Janathon 2018, Day 2 – Off to Mumbles

What was that I mentioned yesterday about not pushing myself too hard this month in comparison to last Juneathon?
I am totally worn out today. I’m going to have to do better tomorrow and keep my eyes open fully whilst writing this blog.

So, what did I do today to get myself into this state? I went geocaching in Mumbles.
Over the New Year a storm had ripped up the hiding place of one of the caches I maintain and apparently it was out in the open, ready to be found and nabbed by any Tom, Dick or Harry (or a “muggle” as we refer to them in the geocaching world). My aim was to rescue it before that happened and re-hide it in a more suitable location.

But I also fancied going in search of a cache hidden by a friend of mine that was nearby. The sort of “nearby” that either involves an hour-long detour on foot, or an extra bus trip – which was why I hadn’t found it up until now. But today seemed like a good day. Made even more apt when I discovered that it is my friend’s birthday. Although I’m not sure that everyone would love a photo of me grinning maniacally whilst holding their cache on their birthday, it seemed like a reasonable idea in this instance.

So, that was the plan. I was going to get the bus to the back of Mumbles, go in search of my friend’s cache and then rescue my own cache in the castle grounds. And this plan was going oh so well… until I got halfway down my street. An elderly woman turned the corner and started to walk towards me. She then performed a strangely dainty, dithering wobble and lurched over, off the pavement and on to the street. Her head thwacked on the ground and her glasses bounced into the middle of the road.

The poor woman had got quite a gash. With the help of some other passersby we managed to get her up and back to her house and I called an ambulance. She spent a good 10 minutes reprimanding me for that. But I wasn’t going to watch someone get a crack like that and not get some medical assistance, even if I understood perfectly why she didn’t want a fuss made.
So, I met one of my neighbours for the first time. Unlike me with my paltry 9 months, she’s a long-time resident, having lived in the street since 1977. Considering how curmudgeonly she’d been at first about my ringing an ambulance I was surprised she let me into her house to keep an eye on her. The gash on her head was bleeding quite badly so whilst we waited I cleaned it up a bit. What a bump she’d got! Poor love. I’d imagine that will be sore for quite a few days.

So, there I am, waiting with this woman for the ambulance to turn up. I’ve made friends with her dog. I’ve discussed the coasters she has in the kitchen and what she’s going to have for tea. And the minutes pass quite amicably. And then, out of nowhere, after about 45 minutes she says “Would you like me to call my husband?”
Husband? I’d not thought of asking if there was anyone she wanted to call to sit with her.
“Oh, yes. That would probably be best.” (I was still putting on my best, posh, you’re-quite-safe-with-me accent) “Where is he? Work?”
“He’s on the 3rd floor.”
“The… what? Excuse me?”
“The 3rd floor. He’s on that darned computer of his.”
Well call me a monkey’s uncle if she didn’t just call up the stairs for him to come down. And when she did and explained that I was there waiting with her for an ambulance, he said just hello and promptly returned back upstairs!

This was a little too much for my poor brain to comprehend. I was currently sitting, looking after a woman who had bashed her noggin and her husband had been there all along. Not only that, but he didn’t seem to care one iota what was happening. Should I stay to ensure she was okay, or could I leave now that I knew that there was someone with her (sort of) to help?
I admitted defeat after about another 10 minutes. She was a lot more coherent than she had been initially and her husband was there to keep an eye on her… I still don’t know if I should have stayed.

I actually got both of the other bits done after that as well. That’s why I’m so worn out today.
My friend’s cache was lovely. It was certainly worth the detour and the extra couple of buses.


The only snag I ran into was a lack of daylight. I found my cache easily enough, but trying to replace it whilst stumbling around in fading light was quite difficult. I had to use my local knowledge (and a fairly large use of crossed fingers) to place it somewhere else where it wouldn’t be found quite so easily.

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And so I’m back home. Muddy and wet from today’s excursion.

And I don’t even want to think about that poor woman, because at 18:30, roughly 5 hours after I phoned an ambulance, someone rang me to ask if I was still with her and to apologise that they hadn’t turned up yet!

&^%#*@£ &*#!

Off to Mumbles Day: 2 miles walked
Steps Taken: 8,644
Difficulty Level: Easy

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Juneathon 2017, Day 18 – A Day of two parts

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!”.

