And I’m just a phantom blog reader and pattern hoarder. *grin* I bet you have blown away your family and friends with all that you have accomplished in these past few weeks.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery! (With an imaginary hug thrown in too!)

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  39. Now I am getting sniffly at work again … congratulations on reaching your goal. You look alarmingly mobile in your photos, for someone who recently had a stroke! Well done!

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  40. Fantastic Kate!! So, so very proud of you and I feel so…so…awed…really, that through some random cloud in the blogosphere, I stumbled upon your blog about a year ago and and since that time it’s been such a gift and now to be so profoundly moved and inspired by your struggle and triumphs…awed….

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  41. Congratulations on your rousing success! You are truly a testament to what willpower and determination can do: amazing things. It’s lovely to see those trees again on your blog. Strangely enough, they were the image I thought of when I heard of what happened in January….

    Hooray also for Tom and your dad for being there to walk with you! (Totally love the ice cream cone delivery!)

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  42. Hurrah for you! I can’t believe what wonderful progress you are making, and the strength of will you have to get you through this difficult time. I look forward to your posts every week to see how you are doing. Your writings about the many facets of your convalescence are fascinating, that I would like to recommend them to the instructors in our Physical Therapy program to give their students insight into recovery from a patient’s perspective. Congratulations again on your walk!

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  43. It always feels kind of superfluous when I’ve got nothing more to say than the “well done” like many before, but I like to think that every little comment makes you a tiny bit stronger, so here goes: well done! :)

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  44. One hundred and seven commenters beat me to it! But CONGRATULATIONS! And I do think that your ability to intellectualise about your illness has enabled you to retain a level of objectivity to the whole messy business of not being “yourself”. Getting through the day to day is an achievement in itself, not to be underestimated.

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  45. Amazing achievement so soon after the stroke. You don’t sound like a motivational speaker you sound like an awesome person who is dealing with issues that would finish most in an honest and truly motivational way.

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  46. What an achievement, you should be rightly proud of yourself. Your recent posts regarding your recovery have been so inspiring, and also as someone who lives with a diagnosis secondary breast cancer intruiging in the eloquent way you have described how you are learning to cope with your new different life. You have made me think a lot about how I’ve learnt how to pace myself whilst struggling with fatigue, set myself targets and appreciate small things on a day to day basis whilst continuing to have a curiousity in what is ‘around and next corner’. I look forward to hear of your goals and send you and Tom every best wish.

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  47. So you should be proud of yourself! Congratulations! You are doing amazingly well. I so look forward to your posts detailing your external and internal journey.

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  48. I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself – a garden slab jumped up and bit me leaving a horrible graze on the back of my leg. Now I feel a bit ashamed of myself for making such a fuss over a something fairly trivial. You’ve made amazing progress in a short time.

    Good for you (and Tom) for being so brave, honest, positive and determined to push yourself. I hope you continue to improve.

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  49. Congratulations on reaching your goal! I hope you have set another good one already.
    I still think that you are very brave to be able and willing to share so much of your journey (physical and metal) with us.
    Thank you!

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  50. As so many other people have commented already it has been (and remains) such an inspiration to read your posts. I think most people, probably secretly, wonder about the incredible effect upon their lives that any kind of physical alteration might have, and how, or whether, they’d be able to cope with it – and there is no possible way in which you shouldn’t feel as proud of yourself as anyone could be at the moment, and over the last few months.

    much love and continued good wishes.

    PS I’ve just emailed you a poster advertising an upcoming lecture by Susan Frye – I hope that vaguely work-related things aren’t inappropriate at the moment, but thought that you might be interested, seeing as her forthcoming book, which I assume part of the talk to be based on, appears to have a similar focus to some of your posts last year on textile history.

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  51. I just wanted to add my cheer at your achievement, and respect at your determination to all the other voices above. Your pride in your achievement is totally deserved.

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  52. Dear Kate, I love that you approached the windmill with Sancho Panza’s down-to-earth, determined attitude -he makes a great governor when given the chance in Barataria, and proves every bit as wise and brave as Don Quixote though he does not strive to appear so. I am one of the other persons who would like to be able to write paper letters to you still – a P.O. box, maybe, so you do retain your precious privacy ? Many cheers to you from Paris ; I’m sure some of the cheers for the marathon runners last sunday must have been meant for you.

