Walking in the clouds…


Yoda cakeGosh, the months just seem to be flying by don’t they? Can’t believe I was writing about my Easter weekend last time, and here we are almost in the middle of May! Thanks as always for your lovely comments and stories of weddings, cakes and family times. So good to share, and to hear how you’re all getting on.

We’ve had one more family celebration since then, which was for my sister Jenny’s partner, Linda. Her 50th birthday fell on the 5th May, but we had the party on the Sunday so the theme was “May the Fourth be with you!”.

Mercifully no fancy dress, just really impressive invitations, and the chance for Colin and I to have bit of fun with her cake – what do you think? I made and iced it, stuck the stars and her name on, but it was Colin who created Yoda’s face, which she thought was brilliant – I had to agree.

But that was over a week ago, and since then I have taken on and completed possibly one of the most physically testing challenges of my life – the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. I was completely honest with you when I said that I genuinely didn’t think I’d make it around the 26.2 miles, and that was BEFORE I discovered that the mountains I was to scale were well over 2,000 feet high!

Chris and Alison during the Yorkshire Peaks ChallengeIt was my friend Ros’ husband Chris who first told me about this back in January, and I said I’d love to do it with him. Colin thought about it – for roughly 10 seconds – and then said he’d come but not climb, so he could keep Ros company.

Of course this isn’t something you can just arrive and do; you need to train and get as fit as possible.  Chris had run the London Marathon several years back, which he said was gruelling, but felt that this was definitely ‘do-able’!

Once I’d booked us in I was sent information and a list of ‘Essentials’ for the day itself. Perhaps I should have been a little more aware of the scale of the challenge as the list included dry clothing, a head torch plus a Survival Bag and Whistle!!

I continued with my 5k runs three times a week and even went walking in my new boots for several hours at a time, but sadly there aren’t many hills in Berkshire, so my training was a little limited to say the least!

Night before the walk The morning of the walk

We drove up to Yorkshire the night before, and spent a really enjoyable evening with the other walkers in a converted school house. The weather was dry and I took this picture of the view from the road of one of our Peaks! Everyone joined in with making the meal (although I did think curry was a slighty dodgy choice bearing in mind no toilets en route..!)

We made our sandwiches for the next day and slept the night in bunk beds. When the alarm went off at 5am, I can’t truthfully say I felt rested and certainly not hungry, having polished off an enormous dinner, but the Mountain Leader insisted on a big breakfast, and so I ‘fuelled my engine’ with oat clusters and yoghurt, and several cups of tea before we set off. We’d woken up to howling gales and could hear the torrential rain against the windows, and as far as enjoying the view, the mist made that impossible, as you can see above!

Chris and Alison about to set offIt was an eight mile drive to Pen-y-ghent, which was to be the first of our Peaks, and although a little apprehensive, Chris and I gave Ros and Colin a cheery goodbye and set off at quite a pace up the track in the pouring rain. This first peak is 2,277 feet high, and has a really steep start but there were large stones set into the ground that made a path of sorts. However… because of the rain, it was like walking up a waterfall!

The mist rolled in and sadly the beautiful Yorkshire landscape that I remembered from my youth was totally obscured, but in a few hours we reached the top and by crikey was it cold! Blowing a gale, lashing with rain, and freezing! Unfortunately my ‘waterproof’ jacket was clearly only showerproof, as rain had got in and through three layers of clothing. I was soaked to the skin, as was Chris, and getting colder by the minute, so we shared a bar of chocolate to cheer ourselves up.

Alison on the pathOur Mountain Leader had made it clear at the beginning that hypothermia can set in really quickly and so I was relieved when we set off again, as I was feeling pretty cold. The descent was quite frankly horrid; very steep, running water and jagged rocks.  I was very glad that it was misty so I couldn’t see the almost vertical drop down the side, but the previous night’s curry rumbled dangerously in my stomach all the way down!

The mist had cleared by the time we got to our first check point where Ros and Colin were waiting, and we were so glad to see them :) They’d been really worried about us having talked to the other Guides who said the conditions were pretty dreadful, and that it was unlikely, given the time, we would be able to complete the challenge.

A brief moment of Yorkshire sunshineDetermined not to be beaten, we decided to get sorted and crack on. The ‘dry’ clothes I’d taken in my backpack were wringing wet, so Ros gave me her warm dry layers and her true waterproof coat (bless her), Colin stuck more plasters on my feet while Ros massaged Chris’ legs and, having filled our faces with flapjack, we rushed off to join the second group who were pacing it out en route to our second Peak, Ingleborough (2,372 feet in case you’re counting).

