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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Great service from Si at Cycle Solutions

Since snapping my chain a few weeks ago on my Fat Bike I've encountered a few problems, what with getting my gears set up and this really annoying creak/click on my cranks. A few months ago I took my bike to my local Evans to get the threads cleaned in my bottom bracket, and have the BB installed. I purchased the more expensive Nitride BB, thinking it would last longer. You see for some strange reason my eThirteen cranks wore away on one side. Anyhoo this was an expensive repair the cranks along with chain rings and BB coming in at well over £300.

Long story short ever since having the new BB and cranks put in place my bike has more or less creaked when ever I put power down on my good side. After my chain snapped, sending me over the bars, my dad took my rear wheel off to check to make sure everything was ok. He noticed I had a few spokes that could maybe do with being tightened, so off again he went down to Evans taking my back wheel so that they could tighten my spokes along with my cones. Ern then replaced my rear Shimano cassette and I had him pop in some new blingtastic Hope Jockey Wheels, my old ones were looking like ninja throwing stars. 

Both Ern and I then had a go at setting up my gears and it was an epic fail. For some reason we just couldn't get the indexing right and the chain was jumping all over and missing gears on the cassette.

Now last week my friend Wayne had come to drop off a little Kodak video camera he has, one of my other friends might be interested in buying it. Wayne just happened to mention that he had dropped his Rock Shox forks off at a bike shop and they were going to do a complete service for him,costing around £80. Anyhoo he went on to tell me that when he was at home, he came across this very nice lad called Si who was across the road from where Wayne lives. I'm not sure how they got chatting but Wayne discovered Si runs his own mobile bicycle repair,servicing and maintenance business, so he asked Si for a quote to service his forks and when Si said £25, Wayne was more than happy and went and collected his forks so that he could hand them over to Si to sort out.

I remembered Wayne telling me about Si so txt him yesterday for Si's number. I then gave Si a quick ring, however there was no answer. About 15 minutes later I had a return call and I explained to Si that Wayne had recommended him and could he come and have a look at my gears sometime. "Yeah I'll call around at 18:30pm" Si said, and true to his word come 18:30pm there he was ringing my door bell. I quickly put my boots on and we headed off to our shed, so that Si could have a look and see if he could manage to work there or if he would need to take my bike to his workshop. "Oh I should be able to sort it here" Si said and he got stuck right in. I think Si was on with my bike around 45 to 50 minutes and I really enjoyed chatting away to him as he worked. He showed me where the indexing was wrong and, how to better route my cables and actually got my gears running smoother than they had in a very long time. We talked about Si's business Cycle Solutions and I have to say I was very happy with his skill and knowledge and at just how friendly he was, giving me advice on maintaining my bike and isn't it just so much fun talking to someone who shares your passion.

Well anyway I just wanted to write a small blog and give Cycle Solutions and Si a bit of a shout out, it's great to find local people trying to get on, and when they offer such a great service and very reasonable rates all the better.


Next job for Si and Cycle Solutions  is to fit new inner and outer cables for me and sort this dam annoying creak in my crank it's driving me mad.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

First real ride out on Bike Swanky's PYGA 29'er

Kind of lost here without my dog Mr Hink's. Our house feels real empty and quiet. My dad, Ern is lost too, so I asked him "how you fancy heading out and helping me shoot a video and maybe get a few pics". It seemed like a good opportunity to take the demo bike I have on loan from Bike Swanky for a proper blast. Paul and Andy of Bike Swanky very kindly sent the bike up on Friday morning along with 2 jerseys a mtb and a road one and some Bike Swanky flyers and stickers.
Smile your on some kind of camera
Out the saddle and away up the trail
You see I had been invited to do a bit of an article in a mag and thought this was the ideal opportunity to try and give all those people and companies who have supported me this far a well deserved shout out. Bike Swanky have been fantastic in sourcing me the very coloured De Rosa Idol in a size 57cm I wanted, and not only that whilst I waited for my bike to come into stock they very kindly loaned me their De Rosa demo bike so that I could take part in the recent triathlon I have just done alongside Arctic ONE (another very special group of people who have my thanks and full support) The PYGA that was sent up is a fairly new bike on the market, it's partly designed by Pat Morewood in South Africa. Pat Morewood made some terrific bikes under the Morewood brand and I have to say on first impressions I really like the ride of this new PYGA. It's called a One Ten 29'er. They also do the bike in a 650b/27.5 inch set up with a little more travel. I recently glanced at the MBR UK top ten 29'er shoot out and the PYGA came top, so good enough for me.

