Friday, 2 December 2011

Post Kenya blues.

Well, the blues have well truly hit me. I knew I'd feel bad but not quite this bad!!
I have this dreadful apathy hanging over me at the mo. I'm prone to apathy I know and I hate it about myself.
Nothing interests me and I don't want to get on the bike! I was hoping it would be gone by now but it's still hanging about.

Mmmmm. What to do? Well, it's my first whole weekend off with the family since may where I haven't had to go to a bike ride or work or a night out, although it was supposed to be a Group 1 get together this weekend, which unfortunately has been cancelled.

Hence the reason for booking the weekend off. I was worried I would end up working it as my registration has lapsed due to paperwork going to my old address. So I've had to stay off work the last 2 days and I'll lose my pay for everyday I miss until I'm registered again. Which should hopefully be Monday now!

So I have all weekend to spend with the family.

I would like to go to a Christmas fair I think, try and get me in the mood and get me out of this horrid place I'm in right now.

I need to investigate some cafe's too for too!!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Perv doctor update.

He has since killed himself. Surprise surprise!!

His wife has been interviewed over his death and said they were rebuilding their lives and trying to ‘move on’. Move on?? From being struck off for being a perv? For having child porn on his computer?

She said ‘he was very sorry for what he had done’, oh that’s ok then!! She also said "When it's all over the paper, you cannot put it under the carpet. But I loved him and we had to get through this. It wasn't easy.” Sweep it under the carpet? For the love of God!!!

I was bloody furious! He topped himself because he knew he was facing jail time. More people were coming forward to give evidence against him. He knew he was in deep trouble. He must have brainwashed her like he did some of his poor patients.

People actually sent condolences to his wife saying he was a great doctor and he will be sadly missed. Well that’s as may be however would they say the same if he had pictures of their children on his computer? What if it were their daughter he had assaulted?

He’s a great doctor so it’s ok to assault people. If you are a great nurse is it ok to abuse patients then?


Monday, 28 November 2011

The aftermath.

Kenya is over, boo hoo. All that planning, prep, fundraising and training. Over in ten short days.

But what an experience. Joy, laughter, pain, discomfort, pleasure, friendship and hard work.

Day 1 Kenya. Nyeri to Nyahururu

 Garmin Day 1

A long long first day. After an overnight plane ride with little sleep, half a day travelling and a night in a strange bed ( a very strange bed) and up at the crack of dawn.

We didn’t quite know what to expect during the day, the terrain, the heat or the environment. Everything was new and my ankles were the size of elephant feet!

I found myself shortly after we left the hotel, alone on an uphill section after my chain had fallen off. There was a lady sharpening a very huge knife on a rock close to the roadside and I felt very ill at ease but this sight was to be pretty common over the next few days. Over here we would need a license for a thing that size!!

We had to wait at water stops for people to catch up so the timing to the next station was tight. At the last ‘rolling’ stop I literally had a couple of minutes to get going again or it was ‘on the bus’ eek. I got back on my bike a.s.a.p. Unfortunately, a couple of girls I knew had stopped a short way behind me and were forced to get on the bus. They were, gutted to say the least. Fortunately it was only for a short distance and they were allowed off again to carry on cycling.

The last stop before the hotel was lunch where we ate a scrumptious feast and watched local school children sing some beautiful songs to us. There were tears.

The last part of the ride was undulating hills towards the Thomson Falls Safari lodge. It seemed to take forever! Everything hurt and I was so tired. Finally we made it and after a quick shower it was evening meal and talk about the next day from our guides. I had rather too much plonk that night celebrating my victory over day one. Oops.

Day 2. Nyahururu to Nakuru.

I woke ok and looking forward to the day ahead. It was cold!

I felt a bit off it but put it down to tiredness and anticipation of the day ahead.

The cycling was pretty easy as we rode out of town and a friend wanted me to cycle with her but i knew i wouldn’t be able to keep up with her, so declined. We reached our first stop quickly and were shown the road down the valley in front of us from a very high view point. For some reason I got very anxious and the tour guide didn’t help matters by saying the next days down hills were even steeper. I am not a huge fan of really steep roads at the best of times. He put the fear into me and I was stressed.

I really struggled that day. I was emotional and tired. I had no energy and was anxious. I went down that hill with my heart in my mouth and feeling like I was going to have a nasty accident! I don’t know why. It was just a bad day.

The hill going up and out the valley was a long slow drag and it got the better of me. I stopped by the road side and when a couple of my friends passed and asked if I was ok, I cried. They filled me with fruit gums and rummaged for energy snacks and gave me a hug. It was just what I needed.

I made it up the hill with 2 or 3 stops. It was hot and I was dehydrated. I should have known better than to drink so much the night before. I should have rehydrated and gone to bed earlier. I didn’t sleep that well either for whatever reason. And I was dreading Day 3, which involved a huge downhill and a huge uphill!!

We finally made it to the end and I could finally relax. Or so I thought. Transfer by bus to the next hotel proved rough and raised my anxieties more! The roads weren’t particularly good and out driver banked the bus over to miss the pot holes. I thought we were going to tip over. We were like a bunch of screaming school girls!

We made to Lake Nakuru Safari Lodge in time for a swim.

