My journey from 59 to ………

5 months on ……

….. since I last posted. And how life has changed, yet again!

The beginning of this year was extremely difficult. I was finding my role as a carer very hard and could feel myself slipping into depression.

I did change my behaviour and, instead of bottling it all up and pretending that as superwoman I can deal with everything, my usual tactic, I asked for help. I asked the GP and agreed that I now wanted counselling, not tablets, as I needed to be able to talk through all my feelings after 28 years of caring. She gave me a number to call to refer myself which I did.

I then had a telephone assessment where I made it clear that I needed 1:1 support as in a group I’d just try to solve everybody else’s problems and not address my own. The assessor agreed and said she’d refer me for 1:1 but recommended that, whilst I was waiting I should go to the 6 week CBT group sessions.

I did this, starting on the 11th February. I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person and this course showed me I was right!

I am extremely good at looking for the positives in any situation (let’s face it, I’ve had to be!!!) and this course did not help me in any way, although I know plenty of people that it would!

It is now June and I am still waiting to hear about any 1:1 help. :-/

Ray’s been very depressed, his diabetes was out of control (I now know that his glucose meter can say Hi & Lo not just numbers!) The nurse at the surgery was great and referred Ray to the specialist diabetes nurse, the falls clinic, the service that provides aids and told me to contact Social Services.

The specialist nurse was fantastic. She could  see I was struggling (I did have a bit of a melt down in her office0  and so was Ray. She wanted to get his blood levels measured throughout the day for a week and FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME IN 28 YEARS did not just assume that I would stay indoors to do lunch time readings every day, she arranged for the district nurses to come in to do them.

I cannot begin to explain how much that meant to me. Finally somebody was giving me some practical support and encouraging me to have my own life, not just to be an unpaid carer. We got Ray to admit to being depressed and he agreed a course of anti depressants may help, she said she would contact our GP. His insulin doses were adjusted a bit which helped the diabetes but his moods remained the same and life was very difficult.

Somebody came from the falls clinic, took lots of notes and tried to get Ray to do a few exercises to help strengthen his muscles and improve his walking. Ray found it difficult to understand what was wanted and some of the exercises were completely beyond his ability. When I told the man that I did not think Ray would do the seated exercises regularly on his own he said he was going to discharge him, well that was a lot of help! He also said something about referring him for a support shoe but, to be honest, by this point I was so pissed off again I honestly don’t know if he was going to do it or if I was supposed to. Still, we haven’t heard any more about that either! No practical help was offered on how to stop the falls or how I should get him up!!!

We never heard anything from the aids people and, although Social Services said I would get a Carer’s Assessment nothing has happened.

Eventually I blew!

I had had enough. I’d been warning Ray for some time that I could not take this any more, that I had done my bit and that I was sick of it. I even told him to decide which of his two sisters or his mother he wanted to go and live with!

Eventually I blew, I told him that this was MY home, that I had paid for everything in it and provided everything for him and I needed to do stuff for me. He had an ultimatum, either:

  1. We got a dog, or
  2. He went in a home and I got a dog

Guess what?????

On the very first day of looking I found Donut, an RSPCA staffy cross, and three days later he arrived, complete with the cone of shame!







This dog has changed our lives. Ray was adamantly against having a dog, and now he adores him! His depression has lifted, he’s started laughing again and his health and mobility have improved. He finally has an interest in something!

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And me? Wow, what a difference! I don’t even mind being at home now!

Well that covers the most important aspects of the last five months but there are other things too 🙂

Looking back at the targets I set myself, there will be no problem covering 2016 km in 2016 although training has suffered and I’m nowhere near 3 sessions a week but that’s for positive reasons 🙂 I aimed to be leaner and I have lost a stone, feel better for it and plan to continue!

I qualified as a Lowland Search and Rescue technician and I’ve been out on a number of searches. As our first aid requirement is the same as for First Responders I decided I might as well do that too so now if you put in a 999 call in Wickford there is a possibility you may get me as well as an ambulance etc!

Voluntary work can be so much fun!!!!!!


Back On Track – Week One 

Tuesday 26/01/16

Braved the scales – important to face your demons!

Breakfast – black coffee then pineapple, banana, celery, almond & chia smoothie

Training – went to gym and did my full program but not in the right order because other people were on MY equipment! 😃


Lunch – no time as had to go to a funeral. Had a kale, spinach & mango smoothie and a protein bar

Snack – almond bar, black coffees

Dinner – carrots, broccoli and bolognese

Snack – prawns

Happy with that!

