"Bora da, rwyn gobethio bod mae
I gyd mewn iechyd da"

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Parachute jumps

Although I don't care for long haul flights these days, since I was diagnosed with MS I have done 2 tandem charity parachute jumps!

One jump was at 10,000ft and the second was at 16,000ft. I didn't particularly enjoy doing them, but I was keen to do something to help raise funds for our local MS Society branch, where I was secretary.

I was always quite happy to arrange house-to-house, in-store and street collections. But no way would I stand anywhere holding a box and giving away flags - and have the public pity me? No way!

As I was determined to raise some money though, as I knew of many folk with MS far more ill than myself, and I wanted to help.

I happened to be watching a programme on the TV, that featured a lady was suggesting different ways of raising money for charity. I was getting fed up listening to her as I knew I couldn't do sponsored swimming, cycle riding, or any of the physical activities that she was suggesting. Then she mentioned that sponsored parachute jumps were very good money-raisers.

I thought that however disabled one may be, anyone could jump out of an aeroplane!

So I phoned the number that she gave, and the parachute jump idea started from there. The jumps turned out to be very good money-raisers, and seemed more dramatic than having one's head shaved.

But I was rather disappointed, as when you're over 50 they won't let you jump by yourself! Instead, 'they' prefer that you do a 'tandem' parachute jump (strapped to another person).

I did two charity tandem parachute jumps, and raised a lot of money for our local branch. Why not give it a try yourself!

Sunday, November 2, 2003

Flying high

Our eldest son lives in Australia. He is a vet, and his lovely wife Jane is a hospital administrator.

The last time my wife and I went out there to visit them was 12 years ago, when we had to endure a 26-hour flight, with a stopover in Singapore. Never again!

There is no more boring form of travel than flying at 38,000ft, as one can't see anything down below!

I remember we flew over Moscow to avoid the Iraqi air space, but for all we knew, we could have been flying over Birmingham!

Whilst we were flying over India, the stewardess told me that the pilot had noticed that a farmer was on board. Turns out he used to have a farm himself (in Australia) and fancied a chat with me!

The stewardess asked me if I could climb up some stairs into their cockpit. I told her that I would be delighted!

When I arrived in their cabin, the pilot and the navigator had their backs to the window. I asked them hadn't they better look where they were going in case another aircraft was coming towards us! "No problem, Cobber! If there is anything within 80 kilometres of us we will be told over the radio!"

As a computer was in charge of actually flying the aircraft, they were very bored, and grateful to compare notes of farming in the UK and Australia.

In fact, all the Australians we met on our trip were everso laid back and easy going.

I haven't been out there since, but my wife has been back a couple of times. The last time she was there the temperature was over 40c, so I was glad that I hadn't also gone with her!

Sunday, September 28, 2003


I have now had an electric lift fitted into my new house and am living full-time in our new home.

Our son Russ, an ex-double undisputed World Champion Kickboxer, has the ground floor of the house fitted out as a gym, where he holds classes in self defence. The classes are very popular with ladies in particular. Margaret and I have the first floor of the house, and Russ has the top floor all to himself, with an ensuite bathroom.

We're moving into Autumn now in Wales. I have always preferred the Spring time rather the Autumn for a number of reasons, not least because the days get shorter and the weather gets colder come Autumn.

I have always detested our British policy of turning our clocks back an hour in the winter. Why must we do this?! It's certainly not helpful to farmers as far as I'm concerned.

Cows are creatures of habit, so when we were milking our Guernsey herd, I would turn the darn clock back half an hour, and a week later turn it back the other half hour, so not to upset the cows' routine too much!

Yes, complaining about the weather is a favourite passtime for us in the UK. Though in reality we shouldn't complain, as we are very fortunate that we don't get the violent storms, hurricanes, typhoons, powerful whirlwinds and dreadfully long droughts like they have in Australia for example, where our eldest son lives.

But why can't we have BST (British Summer Time) all the year round?!

