Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Plan B required

Plan A was to carry my camera whilst out walking to kill two birds, so to speak. It would appear, however, that I'm going to have to find a plan B. I managed to squeeze a 45 minute walk into, er, 2 hours this morning. This doesn't bode well for my fitness, but I might get some nice photographs for my assignments. Ankle was fine though, which is good news.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Little hill revisited

I went on the monthly girly walk yesterday, back to Ben Rinnes which I did earlier in the year with David. It was a bit silly really, so soon after an injury, but Alison wanted my company to bring up the rear, (we're both slow coaches!) and as there was only five in the group in total, I didn't think I would feel too bad about holding folk up. We are a particularly well gelled group.

We went up a different route, leaving from the Ben Rinnes distillery at Edinvillie. It's a long, gradual incline, a total of 2018ft over about 3.28 miles to the trig. After about one and a half miles, the track ends and we did a spot of heather bashing before we joined another track for the last mile.

We found a fabulous spot for lunch, under the crags to the south of the trig, well out of the wind, which was windy, again, but the skies were clear and the views to the west, the Grampians and south, to the Cairngorms, were tremendous.
A chap and his eight year old daughter joined us and we had a natter, whilst the rest of the traffic plodded past to the top and back down again. Turned out, we got a bit carried away and took a whole hour for lunch! The chap and his daughter left and went to the top and returned a while later, "I can see ladies really do know how to lunch!" he commented. Cheek.

We left the top and slipped and slithered our way down the path I'd used before. It's a purpose built path to save erosion, but the slippy gravel is dreadful. We took our time, particularly those who didn't want further injury! At the bottom, we took a left along the quiet road back to the distillery, but three of us decided to take a track that contoured along the bottom of the hill. I wasn't keen, the track was rough, very rutted, boggy and slightly uphill, which was beginning to pull my tendon. Alison happily joined me back on the road and we strolled back to the car, beating the trio by about ten minutes.

Despite the concern for my tendon and the exertion, (blimey, it's uphill alright!) we had an absolute ball. I haven't laughed so much in ages and was so pleased I changed my mind and joined them. My heel is tender today, but no more inflamed than it has been for the last week or so, so maybe I've been lucky and done no more damage, ahem. I have taken some photos, (of the views, not my ankle!) and I'll upload some to the post when I get round to downloading them, the camera is on the other side of the room, seems a long way away to me at the moment.

Next month, we're doing the Five Harbours walk, from Buckie to Portsoy. I don't do a lot of coastal walks, so this is a new one on me. I just hope we're not too close to the cliff edge. I'm not good with heights...
(Photographs added)

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Happy bunny!

Isn't this is fabulous fungi? I will get around to identifying it, the Collins Gem is poised, but first, I'm so happy!
It has to be said, it is quite easy to make me happy. If it's chocolate, make it 70%, if it's whisky, make it malt, if it's perfume, make it No 5 and if it's champagne, make it Tattinger. I said it was easy, not cheap! But it was none of these that made me such a happy bunny, oh no. Today's happiness was cheap, cheap, cheap!
I went for a walk on Monday, the first for a couple of weeks and the usual 6 miles with my pals, wearing my Merrells. Excellent. Today, I went for a short stroll to the marshes, wearing my Brashers and there was no pain. Yes! The girl is back in business and next week I can get back to the walking in earnest. Only now, I really mustn't forget the camera, I need photographs for my course. What a nice time of year for it too.
Happy, happy, happy!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The trouble with Roast Beef

The trouble with Roast Beef is that, eventually, you have to clean the (supposedly self- cleaning) oven. Luckily, David bought me a newspaper on Sunday to receive my free copy of The Shawshank Redemption, so the oven shelves are covered in gloop, on newspaper, on the kitchen floor. Gloop that promises "No nasty acrid smells, no scrubbing and biodegradable". The newspaper would have been completely wasted otherwise, 'cos I never read them. The oven is also liberally smeared in said gloop, only I mustn't forget to rinse it off before dinner, or the soft flour tortillas will be a shade stiff for folding.

