Hello Quacks from an overweight perfectly sane 46 year old Mum!”
Yes that’s my introduction line when I begin a motivational speech to explain why I dress as a Duck. I am also usually wearing my Duck suit. So the reference to my sanity is imperative before some one shouts out for the straight-jacket!
I do my talks to a variety of people – school children, international police officers, Fibromyalgia sufferers, dancers, teachers, pensioners, active service men and women, disabled people. My talk is often a digression from the main theme of motivating oneself to do something out of your comfort zone. To focus on achieving anything. To be a true and honest character passionate about what you believe in.
Seven years ago I was very overweight. My children were at primary school and taking part in horse riding, dancing plus a variety of after school sport activities. I would watch them, jealously. Watch them as they energetically bounced, ran, jumped everywhere with huge amounts of energy and massive smile! Why was I jealous, as they are just being children? It’s because I didn’t have that energy, or zest for life.
Before being parents, my husband I would spend many weekends away with friends kayaking, mountain biking and living a fantastic energetic life. We were quite self indulgent in just enjoying ourselves. We didn’t save money just lived for the moment having fun. Why did it all stop and change?
It does take a lot of energy and money to raise children so our priorities changed. I couldn’t and wouldn’t work full time so money wasn’t as free flowing as it used to be. Plus, whilst pregnant I didn’t keep up the kayaking and mountain biking, just the eating and slothing. I was also still quite a selfish person only doing things for my family and I. I had only time for my family and me. We were a unit and I closed my mind to everything else.
During my first pregnancy I was signed off work early with preclampsia. I had to stay calm and inactive, well that was my understanding of the doctor’s advice. I took it quite literally for the next seven years though!
On my 39th birthday I thought “Oh my! I am going to be fat and forty on my next birthday”! So with that, I gave up smoking and slothing and got active! In that year I lost nearly seven stone through sensible eating and walking. That was a vanity deed. I didn’t want to look fat and forty! At least I had the choice to change something.
With the new fit body came a confidence that I could actually do something to benefit others with a challenge and fund raising event. Goodness! How selfless of me! I signed up for the breast cancer walk, the MoonWalk. I now had the pressure of continuing with my walking for fitness and weight loss to raise money for a good cause. Ok, so there was an ulterior motive to do something good for others, as it meant I had to keep up the hard work of training and lifestyle or I would look stupid amongst friends and family if I couldn’t take part in the event.
In May 2007 I did my first Moonwalk “marathon, as it was 26.2 miles, in my decorated bra, at midnight around London in just over eight hours. Hmm.. I had been training hard for a much faster time. So I signed up again for the following year! In 2008 I did it in just under seven hours! But I knew I could do it faster! So, in 2009 I did it in five hours! Still a selfish attitude to have, to want to do the same event to get better at it, not just raise more money or awareness.
And so I began my love-hate relationship with myself to find harder challenges to train for, plus raise money and awareness for a different charity. When I took stock of what I had just realised and understand that my fund raising was going to have an impact on others then I knew how lucky I was to be healthy and to have the choice to continue to stay fit and healthy. I had a “gift” or “tool” that could be used for others! My mindset and attitude could help those less fortunate. The mindset and focus would help my body train to get fitter, so I could continue helping others. I don’t have the brain to help in eloquent speeches or being in the medical profession, just the brawn, the body power and legs to do the work and shout the message.
I am not a natural born athlete. I have to constantly train and watch what I eat. I had a sloth year from the middle of 2009. I had continued with my love of walking and pursued my favourite past time of wild-camping, backpacking and endurance walks, all for pure selfish pleasure. I got large again, as I didn’t have to worry about my food, as I wasn’t in training for an event! But to be honest, I hadn’t been inspired for anything. I was a bit bored of just walking, and I certainly didn’t want to do running! Oh no, that would kill my knees and humour! Also, I wanted to help so many charities; how do you choose one and be driven with passion for the cause! I hadn’t really been affected by anything, despite losing a Grandmother to cancer, have a sister suffer with Crohns, a Mother who had angina.. how selfish of me! I wasn’t affected by anything, but they were! Why couldn’t I get passionate about what had affected their lives?