YooHoo!
 Anyhoo the story goes I was originally looking for a De Rosa Idol road bike and came across Bike Swanky .I got talking to Paul at first and then Andy and after we had finished chatting and Paul had learned my story he asked would I like to enter into a sponsorship deal/program and work along side Bike Swanky promoting their extensive range of bikes and letting people know all about how they are trying to make good quality kit accessible to ordinary folk. You can read all about the different ways of obtaining a bike or bike gear on Bike Swanky's web page. There are some fantastic deals and the lads over at Bike Swanky will sort you out if your spoilt for choice or just need a spot of advice.
 

So now I'm just waiting for the rest of the parts to come in to stock to go along with my very own Large PYGA frame and the boys at Bike Swanky will get my sponsor bike up to me.

PYGA One Ten 29
 What's the bike like? Well when I came in from work on Friday at around 12noon (got an early finish as I was owed an hour) I was amazed at how big it looked. I don't know if it's because it has those rather large 29 inch rims or if it's because it has very wide bars, somewhere in the region of 780/790mm, but the bike just looks huge. I immediately went indoors and got changed swapping out my prosthesis for my BTK and taking the PYGA for a quick spin up and down our back lane. It rode very nice. Really I didn't get much of a play on the bike on Friday, so that's why I took it out today, to try and get more of a feel for it.

The Mule....Errr I mean Ern
 The first thing I can say and if your able bodied you probably won't have noticed this anyway, is that this bike is incredibly easy to ride out of the saddle. I have been using the BTK since late 2009, what's that around 5 or so years and each bike I have rode I have had to practice as it takes a bit of getting used to. Different frame heights/angles, bar positions, well you get the picture. Well with the PYGA once I had set the handlebars, attached my pedals I was off and getting out the saddle and riding is a breeze. On some of my bikes my BTK is so close to the bars, not on the PYGA, there is loads of room.

Ern gurning I think...I hope
 The bike itself is so stable, the rear shock is a Rock Shox Monarch RT3 the same as in my BTK, it's a fantastic shock. The PYGA rides so plush in fact at times you think you were riding a hardtail, yet when needed it deals with everything you throw at it. The front fork on the demo model was a X-Fusion Trace. It's a fork I  hadn't heard of previously, however again handled everything I asked of it. The X-Fusion having a pretty neat feature in that you can fix it at 110 for climbing or 130 for normal riding. It's all at the flick of an easy to reach switch on the top of the fork leg. Switch gear, brakes and the rest of the group set is Shimano XT. This was new to me I've never used a bike with Shimano shifters,they are an opposite pull compared to my SRAM's, so took a bit of getting used to. Once I had become accustomed to them they worked flawlessly, even when covered in mud. The PYGA like I say is stable, however also very nimble, you don't feel like your sitting right up on top of the bike and you can flick it and point it in any direction at will. The bike feels fast and I think the only limits would be the rider. At the end of my trail riding adventures I decided to ride from Beamish up to my Aunty Claire and Uncle Dave's. This meant riding up the rather large hill from the bottom of the Forges, right up to the top of Beamish and the Shepard and Shepherdess pub. The PYGA is fitted with a 2x10 set up and climbed up the hill very well. In fact I have to say I was even able to ride a good portion of the hill out of the saddle, which as an above knee amputee can be very difficult. Of course the BTK allows you to do this, however you need to be pretty proficient in it's use, have good balance and  unlike how I feel at the moment be relatively fit. I almost coughed a lung up at the top of the bank, but was well pleased with my efforts.

Only 4 FAILs! here lol
 So there you go there is a short review. I'm sure I will be blogging lots more about my adventures on a PYGA.

Every time I had to ride over this dodgy tree root that sent me all wonky, crashed 4 times
A little bit of coming down hill for a change
 I managed to shoot a bit of video footage today. Could really do with having more flowing trails nearby, everything seems up hill lol. Never mind I had fun and got to try the bike out both climbing, doing some technical slow riding between trees and a few small downwards sections.

