Days like this

Knowing when you feel content is a tough trick in life. Is this harder or easier for someone, like me, battling with a long-term illness like cystic fibrosis (CF)*?

Being ‘in the moment’ (as is the modern parlance) and realising when life feels right or even perfect is a wonderful sensation for any of us. When it happens to me I have a sense of tranquillity; where I feel balanced and almost invincible. Simply put, I just feel utterly happy to be alive and grateful for all my blessings. I’m delighted ‘as is’ instead of wanting ‘to be’.
Recently I had the fortune to enjoy a whole day of such joy…

7:00AM It all started on a Saturday morning. I had got up early with Felix. As he’d done so well at school I had bought him a new Tintin book (In America) which he’d been wanting for a while. I left it downstairs for him to find as a surprise. On seeing it on the lounge table, he did a double-take and with unbridled joy performed his ‘happy dance’!

8:00AM We both enjoyed that Saturday morning luxury of not having to rush about as we would normally do on a work day/school run. While eating porridge we watched the ‘Despicable Me 2’ film which always makes us guffaw and features our favourite song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams. Katie joined us for breakfast before driving off to near-by Kingston to go shopping.

9:30AM While Felix was getting changed, I took the chance to quickly view my emails and read a note from my recent CF acquaintance, Lucy Watson, who lives in Australia but originally comes from England – not only have we been mentoring each other on CF survival tips and health supplements but it turns out that both our mums knew each other from CF fundraising decades ago. Proof if ever needed that this is a small world.

10:30AM We met up with my twin brother Jez and his partner Julie and in the lush Spring weather we first visited the lovely grounds of a Buddhist Temple in Wimbledon before spending the rest of the morning and lunch in Wimbledon Park; a stone’s throw from the Wimbledon Tennis Championship courts.
It was the beginning of a glorious day with blue skies, bright sunshine, daffodils blossoming – a welcome break from the months of heavy rain that England has endured. It quite literally put a spring in our step as we trekked around this beautiful park.

12:15PM Before lunch Felix was feeling peckish so Jez offered him a tube of refresher sweets. Turns out that Jez carries sweets on his person whenever he meets me to mitigate against any diabetic hypo I might suffer – such a caring and thoughtful gesture and typical of him. Felix appreciated the gift as well!
This was followed by a game of crazy golf with Felix – I was delighted that he’d improved his technique and was now prepared to wait for me to finish putting on each hole before speeding off to the next tee.

13:30PM After dropping Jez and Julie at the top of Wimbledon Hill, we had a brief rendezvous back at home with Katie before I got changed into my field hockey kit and drove to the Bank of England sports ground in Roehampton for my London Edwardians league game against a strong Kenley team.

14:30PM I was asked to start the match. During the warm up, I reflected on the recent tough IV treatment I’d endured where I’d undergone grave doubts whether I’d be fit enough to play hockey again, let alone actually start a game. When in the midst of a depressing IV session, which can drag me down like quick sand, there are absolutely no guarantees of playing sport again or being properly active. When walking up a flight of stairs can cause me untold breathlessness, the thought of playing competitive sport is furthest from my mind.

Whenever I play hockey these days, just being on the astroturf pitch brings back salient memories of my dad, rest his soul. I always look to the sky as I start every game and have a quiet chat with him, which helps me to feel his presence once again. He hardly missed any of my games when he was alive and it invigorates me to think he catches every game from the lofty heights above.

16:30PM We had a hard-fought and much deserved 3-1 win over Kenley which at times tested my fitness and lung capacity to the extreme. This was followed by the usual post-game team refreshments in the bar along with all the sporting rituals of naming ‘man of the match’ and ‘idiot of the day’. (I was not named for the latter award in case you were wondering). It was in the bar that I began to feel that happy glow of post-exertion tiredness that envelopes me like a snug duvet and emphasises exactly what I’ve physically put myself through.

18:00PM Back home for family time, Felix bath and his bed time reading of the new Tintin book. It brought back sweet memories when I was a child as I used to enjoy reading and being read these books by my parents.

19:00PM Once my boy is asleep, I’ve got a short window to sit at my laptop and edit another chapter of my forthcoming CF-related book which is due for publication in early May. I recently discovered through email correspondence that the publisher’s proofer of my book has a young brother with CF and she was shocked and pleasantly surprised to review a book about the illness – another small world moment!

