The Great Escape

Simon sat on the cliffs at Boscastle

This year continues to throw changes and hurdles to us all and somehow we have got to late June, but with this comes better weather, long days and a very green garden.  The garden continues to be a great source of enjoyment (and work) but we have both felt the benefit of days outside in the sunshine. We also have invested time in our garden and are reaping the rewards of this,  it is turning into a labour of love for both of us.

This country continues to amaze and frustrate me however,  the recent scenes of peoples disregard for their own and others safety has been pretty monumental.  However, this is a personal and not a political blog but I would just ask that everyone acts with caution and with others in mind.

Whilst Simon was one of the “official shielded” people during this unprecedented time we made the decision that we would go a little further afield, we knew this was a risk but one we were going to take.  With the camper van we have the ability to be completely independent from anyone else, we have everything we need for days out (including the all important loo!) and so we carefully picked our places to go.  We have taken in some pretty great places, and due to the times we are in they have been pretty quiet. We had some help on our first trip out.  We have a truly amazing GP who having spoken to Simon wanted to help him to get out.  He contacted the local police to ask advice and then wrote a letter fro us to take with us explaining the situation of Simons health, this was to make a specific journey to Porthcurno, for those that do not know this is a small village and beach in West Cornwall.  I was incredibly anxious about making this journey but we did and set off on an early Sunday morning.  This was an incredibly surreal experience as the village was completely closed, not a person in sight, shops, cafes boarded up and we were the only people on the beach.  We stayed just over an hour, took in the sea air, enjoyed the sand between our toes and made our way home.

Once the initial small steps in changing the lockdown rules we have also visited Crackington Haven (we had great help in parking and the village were told we would only visit for a short time and were no risk to anyone, thank you to Tara and your Mum for helping us).  Tintagel, Boscastle were also visited, coast paths walked on and a sense of freedom.    The weather has been amazing and we found a fabulous beach that we could go to, park the van on the edge of the beach and sit near the van, so having a “bubble” of isolation and relaxation,  I don’t think either of us ever felt we would be doing this.

Last week we have been to Weymouth, we visited Weymouth last year for the first time and loved the eclectic feel of the place,  there is the ability to sit on a beach with the usual beach front shops, bucket and spades and typical British beach style and then there us the old part of the town.  We had a great day which included visiting great friends on Portland for a cuppa and a lovely walk.

We will continue to visit places and make memories,  we are fortunate to have this time and the ability to do this, and are using our time wisely. 

Simons health continues to be pretty stable at present,  he does not have any significant symptoms of the cancer which we are fortunate for,  he gets days when he is fatigued.  He continues to be watched closely by the oncology team,  we are again waiting for CT results to come in. We know Simons cancer markers have been unstable,  he has also discovered a lump in his neck that needs to been investigated, we take it this is a lymph node and that the cancer is spreading.  He has an appointment coming up  next week and for the first time in months this will be face to face. Whilst this is what we want with the current restrictions this also means that he has to go alone,  this will be the first appointment I am not present at, we are hoping we can use FaceTime and I can have a virtual presence.  

Whilst the Simons physical health is looked after I feel the biggest hurdle for us both is the mental side effects of this disease and our future,  which we know will be cut short as a married couple.  We have days when we both are very down and we have to dig deep to get motivated to do anything,  fortunately we do not have these days at the same time and as always we have each others back during this time and pull the other one through the day but also respecting the other ones needs to just be quiet, sat alone or to just have the presence of the other one with them.  This is our battle and not one that Simon goes through on his own,  night times are still both of our worst times when the darkness can be never ending. 

During this pandemic the focus has clearly been on COVID19, and whilst rightly so there has been a halt in cancer treatments, research trials,  and we know as the restrictions start to ease the oncology teams are going to be swamped with the additional work and catching up.  We know this will affect Simons treatment and access to the service at probably the time we will need it most,  but we also know the team will do everything they can to help us when needed.  We carry on in the vein hope that we can spend sometime with family and friends, creating memories, laughing and enjoying the summer.  2020 is a challenging year for us all, it has been life changing for many and has bought sadness and loss to a lot of people.  

Onwards and upwards Mr C



Holding our nerve


Campervan trips and long waits


  1. Pauline williams

    So glad you’ve been able to get out and enjoy yourselves. Good luck with the next scan and meeting. Keep in touch. Xxx

  2. Mel

    Yeah great to see you out and about on your adventures. Enjoy and keep making those lovely memories. Sending hugs to you both xxx

    • Simon Cowls

      Thanks Mel, oh how different things are now…
      S xx

    • Simon Cowls

      Thank Mel, my my my how things have changed…. and not necessarily for the good

      Hope you are doing well
      S x

  3. Chris Field

    Simon (and Ali!), great to hear and see that you are managing to have some fun in these challenging times. Kathy and I have some very special memories of/from Boscastle and will hopefully revisit some day soon. Stay strong, keep the faith and remember that you have a HUGE fan club out there wishing you both the very best and offering you their love and affection. Fond regards and massive respect, Chris F xx

    • Simon

      Mr Field!
      Thank you
      At times it feels like we are unwilling participants in some twisted horror movie with both of us the lead actors.
      But, we very quickly kick each other up the backside and move on, as you do.
      Thankfully thus far I have avoided the coronavirus and have retained my good looks and charm, (self confidence is flagging though… 😉)



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