A wise old guru probably once said that time is the enemy of…well, something or other.

I’ve certainly felt the full force of time’s deathly grip over the last 18 months.

No, hang on. That’s a bit of an exaggeration.

But it is fair to say that time has not been my friend.

It seemed such a good plan to begin with – take up a contract position for 18 months and make sure I have a guaranteed income during the recession, then pick up some freelance work to do in my spare time. What spare time?

I hadn’t really factored in my other full-time position – carer. Arguably (well, I would argue it) this is my most important role.

Helping Rachel cope with her illness, looking after her, our home, our pillock of a cat (Flyman) and keeping everything ticking over has been my priority for the last 4 years or so.

I used to count myself lucky when I was self-employed and mainly working from home as it meant I could work and care in a neat juggling act that was fairly straight-forward.

But changing the scenario so that I am now working from an office, albeit one that is only a 15-minute walk from home, has led to some fairly significant adjustments. It also means the “spare time” I do have is taken up with my caring role.

The freelance work has dried up, mainly because there aren’t enough hours left in the day. It is far more important for me to be with Rachel when I’ve walked the 15 minutes back home, than for her to spend another few hours alone and fending for herself.

The juggling act has become quite tough.

So can I realistically devote time to riding my bike?

my bike

I think so, when there is a good reason behind it.

I’ve been determined to see through my Minutes Not Money idea, even if life punctured the original plan.

So on October 3 I’ll be taking part in the Just-Bike event – a 100km ride around the Ridgeway and Wessex.

Starting and finishing at the Coate Water Country Park, near Swindon, the ride will take me through rolling hills and countryside taking in such hitherto unknown landmarks and villages as Uffington Castle, Yew Down (Wantage), Peasmore, Kintbury and Ramsbury.

I’m still hoping people will pledge their support and maybe offer up some minutes to help me raise awareness of ME/CFS and the role of carers in the UK.

Unlike the original plan, there is also a fund-raising element to the October 3 ride. The ME Association is one of the partner charities for the event, so I’m also hoping to raise a little money.

But I still believe time is the more valuable asset – in terms of people willing to give up a precious 10 minutes rather than £10; but also in terms of raising awareness of issues that might not always get the attention they deserve.

After my aborted attempt at the C2C Challenge, I’m determined to complete this 100km ride.

I also think I should actually complete my end of the bargain before I ask people to part with their precious time.

So I’ll suggest a few ideas over the coming fortnight and I’ll provide a link for anyone interested in helping me raise a little money too.

However, I won’t expect to anyone to honour their pledge until I’ve honoured mine, completed the 100km and I’m nursing a saddle sore backside. It only seems fair.

I hope you are still with me.

I promise I won’t waste your time.


4 responses »

  1. Joe Jeffries says:

    Paul, you’re doing a brilliant job – hang in there.

    My aunt lost her long, horrible battle with breast cancer last year; my uncle tried to spend as much time looking after her as possible, whilst trying to work and raise two young children who were still coming to terms with the death of their older brother a few years before. I don’t know what this family has done to deserve such suffering, but it’s just so very cruel. I have ultimate respect for people like you who keep going despite everything, and I wish you and Rachel all the very best for the future.


  2. ashysheela says:

    taking time to ride your bike is important regardless of raising money/awareness and taking part in events. Everyone needs time for themselves and a bit of space from responsibilities and exercise is good stress relief. I wish my partner had something like that, i think it would do her good and help her cope better with the day to day. good for you for still doing the ride though – i am impressed!

  3. Ursula says:

    Paul , yes, poor old time: Sometimes unknowingly, and falsely, said to be the healer, sometimes the enemy.

    To be fair to time: Why NOT take time out in order to replenish our resources?

    With the clock ticking …


    PS Don’t cycle too hard and stop worrying about the rest of us

  4. Rosemary says:

    “””However, I won’t expect to anyone to honour their pledge until I’ve honoured mine”””””

    Does not work like that Paul.
    You have our support regardless, so anytime you want those 10/20/30 mins, just say the word.

    Hope you are both okay

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