Juneathon 2017, Day 29 – Dentist Day

 

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Today I visited the dentist for the first time in over three years.

I’m not particularly scared of going to the dentist, but my inability to walk easily and bouts of agoraphobia meant that I just never got around to going. Plus, although I qualify for free dental care on the NHS due to my low income, I was having to pay for it, because trying to get an NHS dentist is nearly impossible. (I waited for 6 years in Inverness before I got wind of a practise that had an availability.) This time it was my sister who tripped over the NHS slots and grabbed one for me.

I very nearly didn’t get there. Mentally during the last few days I’ve been in the doldrums. Not feeling really bad, but not quite right either. I’m always amazed at how being in a poor mental state can make everything physically more difficult too. My legs ache more, my body just niggles at me. And that was what it was like today: I virtually crawled out of the door to walk to the bus stop.

But, I did get to the dentist. And it was a relatively pain free experience.
I had a bit of a panic attack trying to get into the building as I’d never been before. But having scouted it all out beforehand using Street View on Google Earth I knew exactly where I was going and which door I had to enter. On the first pass, as I said, I lucked out. I didn’t have quite enough “bravery” momentum to get me through the door and I carried on walking instead. But I got in on the second try.

One of the worst things for me is that dentists invariably will tell you off for your poor dental hygiene. This is especially bad for someone dealing with my mental health issues because I’m paranoid that if I don’t do things correctly then someone will come along and kill me. Don’t ask me who, I’ve no idea. My brain is totally bonkers. Actually, I’m glad that it’s never formulated a massive conspiracy theory as to the precise nature of the people that are going to come and kill me, because then it would be far harder for me to dismiss it.
Normally I don’t have to put up with that little voice screaming at me to “be good”. Normally… unless I get stressed. And dentists stress everybody out, right?

But this dentist was lovely. I mentioned that I had mental health issues and his posture changed, ever so slightly. I thought “uh oh, here we go. He’s either going to talk to me as if I’m an imbecile, or his eyes are going to flit warily between myself and the door the whole time.” But I was pleasantly surprised. He told me clearly what he was going to do and why and not once did he castigate me for not brushing often enough.

Upon emerging I was very happy. I have a tooth that needs filling. But more importantly I wasn’t scared of returning.
I was unfortunately worn out from the whole encounter. So why I then decided to walk home is a bit of a mystery. Because it’s good for me I suppose.
I enjoyed the walk. But it took aeons because my legs felt like lead and my brain had gone just a little bit off kilter from the whole “dentist” thing.

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In the dunes

I even took a short detour into the dunes. I haven’t been along this little boardwalk before.

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Looking over to Mumbles

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Swansea’s tallest building

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Hmm…

It took me a little while to work out why there were loudspeakers strung along the beach. At first I thought that they may have been left over from last week’s half marathon. And then I remembered that it’s the Airshow on Saturday and Sunday. If all goes well with the weather we’ll be treated with displays by the Red Arrows and a variety of other magnificent flying machines. For today though, we’ve got a line of speakers on the sand playing tinny music.

Not a bad day at all 🙂

Dentist Day: 3 mile walk home
Steps Taken: 11,210
Difficulty Level: Moderate

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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 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 16 – Constitution Hill

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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?

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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.

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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

Juneathon 2017, Day 14 – Walk into town and back

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Castle Square, Swansea

I had my first house inspection today for my new house. It always freaks me out. I spend far too much time trying to make the place tidy, just for them to spend two seconds taking a look around. I was mentally exhausted by the time the woman had come and gone, so I flopped back into bed.

4 hours later I awoke to find myself in a puddle of drool. Not the best way to wake up. But I had at least had a very deep sleep and was ready for a bit of exercise.
First came some bed stretches. Today I waved my arms about to Kayne West’s “Stronger.” before I limped quickly to the toilet. I’d allowed for roughly 3 minutes of body movement before getting up, not 5 minutes. A small difference, but a large error if you’ve just emerged from a deep sleep.

