About Me

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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, broken runner. Boxercise & Spin class fanatic. Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Friday, 14 September 2018

Halfway through September !!!!!

It's been a month since my last post.   It's been a bit stressful but luckily there have been a couple of Tribby trips - one to Crowborough and a long weekend in Canterbury.   The house move continues - we've sold, found a bungalow we both love which is in the right place and has a driveway for Tribby and the car which is ace.   The paperwork is with the solicitor and we're going "with the flow".  Not easy when you're me - even the solicitor commented on how much paperwork I'd given to her!

At the beginning of the month I pledged to #ScrollFreeSeptember

No social media for whatever period of time I chose.   There were 5 plans to choose from Cold Turkey - no scrolling whatsoever (no way Jose); Social Butterfly - no scrolling whilst out socialising; Night Owl - no social media after 6pm; Busy Bee - no social media during working or school hours or Sleeping Dog - no scrolling once in bed.  There's no way I could go Cold Turkey and the only one I really struggle with is checking my Facebook and Twitter while I'm at work so I chose

I'm not going to lie - it's been hard.   The first day was ok because I was extremely busy but I'm gradually struggling with not checking because I get a bit bored.   One thing I have realised is that I actually don't miss out on anything - it's all still there when I get on the bus at 2.45pm, apart from Twitter timeline which is a nightmare.  Just wish I could get through the day without checking it at all.   I'm going to try really hard for the second half of September - let's see how we go.

I was supposed to ride the Orro Sussex Classic Sportive last weekend but had a massive anxiety attack over my painful foot (no idea what I've done) and the elevation and I forgot to do my asthma inhalers before we left so took the decision to DNS - the first ever self imposed.  Not a great feeling - lots of tears, feeling angry at myself for giving in etc etc.  Shaun went off and rode - I sat in Tribby boiling the kettle for tea and eating anything I could find in the cupboards.   Shaun's race report wasn't great - although he did complete it in just over 2 hours.   Lots of horrible roads, cars, hills and generally not pleasant  so that made me feel better.   We did get a fab photo from the event photographer - think I might get this made into a canvas!

Descending like a pro
Following all the fun and excitement of Challenge the Norm during July I've signed up for another to do in November .   I've pledged London to Peterborough - only 86 miles for the month but I'm not sure if I'll get out on the road or not.   It could just be a month of spin classes.

Right, I'm off to pack some more boxes - will it ever end ?

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

National Cycle to Work Day & Home Again !

I have wanted to cycle to work for ages but it all seemed a bit too much involved.   Coupled with that and the fact my workplace isn't very cycle friendly (no showers and not particularly secure bike storage).   One of my colleagues (a confirmed non-cyclist) suddenly decided in April she was getting an e-bike on the firm's cycle to work scheme and she wasn't going to be using public transport for the whole summer - she's done brilliantly and I'm so impressed by her determination - she even cycles in on the most disgusting weather days, not that we had many during June and July. 

My other excuses include :-

  • the hill out of town is horrible and I have to join it at it's steepest without warming up my legs!
  • I have to get back for the dog when Shaun's at work
  • I don't want to be at work whilst I'm a fat, sweaty mess.
But, today is National Cycle to Work Day - Shaun is on a rest day and the weather is ok and of course I love a challenge (who knew?)

Shaun, bless him, having only got to bed at midnight got up early and took the dog out for a quick walk round the block, loaded Candy into the car and drove me to Saltdean where I could set off in relative ease from on the Undercliff path which runs into Brighton Marina.   It was a very pleasant ride, a ridiculous headwind which was confirmed by my colleague when we compared notes, but yes, a lovely ride. 

What did I learn today ?

  • Planning is key 
  • I should've taken most of my stuff into work the day before
  • a few baby wipes in selected areas worked just as well as a full shower (which I had when I got up this morning)
I had a lovely ride home, albeit the cycle path and Undercliff path were a bit busier than they were at 7.30am.   I didn't really save myself any time cycling to and from, and as I get a staff pass for the buses I certainly don't gain financially.   What I do gain though is a very smug feeling at the end of the day as I've had a good workout instead of sitting on my bum looking at my phone!  Wish I'd stopped for some photos now.

Will I do it again?


Maybe not every day - you still can't convince me that riding to work in hefting rain is good for me! 

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

And there went July !

Quite a busy month all in all - as well as our 8 day Tribby trip we've had a weekend trip back to Graffham which ended in going to Haslemere for Donaldson Day with my parents.    It was a horrible wet weekend, the only one in the whole of July! 

The mobile fish & chip van was back so no need to cook on Friday night which was a bonus.

