#girlsnightout Thank you to all my sponsors. Here’s how it went.

So after I banged on about it so much how did the walk go?

Well … I’m swollen, sore and I can hardly walk but … it was a gas! Indeed I’m already plotting ways to do the full 11 miles next year.

Take the first long drag, Northgate Street. It’s straight and about half a mile long. As we crested the hill at the top with a sea of flashing bunny ears behind us the view in front was the same. Flashing bunny ears to the horizon … well … alright then, to the roundabout half a mile away. But definitely as far as the eye could see. 2,370 ladies did the walk and I have to say the atmosphere never really dipped, although it got a bit quieter in the last mile because I had to do the 6 mile course and most of the other ladies seemed to have done the 11 mile so we 6 milers were much thinner on the ground as we came to the end. However what amazed me was how many people on the route came out of their houses to cheer us on. It was pretty epic.

Could my phone do it justice? No but here’s a few pictures anyway.

First up, Team Gymophobics ready for action! Yay!

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memoryboard

A quick post on the memory board … I have lost many friends but only know a couple of acquaintances who left via St Nicks. Even so, I felt it was important to say something hospices are, often wonderful places staffed by amazing people.

Then some pictures from registration … first up selfies good reason, right there, why I seldom appear in photographs.

Two very good reasons why I appear in so few photographs.

A rare occasion with M T the right side of the law. I have no problems admitting that I’m fat but I know I’m not as fat as I look there.

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Selfie while waiting for the off.

The lovely waterboys!

The lovely water boys. I’d learned from my experience doing the selfie with the policemen and kept out of the photo.

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Waiting for the off … unwiped lense 6.30 – 7.45 it pissed it down.

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OK try again, slightly less blurry.

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And we’re off … blurry through hand shake and lack of light this time but at least you will get the idea.

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My phone isn’t cut out for this, but that’s a solid half a mile of bunny eared ladies.

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And again …

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And at the 2 mile mark … how cool is that! Thank you to all the lovely folks who cheered us on.

Sadly I have no photos of the end, mainly because I lost the 6 mile group I was with so after saying goodbye to the 11 milers I was on my own and that meant any photos of the end would be of strangers, who might think me odd, or me which would be … well … not good – cf policmen pic.

So was it epic?

Yes. A big thank you everyone who sponsored me and to the various random folks who I did high fives with over garden gates, walls, through windows and in one memorable instance, from a car cruising past the other way – I confess I was slightly worried we might break each other’s arms on that one but it came off fine in the end. Nice crack as the hands connected too! Thanks to everyone everywhere who cheered us on, the whole way round even at the end.

Am I going to do it again?

You bet your sweet arse I will!

Points to take away?

There’s a lot of waiting around and after standing about in the rain for an hour and a half my arthritic knees and pulled hip muscle were pretty much knackered before we began. So next year we’ll meet at the gym, register and get our t-shirts and ears and then go back to mine for a cup of tea for an hour and back up for the warm up at 7.45. By the time we started I was soaked. I also should have worn walking boots. My shoes were comfortable but the soles were not thick enough for walking on pavements and they were soaked to the point of making comedy squelching sounds as I walked – one rather more than the other, thump-squelch, thump-squelch, stylee as I walked down the road.

Classy, as ever.

Despite the pulled hip muscle, wet feet and shonky arthritic knees I was doing pretty well until about 3 miles in when we hit a place called Flemming road where the pavement is basically lots of roots and rocks smoothed to apparent invisibility with asphalt. In the dark it looks skateboard heaven, sleek and smooth but it’s actually proper lumpy: pure pavement moguls. There was a lot of lot of staggering over funny high bits and stumbling into big dips and despite my incredible athletic prowess it took me from no worries to trouble in about 100 yards. This morning when I mentioned it a friend with an artificial leg who lives round there she confirmed that it is, indeed, pavement mogul hell. So Flemming Road needs to be negotiated using the cycle lane on the actual street. Much smoother.

Not pulling a muscle a few days before the walk is also a smart move. And also I strongly recommend avoiding spending the night before any athletic event sleeping on the bathroom floor in a flop sweat, only relieving the tedium by throwing up at intervals.

So that’s it. Minimise the pre off standing, walk on the smooth bits up Flemming Road, sleep rather than hurl the night before and try not to be nursing an injury.