Monday, August 25, 2003

Respite home

Glyn is in a respite nursing home at the moment while he waits for his stairlift to be installed in his new home. But does this stop him from writing a blog entry? No way! Glyn writes...

I turned 73 in May, but some days I feel like I'm going on 90.

As they, say one is as old as they feel, but I still maintain that although I have MS and prostate cancer, I'm one of the lucky ones. My MS is the relapsing remitting type, and at the present time, I'm in remission.

But when I do have a relapse I go just like a lump of jelly, and my wife cannot cope with me. So we have a couple of carers in every morning to shower and dress me.

Sometimes my diabetes goes berserk. Recently, instead of its normal 8, it went up over 40, and whilst I was hospitalised, they woke me every 2 hours for blood tests. I had an intravenous drip, instead of my normal 4 tablets a day which normally keeps my diabetes in check.

My diabetes always has to be sorted out, before any remedial therapy for either an MS relapse or cancer therapy can go ahead.

The prostate cancer's prognosis is very good. Instead of going onto Chemo or Radium therapy, I signed a declaration that I was willing to go onto a new therapy. I was very fortunate to be on this new therapy.

There are apparently, only 90 of us in the UK on this therapy.

In the first week, I had to visit the hospital every day. On top of providing meals for my wife and myself, I was given some injections in my tummy and my heart and some blood tests. Then in the second week we went in 3 times a week. Then only twice a week. And now, as the blood tests and heart monitor are satisfactory, I only go in once a month, so I most certainly thank God for that.

Until my electric lift is installed at hom I am at this very pleasant respite nursing home, and feel very fortunate indeed.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Selling up

We recently held a sale of all our 'dead stock' tractors, farm implements. etc. Buyers came from many miles.

Included in the sale was my Susuki quad bike, which I cannot mount or dismount now, even with help.

We sold our Guernsey herd - 70 milker cows, plus their followers - a couple of years ago. The only livestock that remain to be sold are 300 sheep.

Selling the farm and its contents and animals has been very traumatic for me. Purely because of the nostalgia.

In a few weeks time myself, my wife Margaret and my son Russ will move for the first time into a private house without any adjoining land.

Even though we will no longer have a farm to look after, it will be very busy at our new house.

Russ will have the ground floor for his gym, and the first floor will belong to Margaret and I. Russ will live on the top floor.

A lift is being fitted for me to help me get up the stairs. Once work on the lift is completed, we'll be ready to go!

Monday, May 5, 2003

Keeping warm

Being a farmer, spring is my favourite time of the year.

March, April and May herald the coming of summer. All growth becomes alive. Hedges and trees start to bud. And the grass in our fields that our animals need for grazing becomes lush and green.

Here in North East Wales, where we are 900 feet above sea level, our spring arrives a couple of weeks later than it does for the lowland farmers.

One of the great joys of spring is the arrival of snowdrops. But alas, this year there were no snowdrops at all. This is because we were recently forced to replace our herd of 70 Guernsey cows with around 400 sheep and lambs, and the little perishers ate everything, including my beautiful snowdrops!

You might wonder how someone with MS copes on the farm, with so much of the work being outdoors in the cold and wet. But nowadays farm work is so different from how it was in older times.

I began my farming career over 60 years ago. Back then, all physical work was done by hand. Cows were milked by hand at a rate of 16 cows per day.

These days there are machines to perform this task.

Before tractors were invented, all the land work was done (very peacefully, in fact) with horses. Someone ploughing with two horses, could plough about one acre a day. Now it's possible with the larger tractors to plough 30 acres or more per day.

As for keeping warm, I had two great coats. One was an ex-army coat and the other ex-fire brigade! I preferred the ex-fire brigade coat as it had a finer weave cloth so I could move about easily while still keeping warm.

I also wore three sacks about my person, one as a hood on my head, one as a cape over my shoulders, and the third as a skirt! Anything to keep warm!

Thankfully, farming is a lot less physically demanding these days, which means I have been able to keep working on my farm despite having MS!

