Janathon 2016, Day 16 – Spending time with a sprat

sprat looking at beads

Sometimes I am allowed to look after my niece or nephew. I have no idea why their mother lets this happen as I’m sure I’m a bad influence on both of them. Day 16 found me dragging the older sprat to a beading shop. You’d have thought that being a boy, he’d have screamed blue murder about the very thought of it all. But he took it all in his stride (see, told you I’m a bad influence) and spent quite a while choosing beads for everyone (even himself).

My exercise for the day was to wander to the bead shop and back to the car where the Old Trout was waiting patiently for us. We also walked around Lidls. At one point the sprat was sent off to pick up a box of clemantines. He returned with two bottles of fizzy orange instead. Apparently it’s “nearly the same.”

Spending time with a sprat day: Walking and keeping up with a sprat.
Steps Taken: 6,233
Difficulty level: hard


Janathon 2016, Day 15 – Old fish

Salt fish

I didn’t get much done for Day 15 as the Old Trout arrived from far flung Yorkshire. She arrived at the door looking very bedraggled and worn out, but with a gleam in her eye. She’d brought me a present: of salt fish.

We’ve both only had salt fish once before: in a pre prepared meal. It was fantastic. But I’ve no idea how to prepare or cook it. I hope she isn’t expecting the same taste sensation when I cook it.

So, due to greeting my guest and general flopping about, I didn’t get much exercise done. There was a point where I got up and tried to maintain a discussion with mum whilst walking up and down the living room carpet. But I don’t talk well when breathing heavily and she seemed to dislike talking over the noise. So this didn’t work very well. But I did manage to reach the 5,000 step mark during the day. And I also slotted in a session of bed weights.

Old fish day: indoor walking, bed weights
Steps Taken: 5,074
Difficulty level: Easy

Janathon 2016, Day 14 – Dead Batteries

Mumbles front

I headed out today for a wander into the village and took my collection of used batteries with me. They went into the recycling point in Mumbles library and I continued on to the car park and the sea front. It was nice to be able to sit without getting drenched. It would have been a very peaceful scene watching the pigeons huddle together and the odd person passing by, but they were making a heck of a lot of noise in the car park/construction site today.

pot of batteries

Dead batteries Day: Walked down to the front and back – 1.5km
Steps Taken: 3,500
Difficulty level: Medium

Janathon 2016, Day 13 – To the Pier and back

Pirates of Mumbles Pier sign

After the pub tonight I walked to the pier. I nearly managed to make it there and back home without getting wet. But just as I struggled back up the last bit of the hill, it tipped down.

I didn’t see any pirates tonight. They tend not to be around at this time of year.
I didn’t really see much of anything other than darkness, boats and sea.
It was an incredibly enjoyable walk.

darkness, boats and sea

To the pier and back day: 2 mile walk to Mumbles pier and back
Steps Taken: 11,282
Difficulty Level: Medium

Janathon 2016, Day 12 – In the Buff

Portrait of Methalda wearing Buff

I’ve finally bought myself a Buff – the extremely versatile piece of headgear that’s essentially a very expensive bit of tubed fabric.
Hints had been thrown out to my family before both my birthday and Christmas. And believe me, my hints are very strong indeed. I not only go so far as to tell them what I’d like, I even have a pinned Facebook post dedicated to “Things you could buy me”. This probably seems a trifle over the top. But I watched on Christmas Day as my brother-in-law unwrapped dozens of pairs of socks from various people. He doesn’t have a “Things you could buy me” post. I, on the other hand got some lovely candles and a bottle of perfume that I adore. Unfortunately I didn’t get a Buff.

I’ve fancied one for ages.
But it is expensive.
But it would be perfect for me for the winter.
But… no more excuses. I decided to buy one. I chose exactly the design I fancied. Showed mum… and apparently the old trout had just bought herself one. Which just so happened to be exactly the same design as I wanted!

The Buff I’m wearing in the picture is my 2nd choice of design.

Please note that I am also wearing my new blue Helly Hansen. Hopefully they’ll get a fair bit of wear during my upcoming holiday. (I’m beginning to get excited about it now)

And Janathon?
My exercise for Day 12 was to plod up and down the living room whilst watching a couple of programs on Netflix. I got a few calf stretches in and then also managed a session of “bed weights”.

In the Buff day: Indoor walking, bed weights
Steps taken: 4,306
Difficulty level: Easy

Janathon 2016, Day 11 – Yoga

my feet

It’s been 20 years since I last did any yoga.
Dang, that makes me feel old!

I used to go to evening classes in a dilapidated Victorian building which had formerly been the local secondary school. At the age of 15 I’d be there, with the slightly more mature members of the group, trying to hold various poses on my mat. They must have hated how I did every pose with ease.