And all because I'm running out of housework that I'll do willingly and I have lots of time on my hands with this pathetic injury! Stir crazy doesn't come close, I'm truely fed up. I did mention, I think, that patience is not my strong point. I am inherently lazy when it comes to housework, but I'm even considering washing the walls, chronologically sorting my old photographs and decluttering the bookshelves. I hoovered under the settees on Friday. Now that's desperate.

Apparently, a bridge that was included on my route at Glen Feshie has been swept away at the beginning of the month. It did rain a bit. Luckily, there are another couple of footbridges marked further north, so let's hope they are still in servicable order. Mind you, might be glad of a foot bath by then. I've had time to research possible transport getting to the start and home again, might aswell make myself useful. Worryingly, it looks quite straightforward, but I've had dealings with Scottish public transport before and I know it has it's own quirkiness at times.
Here's a nice picture.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

A pint?

"That's very nearly an armful!"

Another first for me, but free orange squash and a biccy makes it all worth while.

Know what he meant though.



Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Getting lost

According to The One Show, men use their 'hippocampus' to navigate.

I've always found a map and compass more useful.

But with true grit and determination

I am now enrolled on the course.

And I've written my Challenge entry. It was a little long winded in rough, unusual for me, now it's succinct and to the point, my inexperience exposed in all it's nakedness. If I can just nag, I mean, persuade David to give me his details, (I know the important bits, it's his tall tales of hillwalking without me I'm after!) I can get this entry posted.

By the beginning of November, we'll all know. This bit has got to be worse than the walking!

Boring nothingness

After a much closer inspection (a little tricky in the current state of curvaceousness) I have discovered the back of my ankle does indeed have some swelling and inflamation. Looks like it might be bursitis or similar. Pants! On with the tubigrip and more resting. As if I haven't done enough of that lately! My sister was in touch yesterday, apparently she too has an injury to the achilles on her right ankle. Spooky.

After all that ridiculous rain last week, yesterday we had gale force winds. Had to get David home from work in the afternoon for damage limitation, turn the trampoline over and nail bits of the shed back together, but it was too late for the bird table, it was already destroyed by this time.

I was making bread this morning and as I'd boiled the kettle already, decided to make a cup of tea to brew at the same time. I rescued the tea bag from the jug of warm water for the bread just in time.

I've also spent the last 20 minutes trying to register on my next OU course, but I've been sent round in circles from switchboards to recorded messages to English registrations (no good when you live in Scotland...) and back again. Pah! Try again tomorrow maybe.

Maybe someone is trying to tell me something...

Monday, 7 September 2009

Every cloud

I was having an off day today, but I persuaded myself to go for a stroll to the marshes. Considering the amount of rain that had fallen at the end of last week, common sense told me my Merrells were not the best option, so on went the Brashers. I hadn't even got to the end of the drive and an acute pain in my heel had me retying my laces. And again before I'd left the street. Then I just got grumpy and carried on.

I made it to the marshes and they were living up to their name, so from that point of view the boots were the right choice, but my knee was complaining a little too now.
It was worth the pain. If I hadn't perservered, I wouldn't have seen the big bird that flew up from one of the burns that feeds into the Findhorn, but it wasn't a heron. And as I looked closer, I realised it wasn't a buzzard either. It was an osprey! I watched it fight against the gusty wind with it's catch and land on the mudflats a little off shore. I hurried on my path and then carefully made my way, from tussock to tussock in the marshiness, to a rather handy log upon which to rest my behind as I peered through the binos.

Wrong binos and no camera, but a reasonable view nevertheless as the osprey, I presume to be a late leaving juvenile, tore into it's meal, watched very closely by a common gull, just incase it left a crumb. All rather pleasing to see, but I have my concerns about that osprey. I know that the parents and juveniles have all left Boat of Garten and started their migration, so one would think this one should have too. I'll maybe pop down that way later in the week and see if there's still any sign of it. I've never seen osprey quite so often in the bay as I have this year. They've been around for years, I'm just not usually that good at being in the right place at the right time. The day after the Dava Way walk, we were watching four fishing in the bay at the same time. Fabulous!