The Lake looked amazing at sunset, shame it was fenced off by a huge wall!

DSCF0322 DSCF0313

It started to rain whilst we were having our evening meal and by the time we were ready to go to our room it was hammering it down. The sky was lighting up with forked lightning the thunder was booming. It was amazing.

I was still feeling emotional and a call home was out of the question. The thought of hearing my daughters voice made me well up and I didn’t want her to hear me upset. I went to sleep that night worrying about the next day and missing home.

Day 3

Day 3 The Downhill!! From Kabarnet.

I started day 3 with a renewed vigour after rehydration and a good nights sleep, despite the early wake up call of 5.15 a.m!!

I wasn’t looking forward to the journey back along the horrid road we had come along the night before but the fear was unfounded and it was actually a good laugh despite the keeling over and bumps. We actually got stuck in a river bed (our bus wasn’t the best one) and we had to collect stones to build a makeshift causeway to enable the buses to get over.


See, we should have bike it!

Our bus finally got out the river bed but unfortunately this made us an hour and a half late for the ride that day.

It was a quick assembly of bikes and off on the downhill. I was nervous but not anxious and as the metres dropped away I gained confidence and speed. It was exhilarating. The switch backs were like those seen on the Tour De France! Ok well, not quite as tight or steep!!

The Kenyan cycle team passed in the opposite direction and passed us going in the same direction before we reached the bottom of the hill!!

After a rest stop began ‘The Climb’. I was dreading it. I’m a rubbish climber and if it’s steep, I’ve had it. It was later in the day too so it was H.O.T.

I thought at one point I was going to pass out. I felt faint and dizzy. I stopped to have water poured over my head, which helped and carried on up the slow long climb. 11 km’s in total. We were told it was only 8!! It got steeper and steeper and around ever corner was another corner!

Finally made it to the ‘Bronze’ stop after walking the last couple of k’s! The hill facing us at the start of the ‘Silver’ stage was enough to put most of us off so we waited for a lift to the top. I wanted to  miss out 16 k’s of hard climbing rather than 35 k’s of easy riding to the next hotel. I knew if i tried the silver or gold parts I would be struggling the next day.

The top of the ‘hill’ afforded us views of the road up to ‘gold’ and it was windy and steep. I was glad I didn’t attempt it. I was still wet from the dowsing on the way up the hill and the top was cold and it was raining. I only had a thin rain jacket to put on to keep me warm, as did many of the other girls. We were freezing!

We filled up with coffee and more scrumptious food and waited for the ‘golden girls’ to begin crossing the line. Some had already made it!! Slowly but surely we could see some of them coming up the hill and we cheered them on. A close friend of mine had decided to go for Silver but had unknowingly passed the silver stopping point and had continued on to the top!

We were told to get ready to leave soon if we wanted to do the last section of the ride to the hotel. I was torn between staying to welcome a friend in and finishing the ride for that day. The minutes were running out when we saw her coming up the hill. We welcomed her in with huge applauds then I had to jump on my bike and leg it quickly to avoid being left behind.

I managed to keep ahead of a few girls but knew they were some of the quicker ones and had managed to complete the hill to gold so I had my work cut out to keep from being left behind! It did mean riding ahead of them, alone through a town which was heavily populated and a little intimidating. Some of the girls on the hill run had had stones thrown at them and children had grabbed their bikes and clothes as they rode past. I was mindful of this and more than a little nervous.

The town opened into countryside once more and was a relief! One thing which did surprise me is how lush Kenya is. Some parts reminded me very much of the UK. I expected rough roads and barren landscape. Not at all.

The tea plantations were especially stunning, if a little smelly!! Their colour was amazing. A fantastic vibrant green. The fields went on for miles. It’s quite amazing how much effort goes into cultivating and grow tea. Never forsake your daily cuppa again!!



The ride that day ended in Eldoret, a very busy and dangerous place to cycle into!! After a very long day and hard climb for some of the girls, we expected a hotel of much the same rating as the others we stayed in. We were wrong!! It was a bit shabby to say the least. Some got moved out their basement rooms with slugs crawling the walls! Apparently our room was a deluxe suite! Crikey. At least the booze was cheap. Although I was confused by the barman asking me if I wanted sweet or dry red wine!!

After my room mate freaked me out with talk of dirty sheets I went to bed fully clothed and slept like a log.

Day 4. Eldoret to Kakamega.

A pretty good day despite the hills! I swear if i saw another hill I would throw my bike over the edge! a lot of us developed cycling tourettes! I’ll leave it to your imagination what was said. It was a tough day as it was another 100 km ride and the girls who had made it to gold were suffering from tiredness and tired muscles. Emotions were high. I felt for them. The heat was still immense and some of the hills went on for miles. Something most of us could not have prepared for.

We had another school sing to us and we gave them gifts and showed them their photos on our cameras. So cute!

Cycling along through the villages we shouted ‘Jambo’ and received shouts of Jambo back. The school children went nuts when they saw us going past. Some of them never having seen a white person before. At one stop some of them touched our skin and rejoiced in the softness! We mostly received smiles and shouts of encouragement. By the time group 3 were out there, we were celebrities having been on the radio, on TV and in the papers!

We stayed at the very nice Golf Hotel that evening.

