Alan is one of those people that captivates you from the moment he opens his mouth and starts sharing one of his many stories. He’s lived more lives than most and experienced so many adventures that it’s hard to believe that he’s only 61-years-old (his birthday is today).
A dear friend had deemed him “the most interesting man I’ve ever met” after getting to know him over the past couple of years and hearing the bits and pieces of his life.
Alan Stirling, Good-Guy Policeman
His stories begin when he joined the police cadets in Edinburgh, Scotland and he earned the nickname Loopy. This was the beginning of many adventures and the start of his career with the police. His parents tell me that Alan has pushed the limits since he was a child and entering the police was no different. Even then, Alan had longish golden hair, but it was not meant to be over the collar. His police career had him in very prestigious responsibilities when he joined the motor brigade. He escorted the Pope and Princess Anne during their times in Edinburgh.
Scotland is a very different world than the one we know in Canada and things are sorted out quite differently there. At the time, police carried only batons, no firearms; only clubs and wits to protect them from thugs, gangsters and altercations… Yes, gangsters still exist, even today.
Alan’s actions as a police officer did not go unnoticed as he was recruited by the government to work undercover. Of course, he couldn’t look like a police officer undercover, so this was the start of his even longer hair, which delighted him.
Alan Stirling, P.I.
His time with the government and police provided the training for his next career choice as a private investigator, which his best friend, Stewart, joined him in. Stirling and Peters Private Investigators was formed in 1991. These two shared a passion not only for the truth and what was right, but also of music… They had a studio below their offices on St. Mary’s Street.
Alan and Stewart were quite successful in business and caught the attention of the BBC, who did a documentary on them.
When Stewart suddenly died from heart problems, Alan was devastated and could no longer go on with the business, shutting the doors to the P.I. business and the recording studio.
Alan Stirling, Nightclub Empresario
Did I mention he also had a night club?!? Well, that continued as he had obligations to the previous owner’s family. When it was eventually sold a few years later, the proceeds went to support the children of the deceased owner.
This kind of action helps set the stage for your understanding of the kind of person Alan is; Rugged on the outside, but so very caring and sensitive on the inside. He’s touched so many lives and is always there to lend a hand or ear… Whatever is necessary.
Alan Stirling, Florist
Flowers were next… Yes, Alan became a florist with no formal training and, like everything else he touched, he was successful. His first shop was on St Mary’s Street, a few doors down from the old P.I. office, but he soon relocated to Glasgow in a hard area called Govan. He then moved to a bigger, more central location in Pollokshields.
When the Iraq war broke out in 2003, the neighbourhood became very tense and it became a dangerous place for a white man to be. It wasn’t long before there was an altercation in the shop and someone threatened Alan’s well-being. He decided it was time for a change and decided that Canada was the place to be.
Alan Stirling, Landscape Designer & Keeper of Fishes
In 2003, Alan immigrated to Canada and found his new calling making the Okanagan beautiful with all of his creations. That’s how Loopykums Pond & Koi came to be.
Through his business, Alan creates stunning landscape designs and water features that enhance people’s enjoyment of the outdoors. Whether he’s building a custom fountain, cascading backyard waterfall, or a harmonious koi pond, Alan always strives to do his best. His crew have been so wonderful during this time and Alan still loves going to work every day!
Tony’s prophecy and blessing
It was years ago… Tony, my late husband, and I were talking about our future. He was still recovering from surgery, an awake craniotomy due to brain cancer, and we both knew that the future had surely changed.
He started talking about how I must go on and be happy without him… Well, I wanted no part of this turn in the conversation, I only wanted to see and hear about recovery. People recover and go into remission all the time… Right?!?
He continued along these lines, saying, “One day you’ll meet someone to take my place and make you happy.”
I’m sure I cut him short… I was happy; worried, but happy. We’d get through this together.
It was a few years and some bad results later that this conversation came up again… “You’ll find someone,” he said. He even mentioned a blonde man…
Fast-forward to 2013 and I’m an emotional wreck. It’s been not quite 3 years since I lost my husband and my son, Shaydon, has been injured at work with a spinal cord injury that is life changing. I’m so happy and elated that he’s alive and well, and sustained no brain injuries. Still, there are going to be some huge challenges.
My son was well on his way with his early recovery and beginning a boot camp for spinal cord injury at Project Walk in Carlsbad, San Diego. I helped him get settled and organised with his personal equipment and daily care aids before I set off for home. I’m sure I wasn’t prepared for what or who was to come next.
