Juneathon 2017, Day 22 – Marina Multi-Cache

Today the weather had cooled considerably and mentally I was feeling well so I decided to take my new toy out for a spin.


Etrex 20x

I got this in the post a couple of days ago. It’s a GPSr to replace one that got water damaged. Lots of geocachers use their phones to find caches nowadays; but I’ve always preferred being able to use a GPSr like this one because it’s rugged (I’m apt to fall over and drop things) and waterproof (you may have noticed, but I also have a tendency to “find” bodies of water and go swimming, intentionally or not). A couple of years ago I upgraded to one which could show maps, and as that’s a feature I really love, this one does too.

A new multi-cache was set in Swansea Marina a couple of days ago. I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to try out my new gadget and get some Juneathon exercise into the bargain.
There are different types of caches. With a traditional cache you get given the coordinates of the container and you go and look for it at those coordinates. A multi-cache is more complicated because it has multiple stages. You start by going to the coordinates you’re given and then by various methods (depending on the cache) you get another set of coordinates to take you off somewhere else. Sometimes a multi can be quick to do, sometimes it can be a rather long-winded affair. When I started caching I happened upon a multi-cache that had 10 separate stages around a patch of woodland. I zig zagged in and out of those trees, up and down, for hours. I think I must have seen every one of the trees several times. I hate to say it, because it makes me sound so strange, but it was great fun. I felt as if the person who had set up the cache was really trying to make it difficult and that challenge was what spurred me on.


Me, having a well deserved ice-cream

This cache started at an information board beside Swansea Observatory. The Observatory has been disused for quite some time, but there seems to be renovation work going on. Perhaps a cafe?

I however, was more interested in the information board and my ice-cream that I’d bought on the walk to the Marina.
You’re informed that to get to the next stage of the multi-cache to look at the information board, take note of one of the telephone numbers and then plug the number into a code given on the cache page. Having done that I went off in search of the next stage.


A golden Postbox

And look what I tripped over on the way!
A golden postbox. It’s showing signs of wear now, but I’m not surprised. I knew that there was one in the Marina area, but I’d never seen it until now.

In 2012, to celebrate the achievements of the athletes in the London Olympic Games every British Gold medal winner in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games had a post box painted gold in their honour. This post box was painted from the traditional red to mark Ellie Simmond’s 200m swimming victory.

At this point I was thoroughly enjoying myself.


A thing

Unfortunately, it was just about here that things took a little turn for the worse. Having picked up the information for the next stage and plotted the coordinates I realised that I was going to have to walk far further than a short bimble around the Marina. It appears that I was heading towards Mumbles!


Looking over to Mumbles

Well, perhaps not all the way to Mumbles…


But, you see that large tower in the distance? That’s roughly where I started. Multi-caches can be so evil! By this point, I’d solved all 3 of the stages and was honing in on the cache container. Whoop! Whoop!


Sore feet

My new sandals hadn’t arrived by the time I left, so I popped these on. My left foot now has slightly less skin than its normal quota, but I’m not complaining. The walk today was worth it. In weather like today (sunny and warm, as opposed to roasting) wandering along beside the beach was so relaxing.

Oh, and I found the cache. 😀
After all of that effort, this is what I found:


a nano

And then I walked home, absolutely delighted with my find.

(You’ve got to be at least a little bit bonkers to be a geocacher)

Marina Multi-Cache Day: A walk to find a geocache
Steps Taken: 13,674
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Juneathon 2017, Day 21 – Gardening counts, doesn’t it?!

No more!
I’m completely fed up with this hot weather!

Like most other people in the country, the recent heat wave has been a bit difficult for me to bear. In my house the temperature has reached 31°C upstairs and is currently sitting at 24°C downstairs. I just want to cry! My legs and feet are so swollen and my head feels as if it’s about to melt. Not to mention the huge lakes of sweat that I’m depositing everywhere.

But I am lucky in that I’ve got one of these:


Large fan

Please note the extra attachment that I’ve added in the last few days: an ice-block. Someone posted something about popping a bottle of water into the freezer and then placing it in front of a fan in order to blow cool air over yourself. It seems to work using this method too. A bit.