As to the heel, I'm going to have it amputated. It's a really pathetic, frustrating injury. There's nothing to see, no bruising or swelling, it doesn't hurt if I'm barefoot around the house, in trainers at the gym or at Tesco in my Merrells but the Brashers are a no go. I can only assume they put my foot into the position it was in when the dog took my feet out from under me.

I don't do patience. Ask the children.

What a groan!

Friday, 4 September 2009

And the rain rain rain came down down down

The rain has been wet.

The senior school shut early today because of the rain, after it had stopped raining, but I suppose there could be staff from outlieing areas and there is still hill run off to take into account on already swollen streams and rivers.

(Did I get out for a walk? Er, no.)

I currently have the two older children hiding from the two younger children in the garage. The two younger children have since returned from school and decided to hide from the two older children in Ciara's bedroom. The older two don't know the younger two are hiding. The younger two don't the older two are home.

All I have to do now is wait for someone to realise there's something odd going on.

Wonder if I could leave home in the meantime?

And yes, I think I'm finding this far more amusing than any of them will.

I need to get out more.

Thursday, 3 September 2009


I hate going to the gym. Really, really hate going to the gym, (even with a discount and much cheapness. One trip makes it worth while) but today, the BBC weather boy got it right. Rain? Understatement. Really, really wet stuff. I'd have to be some kind of serious masochist to be out there today and I really, really needed to know how my minor injuries are doing. Nothing to do with being bored brainless. No, no, not me.

So, I bit the bullet and went to the gym. The door wouldn't open when I swiped my card. This isn't too practical. I eventually pressed the button with the sign reading "Press here if you can't gain entry" and decided to pop by the office and find out why my card wasn't working.

"Were you having trouble?"

Stupid question.

"Yes, I've renewed my membership, in May as it happens. No, my husband didn't just say he had and gone to the bookies! Yes, it is your mistake" and I off I go with my sorted card to torture myself for 21 minutes on the eliptical trainer, followed by 26 minutes walking on the treadmill with a serious incline. Just for fun. Odd times I know, it's the cool down that always catches me out with timing.

It's not so much torture because it's hard, I don't tax myself unnecessarily, it is after all just to replace not being able to enjoy the great outdoors. It's torture because of all the fanatics I have to train with, although there were only about half a dozen other mad people there. Relief.

I beat a hasty retreat home to my kitchen to make potato and sweetcorn chowder for lunch. Can't beat a good soup on a day like to day and boy do I make good soup.

Oh, and the injuries? Seem to be doing ok. If the rain lets up tomorrow, I'm going for a walk!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Memory lapse

Just occured to me, I didn't mention my new kit. Nothing exciting though.

The rain wasn't wet enough yesterday for me to don my new Paclite trousers, but they are nice and light to carry, taking up no space at all. Jolly dee.

We both needed new poles and I needed ones that were suitable for a bear of little brain. I really fancied Pacer Poles and have seen many a recommendation for them, but I am somewhat, how shall I say, completely useless with this twisting mechanism thing. I either can't undo them, can't do them up, or inadvertently pull them apart. My bottom bit has also been sucked off in a bog on atleast two occasions.

So, we went for the easy option and both have nice new, shiny pairs of Black Diamond Alpine CF poles which have FlickLocks. Light, oh yes, very. Easy, oh so easy peasy! I can adjust my poles on the move, all by my little old self, no help required. Yey! David will be happy.

I am too.

Bowled over!

The reason I originally planned to post today was just a catch up for the last two weeks, the healthy 'plop' on the doormat threw me completely until I realised the date... And I should have been merrily wending my way around the shelves at Tesco, if only number three child, Ciara, hadn't been off school with Laryngitis today. My children are never ill, what's happening!

Anyway, it's been a case of ups and downs over the last fortnight. Haven't had a lot of success on the walking front. Last week my foot was sore. It was the large joint on the ball of my foot below my big toe. I remembered having trouble in this area a couple of years ago and at that time I was convinced I had the beginnings of a bunion or gout! (I can be a little, er dramatic?) It took me about two weeks to decide it was an impact injury, not caused by a trip or bump, just through walking over particularly stoney ground. Soft feet or what!