Day 5.

Kakamega to Kisumu

Our last day. Mixed with happiness and sadness. Happiness we had done it. Sadness it was nearly over.

It was a short but tough day. Lots of undulations and some steep hills.

320503_10150299832162185_562817184_7120120_1582116956_n  We would be glad to see the back of them for sure. We headed down towards Kisumu and Lake Victoria where we regrouped 4 km before reaching the end point of our journey.

We blew up balloons and attached them to our helmets and bikes for the final ride of our trip through the Rift Valley. We could hardly believe we were nearly finished. It was surreal.

Our final destination was the Kisumu Sunset Hotel, where we were greeted with music and champagne. 



There were many tears of relief, joy and sadness for lost loved ones.

But we had done it. Admittedly not the whole 400 km’s for some of us but we had done our best and stepped out of our comfort zone, felt the fear and done it!!


well done to all of us. I’m very proud to have been part of it.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Crikey Dick.

Was it really April I last posted?
It's the end of October. I can't believe it. And of course the end of October means one thing.

Cycle Kenya!!!
Tomorrow 65 mad women will get on a plane to Nairobi and try and sleep overnight!! We have been building up to this for 18 months. It's finally here and it feels surreal!

I have come a long way since I signed up. I can now ride longer and faster and do more miles a week without it hurting too much. I absolutely love cycling and have finally found something to call my own which I love. I'm obsessed!! I have a new road bike too, which I adore.

I've signed up for London 2 Paris next year as well!!! Which will be hardcore compared to Kenya.

Well folks wish me luck and see you on the other side. Of Kenya that is!!
I've nicked this off one of the girls!

Friday, 1 April 2011

30 Days of Biking.

Well, apparently it’s the month to cycle every day.

What’s 30 Days of Biking?

This April, from April 1 to April 30, nearly 1,500 cyclists all around the world are participating in 30 Days of Biking, a social media-centric event that issues a simple challenge: Bike somewhere every day. The distance and time don’t matter—where and how far you ride is up to you. To the store, around the block, 20 miles. Have at it.

Then, share your adventures online and with the world: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Daily Mile, snail mail, bottles in the ocean. Take photos, issue tweets, write blog entries. By participating in 30 Days of Biking, you join a worldwide community of cyclists who will encourage you along the way.

30 Days of Biking was created in 2010 by two dudes (Patrick Stephenson, @patiomensch; Zachariah Schaap, @zachamon) in Minneapolis, Minn., using only blood, sweat, bike grease, and Twitter. So far, the challenge has reached more than 87 countries, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and more. We believe biking enriches life, builds community, and preserves the Earth.

Catch up with 30 Days of Biking at, or on Twitter at @30daysofbiking.

I got a new bike yesterday so today was a really day to start!

It’s a CUBE access pro ladies bike and I’ve had spd’s fitted as I am determined to come to terms with using them! However so far I have ‘fell off’ twice! Well, I took my right foot out the pedal and fell to the left as I couldn’t get my left foot out!! First I bashed my my boob on the handle bar then my hip on a rock and landed in a lot of nettles!!

I’m constantly covered in bruises but at least they aren’t as bad as the bruises I got at Cannock Chase!


OH then got a puncture (the reason I fell off the second time) and then I did!! so back home for a brew and went off to get some slime and sorted the tyres out and off I went again. No school run to do so I had plenty of time to go places. I found a route through the woods and over some fields to allow me to get used to tight corners using the new pedals but I chickened out and took my feet out whilst I was going through the woods!!

So day one has seen me do 28 miles. I don’t usually bike everyday but for this month I’ll give it a go.

Happy cycling folks :-)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Rutland Water Bike Route

Rutland Water

Finally, I have a whole weekend off! The sun was shining this morning so we headed to Rutland Water in Leicestershire with the bikes.

Rutland Bike Route

We parked at the home of Ruland Cycling in the Whitwell car park. The shop is huge and has a wide range of bikes (mountain, road, hybrid and kids amongst others) for sale and hire (including tandems). The shop also includes outdoor clothes, cycling clothes and accessories and climbing gear.

We had our own bikes but bike hire is reasonable, although it does add up for a family but info on prices can be found here

There is also a climbing wall, trampoline and high ropes course (over 8’s only) Prices are here

It’s advisable to book for the climbing wall and ropes as they are busy at weekends and holidays.

We set out towards Egleton, anti clockwise around the water. It’s 17 miles for the circular route. If you include the Hambleton peninsula, which we did, it adds up to 23 miles. It’s worth taking a trip round the peninsular as it offers some beautiful views and impressive houses. There are some steep climbs and descents around the Peninsula as there is around the whole of Rutland Water but if your thighs are up to the extra miles and you have time, it’s a nice trip round.

The paths are pretty good quality with some softer ground at times which would become boggy after rain but there is also tarmac surfaced areas.


The tarmac and trail sections are intermittent so there isn’t any section all the way round of one surface or the other. It’s not particularly off road either for hard core mountain bikers but I imagine it can pretty mucky in winter!

Egleton in a beautiful picture postcard village. There is parking there but it’s for the nature reserve and a sign does state ‘no parking for cycling’. It’s a bird watching centre with a shop serving ice creams, drinks and vending machine coffee. The visitor centre also has a small interactive exhibition.


