The Old Trout saves the day, again – Juneathon 2018, Day 28

I was all set to head out for a walk today. Really, I was. A roughly 2.5km wander along an old railway line. But I felt extremely groggy this morning and informed the Old Trout that she did not have to get up and chauffeur me anywhere.

Instead, I worked on my crocheting again and moved my chair every so often so that I wasn’t in the blazingly hot sun.

Here you can see how I’ve been crocheting the hexagons together. I join 4 together with single crochet. When I have 4 groups of 4 they then get crocheted together in the same way. That makes 16 flower motifs in total, which is the length of the blanket. Only another 32 to go!

Unfortunately at that point I had a seizure and fell off my chair.

The Old Trout did her bit to make me comfortable. I have more seizures when she’s around. But that’s because I get more tired because I can do more when she’s with me. I live alone and when I feel ill normally I stay at home and lounge about. Having a schizophrenic episode whilst out by yourself is horrendous. But when I’m with my mum, even when I feel a little ill, we can head out in the car. I can scream, or be anxious, or paranoid without worrying anyone. She’s there to calm me down so that the rest of the day can be a good one. And it was the case again today that having someone there made all the difference: because she was sitting beside me, acting reasonably nonchalantly, even though her daughter was thrashing about on the grass. I didn’t worry any fellow campers. They could see she was fine with the situation. And that made it easier for them too.

I’m glad I made the decision to not head out into the wild blue yonder today. But it did leave me wondering how I was going to fulfill my Juneathon requirement of actual exercise. I’m not like some of the Juneathoners out there who seem to think that running in this sweltering heat is a bit of a lark. In the end I resorted to walking around the campsite. Twice. Yes, everybody is now wondering if I was trying to size up their gaff. I probably have neighbours armed with newspapers to ward me off if I dare trip over their tow bars, or look sideways at their calor gas bottles again.

And then a fortuitous piece of luck blew my way. Actually, it blew away from me, but let’s not get stuck in pesky details.

There was a couple who arrived and tried to erect a large dome tent. I could see that they hadn’t a clue what they were doing. But I only stepped in when the wind whipped the thing out of their hands and into a nearby tree. I know a thing or two about erecting tents, having spent a misspent youth traipsing the Highlands of Scotland with a tent in tow. Once you’ve dealt with gale force winds on the Isle of Skye, a slight breeze in Dorset is nothing.

The tent was erected in a couple of shakes of a lamb’s tail. I’m not entirely certain they were thankful. But the Old Trout informs me that they were impressed by my tent erection skills. Oh, and that they were more amused by the whole escapade than anything else.

Day 28 – Daily step count reached, tent erected

Step Count – 5,479

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Still here – Juneathon 2018, Day 27

Well, I’m still here doing my Juneathon exercising. It may not be much, but it’s enough for me.

As I emerged from the tent this morning, my legs felt leaden. So that proves that I must have worked them hard enough yesterday. Right? It was one of those mornings when even the campsite daisies were too tall to lift my legs up and over.

It was hot again today.

The Old Trout and I went in search of shade and some more geocaches. I’m afraid that I need more sleep than I’ve been getting in the campsite. The sun has been waking us too early in the mornings. I was flouncing around today like a bear with a hangover. We finally found some shade and I had a bit of a kip before getting on with sticking my hands into hedges full of stinging nettles.

There is a cache there. Thank goodness for our sticks. Saves my hands from being stung too much.

See! It’s that green pot.

So, my exercise for today was racking up as many steps as possible, without screaming too loudly at anyone. I succeeded at this reasonably well, considering.

It does help that the countryside around here, be it Dorset, Hampshire or wherever, is very pretty and pleasant to bimble through in the Old Trout’s air conditioned car 😎

Day 27 – daily step goal reached

Steps Taken – 4,944

2,000th cache – Juneathon 2018, Day 26

I did it!

Today I found my 2,000th geocache. We chose this one purposefully as swimming was involved. It also had a terrain rating of 5. That’s the most difficult terrain rating a cache can have. If you were to walk to a cache on the summit of Mount Everest it would have the same terrain rating.

But, to be fair, not only was swimming possibly on the cards, we also had to walk from Dorset to Hampshire to get there. It was a tough old walk…

On this baking hot day (possibly the hottest of the year again) the Old Trout and I found ourselves walking in dappled shade along an old railway line. We walked the full distance of 200ish metres from where the car was parked and soon arrived where we could slip comfortably into the river.

I did a quick reconoiter first. The Old Trout remained where I’d placed her – directly above the container. It was allegedly underneath the bridge. Hence the possible need for swimming.

Very soon we were both splashing about in the river and searching underneath the bridge. It was the Old Trout who spotted the film canister perched on a relatively low ledge.

I doubt that the cache survives the river in spate. The Cache Owner (C. O.) must keep replacing it. That’s the thing with rivers: they can be deadly in winter. Hence the high terrain rating. But on a hot summer’s day like today, it was easy peasy. Far easier than I’d imagined.