Despite the heat I thought that I’d still go for a walk for today’s Juneathon exercise. It’s been reasonable after sunset, with a pleasant breeze. And then I remembered: My sandals broke yesterday.
There are three other pieces of footwear that I own. I own a pair of bright blue crocs, which in no way, shape, or form am I going to be seen dead wearing around town. They’re comfy and great for the garden, but I’m not certain how well they’d hold up on a mile long walk. There are a 2nd pair of sandals, but they are close-fitting at the best of times. And you know I mentioned that my feet were swollen? Well, I think that by the time I’d got to the end of the street I’d probably have rubbed the skin raw. I try my best not to gurn my way around the place unless absolutely necessary – and trust me, this walk today did not seem necessary enough to both tear the skin from my feet and make me look like an angry, sweaty warthog to all and sundry. And the last option? My leather walking boots. No. Just, no. They too are a little tight width-wise and my ballooning feet were not going to be squeezed into them today. No.

But, gardening counts as exercise, especially if you have to get into all sorts of awkward positions to do it, right? Of course it does. And here is the proof that I’m not making up the gardening:


removal of bellbine

I finally got around to weeding the patch of wildflowers that I sowed back in May. They seem to be doing well.
I then watered my plants and pondered upon what this beauty in the corner is going to turn out to be.



What is it?


I consulted the Old Trout on the matter. She was wonderfully wise as usual and said “I don’t know. Have you tried Google?”
I think it’s some sort of currant bush. It would be wonderful if it was. Very reminiscent of my childhood: We used to have a blackcurrant bush and my grandparents had a redcurrant bush. This is a picture of me aged 8 having just “stolen” some berries from our bush.

027 Emma aged 8.5 after stealing berries

I have met my daily step goal.
And I’ve ordered some new sandals. (Thank goodness for next day delivery.)

Gardening counts doesn’t it Day: Gardening
Steps Taken: 4,009
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Juneathon 2017, Day 20 – Estuary Swimming


I’m not getting into that thing!

Last night my calves were really throbbing and I’d decided that today would have to be a non-walking day in order to give them time to recuperate. Compared with most people I haven’t been exercising that much, but it’s been a massive step up from what I’ve been able to do. In the last three or four months my daily step count has more than doubled. And my calves are beginning to tell me to slow down a bit.

I’d hit upon the idea of a weights session. There’s a pair of dumbbells hiding in one of the rooms somewhere that would be great for that. I’d just got to find them… and then a friend messaged me to ask if I fancied heading to Pembrokeshire to do a bit of swimming and sunbathing. Oh yes! A much better plan.


The pontoon

You can’t beat Pembrokeshire for its scenery. There’s such a variety of stunning coastal regions, secluded woodland and it even has its own little patch of rugged moorland. The weather isn’t too bad either.

And so it was that today I found myself swimming merrily in the Cleddau estuary. It was so warm it was quite unbelieveable. I’ve never swum in such warm water in this country. In fact, at one point I was purposefully swimming in a shaded patch in order to find slightly cooler water.


Enter a caption


I think that I probably spent over an hour in total swimming backwards and forwards.

My swimming stroke on these occasions (and on all occasions) is the one you see old women doing in the pool: breaststroke arms with front crawl legs. I’ve never been able to do true breaststroke, which to my mind is the only way you should be swimming in a place like this otherwise you miss out on the sheer beauty of it all. My legs and arms refuse to work in sync. I’m generally a very uncoordinated person. But my swimming style “works”. I seem to head in my intended direction at a reasonable pace. So I’ve never seen the need to try to improve upon it.


Me, swimming

I don’t normally swim in a thermal top. But I knew how long I’d spend in the water, and I thought that this was the best thing I had that would stop my back and shoulders from getting burnt today. It worked.


My sandal!

The only downside of the day was that my sandal broke.

The good part of this is that I was thinking about buying some new sandals anyway. A bit of waterproof glue should shore this one up for occasional use and now I have the excuse to do a bit of shopping.