In January 2010 I went to a talk about the Polar Challenge with a friend. We were both smitten by the very idea of taking part in an extreme event that was pitched as being quite achievable, with training, by ordinary people, like us. We chose our charities based on what had been a significant impact on our lives – Help for Heroes, Fibroduck for Fibromyalgia, Marie Curie for cancer and Brookfields Special Needs school (my work connection).
My life suddenly took on a new meaning in so many ways. I had to really launch myself into my training. With Darren at revive, the gym that was prepared to invest time and membership in my training, I had to push myself mentally and physically. I was driven by the need to be fit for the challenge but also to promote the charities. The focus and inspiration was the motivation and drive.
Sadly there were a few changes to the team and my life in October and I lost my drive and motivation. The challenge also became unachievable, as I couldn’t raise my entry fee of £25,000. Therefore part of my drive to train became lost. But, the faith in me by others, helped me rebuild my resolve, take a new course of direction and focus and so The Rambling Duck was born.
I am just an ordinary Mum, who has to clean, cook, and shop for the family. I have a very demanding job working with special needs children, plus I work some additional hours for free helping friends with their Stage College business. I still find the time and energy to train for a variety of events, as well as promoting the charities I am raising the profile and funds for, as well as encourage other people to take on board a challenge. I am passionate that everywhere should spare some time to help a good cause; dedicate time and energy to something where there is no financial reward just payment in kind for the heart and soul for helping others. I am not financially wealthy but I am extremely rich in good friends, good will and soul which makes me smile, a lot.
I learned a lot about Fibromyalgia last year when I started doing events as Fibroduck. It is my mission to continue fundraising for all those that suffer with Fibromyalgia; for more research and awareness. I can only slightly tap into their daily pain and tiredness by pushing myself through challenging events. But as I get fit and stronger, then I am not in as much discomfort. For a Fibromyalgia sufferer, that pain and tiredness is constant, until the medical world finds a cure or positive relief. Each sufferer is slightly different and should be treated as such, not just as a blanket concern, and fobbed off with symptomatic medication. Treat each person individually and holistically for his or her own pains and experience. Therefore I have chosen to suppot some Fibromyalgia support groups and Fibroduck
So for 2011 I did a few long distance walks, Quackathons, and from October I will start doing some marathons. My ultimate challenge is the Forces March
in May 2012, which is to run 5 marathons in 5 days. I am also hoping to do the Iconic London Marathon. Not bad for someone professes to hate running! That’s what getting passionate about a good cause does to you. When you learn to see the world through the eyes of a person who wants to do good for others, not just yourself. Have a peek at the events
page to see all my challenges; and all dressed as Fibroduck!
This is why I am The Rambling Duck. Added bonus is I do get to have fun in my Fibroduck suit and meet all of you.
You can read more about me at www.theramblingduck.com I blog weekly as the Duck’s Ramblings, and I love to quack a lot on twitter and facebook
Meet Team Dogface!
Sarah, Neville, Myself and Paul are doing a 40km Quackathon on the beautiful South Downs.Our name is derived from the 4-legged fluff ball in the photo, its his nickname!We are raising funds for the Dogs Trust as that is where Dogface aka Shaun comes from.You can read more of his story on our
Just Giving page and on Sarah's blog.Of course, just a reminder, Janine will be doing this in her Fibroduck Ducksuit. She never misses an opportunity to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia.
Across The Divide
are a specialist company who put together many events and challenges - walks, runs, cycling, either in this country or many places across the world.Just Events
are Across the Divide’s own branded charity challenges and expeditions, formerly referred to as 'Open Events'. JUST WALK is now in it’s the fifth year. The event is getting bigger every year and has resulted in over £1 million being raised for a variety of charities since the event started.Just Walk
is the flagship Just Event.
It's a one day walking challenge, on 7th May, in the stunning South Downs, West sussex. You can choose either 10km, 20k, 40km or 60km routes, so there really is something for everyone. You pay an entry fee and then you can concerntrate on raising money for your chosen charity. Every penny raised goes to your charity. It's a great event to get involved in whether it's your challenge for the year or training for one of their overseas events.
