Juneathon 2017, Day 30 (Part 2) – I did it!

I did it!

I completed the whole of Juneathon. That means that every day in June I both exercised and blogged about exercising.

I was hoping to finish Juneathon off with some spectacular feat. I hadn’t worked out what it would be, but I really wanted to see this month off with a congratulatory pat on the back. I suppose I did really. I might not have walked very far on the last day of June, but it was by far the hardest day of the month to complete. Mentally I was in full “nope” mode. I felt so upset by the world and so distraught and scared that moving out of bed, even to go to the toilet was nigh on impossible. So the fact that I pushed myself to complete 3,000 steps is something I think I can be proud of.

I really love Janathon and Juneathon. This year there don’t seem to be many people taking part and even fewer who stayed the course. One thing I enjoy is that fact that the achievement is entirely personal. Some participants complain if they only complete a 3 mile walk, but for me that is a great day and I can reflect that in my blog posts.
It gives me a big health boost to exercise every day for a month. But it is also one heck of an energy drain. I don’t have enough energy to do anything else. Life doesn’t continue around the exercise. What you see me write about is generally all I’ve done. Essentially, if I continued blogging throughout the year nothing else would ever get done.

So, I’ll say goodbye for now.
And I’ll talk to you again in January x

Total Steps: 233,126
Daily Average number of steps: 7,771
Minutes Swimming: Lots 🙂
Yoga: 40 minutes
Dancing & Stepping: 20 minutes
Stretching: 30 minutes
Dumbbell lifts: 400

Juneathon 2017, Day 28 – To streak or not to streak

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That building near my house; it’s just so creepy.

I couldn’t get myself to exercise today. So instead of trying too hard I decided to do some sewing instead.

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It was a quick top to make. But all told it took about 5 hours from printing off the pattern to finishing. It’s the “Free Spirit Tank” by Patterns for Pirates, one of the new wave of independent clothing pattern designers.

Years ago you’d buy a pattern from one of the “Big 4”: Simplicity, Vogue, Butterick and McCalls. In the little packet that you’d buy would be a massive sheet of paper with the pattern printed on it and a not so massive sheet with instructions. The massive pattern sheet was the flimsiest paper imaginable. Think tissue paper. So, one wrong move and the pattern could be torn to shreds. And the instructions assumed that you had the competence of a sewing god. Which I am not. Add to that the fact that I’ve never been in the size range of most of the patterns and you have a recipe for disaster.

And then I tripped over this new wave of pattern designers. They’re much more my cup of tea (even though I don’t like tea) (although I do periodically enjoy iced-tea, so I suppose that counts). Anyway, they’re far more user friendly for the beginner like myself and some of them realise that we large ladies would like to have clothing that fits too.
Gone are the days when I would be tearing my hair out trying to work out the vaguest of instructions. Instead, because the patterns I buy are downloadable PDF files, brevity isn’t an issue. You’re walked through each step with photos and clear instructions. And if you still can’t figure out what to do then there are Facebook groups where you’re free to ask as many questions as you need. Or, in my case, to spend hours lusting after other peoples’ designs.

The top I made takes some people half an hour. It took me 5. It takes others that long as well. My brain just can’t handle doing the whole thing in one go and I have to take time out to sit, chill and try not to worry too much. That’s how it goes. As long as I have something nice at the end, I don’t care. My brain and I are used to one another’s foibles.

Oh, and boy did I get something nice when I finished.
It doesn’t look like much on the hangar, but when it’s on it looks stunning.

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I suppose I did do some rolling around on the floor when I taped the pattern together, and then again when I cut the material out.

I must have done more moving about than by this time yesterday because I’d reached nearly 2,500 steps. And that then spurred me on to reach my daily step goal. I’ve hit an unprecedented streak of 61 days. I wasn’t going to let a mere 500 steps break that. So I decided that the streak must go on and that I had to head outside for 250 steps and then walk back.
It worked! The streak is still going 😀

And now I’m away to lift some dumbbells before midnight.

To streak or not to streak Day: Reached daily step goal, 200 dumbbell lifts
Step Count: 3,423
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Juneathon 2017, Day 27 – Brangwyn

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One of the Brangwyn Hall doors

Today was a bust.
By 10:30pm I’d not even reached 1,000 steps.

But I had forced myself to find my dumbbells and do some bed weights: lifting 7kg up and down whilst lying in bed. I haven’t done it for a while simply because I didn’t know where the dumbbells were. I may have moved over 3 months ago, but I’m still not unpacked. It took a bit of rummaging around and careful lifting of various boxes, but I finally found them nestling in the bottom of one of my still unfilled bookcases behind a wall of boxes.
It was worth humping the weight up and down. My left shoulder was quite tense at the start, but by the end was nicely at ease. And I could feel the burn at the end of the 200 repetitions. As always though, the pumping of iron had pumped my blood around more effectively than normal and my feet were on fire. Cue a quick, cold foot bath.