Wednesday 27/01/16

Breakfast – Black coffee then pineapple, banana, kale, carrot, almond & chia seed smoothie

Lunch – crayfish salad

Snack – black coffee & vegetable crisps

Dinner – mince & mediteannean vegetables

Snacks – protein bar and a box of raisins

No exercise, always busy on a Wednesday so rest day

Thursday 28/01/16

Breakfast – black coffee, pineapple, banana, kale, carrot & spirulina Smoothie

Lunch – tomato soup (the only thing available without starchy carbs!) & eat well bar

Dinner – crayfish & anchovy salad with sweet potato crisps

Snacks – eat well bar & box of raisins

10.3 km walk in my boots, which are nearly 2lbs heavier than trainers. Need to get my leg strength back!


Friday 29/01/16

Breakfast – Black coffee.  Chocolate protein powder, banana, almonds & chia seed shake

Lunch – Frankie & Benny’s ABC salad

Dinner – Lemon sole salad

Snacks – box of raisins

Trained with Darryl for the first time this year! Started using My Fitness Pal


Saturday 30/01/16

Breakfast – black coffee, pineapple, banana, kale, carrot, celery, almond & chia seed smoothie

Lunch – prawn salad

Dinner – crab stirfry

Snacks – protein bar, eat natural bar

Out all day with the man trailing dogs. 10.4 km plus time on my feet!

Loving My Fitness Pal, it’s going to help me make better choices

Sunday 31/01/16

Breakfast – chocolate protein powder, banana & carrots smoothie

Lunch – prawn salad

Dinner – butternut noodles & homemade bolognese sauce

Snacks – vegetable crisps, eat natural bar

Another day with the trailing dogs. 8.85 km today.

Monday 01/02/16

Breakfast – pineapple, banana, kale, carrot, celery, spirulina & almond smoothie

Lunch – a burger with coleslaw and side salad (didn’t enjoy it 😏)

Dinner – ham omelette with beetroot crisps

Snacks – eat natural bars, box of raisins

10.08 km walk

I’m pretty pleased with my first week back on track.

When I trained with Darryl (for the sake of any new readers he is my personal trainer and Jiminy Crickett – http://www.clubonehundred.com) on Friday he suggested I try My Fitness Pal, not for calorie counting (I’ve moved away from that) but to help with nutrition and portion size.

I am hooked! It’s already changed how I eat!

I get fed up with people telling me I need carbs (I never eat bread, pasta, rice and try not to have biscuits/cake!) but I’m easily meeting my carbohydrate target from fruit and vegetables

I’m loving seeing the ‘sugar’ record, it’s made me really look at the amount of fruit I eat and I’m going to change my snacks once I’ve finished my ‘stock’. I now eat the little box of raisins a few at a time, don’t just swallow them in one go!

I’m realising how good fish is for you (thank you Sally Osborne, big shout out to Osborne’s fishmongers for getting me to try new things!)


I’m on getting my fitness back and I finally seem to  have recovered from all that kidney stone nonsense!

From now on I’m screenshotting My Fitness Pal!

Tuesday 02/02/16

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Wednesday 03/02/16

Got the munchies tonight, typical the night before weigh in!!!

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And here’s the nutrition information for the week, aiming for less sugar next week!



That’s 1.6 pounds off!!!!


Read more…

Time for an update. 

I was going to write a really long post giving all the details of the kidney stone surgery but I’ve decided against it. 

I’m just going to give a quick overview so ……..

New Year’s Eve – surgery to remove remaining stones. Stent inserted. Hospital were brilliant, slept for what felt like days afterwards. 

08/01/16 back to have the stent removed, not a pleasant experience, I’m halfway through my second course of antibiotics but I’m just feeling (8 days later) that all my bits are starting to work properly again. 

Good news is that the report from one of the scans they did when I couldn’t wee seems to show that my insides are in good nick. 

It also shows there’s still a stone in there and as far as I’m concerned it can stay there. If it moves and gets stuck again I’ll go with the loads of drugs route, I only want another stent if there’s no real other choice!

Anyway, this has all been going on since last September and has had a huge impact on my fitness, nutrition and ‘brain’. 

Having reached a sort of meltdown when the first course of antibiotics didn’t work I am now confronting everything and pulling myself back from the edge. 

I’m the heaviest I’ve been for years, but I’m nowhere near the heaviest I’ve ever been. 

I’m the unfittest (if that’s a word) too, but again nowhere near the levels I was at 7 years ago. 

All of this has mucked up the planned start of my targets for this year. I’m going to stick with trying to cover 2016 kilometres and averaging 3 training sessions a week (but I’m writing January off!)

The fat has got to go!!!!

I’m going to post a blog each week describing nutrition, training, activities etc. I probably won’t post about these on Facebook so if you want to follow them just check in regularly or subscribe to the blog. The posts will really be for my own benefit to make me accountable but if it helps / amuses anybody else that’s good. 

I faced the scales this morning. Let’s see what next week brings …… 

Just added this for your amusement – my text conversation with my nephew this morning!


I don’t do resolutions …….


Did you hear the scream?

I trod on it, with both feet and not holding on to anything.

Poor thing appears to have survived, although I’m not sure that’s necessarily a good thing.

What am I talking about?