Across the Divide’s reputation for safety and the thoroughness of its planning means you can concentrate on the fundraising challenge. The expedition team’s enviable and unequalled depth of experience means that we are in safe hands
There are six power stations along the route. The power station numbers coralate to the maps and graph below.
This is a route profile of the 40km route. The start and finish at Goodwood is 150 metres above sea level. From here you can then see how the route descends and ascends throughout the 40km. If gives you a good indication where you can expect the big hills to be and how steep the climb will be. The six power stations are also marked on the profile, and matches in with the maps above.
We need to do a lot of training! Our home turf is very flat, and there are some serious ups and downs as shown on this graph! We have been venturing out most weekends to get our hill-legs toned and strengthened. Apart from Paul, we are all out walking our dogs daily and go hiking and camping regularly. We consider ourselves fit enough for this challenge, although we may not be one of the first groups in!
This is how our route is described -
The JUST WALK 40km route provides a great variety of terrains and scenery and is the perfect way to experience the broad and sweeping landscapes of West Sussex. For the first 3km the walk is on roads heading out of Goodwood. This will allow the walkers to spread out before we turn into the plantation forests. Despite being deep in woodland, we will get glimpses of the stunning views to the south including Halnaker Windmill. As we head to the first power station the route crosses into Eartham parish and the station is at Eartham Woods’s car park, just after 6km.
Now the route ambles through the wild chestnut coppiced woods and rolling arable fields. The paths through the woods are 4x4 tracks and if wet will be a little muddy in places. Now turning to the south we follow bridleways to picturesque Slindon with its thatched cottages.
Power Station Two is on the far side of the village at nearly 13km.
So far there have been very few hills but the first incline comes after crossing the A29 as we pass through the last of the coppiced woods. The woods are teaming with wildlife so look out for deer and a wide range of birdlife. From the top of Rewell Wood this is where the 40km route splits from the 60km Route.
We continue along the top of the woods to Rewell Hill where we drop down through the woods and come out opposite the A29, where we cross the A29 here and take the bridle path through to a country lane. Staying on the country lane till we reach a track on our left hand side taking us to a car-park, the location of our third power station at Whiteways Lodge car-park at 18.6km.
From here the route heads from the car-park running alongside Houghton Forest until it meets up with the South Downs Way. We then head on the South Downs way Trail climbing our steepest climb to reach the peak of our route. At Westburton hill we join-up with the 60km route and follow the trail to Bignor Hill car-park the location of our fourth power station at 23.4km. Once rested and the views explored the route is now surprisingly flat as we walk over the open chalk Downs before dropping down and crossing the A285.
The South Downs Way part two starts as we climb again upwards , this time only 110 metres, up and along to Power Station Seven at just over 29km. Now we are at Graffham Down, famous for its unique wildlife, shortly after here at 30km, after what will seem like a very long walk over the hills - we start the long drop down through forestry towards Charlton and the final power station at 35.8 km.
Once refreshed we continue down the lane to the village of Charlton after which we make a short ascent onto a bridleway and join the edge of the racecourse. Here we have our first glimpse of the finish. With just less than 5km to go, the path meets the road and takes us along the final stretch into the grounds of Goodwood: time for a well deserved cheer and lots of congratulations!What else do we get for our Entry Fee?
*Graphs, map and details of the walk have been used from the Across The Divide website and info pack so that I can share the walk details and how brilliant they are organising and giving us all the relevant information to make it a most enjoyable, hassle free and memorable day
- What’s Provided for our Event Fee?
- Full event plans and management plus support throughout the build up to the event
- Medical support team and lots of TLC
- Training and fundraising advice
- Six power stations along the route with snacks, drinks, medical support, big smiles and encouragement. Most also have loos
- Marked and mapped route with free views!
- Complete safety back up
- JUST WALK info and advice on the website and on the phone
- Hot food at the start and on route
- JUST WALKED t-shirt
- JUST WALKED certificate emailed to you after the event
The Polar Challenge is very much my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and that of another!
