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Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Unexpected turns and hidden talents

By AK Support
17, Apr, 2019

Bob's story of how finding and adapting the right kit has opened the door to a new world of adventure

Thanks to Bob for getting in touch with us and sharing his tale of twists and turns in the road. The whole team has been inspired by the tale.

This little story isn’t about great foreign adventures or challenges. 
It’s just about day to day life.
I WAS that person though... challenges, marathons, triathlons. You name it, I’ve tried it.
And then I had a heart attack caused by a virus. It can happen to anyone. 
I was floored. Walking uphill and cycling seemed a distant dream. On top of that my body was trashed and my epilepsy controlling drugs stopped working. Seizures returned. 
But great things happened. My brother bought me a set of watercolour paints and someone lent me an electric bike! 
Despite never painting before, I taught myself to paint and dabbles turned into commissions for charity. Since 2017, I have raised £42000 for different causes. 
And my e-bike has given me independence when I can’t drive but feel confident to get out and about. 
Finally, Alpkit sold me a great set of handlebar kit so that I can take my own painting commissions to the post office. 
So here I am... fighting to be the adventurous type once more... and realising that just simple day to day activities, with the right kit, can enrich my life.  Painting has relaxed me. I’ve found a mindfulness hobby that works for me. It replaces the more outdoor stuff I used to do. Yes, I have darker days as anxious situations overcome even the power of the paintbrush. But those days are less. The charitable side of my painting has also given me a sense of worth. It’s like volunteering to help and giving something back when you would normally feel useless. 
I certainly don’t believe that my heart attack suddenly changed me into an artist...it wasn’t a miracle. I just think that deep down in everyone there is something else. Something positive. Something new. It takes a situation to simply release it and often that situation will be related to health - physical or mental. 
One thing that amazes me the most about my story is that I stopped taking any medication for anxiety and depression very quickly. The relaxation from my painting took care of things for me. I just see it now as a form of medication which I have to take on a daily basis to clear my mind and control my emotions. 
I recently asked members of a Facebook forum on why they loved the Lake District. I wanted to capture, in paintings, the true value of this special place. The astonishing stories and images of healthy turnarounds from mental health difficulties as a result of a simple walk or breath of fresh air simply blew me away. My exhibition ‘I love the Lake District’ is on until July - yes, I have my first exhibition - at Wilf’s in Staveley, Cumbria. It captures the power of not just a hobby like painting to soothe mental health but also a good walk, a wild swim or just sitting and taking in the view. All proceeds from the exhibition go to MIND. 
There’s always something different round the corner...a paint brush, a walk or just a new view of life. 
You can find me in Facebook / Instagram @bobonpaintings or www.bobonpaintings.com  

Bob has adapted a Kanga bar harness to carry his painting equipment and has found it perfect for delivering finished paintings.

A selection of Bob's paintings is on exhibition at our Hathersage Store for the forseeable future, so if you are heading our way don't miss the opportunity to pop in and have a brew whilst taking a look at his truly impressive work.

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