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  53. Dear Kate,
    Your blog has been the source of much inspiration and interest in the past and even more so in the last couple of months. If you are at all encouraged by your reader’s comments here it’s only a small payback for all the inspirational posts that you have given us before this all happened and since. You have made so many huge steps forward recently although it must feel frustratingly slow to you. We all wish you well,

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  54. Well done! Your resolve and unquenchable curiosity about life – every aspect, including illness, immobility, and frailty, is amazing. I’ll try to tackle things on my end with a like mind.

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  55. I can only echo those comments before me, about your strength, resilience and self motivation. If we can all find even a little of this then we should all be proud. Apart from your incredible achievement, how wonderful to be out sharing with your family a simple walk – something which I’m sure will stay with them too as a special memory. Not being a traditionally religious soul, but someone who enjoys the way nature can fill your heart, I’m reminded of those lines: Glad that I live am I, that the sky is blue.
    With warmest wishes for your continued recovery.

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  56. I am so glad you managed the walk. I found your blog just before you had the stroke, and I loved your photos of the wind-blasted trees on the Fylde Coast. I don’t know that area, although we don’t live as far away from it as you do (we’re in Yorkshire), and I really wanted to go and find those trees. So when you had the stroke, I thought how sad you would be if it meant the end of walking in the country, and that walk in particular. So it’s great to hear that it didn’t and that you’ve walked it again.

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  57. Congratulations – good to see you out and about.

    I was thinking of you the other day when I took a ramble round Edinburgh and ended up (of course) at the Repository. I acquired another pair of fairisle mittens, same as the ones I bought last year, but turquoise and red this time. They are, of course, done by knitter 66. I’m very fond of knitter 66, as – I seem to recall – are you?

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  58. Absolutely inspiration, whether deliberate or not. Really, your blog should be required reading for people going through troubles, and their families.

    Thank you for putting the time and effort into keeping up with it.

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  59. Wow,
    you move me to tears everytime I read your blog nowadays. Sometimes of joy and sometimes of compassion.

    (Not that knitting didn’t put tears in my eyes, but I don’t know if the time I stuck the kneedel into it counts.)

    I admire you for your currage( I don’t know if that is the right word but direcly translated from swedish it makes sense).

    Keep at it, you are beeing so strong.

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  60. Congratulations on this huge accomplishment. And thank you for sharing your thoughts and progress, and for the beautiful photos of you, as you made your way “to the windmill”. You are an inspiration to many!

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  61. Thank you for your honesty and courage. Hubris is sometime well deserved so carry on please. Your hard work and strength help me get through a day sometimes with far less challenges. From Chicago, I continue to send prayers and blessings for both you and Tom and all those who struggle along side you.

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  62. Kate,
    You are one fantastic, lovely person. I also think for being so wee you are a mighty force to be reckoned with. I can feel your strength and power through your words and am inspired by them. Thank you,
    Virginia

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  63. Kate. Your Owls sweater hangs at the entrance to my local yarn store, it is on my list of things to knit. I really admire you, your intellect and your tenacity. You are doing well. Being someone who is also graced with a loving husband, I am so glad that you have Tom to rely on. Just keep it up and when you get depressed, remind yourself that that is OK too. Congrats on making it all the way to the windmill.

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  64. Thank you for sharing these experiences. Your writing is so precise and real. I can’t thank you enough for sharing these with us. Congratulations and please, do set another goal. I look forward to reading about your achieving it, as I am sure you will. Well done.

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  65. Congratulations, Kate, for setting the goal of a true hiker, trekker, walker! Your resolve last year to walk everyday, makes your battle this year all the more poignant. May you again quickly find joy in the easy coordination of your body to the purposes of your mind. You are a dear inspiration!

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  66. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Massive congratulations, Kate, and thank you for documenting this period with honesty and candour. Make your steps be many and your progress steady. With all best wishes.

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  67. Dear Kate
    I am so moved by your post…. Can you hear the cheers from all the way over here? What a very remarkable person you are. May your walks be many……
    Lydia

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  68. I wish that we had all been there at the windmill to give you a standing ovation. (We were in a way, but you could not see us) Amazing grit! You are living proof that the human spirit is up to any and all challenges. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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  69. I cannot find any new words to add after all the comments above, but felt compelled to add my thanks for your eloquence and courage and honesty as you share this experience with us. Well done, you. Triumphs of the human spirit.

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  70. I have been reading your blog for several years, and am not one to comment. But I want to join those who applaud you through the last months. You not only are dealing with an incredible physical ordeal in your recovery, but you have such an amazingly positive and constructive attitude towards the process. I perhaps shouldn’t be surprised having followed you for a while, but (and at the risk of sounding like the motivational speaker you referred to!) you are incredible!