I’m hoping if I do that, next year, I might make it round the 11 mile course … as for this year, I’m really chuffed I made the 6 mile. Thanks to everyone who sponsored me, I made a princely £160. If anyone wants to make a last minute donation, my just giving page is still open:  https://www.justgiving.com/Fundraising/M-T-McGuire

 

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The difference between intention and delivery. How not to prepare for a charity walk. #girlsnightout

You may remember, a while back, I posted about a charity walk I decided to join in with for our local hospice. It’s a 6 mile walk through and around the centre of Bury St Edmunds, wearing flashing bunny ears and my pyjamas. Obviously I’m a middle aged lardette with completely fucked knees so this, for me, is …  a suitable challenge. Indeed, my knees were so shite I cannot actually run, not even, literally, to save my life (well … it was my son’s but that’s another story). Although I can walk quite briskly, and I can ride a bike. However, even so, what I’m saying is, I had clocked that if I wanted to walk 6 miles I should probably do some training but at the same time, I was thinking, it’s only six miles, what can go wrong? Quite a lot of things it turns out.

Time, like gravity, has not been my friend on this one and I suddenly realise that the walk is tonight – as ever is. Waterproofs optional but probably required. Note to self, don’t forget the light up stars umbrella.

And guess how much training I’ve done.

Mmm hmm.

In my defence, it was the summer holidays and I did go for a fair few walks, even if I couldn’t get to the gym, but then I got hit by a galloping dog which is surprisingly painful: similar results to a medium/hard cart horse kick although a friend of a friend ended up with a broken leg so I probably got off lightly. It resulted in an impressive 8″x4″ oblong bruise and some pain. While avoiding full impact with the dog I, unfortunately, did something to my hip. So when I went on holidays, where we were going to do a fair bit of walking, the hip based ‘something’ manifested itself, loudly, through the medium of pain. I grimly gritted my teeth and carried on and the pain got worse. Obviously, because I’m a hypo, I convinced myself that the dog bruise had resulted in dvt. I went to the Doctor when I got home.

Actually, I’ve just pulled a muscle in my hip. So obviously I wasn’t being a drama queen about that or anything.

Never mind, my legs hurt all the time and there aren’t many hills, I thought. Surely I can limp round. So I have rested it all week.

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A yes, the week’s ‘rest’. Now this is the kind of punishing training schedule I’m talking about.

As the crowning glory of my ‘preparation’. Last night, I went to bed early so that at least, if I wasn’t ready, I was fresh.

But unfortunately, I woke up almost immediately and then, in tag team with my son, spent the rest of the night enjoying some vile sweatathon chuck up bug which involved much enthusiastic driving of the porcelain bus. McOther blissfully slept through it all. Indeed at one point, I woke up on the bathmat in the bathroom – because I’d felt too sick to move back to the bed – bathed in sweat, face stuck to said mat with a pool of my own drool, to hear my son calling me. I called out to McOther, but all that did was bring McMini to our bedroom and from there to the ensuite, where he was treated to the joyous sight of his mother shouting ‘Europe!’ down the big white telephone while trying to hold her hair out of the way of the technicolour torrent, while at the same time, avoid getting any on her pyjamas or the lavatory seat.

On the upside, when I’d finished, I felt so much better and at least I could leave the bathroom long enough to take him upstairs and tuck him in, after which, everyone in the house went to sleep in their own beds until morning.

As McMini started his chuckathon a bit earlier than me he was, as he put it, ‘full of beans’ when he woke up while I definitely felt a bit ropey. However, after a very pleasant hour spent with him, sitting in my bed together reading and … well … he’s 8 so I’m afraid he was also comparing the intensity of our farts – his were smellier so he thinks he’s been iller than me … he’s gone to football club. Meanwhile I, I have gone to ground. Even the cat has let me sit here unmolested so I must look grim although I am feeling a little better.

If the walk had been this morning, I confess, I would have been in trouble. As it is, I’m sure I’ll be fine by tonight although I might give the bacon buttie and the pub at the end a miss. Most of these things only last a day or so. But with the Olympics just finished, and the Paralympics in full swing, it did make me realise how hard it must be for real sportsmen and women when they prepare for their events. All those hours spent training, the special diets, the sleep regimen, trying to time it so they achieve peak fitness on that one specific day and then the big event comes and they have a cold, or a period or a sick bug and suddenly their performance is 10 or 20 percent down or they can’t even compete and it’s all been for nothing. It just makes me admire their dedication and discipline even more than I did before because even after that, despite preparing for every eventuality, they are still at the mercy of random factors.

If you want to donate anything to the hospice for my undertaking this moronic exercise, you’re welcome to do so. I have raised £150 so far, most of it off internet, so at least I’ve reached the minimum target. You can find my just giving page here:

https://www.justgiving.com/Fundraising/M-T-McGuire

My cat has just typed this \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ which is clearly what he thinks of the whole thing and I feel like a gentle snooze with something warm on my stomach so I’m going to follow his example and get some serious rest in.