I have an addition to the team, the lovely Lauren Richardson
. I shall be writing more about her later. An added to charity to benefit from the Polar Challenge training and event is the North East Wales Search and Rescue team - NEWSAR
. Lauren is one of the their volunteers.
We shall be raising the profile of the terrible illness fibromyalgia, through our training, events and ultimately the Polar Challenge Race, dressed as Fibroducks. As well as blowing the trumpet of the good work of all the volunteers in Search & Rescue, but particularly the NEWSAR.
The Extreme World Race
Polar Challenge is one of the coldest, toughest, and most spectacular endurance races on the planet. The Polar Challenge is a 320 nautical mile race to the 1996 Magnetic North Pole. This is Extreme Racing at the top of the world. The frozen ice of the High Arctic is a vast expanse of rugged sea ice, boulders and gullies, treacherous islands, and home to one of the world’s deadliest land based predators. It’s a stern test for the toughest of individuals. This is more than just a race; it is the adventure of a lifetime.
Extreme World Races believes that any person with the right tuition, guidance, equipment, and instruction is capable of competing. Their ethos is that it is in our nature to explore and to test ourselves, pushing through mental and physical barriers.
The journey will take us from our everyday life to the frozen landscape of Norway for a week of intensive training.We will be comprehensively trained by the world’s most experienced Polar Instructors in the use of the equipment. The intensive week is essential, as it will provide us with knowledge and expert guidance required not only to survive in the Arctic, but also to compete.
It is here that we will be fully equipped with the essential clothing and navigation, cooking, and survival tools that the environment demands. The training is a mixture of classroom and lecture based material, interspersed with practical, hands-on tuition. Nordic Skiing (XC Skiing) is taught and how to manage a pulk. This week is specifically designed as an intensive course to highlight the importance of knowledge, practice and demonstrate the dangers of extreme cold.
The Polar Challenge gives competitors the opportunity to experience one of the last remaining wildernesses of the world by racing to the very top of it at the Magnetic North pole.
Racing in teams of two or three, competitors set off from Resolute Bay in Northern Canada across a terrain of frozen sea ice and Arctic tundra. As well as racing against the other teams and dealing with the extremes of environment, competitors are also likely to have to factor polar bears into the game plan, the natural inhabitants of this extreme environment and the most powerful animals on earth.
The teams for 2011 have just flown at this weekend and the race is due to start next week.
I shall be glued to the incoming blogs, race updates and diary calls that come through. We are supporting Team Arktix, with close runner-ups to be Pole Position.
We shall be learning from all that they do.
Our appetite for this extreme race has been well and truly whetted.Supporting good causes
There are three good causes that are close to our hearts, and the hearts of many others. Together we can all raise awareness of them and provide funding to help their future and those they support. The beneficiaries of the charities face daily struggles and challenges. Raising the money and awareness, training for the next two years and then actually competing is but a token gesture compared to their daily struggles. 2nd May 2011 foot note added - This is written due to events in a couple of North Pole races April 2011. Due to a variety of reasons I have now shelved all plans to participate in the Polar Challenge. Instead I shall be concerntrating on other challenges. Mother Nature is veryunpredictable and I feel that the climate changes are putting the race and support in jeopardy.
I took advantage of the snow to do some resistance training,pulling a tyre - my pretend pulk!
Oh this was a magical day!
Many had travelled from afar for this wonderful event. I shortened my journey by staying over with a Twitter friend, Nancy, as it was an early start.
We had the excitement of donning our special T-shirts, with duck feet all ready pre-printed into the Marsden March logo, and then wear it over my Fibroduck Ducksuit, then drive to Sutton Hospital, to catch our coach to the Chelsea Hospital.
It was a cold morning, despite the sun shining, and we were pleased to be able to get on the coach fairly quickly. It seemed such a very long coach ride to the Chelsea Hospital. I was convinced the coach driver had added on some extra miles to make us all feel we were doing an exceptionally longer walk!
We got off the coach and headed towards the lively exciting sounds, and wowed at the colours of the balloons as we arrived at the “Starters Village”. There was a beautiful arch of balloons to walk through as the starting line.
