Tag Archive for #ThisGirlCan

I’m adventurous …. But not stupid!

Since I got my tandem my daughter (she’s 13) has been desperate to see if she can ride with me.

Now the nicer weather is on its way (I’m not jinxing it by saying it’s already here) I felt today was a good day to try it out.

Given the nature of my tandem and I believe all tandems the pilots up front is set on a taller post than the stoker on the back.

What ensues is pure comedy!

She can just about get on the front, but with her feet both on tiptoes she barely clears the frame. With me holding up the bike she manages to get onto the seat; yet her feet struggle to get to the peddles… When she says

“It’s okay mum, I can ride on the back and just do an audio description commentary of where we are!”

Let’s think ???? How about “NO!”

For fun I did ride with her on the back in the carpark area behind our house and we both nearly fell off from laughing so much.

So for now, much to her disappointment my tandem is off limits for my daughter. But at the rate she insists on growing I am thinking come next summer she will be all set.

A different sport, but just as much of a challenge

This year has been fairly quiet for my climbing.  However I have not been doing nothing with my time.  I have in fact been in training.

Training for a different kind of challenge.  This challenge is to run.  Something I have not done since completing The GSR five years ago.

The reason I haven’t run for so long is that I discovered just after I started to notice my hearing loss that when running at the gym I suffered with motion sickness.

But I have (in secret) been completing my own variation of ‘couch to 5k’  I have even been taking off my Apple Watch as to not alert my friends who I share my activity with aware of my training.

My training has been on a set flat path at the far side of a local leisure centre parkland.

I have not quite manaeged a full 5k to date, but I have discovered that on a flat concrete path I do not suffer with the motion sickness I had suffered on each occasion (I tried several times at different times etc) of a treadmill run.

So, why am I letting you all know my secret?

Well, this Sunday I am attending a race.  A flat course where I will have a guide runner and my children.

This Sunday we will undertake The Poppy Run.

This run is organised to raise money for The Royal British Legion.

Those who have followed me for some time will know how much I love the poppy.  I love what it represents and I am forever grateful to those who have stood up protected our country.

So, along with my children, my guide dog Fizz (who isn’t running in harness, rather joining the other dogs who are welcome to join in the days events) and my friend and guide runner Vicky on Sunday 4th November at 11am we shall stand in silence for 2 minutes before setting off on the 5km course around Southampton Common.

I am doing this for other reasons.

4th November 2018 marks 10 years since I received the news that I would loose all sight and was registered severely sight impaired (blind)

This day is one I wish to celebrate and what better way could I do that then support a fantastic charity and face a personal challenge?

Well, maybe it’s because the girl in me enjoys a bit of bling and I can’t wait to complete the run to receive my poppy medal.

So, dear readers I ask for your support.  As I am sure you are aware this year marks 100 years since the end of the First World War, a war where so many have their lives to enable us to keep our future.

As a family with multiple different surnames we have set up our just giving page as ‘Madhouse Family Poppy Run’  We would love to smash our £100 target.

To donate please click here

Time to go home

The story starts here The start of an adventure… 

The final part of my Scottish adventure; following on from Menacing about in Dundee it is now time to travel back to Glasgow once more to get the sleeper train back to London and call an end to this wonderful adventure.

With weekend engineering works London’s Euston Railway station my train will be returning to London’s Kings Cross instead. Meaning that as this is not a terminating station there will be just 10 minutes to depart before another train will be need the platform. And it also raises the issue of finding The flowerbed again for Fizz after the 8 hour train journey! But before that, we have one last walk along the river in Glasgow on a Friday evening to accomplish first.

This time of adventure in Scotland as a solo traveller (who just happens to have a guide dog) has shown me how much I am still able to do, how much I have grown as a person and how much I need to plan more things like this MORE OFTEN !!

‘Have dog will travel’ has been my mantra for some time now, but theses past few days have showed me just how much I am able to use my wonderful guide dog Fizz to give me such freedom and independence. As I can say categorically I would not have done such a trip with only a long cane.

Each day has been a new environment, a different routine, but she has stepped into her harness each time with a strength that I am sure other guide dog owners can relate to.

The train from Dundee to Glasgow was busy; filled with people finishing work and other travellers, so the guard kindly moved me, Fizz and our luggage into first class, where although still busy there was more space and nobody standing in the aisles.

Glasgow was wet by the time we arrived, but it was the refreshing kind of rain. So we enjoyed walking along the river, Fizz was out of harness to give her the time to sniff and check for Pee-Mails and great the other dogs we met along the way (I wasn’t brace enough to let her off her lead as I had visions of her jumping into The Clyde!)