All in all, a fantastic day. I’ve given my arms a good workout and my calves a bit of a rest. Oh, and I’ve topped up my tan without getting burnt. 😀

Estuary Swimming Day: Swimming.
Steps Taken: 13,015 (It felt more like 6,000-7,000. Unfortunately my swimming strokes were getting counted as steps today.)
Difficulty Level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 19 – Tesco


Swansea’s City Centre 24 hour Tesco

It was another swelteringly hot day today. Last night my bedroom reached 29.9°C and I slept badly even though I had a couple of fans blasting towards the bed. I refused to do any exercise until 9pm when things had cooled off a bit.

For Juneathon today I walked to Tescos and back, a distance of 1.5 miles. I did also nip in to get myself some food for tonight and tomorrow.

Tesco Day: 1.5 mile walk
Steps Taken: 7,711
Difficulty level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 18 – A Day of two parts


Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles

Early this morning, after leaving the Hawaiian themed party, I decided to wander up to the geocache I maintain in the castle grounds. Quite a few people have found it since my last visit and it was time to check on it. That, and when I passed the taxi office it was heaving with people who’d just been expelled from all of Mumbles’ pubs. I thought that by the time I’d visited the cache I’d be able to at least get to sit down in the office.


Sharpening the pencil

So it was that I found myself at 0030hrs sitting in the dark, on a grassy hill sharpening a pencil with my penknife. The rest of the cache was in good order except for the fact that it looks as if some blighter has nabbed the bag to put trackables in. (Trackables are small items with unique tracking codes that move from geocache to geocache and are “logged in” online. Some trackables move thousands of miles in the time that they’re out in the wild.) So at some point in the near future I’m going to have to traipse back up the hill with a replacement bag.

And yes, by the time I arrived back at the taxi rank everyone else had gone and I was able to get a taxi within 5 minutes.
That was the first part of the day.


A bit of crocheting

It was scorching today. It was easily the hottest day of the year. Even the Old Trout headed out for a bit of sun. Apparently that didn’t go too well, as she went to lie down and promptly broke her sunbed. *snigger*

Part two of today’s Juneathon exercising involved not walking anywhere in the heat. Instead, I first completed a 5 minute “bed stretch” and then realised that my new garden has a couple of rather solid, and quite shallow, steps.


Just in case you don’t know what a step is

I waited until about 9pm and then started stepping. I lasted for roughly 15 minutes. At first I was going too fast as I was moving along to “Uptown Funk”. That got my heart racing and I collapsed afterwards. But a few slower songs ensured that I was able to continue for what I consider to be a really good amount of time.


Sweaty and happy

A Day of Two Parts: Short walk to Oystermouth castle, bed stretch, 15 minutes of stepping
Steps Taken: 7,182
Difficulty level: Intermediate

Juneathon 2017, Day 17 – Hawaiian Party

You know what isn’t great when it comes to Juneathon? Trying to fit it in around other things. Especially if those other things aren’t compatible in the least with exercising. And so it was with an activity I had planned for today: drinking.

The pool lads had invited me to go to a Hawaiian themed party with them. In fact, it was a party thrown in honour of our illustrious leader’s 50th birthday. When I say “leader” – this relates to the Mumbles Pool league. “He” being the organiser behind the whole endeavour. As I’ve probably mentioned before, I don’t play pool. I’m useless at it. But I have for the past few years been heading along to support one of the Mumbles’ Pool teams. It’s an unusual arrangement. But hey, life would be boring if we all followed the same path, right?!

I was a little dubious about whether or not they were pulling my leg about the supposed theme of the evening. Our pool organiser does generally sport flamboyant Hawaiian shirts, but that didn’t mean that I wouldn’t look like a right plonker if I turned up for the night and was the only one wearing a Hawaiian shirt. So I decided to hedge my bets and find something that wouldn’t necessarily look out of place even if no one else was dressed up. It’s hard enough to find anything that’ll fit me (I’m a UK size 26) let alone with an Hawaiian theme, so I resorted to trawling the internet for some suitable fabric and making myself a dress. In the end (at 5am on Saturday morning) I had something suitable to wear for Saturday night’s party.