At this point the weather changed, the sun came out, and we were able to enjoy all that makes Yorkshire God’s Country. The route was fairly flat for a while, but then there was another very steep ascent, and the higher we climbed, the stronger the wind, and the return of the rain. Luckily my ‘call of nature’ had been taken in the dry – although having to haul wet trousers and waterproofs back on wasn’t much fun!

By now my calves and thighs were feeling tighter, and although going up was hard, coming down I found was worse. The pull on my calf muscles was huge, so I was really glad I had my special walking poles to help. Chris and I thought we were doing pretty well with our pace, but we were towards the back of the troupe, and so had to eat our snacks on the move, as there was no time to stop.

Alison on a footbridgeWe got to our second check point with half an hour to spare, and actually arrived just before Colin and Ros. They admitted they thought we would be beaten at this point, but as we’d made good time, were plied with hot soup and given dry socks, we decided to join the next group and continue to the third and final peak, Whernside, the highest of the three at 2,415 feet. 

The weather had reverted to type and, in pouring rain, we started the long, hard climb up the mountain. The land was boggy and so my boots filled with water, the wind howled round us and the end seemed nowhere in sight.

I remembered that feeling of defeat when I was in labour, and again towards the end of chemo, but then I thought of my Sam, and how even if he’d wanted to, he would never be able to do this … Chris sensed I was struggling and plied me with Dextrose tablets and water. He kept telling me how well I was doing, and even offered to carry my rucksack bless him, but I’m not a quitter and I wasn’t going to give in.

I even had a wry smile when I thought of my tube of Elemis Flash Radiance in my rucksack – there in case my skin had needed extra moisture! We finally got to the top where, through the mist, we saw a Guide waiting to take us over the top of the mountain, as opposed to continuing around the edge which is where we were headed – may well have needed our Suvival sacks and whistles if that had happened!

A steep descentChris took this photo of our route down, but it doesn’t really give you any idea of how vertical it was.  I had to sit down and drop onto some of the ledges as they were too steep to climb down. I wasn’t helped by the Guide telling us that this was a high-risk accident point! Mercifully the mist disguised the almost sheer drop on the left and I stuck to the rough path made out of rocks and rainwater and just prayed I’d get to the bottom without my legs giving way. They’d started to shake with the effort right at the top, and I knew we still had a way to go.

The descent was painfully slow and I could feel the water in my boots sloshing around my toes, but thanks to Ros and her heroic handing over of the waterproof, the top half of my body was dry. Poor Chris though was soaked through, and had given up on his gloves so his hands were frozen in position grasping his walking poles!

There is something very strange about spending an entire day walking when you have no idea of the time and all we could think of was Colin and Ros … how wonderful it would be see them, to have a hug, to take our boots and wet things off, and to have a hot shower. By now the land had flattened a little and some way off we could see a road with cars and, further on, the field we were headed for where we knew they’d be waiting.

And they were – in fact they had walked a little way up to meet us – and I almost fell into Colin’s strong arms, and stood there on the verge of tears. It wasn’t that everything hurt so much, or that I was incredibly tired, it was because we’d made it back safely, and there had been moments when I had seriously doubted I would. I had to thank Chris for being so patient and kind, and also Ros and Colin who gave us the extra TLC we needed. I could sense their relief when they told us how proud they were that we’d made it, and it meant everything :) 

Later that evening, while talking with the other walkers, someone asked me why I’d decided to take the challenge, and I replied quite simply, because I could. A few years back I would have probably put it off, but life has taught me that you don’t know what’s around the corner, and so the time to do things and make decisions is now :)

You’ll probably be as tired as I was if you’ve read right through to the end of this, but I hope you enjoyed it, and like the photos, and will now write and tell me about some of the challenges you’ve faced in your life – I love reading them and, as you know, will always reply :)

Don’t forget to tune in next Monday 19th for Diamonique Day, when Charlie and I will be hosting the Grand Finale from 9pm! It’s going to be great. Have a wonderful weekend, and take care!

With my love,

Ali xx


  1. Pauline Wilson May 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm -  Reply

    Well done Ali what an achievement you must and should be so proud of yourself. X pauline

  2. Polly May 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm -  Reply

    My goodness Ali – what a girl! Your spirit knows no bounds and I take my hat off to you. I tackled Ingleborough as a teenager and it was pretty hairy then, so good on you. I like the point you made about doing it “as I can”. For me that is what life is all about, living well and taking every opportunity you can. Don’t put anything off for tomorrow – just get on with it today. Well done.

