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
In February I noticed a blog and facebook event publising Steve Blethyn’s
midnight walk. He is another Reading based Adventurer.
I sent him a message asking him if he wanted a Duck for company, as you do! Not sure if he was grateful for having some company, or mortified he was going to be walking with Fibroduck
. But we both have a passion for walking, adventures and fundraising. Our feet are focused on a very local and worthy cause.
We are doing the walk for the THE WICKED AND WACKY BREAKFAST CLUB
at St Mary’s School in Shinfield where Steve works.
We are also promoting the healthy option of Walking to school
We are starting at -
- A. Robert Piggott School, then going via
- B. Polehamton CofE Junior School,
- C. Willowbank Junior,
- D. Emmbrook,
- E. St Pauls CofE,
- F. Westende School,
- G. Oaklands,
- H. Gorse Ride, and then finishing at
- I. St Mary's, Shinfield
We’ll be walking past every Junior School in Wokingham Council's area, a total of 23.6 miles (38km). We will be starting at midnight, and finish at 7:30a.m. on the 8th of April. (That's the last day of term.) We'll be in time to join the children in the breakfast club for toast and a coffee.
Hopefully I shall be able to have a live tracking with endomondo
which can be accessed from their website, or twitter and facebook. Feather tips crossed I can work the technology!
So wonderful people we are asking you to dig deep and donate
, even just a pound or two - every little helps.
This is my Fibroduck suit layed out with my all the kit I will need for the 38km trekathon.As it is at night time I have got 2 flashlights to wear front and back, plus a torch. I also have a reflective vest.
GPS, compass and map of course are essential.In my rucksack I will have 2l of water, a small concerntrated beetroot juice
(energy), a coconut water (rehyrdation at the end), a small thermos of hot chocolate (energy and comfort). Plus my gluten free nakd bars
, jelly beans, mixed nuts and raisins and a slimfast (energy & food drink). I also have a small pot of baked beans to enjoy as my wheat free alternative to a sandwich.I always carry a 1st aid kit, my Whiz (for a whazz, lighter than a shewee), spare warm hat, gloves, fleece, bandana (useful at end of walk when temperature drops).Plus a few fibroducks to hand out - not sure who we shall see in the wee hours!Wearing my new beloved Salomon Exit 2 GTX shoes. Perfect for my arches; gives great cushioning and support. Love the grippy vibram soles. Goretex lined too for our British Summers! I always wear a pair of thin bridgedale inner socks, with my Bridgedale trekking socks over the top. I usually douse feet in a liberal coating of talc to keep them dry & friction free.I always use my Osprey rucksacks. They are very comfortable and have lots of stretchy pockets.I have tried many backpacks but this is perfect for my height, waist, shoulders and chest.
We were blessed with a warm and dry evening. It was mostly cloudless so when we weren’t watching where our feet were going, we could enjoy the gorgeous starry sky.
We arrived at the first school, The Robert Piggot School, at 11.45am. Parked up in a dark school car park. Then another car drove in! The chap pulled alongside, wound down his window and asked “Do you know anything about the charity walk?”
I answered “Oh yes!” Straight away, Churchill style.
Steve slowly and cautiously answered with a mumble. He was waiting for the chap to tell us to leave immediately, as we couldn’t park there!
The chap introduced himself as Ryan, a photographer from the Reading Guide
! He certainly pulled the short straw for this story! His Editor had told him there was a job he certainly couldn’t refuse to do tonight!
He hadn’t brought proper lighting so we improvised with car lights on full beam. He was given a little Fibroduck as a thank you for coming out to record the start of our Midnight Quackathon.
We said a goodbye to Steve’s wife, Ginny, who was driving back home, to a warm bed! She repeated this several times and that she was looking forward to a snore-free night of sleep! Well at least I would know when Steve was sleep walking. I’d hear him snoring in mid stride. Then off we set!
We did our best to twitter through out the night, uploading our photos as we took them at each school. A big thankyou to all of you who supported us through the night.The walk was tough. The body is used to sleeping at that time. I had made sure I had packed some nice sweet things to keep my body ticking over, spiking it with jelly beans, nakd bars and brazil nuts.