A bientot.

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Meet Bugly: #Whovian #JollyJapes

This is a before and after shot of the new friend McMini and I have created because … I dunno idle thumbs? We have too much time on our hands? Probably a bit of both. We’ve named him Bugly because he’s blummin ugly bless him. Anyway, Bugly is about to go on a road trip, and he’s going to be sending us selfies from all the lovely places he goes to which I will post on here, unless it’s just not funny any more. In which case I won’t.

apologies to everyone who has already seen this, I got my media muddled!

So here we are.

image

Before .. An ordinary Ood.

After!

After!

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Wait! I’m not ready! #GirlsNightOut, 26 days and counting!

You may, or may not, remember various posts I’ve done on here about my lovely bruv who runs marathons despite being ‘middle-aged, unfit and fat’ – his words and it’s a lie because he’s definitely NOT unfit – or that fat. Anyway, having seen his fine and shining example, watched him routinely raise over a grand, and given him a tenner each time, I thought maybe I should have a go.

I mean, how hard can it be?

Yeh. No. Actually I did know the right answer to that one.

As you may be aware, and if you aren’t, I may as well tell you, I am also middle-aged, comfortably upholstered fat, unfit and I have arthritic knees which contain one less sound ligament in each than normal people’s knees. This made me think, some years ago, that maybe I should eschew the idea of marathons or any other kind of run. Because I can’t run, because my knees don’t do that kind of thing any more, I can only walk, so I’d never qualify for a marathon. I wondered if I could find a cause I care about, with an event that has slightly less rigorous entry criteria, and try er hem … walking. Possibly even briskly (if I took enough chocolate along with me to power the effort) but never tracked one down.

I kind of gave up on the idea, I had a baby anyway, and we moved house and did child rearing and stuff. And it was all lost by the wayside for a bit. Except that in recent years, one night a year, hoards of ladies have walked past my house in flashing bunny ears. I wondered:

  1. what on earth they were doing and
  2. whether I should join in.

Two years ago I plucked up courage to open the door and ask one of them what was going on.

‘Girls’ Night Out,’ she said.

None the wiser I went and looked up Girls Night Out on the internet. It’s a sponsored actual walk! For a fantastic place, our local hospice.

Last year I nearly joined in.

This year … I’ve signed up.

It’s gentle 6k ramble round Bury St Edmunds, at night, wearing the aforementioned flashing bunny ears, yes, in the dark, in pyjamas. (Note to self: there are pyjamas and pyjamas, buy a set of pyjamas you can wear in public.) The local Hospice – St Nicholas’ Hospice – were wonderful with a friend’s relly when he was dying and since the question of hospices and hospice care is in my mind at the moment, for my parents, it is something that resonates with me. They ask each walker to try and raise £100 for them.

‘Booyacka!’ I thought when I read that. ‘£100 is easy money! I only need to persuade 20 people to give me a fiver. Surely that can’t be too hard? And 6k? No problem.’

Except that while it might have been easy when I signed up, that was the end of the summer term. After 3 terms of going to the gym 3 times a week with only the shortest of breaks in between I was at the apogee of my yearly fitness levels and the lowest yearly knee pain level. Anyway the walk was ages away, I had time.

However, the date of this walk is now coming up fast. And it’s in the first week of September, at my yearly fitness nadir, after I’ve spent 6 weeks drinking and eating more than usual, going on holiday, doing larks with McMini, ignoring my physiotherapy exercises or doing no exercise at all. Some of my shorts no longer fit and dressing myself each morning is more and more like draping camouflage netting over a Zeppelin.

Ah.

Indeed, now I’ve looked at the map and my thoughts are more like this:

‘Fuckorama! What have I done? Can I even drag my fat bottom 3k, let alone 6?’

Yes, I’m facing Blimpageddon!

And on top of that, I see far fewer folk in the holidays than term so I have failed, epically, in my mission to persuade 20 people to give me a fiver – although one kind soul did give me £10 via Facebook. Thank you, you know who you are.

In short, it looks, very much, as if my effort at charity fundraising is going to die on its arse. But it could be worse! I am sure it will be great fun, we’re going to the pub afterwards and I could have signed up for the 14k route.

So, the walk is on 10th September. I have about 3 weeks to try and get fit. Two of them are summer holiday blimp time so I will have to take moments out of eating, play and high octane resting to kick some donkey and get into shape.

