Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To The Woods

Today I had my longest walk for some time - about 8 kms. This involves walking directly upwards on the road which goes past the house, towards Esperaza. After about 4 kms I turn into the woods and come back a far more testing way.

While I was still on the road I was passed by a Gendarmerie car and another which I took to be an unmarked accompaniment. Then just before I turned into the woods I saw these two vehicles parked up, with two more, a bunch of gendarmes, a fellow in camouflage, and a sapeur pompier. In the woods was the sound of much activity with a mechanical saw which sounded as if it was sawing wood.

I fully expected that when I was in the woods I would be turned back by more gendarmes because obviously something big was going on. As it happened I passed well on the other side of the activity but I could hear the sawing, almost continuous, for a good three-quarters of an hour.

What could be going on? Gay speculated that somebody was trapped under fallen trees but there seemed to be far much sawing for that, and too non-stop.

We have been having some lovely weather lately as the photographs, taken today, show. Don't forget it is the last day of November. Long-lost Fred emailed me from Cheltenham yesterday and said that it was nearly dark there at 1530. That is the same time at which I took these photographs.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

'Tis The Season

Today's picture from Walker's (I nearly put "Runner's" but that's my other blog) Heaven HQ. We are having some superb autumn weather. Did I mention that the tree in our courtyard, which lost all its leaves in August, now has a full set of leaves again? When the winter sinks its teeth in that is going to be one very confused tree.

After a break of several months due to injury I have at last commenced a program of walking - at the moment a 6 kms walk every other day. Whether it is a good idea to also introduce a short burst of running (at the moment 5 minutes, but going up in increments of an extra 5 minutes every third run, for one run out of 3 if you know what I mean) we shall see.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mike Comes Up Trumps Again


We spent the weekend in Provence, which involved a drive of over 1,000 kms. We had two objectives. One was to spend the weekend with our good friends the family Scriven, Americans who live temporarily (intention 2 years, now going on 5) in le Rouret, near Nice. We had a great time with them, including spectating at our first ice hockey match in Nice.

Our other aim was to attend the monthly quiz and fish supper at Brittain's Salon de The and Restaurant in Valbonne (superb fish and chips). Mike Preston organises this quiz and each month the money raised goes to a different charity.

I met Mike before Vic's Big Walk, as a result of his own personal donation and excellent support of my project. Also, just before the start of VBW, Mike's monthly quiz made a substantial donation into my JustGiving fund for pancreatic cancer research. We have kept in touch and now we even have a mutual friend, Rose Mary Boehm, in Lima, Peru.

We nearly won Friday's quiz. We came joint first and lost a tie-breaker. Before this I had been required to stand up and say a few words about pancreatic cancer and the urgent need for some progress with this awful disease. The first, second (us) and third prize winners returned their prizes to the pot and it was agreed that the total takings would be donated to my JustGiving page. This amounted to the equivalent of £150, plus £37.50 in Gift Aid (tax rebate).

The fund is still open and well above the target of £7,000 which I originally set (although the displayed link seems to be stuck on 100%). You can donate by clicking on the JustGiving symbol on this page.

Once again we shall not be sending Christmas cards out this year, but will instead be putting the equivalent amount into the fund, where it will do much more good.

And - just a reminder - don't forget that all the proceeds from my book also go direct to pancreatic cancer research. So you do some good at the same time as - according to the reviews - you get a good read.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Big Walker, Barefoot Runner

As demonstrated in the pictures, a couple of posts back, of me in the Man versus Horse Race, I used to be a runner. My genes think I still am a runner.

I am about to start a tentative program of rehabilitation and shoe-dispensing which may see me become a runner again. There is a new link on the right hand side of this page which will connect you to my second blog - Big Walker Running Barefoot - which will chronicle the reasons for this, and my progress, if any. Or you could just double-click here to take you to Big Walker Running Barefoot.

NOTE. Since writing the above, I have discontinued my blog about "barefoot" running because it was not attracting enough readership for me to continue putting in the effort.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Book To Save Lives

The first cheque has gone to Pancreatic Cancer UK from my publishers - the first of many, I hope.

And as Pancreatic Cancer said to me yesterday,

"Fantastic that the book is starting to bring in funds – you must be really pleased. And as we all know its not just about funds but about raising awareness of Pancreatic cancer and your book sales will be doing just that."

To remind you, ALL the proceeds from sales of my book go direct to pancreatic cancer research.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Angles

We have just driven to Les Angles, which is a ski station in the mountains. Never been there before but will go again, if only for the beautiful drive. It is only 75 kms but takes ages because it is all narrow gorges and twisty roads. Passes several hydro-electric plants and is at 1600 metres. Very nice up there. Cafes, restaurants, shops selling outdoor stuff, especially skiing of course, a big lake.

And it would also seem that the Tour de France passes through sometimes. The mountain stages frequently finish at a ski station because of the availability of accommodation.

The reason for our journey was to buy some running shoes. As the last post said, watch this space.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Is It A Man .... Or A Horse?

Just to prove I haven't always been 71 years old and a plodding (and for the last few months injured) walker.

Gay has been sorting out some old photographs and scanning them into her digital photo archive.

These photographs were taken in 1993 during the Man versus Horse Race which takes place annually in mid-Wales over almost marathon distance and hilly, cross-country terrain.

Those were the days!

But watch this space.