This was a slow week with a few hiccups for work. The children are I work with all seemed under the weather and a little unhappy. I had to dig deep to keep them happy and relaxed; a hard task, which had me frazzled at the end of each session. I had to sing a lot of nursery rhymes, do a lot of walking, play some very silly tot games such as peekaboo and This little Piggy..repeatedly, over and over and over again! But that is what my job is about. Whatever it takes to make sure they stay calm and relaxed, and going home with a smile, Thus the parents know that their child is in safe hands, with an agenda just for their pleasure, giving the families true respite.
I have a repertoire of songs and things to do for all the age groups, just based on my own experiences, plus supportive television programmes and reading material. A little research is literally child’s play.
So, after my intense full on day, how do I relax and recover? It’s not always good or healthy to reach for a glass of wine or box of chocolates? I rly on walking. It truly is my therapy. Walking is my exercise and sanity too. I enjoy a few other things too such as reading, swimming, cooking, photography.. But walking means I can just put on my shoes, grab the dog and go!
As I have mentioned before, I have problems keeping my weight off. I am past the need for it to be a vanity thing; it is more about health and the benefits. Through walking I have made lots of friends, all who enjoy being outdoors and joining up with me for a variety of different sorts of “walks”. It could just be dog walk, a ramble along the river, or a power walk with Nordic walking poles to really get a good cardio and all over body work out! I also love the freedom to walk for miles, camp over night, then continue walking further on – long distance backpacking. I fit walking in daily so that it is not seen as a necessary evil to lose weight or diet! The dreaded words!!
I have the same view of eating. I love my food. I have done a thousand different types of diets! And what I have learned? Some one else gains pounds from my lack of loss of lbs!!! I have been put off certain types of food due to the faddy diets – I struggle with wet food such as smoothies and soups, due to various meal replacement shakes.
So, in order for me to get a balance on losing weight and getting fit I have a cunning plan. Embrace life and the fun things in life!
Move more and eat less! I have just signed up for the Team Warrior 90 Day Challenge
. I have set myself the target to lose a stone in weight, drop a dress size and be able to do a 10km walk in a faster time than I currently do. It is important I have fun and don’t feel deprived! I want to be able to chew gorgeous tasting food, enjoy a glass of wine, enjoy the gym, a swim and improve my levels of fitness for extra energy and strength.
I will use the Cardio tracker app on my phone to map & record my time and distance, logged on a google map. I will use a Polar Heart rate monitor to record my calorie burn and effort, so I can see an improvement in fitness. Plus I can see what my calorie burn is to know not to exceed a certain calorie amount, which I think will be about 1500 calories. I will show an indication of calories eaten, but not obsess about it. In the past I have been to obsessed with tape measures, scales, calorie or point counts etc and really it should be about a whole heap of other factors to record the results. Cook good food from scratch with minimal oils,sugars and salts; eat less, move more! Avoid processed and/or refined foods; just choose natural.
I have taken a photo of the vital statistics and will be quite brave to show them here. In 90 days time I am hoping there will be some movement on the tape and scales in a positive direction; plus a photo showing some good times for the 10km walking! With improved fitness and shedding of some unwanted pounds I am hoping to be even bouncier with more zest and energy to be out there doing as a Duck does best. waddling long distance for charity!Day 1 Weight
13st 12 Neck
115cms R. Bicep
112cms R. Thigh
Team Dogface met for their first training walk on Sunday 23rd January.
There are four of us and one dog, Shaun (who the team is named after).
The team are doing a 40km trekathon across the South Downs on the 7th May, 2011.This will be the first ever long distance walk partaken by Sarah, Neville and Paul. It will also be their first charity event. The have been inspired to do something like this by the enthusiastic quacks of a Rambling Duck who is always asking if anyone wants to do a “big walk”?
Initially Sarah and I had looked to do the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker
on the South Downs. That was a daunting challenge, with a high entry fee and an even bigger minimum sponsor request. So after a little surfing on the net, Sarah discovered a group called Across The Divide
. They do a multitude of different events in the Uk, Europe and worldwide to appeal to anyone; from a hike to a sledge ride! The entry fees are more realistic, to pay for the equipment and support, plus you choose your own charity, each event has a small sponsorship minimum or none at all. It is here that the South Downs
walk was found. And the birth of Team Dogface
! As we are a team, then it was joint decision as to which charity will be benefit and it was agreed that as Shaun was rescued through Dogs Trust, then they would be our beneficary!