Having gone for a nap, I felt refreshed enough at 10:30 to go for a quick wander around the block to raise my step count to my minimum goal of 3,000 steps.
I made it to the Brangwyn Hall. It was built in 1934 and subsequently used as the council offices for Swansea for many years. The building is one I frequently walk past, being along the shortest path between my house and the sea. With its ornate screen doors, bright Portland stone facade and simple but sharp lines, it is an impressive and beautiful building.

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Brangwyn Hall

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The Brangwyn Hall clock tower

I reached my step goal just as I stopped taking photos.

Time for bed. And hopefully a more productive day tomorrow.
Nôs Da

Brangwyn Day: Quick walk to Brangwyn Hall and back, 5 x 20 dumbbell lifts
Steps Taken: 4,436
Difficulty Level: Moderate

 

Juneathon 2017, Day 25 – Nipping out for a nano

Today I thought that I could try to find my nearest unfound Geocache in order to add some steps to the day. It’s less than 1km as the crow flies from my house. And it’s a “Church Micro“. This is a series of caches in Britain all set up near churches. They’re generally tiny little containers that are micro in size. Loads of different cache owners across the country maintain their own church micros. This particular cache was the 5,895th church micro to be published, back in 2014. As with all things geocaching related, there are loads of statistics related to Church Micros, which I’m trying desperately not to bore you with right now. I have now found 73 Church Micros, which is a lot less than the person currently topping the ranking at 5,839 finds.

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Pantygwydr church, Swansea

I found the cache relatively easily once I’d found the church. And I thought that I’d have a wander up and down the nearby roads to increase my step count and generally have a nosey around before heading back home.

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Brynmill Park

At one point I spotted Brynmill Park in the distance and decided to head there for a short sit down.

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Fuschias

When I arrived at my new home back in April I was greeted by a lot of plant pots with dead looking things sticking out of them. I’ve since found out that I am now the proud owner of a red and white fuschia. It’s nowhere near as lovely as this beauty. It’s currently only sporting 3 flowers. But you never know, I may manage to keep it alive and next year it might have 4 or 5.

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My Geocaching “Finds” map

And last, but not least, here is a map showing all of my “smilies” in the Swansea area. Now that I can walk again I’m going to slowly try to turn all of those marks into smiley symbols. But perhaps I’ll leave that group to the north east for a while. Some ridiculous cacher went and put them on a massive hill that I’m still not capable of walking around!
*grumble, grumble*
*grumble*
Ach! It’s only annoying because that cacher is my sister. Yes, we’re all at it: the Old Trout shoves stuff out in hedges up in Yorkshire, my sister and her husband are seldom seen out of their “geocaching room” stocked full of plastic delights and half-painted camo containers, and I complete the triad by erm… what do I do exactly?… hmm… I write a lot of nonsense online.

Nipping out for a nano Day: Wander around the Uplands
Steps Taken: 8,129
Difficulty Level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 24 – A Barbeque


Today I had one of the Sprats over and we had a barbeque. This was because I’d some sausages that desperately needed cooking and because I couldn’t face any activity more strenuous than chucking bits in a box and wandering outside to cook.

I awoke this morning to a little bit of a headache and legs which refused to work. It reminded me of how they were a few months ago. It took a full 5 minutes to get out of bed and to the bathroom. They didn’t hurt, there just wasn’t any power in them.

I can’t say that I’m surprised. I flipping danced last night. Only to one song. But I think I remember jumping up and down at one point. As this is something that has been impossible for the last 3 years it came as quite a shock. My poor knees didn’t know what hit them. Especially as after the jiggling about I also walked the mile home.

I would have done some weights today in lieu of walking, but the youngest sprat has been here, expecting my undivided attention. And as an Aunt I feel it is my duty to spoil my niece and nephew rotten whilst I can and give them valuable life lessons and words of wisdom in the process.


“Dinner tastes better when it’s cooked outside.”

“A little bit of rain won’t kill you.”

“Don’t hold the tongs like that, or you’ll drop the saus… oh.”

“Stop waving that flaming stick in my face, it’s hot.”

“Don’t puggle your nose with the tongs!”

“See what happens if you start jiggling whilst I’m stirring the pot?!”


All in all a very easy way of amusing   the sprat for 4 hours. The highlight was definitely the baked bananas we had for desert. I think she was most impressed. I may have gone up a notch in her estimation with those wonderful delights. I certainly went up a notch in my own estimation. They were amazing. Why have I never had them before?!

A barbeque day: 1 mile walk

Steps Taken: 7,356

Difficulty level: Easy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Looking over to Mumbles

Well, perhaps not all the way to Mumbles…

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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!

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

 

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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