This time, it took me a few hours to work it out. I'd been in Elgin, walking over the cobbled area in the High Street and I hadn't had my walking shoes on. I usually live in them, but I'd worn my thin canvas trainers because we were only strolling around the town centre. Shan't do that again. I decided to stay off my foot as much as possible because I was due to walk along the Isla Way on Sunday with the girls.

In the mean time, I won a competition over on Martin's blog! I never win prizes, I was a little over-excited, but the prize of a drink in the Park Hotel, Montrose the day after my birthday gives a good incentive to make it across Scotland. If my name comes out of the hat. That's the biggest hurdle at the moment. Thanks again Martin, made my day!

On Friday I walked the three miles home from town to test my progress and it was fine. Number two child, Aedan, started secondary school on 18th August and has really settled well. Considering the misery he suffered at primary, I'm relieved. That morning, he'd forgotten his gym kit, through no fault of his own. It was there ready, but he'd put it down to help Rhiannon look for her umbrella. He didn't pick it up again and I didn't notice in time. I had expected him to come home with a logging, but it turned out Rhiannon had volunteered her own gym kit, (which is blue, not pink, luckily...) so he hadn't been punished. Wow! If only you knew, that was stunning and I actually cried.

Another quiet day Saturday and I was ready on Sunday to put my best foot forward. This turned out to be an interesting day.

Usually someone knows the chosen route, although like all good walkers, there is always at least one map amongst us. Turns out, that doesn't always help. The Isla Way travels by the side of and along part of the old railway between Dufftown and Keith. We were planning to start the walk in Keith and catch the train back from Dufftown, but this section of the walk is, to say the very least, unclear. We faffed about for about an hour before we admitted defeat, returned to the cars and drove to Drummuir. After a minor detour, we found the station , parked, kitted up and had lunch. Everything stops for food and pee stops.

We set off and about 25 yards later, Alison's dog, Alfie, literally bowled me over! I found myself taking an unexpected lie down in a muddy puddle. Me, being me, I was laughing too much to speak or move. There was a horrified silence before Sally offered me a hand a heaved me to my feet. I still couldn't speak as my fellow walkers looked on, thinking I was crying with pain.

I am a giggler.

Good job I have a sense of humour. I had to do the rest of the walk with a muddy bum and wet pants! It was a lovely day, including drinks of cold traditional lemonade and ginger beer at a dinky little coffee shop in Dufftown, but I didn't fully dry out until we caught the train back from Dufftown. What should have been about thirteen miles was whittled down to nearer seven and a half, with the extra three miles faffing in Keith on top. We spoke to a lady at the station who told us the part of the walk we couldn't find is along the main road and she felt too dangerous to recommend, especially as we had two doggy companions, so I suppose it was a good job we never found it.

Yesterday, David and I had planned to do the sixteen mile circular route at Dunphail that I'd done in April with the girls. We set off, fully kitted with waterproofs and gaitors, after a supply stop at Tesco. Ofcourse, in England it was bank holiday, so Tesco opened late (in Scotland!?) and we were late getting started. And it started to rain as soon as we left the car park, but it wasn't heavy.

Not far down the road, I was beginning to think my heel wasn't going to loosen off after all. I must have twisted my lower leg slightly when Alfie swept me off my feet, but it hadn't hurt at the time. Now, it was sore. As I perservered, I obviously walked awkwardly and started a hotspot on my other heel. So after 3 miles, we decided on an escape route and shortened the walk to about six and three quarter miles. This was really disappointing although the most sensible option. We don't get to walk together often and I was gutted, but we have at least proved to me that we can make these decisions and my map reading is good enough to get me out of situations. As long as it's never anything more serious than a tight tendon and blister!

Another quiet couple of days and I'll venture forth. Again.

This new term hasn't got off to the flying start I'd imagined...

Onwards, ever onwards.


It's 1st September.

Guess what just landed on my doormat....

Approximately another two months and I'll know.

Oh my.