However, just before that was the more welcoming site of the portaloos! Both Nancy and I headed straight for those. It took a wee while to peel off my Fibroduck Ducksuit and T-shirt though! I made sure I was very empty before dressing up again and was certainly crossing my wing tips I wouldn’t have to do that again in mid-March!
We bumped into Team GIST
, some great girls (and boyfriend) we had got to know through Twitter prior to the event. Twitter has been a wonderful forum to keep in touch with the event details and updates; plus to make new friends before and after the event.
Without lingering too long in the cold we were under way fairly swiftly and set off at a good pace keen to complete the 14 mile March in under 3 ½ hours. I let Nancy stay a stride ahead of me for most of the March, setting our pace, as she was anxious she wouldn’t be able to do it at Duck speed, and without another Pee stop. Tis a good ploy, used previously on my sister on the Moonwalk (26 mile midnight walk for Breast Cancer) as it worked psychologically, lulling her into thinking she was “beating” me..hehe! It also meant Nancy couldn’t see my face as I was in a bit of pain as my boots failed at mile 5. But I kept going! Thank goodness for the comfort and energy giving Nakd
bars! Cashew Cookie is my new forever chocolate!
The March was initially along a lot of busy pedestrian areas until we got to Wimbledon Common. I had never been there before so loved the novelty of seeing the Windmill and singing a variety of Wombles songs. I was also able to check twitter to see who had sent messages of support. There was a message to call up Redshift Radio
, a community radio station in Crewe, and do a live link up. This we managed to do, so it was fantastic to think that despite Marching in London, all folks tuned in from around the country could also share our experience. Thankyou to Liz and everyone at Redshift for your fantastic support, and suffering the whimsicial twitters of a daft Duck!
I also had the fun of being interviewed by Royal Marsden Radio at the start of the walk, and again as we left Wimbledon Common. I puffed out my Duck chest with pride as not only was I supporting a very worthy cause of raising funds for two excellent cancer hospitals, but raising awareness of Fibromyalgia and Fibroduck. Listen to the interview here.
I am about 51mins into the programme.
Nancy and I managed to complete the March in just under 4 hours, and certainly welcomed the orange squash from a nearby pub before we got to the finish line; then the bottled water and goody bag as we crossed over/walked under the balloon arch.
The March Village at the end was alive with music, face painting, bbqs, drink stalls, Marsden Charity merchandise shop, and the wall of memories.
What really brought it home for me, as to why were all there, was seeing the obvious signs of recent cancer patients who had undergone chemo. Plus one patient who was on walkabout with his medicine drip bag stand. When I got home, I tried to explain the day and the finale to my husband. It was as I mentioned this man with his drip bag and stand, I burst into tears and was quite overwhelmed with how lucky my family and I are truly are. Plus, there was the feeling of euphoria of having walked in such esteemed company, on a beautiful March day, on the most memorable March ever. The first Marsden March will never be topped, but there will be many more successful ones. The Duck is signing up for 2012!You can too, here for 25th March 2012!There will be an official video and more photos from the Royal Marsden site shortly.You can still donate to this walk on my Just Giving Page
A little bit about The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity Work
The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity supports this pioneering work. Thanks to our supporters, we are able to help The Royal Marsden continue to push boundaries and raise standards of excellence.
When people donate to the charity they support everyone who benefits from the work of The Royal Marsden. Scientists searching for cures. Doctors who depend on the latest treatments and technologies. And, of course, cancer patients and their families.
Together, we can keep making life better for people with cancer and keep striving towards a future without it.
Recent appeals include: Europe's largest centre for children and young people with cancer Doubling our capacity so that more children with cancer can receive the best possible care and treatment.
Medical Day Unit at our Chelsea hospital A bright and spacious environment that improves patient comfort and reduces waiting times.
CyberKnife – the latest in radiotherapy treatment Treating the most hard to reach tumours with concentrated doses of radiotherapy. (from the Royal Marsden website)
What a fantastic day to remember!
I set out at 6.30am to arrive at the Green Park Village for 7.00am. It was a rather breezy chilly morning and thank goodness I had my Fibroduck Duck suit to hang out in! Sure the warming carnival atmosphere helped keep us all bouyant and happy but didn’t keep the Goosebumps at bay!