Our first team training session was a short walk of 9km. We hadn’t all met so it was a good opportunity to meet, chat, learn about each other, and above all get a feel for our fitness level. I had my Rucksack packed with yummy Nakd
bars and the photogenic, publicity-seeking Fibroduck
, plus all the essential items I would actually take on any hike. Train with the weight! Neville was our designated routemaster and Satnag. Armed with maps and the machine to record our stats he then pointed North and shouted “Team Dogface is Go”! Of course, Fibroduck joined us, but just the Littel guy, not me in my suit..this time!
We put in a steady 4.3km pace, on mostly sticky muddy but flat terrain. It stayed dry, and we warmed up quickly so had an early pitstop to remove our arctic layers. Well it was only just 2 degrees when we set off! The walk was one chosen for its easy locality to all of us, close to junction 12 M4, around the Sulhamstead, Berkshire, area. Farmland, towpaths and a little tarmac, all with some great scenery. Most memorable for me was to see the early arrival of snowdrops, mostly squashed on a well trodden path, plus a graveyard who’s church had been removed, bar the porch,,gate and church door! Quite bizarre to see!
So, a little exercise, a little fresh air, some nattering and laughter! What a great way to spend a couple of hours – away from TVs, computers, kitchen sink and the vacuum cleaner. Who said getting fit and healthy had to be so much trouble? As the old Turkish proverb goes – “No road is long with good company”
Has this inspired you to get out?
I am slowly gathering momentum to make this space a fun but also educating forum for my chosen great causes and the adventures of The Rambling Duck.
I have chosen to raise the profile of the illness Fibromyalgia. I am hoping that people will write Guest Blogs to share with you some of their daily complications with trying to live a “normal” life. Plus trying to get the right medical attention and to not just be fobbed off with drugs to help a sympton, when there are many, and ignoring side effects and consequences.
There are a variety of self-help groups, awareness groups and charities set up, all of which help with giving advice, support and reach out to all corners of the medical profession to champion the need for more research and better care. Fibroduck.com
is doing this in a unique way by bringing together millions of sufferers worldwide leaving and using a very unique calling card, the bright yellow duck with black spots, Fibroduck. The fibromyalgia charity logo shows a yellow “crash test dummy” like figure with black spots, where the joints are. The black spots represent the places of pain. Hence the black spots on Fibroduck. Help us take the world by storm, join the awareness campaign that's fun, lets get a million ducks out there with Fibroduck!
Help me to make a difference to so many.
It never ceases to astound me how inconsiderate people are parking on pavements.
They think they are making room on the road to allow vehicles to pass, perhaps to insure their own car isn’t damaged.
How about thinking you are not allowing room for the rightful users of the path?
I wish I had taken some photos over the weekend of the numpties who left a foot wide gap between their car and the wall! How on earth can a pushchair or wheelchair pass through there? Oh its ok, we shall somehow bump our way off the kerb into the road and walk around your monstrous heap of metal!!!
The other Pesky Parkers are people who actually park their wheels on the drive and allow the rest of the car to remain across the path back into the road Thus totally blocking the path!
I am not a vindictive person but this selfish inconsiderate behaviour makes my blood boil!
Ok, off my soapbox; you are all getting the picture here, and no doubt will have your own thoughts and opinions. I shall calm myself as feathers are quite ruffled now!
I have been busy tweaking away at the website for the past week now. The ideas have grown; the pages are filling with news and information. Www.theramblingduck.com
is now taking shape for me to start really utilising it as my weapon of Goodwill, Feel Good Factor and Fund raising! Is the world ready for The Rambling Duck! Oh yes, judging by all the fantastic comments coming through. Thank you everyone who has taken the time to look and pass on constructive criticism, ideas and down right daftness! But do keep on letting me know! Its all still part of the learning curve for me!
I have also introduced a few fund raising ideas I can roll out fairly inexpensively. I have bought a batch of yellow ducks, and all the profits can be put straight back into helping the charities. Have a look at the Fundraising page
. I like the slogan that “A Duck is for Life not just for Easter!” and will pin it to the Nests that are out and about before Easter! But not until after Valentine’s Day! Don’t want to upset the Early Easter Egg Vigilantes!I have finally written up how tis Duck tries to stay trim and fit! Take a peek, see what you think!I have also written a few pages showing how I want to raise £20,000 for the three good causes, how donations can be made plus how to win and woo some Sponsors!