And then came Alan…
I met, or rather rescued, Alan at the LAX United Airlines counter. The lady behind the counter had a strong Filipino accent and Alan has a thick Scottish accent… Neither one was able to understand the other!
I overheard this blonde Scotsman say that he was trying to get home to Kelowna… What?! Our previous delayed flight out of Carlsbad, along with a drunk Englishman, had created this mess, so I stepped in and sorted it out. I became the official translator for the conversation and took Alan under my wing as I worked out how we could both get back to Kelowna.
I was not looking for a relationship or another friendship. This is how most things that are meant-to-be begin.
So here we are, not quite 4 years later. Alan, the man who changed my life and allowed me to have emotions again, is sick…
Alan Stirling, Cancer Survivor-to-be
Alan received a call late one Friday night from his GP, a woman in her early sixties that comes across as being very thorough. She wanted Alan to go for another blood test, even though he’d been for several that day. He wrote down the name of the test and proceeded to ask me if I knew what a CEA test was for.
Cancer markers… Yes, I knew and I hoped he wouldn’t Google it; I didn’t want him to worry more and it was bad enough that I knew what she was suspecting.
Knowing that we were now at the weekend and nothing would happen until mid-week at the earliest, I set off to my office to do what I do for so many others… Help them with health issues. I put a homeopathic bowel cancer protocol together and had him start it directly.
The following week, I was in Nelson for a clinic when Alan’s doctor ordered a colonoscopy that was meant to be a few weeks out. Of course, an opening came up while I was away… It was over as quickly as it started. A tumour was found.
I’m over four hours away, feeling helpless, and Alan is scared… Who wouldn’t be? Okay, so it’s a tumour. Now what? Now we wait for a consult with a surgeon and a CT scan. WAIT… Yet again… Thankfully, I’d started Alan on a natural protocol and there were already signs of improvement.
We had friends over one night to discuss our upcoming trip to Scotland and Alan mentioned he was waiting for a CT. Our friend, Frank, questioned why he was waiting at all. Not waiting for our response, he picked up his phone and started texting someone… Within minutes his phone pinged with a reply; his friend could fit Alan in now if we could leave right away. Guess it sometimes pays to have doctors as friends… So off we went.
It seemed like we were there forever, waiting for his CT results. We knew we were dealing with bowel cancer but the CT showed that it had spread into the streets; lungs, liver, lymph nodes, abdominal wall… Fuck!!!
It’s crazy how quickly life can change.
Ok, now we must endure that all consuming sinking feeling again. We were also told surgery was off the table, that chemo was the only option medically open to him. Chemo. Oh my, here we go again. All I could think was “Hold it together, He needs you. These have to be his choices, not yours.”
One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned came many years ago with my late husband; you have to let each person make their own choices when it comes to their health. Even if you don’t agree with them. It’s their journey not yours. Be supportive, as most disease is not only physical but mental as well.
Alan, receiving his chemo treatment on his 61st birthday. Doesn’t this look like an optimistic face that’s going to kick Cancer’s ass?
There is a chance!
Alan wrote a song years ago, There Is A Chance, a phrase that he held onto while our friendship was growing… Even though I kept pushing him away!
There is always a chance for recovery with this disease and all diseases… Our bodies are amazing things.
We were booked to go to Scotland the week after the CT Scan to visit his family… Well, my family too now! His son’s partner was expecting a baby while we were there, the real reason for the trip just as Alan’s season was to start. We were very happy to get the all clear from his oncologist, so off we went with two of our amazing friends.
As with most births, this beautiful baby girl, Penelope, made us wait for her arrival. Meantime, we stayed busy visiting and with rehearsals. Yes, rehearsals… Alan’s old band, plus two very talented young ladies, were to be putting a gig on at The Voodoo Rooms. Maybe you caught some of my Live footage on Facebook?
Our trip seems like months ago now. Alan is patiently sitting through his fourth chemo as I write this… He’s calling it his poison for his birthday. I’m thankful for all the chatter around his birthday; well wishes, FaceTimes, etc., as I’m usually losing my mind and any kind of friendliness about now… Becoming that person I don’t even want to know, let alone be.
Tonight is party night at KYC with a wonderful group of friends and family. We’re looking forward to it. A well-deserved night out to celebrate this interesting, loving man.