The phone rang at 7:15am, it was Bev to say that Rachel was at the Airport...the plane was an hour early (mild panic)...but our knight in shining armour (Dave) arrived 5mins later..scooped her up and whoosh she was in the hotel...a brief wave of his gauntlet and Sir Dave was gone!

Enter Bev in sleek limo to pick up Rachel and meet Elaine and they were off to leafy Suffolk and Josie & Tim's big, black, barn. I turned up early evening to join in with the hugging and kissing that seemed to break out periodically and we all went to a restaurant for a fabulous meal and saw our guests try the local legal cider. We got back late to be greeted by our little night-owl Zoe and Joan (Josie's mum)hmmm...think we all slept well that night..

Next day, Wednesday, we trooped off to Framlingham Castle and although the dampish weather was not ideal for arthritis both Rachel and Elaine galloped up the steep staircase to the ramparts. We all took pictures, admired the view and chatted about history....royalty in particular.. Catherine of........can't remember. It was a "chilling out" day so we loaded up with legals, wine, cider and particularly mixed nuts, to have in the car. I still have a bruised shoulder for not passing the bag back to Elaine quickly enough!

Thursday we hit Norwich to do some shopping and touristy stuff, ending up in the Sir Garnet Wolsley pub, sampling a different cider and having some lunch. Elaine and Rachel tried the Smoked Mackerel with cracked pepper and this went down so well Elaine pronounced this the UK's first SCD legal pub. On to the market..where I think we have pics of Elaine trying on a pink feather boa (phwoar!) That evening reinforcements arrived in the shape of Annie & Liz and Yvonne & John (& mounds of food).

Friday, with the lecture in the evening, we set off for London and hit crazy traffic, arriving just a half hour before the start. Ulla and Sunje were there and a near capacity crowd. Elaine (with Rachel & Annie) was fantastic with a mixture of warmth and humour she gradually won them over..I just hope the film captures the atmosphere in the hall. The book signing finished we set off back to Suffolk where, once again, we were greeted by Zoe, who was vying with Elaine for who had the most energy.

Saturday..was the day of the big meeting..over 30 people came from all over Europe to meet Elaine & Rachel. I looked on at Elaine, surrounded by a constantly growing group of people and could hear Rachel's distinctive giggle as she discussed the finer points of Karate with Ciemon. The food, as in all SCD gatherings, was fantastic...we had cheese from Switzerland, Belgian wine and some gorgeous homemade dishes that we'll try to get on the website. Late afternoon, we had a little surprise for our guests...Bev sang 3 laments..causing a tide of emotion to sweep the room followed by applause. You really must listen to Bev singing, (CD available, mail Josie for details), ...she has phenomenal talent!

In the evening quite a few people stayed on....relaxing later Tim and I joined with Ulla (Finland) Sunje (Germany) and Wilfried (Belgium) and watched some of the Eurovision Song Contest. Elaine looked mystified as we explained that we knew all the songs were rubbish but it's sort of so bad, that it's good.

Later, Marilyn sang some science fiction folk songs to Elaine and I...really beautiful...and said that, yes they do use real "Klingon" in some of them!

Off to Oxford on Sunday...but following Christine Pocock's immaculate instructions, the driver ( who prefers to remain anonymous) took the wrong turning on the M25..the motorway that surrounds London. This wasn't too bad, apart from the fact that they had closed it at the next exit due to a major accident and we.. and thousands of others were stuck.We finally met Christine on the outskirts of Oxford ..I believe she did wonders with a reviving meal and stay at her place. Christine then drove Rachel to the airport on Monday and said the goodbyes for all of us to our Listmistress.

Yvonne & John then took Elaine off to the Lake District (Beatrix Potter country!)...then Elaine too, sadly had to go back to Canada.

Thank you to everyone who helped with the visit of these two special people but particularly Dave Pickston and Jo Crowch who have done so much but couldn't make it to the meeting.

Well, a fella called Sebastian rang me a few days after buying BTVC at the lecture and had just started the diet...he is using SCD to combat the effects of schizophrenia and plans to join the List soon... "Little Shoots" Elaine says..

Be well,
Bob

On May 23rd, my son Josh and I arrived at the Toronto Airport, ready to board the plane that would take us to Heathrow Airport, London. This was very much a spur-of-the-moment trip, planned in less than 2 weeks, and I think that my husband and I were both shocked to find ourselves saying our goodbyes at the airport that evening. I was looking forward to the adventure ahead, but at the same time apprehensive, never having travelled without Dan or another trusted adult companion, and as we stood at the airport with Dan, I found myself rapidly losing my nerve. I knew that we had lots of extra time, but decided that we had better hurry up with the goodbyes, and get through security and to our gate. I knew that after we had left Dan behind at security, I would consider that we had gone past the “point of no return” and I would no longer allow myself to entertain any doubt about the wisdom of what we were about to do.