The scales 😱😱😱


Now I’ve known I was going to have to do it.

I’ve known that I’ve been stuffing everything in sight down my throat. But I’ve also known that I will put a stop to it and that I will get my head together.

I’ve been targetless for a while and I haven’t been able to think of a new one.

I do best with big recordable targets as was proved by the 59to60 ones. I need ones that survive ‘bad’ weeks so that I can either plan for them in advance or make up for it afterwards.

Hang on, if I can do that with exercise why can’t I do it with food????

Anyway, last night it came to me …….

TARGET ONE – in 2016 I will walk 2016 kilometres.

These will have to be recorded by GPS (or on the treadmill, boring!!!) but can be of any length (that covers any recuperation needed.)

As always, once I get ‘the big one’ the rest seem to flow.

TARGET TWO – average three training sessions per week.

Now this is going to be a ‘fail’ in week one as I’ll be in hospital and I know I’ll need some recovery time hence ‘average’.

TARGET THREE – to be leaner.

I know what the starting point is 😡 But you don’t need to. I also know what my targets are and I’ll set myself various ‘key dates’ on the way. I am not going to be the ‘fat client’!

TARGET FOUR – to qualify as a search technician.

I’m already part way through my training. Sadly this op may interfere with the throw line training and even the initial search course …… but I’m hoping not!

So that’s all sorted out then

Today my nutrition’s been good and I blasted my program at the gym 😃  And I now feel better than I have in ages, strange that.

Tomorrow I have my final blood test and ‘harvesting’ in case I need some back.

Wednesday will be my last gym session and then I’ve got a massage booked.

And Thursday is operation day :-/

Now I’ve never had an operation or a general anaesthetic before  so I’m ending / starting the year with new experiences!

I started by saying that I don’t do resolutions, but I do do targets.  I failed at the final stage of the belt notch target, but I haven’t forgotten it and it would be great if, over the course of the year I could meet that too!

My next blog post will almost certainly be about my operation

In the meantime, Happy New Year everybody and get setting your targets!



Kidney stones part 2 of 3 (or how to spend New Year!)

Remember that stone, no not Darryl, that other stone that destroyed me in a way that personal training, no matter how good, has never managed to do?IMG_0397


(Very quick recap, in September I was suddenly in horrendous pain, admitted to hospital and, after a couple of nights of serious painkillers I got rid of it.)

Well, one down, but there were still two more, larger ones, lurking about and I want rid!

Having had an outpatients appointment with my consultant I was put on the waiting list for surgery and, quicker than I expected, my turn arrived.

I was originally scheduled to be operated on on 11/12/15. When the appointment came through I checked my diary, the Club One Hundred party was the next night. Although disappointed I decided that it was more important to get the stones sorted but then I found out that the First Aid training for ESAR (Essex Search & Rescue) was that weekend and missing that would delay my going ‘live’ so I rang to see if I could postpone my op.

Spoke to a very nice lady who said that was fine but that it would be next year unless, short little laugh, I wanted it done on New Year’s Eve? I think she was somewhat taken aback when I said that actually that would suit me down to the ground! (Ever since Ray came out of hospital in 1989 we have stayed in on New Year’s Eve and I usually have to wake him up to say Happy New Year so this could be quite an exciting alternative! I’ve spent a Christmas in hospital with him, now I’ll see how they do New Year!)

So I was able to go to the First Aid training which included loading people into stretchers which could be winched up by helicopters (obviously I’m going for the most dramatic bit!)

And then on to the Club One Hundred party which was a great evening!


Yesterday I went for my pre-op assessment. Now I’ve managed to avoid having any surgery before so this is going to be another first for me! I was told to report to Basildon Hospital at 1pm and to allow up to 3 hours for my visit. I resigned myself to the idea that most of that time would be spent sat around waiting to see people. I could not have been more wrong!

I arrived on time, met by a very cheerful, friendly lady in her Christmas outfit and was given the necessary stuff to provide a urine sample! Very shortly after that a friendly nurse called me in.

She explained what would happen, got me to provide my contact details, any dietary requirements (I felt asking for ancestral food may be taking the ****) and then took my height, weight, blood pressure, temperature and then I had an ECG, more about that later!

Back into the hallway, phone out to check Facebook and ……. I was immediately called in by the pharmacist who wanted to know my allergies and medication.


Well apparently that’s a very unusual answer! Think I made his day.

I showed him the supplements I take, carry on with the Vitamin D, Zinc and Magnesium but stop the Fish Oil as it can thin your blood.

Back out and a short wait in the corridor where I kept thinking about that ECG, it looked very pretty ……..

Called in by the Sister for a complete barrage of questions. An early one was did I have Alzeheimer’s, not yet ….. Now I know why it was at the start, I wouldn’t have been able to answer the questions!

Although there were what seemed like hundreds of questions they were not asked in a tick box way. She seemed genuinely interested in what was going on (the reality must be that she is bored out of her head asking the same stuff of people all the time) and I was able to ask questions at any point, which of course I did!