Saturday, April 5, 2003

Cannabis research

In 1980, I found I was constantly fatigued and kept stumbling about as if I was drunk, falling over for no apparent reason. I broke my ribs twice. I continued to stumble about, refusing to give in, until my wife Margaret insisted that I went to visit our family Doctor.

After some tests he told me that he wanted me to go into hospital. I told him, angrily, that no way was I going into any ruddy hospital as I was far too busy working on my farm to indulge in the 'luxury' of spending time idle in bed.

My GP told me bluntly that he suspected that I could have a tumour on my spine, which if not seen to could develop into something serious. So I reluctantly agreed to go into hospital, but only after I had completed our spring work. Once in hospital I was told that they had some good news, and some not so good news. The good news was that I didn't have a spinal tumour, but they were 99% sure that I had Multiple Sclerosis. Further tests, such as a lumbar puncture, proved this was true.

Unfortunately my condition deteriorated. And a few years later, they also diagnosed that I had prostate cancer and diabetes.

Of course, I fought hard not to let these stupid ailments stop me working and tried all sorts of remedial treatments, including HBO (Hyberaric Oxygen).

After I was diagnosed with cancer, the neurologist prescribed morphine sulphate, which did helped more than the usual pain relievers like paracetamol. But then I read an article in the press about Jeff Ditchfield, who wanted to open an Amsterdam-type 'coffee shop' in Rhyl from where, on receipt of a Doctor's letter confirming that one does have MS, pure cannabis could be obtained, free of charge.

I have been lobbying MPs for a number of years to have cannabis legalised for people with MS who experience great pain. I used to be a local councillor, and appeared on the front page of our Daily Post with my photograph and a headline in block capitals that read 'Ex-councillor wants cannabis legalised'!

I think it's most unfair that people with MS who want to use cannabis for pain relief have to go to some backstreet drug supplier to obtain it. I have been taking cannabis four times a day for a few months now and the effects have been excellent, improving my quality of life tremendously. I have no hesitation in recommending cannabis to others with MS or cancer.

I read a statement which was issued by the House of Lords two years ago which stated: 'We now have sufficient evidence to convince us that a doctor should be able to prescribe cannabis (taken orally, not smoked) legitimately to an MS patient without fear of prosecution'. Yet still it remains unavailable to many of us who could benefit from it.

More information about the medicinal use of cannabis is available at www.helpcannabisresearch.org.

Friday, March 7, 2003


I'm not always sure whether it's a pleasant honour, or just a nerve racking ordeal, but I have been on the television numerous times over the past 20 years!

About 12 years ago, I was asked by the BBC if I would appear on a 'Songs of Praise' programme, which went off very well. When Cliff Mitchelmore asked me for my choice of hymn, I told him that I would like the hymn 'Count your Blessings'. Cliff asked me why I, having MS, would choose that particular hymn. I told him that as I had a wife and 5 disgustingly healthy children and the law of averages would say that one of us should fall ill, I thank God that it was myself, and not one of my excellent family who fell ill.

Since then, and for different themes, I've been on TV many more times. Not because I'm good looking or anything like that!

Before this wretched MS put a stop of my being an unopposed District and Community councillor (a priviledge which I loved), and was quite happy talking in public and made several TV appearance.

After MS arrived on the scene I was asked to go on TV again, this time because in our MS Branch I was the only Welsh speaker.

Back in 1980, I was one of four people with MS who kept a HBO (hyberbaric oxygen) unit at Saltney (near Chester) going. It's still going strong now, with many other therapies now available. TV crews have been there a number of times, and yes, inevitably, with muggins has been on it!

This last month, I have been on the television twice again, both times on the S4c channel and in speaking in my native language, Welsh! I spoke of how I am coping with my MS and the fact that we are moving from our farm in the next month or so.

I was also sure to mention the tremendous benefit I have experienced through taking cannabis, which I am able to acquire on receipt of a doctor's letter confirming that I genuinely have MS. The cannabis is available free, in delicious Belgium chocolate. I have found cannabis even more effective than the morphine sulphate that I was prescribed after it was confirmed that I had a cancerous tumour, 2 years ago.