Josh was particularly worried about going through security, after all of the media coverage about the seriousness of it since September 11th. He had asked several times what would happen if he said the word “bomb”, and I told him that I thought that he had better not say it. We had seen the news reports about a man who had been arrested and charged after having joked that he had a bomb in his luggage, so I knew that Josh knew that the word “bomb” was not to be bandied about at the airport. He was not ready to drop the subject, and kept asking about it, to the point where I lost my temper and snapped at him. He looked around fearfully at a huge cardboard box that one of the other passengers was having loaded on the plane, and whispered, “I wonder what’s in *that* box…” I was nearly at the end of my rope…

I had a cooler as one of my carry-ons and it was filled with 4 quarts of yogurt, 10 meal-sized containers of frozen soup, and a dozen banana muffins. As we went through security (Dan lurking wistfully in the background, and looking like a lost soul), I was stopped and questioned about the contents of my cooler. The guard said that he’d seen a spoon in my cooler, and I denied having one there. (I use this cooler frequently, and often leave cutlery and napkins in it so that it is ready when I need it. I had been feeling somewhat paranoid about getting through security with vast quantities of yogurt and soup and had looked the cooler over carefully, determined that I would not be caught with my usual array of cutlery at airport security. I was absolutely, positively *sure* that it was empty of all cutlery when I packed it.)

Of course, he made me unpack the cooler, and low and behold, in an obscure and forgotten pocket, not only did I have a spoon, but also a very sharp knife. I am sure that the shocked look on my face, not to mention my son’s horrified exclamation of, “MOM!!! You packed a *knife* in your cooler???!!!” told the guard all he needed to know. He told me to give the knife to my husband, and couldn’t help but chuckle as he waved us through. I waved goodbye to Dan, (knowing that I’d never hear the end of this knife-in-cooler incident), and we were off to our gate. I couldn’t help laughing at my ridiculous self and the stupid things that I sometimes do, and of course Josh was laughing at me too, very relieved that we hadn’t been arrested, I’m sure. At least the awful tension we had been feeling was now broken!

The day after we arrived in the UK, we met Marilyn and Harry at their hotel in London, and the 4 of us travelled to Suffolk together. It was such a pleasure to have these friendly folks to travel with and to be met by John at the train station and taken to Josie’s in the comfort of his Land Rover! The afternoon and evening spent at Josie and Tim’s was just so enjoyable. I don’t really know how to describe it. I had read many of the emails from those in the UK and to meet the people who actually sent them was really something special. Zoe stole my heart. She entertained us with her stories and her jokes and was very impressed with Josh’s magic tricks (which of course pleased him very much!) I guess the time spent with these folks was especially sweet for me because I never really expected to have the good fortune to meet them in person! We enjoyed the very comfortable surroundings, the conversation, and of course the delicious food, and…we got to hear Bev’s beautiful voice…in person!!! Oh, and did I mention the “yogurt-slapping incident”? I didn’t witness it first-hand, as I was in the other room, but I understand that while Bob was demonstrating his technique the crowd (or was it Rachel, single-handedly) turned on him…hope someone got a picture…! After a restful night spent at a very charming B&B, and a very enjoyable breakfast with Annie and Liz, we returned to Tim and Josie’s for our final goodbye and headed back to London.

We visited many of the sights there, including, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, the Cabinet War Rooms, Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guards, The Royal Mews, Covent Gardens, Big Ben, Madame Tussaud’s and the Planetarium, the Natural History Museum, etc. We went on a double-decker bus tour, and for a ride on the British Airways London Eye. We also did a day trip to Windsor Castle and to Hampton Court Palace and took a cruise on the Thames. We became very comfortable with getting around on “The Tube”, and walked back to our flat every night totally exhausted having had the time of our lives! We had a small kitchen in our flat (and I do mean small!) and so ate most of our meals there. I had my thermos to fill with soup, and we bought chicken and veggies, salad greens and cheese as well as lots of fruit. We stopped in at Harrods one day and bought lots of fresh raw nuts to carry around in my purse for snacks too.

I was ever mindful that not very long ago a trip like this would have been unthinkable for me. Getting in that capsule on the London Eye, knowing that I would be locked in without a bathroom for 30 minutes?! Not on your life! Standing in long lines, walking for hours, riding the Tube, or an all-day tour bus, not to mention 8 hours on the plane would have been absolute torture for someone who was too weak and tired most days to be up to much and whose greatest fear was being too far from the toilet to be able to make it on time.

After feeling so unwell for so many years, what does it mean for a person to feel entirely well today, and to have every confidence that she will feel entirely well tomorrow too, and next week and next month? We have a friend who told me that her mother often responded when asked if she could do something, “Sure I can – I’m not like a girl who can’t!” After 4 years of SCD, that’s exactly how I feel: I can do it - after all, I’m not like a girl who can’t!

Janice (Canada)

Well here we go…an account of the party to die for.