It’s a good stop off point if needed but just a bit further up the road is The Horse and Jockey is situated in Manton is situated at the half way point and a good place to refuel with bike parking and outdoor seats.

There are refreshments at all the car parks, the usual coffee, cakes and plates of chips but nothing fancy and don’t expect too much from the coffee!! If you don’t fancy a pub lunch and can’t survive on ice creams it would be best to take your own food.

There are other pub off the track and the leaflet from Rutland Cycling centre has them listed and shown on the map.

Just past Edith Weston is another car park and here there has just opened a Giant bike shop. Well worth a look. Again there is a small cafe and toilet facilities here.

Normanton church museum sits just past car park. The church was saved from the water by raising it’s floor and now houses a museum.

Details of it’s opening times can be found here


The last part of the route takes you over the dam, which is lovely and flat before heading down into the second to last car park situated near the water sports centre. We reached here between half four and five and the cafe was closed by this time but it is only a short trip back to Whitwell car park where the cafe and cycling shop remained open.

As it’s open water it is pretty exposed and despite the sunshine a wind blows over the water brings a nip with it especially later in the day but I would imagine after a run round in the heat of summer (!!!) it would make a refreshing change!

I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Rutland Water as it is a beautiful location and even if you don’t intend to cycle round it, a walk along it’s shores will dust the cobwebs away.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Carsington and Tissington Trail

A few of us from work have been out a couple of times to

It’s a great trail for beginners and advanced bikers, although advanced bikers may think it’s a bit easy!

I am the least experienced cyclist in the group but they are all good and patient and wait for when I panting for breath and about to puke!!

One way round is pretty tame but the other way is a bit of a challenge. First time round we went the hilly way, well it was hilly to me! The second time round, after a stop for coffee and cake (coffee courtesy of Dave and his campervan and cake courtesy of me!) we went the easier way but it involved a very steep hill. Thankfully Dave, who is seasoned cyclist was on hand to give me tips on how to get up the hill without giving up straight away. He made me realise pace was important and to give it my all at the hardest bits rather than straight away. And to use objects such as trees, bushes etc as goals to get to then when you get to that marker find another etc etc and eventually you will manage to get up the hill. Although I did stop once and push my bike a smidgen half way up!

He also taught me how to start on a steep hill. It can be difficult to get purchase on wet, muddy and steep ground so he taught me to face my bike at an angle 45 degrees to the path with the back wheel on grass or as firm ground you can find and it’s so much easier to get going again!

Parking at the main car park (there is a cafe, toilets, shops and exhibition here) is £2.50 for 2 hours and £4 for the day. At the Millfields car park it is £2.50 a seasonal shop and toilets. Millfields is just down the road from the main car park. Sheep wash car park is free but has a 2.5 m height restriction.

Directions to get there can be found here:-

The day after I thought I’d tackle The Tissington Trail. It’s set on a disused railway track so it’s lovely and flat with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

Well normally you can, only the day I decided to go it was very foggy and a little chilly! There is a slight incline in the direction from Ashbourne to Parsley Hey. The outgoing journey was pretty slow and I was really disappointed with myself thinking after all this training I should be going great guns. Maybe Team Hardcore (as I have christened the animals from work) had worn me out too much the day before!

The wind was also against me too and it was so foggy that I couldn’t see a thing so the view wasn’t distracting me either!

About 18 miles into the ride it finally got a little easier and I picked up speed a bit, which was good news for the return journey!

I managed to get 22 miles, one mile short of Parsley Hey but time was against me. The return journey was somewhat speedier and I knocked half an hour off my outward journey time. It was much nicer speeding along the train rather than the slow progress I’d made before and the sun even peaked out!

To park at the Ashbourne end is £2.50.

To get there you can find the directions here :-

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

No photo's please!

A team of us from work decided to go to Carsington Reservoir for a ride round on the bikes. Originally it was just 2 of us but then a few others decided to come. Excellent, as biking alone is ok but it's a bit lonely and you don't always push yourself enough alone. I think I'm pushing myself but in actual fact I'm probably not!

The people who came are all seasoned bikers except for 2 of us so we used each other as an excuse to stop and have a breather!

I took the OH's bike as it is a mountain bike and the track can be quite muddy however OH's bike hasn't received a lot of attention over the past few years and immediately the gears gave up the ghost! I was peddling like an idiot and going nowhere! I managed to keep up (ish) though but came a cropper at the first hill. I managed to get into first gear but lost momentum and couldn't get going again. Luckily Dave the bike pro was on hand to give the bike a quick fix and off again we went.

It was far more undulating than I remember!! The 'Coach' and I were at the back and puffing and panting, well I was!! Coach was keeping quiet until we got to the pub and declared he felt ill!! It is difficult in a group of different levels to try and keep together and enjoy the ride without feeling that you are holding someone back. I did start to think 'oh my god what have I done signing up for the Kenyan bike ride?'!! I've always been one to be at the back and never one the leaders of the group. It doesn't bother me too much but I feel I've put so much effort in so far and am still at the back is a little worrying!!