20:00PM I had some light dinner with Katie before popping out to Balham in London for my hockey friend Tina’s birthday drinks; which allowed me to catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen for a while and to celebrate the earlier hockey win. Beer always tastes better after a sporting win…

23:45PM Back home on the tube before midnight for a well-earned sleep. Lying in bed, Katie stirred which allowed me to hold her hand briefly without waking her up. As I drifted off to sleep, I reflected back on the day that had just occurred. It was an extraordinarily busy but wonderful day. It was a special day, despite the fact that I still fitted in all my CF and diabetes medication. (I purposely decided not to highlight the actual array of treatments during this day, but rather focus on the good moments).

A constant stream of love, joy and happiness pervaded through the whole day. Although it didn’t merit performing my own version of Felix’s happy dance, I was positively buzzing inside. I felt pure gratitude. Today was a memento for me to treasure always.

It served as a timely reminder that happy days can often be just around the corner which is particularly uplifting following some dispiriting times, like my recent IV treatment. It provided another deposit in the ‘Tim Wotton Bank of Hope & Well-being’ that gets severely pilfered during the rough times when my health crashes.

From my own experience and that of others I know, people with a life-threatening condition have a pronounced ability to not only identify but to fully appreciate magic moments and days as they contrast so strikingly with the usual daily hardship.

Indeed, I strive to defy the ravages of CF in order to keep as well as possible to be ready for and enjoy days like this.

‘Oh, such a perfect day
… just keep me hanging on’

Lou Reed – Perfect Day

I will keep you posted on my life affirming moments, trials and tribulations as and when they happen. Please keep reading and sharing my blog and sign-up (on the right hand side tab) if you have not already done so.

Yours cup half full.

Tim Wotton

* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,000 people. The condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with the condition, however, each week, three young lives are also lost to it. There is currently no cure for CF. However, existing gene therapy trials in the UK are bringing people with the illness closer to a form of cure but CF is not that well known and would benefit from more public donations. For more information and to find out more view the CF Trust Website.


About Tim Wotton

I live with my lovely wife (Katie) and spirited ten-year old son (Felix) in Morden, Surrey; working full-time as an internal communications specialist in the Oil & Gas sector. I have played sport, particularly hockey, tennis all my life and now regularly go to the gym. Cystic fibrosis has been a huge factor in my life, but not one that overshadows it. I have always had great support from my loving family - parents Margaret and Douglas (RIP), elder brother Chris and my twin brother Jez. I have many rich life insights based on knowing I have a reduced life expectancy and battling against the odds for over 44 years. My eyes and heart have been opened by my health struggle. I feel empowered to share my life lessons to help anyone with health and life issues to overcome. My passions include Paul Smith clothes, dress shirts (believing that it's enlightening to dress like it's your last day on earth), Alfa Romeo cars, spicey food, Harlequins and England rugby, Southampton FC, Wimbledon village and common, Dorset, seascapes, sunsets and military history. I am available for public speaking on this subject matter and can be contacted via timwottonAThotmailDOTcom. I have written a book 'How have I cheated death?' based on my euphoric countdown year to 40 which was published in 2014 and won the 2015 'Best Achievement' Award at the UK People's Book Prize. It is available via e-book, audiobook and paperback at Amazon and to order from UK bookstores. Go to the relevant sites below or in the UK go to a WH SMITH, Waterstones or Foyles bookstore and give them my name, book title and this ISBN number (9781849637190). It’s also available via GARDNER’S, BERTRAM’S, AUSTINMACAULEY.COM, BLACKWELL’S, PLAY.COM, AMAZON.CO.UK AND AMAZON.COM
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33 Responses to Days like this

  1. Tom Hillier says:

    Here’s to many more days like this one Tim. x

  2. easydan says:

    Oh, such a perfect day… just keep me hanging on’
    Lou Reed – Perfect Day

    Positive Mental Attitude…..way to go Tim….happy days…

  3. Patricia Ross says:

    A wonderful read, thank you.

