The difference the sun and a son makes – by Ken South

As we enter midsummer, Ken who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes two years ago, makes the most of long, balmy evenings by keeping active with son Charlie.

I am lucky, Claire, my wife, works part time in a primary school and my son Charlie is about to return for his last term at primary school. And I work in a specialist school. This means we get the summer holidays and half terms to do as we please.

During May half term we decided to give camping a try. I say  ‘try’ as Claire loves her duvet, kitchen and other home comforts and Charlie like Mum loves his home.  Our trip  was to Treen Farm, located on the cliff tops, not far from Land’s End in Cornwall.

We had a great few days cycling the dramatic Cornish coast in both rain, mist and sun. We spent a long day trailing the coves of Mousehole and Lamorna along with a passing stop to see the Merry Maidens – an incredible neolithic circle of 19 stones.

Since returning from our healthy, outdoorsy week, we’ve decided to make the most of warmer, lighter evenings at home while the summer is here. It’s the perfect opportunity to spend time as family and for me to keep fit and to manage my Type 2 diabetes.

So for us, evenings are not spent hunched over a screen playing FIFA or Minecraft, it’s a whole host of outdoor activities where we not only feel the benefit of gentle fitness but also communicating in real time and bonding over a success.

The sunny evenings have really opened up our weekdays as a family and now after school every night we get out and do something be it playing badminton, a ride along the seafront, an evening walk along cliffs my favourite terrain trailing through the woods. I think it’s actually called mountain biking, but as we live on the Kent coast there are no mountains.

You’ll often find us on Fridays after school by the cricket stumps as Charlie has been selected to play for his school which is a fantastic achievement. Last night I was losing to young Charlie at his favourite game.  One evening, we cycled through the urban landscape to the park and had fun watching Charlie on the monkey bars. Another evening, we biked to the skate park and Charlie practised his BMX skills.

On occasion when I am working, Charlie and Claire will accompany me and ride along the canal to the bottom of what they call the zoo run and I will wave them off as they ride home and I then ascend the hill to work. Other days they will be ready to meet me on the seafront and I will ride another route from work and we go to the beach.

Also early mornings has become a fantastic time to venture out on two wheels. The normally busy roads are devoid of cars and lorries so it’s somewhat safer and seeing the sun come up seems to start the day on a positive note. Charlie’s smiling face only reinforces this.

Did I mention the difference the sun and a son makes?

What is Type 2 diabetes?

Keeping active and staying fit


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