I've never been known for being speedy and when I was a kid and we did a group walk whilst on holiday and I was at the back and got hauled to the front of all the year group and everyone was moaning I was too slow. It was awful and scarring!! Even whilst walking into town with my nursing colleagues I struggled to keep up and found it hard work!!

We stopped at the pub and were aiming to have a pint but the way we felt we didn't bother and opted for juice and coffee!!

The weather was gorgeous and it was really nice to have a bit of sunshine for a change!
We'll be doing it again that's for sure and aren't really sure why we haven't done it sooner!!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Carole Malone attacks nurses (well NHS staff in general)

I was reading News of the World the other day because it was lying about, not because I make a habit of it! I came across a couple of articles on the state of the NHS care of our elderly.

Carole Malone was ranting on about how nurses and doctors don't seem to care any more and are more concerned with filling out paperwork than caring for elderly patients.

OK well that may seem to be true from the outside but from the inside it's a different story. She may well be able to sit there in her ivory tower and pass judgement.

She is referring to elderly patients who couldn't help themselves and were left 'thirsty and starving' with nurses 'chatting on corridors' and not giving a stuff about them.

I cannot speak for the nurses involved but from my perspective working on general medical wards is a thankless task. Apparently one lady in the news was calling out for water and her relatives said she had to be coaxed to drink. There were probably 3 nurses to about 30 patients and taking time to coax someone to drink is very difficult. The lady was probably offered food and water several times but if she refused, nurses cannot force her to eat. That is abuse. She suffers from dementia too and probably didn't like being cared for by a stranger either. It was probably a very frightening experience. Apparently her daughter was her full time carer so where was she while her mother was in hospital?

I know visiting is restricted but if my mother was suffering and needed help eating and drinking I would insist on being there. I cared for my mother whilst she was in hospital. I washed her, dressed her and did all the basic care for her because she only wanted me to do it. Asian cultures do the same so why can't we? I know I would want my family there to look after me.

The gentleman in the press was suffering from dementia too so he was bound to look thinner and old than he did when he was fit and well. He fell and suffered a stroke whilst in hospital and the ward was critized for it. The wards make the place as safe as possible but without restraining each dementia patient it would be impossible to watch them every single minute of the day. It was a tragedy he fell but it could have happened at home, out and about or anywhere. Had the ward left him in bed with rails up to protect him then they would have been critized for that too.

I did have to stick up for my gran whilst she was in hospital a couple of years ago so I do know what it can be like. Had I not had the knowledge she would have continued to suffer needlessly.

One hospital was critized for the way they looked after an ex architect. His wife said this "He urgently needed treatment for jaundice. But Vivien, 71, was stunned when she arrived to find Peter on the floor writhing in pain and wearing the nappy. He was surrounded by metal fencing and when he saw his wife cried: "Help me Viv-please take me home."

Tearful Vivien said: "It was a sight which will last with me forever."When she asked why he was being treated so cruelly nurses said it was a "punishment" for trying to get out of bed. "He was being treated like a caged animal," said Vivien. "It was so humiliating."

Well, if a nurse had said it was a punishment then they deserve to be struck off but I doubt they said that. He would have been nursed in such a way for his own safety and the safety of others and 'the nappy' was probably there as he was soiling himself, there to maintain his dignity, not as a punishment!

If the chap was compos mentis he would not have been treated in such a manor and the fact that he said 'Viv, take me home ' is a little hard to believe. The staff simply would not have treated him that way if he was able to look after himself.

We are bound by paper work and litigation all the time. If we don't fill it out we get disciplined. Nurses are being struck off all time for very little misdemeanour's such as medication omission, inappropriate comments and not filling out paper work. Its a mine field.

I agree some nurses really don't care but when the organisation doesn't care about it's workers are the workers going to care back?

Ms Malone suggests those of us who don't care should 'go and find another job'. Easier said than done! Says she with a silver spoon and sitting in a plush office spouting rubbish and getting paid a silly amount for it!

When you pay to stay at the travel lodge, you get travel lodge services. When you pay to stay at the Savoy, you get Savoy services. If people want a better health care then it needs more funds. We need to pay more NI and not whine about it. I don't agree nurses should be paid massive wages as it could attract the wrong type of person but I do think we need to be valued more and not tarred with the same brush as a few bad eggs.

I'm proud to be a nurse and love my job, but I would never go back and work on a medical ward as it's a hard slog all the time with no thanks.

We have thank you cards galore at our unit so we must be doing something right!! oh yeah that's it. Saving lives!!!

Some patients suffer in hospital due to lack of nursing care because of time constraints of the staff but we do what we can where we can. They also may need a nursing home or have social problems and getting these sorted for discharge is very difficult, red tape, lack of nursing home beds etc etc. Therefore the patient discharge is delayed further. It seems patients relatives sometimes expect 5 star treatment for themselves too and 'demand' things and make complaints needlessly causing more problems and delays. I'm not saying we shouldn't stick up for ourselves but we should also try and respect the hospital staff too and not talk to them like they are servants or stupid.

Some relatives come to visit with an argument ready and waiting with little knowledge and understanding. No matter how much we try to explain, unless you have medical knowledge, it is really hard to understand.