“I’ve just had a tetanus jab and I’m due to start a course of Hepatitis B ones, will that be OK?”

So of course she asks why I’m having them and I say it’s because I do voluntary work in a prison and she’s surprised and we talk about that and then she goes to ask someone …….. and I sit and wait, and I think …. about that ECG …..

Back she comes, I’m not to have them two weeks either side of the op so I’ll just leave the vials in the fridge, something to look forward to later!

On with the questions, ooh your blood pressure’s good!

And then I ask …. “May I take a photo of my ECG?”

Stunned silence, nobody’s ever asked that before! Why would I want it? “Well I find things like that interesting and I write a blog and ….”

She couldn’t think of any reason why not but said she’d just pop next door to check. She obviously explained what I wanted to do and the other person asked what the ECG was like and was told it was excellent, not sure what was said next but it was followed by loads of laughter – they’ve now met me!


She kindly made me a copy, without my distinguishing details, and I’ve taken a photo!

It appears that, physically at least, I’m in pretty good shape

More questions and I warn her my father had very bad reactions to anaesthetics …. just in case …..

More questions and then we get onto the details of my admission. One blood test now then another a couple of days before the op to confirm my blood group and ‘harvest’ some extra blood in case they need to give me any. What an excellent idea. Because of the M.S. I can no longer be a donor but at least that means that a) they can save other people’s for those that need it and b) people who could but don’t donate have to provide some for themselves!

On the day I can have a light breakfast before 8 am and then only water (that’s easy)  except for a sort of energy drink that I have to mix up until 12 when I arrive at the, I want to say departure lounge but some may think that’s in bad taste!

After that, nothing. I will be taken from there to the op and then put on a ward somewhere, they’ll ring my brother and tell him where!

Any other questions?

“Well I’m due to be doing throw line training on the 6th January …….”



“I’m training to be a member of Search & Rescue!” Obvious really!

“I don’t think you’ll be up to that”

Will I be able to do the 2 day initial search course on the 16th Jan?”

There’s more chance but you need to remember that kidneys are delicate and that they may bleed …. Ask the Consultant and Anaesthetist when you see them”

“I hadn’t even got to the ‘When can I start training again’  bit ……”

Well done Basildon Hospital, keep up the good work and I’ll see you again soon :-/



This girl can …… And does!!!

I’ve just changed my profile picture on Facebook to this: 
I made this up a little while ago and it was used by This Girl Can, build displayed in shopping centres!
Now, though, it’s been more relevant to me as I’ve bent, I’ve certainly bent, but I have NOT broken!
It’s been a strange couple of months. I think the kidney stone episode affected me more than I realised.
My way of being positive is to drive forward through all obstacles blasting them out of the way to create a path.
Unfortunately when the path of any vehicle is muddy, with water filled pits and mounds of loose debris the strain put on the engine can cause it to start to struggle. If it is not given the right treatment it can overheat, burn out and stop working.
This happened to me at the end of 1992 or early 1993, I don’t know the exact date.
Ray had his stroke on 30/11/88, my mum died in August 1992, I kept pushing forward until one day I pulled the quilt over my head and didn’t want to come out.
So I know what depression is! I was diagnosed with ‘reactive’ depression, took some wonderful tablets that anaesthetised me until I worked out the problem (I’d lost ‘me’) and the remedy (find somewhere I could go on my own and not have any demands made on me, for me this was going back to doing my family tree).
Why am I talking about this? Because I was driving along recently, found my eyes had started to leak (crying is active, this was passive) and realised that I was on the verge of slipping into depression again.
People say that you cannot cure depression by telling somebody to pull themselves together.
BUT ……. you can tell yourself that! And, for me that is the only thing that works!
I had lost my way. It’s been a long haul with problems with my knee followed by the kidney stone to say nothing about the issues surrounding being a carer!
Ray had been hiding all the medical appointments from me. Once I found out we ended up with loads of appointments that I had to take him to and support him through. He hates things like that so it was not easy! It also meant I had to spend a lot more time at home :-/
My nutrition’s been rubbish, I’ve hardly trained, my emotions have been all over the place and I’ve been kidding myself about all sorts of things.
BUT …….. that doesn’t mean I have to stay there!
Reaching that moment was good for me! Time to tackle everything, I’m not good at doing a bit at a time!
Because I feel sorry for Ray, and for some totally ridiculous, inexplicable reason I feel guilty about his stroke (!?!) I tend to let him get away with stuff. There is a feeling (that I’m sure we both have) that we are stuck in this situation. Well we are if we want to keep living here but we do not have to and there could be alternatives! After I spelled that out very clearly there has been some improvement. Ray has even made me a few cups of coffee! Things are far from perfect but I gave toughened up and I’m not being quite such a doormat!
I talked the issues through with Darryl, personal trainers really go through it!, and we came up with a plan. He decided to give me a new program (if I’d tried to continue with my last one I’d have been fed up because I wouldn’t have been as good) but that it would only contain things that I liked!!!
This has really worked!
I never write my program in the blog but I’m going to just this once!
Dynamic warm up