I was doing the event with my work colleagues, Reading’s Family Link Team. We were supporting a young person, Luke, who wanted to complete this mini marathon under his own steam, no one pushing him. This was the first time he had ever done this. He is just starting to become more independent proving to his peers he could live with minimum support. He is a very determined young man and indeed he kept us in our places!
I insisted on running/dancing this event. Who could not resist bopping away to the bands that lined the course. I loved hearing “High Way To Hell” played by a young rock group, and the Steel Drums. Everyone else walked 3km, I danced at least 6km, at Luke’s pace in 40 minutes. He is determined to beat that time next year! Mmm had my beetroot juice and Nakd
bar to munch on for much needed energy. I had the Peanut & Oat Trek bar and the Chocolate mint flavours.My own Reading Half Marathon place has been deferred until next year..my big challenge to concerntrate on!
Luke will also be doing 1km, using his walker, around Prospect Park, 1st April from 1.30, with Reading College. Please do show your support.
“Reading's Family Link Team took part in the Green Park Challenge to promote Share The Care Week, and to recruit more short breaks carers & befrienders for disabled children & young people. If you would like to find out more about becoming a carer, call the team on 0118 937 3740 and make a big difference to disabled children!' “ There is more information here.
Photos printed by kind permission of Reading Council
I have chosen Path Hill Outdoors as my core charity as the work done there for Young People is something I care about and get very passionate about.
I spent the morning there today; a fine cold drizzly wet morning on the borders of Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Didn’t really notice the weather too much as the place is so warming from staff and Young People alike. Path Hill Outdoors is run from land rented from a farm. There are a couple of outbuildings, fields and woods that are utilised to the full. It’s certainly not a place for white jeans and high heels; outdoor clothes and hiking boots or wellies most essential! Perfect for a Rambling Duck! Perfect for Young People with a lot of energy and who can’t relax in formal settings such as a school.
Essentially, Path Hill Outdoors are a gateway to help educate and equip Young People with the social skills and some qualifications to be able to enjoy a life with a reasonable job, good family and friendship network. Some Young People just cannot get on at school, and some are even tempted into the vicious circle of crime and disreputable friendship groups. Volunteers and staff who know and understand these Young People run Path Hills. They establish trust between themselves, their group and society (such as the services of Social Services, the Police, School and colleges); build their confidence, self-esteem and own sense of self worth. Some of these Young people may have special needs or learning difficulties so each part of the core programme is tailor made for each one of them so they can maximise on input and effort for a positive high achievement.
Its not rocket science to understand what Path Hill Outdoors is about and why it is so successful– a “Ray Mears” bushcraft learning environment come classroom with some other essential life skills thrown in for good measure. Who couldn’t resist that? And want to excel? There are some fantastic Young People already there proving they do and can.
I sat in on the Morning Debrief where the young people were congratulated on the successful completion of tasks of the previous day. Not just the actual task, but how they sat quietly without fidgeting too! Conducive to good listening and understanding, taking on board the new information and then being able to apply the new knowledge. Apparently a few months ago they couldn’t do that; patience is a wonderful thing and the staff have plenty of that to nurture excellent results and “star pupils”.
I have asked some the Young people to write about their own experiences and what they at path Hills, so I shan't steal their thunder and give away any of their fun. This meeting took place in the Yurt that had a lovely woodstove burning. I enjoyed a hot chocolate, which seemed more appropriate than a cup of tea. I had also taken Penny aka Duckpooch, my young saluki/whippet, with me. She certainly made a few friends that day. We will both be back there to join in some more fun and help as volunteers.
Path Hill Outdoors does rely on a lot of funding from grants and sponsorships. I love the work they do, and there is nothing more pleasurable than to see those Young People excel and mature into responsible outgoing friendly Young Adults. There are too many disaffected teenagers abandoned by a jaded society who can’t or won’t help them to take responsibility for their actions and help them onto the “right path”. Help me to help Path Hill outdoors do just that and donate towards their ongoing work.
shows how money is spent. There is an expedition to Sweden for these Young people and they need to raise £2000 too. Let’s help them there
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!