  3. Rosalyn Claydon May 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Just wanted to say again, how proud I am of all you have achived. When Colin and I met you at the first check point you looked so bedraggled and so cold. We really thought at the next check point you would be coming back with us to the school house but you proved us wrong. I will have a lasting memory of you taking off your wet thermals in the back of the car and I stood in the driving rain taking off my tops to give to you and my socks. Amazing what a girl can do in a pair of dry socks. Well done again.
    Love always Roz x

  4. Elaine sallis May 15, 2014 at 7:04 pm -  Reply

    Dear ali
    Well done you! I sometimes worry that you push yourself too hard but the sense of elation you get at the end of something like this must make it all worthwhile. I know how Colin and Ros must have been feeling having had jodie take part in the London and Berlin marathons I know what a relief it is to see one of your loved ones reach the end of their challenge. When I first started going out with Geoff he did a parachute jump and Jodie has done this is well. In a couple of weeks jodie is walking over the O2 building a 30th birthday present from her husband. If geoff had given me something like this we would have not seen our 30th wedding anniversary! I am not at all sporty. My biggest challenges have been coping with some of the horrible things life throws at you. You deal with all these and take on more you are a wonderful person.
    Love Elaine x

  5. Julie May 15, 2014 at 7:31 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Well done you. I remember last weekends weather it was dreadful. How you did it I don’t know. I like your answer to the question when you were asked why you did it. You are quite right a few years ago I don’t think you could have quite made it. I expect all your friends and family are so proud of you. Your skills don’t stop there-look at the cake!!!
    Am watching you at the moment with Yankee candles-another of my favourites (and Lily’s!)
    I am very nervous and stressed at the moment as not long now to go!! with many sleepless nights and nails bitten to the quick but you know how much I worry!!
    Will message you when any news
    Speak soon and as always take care
    Julie xx Lily xxx

  6. barbara martyn May 15, 2014 at 9:21 pm -  Reply

    You are the bravest person I have ever encountered – a true inspiration! Lots of luck for the wedding, you deserve the best day ever

  7. Jan Sinnott May 15, 2014 at 10:51 pm -  Reply

    Well done Alison. You are a very brave lady. I agree with you, do things while you can, no one knows what tomorrow brings. Would like to email you privately.

  8. susan May 15, 2014 at 10:55 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, just really want to say you’re so heroic! You’re an absolute gem. I’m so pleased you made it. So pleased that you got to do it and are safe! It was lovely what you said about your sam..well I mean that it was thinking of him that got you through. How is he by the way? Life does throw a lot at us doesn’t it. It’s not easy. I don’t know where i’ll end up but i’ll keep going too! Look forward to having a rest now ok! Take care x

  9. Mrs Kathleen Kape May 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm -  Reply

    Oh my dear Alison,
    I guess I should have known, trying to persuade you that 5km runs would not prepare you for the walks. Bad family habit, not knowing when we are beaten! I can only say that, despite being worried out of my mind, having researched route and knowing terrain, I am very proud of you.
    Just try to remember that, while its good to get on and do things, there is always going to be tomorrow. We are a long lived family and so, whatever we have gone through so far we can keep on keeping on.
    Just promise nothing too heroic for a while, take life easy for a while?
    Love to you and all the army, Mum xx

  10. jennifer cann May 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm -  Reply

    well done ali. i dont know how you did it,what an achievment you must be so proud and what an inspiration, good luck for your wedding

  11. janet groves May 16, 2014 at 10:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    what a wonderful achievement you just seem to go from strength to strength.
    I hope that you don’t mind me saying but you look better every time I see you.
    Well done!

  12. Beth Morton May 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Can I just say how amazing you are – you’ve had such a gruelling time with BC treatment and various ops, you name it and to do this is a wonderful achievement. It was touching to read when you replied to someone that your reason to participate was because you could – that is so true. None of us know what is around the corner and I am in awe of what you’ve achieved.
    Last but not least, the cake for Jenny’s partner is fab!!! Love it and if you ever stopped being a QVC presenter, you could always fall back on selling your cakes. Please don’t leave QVC though(!), you’re such a tonic and I do enjoy your shows.
    Much love,
    Beth XXX.

  13. Pat Crozier May 17, 2014 at 8:37 pm -  Reply

    Well done!