On the up side, according to my Fitbit, I do walk about 5 miles every day, although I’m not 100% certain I can trust it. I mean, it thinks two hours sitting in my car driving to Sussex is a 5 mile run which either means it’s hopelessly inaccurate or it’s picked up on my mood and is lying to me to keep up my morale.

I am going to be updating my progress sporadically on the justgiving page they’ve … well … given me which is here. So if you want to read a bit more about my efforts I’ll be mostly talking about it there or using the #GirlsNightOut hastag on twitter – although, depending on the quality and availability of wi-fi on our upcoming road trip, there may be a two week gap and one week’s intense solid build up as I hone my athletic prowess.

If you want to take a look feel free, you can even sponsor me if you like. That said, sponsorship, though welcome, is certainly not required.

So here we are on Day 1 of my get fit drive. I have achieved 40 squats while cleaning my teeth and taken down a tent. Oh yeh. Go me.

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And it’s another one! Win a #Kindle Fire and 30 #fantasy #books

Hello everyone, after a long week, here, eventually, is the other giveaway I was telling you about. Thirty stonking fantasy books and another chance to win not only a copy of every single book in the giveaway but also, a Kindle Fire. The giveaway actually kicked off on 8th August but you’ve stacks of time as it runs until 26th. The prize for this one is also a kindle fire, oh yes and a copy of each of the books shown in the graphic. Check out these books! To go to the giveaway page and enter, click on the picture below, or this link:

http://www.cjbrightley.com/giveaways/win-a-kindle-fire-and-30-clean-fantasy-ebooks/

Best of luck.

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Discover new authors and be in with a chance to win a Kindle Fire #giveaways

I’ll be doing a couple of posts about some giveaways and prize draws my book is involved in this week and this first one offers you a chance, not only to discover a bunch of new authors but to win a Kindle Fire. Oh yeh.

If you click on the photo, you’ll find a page with a rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this link. Below the giveaway, you’ll find links to one book by each of the authors involved. Some are available at all retailers, some only at Amazon, some are free and many are reduced in price.

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To enter the Kindle Fire draw, all you have to do is sign up one or more of the author mailing lists – you can sign up for everyone or you can pick and choose which authors you’d like to follow.

The beauty of this one is that, since the raffle is running for the whole of August, you have time to pick and choose – read some of the books and come back armed with a list of authors you know you want to hear from regularly.

So if you’d like to enter, the link is here:

http://www.hjlawson.com/kindle-giveaway/

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Just another day in paradise!

Come the winter we are hoping we might be able to go skiing so in order to prepare, it occurred to us that it would be smart if McMini and I actually had a go at skiing first. So today, it was McMini’s turn. There’s a dry slope not far from us so off we went. He took to it well and it looked ace. I am very much going to try it when term starts.

After we were done, we decided to make a day of it and we went on to Aldeburgh for lunch which was lovely. After we’d eaten we took a stroll, bought an ice cream and sat on a bench to eat it, overlooking the sea. Even though I checked it for turds before sitting down I still failed to notice that one of the ‘special Aldeburgh seagulls’ had laid a length of cable that a Doberman would have been proud of, and of course, I sat on it.

Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh: taken while sitting in seagull pooh

As the resulting cack smearage made me look as if I’d extensively soiled myself I tried to clean it off. Half a bottle of water poured over the affected area merely made it look as if I’d lost control of both orifices. And now I also had pooh smeared on my hands! Lovely! Once I’d rinsed my hands with the rest of the water and rubbed liberal amounts of hand sanitiser over them we took stock. There was only one thing for it. I deemed it imperative that I changed into some pooh-free trousers or shorts at the first opportunity. But I had no spares so I was going to have to go into a shop looking as if I’d shat my pants, explain what had happened, and hope they’d let me buy some.

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The seagulls in Worthing are much more genteel

Aldeburgh has many clothes shops and right now they all have sales on but, even with 70% off, a pair of shorts was coming up at £35. Hats off to the folks running them, though, who were perfectly prepared to let me try and buy despite my effluvia-covered togs and accompanying smell.

However, I began to despair of replacing my rancid shorts until I noticed the Sue Ryder charity shop. I popped in there and got a very nice pair of chino beige pedal pushers for £4.50. Phew.

I had planned how I could zip my anorak up round my waist and remove my trousers in the high street but although I’d worked out how it could be done without flashing my arse to the entire neighbourhood, I can’t say I was looking forward to it very much. Many, many things could have gone wrong.

But all’s well that ends well.

So that’s a relief.

A quiet day here, then. Same old, same old. How was your Saturday?

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