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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 8 – Election Day

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Outside Mumbles’ Polling Station

I did it!
I’m incredibly proud of myself today, because I voted.
It took one heck of a push to get myself outside and walking to the bus. I was just so highly stressed about the whole thing.
I’ve had a postal vote ever since I’ve been allowed one. But for that last few years, no matter how many times I sent my form in I never seemed to be signed up for the postal vote. And so it was with this snap election: along came my voting card as opposed to a postal ballot. And because I hadn’t updated my details since my move, I had to head to Mumbles once again in order to cast my vote. That probably made it easier in a way, because I know Mumbles well and have often been inside the village hall. It wasn’t as nerve wracking as entering a new place would have been. And Mumbles isn’t a bad place to go to. After all, look at the view from the polling station of Oystermouth castle.

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Caswell Bay

And afterwards I took the opportunity to do something else I’m rather proud of: I went for a walk to a couple of geocaches that I haven’t been to for quite some time. They’re ones that I look after with my family, but that I haven’t been physically able to get to for a couple of years.

And look: I walked far enough that I can actually show you on a map:

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A map of my walk

I am so flipping chuffed!

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Arachnophobia

I’m probably not going to make too much sense in this blog because I have not only worn myself out, I’m also on a natural high from finally being able to get out and go for a walk away from level pavements.

Arachnophobia is the first of two geocaches that we maintain in Bishop Woods. It’s a night cache. You get to the starting coordinates and then at night with a torch you follow the reflective strips that we’ve placed in a trail around the woods until you finally get to the cache. And in this case: the spiders’ lair. It’s holding up well considering.

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A good place for a quick rest


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Onwards and Upwards!

Just look at how uneven that path is!
And did my knees complain? No they did not. (Well, perhaps just a little)
As I was slowly making my way uphill, a woman passed me with her dogs saying “It’s a long way up isn’t it?” – probably thinking from my sweat smeared face that I was having a rough time of it. But I was just grinning from ear to ear when I replied “Yes. Yes it is isn’t it?”. To think that 6 months ago I was still having difficulty crossing a room!

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Why am I walking inside a bush?

The path to the next cache had me a little stumped. It was all rather more overgrowth than when I was last here and I found myself engulfed in foliage for a good 15m. I knew the path was beneath my feet, but as to where the dratted sky had gone? Well, that was a bit of a mystery.

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The Bishop Woods cache

Thankfully I emerged in the right place. I did my little bit of maintenance: wiped the box clean, topped up the swag, replaced the log and unstuck a couple of slugs using the underside as a meeting place.

And, with my jobs done for the day I wandered off to find my way home.
What a fantastic day!

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A foxglove

Election Day: A walk around Bishop Woods
Steps Taken: 13,366
Difficulty level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 5 – A quest for medicine

I’d been looking forward to heading off to Pontardawe for a Geocaching Event today. But it wasn’t to be.
Geocaching essentially entails finding little plastic boxes in the woods. A Geocaching Event is where you meet up with people in order to talk about finding the little plastic boxes in the woods. All very obvious and a great way to have a chat with equally bonkers-minded people.

I realised on Saturday that I had run out of medication. Or rather that I would after Saturday night. Thankfully my prescription was waiting at the chemist. But of course it would have to be the weekend when I spotted that I’d not got any left! Oh, and to make things just that little bit more difficult, guess who hasn’t changed their GP yet from the grand move across Swansea back in March? So although my tablets were at the chemist, they were at a chemist in Mumbles, 4 miles away.

It was with difficulty that I dragged myself out of bed today. Having not had last night’s tablets didn’t help, but the main problem was that it was bucketing down.
That made me feel better about not being able to head to the Geocaching Event. Instead of spending a couple of hours dripping on a bus it would only be 40 minutes.

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My “local” chemist

Having picked up my prescription I started Juneathon’s exercise in earnest

 

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Joe’s ice-cream

Erm, via a quick detour which involved two scoops of Joe’s Ice-cream to congratulate myself on getting to the chemist. I can thoroughly recommend their Welsh Cake flavour (top right).

But… as I was saying… I did some exercising by walking along the sea front. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience as it was horrendous weather and I was soaked to the skin by the time I’d got a few feet. But I felt far more sorry for those walking towards me as I’d purposefully chosen to walk with my back to the wind and they were getting it lashing in their faces.