The evening classes were virtually free to students, so I tried to find as many as I could to attend. I’ve vivid recollections of walking up the creaking flight of stairs to the first floor and then making my way to one of the many small former schoolrooms. The least favourite class I took was typing. I’d finish every class wondering why I’d pushed my hands through such torture. It didn’t help that I haven’t got “pianists hands”. My fingers are short and stubby. It also didn’t help that we were using old fashioned mechanical typewriters, when computer keyboards had already been in use for years. I blame those lessons for being the reason that I still can’t touch type properly. Every time I try, my hands start to hover inches above the keys and then crash down with keyboard-smashing intensity.

But the yoga: I really enjoyed that. I knew that it really wasn’t that beneficial to me as a 15 year old, but over the years I’ve thought about trying to use it to gain some much required flexibility and core strength.

And I finally managed.
It was the simplest of beginner sessions, but hopefully it was the start of more to come.
Thanks to the Janathon blogger who recommended the you tube video. I have searched (both my brain and Google) to work out who you were, but have come up with a complete blank. The video was perfect.

Yoga with Adrienne for complete beginners

I had a very enjoyable exercise session. Except for the point at which I was trying to maintain the downward dog pose. That was virtually impossible without a fair bit of gritting of teeth. In fact I probably missed the whole de-stressing aspect of yoga whilst my bottom tried its best to remain stuck up in the air. But I did get some much needed stretches in. And boy do my legs feel it!

But considering that a few months ago I found it difficult to rise from a chair, I think that floundering about on the floor like that was a great achievement.

Yoga Day: 20 minute session of yoga, 3.5 minutes of dancing,
Steps Taken: 3,125
Difficulty level: medium

Janathon 2016, Day 10 – A walk along the front

Looking across the muddy bay to Port Talbot

I know that those two people managed to find some mud. Lots of it in fact. But as much as I fear that I need to find some in order to complete Janathon properly, I don’t fancy sploshing about out there.

I was happily engaged in sitting down and using my new camera to photograph everything that moved and most of the things that didn’t. The only reason that this post isn’t even more picture rich is that it poured down most of the time I was outside.

It seems strange to me that tourists flock to Mumbles: it being an idyllic little seaside town where many people buy the properties as 2nd homes. And yet, just across the Bay lies Port Talbot with its Steel works belching out exhaust fumes day and night. It’s the most polluted place in Wales and said to be more polluted than anywhere else in Britain other than London. Something you wouldn’t deny if you’ve ever driven through it on the M4.

Mumbles front looking towards the lighthouse

I love this place, and I love living here. In no time at all from my front door I can get down to the sea and stroll along the prom. This is normally my starting point for a walk along the prom: Mumbles car park. The car park is the hardest part of the walk to navigate because most visitors are just that, they have no idea of the layout of the car park and have a tendency to drive at you from all directions with a rabid look in their eyes as they try to pounce on the last open place. Luckily, at the moment the car park is closed due to nearby refurbishment of the old cinema.
I wonder where they’ve all gone?
Perhaps they take one look at the lack of car park and go away again?
They’re certainly not parking anywhere else in Mumbles. There’s no room.

As I said: It rained. It rained a couple of million buckets. I was utterly drenched. But it was great to be outside. It was also interesting to people watch as I took one of my many stops (The front is great for that because there are benches every few metres). In the summer the front is full of happy families and couples linked arm in arm. I have to admit that I, as a single person wandering along can feel quite lonely in that sea of happy people. But today was a different story entirely. Today it appeared to be those who had to go out for a run and those who had to take their dogs out for their run that were milling about. And the colour scheme was entirely different: neon tops flashed passed me at different speeds. But the dog walkers seemed to favour blending in to the murkiness of the day.

Looking towards Swansea City Center

My sister lives over there!
That’s Swansea’s city centre with Kilvey Hill rising up in the background. Her house lies roughly behind the Meridian Quay tower. Which at 29 storeys is the tallest building in Wales. (Yes, I’ve been looking at Wikipedia. I can hardly shove all of these pictures in with no commentary on them can I?)

my seat

I managed to reach the half way point with no real difficulty. This seat marks 1 mile from my house. When I first moved here the seat marked the start of a pleasantly wooded section, but a few of the winter storms manged to remove most of the underlying soil so that the trees were clinging on for dear life by just their roots. And now we have boulders instead.
On the return journey things got a little more difficult. My legs were on a complete “go slow”; by the time I got back to the car park, so I didn’t actually mange to walk 2 miles because I cheated and got a taxi back up the hill. But I certainly got enough exercise today.

And I also got to watch two lifeboats out in the Bay complete what looked like a complicated mating ritual.

2 lifeboats, Mumbles lifeboat station and lighthouse

A walk along the front: 3.2km walk
Steps Taken: 9,454
Difficulty level: medium