It is still a dream to get the Duck to the North Pole, so I have also shown a seperate package
to entice sponsors.
A short blog from me as my feather tips need a break from the keyboard.
Before I go, I shall indulge in abusing my blog to blow the trumpet of a fellow blogger, Mr London Street. His well chosen joquial words of wisdom, intellect and sarcasm always leave me smiling, usually giggling, and always in awe of his writing skills. He paints a most bizarre mental picture for me sometimes – his mind or mine?
I have been asked how did I dream up what is now my Rambling Duck logo with the boots and hat.
I can’t draw and am useless at anything with the computer. I didn’t want to ask my children to help – it’s bad enough I can’t work out how to record anything on the TV or set up the Wii. I needed to do this for my own kudos!
It started as a photoshoot with a big yellow duck on my front lawn last Tuesday, 11th January 2011. The day this whole idea exploded into life. However, that duck didn’t explode into life and sing its ideas and ambitions to me..it just sat.. and sat some more….
Ok! What other props were required to make this photo sell its story. It’s a story about a duck, Fibroduck (see website to get you up to speed on that link). Who likes to walk a lot… oo yes, footwear. I brought out my trainers, wellies, hiking boots, crocs, flip-flops, and slippers and plonked them all on the lawn by the duck. I took a variety of photos with each type of footwear. Neighbours are now assembling outside the garden gate. Some just nod, some shake their heads.. But no one laughs. Says it all, eh? They all know me too well and are used to me doing some peculiar things, especially where yellow ducks are concerned.
I plumped for the hiking boots; it was obvious that the Rambling Duck was going to be outdoors doing what she loves best, rambling.. Or hiking, just to be pedantic.
I then tried a few different photos with the duck next to and on the boots. I tied the laces, draped the laces, and hid the laces.. But I still couldn’t get the photo to tell the story!
I sat back on my haunches. The neighbours have got bored and returned to their own homes. Or so I think and hope! They may have all gone for a meeting to figure out what to do with the strange woman in her garden, on her belly taking photos of ducks and flip-flops in the middle of winter!
The photo lacked colour and vibrancy. Neither did it seem to my identity on it. I tried to think of how I could personalise it to be a Mini-me. What did people used to comment about me – my character? personality? dress sense?… ooo dress sense! That’s the key word – according to them I have none as I do love to wear natty hats!
So, just as I did with the footwear, I brought out my collection of hats. Cowboy Duck? Baseball Duck? Sun-visor Duck? Deerstalking Duck? None of them looked right and again, that story wasn’t shouting out. Then..It happened..that bolt of lightening moment when the photo came together and the story began to be told. I put the nepalese style rainbow hat onto the duck. It fitted very well and the colours shouted so much about me. I am a happy positive person - colourful as people say! Plus it also appeared somewhat symbolic. The rainbow colours reminded me of what I had said in a BBC interview last week about hope, and the reason for a particular choice of song - Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
I have always loved rainbows. Their colours are full of vibrancy and make me feel happy. A rainbow has many stories of the pot of gold to be found at the end – the Rambling Duck is hoping to find many pots of gold for the charities. A rainbow is associated with hope, as in the Old Testament story of Noah and his Ark. All charities live in hope of more funding. It helps with support of the people it wants to help medically and financially. Hope is also with the medical research finding the answers and cures for illnesses and diseases. The hope of funding projects to improve peoples lives.
Rainbows also remind me of my dear Nana and a special song I associate with her. There is a beautiful version of it at the end of this blog and sung by a man with a beautiful big heart and ideals of the perfect world and environment. People, animals and nature all living together in harmony.
Rainbows are also about dreams. I have a dream to do so much with my life; to make it count for me, my family, my friends and others I have yet to meet. I want to make a difference to the lives of those who suffer and for whom I am inspired and motivated to do so much for.
The beneficiaries of the charities and groups face daily struggles and challenges. Raising the money and awareness, training hard and participating in tough challenges is but a token gesture in my efforts compared to their daily struggles.
I have a dream to get the Duck to the North Pole
The Duck has now exploded into life and singing the story from that photo at full blast! It sings quite a few Rock Songs, but that’s a different story!
I wanted to find some hilly fun places to do a lot of training in, without having to go to far from home in Berkshire. Also, it beats the gradient-training programme on a Dreadmill! I invited good friend, Graham Smith (He is a better map-reader than me) to join me. He is training to do the South Downs in the Whitsun break, so he was certainly up for some extra training, so long as I didn’t wear my Fibroduck Duck suit. But I took the mini version instead. Fibroduck gets out on all our walks.