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  71. Four miles is an amazing accomplishment. Well done! Do I also notice tight plaits/braids? Your continuing and varied achievements are admirable and incredible.

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  72. I’ve just been moved to tears by this – congratulations on your acheivement. I’m so pleased for you, and I think I can just about wrap my head around what an enormous psychological boost this will be toward the rest of your recovery.

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  73. I feel honored to “read you” and I applaud your gentle tenacity and insight. You are an inspiration!
    I send you loving thoughts!
    Phyllis in NY

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  74. Frankly, I think you should bind all of your posts of the last 9 weeks and use them as a motivational manual for young CVA clients..or at least those who like to read!

    I’ll be looking forward to reading about the next and longer walk…xo

    Wendy

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  75. So glad to hear you’ve improved so much. Congratulations, you’ve worked very hard to get where you are now.
    Here’s to continuing to get better.

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  76. Wonderful post, I’ve enjoyed reading it so much. I know the route well (can you believe I used to think Granny’s Bay was named after my granny?).

    I’ll bet that was the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted ;)

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  77. The joy of your achievement is felt by everyone who knows of your courage and determination. Windmills are known a source of power and it was wonderful that could draw on it as a goal while using your own amazing power to achieve so much so soon. Bravo!

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  78. Hurrah I think there should be a gold medal for you at the finish line. or maybe you should get to wear the tattered golden trotter jersey from Tom’s club.
    congratulations for the great walk you are first in my book.
    mary jo
    ps I am kind of disappointed that you spared us the picture of Tom at his finish line – I had hoped to see just how he was able to wear that jersey as holey as it looked

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  79. This post left me as well with tears in my eyes, but a happy feeling in my chest.

    :) I only found your blog just after Christmas,and must say that it’s affected me on many levels, from the creative to the physical…

    Be well and keep making those goals.

    Lois from Hamilton!

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  80. Dear Kate, You are such an inspiring soul! Scanning through the comments that precede this, I notice how often that word (or others with the same root) occur, and how meaningfully they are used. I have a big beef with the contemporary overuse of words like ‘passion,’ ‘journey,’ ‘inspiration’, etc (my limited viewing of ‘reality’ tv teaches me this much) but I applaud their use when when they are really apt to the situation. And here they clearly are, both on your part and on ours. Well done you!
    All best, Marina

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  81. Wow. Remember it’s not easy for many able-bodied (well, able-bodied in the sense that they’re unfit but there’s nothing technically wrong with them) people to walk four miles, so for you to be at that stage in your rehabilitation already is incredible.

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  82. Good for you! You should be very proud of yourself. Why shouldn’t you sound like a motivational speaker? You are inspiring! Truly wonderful.

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  83. As I read and scrolled down and saw the picture of you walking in front of the windmill, tears were streaming down my face. I am cheering for you!

    Thank you for addressing the issue of illness and depression. You have inspired me to look at the difficulties in my own life in a different light.

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  84. Congratulations! I’m so pleased you got to the windmill safe and sound. It sounds gruelling and very tough. Am glad that Tom brought you icecream – I love the idea of it being brought before you olympic torch stylee to celebrate.

    You are very inspiring with the positivity and vigour that you are using to get better and have no doubt that it is difficult and tiring. I’m thinking about you lots and sending you big waves of woolly joy.

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  85. Bravo Kate – and you are finding that silver lining in all of this. Life teaches us many lessons, and some of us use them to help others as you are doing by writing about it all.

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  86. Three cheers for you! I just want to say that I have never enjoyed reading a blog as much as I do yours–thank you for sharing with all of us. I know it can’t always be easy, but I firmly believe that relationships (and life!) are worth it. God bless!

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  87. YAY!
    congratulations!
    i’m so thrilled that you managed the walk and achieved your goal!!
    your hard work is really inspiring, kate. i’m so glad you are, indeed, getting well, slowly but surely.

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  88. I burst into tears when you said that you are proud of yourself. This is not any sort of hubris. It is the joy that we are meant to feel in life. I am beyond proud of you!

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  89. Oh well done, Kate, what a tremendous achievement.
    As one of the other commenters have already said, we are all pulling for you and cheering you on from the virtual sidelines.