The worst sections were the country roads with no lights, or paths. We had to pick our way over/through/under potholes, drain hole covers, molehills (grass verges!) and a lot of debris. thankfully no accidents. But notably my GPS recorded a maximum speed of 6.8mph! It must have been one of the stumbles when dancing with some hidden twigs!
It was a mostly quiet and uneventful night, with a few funny moments. I can’t for the life of me remember timelines for all the incidents!
- We found Cinderella’s shoe (Steve has the photo to prove this) and it didn’t fit either of us. It was a very petit glitzy gold ballet pump.
- We only had 1 car toot, but then Reading and Wokingham drivers are respecting the fact that most decent and civilised people would be asleep and not want to be woken up.
- There were two young lads walking near the Winnersh Showcase cinema. As was my way with all the good folk we came across, I said “Good Morning, Quack!” One lad replied “Good morning” back, and the other said, “Bon Appetite!” Hmmm..could he see an orange in my beak or a bottle of hoisin sauce under my wing?
- Another young lad cycling with his hands in pockets looked, nay stared, at us in disbelief as wiggled his way down the road, near St Paul’s school. He was lost apparently and needed directions back to Reading! At 3.30am? He did say if he had some money on him he would give it us as “We were well good folk!”
- Scariest moment was when we could hear a police helicopter over our heads, and could see the long search beam. It took about a minute to come over to us, then onto us, then move away. Then come back, and linger! We took advantage and took some photos of ourselves out side Westende School. Watch Police! Camera! Action! For photos of The 6ft Duck and Bewhiskered man blinking in their main beam!
- Outside of Wokingham, near a Tesco’s we thought we could see the Coco Cola Christmas truck. A very clean and smart “People Carrier” had a front load of very smart lights! Didn’t need streetlights with that around! But as we had already seen a Christmas lights on around a Magnolia tree in Wargrave I was still waiting to hear a Christmas jingle.
We got back to St. Mary’s School at 6.45am. We joined the children at the Breakfast Club, for breakfast. It was fun listening to their banter and taking questions from them. I was stumped at the one “how old is the Duck” and “Why has the Duck got two heads?” Just love what kids will come out with next.
I thoroughly enjoyed my walk and chats with Steve that night. We shall do another adventure again.
A big thankyou to Ginny, his wife, for chauffeuring and staying up late night that. Plus thank you to Ryan, the Reading Guide Photographer.
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 enjoyed a very eclectic last couple of weeks due to work and half term.
I shall just blog about a few highlights, and not succumb to being a daily rambling diary!
I have had the pleasure of being a part of the Reading local community radio station www.reading4u.co.uk.
It was a very short and relaxed two hours talking about the exploits and agenda of the Rambling Duck to the presenter, and chairman of the station, Eddy Winship. It was during the 10.00am to 12.00 timeslot which is a daily regular slot for Community Matters, where anyone can pop on the show and chat about an event, something they suffer with, etc. Just email
them for more information.
I have also been interacting through twitter, facebook and a phone-in with another radio station, Redshift Radio
. They are predominantly an Internet community radio station, awaiting a FM licence. In April they will have 28 days to be on 87.7FM! So I certainly wish them every success with that.
I tend to tune into the two presenters, Doctor Gav and Bizzy Lizzy, both Co-founders. I enjoy listening to them from 7pm-9pm, for the late,Late Breakfast Show, especially as that is when I am glued to the computer interacting on facebook and twitter! They certainly have a huge and scattered listening base, despite them being based in Crewe, Cheshire! People phone in from far and wide all over Britain,. Yhey have some great studio guests. I first heard of the station via a twitter group called Year of The Mad
, a group of students doing some fun & whacky fundraising. They twittered out they would be on, so I tuned in. I also heard another twitter friend phoning in about her charity and event – Nikki Salsa
, losing weight to raise awareness and sponsorship for Beat Bullying. Any one can utilise the show by writing in and participating.
The show is live, so I interact with comments through twitter, and often they get read out, which is all part of the education, fun and socialising on the radio waves. So a huge thankyou to Redshift.