  14. Mary May 17, 2014 at 8:59 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison and firstly I want to say how proud I am of you and your 3 peak triumph..it brought tears to my eyes..you’ve certainly put so much effort and determination into what is an amazing achievement. I think that you are an inspiration to us all, you’ve certainly got fire in your (flat) belly and life and the journey you have travelled through it has given you such a great perspective of doing things because you can..truly wonderful and thank you for sharing with us your experiences.
    The birthday cake was brilliant, well done both of you.
    Well, its been a mad week as usual starting with last Friday wgen my sister finally got the keys to her new bungalow. The bungalow she left is being rented..its my godmother’s. She has full Alzheimer’s and is in care but has to pay for it as she has a property(don’t get me stsrted on that..nearly all her savings gone, next step is selling her property) so as the new tennants are not in til later this week she had a staggered move. We moved boxes and bits and cleaned the new bungalow until late. Saturday my daughter Chloe was cooking and preparing a birthday tea for my mum as it marked the final part of new skill for her Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. I have been teaching her cooking and baking skills for 12 weeks and this was the last hurrah! She made and iced her first ever Birthday cake complete with sugar paste flowers and butterflies and made fresh cream scones, made lots if different types of sandwiches and made some Ross potatoes. She did so well..very proud of her. Then Sunday I drove with Chloe to Brighton for a cricket match..it was freezing cold and windy and as I had some cutting and sticking of letters to do for school I sat and watched from the car while it rocked in the wind. We lost but Chile get two lovely wickets..off stump bowled out the ground.
    Monday I joined Weightwatchers, more moving work on Tuesday then Wednesday the removal van finally moved my sister’s stuff. Wednesday we finished cleaning the old bungalow at 10pm..both shattered. I am however minus half my big toe nail as whilst miving the wardrobe for the third time my sister stopped pulling, i continued to push and sonehow my toe ended up under the wardrobe. Got told off for wearing leopard print birkis but in my defence i did say i was right out of steel toed boots!Friday was my son’s first GCSE, history. My friend was invigilator as she works at his school and said that he was writing up to the end, he’s not committing himself to how he did. Cricket that evening. Jack was caddying at Royal st Georges golf club today so I picked him up after more moving assistance then got lost round the one way system in Sandwich!
    Off to cricket with Chlo tomorrow but only 45 mins away, Son Jack has a match too tomorrow, a bit of respite from revision.
    My blood tests have cone back..think I have diabetes but have a test Friday which involves a finger prick test, drinking a sugary drink then sitting for 2 hours in the waiting Rio before having another blood test. I don’t have a spare two hours until October!!
    Oh I’ve gone on a bit..apologies for that hope you havent dozed off!
    My greatest achievement… at the moment it’s remembering go needs to go where and when and with whom!!
    Have a great week. Mary xx

  15. Jilly May 17, 2014 at 11:03 pm -  Reply

    Oh Ali I am beyond thrilled that you have done this challenge – gone up and down and arrived into the arms of Colin – how wonderful you are and a huge very well done from us here.
    I just came on quickly as I have not been on for a while and will update more tomorrow but wanted to say well done and just delighted for you – of course I knew you would do it with no problems as you are not a quitter but I am still so thrilled that you finished and were safe.
    All good here and I have not been on for a while because Annie had her lippo fill in and reduction op two weeks ago – all went very well and she has bounced back after it but more of that later – tonight I just am delighted for you and love the piccies of “My Yorkshire”!!! Congratulations dear Ali – so very proud of you Love Jilly XX

  16. Pearl Emery May 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,Just wanted to say well done you, you are such a positive person and an inspirational one as well.
    Take care
    Love Pearl xx

  17. Liz May 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm -  Reply

    Be very, very proud of what you achieved Ali. I was worn out just reading about it! Love that you gave it a go because you could.
    Now where do I start with my spending spree confession post-op?? Decleor new mandarins oil and balm, L’Occitane soap and fragrance from the Grasse collection and zesty lime Shea butter body cream, SBC arnica gel and a pair of Birkenstock Burma style (usually have Madrid but need more support now). These are all to aid medical matters! Then I indulged in a very stylish Skagen watch with leather strap and rose gold tone, one of each colour option in the diamonique eternity ring you had as a oto a couple of weeks ago – was only going to keep one but they are so nice and a good price, I have to keep both – and then I got this month’s jewellery icon from Veronese. It is such a pretty and unusual bangle, beautifully made with a fab magnetic fastening. I just adore it!
    Had my first injections of the new drug last week and that was ok. I think that the lack of feeling caused by the spinal cord damage helped! I have also managed to walk a very short distance in the house with crutches so need to practice that very gradually now.
    That’s my confession over with. No more now!
    Hope everyone is enjoying the bit of nicer weather while it’s here.