Give us a break, a lot of us are doing our best!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Let training recommence

Ok so 2 wasted days off the bike and feel well enough today, thank goodness to get back in the saddle. For a while I was dreading I'd over done it again and hit a rough patch but thankfully have rallied back to health! Think it may be something to do with all the supplements I'm taking and drinking tons of water.

Although it's nice outside I have decided to stay inside to bike as it has many advantages. A huge one being that there is a loo handy! And I don't have to don loads of kit and make sure all my bike stuff is packed, wash out my Camel Bac and decide where to go. It's made a nice change to be indoors as the weather has been shocking but having a static bike in the kitchen isn't the nicest feature to have! It also gets extremely hot in the kitchen too particularly as I have been baking biscuits for my best friend and her family arriving later. It's like a sweat shop but it's great training for the heat of Kenya! I've never been so sweaty.

The good thing about static biking also means I can read my book whilst I'm training. I never really understood why people did that at the gym but I know why now because it's very boring and nothing to look at! It's also very tempting to keep putting the kettle on!

I aim for 20 miles today, see how I get on. Then hopefully builtd up over next few weeks to longer rides.
I can go faster on the road but I feel I push myself more on the static. I use my iPod with an interval training app on it for an hour which helps pass the time at least but I do love to be outside in the fresh air.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Feeling ruff

Today and indeed yesterday, I am feeling rough as. Sore throat started early on yesterday and went quickly to ears and nose. I feel sore and look like crap! Pale and unhealthy. Considering all I've done for 4 weeks, apart from the odd blip, is eat fruit and tons of veg and cut dramatically down on the vino well actually I haven't had a bottle of wine for over a month now and I've been exercising to get my fitness levels up, you would think I'd be a picture of health? Nope. I'm tired beyond normal, have no energy and have terrible insomnia. I was supposed to train yesterday but after 4 hours split sleep I gave it a miss so today I have finally made it onto the static bike but I think if I was road cycling a granny on crutches could overtake me!! Still it's better than being a vegetable on the settee or in bed reading which is what I really really want to do!

I was doing so well on the training front now feel set back again and this is what I really did not want to happen after last years months of having no energy! How do these athletes do it or indeed every day folk who train all the time and work too?

I was definitely not meant to be an athlete that's for sure! And getting rid of this weight I've gained well I think it's got hooks in the fat as it refuses to go!!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Escaping the Rat Race

I have recently received criticism (albeit from a every unreliable source) about the fact that I am doing something for myself and going away for 13 days this year in order to do it.

I train and mostly fund raise whilst my daughter is at school and although I will be away for the time it takes to do the bike ride (for charity) my daughter will be adequately cared for by her other carer, her Dad!!

I am luckier than most in that I don't do 9-5, Monday to Friday thing but I do miss out on sleep on many occasion to be able to work and be there for my daughter and of course we can't jet off here there and everywhere because of money and timing. School holidays are an expensive time to go away and money is tight, as ever but I try my best to make life interesting and exciting.

The reason I'm telling you this? I'm just watching a programme about a man who wants to escape the rat race and go to Alaska to build a log cabin and live in it throughout the winter. He has never been to Alaska, lived in the wild, attended a survival course or been in the army. His training involved writing to Alaskan family and dreaming of building his cabin in the wild.

Sounds great, if a bit bonkers. However, you may be interested to know that he has a wife and two children at home. His wife is wholeheartedly behind him as she is hoping it will get this out of his system and return to normal life and get on with it.

She states she 'knew he wasn't a person who liked to be tied down and had to do this be to able to function' so what happens when he returns home? Should we sacrifice our children's memories of us to be able to function as a human being?

Guy Grieve's experience is somewhat extreme but he states that he is still keen to complete his dream as his step father spent all his life as a good father but doing the 9-5 only to die of cancer before he managed to retire.

Many men have done this kind of thing before in search of self fulfilment. Beck Weathers, Chris Bonnington and Alan Hinkes to name but a few, all left family behind in search of their goal. Alison Hargreaves, a mountaineer from Derbyshire, paid the price and died on K2 leaving behind her young children. Being a Motherless daughter I know how hard that is.

I don't think I could go the extremes Guy has but I have said to my daughter that when she is old enough and has her education sorted I will take her, if she wants to, to do voluntary work in Africa and travel as far and wide as money will allow. Until then I will do things that take me away from her as little as possible but may still require me to venture away from the family home for a few days at a time. I will continue to raise funds for charity as I like doing it and I meet some lovely like minded people through it.

The upshot of the programme is Guy returns early to his family and they move to the Isle of Mull as he is offered a post managing a forest there.

Sometimes we need to do extreme things to realise what we want out of life. Albeit not life threatening things! I hope Guy has found happiness and is more content with his life.

Friday, 11 February 2011


"In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?"

Lady Ga Ga's tattoo adorns her inner upper arm. It's a quote from Rilke's, apparently. I love Lady Ga Ga, I love writing and I love tattoos!

If I was forbidden to write, all these words would be floating around my head all the time and probably send me insane. They would be all queuing to get out and driving each other potty trying to compete with each other.

Words can make our day, brighten the hour, send our soul souring or they can break our hearts, destroy relationships, create havoc. They can be beautiful or ugly. They can feel nice on the tongue, in the mouth, the way they sound.

