With Colin Tapscott at the Mid-Suffolk Business Exhibition (picture courtesy of Kate Kelly)

So how far can I push myself when I don’t feel like doing anything?

I had a chance to find out yesterday, at the Mid-Suffolk Business Exhibition organised by Stowmarket & District Chamber of Commerce – which I chaired all through the pandemic before handing over to my very capable successor, Colin Tapscott (next to me in the picture).

I’d promised myself I’d go. After all, I was closely involved in the very first show at The Mix in Stowmarket, and in the first ‘virtual’ version – which boosted our funds significantly during the pandemic. It would have been discourteous not to see how the new team had taken the original idea forward. (And they had – magnificently! I can’t congratulate Sarah Manning and the new Chamber team enough!)

One concern.

Checking my carefully compiled logs of progress after chemo, I could see that in all likelihood I’d still be very weak on the day of the show. And, sadly, that was exactly what happened.

So, problem one was that arriving a little late – as I did – there was no nearby parking. (Not even at our church, where I sometimes take advantage of empty spaces when I really need to.) So I had to walk up from the Milton Road car park despite having a bit of a problem with a twisted muscle in my right leg.

Problem two was that – pretty much by definition – attending a show like this one means (mostly) standing up or walking. Which was getting increasingly painful, and was increasingly draining what little energy I had left.

On the other hand…

I can hardly overemphasise the sheer joy of greeting people who support me and care about me face to face. Discovering that many, if not all of them, read this blog. And their surprise and pleasure at being able to shake my hand, hug me, or just tell me how much they cared.

It mattered. And – inevitably – it meant that I spent longer at the show than I’d anticipated.

I was enjoying myself – that picture doesn’t lie – but I could also feel a wave of weakness coming on. And that was when I left. 

I knew I was in trouble when my legs started turning to rubber on the way back to the car park. It felt – quite literally – as though I only just made it to the car. Got in. Started up. And drove home.

The next day Rosemary and I were travelling down to London for her birthday treat.

And I had yet to understand the price I would pay for stretching the limits…