We were originally put on pitch 42 - a not very nice pitch as even the chocks didn't help with the level so as soon as 43 next door became vacant Shaun went to the site office to ask if we could move.   We had a window of opportunity on the Saturday to get moved so quick unplug and move Tribby and we were in a much nicer spot - a pitch number to jot down and remember for future requests.

a rare moment of sunshine through the trees

View from the door on Saturday morning!

The weather was a bit inclement but it was nice just to get away and relax properly for a couple of days.

On the Sunday we woke to rain so dismantled the bed, showered in Tribby and got ready without opening the door - no mean feat with 2 adults and a dog inside.  Shaun took Archie for a quick walk after and disconnected us from the electric and I stayed in the dry!

We headed into Haslemere to have breakfast with mum and dad at Hemingways and then headed to the Town Hall for the service of remembrance.    This is the second Donaldson Day I've done, so proud of my parents for what they've found out about my brave 3x great grandfather William and to be able to say I'm a living descendant.    The occasion is always well attended by the local councillors and Mayor (although this year we had the Deputy Mayor), a representative from Surrey Police and this year the Police Chaplain attended and gave a prayer.   Mum had made a beautiful flower arrangement which was placed by one of the plaques.  Our walk 3 times around the Town Hall was a soggy affair and it was great to get back inside to listen to presentations from the Chaplain, the police representative and Dad's latest additions to the story of William and his wife Janet.

I left mum and dad to it as we needed to get home and get unpacked ready for work the next day, and have lunch.

During July I also took part in Cycle for MIND, a cycle challenge set up by Challenge the Norm.   I had to pledge a distance to cycle during July, pay £20 entry fee and for this I received a medal and a neck scarf.   I pledged to ride 190 miles, which could be completed on the road and also a spin bike.   I thought I'd easily be able to complete the challenge with 2 spin classes a week and cycle to and from the class and add some additional miles during the month.   Taking the bikes on holiday helped as I completed 30 miles during the week.  I actually ended up cycling over 200 so could have probably pushed on to complete the 250.   During the month I also won a draw to receive any item of clothing from the site which I chose a top and wore it to spin, and a couple of days ago my medal arrived.

I've also set up a just giving page if anyone fancies supporting this great charity - TIA.   I love doing these sorts of challenges, it's certainly motivates me to get out on the bike, and it's a great way to support charities!  I'm now looking for another challenge - any ideas, please let me know.  I've got another sportive on 8th September - I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

8 days in Tribby

Wow, weather remains just about perfect (for me anyway).

Second week of July Shaun and I with Archie tribbyed (not sure that's a word but who cares) over to the Isle of Wight.  We were a bit worried about Archie on the boat (disgracing himself) but he was fine.  We were instructed to take a bag on board with everything we might in case of accidents - it was worse than taking a baby on board as we trundled to the "dog deck" with a bag filled with bottles of water, kitchen towel, dog poo bags and disinfectant.

We managed to get onto a slightly earlier sailing which meant we arrived at Adgestone Campsite early, but the staff were lovely and allowed us to pitch on arrival.

Because it wasn't busy we had a choice of pitches and so plumped for one under a silver birch tree for some lovely shade.

The site is lovely and very "Isle of Wight" in that it hasn't been updated for a while.  It has great facilities though, including a swimming pool and I think if we hadn't had the dog we would have used it to cool down. 

We also took the road bikes with us - although it did mean going out separately it worked quite well.   Shaun would go out first thing in the morning and he found me a lovely trail to follow which meant I was away from the roads and no chance of getting lost.  I went for a recce ride that night along the Red Squirrel Trail to see what it was like - got to 5 miles when I had to turn back as the trail turned into gravel.   I'd love to get up into Newport and see what the rest of the trail is like.

On Sunday Shaun headed out on his bike for an hour and when he got back we had brunch of smoked salmon & eggs!    In the afternoon we got a bit fidgety so walked the other half of the Red Squirrel Trail into Sandown - it was a bit warm for Archie but we did check the pavements and made sure we had water for him.  We walked along the esplanade to Browns Golf and had a knickerbocker glory!

Archie was desperate to get on the beach - but no dogs allowed
On the Monday Shaun headed out on his bike to find St Boniface Down and I walked Archie - he did find a road and a cafe

when he got back we went to the onsite cafe - Ginger Tom's - for a full English breakfast and proper coffee.   It was a very nice breakfast and set us up properly for the rest of the day.    A bit later we walked down the Red Squirrel Trail to Pedallers, a local tea room and had some cake.

When we got back I got changed and re-rode the Trail on Doris.