4×8 bench press

4 mins rowing, 10 fast then 10 recovery strokes

4×12 walking lunges holding a ViPR overhead

3×20 kettlebell snatches

4×8 seated cable row

4 mins boxing ‘beat up the bag’

4×8 leg press

3×20 rope slams
I love it! Most are now being done with heavier weights / more reps or sets. Only shall problem has been the lunges, my knees are not very keen and I need them for my walking so we will be talking about this!
I’m alternating the program with walking. I used to walk a lot, but that stopped when the knee was bad. I’m now getting back into it though, but not in trainers, in substantial walking boots!
Well, as you know I’ve been acting as a ‘misper’ for the search dogs for about a year but I now want to take that a stage further and I’ve joined Essex Search and Rescue. Look them up on Facebook!

Everybody’s heard of Mountain Rescue, but people aren’t so aware of Lowland Rescue who operate over much of the country. Everybody is a volunteer but they undergo thorough training and have to pass an annual fitness test …… now do the boots make sense?

Don’t tell them but the fitness won’t be a problem, the first aid should be fine, but the navigation may be a bit of a challenge! Although I’ve always managed to achieve anything I’ve really wanted to do so it should be fine!

So, I’m tackling the issues, regaining control, the engine us purring nicely and I’m moving forward nicely 🙂


Oh. The nutrition. Hmm.

Well, it’s improving ….. maybe I can do things a bit at a time after all 😃

I love the NHS!

On Friday I had a steroid injection in my knee (for arthritis / Bakers cyst) at Brentwood Community Hospital. 

Needles don’t bother me and I was quite relaxed about the whole thing. Linda, the physio, and I share the same sense of humour and attitude to life! 

I caught a glimpse of the needle which was quite big, but she was so efficient that I hardly felt a thing. 

After sitting in the waiting room for 10 minutes to make sure there were no reactions I left, with her warning to take things easy ringing in my ears. 

Now I was full of good intentions and decided I definitely wouldn’t go to the gym on Saturday, so I went to Bluewater. 

Driving back I was hit by a pain that I could only describe as excruciating. It was horrendous. I was trying to breathe through it, relax into it, talk through it, anything to get me home. 

I rang Ray, he finally answered, & warned him to have the front door open. I got home, raced in and picked up the phone to dial 111. 

Picture the scene, I’m doubled up in pain trying to answer the questions from the person on the phone whilst Ray is telling me to get Spin CDs up on the computer for him!!!!!! 

My answers were such that led to me being put through to a clinician who said I should go to the out of hours GP (an appointment was made for 20:20 and to take a urine sample with me) and that I could take paracetamol and ibuprofen. 

Got Ray fed, tucked him in, prepared his injections and tablets for the next day and, as I could not settle, set off early. 

Stopped en route to but him some biscuits and me some ibuprofen then got to the out of hours GP based at Basildon Hospital. I knew where that was as I’d taken Ray there a couple of years ago. 

Doctor was very pleasant, asked lots of questions then tested my sample. Now I drink loads of water and I’d been surprised at how dark it was, thought I must have been dehydrated for some reason for the previous few days but no, turned out it was blood :-/

The GP spoke to the surgeons and sent me over to A&E. Staff there were helpful but I had to wait quite a long time until I was seen. I was walking round in circles because it hurt less if I was moving. I was reaching the point where I was going to have to call for pain relief when my name was called and I went through. 

(I have no complaints about the wait, I should have probably told reception how bad it was but there were lots of other very ill people there, staff were doing their best and it is just not my way!)

Memories after that become a bit hazy. I remember seeing a doctor and saying the pain level was 8/9 (again not like me) and being given paracetamol and a diclofenic suppository! I was dubious about thus but happy to try anything at that point. It was magic! I took it just before going to X-ray for a scan and, by the time I arrived there, the pain had eased. 

I didn’t find out until later that I could only have one of these a day, I would never have thought I could look forward to having anything shoved up my bottom!

The scan confirmed all the doctors diagnoses, a kidney stone! 2.7mm in the uretha. 

Back to A&E and the really kind nurse to wait to be admitted. 

I was so relieved to be safe in the hospital and getting help with the pain that I didn’t care how long that took. 

At some point in the night the nurse took me to the Surgical Referral Unit where I was put in a room on my own. 

Time then started to rake on a surreal quality, in fact I think I ‘lost’ a day! 

Doctors explained what was wrong and that they were hoping it would pass naturally, nurses kept checking me, asking if I was in pain, taking my temperature, blood pressure etc and giving me the much needed pain relief! 