We need to watch the words we use or it could land us in trouble. They have to be politically correct in nature. They can start relationships or destroy them. Could we live without them?

They are part of our everyday existence. Could we live without words? Could we have a limited number of words given to us a day and only use those words we have been allocated? Will there ever be word police?

People and society can suppress our freedom of speech. We can be brought to task over our choice of words and criticised. We can be celebrated and made famous for the choice of words we use and the way we put them together.

There is nothing more beautiful than a sentence constructed in such a way that it makes us gasp with delight or joy or utter sadness.

Some words can not be taken back. Once out of the mouth they stay in the air around us, in our heads, in our ears, in our hearts. There they will linger for eternity and fade but always be there. To prick our hearts and make it bleed.

Some words need to be said over and over again to make us understand, confident and secure. They don't linger. They fade quickly and evaporate into the ether and leave us alone, floundering.

We need words like we air to breath. Without them we would suffer. We would shrivel and our souls would die. Our brains would dysfunction and hope would be lost.

If I were forbidden to write, I may not die but I would be a shadow, hollow and an empty vessel.I would be without my passion.

There but for the grace of God.

I have an interesting couple of days at work. I always root for my patients but this was somehow different. I know how fragile life can be but what if we took the wrong turn just once? Then where would we be?

Without divulging information the short of it is that this poor lady has had a fall from grace and ended up in quite a bad predicament. It could happen to any of us. Bad decisions, wrong turns.

We are all one step away if life goes bad and we don't know how to deal with it and use the wrong way to cope with life's crap. Then it just all comes tumbling down and one mistake after another turns us into something our family no longer recognize.

We can get the help but refuse it and continue to wreck our lives. One day we get a wake up call. Do we take it? Will we see it as a golden opportunity and turn our lives around?

I pray they do. I desperately hope they do.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Training cont.

The training was much easier today. Maybe because I ate well before? Yesterday was a real struggle and seemed to take forever and my coccyx hurt terribly! The key to the pain relief is brufen and paracetamol before getting on the bike. I also added in cod liver oil in today as my joints are very creeky!

I have managed to lose 8lbs in 3 weeks as well which is good as I have the 'Women v cancer' t-shirt to get into. Why don't I get a larger size? Well, I have the largest one! I swear they have swapped the 'xs' label and put in 'xl'!!! It'll be a tight fit even if I lose 3 stone more!

Next week training will be a bit tricky due to work. One night on, one off, two on. Think I'll be a bit knackered and I also need to fit an extra night in somewhere too. Such is life!

The gorilla pod arrived today to attach my video camera to the front of my bike for training sessions and while we are in Kenya!! I've been ordered not to film the others butts!

I saw an electric bike today in a shop window in town for the bargain price of £485!! There was a red one and a blue one with a rather pretty seat and shopping basket on the front. I was thinking they would be great for Kenya!! I could get one for when I'm an old biddy and get a p*ss pot so I can smoke me tabs whilst riding it about town hurling abuse at youngsters!! :0)

Friday, 4 February 2011


So how is the build up to Kenya going? well, I've started training again (a little!) and dieting as I have a lot of baggage to shift and I don't want to be 'the fat bird at the back' I want to be the 'curvy girl at the back'!!

I have been given a turbo trainer and luckily have my racing bike is spare to put it on. I bought the bike thinking I would be faster on it but it's so uncomfortable and scares the bejesus out of me as I can't reach the brakes properly and the thin tyres send you off in any direction! So at least it's being put to good use.

I try and do an hour of interval training then use the next hour to get to 30 miles at least. I have managed this twice so far in two weeks so far! I kept getting interrupted by a small person the other day so gave up when Emerdale came on and then had to put SP to bed. I was getting cold and the hot bath SP had left was too much of a temptation, so that was that. I aim to get on it tonight. I say aim.......Once I have my kit on I'm ok and hubby will be around to distract SP from interruptions. I thought having the static bike would be handy as I either end up just cleaning or doing not very much once SP is home but no it seems to attract her to me. Rather like when I'm on the 'phone. It's like she has a radar and knows the minute I'm unavailable that's the time to hound me!!

Interval training is supposed to melt away the fat quicker. That is providing one doesn't stuff one's gob before and after!! I'm following weight watchers and it's actually quite amazing how much one can graze through in a day when it isn't being counted!

I haven't been hungry but the food choice is somewhat limiting. Lots of protein, minimal carbs (not that I can eat many carbs anyway) There is only so much ham or tuna salad I can stomach. My favourite yoghurts are 5 points each!! Jeez. I'd rather go without!

At least fruit is 'free' and veg but it's so blooming expensive and I can get through a lot! I've also cut out all gluten again and my stomach pain has gone thankfully and I'm much less bloated. I was having abdo pain, headaches, bloating and indigestion. It's awful. But gluten free stuff is so calorific it's not worth cooking a spoon of pasta, which is all I can have in one meal.

I'll be glad to shift the weight. I said Christmas 2009 I would lose weight in 2010 and never really did. I would like a quick weight loss of course but that isn't healthy and I can't maintain it.

My coccyx have been giving me jip too. Not sure why. I haven't changed anything. Maybe it's just the weight issue putting more pressure through them? Anyway, it's ruddy painful!! Hope it abates before October! I know I'm in for pain doing the ride for sure but not that pain all the way through it!