So if you live in Wales keep an eye out, because you never know when I'll be making my next TV appearance!

Sunday, February 2, 2003


I've had many problems in my early life, but now I also thank God that he is keeping me relatively well. Because, in spite of the fact that I have MS, in these past 22 years I have also had to deal with brucellosis, diabetes and now also cancer.

But in spite of these thorns in my flesh I've been fortunate to receive excellent medical care, from my wife and our National Health Service.

Many times I've been admitted into hospital, and have witnessed how dreadfully ill some folk are.

The longest stay I've had at one time was 6 weeks, after a nasty MS relapse. When I have a relapse, my diabetes goes haywire. On that occasion my blood diabetes sugar tests went from 8 up to 48! But it's an ill wind that blows only bad things.

On othis occasion I'd been completely confined to bed and my excellent District Nurse had come every day to attend to me. I was stubbornly refusing to obey her order to go into hospital, telling her that it was pointless my as there was nothing that they could do there.

One morning I asked my wife Marg if she would bring my beloved pipe into my bedroom, telling her that if I should start coughing, she could have it straight back. Marg brought my pipe for me and as soon as I lit it I started coughing, so of course I could not smoke.

The following morning I was completely immobilised and only semi conscious. I couldn't do anything and an ambulance had to come and take me into hospital for this 6-week stay. When I was taken in, a nurse came every 2 hours for 3 days and nights to attend to me. I would just be falling asleep and the nurse would call me for another blood test and injection.

But they managed to stabilise the diabetes. I also had an intravenous insulin injection.

When I eventually came back home I straight away asked my wife for my pipe. She told me that one day when she went into town she had seen an old man who looked miserable, cold and poor. So she gave him my 3 pipes, my tobacco and my brand new gas electronic lighter that a friend had brought home for me! The ruddy lot! Gone!

The best thing that she has ever done for me was making me give up smoking.

Prior to this as I was such a heavy pipe smoker. Quite frankly, I would have walked through our town without my pants, but never without my pipe!

Now, nearly 4 years later, I am very much an anti-smoker, and it annoys me when I see, even on modern films, young people smoking, making it look 'cool' to smoke.

Thursday, January 2, 2003


We had, as usual, a very hectic, but superbly pleasant Christmas.

I say 'hectic' because for the past 40 years or so, on the Sunday before Christmas, we've always held a large family get together.

As myself and my wife Margaret were (up until recently) responsible for milking our herd of Guernsey cows it was always difficult for us to get away at Christmas. For that reason, these reunions have always been held at our home.

And my most capable wife copes with the extra work very happily. In the beginning it was just brothers, sisters and close friends. But over the years the number of guests has grown and grown. Children and later grandchildren, and their girl/boyfriends.

And of course, Father Christmas always pops in to give us all little presents!

Last year there were 40 people here altogether including the youngsters. We never send any invitations out - they just turn up!

We'll have moved house by next Christmas, and have been informed by our guests that they'll all be coming round to the new house for the get together as per usual!

The new house is going to have one very important adaptation: a stair lift for me and my wheelchair. I'm not steady enough to have an ordinary chair lift, so we will have to install an electric lift, which I can 'drive' my electric wheelchair into. This will take me up through the ceiling, and allow me, on my wheelchair, to get up to the first floor of the 3-storey house.

We have big plans for our new home. The ground floor is for our son Russ and his martial arts gym. The first floor will be inhabited by me and my wife. The top floor will will also belong to Russ, our ex-double world undisputed kick boxing champion! Russ no longer particpates in this sport. However, he keeps very busy teaching self-defence and keep fit classes.

Our move means we will no longer have a farm or a dairy herd to look after. While we're looking forward to moving into our new house, I was very sad to see the cows go.

We hope to move into our new place by March, giving myself and Margaret lots of time to think about how we're going to organise our next big family get together at Christmas 2003!

"Nos da rwyn gobeithio bod newch
chi gyd gall nosweth difyr"