  18. Louise Shepherd May 18, 2014 at 9:40 pm -  Reply

    Way to go Ali! That sounds like a really scary, harrowing challenge you set yourself, but what a sense of achievement to accomplish it. You can justly be proud of yourself. You clearly have applied the grit and determination to the challenge.
    It is always good to commit to doing something that scares you, that takes you out of your comfort zone, that you are not entirely sure you can do. The euphoric feeling you get when you accomplish it is truely sublime.
    I’m scared of heights, but managed an abseil down Cheddar Gorge. A very silent one (concentrating on breathing to close out any panic), but what a buzz when I hit terra-firma at the bottom. That’s nothing compared with your Three Peaks – which really sounds like an ordeal, just from the weather point of view, never mind the actual terrain.
    As always, you have written vividly about your experience. What stars your friends and Colin were in helping you make it through.
    Well done! What’s next then: :)

  19. Lynn emmitt May 19, 2014 at 9:44 am -  Reply

    We’ll done Alison,on completing your walk,you are such an inspiration.such determination,you should be so poud of yourself.love and cwtches to you. Lynn. Xx

  20. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 11:51 am -  Reply

    Hello there Pauline, and thank you so much for your kind words – I did feel very pleased that I’d completed it :) hope you have a good week, love ali xx

  21. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 11:56 am -  Reply

    Ros, none of the above would have been possible if it hadn’t have been for your kindness and stoicism in stripping off in that ghastly weather and giving me your clothes! :) I was soaked to the skin and freezing cold, and would only have got colder if you hadn’t have stepped in and been a hero :) You and Colin saved the day with your plasters and soup too and as with all our precious times together we have made memories that will last a lifetime – thanks so much to you and Chris, love always Ali xx

  22. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm -  Reply

    Dear Elaine, I am not surprised you have been concerned about your Jodie – two marathons! That’s incredible, and to walk over the 02 Building too – I bet she’d enjoy the Sydney Bridge too :) As far as Geoff doing the parachute jump, and it reminded me of Sam’s skydive several years back. We were about two miles from the ground, and he asked me if I would do it with him.. I said yes, but then was told I was too old – PHEW! However, as you say, it’s often the more life changing challenges that life tends to throw your way that are far harder than all these things, and I know you have had more than your fair share of those, so well done for never giving up. My love to you and thank you as always for keeping in touch. Love Ali xx

  23. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm -  Reply

    Dear Julie, I think you’re right when you say that a couple of years back I probably wouldn’t have made it! I didn’t have the determination then, and often put things off til another day :) I do hope your stress levels are lower now and you have some news? Glad that you have Lily there as a distraction, and maybe ordered some of the relaxing Yankee Candles? Let me know how things are won’t you? Take care and enjoy the week :) love Ali xx

  24. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Barbara and thank you for taking the time to contact me, and with such sweet words :) I know there are far braver folk than me out there, but personally, it really tested me, and looking back now it’s quite difficult to believe we actually did it! Very much looking forward to the wedding tho – only a year to go, and once we get back from our next break, the planning will start in earnest. I hope you have a good week, love Ali x

  25. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jan, as you say it’s always best to crack on, and I am happy for you to mail me directly so will ask my Editor to contact you with that information. I hope all is well with you, love Ali xx

  26. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm -  Reply

    Dear Susan, Bless you for your kindness, and yes, Sam is often my inspiration… I think of the way that both are bodies have been changed, but am always thankful that my scars and signs of surgery are hidden and psychological whereas his impacts on him every day of his life. He is doing pretty well at present and currently away for his second course of Adventure Rehab with a group of eight other amputees. ‘Helping to put lives back on track’ is the inspirational key line from the founder Jim Bonney, an ex Marine, who himself lost a leg while mountaineering. It helps Sam to be with others who understand how he’s feeling, and I know that hard as I try, I will never truly be able to empathise.. although his loss has been very hard for me as his mum to bear sometimes if I’m honest. Glad to hear that you too are staying strong and keeping on keeping on – it’s the best way, truly :) Take care and it’s good as always to hear from you, love Ali xx