Pedallers was closed
 On Tuesday we took the "bone rattler" train from Sandown to Shanklin as we wanted to visit the Chine.   We had a lovely walk from the bottom up to the waterfall and back down again!

bottom of the waterfall

We walked on the beachfront to see if there was anything decent for lunch but couldn't find anything - we needed somewhere with shade for Archie.   Having given up we took the lift from the beach to the town and then walked along the cliff top and found the Hideaway - perfect, hidden gem!

We stopped off at the Co-Op for provisions and then took the bone rattler back to Sandown.

Wednesday we woke up to grey skies so Shaun headed out on the bike and Archie and I snuggled up in bed.   When Shaun got back we went for another breakfast at Ginger Tom's.

At lunchtime we walked up to the Adgestone Vineyard - just a mile from the campsite.  We were going to do the Tour but it was getting a bit warm so we sat on the veranda and had wine and a cream tea. 

Quick bike ride after while Shaun prepared dinner.

On Thursday we were up early to pack and relocate to the New Forest.   We took the ferry from Yarmouth to Lymington for a change.

We arrived at Rushcroft Farm, Sway and were lead to our pitch.   We stayed at Rushcroft a few years ago but it's changed quite a bit.   Not sure if it's for the better with an extra 50 or so pitches.   It certainly made for some decent people watching. 

It's at this point we realised we should have stayed on the IOW for the whole week!

We didn't do much on Friday - a short walk on the Forest as it was so hot and humid and on Saturday we took the train from Sway to Brockenhurst.

dog waiting for a train
We bought some food for dinner and some cake! 

After dinner we started packing up - Shaun wanted to be on the road before it got too hot.   So, not only did we wish we'd stayed on the IOW for longer, we also wish we'd had two weeks away instead of one.   The island is definitely well set up for touring by bike - there's lots of trails and routes to follow so we'll definitely be back, maybe without Archie.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

And that was June !

I love June - it's such a lovely month as it heralds the arrival of summer!   Fingers crossed it's a "proper" summer and not one of the ones where it rains for half of it.

We definitely started June with a bang - our first Tribby trip of the summer and it all ended up at a vineyard in Sussex.   On Friday the 1st we headed to Meadowview Park in Seddlescombe to meet our friends Paula & Dave from Essex in their motorhome Bessie.   A lovely site with what we could make out were quite a few long term units and just a few bookable pitches.   We had a lovely evening chatting and catching up, eating too much and drinking far too much - I have no idea how I got into bed that night!

On the Saturday we packed up and walked across the road from the campsite to a lovely garden centre that served breakfast in it's cafe.  It was so much easier to have someone else cook and wash up!

Breakfast over we drove the 3 minute schlepp up the lane to the vineyard at Carr Taylor Wines.

Shaun had bought vouchers for us to have a mornings wine tasting, vineyard tour and lunch.  We'd previously asked the owners if we could camp that night so it meant that Shaun and Dave could enjoy the wine and not have to worry about driving to another site.  They said it was fine so we did - our first wild camp for a very long time!

The vineyard is a lovely setting for a night's stay, helped of course by the wonderful weather we had that weekend.

In between Tribby trips we've been tidying up the garden and painting the outside of the house to make it more appealing for prospective purchasers - we've only had a handful of viewings since we went back on the market.   It's all becoming very frustrating indeed.  It's ok all the time there's nothing on the market that catches our eye.  The agent is now suggesting we drop the price again.   I'll be glad when it's all over!

I've also been busy making Citronella candles for our Tribby trips.   We had some containers that we bought ready made candles in and instead of throwing them away I decided to buy some candle making equipment and reuse them.   Could get a little business going here, although we need some better equipment and a bit of practice!

We had another Tribby trip - this time we tried out a non Camping & Caravanning site at Sumners Ponds at Barns Green near Horsham.   A lovely site mainly for fishing folk but there's lots of lovely walks around the extensive grounds and the village pub and store are a 10 minute walk away.  We've been so lucky with the weather this month - it was only another 2 nights away but still so nice to get away and do very little. 

Very nice site but I don't think we'll come back during the height of the summer season - far too busy!

And in other good news - Tribby passed her MOT on Monday and Danni passed her driving test on Tuesday.  We went out to celebrate last night - Wahaca for dinner and then a trip to the local theatre to watch the Case of the Frightened Lady.   It was excellent as always - Gray O'Brien and Ben Nealon never disappoint.   Danni enjoyed watch a Weasley twin help solve the crime !

 We've just got to wait another couple of weeks before we find out what Danni's graduating with.    Next we're off to the Isle of Wight and the New Forest.