  4. lesley porter says:

    You remind us that we are all blessed. Thankyou Tim. xxx

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Dear Lesley, it’s always good to remind oneself of the blessings rather than concentrate too long on the dark nature of CF. Easier said than done at times though…


  5. Alex Osborne says:

    Great post Tim – love this one lots. Puts the more trivial aspects of life into perspective. Thank you xx

  6. Tom says:

    Got to say much of what you say Tim is true of my grandson. His weekends at the moment are spent doing his passion, Parkouring. To watch him jump over walls, balance on railings, and do this with a passion is wonderful to see. He lives to go Parkouring with his friends and even when he is in hospital he tries to get out doing a bit even when ill, with his tube feed dangling out of his stomach and before, his port covered up. He enjoys going to his Evolve gym and training. I think seems to be a common trait with CFer’s and helps them keep well.

    I am sure there are days that he has like yours and its great to read about your regime, its an inspiration to us all, never mind just CFers.

    • Tom says:

      and further to this have just learnt he has gone partially deaf in the right ear due to Thyroid problems as he had some form of tumour on it which half of it was removed last year. His only worry was whether he could still do his parkouring and would it fall out!!!

      Never mind he has a really smart black and silver one, cause to be jealous as it just looks like a bluetooth device!!

      • Tim Wotton says:

        Hi Tom
        Sounds like your grandson has that drive to push on no matter what CF (and now this thyroid) throws at him. Do pass on my best to him and let him know it’s ok to reach out to chat with me as and when he feels the need. We CFers ought not to be lonely even if we cannot spend time with each other face to face.

  7. Kelley McGhee (Scott McGhee) says:

    Thanks, Tim. A good day; a good read; a good reminder.
    The simple things (sunshine) and subtle gestures (hand holding) combined with the scrapbook worth events (happy dance) create life — a full life; a fulfilling life.
    Keep living, keep writing.

    Cup half full indeed.

  8. Victoria says:

    What a wonderful day… Thank you for sharing… And keep us posted about your book… X

  9. Chloe Bennett says:

    Very inspiring and lovley to read! i look forward to reading more! 🙂

  10. Jo Cherry says:

    Tim I always love to see an email to tell me you have written again. Loved this one…totally empathise with it.

  11. jez wotton says:

    Indeed it was a lovely day & i’m glad Tim didn’t mention Uncle Jez showing off to Felix by trying to jump the stream & almost going for an (early) mud bath!

    Just out of interest the fizzy, sherbert sweets that Felix so enjoyed are called ‘Smarties’ and are similar to Swizzles matlow’s, ‘Fizzers’ but i got them in San Francisco at the end of last year – another good reason to go back there & stock up for my nephew!

    Great blog, bro – Now bring on the book!

  12. Witnessing how poorly Tim was during his recent most unpleasant IV treatment and particularly the 17 days he was with me in Southampton, it was a tonic for me to read his recent blog. One has to go ‘through the rough’ to ‘get to the smooth’ and the recent spell of warm was his tonic.
    Then came the London smog, a mother never stops worrying!

    • Tim Wotton says:

      My dearest mum, you see the rough and the smooth, the bad and the good but I hope, like me, the happy moments shine through and leave the richest memories.
      All my love
      Tim x

  13. Lucy Watson says:

    Thank you for the inspiring and uplifting blog post Tim. I am honoured to have featured in your joyful day 🙂

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Tim-thank you for reminding me that a good day or hour may be right around the corner. If I stay alert, I may not miss it.
    …….. ·.¸.·´
    …… ¸.·´
    ….. (
    / \

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Dear Elizabeth, there are some amazingly dark moments/hours and days battling CF. One good moment, hour or day can help wipe the slate clean and boost us for more good times ahead.

      Bless you

  15. Ann Hirst says:

    What a gorgeous post Tim. It really made me smile. And then I read the comment from your mum and your reply and now I have a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. I’ve never known anyone quite like you for making people laugh and cry with such consistency. You bloody sod.
    Keep up the BRILLIANT work, look forward to the book.
    Lots of love Ann xxx
    PS. Sorry, I missed your birthday, I hope it was a good one xxx

  16. sue kruk says:

    Wise words as always, Tim. ”One good moment, hour or day”. Take care. Looking forward to your next offering.

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