  27. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:51 pm -  Reply

    Hi mum, like mother like daughter eh? Not to be beaten – although I did genuinely believe that if I couldn’t make it the entire way I would be rescued…. hence the survival sack and whistle – it could have taken up to 5 hours to get me!! :) I promise nothing too challenging for at least the next few months, and am delighted that I made you proud :) Love Always, Alison xx

  28. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:53 pm -  Reply

    Jennifer thank you for taking the time to write, and yes, plans for the wedding are beginning to pick up – looking at venues next month! Both Colin and I want the day to be stress free and enjoyable and NOT a challenge, so we’re taking our time :) I do hope all is well with you? Have a good week, love Ali xx

  29. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm -  Reply

    Dear Janet, I certainly don’t mind you saying I look better each time you see me – I am thrilled!! Have to say, there was a nice piccy of Charlie and I before last night’s Diamonique Finale that I may well post in next week’s blog – we did have a laugh :) I certainly do feel pretty well at the moment, so may it last. I hope you too are in good health and have been enjoying this splendid weather. Love Ali xx

  30. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm -  Reply

    Dear Beth glad you liked the cake – would love to think we could make them professionally, although I don’t think the amount of time it would take would make me any profit! That said, it was great to work with Colin on this one. His mum and dad used to bake every Saturday when they were alive, and he is pretty good in the kitchen! :) Thanks too for your positive comments about the 3 Peaks.. you’re right the chemo was gruelling, and frightening at times, but I like so many, got through it, and it’s enabled me to do what I did, for which I will be eternally grateful… I hope all is well in your world, and thank you for writing to me, love Ali xx

  31. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 12:59 pm -  Reply

    Pat, I thank you! At last I’ve stopped walking like John Wayne, although not one blister on my feet which was quite something considering! Have a good week, love Ali x

  32. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 1:04 pm -  Reply

    Mary I do hope you keep all these fabulous comments that you write, because they would make an amazing point of reference for you and your children in years to come. It’s funny how much we forget, but your detailed diary is great to read, and thank you for sharing so much of your life with all The Army :) Well done to Chloe for cooking and preparing the birthday tea – she’s been lucky to have you as her teacher – I’m sure you’d put the amazing Mary Berry in the shade! I do hope you won’t have diabetes, and that the blood test will be negative. I hope too that your foot is not too sore having hurt your toe – a big ouch! I remember when I lost most of toenails due to Chemo, and had to wear Birki’s for months! Hopefully it will grow back soon. You should watch your back lugging great big bits of furniture around too! And you’re right I think it’s a heck of an achievement each week for you to remember who is going where and when! Just reading about your life leaves me out of breath :) Take care and try to have a less busy week eh? Love Ali xx

  33. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jilly thank you as always for your positive comments – I was determined to get through it, but as I wrote previously, there were times when I genuinely thought my legs would give up on me! :) Soooo pleased to read that Annie has got through her operation so well and that she is happy with the results! Such a bonus when she’s been through so much already. Glad you liked the photos, although as promised, Colin and I intend to return in finer weather so that he gets the full benefit of the incredible landscape and scenery there. You take good care, and I’ll look forward to hearing more from you soon, with my love Ali x

  34. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Pearl and good to hear from you :) I do hope that all is good with you, and that you’ve been able to enjoy this wonderful warm weather? Thanks for keeping in touch, and for your kind words, love Ali xx

  35. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm -  Reply

    My dear Liz, as always it’s good for ALL of Ali’s Army to catch up and with you and to hear how well you’re doing in spite of all the new medications and treatment you seem to have to cope with. It’s terrific that you’ve managed to walk even a short distance, and must be a great relief for you to be mobile again, even though it must a gradual process. Take it easy and enjoy all the goodies you’ve been buying from us! I too think Decleor have done an incredible job with their new mandarin essential oils and balm – I’m with Fiona on Saturday at 10pm so am hoping they will be in the show! And delighted too that you’ve been with me on Thursday nights for the Diamonique show too – the eternity rings were pretty, and I am delighted that you’ve chosen to keep both – you so deserve them :) I hope that inspite of all that you’ve had to face you have had a chance to enjoy the sunny weather, and that it warmed your soul and worked its healing magic on you – take care and stay strong, with my love, Ali xx