On Thursday I participated in a phone in session to Redshift radio and enjoyed listening to the work of Cheshire Search and Rescue team
. That inspired me to take action and contact the local Berkshire Search and Rescue team, Sebev and also the dog handling section k9-SAR
. After a few preliminary twitters and emails I completed an on-line application for k9-SAR, and training starts on Tuesday! As always, I usually see and hear of something and think “I’d like to do that” and that indeed was the case for Sebev for many years. So I took the bull by the horns and took immediate action.
So the wonders of twitter and community radio stations can indeed work in a powerfully positive way. There are no boundaries, geographically or intellectually! There is something for everyone out there on the Ethernet! Nikki Salsa pays homage to her Twitter-family; tis an apt name and sentiment that I share and endorse. You all make my time rock! It brings a new dimension to my life, otherwise entwined and embroiled with work, family and being a Domestic Goddess, as well as a Rambling Duck! I shan’t wax lyrical about that..Instead, I shall share a little music, my favourite track, and very appropriate
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
Wow! What a first week for the 90 day challenge! I shan’t bore you with food plans and walking stats but I do now know my definitive goal for it!
I walked on different terrain, with different shoes, some days pushing a child in a heavy buggy. I averaged 13km a day and a speed of 5.85kmh. So, my ultimate goal is to average 7kmh! I do need to re‐address the eating balance though as I appeared to have gained nearly 2 kilos!!
I also had the pleasure of doing a 24km walk with Jo Winchcombe, also known as Arctic Mummy. She is training to do a North Pole Endurance race this March/April. She was also doing a sponsored 20mile‐tyre pull from Andover to Salisbury, on Sunday. Boy can that Lady move fast over undulating & diverse terrain. Perfect for her arctic experience to come! Also great stamina, endurance, resilience and humour! Surely the successful competitor for that Arctic Race? Hope she will be bringing home the prestigious Blue Ice Trophy!
I also had the immense pleasure of watching a young man enjoy an hour of a small dream of his own, to be a Radio Presenter. I work with children who have special need and learning difficulties. I have christened each of the children by the day I work with them, or something significant about them. This particular chap is called Wednesday Child (WC for short). He has a real love for all musicals; loves to perform and sing parts of different shows. He can get rather obsessive about certain shows and scripts, so I insure we have a healthy conversation about alternative shows; don’t think my humour could take a constant battering of Hairspray or Mamma Mia! He also insists on Spaghetti Bolognaise and flapjacks for dinner every Wednesday – its his comfort thing and need for routine, so he needs at least one constant with me.
I digress a little, and back to his dream. I took him to the local community Radio Station in Carey Street, Reading, Reading4u.co.uk
. We met the wonderful Eddie, who was the afternoon Presenter, and Chairman. He kindly took the time to make WC feel comfortable, encourage him to talk, talk a little about his own Presenter experience for radio Blast at Thames Valley College (TVU), and play some of his favourite tunes. All this time the real show is being streamed live on air, but WC is happy in the knowledge that he thinks he is on air. Now WC is not a lad of many words; he repeats a single word continuously. He often doesn’t talk or looks at strangers. So what was achieved here was absolutely amazing. He interacted with Eddie in his own way, both established a little rapport, and thus a dream was realised.
I work with the Family Link Group, part of Reading Social Services. I do Day Care and Respite Care to families with children who have Special Needs. This is a job I absolutely adore, and have no formal qualifications. I was encouraged to apply for befriending work on a casual basis many years ago. In the past I have been a Credit Controller, Accountant, Teaching Assistant in main stream primary, main stream secondary and a Special Needs school. This is the job though that pays the soul, as much as it helps with the bills. It’s a 2 fold enjoyment – I watch a family relax for a few hours, and I watch their child in my care have some one to one fun in a different environment. I work with children of different ages, needs and ability. I put them in an environment that suits them; so they are no longer “disabled”, let them excel and gain confidence. A few hours treasured, in so many ways. If you’d like to know more about my work, please email me your details and I can forward them on to the team. Or you can read more about it here
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 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!!!