Graham and I are all-weather kind of people and have sufficient outdoor clothes to make sure we don’t perish. He wasn’t amused by my choice of hat, but it sure kept my ears warm! The weather was very blustery but dry. We were blessed!
The adventure started in the car trying to find the Walbury Hill carpark. Satnag was struggling to locate it so we resorted to a good ol fashion ordnance survey map (174) and found it before Satnag could say “Recalculating!”
The walk itself was a very easy 9 ½ miles that took a very leisurely 3 hours. We lunched at a rather heavenly pub called the Jack Russell, in the village Fraccombe (oh we had such fun playing with that name, especially when we spotted the Village Hall!!). It was a circular walk along a section of the Wayfarers Walk, from Walbury Hill
to Pilot Hill
, then southish to Fraccombe, turning southwest to return along a road back to the car park. Had to cut out some of the more fun paths as it was getting dark very quickly. Thank goodness I had packed the hi-viz stuff! Certainly a lot more exploring to do there. I feel me a Wild Camp long weekend coming in soon.
I had an 8kg rucksack, purposely heavy for training/fitness purposes, but also I wanted to carry a few essential items – 1 litre of water, 1 small flash hot chocolate (Galaxy is perfect), camera, purse, map, compass, Garmin GPS, first aid kit, spare waterproofs (montane featherlight), spare hat and gloves (fluorescent), lightweight ripstop groundsheet (has many uses), potty bag (small trowel, hand gel, shewee, tissues, lighter), small torch, swiss army knife, emergency whistle, 2 Nakd bars, 2 Trek bars,
Firestarter (a small sparky thing ideal if lighter or matches fail), Rab storm bag, Hi-viz cycling vest….. This is my Bare Minimum List!! You must always be prepared..anywhere…anytime….
Poor Graham had to endure 6 hours of my company rambling on about the Rambling Duck idea from conception through to current status. As I spoke, and explained all the rationale, a few other ideas began to take shape..shame I didn’t have pen and paper in my Rucksack…must add that into the Bare Minimum List!!! However, despite my chatting, I felt that in such space of time I had really achieved so much; from a pressure bearing decision to finish Team Awnty to a regenerated new project that still had same goal but a lot more ambition and more fitting of Me. So, the walk was a much-needed stretch of the legs as well as a Pat on the Back.
This Gig Just Got Bigger and Better!I am having troubles trying to rein in all the ideas! It never ceases to amaze me how a small idea can explode into a monster one with so many more ideas to snowball off it. I need to sit still, take stock of all that has happened in a short space of time, and relax. Enjoy the moment, wait for the fruits of my labour start to blossom, then expand them.I am not renown for my patience; I am a fidget. Had you noticed? I am easily distracted when trying to write my blogs too! I ramble.. oh.. now that's a fine moniker... Damn! Focus! I must focus and just let you all into a wonderful lightening bolt moment I had late last night, that is, indeed, the Rambling Duck's icing! I asked the question yesterday about whether I should adopt a charity, and have a core one. It certainly sparked
a great positive debate. That was very encouraging! Yes, most of you suggested. So, which charity do I choose? I started off working my way through the Just Giving Site list to see if I liked one of the 100s of charities on there. Hmmm..it was like choosing a new garment (can't say dress as I don't wear them!) ..I imagined myself in an Outdoor Shop choosing a new rucksack, or new boots, or new tent (bear with me!) I always ask myself lots of questions to make sure I am buying the right kit for the right environment,situation, will it suit me..is it me? Yes, I really do, even for a Rucksack! So, the same was for the charity! Which one will seduce me mind,body and soul, and encompass all that I practise,preach,praise and love in life and for life. If I am passionate about something then it gives me the drive, ethusiasm and determintation to do all I can for it; then waddle n sqwalk to all of you to fill you with same passion and desire to help; financially, literally and ..oops brain frozen on the vocabularly section! You get the picture hopefully.I work with special needs children and young people. I love the outdoors. I love teaching life skills, bushcraft, and nurturing respect and understanding of the environment and of each other, to the Young People. Tapping into them
and learning how best to teach them all of that in a fun and constructive way. adapting to suit them, building their confidence and enthusiasm to embrace all those things. Some young people cannot learn in a classroom; it is their 'disability'. So put them in an environment where they can excel; teach them in a way they understand and can respond positively to.Well, such a place exists for Young People who struggle in normal daily life
, to develop and flourish. In the past I have had some connections with this group, and often my own work overlaps with them.I spoke to one of the Directors today to ascertain if he liked the idea of being adopted by a Duck.. it went quiet for awhile.. hehe.. yes, picture the scene of a man answering a phone and being asked that question out of the blue..quite random! SouthPark could have a field day with it!But, and the moment you have all been waiting for, the answer is of course YES! However, I have to be a little patient as they are undergoing a restructure and rebranding so I can't provide any proper links or information. But, do have a look at the site-in-situ to see why I am raving and getting me feathers in such a ruffle of excitement. www.frontiers.uk.net
I shall keep you all up to date when I can put official things onto the website.I am still harbouring another little nugget..can you bear the suspense?I shall leave you with a parting thought...