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Horrible weather

I’m very happy with today’s achievement of 10,341 steps.
(And with managing to pick up my tablets)

A quest for medicine day: A walk along the seafront
Step Count: 10,341
Difficulty level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 3 – Let’s find a park

I found two parks today. And a geocache.

I’ve been to both parks before, but not for quite a while and I haven’t walked to them from the direction I did today. I actually covered a fair bit of new territory on my walk.

In my 1st Juneathon blog this year I hinted that quite a bit had changed since January. One major change is that I was evicted from the place I rented in Mumbles. In February I was given 2 months to find somewhere new to live. Thankfully my family rallied round and helped me find a place and to move. It’s a lovely little terraced house, built before the 1880s. But it isn’t in Mumbles. Those of you who’ve read my previous blogs will know that I loved living in Mumbles. It was a way of living in a city without putting up with quite as much of the hustle and bustle of a city. I’d walk out of my door and within minutes I could be down at the sea front looking over the wide expanse of Swansea Bay. And because my landlord had decided to sell up I was suddenly uprooted and forced to find somewhere else to live.

I was very worried about what I would be able to get in the short time that we had to find a place. One problem I have is that technically, as I’m disabled, I fall into the “No DSS” remit. So many landlords refuse to have any tenants who are paid housing benefit or any other form of government based income. I get so annoyed about it because I’ve been disabled since my late teens. I’ve had the same income for years and am highly unlikely to get any better, so shouldn’t theoretically have any change of income in the foreseeable future. As such, surely I’m as good a candidate as anyone in my income bracket, with jobs being as short term as they are?

But it all came good.
I’m now closer to the city center, it’s easier to get to food shops, the sea is no further from me now than in Mumbles and the Kinsale Pool Team have said that I can continue to visit them every so often.
So, from my new home I’m now heading out and exploring.

Today I went to Singleton Park and Brynmill Park via a nearby geocache that I hadn’t found.

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A nifty nano at St Paul’s Church

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Singleton Park

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Ducks at Brynmill Park

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Brynmill Park

It was another fantastic day today, improved by the fact that I didn’t get lost on the way to the parks. The two problematic parts of the day came right at the start and at the very end.

At the start as I made my way valiantly up the hill to the cache there was a seemingly endless amount of groups of men walking down the hill. I’ve decided that walking up that hill on a Saturday afternoon just as everyone is deciding to walk down it to go into town for the evening is not good for my health. I try very hard to convince myself that I’m worth something and that I’m entitled to feel good about myself. But if you’re a lone, morbidly obese woman sweating her way up a pavement whilst scores of men dressed up to the nines pass you… well, it wrecked my equanimity somewhat!
And, something I’d like to know is: Where were they all coming from? Why were there no women walking down the hill? If I walked to the very top of the hill would it have been like getting to the end of the rainbow and finding a crock of gold? Would an endless supply of men be mine for the taking? I never found out because I went off to find the geocache instead.

At the end of the day my knees gave up. I was forced to catch a bus part of the way home. I’d really hoped to get all the way back, but nevermind. It was a lovely walk and certainly counts as my Juneathon exercise for today.
But there will be no stretching, squatting or anything else today. I’m done in.

Let’s Find a Park Day: 3.25 mile walk
Steps Taken: 11,802
Difficulty Level: medium

Janathon 2017, Day 12 – A Midnight Wander

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I headed off for a bracing walk along the front just before midnight. As midnight struck I was sitting on a wall sorting out the contents of a geocache.

If you’ve read previous blog posts you’ll have noticed that there’s a bit of a theme running through them, which means that if I get out for a walk it’s invariably along the sea front, and also invariably includes geocaching in some form or another. This time I spiced things up a bit by walking away from Swansea towards the pier, and the geocache I visited didn’t actually belong to me.
Okay, okay, I could have spiced things up a little bit more by walking somewhere different. But I love this walk. Partially because the views are spectacular, day or night. And partially because it’s flat and my knees don’t appreciate it when I walk downhill.

It was a little breezy. But other than that it was a fine, clear night. The lights were shining brightly right across the Bay all the way from Swansea city centre to the works at Port Talbot. And the wind was making the boat rigging clank atmospherically.

Have I told you how much I love living here?

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A Midnight wander day: 1.5 mile walk
Steps taken: 3,576
Difficulty level: medium