We returned to walk around town, last grass stop and then we were back in the station…. By this time it was dark and Glasgow was very different with people out for the evening, groups of friends and sadly more people getting cardboard out to sleep in closed shops doorways.

I grabbed my last coffee and headed for the train.

The journey back wasn’t as enjoyable as the train out, we were on an older train and with a long delay on them finding a room for us we were sat in a very loud, busy buffet car.

It was almost 1am when we were shown to our room. It was not an accessible room (not that this in itself was an issue) which made for a walk along a narrow corridor.

Our berth was similar in layout, but all I really cared for was my bed.

Fizz settled quickly too and before I knew it there was a knock on the door to say we half an hour before we got into Kings Cross.

First stop …….. FLOWER BED!

Then coffee for me.

I made notes of my travels while I was away, but wrote these blogs after. But for ease I have posted them on the days and dates they actually happened.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Scotland as much as I enjoyed my adventure?

Watch this space for more adventures to come……

Menacing about in Dundee

Fizz sat in front of a Mini the Minx statue on the street in Dundee

The story starts here The start of an adventure… 

Continued from … Peaceful Pitlochry

The train journey from Pitlochry saw another ‘quick dash’ out of Perth railway station to enable Fizz to have a comfort break and to arrive in a very different Dundee.

Not because since my last visit my sight has changed;  Not because my last visit saw me guided by my first guiding girl Vicky;  Rather because THIS Dundee had undergone a MASSIVE transformation that started with the railway station.

A railway station that reminded me so very much of Canary Wharf in London, with its long escalators, glass lifts, grand piano and open spaces.  Photograph of the front exterior glass of Dundee relailway station, with it’s large archway and inside/outside marching paving.

And it was in a very different place to the old station.  Instead of walking out of the station to seeing the RRS Discovery (The ship that Captain Scott took to the Antarctic) across the road, it was now surrounded by building works and to the right a rather large imposing building, that as of late September 2018 will be The V&A Museum Dundee.

Even my hotel was so new that when I looked on Google Street View it showed it as a building site!  But thankfully when I arrived, it was all there beside a lovely welcoming looking Beefeater.

With my room on the 3rd floor I looked out over The River Tay and across to Newport-On-Tay.  I spent the evening walking along the promenade and taking in the changes to the area.  I found several grass areas for Fizz and even introduced Fizz to The RRS Discovery and its penguins as you can see from the photographs.

Photograph of Fizz sitting in front of The RRS Discovery on the dock side

Pho graph of Fizz sat slightly infront of a life size statue of a penguin which sit amongst the paving beside The RRS Discovery

I enjoyed a relaxed unrushed meal in the Beefeater and took advantage of an early night, as my Friday was set to be a busy one.

For Friday I would be checking out of the hotel, but before returning to Glasgow to start my journey home I was catching up with more family.

As a place I have been to many many times before this is the first time I have been without my parents.  It is also the first time which I can remember that I visited The McManus Galleries; or rather The McMenace Galleries as they have temporarily been renamed.  After all Dundee is the home to The Bashstreet Kids, Desperate Dan and Denise the Menace, which are all celebrating their 77th year and heritage within Dundee.

Photograph of the graffitied museum sign taken on an angle with guide dog Fizz sat in front of it.

As a child I grew up with The Beano, so was enthralled to see how it has changed throughout the years.  Although I am not a fan of the latest ‘computeriised’ imagery that moves it away from its comic book strip format.

My wee cousins (actually my cousins children) were my tour guides, taking us around Dundee, walking among the old train lines that run along the now pedestrianised streets.  I even got the opportunity to leave my mark.  In signing my name and writing my gratitude on the six foot tall ‘THANK YOU’ had had only that morning been installed as part of the city’s commemoration to hero’s for this years D-Day Celebrations.

Fizz sat in front of a giant T as part of the THANK YOU installation, where I wrote my message of Thanks

Tall letters on plinths that say THANK YOU, with pictures of men and women who have fought for the country on the front, with the remaining sides left white for people to write their own messages of Thanks.

And from Dundee we travelled to another favourite haunt as a child when I would come to spend the summer with my Granny Lily…. We went off to Broughty Ferry, were we walked along a very blustery shore, saw the castle and then enjoyed a nice late lunch together.

Time ran away from us, we chatted, we remembered those family members who were no longer with us and we laughed at fond childhood memories.

Back in Dundee for one day was not long enough…. I shall most definitely be returning, making this my base next time.  So many more adventures to in this beautiful city I am sure…. At the very least I need to come back to see if the inside of the new V&A museum is as breathtaking as the exterior?

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