  36. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm -  Reply

    Louise thank you, and you’re right, it is good to commit to doing something that takes you out of your comfort zone, although unlike my mum, who’d read all about it, I wasn’t fully aware of just how challenging it was going to be! The weather of course changed things dramatically and I’m sure it would have been far easier in the dry. But, that said, I feel it’s a bit like having a baby, the less you know in advance the better :) And, yes definitely it was all made possible due to Colin and Ros’s kindness and care – don’t think we’d have made it past the second check point if not. I am in awe of you abseiling down Cheddar Gorge! That really would have been a bridge too far for me.. not that I’m too scared of heights just scared of falling! :) As far as what’s next… THE WEDDING! :) Have a great week, love Ali xx

  37. alison keenan May 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm -  Reply

    Lynn, thank you for my cwtches – I remembered the word as my Welsh friend Julie has mentioned it to me before now, and also our Clogau Gold guest too I’m sure. Very sweet of you – just waiting for my certificate to come through now as proof! Have a great week, Love Ali xx

  38. Alana May 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, great blog. Your cakes look fab! Please can you put the recipes and instructions on how to make them in future blogs if you have the time, would love to try and create them and get a few tips! P.s well done on completing the challenge, you did amazing :-)

  39. Jilly May 20, 2014 at 9:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali – I am back again with a few more minutes to blog to you and your Army – Annie and family went home this evening so the house is very quiet – we are wondering round rather lost but….. so good that Annie feels well enough to manage at home. The op went very well (took a long time) but the Arnica taken for two weeks before and two weeks after helped no end. She had the results of the breast tissue twhich was taken away on the reduction side and all is very good – you and everyone in the same position will know how she felt when hearing that and how she skipped out of the hospital. She goes back in 3 or 4 months to see if she needs the lippo part again but until then can just build herself up some more knowing that the end is nearer. Annie’s husband is on Vit. D and folic acid and feeling so much better for taking these – otherwise he is doing very well.
    I am still thrilled beyond that you did the three peaks Ali and have to say again how fantastic you are. How wonderful your mum has blogged – brought a tear to my eyes if I am honest – it was just so nice to “hear” from her.
    Alpa I do hope that you are feeling much better now. Thank you for recommending the book for my mum – my husband ordered it and she has it for dipping into when she sits for a cuppa.
    Janet I do hope little Alfie has recovered from his latest eye op. How lovely to have him for the weekend – what a treat. Delighted to hear all is good with you and the scan showed nothing it shouldn’t – you will also know how Annie felt with getting her results.
    I loved your flowers on the last blog Ali – how exciting to be planning your wedding.
    Do you remember that wonderful Nina Leonard dress you wore a while back Ali and I loved it – well we have it now – I say we because Annie and I will “share it” – don’t quite look as good as you do in it but…. still love it.
    Looking forward to your next update but not sure how you can beat the three peaks!!! Love Jilly XX

  40. loraine plumb May 21, 2014 at 3:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi alison really good website you are so interesting to read about and a lovely person hope your wedding plans are going well I’m sure they are I’m sure your children are proud I too have two lovely grown up children it’s what keeps you focused wishing you continued health and happiness love Loraine x

  41. loraine plumb May 21, 2014 at 8:48 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali glad you are doing ok after your endless operations you are very brave and always cheerful your website is really good hope your wedding plans are going ok your family must be looking forward to it I have a son and daughter who I am very proud of as I’m sure you are of yours good luck with your plans I wish you health and happiness love loraine xxx

  42. Jan May 24, 2014 at 4:26 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    Well done on completing the 3 Peaks, I know from experience how tough it is particularly when the weather is so unforgiving. I too did most of the walk with water sloshing in my boots after going thigh deep in a bog coming off Pen y Ghent. It gives you an immense sense of achievement when you conquer the elements as well as the hills. To do what you have done after the trials and tribulations of the last few years is amazing, I admire your spirit and good humour so much – carpe diem.
    Lots of love to you and Colin xxx

  43. linda richards May 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    What a girl you are. You must be very proud of you and your friend Chris. Hope you are both well after your ordeal. You never cease to amaze me. Keep well God Bless.
    Lots Love Linda

  44. Barbara Corbett May 24, 2014 at 8:59 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali you are so brave after all you have been through. I dont have the same energy I had before I had my cancer . But I am still here so that’s a plus . Hope your wedding plans are going well Take Care Love Barbara x

  45. Judith Sowden May 27, 2014 at 10:30 am -  Reply

    Wow!!! Well done Alison, I am amazed at your courage & determination, I have just read your blog, & saw the photo of you on your twitter feed, & loved the dress you were wearing, is it available on QVC, its the one where you are holding up a handbag