2017 06 shirred blue flamingo dress

Shirred flamingo dress

Perhaps they don’t have flamingoes in Hawaii, but when our dear pool leader saw me he seemed incredibly nonplussed. I felt rather downcast. A couple of the pool team members were greeted with delight and given a tea-bag because they were wearing Hawaiian themed tops. No such honour was bestowed upon me. I was quite upset. Perhaps the flamingoes aren’t quite right, but the palm trees… I found fabric that had palm trees plastered all over it. I then made a dress and… well, I’ve never felt so forlornly in need of a tea-bag in my entire life! (I don’t drink tea). What an injustice!

I don’t know what the tea-bags signified. Probably just that our delightful (and Hawaiian shirt clad) leader was suitably impressed with their attempts to follow in his footsteps. All I know is that everyone else seemed to have a tea-bag except for me. Had I known that I would have been discriminated against I might have also made a suitable placard. Admittedly I really can’t work out if the sign needed to say something like “Tea-bags for all!”, “Flamingoes for Hawaii!” or “Big women can’t find Hawaiian shirts to fit them, you moron!”.


They’re happy, because they both received tea-bags 

You might be wondering what all of this has to do with exercising for Juneathon. It’s just a long-winded way of saying that I didn’t really do anything extra today. I’d showered and set my hair early and couldn’t face messing that up. So, apart from a bed stretch I didn’t do any extra exercising for Juneathon.

But I did have a great night out (even if I didn’t get a tea-bag).

Hawaiian Party Day: Bed Stretch. Walk to bus, then to the pub.
Steps Taken: 9,279
Difficulty Level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 16 – Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill in Swansea is said to be the world’s steepest inhabited cobbled road. It’s roughly 300m in length and the cobbled section averages 18% in gradient. It’s been included in numerous cycle races because of how difficult it is to climb and ride along. And today I walked down it.
You read that right, I walked down Constitution Hill for my Juneathon exercise.

Let me begin at the point where this daring idea all started: I’d enticed my niece and nephew (My two dear sprats) down to my house after school with the promise of strawberries and tinned milk. But by the time we’d finished the strawberries and played a couple of board games it was getting rather late. Not only did I not want them to walk home alone, I also thought that taking them home would be a good bit of exercise as they live up Constitution Hill. (Well, very near to it)

So, my idea had been to walk both up and down the hill, with those two in tow on the way up. Leaving me to then make my way back down again as slowly as I needed to. There was one flaw in this plan. Being a doting aunt, I also told them that they could buy themselves some sweets for the way home. To be honest, this wasn’t an entirely selfless gesture. I thought that if they had sweets to eat as I puffed and panted up they hill they wouldn’t be taking quite as much notice of how long they were having to wait around. So, we went sweet shopping. And then we started making our way to their house.

We lost Constitution Hill entirely!
In fact, I think that all 3 of us might have been just a little bit lost at one point. (I’ve not walked from my new house to their new house before. There’s a rather large hill that gets in the way.)
A pang of terror entered my heart when the eldest sprat (who is one of the most navigationally challenged people I know) cried out “I know where we are!” and started to point up a long, winding road. Did I dare believe him, this boy who seems to forget the direction of the sea once he’s walked barely 30m from it?! Oh, the angst!
And then I thought: He’s got a phone. If we get too lost I can call a taxi. After all, how lost can we get?


Playing “I Spy”

Strangely enough we didn’t get lost at all.
I was able to hand them over to their mother safely without any bruises, broken legs, or tantrums having befallen them. Before I left, I sneakily used her wifi to check where the darned Hill was. And so, I found myself walking down it.
Not all of the way down. That might have killed me.
Let’s say “most” of the way down. And I didn’t do too badly at all. The last time I tried to walk down part of the Hill my knees buckled and it took a few days before I could walk properly again. Today I just felt as if it was a reasonable workout.


Looking down Constitution Hill

You can’t mention Swansea’s Constitution Hill without also mentioning the most iconic film featuring the city: Twin Town. In that film, released just over 20 years ago in April 1997 the opening scene involves a car hurtling down the hill. I have no idea why that happens. I’ve never seen the film. It just seems to be something everyone talks about if you mention it.

Constitution Hill Day: A walk up and then down
Steps Taken: 6,643
Difficulty Level: Moderate