And then I went out for a walk. Making my way tonight along beside all of the people heading out for a night out. First heading towards the City Centre and then back again.
At one point I passed the city centre gym which being a 24hr affair might be something that I could take advantage of, especially in the winter months when I won’t necessarily want to be wandering around in driving rain at midnight. I used to enjoy going to the gym when I was less ill.
As I walked along I tried working out if it would be possible. I know that particular gym isn’t too expensive. I can certainly get to it, and as I’ve already said as a 24hr gym it would be great for my night owl tendencies. I’ve been researching where I can buy breathable, athletic fabrics from recently and I’m pretty certain that I could whip up a sports top, shorts and bra that wouldn’t look out of place. I was getting quite excited. And then I thought: footwear.

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resting a while

😦
Footwear!
I’d have to find some form of shoes to fit my feet 😦

I have very wide feet. I actually have large bones. Yes, I know that this is a “thing” that is flung about in order to explain away or make excuses for someone who is overweight. I’m doing no such thing. I’ve mentioned in other posts how heavy I am and the fact that I’m morbidly obese. But that doesn’t negate the fact that I have large bones, which make my feet wide no matter how much I weigh. Add the fact that they’re now also puffy from excess weight and, well, buying shoes that don’t explode is nigh on impossible.

You can tell if you’ve got large or small bones by measuring the circumference of your wrist. This is the one place on the body that generally doesn’t have any fat.

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I’m 5’4″ and have a wrist circumference of 7.25″
I am far from being petite.

Right, back to the topic of exploding shoes: Getting anything wide enough for my feet is nigh on impossible. Which is why I live in sandals for as long as I can throughout the year.
Yes, you can buy extra wide shoes. But have you ever looked at them?! I’ve tried to buy some, really I have. But I admit it: I’m a footwear snob. I want footwear with Vibram type soles that have good grip. I want footbeds that hug my feet and offer support. I want to wear walking boots or approach shoes when doing the activities that warrant using them. When at the gym I want to be able to wear appropriate trainers that are built for people who are trying to exercise. But I can’t find anything!
If you think I’m overreacting, try searching for a woman’s size 39-40 (UK size 6) trainer in at least a 4EE width, (avoiding baby blue or light pink if at all possible). See if it is actually available in Britain and in stock. And then, when you have found one, take a good look at it and answer honestly if you’d be seen dead wearing it. If so, then well done, you are not a shoe snob.

But, having said all of that, if the trainers were only for the gym and I hid them in my bag so that regular people didn’t see me walking about in them… perhaps that would be okay. Perhaps this Cinderella could go to the Gym after all 😀

Walk into town and back day: Bed stretch, Walk into town and back
Steps Taken: 11,227
Difficulty level: intermediate

Juneathon 2017, Day 11 – Sea Swimming

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Nearly at the beach

After last night’s disastrous date I needed to clear my head. And what better way to do that than splashing about in the sea for a while?

I took myself down to the beach and for roughly half an hour enjoyed a session of jumping up and over the crests of some impressive waves. It was quite windy today so the sea was choppy. There was no way that actual swimming could be accomplished safely. But leaping about in the water was great fun.

I’ve just returned home, had a lovely shower with some expensive soap and am tired, but happy.

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Swansea from the beach

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Time to head home

Sea Swimming Day: 5 minute stretch, walk to beach and back, half an hour “swim”.
Steps Taken: 9,630
Difficulty Level: Easy

Juneathon 2017, Day 9 – Nothing Much

For the last hour I’ve been trying to push myself to do some extra exercise for Juneathon. But it just isn’t happening. I’m utterly worn out. If I find that I’ve left my dumbbells in my bedroom I will try to do a few lifts from my bed, but that’s it.

So, today I’ve pottered about a bit and then headed to Swansea’s Grand Theatre to watch my nephew perform a Grease inspired medley with the rest of his year from his Primary school. That wouldn’t have been too bad, but there were also another 5 schools performing their own songs and dance routines. I’ve never been so glad in all my life that my niece needed to go to the toilet desperately. I was beginning to flip mentally. Heading out of the theatre and to the toilets was so lovely. I just wish that it had been a longer walk.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it was an amazing experience for the children to get to perform on stage like that. I also enjoyed most of the performances. It was all just a little bit too much for me today, that’s all.

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Waiting for the stars to emerge

Nothing Much Day: Walk to Swansea Grand and back
Steps Taken: 8,160 (I think roughly 1,000 of those “steps” were triggered by my clapping though :/ )
Difficulty level: Intermediate