Perfectly Frank: Mandie reflects on a busy year

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I spent three hours walking up and down a lovely hill near Denny called Meikle Bin. The benefit of this is I have walked off half my Christmas dinner, got rid of my annoying cold and cough which seems to have lingered on for weeks and finally I tired out my pug, Frank.

Who would have known what beautiful sights there are from the top. This will be the last walk of 2018 and not quite a Munro but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Another Christmas in the bag and it was filled with lots of family time and even more special with our first Christmas with my nephew, Noah. He had a fantastic day. My favourite part is mother Stevenson’s Christmas dinner. It was delicious and finished with home-made trifle in my gran’s honour. My other favourite part is dashing around visiting family and spending quality time together. I was treated to a lot of thoughtful presents and, every year older I get, I think this needs to stop. I am delighted with them all and very appreciative.

I can’t have asked for a better year than 2018 has been. I have had my ups and downs but my biggest achievement is remaining stable from cancer more or less the full year. This has enabled me to continue on my current daily injection regime at the hospital and allowed me to avoid chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Long may this continue. I have so many people to thank for the memories in 2018, the people I see daily in life who really have made this year enjoyable. The old saying is life flies by while having fun which I fully agree with.

On reflection the positives are special birthdays, a marathon, birth of Noah, the birth of my friends’ boys Lewis and Rex, holidays, Munros climbed, weddings, days out, it’s been a phenomenal year.

Good times follow, sadly, with the difficult times and I have watched a few good friends deal with bad news and live through challenging times. One in particular, was the loss of Rae Curr, who is Ross’s granda. Rae slipped away peacefully in Strathcarron Hospice several weeks ago but it feels like just yesterday. Rae always had a big contagious smile on his face and was a true gentleman. Rae will always be in all of our hearts and thoughts and I am sure he is looking after his wife, Anne, from heaven.

I would especially like to thank my parents for everything they do for me. Life feels like a whirlwind and things never stay the same for long. However, I don’t feel scared about my future as long as I have mum and dad with me every step of the way. They mean the world to me and are treasures I appreciate but probably don’t show it enough. My picture for this month’s column is my boyfriend, Ross, who also has enriched 2018 with lots of support and love alongside my mum and dad. My nearest and dearest in the one place enjoying dinner and drinks and, of course, by my side. These are the types of occasions I love and will never forget. I can’t not mention that our fantastic night ended listening to my favourite Ross Fairweather who is Falkirk’s finest talent on the guitar and belting out some classic songs.

Who knows what 2019 will bring! Happy New Year! I wish you all health and happiness.