Now I’m usually very fit and healthy these days and my blood pressure is good so you can imagine my reaction when, at 6am on Sunday morning, when all I’d been doing was lying down for hours, it was recorded at 189/76!

The pain continued and I was being given liquid morphine and paracetamol which dulled it but did not stop it altogether 😦

This was the  best painkiller but, as I’ve said, I could only have it once a day!


I think this, incredibly unflattering, selfie shows the state I was in!

But, as a carer, I couldn’t just think of me! 

I’d left Ray his injections for Sunday and pills for Sunday & Monday but I needed to sort out future meds and meals. 

The meals side was, relatively, easy. My wonderful next door neighbour Pat made him dinner on Sunday. 

I rang the District Nurses to explain the situation, confident that they would take over his medications until I, an unqualified, unpaid mug, oops carer, who had been doing it for 24 years was well enough to be discharged. 

I was SO wrong! The person who answered my call said they would not be able to help. 

I was gobsmacked, and I am again as I’m writing this! 

You’ve seen the state I was in, I truly cannot remember all the details about what happened. I argued and, eventually, they got a district nurse to ring me. 

She was not at all helpful or supportive. She said they were not covered to do it and hadn’t I got a neighbour or family member who could do it? I remember commenting on how they as qualified nurses couldn’t do it but that I should tell a random unqualified person to do it. She then said “Well where are your family?” In a very disapproving tone at which point I lost it. I asked her what the hell she meant and then said tell you what, let’s forget it and just let him fucking die!!!

That got a reaction, she asked me not to swear at her!

I was beside myself and shed the first (& only) tears of the whole episode!

Another, much nicer, nurse rang me later and said they were going to contact our Health Centre to ask the doctors to ask them to do it. 

Exhausted I went back to my pain / morphine / paracetamol haze …….. The phone rang again later … Ray ….. but when I answered it was a doctor ringing from my house to talk to me about what dosages he should have so that she can tell the nurses. 

Now, as his blood sugars can vary between 1.3 and off the scale I vary the dose, but they can’t do that? 

Still, at least I could stop worrying about it. 

Bacon the good stuff ………

I cannot praise Basidon Hospital enough. 

There was a good choice of food

I was going on and off nil by mouth as they debated whether to operate but meals were ordered up for me and prepared the minute I was allowed to eat. 

I was checked regularly and pain relief was given quickly when I asked for it. 

I remember at one point being asked if I was in pain and saying that I honestly didn’t know any more!!!

By midnight on Sunday, after continuous pain, and no sleep since Friday   I asked for, and was given, a sleeping tablet, but by 4 a.m. the pain was bad enough to wake me up again, that was the end of sleep! 

I was getting very good at sucking the very last drop out of the morphine syringe! Anything I was offered I grabbed! 

Another examination by the doctors ….. back on nil by mouth, preparations made for an operation to fit a stent. 

The pain, despite 2 lots of morphine and paracetamol was unbearable and I was walking round the room more to distract myself than anything else. Then I went for a wee, looked back and thought ‘what’s that?’ 

I could see a bit of grit in the toilet bowl, it was still there after I’d flushed but the pain had eased so I grabbed it, took it to the nurses and asked if it could be significant!

I cannot believe how something so tiny could destroy me!

I’ve now got to do some praising!

Everybody I came across at the hospital were brilliant! The nurses, the support staff, the doctors, the radiologist, the cleaners ….. everybody! I could not have been treated better!

But not only me, I saw the care that was given to other patients especially a group of Alzheimer’s patients including Annie (not her real name) an articulate, intelligent, argumentative woman with kleptomaniac tendencies. Although in my hazy state she gave me some amusement she must gave been driving all of you mad but you were amazing with her!

All the Facebook comments. The text messages and offers of help (you know who you are) were much appreciated. Thanks guys!

I must also thank brother Nigel and, even more, my sister in law Renei who brought me stuff in, shopped for me, sorted out Ray’s tablets, are a meal with him and took me home with her and thoroughly spoiled me before I returned home on Tuesday. 

Recovery is taking some time and I’m still taking paracetamol but that’s enough!

 I have had to accept that I can’t go to the riot training / control and restraint day that I’ve been looking forward to for years 😦 

I’ve also said I can’t do the search dog assessment on Saturday 😦

My knee has benefited from the rest tbough and feels great 😃

From tomorrow we are going to practice Ray doing his own meds. We obviously need to be self sufficient!
Best comment I have received – had to be added 😃😃😃


Fun, games and a bit of lunacy

Having got into a muddle I’ve decided to split this update into 2 posts. This one will be a sort of diary and the other will focus on health / nutrition / training. They will of course overlap but it will suit me better!

So what have I been up to?

