Saturday, May 21, 2011

Quillan Sights

Today we had our first decent walk since arriving home two weeks ago. 4 months worth of tasks have been claiming much of our time.

It was the old familiar route down into Quillan and up again, divided by a coffee. It took over two hours and it was hard and it was hot. A fall and climb of over 350 metres over rough, some say "nadgery" ground

The sun was shining nicely through this fountain in Quillan, which I have been meaning for some time to photograph in such light.

The building is the old bath house. There are people of my generation living hereabouts who, when they were young, whichever town they lived in, had to traipse along to such a building for their regular, or in some cases irregular, baths. Evnen our friend Josette, who lived in one of the large hotels in Quillan, had to take her turn - no chance of an en-suite then!

The man lurking behind the fountain is, in statue form, the priest Felix Armand, who led the effort to force a road through the Gorges de Pierre Lys, which start just outside Quillan, and which were impassable by vehicle until old Felix took up his pickaxe in 1776.

The Gorges now hold the road to the coast, and are pretty awesome to drive through.

The first picture is the view, taken on our walk back, across Quillan and straight down the Gorges.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

IMF Crisis

Here is the person I nominate to be the new head of the IMF. But we would have to see his birth certificate.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Start - One Year On

As Celine Dion sings "It's all coming back to me now".

One year ago today I set off into the unknown - to walk roughly 2,000 kms, mainly on my own. 70 days later I would celebrate my 70th birthday, and hopefully, arrival at the house where I was born.

I had never undertaken anything of this magnitude before but was confident - on very little evidence - that I could achieve all this. I had done my best, including 12,000 kms of training over two years.

The weather was not encouraging. A week earlier we had been deep in snow. This had cleared, but the day (along with most days during the walk) was somewhat cool. Unlike most of the rest of the trek, it was at least dry (at the start).

This year's weather would have been much more favourable - or at least I thought so until yesterday. Since the beginning of the year the weather here has been mild. Since we came home from our wanderings a week ago it has been mainly sunny and warm. But just to remind me, today is cool again.

Happy memories.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Vote For Pete

My good friend Peter Labrow has made a very short but very professional video advertising his book "The Well".

The video has been entered for the International Movie Trailer Festival award. This award is a big deal and could really help Peter to promote his book in a massive way.

As I write this, "The Well" is lying second in the book category. If you take a look at the video you will be able to cast your vote for Peter. Watching the film and voting takes less than two minutes.

1: Go to:

or double-click here

2: Scroll down to 'search trailers by any or all of the following methods'

3: Enter 'The Well' in the title

4: Click 'watch the trailer'

5: Click 'vote for this trailer'

Then just get your friends to do the same.

p.s. 2 days later the book is well clear in the book category and if we can all spread the word and round up the votes, Peter could go to the top overall. He is already on the front page of the listings. He is competing against professionally produced trailers - Peter has not only written the book he is promoting, he has, with the help of his son David and David's friend, produced his own video trailer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Tragic Epidemic Which Has No Survivors

Recently, Gay and I were shocked to be told that an old friend from our running club had died from Alzheimer's, at the age of 55. Perhaps even more shocking was that he had been so stricken with this illness, so young, that he had been in a home for 5 years. The last time we saw him, he was a fit, and fast, man in the prime of life.

We thought this was something which only affects old people.

Of course, old people do get Alzheimer's, but more and more people are moving into the "old" category.

This year, the first of the Boomer Generation turns 65. To bring urgently-needed attention to the risk facing the Boomers, Alzheimer's Association recently released a groundbreaking study Generation Alzheimer's: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers.

They have put together a microsite about this. You really should look at it. Here it is:

Alzheimer's does not only affect other people. This year, an estimated 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's in the USA alone.

We can change that.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Tale Of A Toe

Not a pretty sight, is it?

I realised this morning that my toenails need cutting - all of them. Not the sort of thing you would normally read in a blog, is it? I bet you wouldn't get that amount of detail in the Huffington Post. But this is a bit of a milestone for me because for the past 12 months I have only been trimming 9 out of the 10. And this has made me realise just how long toenail replacement takes.

Bear with me - if you are a walker or a runner, this is useful information.

I damaged the nail on my left big toe a couple of weeks before starting my Big Walk last year. The walk started on May 15. Since then, the nail blackened up, died, and was gradually pushed off by the new nail which grew underneath. This has happened to me before, especially when I was running and racing regularly. But I never had a specific date to remember so did not realise just how long the process takes. Much better to avoid the problem in the first place by having shoes with plenty of room for the toes - and to tie your laces properly.

We passed through England like a couple of rockets, then drove home through England and France, which made me realise yet again just how far I walked last year. We arrived yesterday afternoon and now face a mountain of post, a jungle of a garden and all the other prices one pays for 4 months away.