After getting that over and done with, I continued my Juneathon excercise by walking upstream, against the current, until I got to a point where I could float merrily back down. There was one part where I would pick up speed and zoom along with the current.

“Weeeeeeeeeeee!” it was so much fun that I forgot how tired my legs were getting trying to make my way back upstream. I can now currently not walk properly. My legs are refusing to do anything else today.

Meanwhile, the Old Trout was sitting in the shallows, burbling at dozens of tiny fish that were encountering her bottom as they tried swimming upstream.

There were also more dragonflies today. But they’re far too flighty for me to be able to photograph. This caterpillar nearly made a clean getaway before I could take a snap too. That’s how useless I am at getting pictures of moving objects.

This picture is rather like a “spot the ball” competition. There were loads of large fish as well as the tiddlers. And whilst near the bridge we could see them easily. But could I get a reasonable photo? Of course not.

It was an amazing day.

Hopefully the sun will soon disappear behind the trees at our campsite so that I can get into the tent without melting. I’m tired.

Day 26 – a short walk, a short swim and lots of leg resistance work.

Steps taken – 5,121

10 caches – Juneathon 2018, Day 25

The Old Trout and I left the campsite this morning with one aim: to find 10 geocaches. No more, and no less.

Geocaching is a hobby that indulges those of us who enjoy statistics. Yes, we find little plastic boxes hidden all over the country. But once you delve further in to the game you can find yourself excited about how many you’ve found, how many “large” geocaches you’ve found, whether you’ve discovered a cache starting with every letter of the alphabet… The list is endless and allows everyone to aim for their own goals.

I started Geocaching in May 2011 and in October 2013 I celebrated finding my 1,000th cache in North Wales. Unfortunately I had a few “lean years” where ill health stopped me from finding many caches. But the magic milestone of 2,000 finds is finally in sight.

Our purpose today was to find 10 easy caches so that I ended the day on 1,999. Tomorrow we’re going for the biggie.

And find them we did. Most appeared to revolve around telephone boxes.

The Old Trout went in search of the first. She soon spotted it, but it was perched above the top hinge. For someone who can’t physically lift their arms above their shoulders, this was a physical impossibility. I soon had her beckoning me with her Trout pout through the glass.

The day wore on and we wore ourselves out. But one highlight of the day was spotting something I’d never seen before: mistletoe. There was a long avenue of lime trees leading away from a stately home. We were there to collect one of our 10 caches. In the description it mentioned that the trees were awash with mistletoe.

I didn’t get a good picture, but there it is in the centre of the one showing lots of leaves. The mistletoe leaves are slightly darker and have twisting branches.

That is part of the hobby I love: tripping over unexpected and new things.

Before we knew it, we’d found our 10 caches. I decided that it was high time I went for a swim. We’ve been camping for a week and I hadn’t had a sniff of a swim. It’s also bloomin’ hot. I nearly burst into flames a couple of times today.

The Old Trout agreed, and after a couple of false starts we finally found somewhere I could plunge into the river.

Oh that felt so good!

I swam up and down, and then I floated down, did some bobbing about and some dragonfly observation. It was just what I needed.

And that was my exercise for this swelteringly hot Juneathon day.

Day 25 – walked a lot, swam a bit

Steps Taken – 9,952

A day at the campsite – Juneathon 2018, Day 24

Yesterday’s blog was a little short. I had a seizure and decided that I was exceptionally tired. But I was determined to write something for Juneathon. Unbeknown to me, I was in a mildly catatonic state between seizures. Another occurred virtually as soon as I finished writing. So, sorry to anyone who read what was an incredibly lacklustre piece of writing.

Today the Old Trout decided that we’d have a day off from geocaching. I don’t know who she thought needed a rest more: myself after thrashing about uncontrollably for a few minutes, or her after I hurt her already incredibly sore shoulders, whilst she tried to stop me from bashing the tent to pieces.

It doesn’t really matter. We both just needed a rest.

It was hot today. I spent most of the time like a vampire: trying to hide from the sun.

And crocheting. Always crocheting.

That meant that I hadn’t accomplished many steps. I tried to make them up by walking to the toilet block and back. But I think I may be too dehydrated for that to work today.

Instead, I dragged the Old Trout along the short, dog walking path in the campsite with promises of a cool, sheltered woodland walk. I also informed her that she’d be as stiff as a brick tomorrow if she didn’t do something.

That did the trick.

And because I refused to walk aimlessly around this campsite any more today, I decided to add 20 kneeling push ups to the day’s efforts instead. I think that’s reasonable.

By the way, the doctors think that the seizures I’ve been suffering from for the last couple of years are non-epileptic seizures. They’re probably caused by my schizophrenia as opposed to epilepsy. Thankfully I don’t become unconscious and do have a little warning. But after that I flail about on the floor uncontrollably for a few minutes. The main problem is how utterly bone tired I then feel. Last night was no exception.