Oh, only the normal sort of things!
I’ve been ‘on duty’ at the prison for 3 of the last 6 weeks. As I’ve said before, I’m a member of the IMB. A ‘different’ sort of volunteering. Have a look at what we do http://www.imb.org.uk/ you may want to volunteer! I haven’t got any photos of that to show you though!!!
I’ve been to Highgate Cemetery with a group of friends. Recommend it, the guided tour was interesting as were the tombs and graves, modern as well as Victorian. I really liked the house that had been built there, but not everybody felt the same! (Here’s a small selection of the photos I took, they will enlarge if you click on them.)
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I marshalled at the North Downs Run (where I got covered in tiny black flies!)
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and at the Dirty Dozen race.
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where I managed to get only a little bit muddy!
Two very different sorts of races but both of them gave me the opportunity to shout! I used to be a very good shouter but I don’t get much opportunity since I left Deptford Green so I need to keep in practice!
The mud / obstacle races are great fun to marshal and I’m looking forward to marshalling for Nuclear Races http://nuclear-races.co.uk/events/
Talking about races, we entered a different sort of race this year. Dragon Boat racing!
Before racing team shotWhen you stop having fun
Renei and I continue to visit National Trust properties. We went to Polesdon Lacey, Chartwell,
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I’ve continued to act as a misper for the search dogs and I’m now thinking about joining Essex Search and Rescue. Right up my street as I love being out of doors and the unpredictability of what you may be asked to do. And night training
Des’s retirement
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7 years difference
Mountain bike National trials
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Ray – scan, hypos
Westminster Hall Magna Carta trial
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Ray’s mum
 Wheelchair service, british Gas
I bend I don't break
Deadlift 75kg Deadlift face Row 2000 metres in 9-42-4


I was a “misper” on a three day man trailing seminar. Those dogs never cease to impress me!

And there’s always opportunities to do silly stuff if I’m left alone for too long!

Now I’m sat in a hospital bed pumped full of painkillers waiting to see if I can pass this kidney stone!









Three notches down!

Having got into a muddle I’ve decided to split this update into 2 posts. This one will focus on health / nutrition / training / ramblings and the other will be a sort of diary. They will of course overlap but it will suit me better!


I missed out a post!

Last time I posted I said that I was aiming to get the belt down by one more notch in 4 weeks. I did that but I forgot to bore you all with it, and I went straight into getting the third notch in 8 weeks.

The 8 weeks were up 2 weeks ago and …………. I did it!

4 belts

Now, as I’ve said before, I’m well aware that the number of notches can be changed by the position that you wear it, but this is a ‘working’ belt and I can only count it as successful if I’ve worn it, and used it, for a full day, which I have!

The next ‘target’, if I go for it, is to get it on to the last notch (now I’m wondering if I should have said hole but I like the word notch much more, in 16 weeks time. That’ll be on the 4th December 2015!

The bigger, if you’ll pardon the pun, use of it is to stop me getting bigger though. The trouble with living in lycra is that it stretches, and stretches so you don’t get as many wake up calls. This belt definitely does not stretch! Nor do the 2 pairs of cargo pants I’ve bought. I know this because for the last two weeks I’ve been in face stuffing mode and they have told me!

I have to confess that I’ve been bitten by whatever the sugar equivalent of the tsetse fly is again. The man at the end of the conveyor belt where they make Viennese Whirls must have washed his hands because I’ve been force feeding  myself with those, and other sorts of cakes 😦

My training has also suffered, Darryl has given me three new programs. Normally I’d be ultra excited and attacking them but I did not manage to complete even one of them 😦

I haven’t been feeling great, very tired and episodes of ‘wooziness’ (M.S. stuff – boo) and my knee has been playing up.


  • Gluttony! It will never leave me, I just have to learn to manage it and I’m getting better at it all the time
  • The weather. Yes, that’s a real point. It’s been very hot and muggy and my body reacts badly to that
  • Doing too much! (Not so good at learning about that!)

But let’s rewind because it has been a long time since I told you what I’ve been doing and, before this latest blip, training was going brilliantly!

We have had the Club One Hundred Games!!!

COH games

The games were open to all members of Club One Hundred and were made up of 6 events. You got points for each event depending on your position, and the winners would be the man / woman with the most points.

The events were:

  • maximum deadlift
  • 2000 metre row for time
  • 21 – 15 – 9 – 3 Burpees and Thrusters for time
  • maximum clean and jerk
  • 3 sets of: 500 metre run, 100 x single unders skipping, 2 lengths of walking lunges
  • As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of: 7 press-ups, 10 hanging knee raises, 15 box squats

Because I train fortnightly we were doing 2 events per session and this was session one! (Where I peaked!)


I was really pleased with these results, but when I looked at the board and saw someone had lifted 90kg I was not happy! There was only Darryl and I in the studio and he tentatively, and carefully, pointed out that I was not in my mid 20s!!! Gareth walked in at that point to find me moving around the studio, kicking myself and chanting “Got to remember I’m 62!”