  46. Alison Keenan May 27, 2014 at 11:09 am -  Reply

    Hi there Alana, and thanks for writing to me , and it’s lovely to know you enjoy reading the blogs, as I really enjoy writing them. . I will definitely put the recipe in for the cake next time, and a feed tips about the icing, altho it’s different each time I make one! Keep in touch, love Ali xx

  47. Alison Keenan May 27, 2014 at 11:13 am -  Reply

    Dear Loraine, I’m glad you had a chance to look at the website – I am delighted with it, and it’s nice that everything links together with QVC and BCC too. I hope you’ll stay in touch via the blog as so many of us write to each other here. I’m sure your children are very proud of you too, and I hope you have plenty of time with them – must admit I don’t see my three as often as I’d like, but they’re all doing well :) take care, and thanks for writing to me, love Ali

  48. Alison Keenan May 27, 2014 at 11:22 am -  Reply

    Dear Jilly thanks so much for bringing us all up to speed with Annie’s recovery, and I am really pleased for her that everything has gone according to plan. Wonderful too that he breast tissue taken was clear of disease – that must have been a relief! It does take a couple of months for things to settle down, but hopefully she won’t need to have anything else changed :) Glad also to hear that your son in law is improving, you must be feeling very relieved to know that both of them are getting stronger and will enjoy the summer far more because of it. How lovely you bought the dress, and I’m sure both you and Annie look great in it. I wish I had ordered mine before it sold out – the colours were beautiful. TSV today from Lenny and if there’s any left I think I’ll be wearing the orange one tonight at 6pm! It’s my last night on air for a while as Colin and I are heading back to Nashville, but I will be blogging again before I leave :) I too hope that Alpa is feeling stronger and that Janet’s Alfie continues to improve. You take care Jilly and keep in touch – will give you a wave this evening :) love Ali x

  49. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv May 27, 2014 at 5:31 pm -  Reply

    hi aliso hope you and colin and family are well i am not bad off on sunday for 2weeks hols to sunny tenerife

  50. Judith Lennon May 27, 2014 at 8:27 pm -  Reply

    Hello wonderful lady!
    You never cease to amaze me the challenges you set yourself and your wonderful achievements. No words are good enough to describe how well you’ve done this time!!!!!! What will be next I wonder …. I think it’s time to step back for a while and have some you time. You have nothing to prove to anyone except yourself.
    I’ve been busy over the last few weeks with family and catching up with some friends but have read your last two blogs with amazement hence the reason I haven’t been in touch. Anyway after a short nights sleep of a couple of hours due to returning from holiday at 5 am this morning I decided to catch up with you before my husband and I spent the day looking after our youngest granddaughter. We. missed her so much whilst we were away in the sunshine for two weeks and my how’s she’s come on in such a short time. It will be another few days before we catch up with our other lovely granddaughter as they are away for a few days also. However we were in touch with both of them through the wonderful invention of face time. The world is getting much smaller now with they fabulous things we have in our lives isn’t it?
    I’m now trying to get used to the drop in temperature in the UK and working through the dirty laundry! Well that’s my news to date so will close by sending you lots of love and hugs as always. Judithxx

  51. Tricia Coulson-wood May 29, 2014 at 12:21 am -  Reply

    Hello. Ali and everyone, I have been reading your blogs but have not been able to write for a while.My daughter Jan is doing well and it’s now 15 months since she was diagnosed. Like so many of you she is progressing steadily. She still has numbness in her legs and feet which we hope will improve more. Did any of you have this side effect with your chemotherapy?.one really strange thing that has happened is that she has now acquired is CURLY HAIR ?. She has all her life up to losing it with the chemotherapy had straight hair. It does look lovely but it’s really strange to see. I sent her direct to her home via qvc Phillip Kingsley shampoo for thick curly hair in the hope it will relax it a bit. She has used it a couple of times and feels it is taming it somewhat.
    I have been off the radar these past six months as I developed complications following my heart surgery.
    I hope that I am now on the road to recovery but it has been a hard protracted journey.
    Well done Ali on the mammoth walk you did..I bet your legs and feet were past the pain threshold and numb by the time you got to the end of it. Amazing. Lots of love to jilly , I am so pleased Annie and hubby are doing well and love to all the girls and boys who are in contact with you. Tricia x

  52. Chris Page May 30, 2014 at 11:16 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali and fellow Ali’s Army recruits
    Just a short message to let you know that I’m 7 days post-op from minor suregery and home recuperating. Still a bit sore, but that’s to be expected. At least I’m healing well.

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