Unlike epilepsy, my brain’s electrical connections aren’t misfiring and it isn’t causing any form of neurological damage. It is however very real and something that I can’t control. Medications to stop seizures won’t help. But unlike epeleptic seizures, I have a very real chance that one day they’ll stop and never return. Here’s hoping.

Day 24 – Reached daily step goal, 20 push ups

Steps Taken – 3,434

Bush whacking – Juneathon 2018, Day 22

Today we were pooped.

The last couple of days have worn us out. I think both the Old Trout and I would have much rather stayed at the campsite today. But it was very sunny and the tent was like a furnace.

Instead we went out to find more geocaches. Again in this random area of Dorset that we are staying in. Both of us were too tired to plan anything. And that turned out to be a slight downfall. We turned up at a church where there was meant to be a cache hidden, only to find a wedding in full swing. Another attempt found us staring at an 800 year old tree. The tree was amazing. Not quite so great was the elderly gentleman who greated us from the cottage opposite. We were given a history lesson dating from William the Conquerer. This was not what either of us needed today. But we do now know how many times the tree has been hit by a lorry (twice) and how many times the tree’s plaque has been stolen (also twice) amongst other pieces of trivia. Although I can’t remember why he went into a 5 minute ramble about bread ovens.

I decided it was time to make our excuses to leave when my mother started wobbling slightly. This may have been a cunning ruse on her part to make me move us out of the way. But it’s more likely that her legs were about to give way. She really is an old crock.

We scarpered without even looking for the cache.

And so the day went on: badly.

The hedges around here have lots of nettles, and brambles.

And when we found a cache it was generally after bush whacking through 6ft high, stinging vegetation. I warned her not to wear shorts! She never listens to me.

(that’s a picture of me wearing shorts. I generally don’t bother listening to myself either.).

Here’s a photo of the Old Trout in some more green stuff, this time in desperate need of tweezers to extract a log that was jammed into a container.

And that was half of today’s exercise for Juneathon.

The rest was spent walking/crawling/and peering in circles around this bench. I did press ups, I did a few squats; quite a few different stretches. My body was warmed up by the time I got stuck between two of the planks. I don’t know why, but ‘gaps’ don’t seem to be as large as they used to be. I never had a problem getting through gaps when I was smaller. Luckily, after a small panic I wriggled free. We gave up looking for the cache after that.

And then we returned back to the tent. No longer pooped, but absolutely shattered.

Oh, and mum acquired her first tick. I’m sure she must have had one before. I’ve had loads over the years. But that’s what happens when you insist on wearing shorts.

Day 22 – reached daily step goal

Steps taken – 6,364

A figure of 8 – Juneathon 2018, Day 21

Today the Old Trout and I walked around a field.

It was a large field, full of hidden geocaches.

The first cache I found was a haven for slugs. I only found this out by sticking my hand into the crook of a tree and grabbing the slimy things.

Don’t ask me where this field was. I have no idea. Somewhere in Dorset I’d imagine, as we hadn’t driven far from our campsite.

It satisfied our criteria for the day. It was a level walk with gravel paths. Ideal for my partner in crime. And of course it had caches.

We were intending to try a circular route. But that turned into a figure of eight as we figured out how to avoid the tractor driver, who was busy making hay whilst the sun shone.

We had a jolly good day. We found all of the little hidden containers, talked to several dog walkers about the lovely weather and moaned happily by the end of the day about our respective aching parts.

I, as usual, took lots of photos. This is of a former kissing gate that I took whilst lying upside down. The old Trout was busy rootling around a nearby tree.

This is taken moments later, when I decided that she should stop looking at interesting trees and head into the brambles to where the cache was. That’s because she’s the one wearing the trousers, and has the big stick.

Here she is, sitting in front of another telegraph post, which had another cache at the bottom. But she went on sit down strike at this point. Doesn’t she look small compared to that hay bale?

I did wonder if we were going to be stuck wandering around that field forever. The darkness would fall and we’d still be trying to make our way back to the car…

Thankfully my map reading skills are good and it was just a large field, not a mountain range.

I decided that we’d find one more cache for the day.

It was at a post box somewhere. Probably, again in Dorset. I learnt something at this post box/phone box duo: some of the Dorset folk get pretty irate if you lie down on the grass near their red things.

I was trying to get this picture of the buttercup in front of the phone box. But apparently I looked as if I was floundering and in desperate need of assistance. Perhaps the poor chap thought that I’d been run down by the Old Trout, who was waiting patiently in the car nearby. Whatever his thoughts… I could tell that he was unamused by me being perfectly fine. His unuttered curses hung heavily in the air until he motored off and left me to my own devices again.

Oh, and we saw dragonflies. A whole shoal (yep, that’s bound to be the right collective noun) of electric blue ones.

’twas a good day

Day 21 – went for a lovely walk

Steps Taken – 10,309