Josie and Tim live in Suffolk and for anyone who doesn’t know that part of the world..it is beautiful, green, wild ducks and ducklings wander everywhere, thatched cottages abound and typical English villages built around village greens with ponds are enough to send the dedicated Calendar maker into ecstasies of joy.

We arrived to whoops and yells and hugs from Elaine and Rachel who had arrived a couple of days before, and the party soon got going. Elaine is a marvel and her amazing appearance and stamina knocked us all flat, she is a true testimony to the diet!

Thursday night we were all treated by Elaine to a meal at a local pub....before the rest of us had even climbed out of the car Motorcycle Momma had vanished....vrrroooom... where was she? “ OK” said Rachel, she’ll be in the bar.... and she was!

The landlady was interested in the diet and ensured that we all ate SCD legal food and drank lots of SCD legal wine... before long we were SCD mellow and headed back to Josie’s where we continued to sip a little wine, just a little bit!, and MM held court while we listened enthralled...it was still hard to believe that she and Rachel were actually here before our very eyes....we rolled into bed at 3pm....like kids after a tiring Christmas day.

Friday the day of the talk in London....total panic, the books for the book signing hadn’t arrived. The ones Elaine sent were held up in Customs and the replacements hadn’t come either....we’d have to leave without them. We were ready to leave and MM appeared looking so elegant in a white linen shirt and long green skirt wearing gorgeous silver earrings and looking just....well, glowing. Five minutes to go and the books arrived, phew....new postlady who didn’t know the route, and it was her first day at work.

Crisis averted and off we went.

Rachel introduced Elaine to the assembled audience, without any notes (sorry Rachel!!!) and I still can’t believe that she was nervous at all (come on Rachel....you were SO cool!) She told her story about how she found the book and not only didn’t believe the diet could work but got angry with Elaine for writing it!!...and how she eventually tried it....the rest is history!

MM told Judy’s story, how Herb encouraged her study, why the book was written and gave a wonderful talk on food, the gut, the gut brain connection, gut bacteria, probiotics and lots, lots more.

Then the questions....why give up bread? Isn’t it the staff of life? (how many times have we heard that?) what on earth can you eat? What’s wrong with sugar?

Will it help Hirschsprung’s Disease? There were several people suffering from schizophrenia in the audience and a delightful man who taxed MM with questions like what schizophrenic sausage to eat, what schizophrenic cheese, what’s a schizophrenic breakfast....we all roared but he took it in good faith and was beginning to look as though he could rival MM in the star quality stakes!

The lecture ended to a standing ovation and, the book signing over, we rolled back to sleepy Suffolk.

The evening ended with more wine and lots of talk till well into the night....I looked at my watch, it was 2.30am and MM....who else.... was downing wine and loading the dishwasher!!!

Saturday....missed the beginning of the party....went to Diss, 3 miles and 5 minutes up the road, to get the car checked, got lost on the way back....2 hours and several phone calls later arrived at Josie’s....(it’s easy to get lost in Suffolk isn’t it Bob?) to find a house full. Sunje and Ulla, Marilyn and Harry from New Orleans, Janice and her son Josh from Canada, Marcia and Wilfried from Belgium, Jacqueline from Switzerland, Melanie and Tan from Bristol, Ciemon from just up the road, Yvonne and John from Cheshire, Bev and Stuart from London, Christine Pocock from Oxford, Bob from Cheshire, our guests Elaine and Rachel and of course the hosts, Josie, Tim and Zoe and Liz and myself from Wales. SCDers from all round the world were gathered there. The atmosphere was fantastic and it was wonderful at last to be able to put faces to the names of our friends from the list.

Bev sang for the assembled crowd and to say it was emotional would be an understatement, we were all clutching tissues and dabbing away at our eyes, she has the most truly amazing voice....(.to hear her sing go to www.scduk.co.uk and click on the link.)

The food was mouthwatering and never let it be said that this is a restricted diet, we ate like kings in a regal setting.

Yvonne did us proud with all her wonderful cooking and we had Pumpkin cake from Belgium, Marilyn’s dried fruits and Ranch dressing and crackers....which travelled extremely well from New Orleans, Bev’s Heavenly Cheesecake (with bean base), we had marinated fish, gateaux, crackers, dips, baked salmon, sausages, pork terrine, pizza casserole, salad, wonderful cheeses from Switzerland. The high beamed room rang with laughter and the clink of glasses, and the party went on till late into the night. Outside the smokers sat in the moonlight teaching Rachel English vowel sounds....we aimed to send her back to the States sounding like the Queen and would have succeeded, she has talent does our webmistress,....but the lessons had to stop when we cracked up with laughter just one too many times and the pains in our sides were too much to tolerate.

Sunday and the big departure....could it have come to an end so soon? Saying goodbye was too sad, like losing family members only just discovered.

Our lives have been touched by two remarkable women and I can only echo Josie’s “boo hoo”....and say let’s do it again!!

Annie