Static biking is rather boring and the miles take forever to go through. I know it's not like road cycling as it's up me how fast/slow I go. Interval training does take the boredom out of it and clock up the miles but it hurts. I know I know, it's supposed to! Hopefully it will be a lot easier by October.

A great advantage to biking indoors is that the loo is to hand! I hate being out on a long ride and needing the loo. Especially until the hedges have fluffed up a bit. It's ok for men they just look like they are taking in the view. It's not too much of a big deal for them to get caught but getting caught with your cycling shorts around your ankles is not funny. It's very embarrassing.

There is one thing to my advantage being larger though is, and this is a well known fact, fat travels faster!! So on the down hills I'll be tanking and then the girls can catch me up and overtake on the up hills. Well that's my theory anyway! ha ha.

Right. School run done and cycling shorts in situ so therefore I best go and do some training! ttfn

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Apt blog title

Seems I have come under fire in the last few days. I am all sorts including, a terrible mother, a crap nurse, more concerned with fund raising for cancer victims than my own child, oh and I also do fund raising to validate myself as a person!

It's at times like these when you realise who your friends are and what's been said about you. Thing is I've been wanting to end this toxic relationship for a while but hadn't the heart to do it. I felt I hadn't got a really good excuse other than she made me uncomfortable and was nasty about people and bossy and a bit of a bully. But I would never have the heart to say that to her, ever. Yet I received a tirade of abuse for no other reason than being a crap Mum. Now that she is a Mother I feel she is obsessed with it and that she is the best mother on this planet. All she ever talked about was her child. I can't remember what we used to talk about before but sleeping patterns and weaning! I had been there done that and found really boring but I listened as it is only polite to do so.

I opened up all my inner most troubles to this person and all I got back was abuse! I purposely didn't speak to her much during a time of trauma as I knew she wouldn't be supportive or understanding despite her saying on a couple of occasions 'you can talk to me about it you know'. Apparently I harped on about it night after night. I don't think I did. She was the last person I would ever do that to. We went away for a few days and I was going through some emotional trauma but I hid it as much as I could and tried to be jolly. I hardly ever talked about it but inside I felt ill and sick and desperate.

What kind of friend is that? My feeling quite clearly aren't worth mentioning. If the shoe was on the other foot I would no doubt have never heard the last of it and as a friend I would have listened patiently no matter how long she wanted to go on about it for. Indeed I have done with this particular friend on occasion. If they want to get it off their chest, that's what you do.

My other close friends asked when I said I hadn't been feeling well for weeks 'why didn't you say something?' I didn't want to go on about it. I didn't want to bore anyone. But apparently I did to her. I don't remember doing that but then I have 'selective memory' anyway.

She also said I should stop 'harping on' about the fact my Mum is dead and using it as an excuse for how I felt. She is very lucky she isn't in the same situation. She talks to her mum like something she scraped off her shoe.

As for my fund raising I do it for many reasons. I do it because I have lost someone close, my Mum (sorry for mentioning her) to cancer and don't think anybody should have to go through that. If I can do something about it I will. How many people sit on their backsides and do nothing for anyone else but themselves? You think it's selfish to put myself through a gruelling bike ride in 40 degree heat? I sit at home for hours (I have lots of free time) doing zilch and have done college courses, walked the dog and done the housework but is any of that for the greater good? No. It's just for me and my family. Now my daughter is older she is more independent and doesn't want Mum to play with. I am under house arrest at night, except when I work so I wanted to do something with my daytime hours. What is wrong with that?

I did put my daughter through a very unstable time and she saw me upset on numerous occasions and saw me treated badly (emotionally) by a man but now her home life is stable and grounded. I have to learn to be a better parent I know but there are no rule books and I do find parenting hard work. It's not how I thought it would be and to be honest, it's disappointing at times and very restrictive. I'm not sure what else I'd be doing if I wasn't a parent though? Probably trying to get pregnant and being jealous of those that are!! But I'm not sure that because I don't enjoy parenting as much as I thought I would that I don't deserve to be one.

My illness was put into question too by suggesting that I never wanted to get better and I used it as an excuse for everything. I know I have been poorly as now I feel much better. I did blame it for a lot of things but it is a very debilitating illness and if my friend felt the way I did at my lowest I would be there holding her hand not chastising her. It was a bit like being told by said ex friend to 'pull yourself together'. Not really a phrase anyone should hear from anyone, I feel.

I am reluctant now to tell anyone anything about the way I feel, ever. I will endeavour to hide it even more. Good for my child at least, she won't see me anything but 'perfect' mother. Her mother will learn to be a great actress!!

It hurts that someone you thought was your friend and wanted to hear your problems now throws it back in my face. I have stuck up her when people have been horrid about her (she's not popular at my place of work) I have had her dog (no one else would have her as she's hard work) while she went away even though she was in debt, I never said a word. I never said a word when she got together with a man a couple of weeks before she said she didn't fancy, then married him and had said child. I always thought 'oh well, good for you'. I have a list as long as my arm of things I have done for her but can't recall too many things she has done for me.

And I have paid the price. But at least I am now free of her toxic hold, even if it did end acrimoniously.