WE used to go abroad two or three times a year. A spring break, a couple of weeks in the summer and a week of winter sun. Sounds a bit indulgent, I know, but when we got married eight years ago we pledged to make the very most of our time together while our health was good.

We were no spring chickens when we walked down the aisle but we had fallen deeply in love and our enthusiasm for life and laughter and joy was rejuvenating. And then, like an unwelcome wrecking ball, I was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

But we haven’t let it wreck us though – as we still have our joyous moments and we do still laugh together. When it comes to getting away from it all, however, that’s been on hold since March 2019 when the consultant delivered the news. The only time we’ve been away from the house has been when I was an inpatient in a ward of Crosshouse Hospital or in Clydebank’s Golden Jubilee Hospital.

September 15th was our wedding anniversary so we took our brave pills and decided – after 18 months without a holiday break – to book a sea-front cottage in Rothesay on Bute for a few days.

We had no intention of dining out, visiting a pub or even going into a shop so we got a supermarket home delivery, packed the car and headed for the ferry port at Wemyss Bay. We were actually as excited as kids going on a plane for the first time… only, in our case it was a change of cage for the first time in 18 months.

We spent our days walking the beaches of Bute and the Rothesay promenade with our Boxer dog Mishka. In the evenings we’d read and cook and watch the ferries come and go. Bliss.

To add a bit of an edge to our walks we signed up to walk 50 miles over the three days of the Kilt Walk to raise some money for The Herald Covid-19 Memorial Garden. No kilts were worn but we both had a tartan scarf and plenty of generous sponsorship support from pals and family to spur us on.

Our challenge was 25 miles each, spread over three days – so that’s only a step or twenty more than eight miles each per day. I hadn’t walked any more than four or five miles in any one day since losing a lung and starting my chemotherapy but with plenty of encouragement from Laura we achieved our goal and delivered £1,240 to help create a wonderful remembrance garden in Pollok Park on Glasgow’s south side.

Now that beats lazing on a Tenerife beach any day!

Ally McLaws is managing director of the McLaws Consultancy, specialist in business marketing and reputation management. All back copies of this column are available at www.mclawsconsultancy.com