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
Whatever the mind can conceive & believe, the mind can achieve.
Day Two of creating the exciting world of The Rambling Duck! So exciting that I forgot to save this blog first so I am now rewriting it!I was all a-quiver and itching to get my little feather tips
to the keyboards to finish off the little bits to spruce it up! Finally, at 7.00pm I was able to sit down at the pc!There were a lot of happy Quacks from me when I received an email
who confirmed they were happy to remain a sponsor under my new Moniker. Please take a look at the Sponsor
page. Now should I be cheeky enough to have that slogan emblazoned on a training Tee Shirt? hmmm..perhaps not to wear it on Home training ground!As I have now tidied up the Website and Facebook Page
I can now concerntrate on looking for some events and get my training agenda in gear! There is some Christmas Plummage to be lost! I shall blog about that next time.I was asked an unusual question, which, and bear with, I shall try to be brief with it, had me thinking and puzzling over.
It was suggested I must and should have a 'Pet' charity. I had purposefully not done this as I wanted to help a different one for each event. I do not want to allieniate myself from groups not supporting specific ones, plus there are so many worthy causes all needing support and the raising of their profile and work. In the past I had discussions about why pacifist friends wouldn't donate to Help For Heroes, for example, or cat loving friends not wanting to donate to a Dog Rescue charity, or some one who has no idea what Fibromyalgia wouldn't donate to the research charity. Trust me, these are common debated issues. So, what does this ol Duck do? Your thoughts would be most welcome. Happy Quacks!
I use this as my Collection Tin when I am out and about
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
I needed to reinvent myself with a new moniker and gig, as the Big Dream really wasn't going to happen.
I had a blast in 2011 training for an endurance race to the North Pole in 2012.
Still plenty of time to train I hear you cry? But, the worst part was raising the race fee - a huge £24,500. This is was to include the UK training, Norway training, all arctic kit, medical and ground crew during the race, plus all flights, food and accomodation.
After sending over 4000 begging emails and letters, a tremendous amount of support from Reading Chronicle, Reading Evening Post, BBC Berkshire, and online support from Twitter, Facebook, www.reading-guide.co.uk, www.thecityofreading.com, to name a few, I had not raised a single penny for the fee.
The non-refundable deposit is due soon, with the balance being paid off as a couple of payments by October 2011. On my meagre salary it just wasnt going to happen as a self funding trip.
So, I then spent a few days thinking of a plan B. I needed to do something, re-invent myself, come up with a new gig!
I had a sleepless night after commenting on my twitter and facebook that Team Awnty 2012 really was going to remain a dream. I was deluged with commiserations and messages of dissapointment for me. I was touched by that, and humbled. I had inspired quite a few people to challenge themselves, or realise own goals. I also knew there was to me than just being a Mum and Wife!
I have sepnt a year learning about fund raising, meeting some fantastic people doing great challenges, being trained by such knowledgeable people, supported by great friends and sponsors (Nak'd people are delicious!) and of course getting fitter and healthier than i had ever been before.
No way was I going to let all that go!!
So, Plan B has now finally been hatched! I have loved doing events as Fibroduck! Most people now quack at me and expect all profile photos of me in a duck suit. I am the Duck!
So, I shall continue doing fundraising work as Fibroduck, and from hence forth be called The Rambling Duck! I love to walk and talk so perfect!
I have set up a new website TheRamblingDuck.com I shall let you read the rest of the story there!
The website is still in its infancy as I am struggling to sort it out by myself..Technophobe Extraordinaire! Probably the worst challenge ever!!!