    Have you thought about allowing us to continue to write to you? (other than here, of course?)

    xx

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  90. You are such an inspiration, and becoming a bit of a hero for me, actually. :) Keep on fighting! That icecream was well earned and I have a feeling you will earn a bunch more like it before summer is over (maybe even before it’s properly started).

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  91. oh kate, your posts are always so moving. I wish that my dear mother-in-law had been able to be so eloquent when she had her stroke – had been able to convey for us just what it really felt like it, as you have done for us in your posts. I understand so much more now. thank you for that. I also wanted to say, as someone who has had a minor heart problem for most of my life (diagnosed as an adolescent), i can very well emphathize with your thoughts about thinking of yourself and life in different ways, and the strange limitations of day-to-day existence in this “new” world. the simplest things, for example, often being the cause for contemplation when you have to plan, adjust, and take into consideration your own special requirements. How that extra time for thought and care lead one to approach others in the same way (with extra care, extra consideration, extra empathy). Life is so wondrous, isn’t it? Oh, and making it to that windmill – wondrous indeed. Congrats to you!!

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  92. Kate, this post sent me both to tears and grinning ear to ear. Well done, girl. I have enjoyed your walks from across the Atlantic, and none has been so invigorating as this one. Your recent journey has helped me realize how much I take for granted and even abuse this body of mine, and for that reason I have begun a running program I’ve been putting off for years. You are beautiful and an inspiration, and I thank from the very depths of my heart for sharing your ups and downs.

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  93. You, set an ambitious target? This seems an understatement!

    Congratulations on everything you have accomplished. I see that heel strike again too! In all of this, and among everything you are doing, the love you share with Tom and your journey together are absolutely beautiful.

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  94. Congratulations! I was on tenterhooks throughout the post, and I’m so pleased you made it to the end. You really earned that ice cream!

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  95. Oh, wow. Once again I am humbled by your motivation and determination. What an amazing achievment – 9 weeks after what sounds like a fairly significant stroke you are back walking (albeit slowly) along paths you still love

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  96. oh and just as I hit submit… SET A NEW GOAL. I find that without near future goals, the rest, activity cycle gets too frustrating.

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  97. CONGRATULATIONS!! That is a remarkable achievement, and it’s easy to experience your gritty determination while reading your post. I think I’ll go get an ice cream cone and lift it in a toast to you. (not that I welcome any reason to eat ice cream, or anything.:)

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  98. Well done. We take so much for granted, I’m glad that you can share your experiences, so eloquently, and help us to see things from a different perspective.

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  99. Lovely, lovely. I loved this blog… its photos and historical context… when it was primarily about knitting and hiking. When I read about the stroke I mourned for the interesting posts that you were no longer going to write, since I assumed that the blog would fall by the wayside as you focused on recovery. I absolutely love that you have kept posting, and that your posts continue to be thoughtful, interesting, and personable. Thank you for bringing us along on your new path, it’s just as interesting as the old one. And great job with your four miles!

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  100. This post brought tears to my eyes.My great passion is walking. Over the years I’ve occasionally mused over how very difficult I would find it if deprived of the ability to walk.I can’t begin to imagine what the last few months have been like for you,particularly given your drive to walk and to climb before the stroke. Now you’ve achieved a fantastic goal,and I’m sure it won’t be long until you are scrambling in Glencoe and the Cuillin again.

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  101. I am so proud of you! My partner had a stroke when he was fairly young and I remember vividly the amazing amounts of effort it took to do the smallest things in the beginning. Reading your posts reminds me of so many of the things we discussed back then. You’ve given me a new appreciation for the work he did back then.

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  102. I am so inspired by your strength. Your willingness to admit that your situation is horrible and at the same time intriguing is refreshing, when so often all I hear is an exhortation to” just go for it” or “get over it.” I think it takes real courage to squarely face life sometimes–and that’s when we get interesting.

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  103. What an achievement! Your posts have been nothing short of inspirational to me, as one who works in the field of advocacy for people with disabilities (in the US). I’ve come through heart disease and surgery at a *young* age, and these are serious challenges, indeed. But you’ve done this with a grace that touches anyone who reads here. I am grateful you’ve wanted to share with us!

    Congratulations! And YAY for Tom and your dad, too! I know they’re also proud of you.
    (((hugs)))

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  104. Congratulations! It must be such an incredible feeling to set a goal that seems so far off, and then achieve it in a few short weeks. You are a wonder. And also, the picture of your Tom bringing you the ice-cream in triumph makes me smile quite broadly.

    Like

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