The next session I did the burpees (lying down on the floor and standing up in my case) & thrusters. I  may occasionally (OK, frequently) suffer from flatulence but I do not do burpees! Still, I’d been practicing them at the gym and I gave it my best shot. Part way through I was VERY hot and felt sick so I had a little pause then carried on. Although I was proud of myself for not giving up I was a bit gutted that I knew I could be faster. I was, however, thrilled when I found out that I was not the slowest!!!!

I also did the clean and jerk that session. Now I can clean (only this sort, not housework), and I can press, but …. waiting for the sniggers …. I can’t jerk! I have a real problem with any form of jumping, my feet do not want to leave the ground at the same time! So my final weight that day was 25 kg. But I really, really wanted to do 30kg, just for my benefit. Darryl gave me a list of weights and reps to try it with and, one day at the gym ………


I was SO happy! I may never do it again, but it doesn’t matter, I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!

On to the final session ….. save the worst until last!

I did not have high expectations of myself, this was cardio! My major concern was whether I’d be able to do both of the events …. & complete them in an hour!

These were by far my weakest events but, bizarrely, they are possibly the ones I am most proud of. I didn’t bottle it, I went for it and did far, far better than I ever expected to ( you have to remember that my expectations were awful, don’t assume from my reaction that I smashed them, I did not! But, for me, I was thrilled!)

These Games have taken me on a further journey.

I may come across as being very confident! and I suppose I am, but I never think that I’m that good at stuff. When people say I’m inspirational or a role model I tend to think I must be kidding them in some way but the Club One Hundred Games have made me realise, again, that I should be proud of myself. 

I am a LOT older (chronologically) than the other ‘competitors’ but I did myself proud. I came 13th out of the women!!!
I’ve finally got to finish this post as I’m sat in my hospital bed with nothing else to do!

On Friday I had the steroid injection in my knee, that went really well

On Saturday I was hit by excruciating pain, and I’m sat here, having taken loads of painkillers, about to spend a second night in hospital, waiting to see if nature will get rid of it. How can something that small (2.5mm) be so painful? And how can it cause my blood pressure to soar to 189/76? And that was before my melt down trying to get help for Ray!

























A day of two halves. 


I hate clothes shopping. This is nothing new. I’ve always hated shopping for clothes. Throughout my life I’ve always been too tall, & frequently too fat, to buy clothes. I’ve sorted out the too fat bit but there is nothing I can do about my height, and particularly my leg length. 

I will never wear anything with frilly bottoms, I grew up with my mum having to add bits on the bottom of my clothes to make them long enough. 

I have friends who can get immense pleasure from going to shopping centres, wandering round looking at different clothes (that often look identical to me) and trying lots of different outfits on. 

That is my idea of hell. But sometimes there is no choice 😦

My Nike full length training trousers have had it and I desperately needed some more. 

The standard length regular fit ones are available everywhere but I wanted the “tall” version. 

Rang the Nike store at Bluewater who said they were too small a store to stock them (can’t think why, loads of space in there). Asked where I could get some, they suggested Westfield. Rang there and was told they stocked them. 

So today I went to the station, bought a train ticket, to go to a place I would not want to visit purely to buy these trousers. (You’ve already guessed haven’t you!)

Not only did they not have the trousers that I wanted, they did not sell ANY extra long length trousers – not a single pair, SO WHY DID THEY TELL ME THAT THEY DID!!!!!!!

I was not at all happy! And, as the assistant tried to calm me down, things went from bad to worse. 


-Westfield isn’t big enough [It is huge with loads of space]

– bigger sizes are longer than smaller sizes [all fat people have longer legs and vice versa]

– have you ordered on line [check internet, not available]

– there’s a women only store in London where they can make things shorter [how exactly does that help me?]

Left there and went to Adidas. Same story but at least they knew they didn’t do an extra long option. 

I can only conclude that these massive, global brands do not believe that tall women train, although the staff were telling me they constantly get complaints about this. 

Come on Nike and Adidas, provide what your customers want!

Left Westfield in a foul mood. Total waste of a morning and the expense of a train ticket. I have tweeted about it, wonder if I’ll ever get a response?


Then off to the gym. 

There is nothing more likely to pull me out of a bad mood than a really good training session and this was a corker!

I smashed it, program 1 (out of 3) today. 

I upped the weight on all three of the first exercises, and then it came to Met Con 1. Five rounds of 7 shoulder presses with a 10 kg barbell, 10 squats and 20 single arm (12 kg) kettle bell swings. I have to try and be faster each time I do it.  

I did it! I’ve now done this program 5 times and look at the difference in the times. My max heart rate’s getting higher and higher and people are used to seeing me flat out on a mat afterwards. Look at how quickly it recovers though!

I am so pleased with this and the endorphins have restored my mood!

I bounced out of the gym and I’m still buzzing now, although, despite a good stretch, I am aching 🙂

These programs are awesome Darryl, Club One Hundred is the place to go 😃. Looking forward to program 2 tomorrow. 💪

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