I know quite a few of you will watch my video (well I hope you will ) and think wtf is that music playing. Well to b honest I couldn't think of a track I liked and I like this particular song, it kind of sums up how I have been feeling about Mr Hink's,  2How can you mend a Broken Heart" by Al Green.



Ok laters people...

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Farewell my dear old friend...

Love you Hinks, you will be sorely missed
 A few days to reflect... It's not often I write negative posts here upon my blog. I mean sure bad stuff does happen in my life, just like everyone else's.But why write lots of maudlin crap and then get everyone feeling down, all teary eyed and feeling sorry for one another. So this blog (which I wasn't sure if I was going to write) is more a celebration of life, rather than the very sad fact I've lost a close friend.

The last good few months have been pretty unhappy ones for all of us here at the Johnstone residence, based on the fact that Mr Hink's hasn't been at all well. A little while ago we noticed he had a swollen face, this progressed to swelling around his neck and throat, as well as his chest and he became awfully lethargic.

Upon taking him to our veterinary surgery Mr Hink's was given a shot and put on both anti-biotics and steroids. This wasn't good I mean he was already on water tablets for an enlarged heart something he was diagnosed with roughly 2 years ago.

Anyhoo we brought Hink's home and over the next few weeks he was back and forth to the vets, he seemed to pick up at one point and we thought everything would be fine. Then his neck became swollen again and it was another trip down to the vets where they took a blood sample. After a week we had to go back and it came back that Mr Hink's could potentially have lymphoma. We were given more tablets and just asked to keep an eye out to make sure he wasn't getting any worse.

Mr Hink's became a little more like him old self for a while and the swelling subsided to just a couple of large marble sized lumps in his neck. He still had a good appetite and would constantly greed, would wag his tail on greeting us and even decided to go out and dig a few holes in our already wrecked lawn then come into the house proud at his efforts and showing off his dirty face and leaving a muddy trail throughout the house, like I say he appeared to be back to his mischievous best. Some things had changed of course, his habit of howling at the doorbell or ambulance,police or fire engine was still there,however his voice was now much deeper and he couldn't maintain a full howl. He didn't play as much with his toys, like run and fetch and though he still enjoyed a walk, didn't like going as far.

Upon coming home from work around 3 weeks ago, my dad was at our back gates, a stern look upon his face. I pulled up to our house and as I parked up and got out my dad told me Mr Hink's had had an accident. My dad went on to say that he had found  Hink's at the bottom of our stairs holding his back leg up and resting against the wall. It appears he had somehow hurt himself whilst coming downstairs. Ern thinks that he had slipped at the bottom of our stairs on the new wooden flooring we have just recently had put down, his front legs sliding out and the leg he hurt being jarred really badly. Yet another immediate trip to the vets. Once there the vet examined poor Mr Hink's and the news wasn't good, he would need an x-ray the following day. We were given some pain killers and an appointment and took Hink's back home, making a nice soft bed for him in our living room right next to the sofa. My dad slept downstairs that night with Hink's as you could tell he was afraid and in a lot of pain.

I've been a very bad boy
The day of the x-ray arrived, it was 10:30am. We had to leave Hink's at the vets and it was a very stressful day waiting for the phone to ring telling us we could go down to pick him up. At around 16:30pm we got the call and off we went don to get the news of what was wrong with our bully boy. The vet explained there was nothing broken, however Mr Hink's had seriously injured his back leg. There wasn't a great deal of detail in what was going on, we were asked to return a week later and see how he was getting on. 

Well what a nightmare week, poor Mr Hink's couldn't put his leg down, he was now terrified of the slippery floor as he tried either tip toeing on 3 legs or else scooting as fast as he could to get to the safety of his crate under our stairs or on the bed he had in our living room. You could tell he was in constant pain and his lymph nodes where starting to appear again.

 Back to the vets yet again and this is where we saw a new vet who upon examination of Hink's immediately said "he is going to require surgery to fix this leg". This was a bit of a shock. I mean I knew it had been badly injured I just wasn't sure to what extent. I just thought Hink's required much needed rest and peace and quiet and his leg would come right. Anyhoo I'm no vet, but as far as I can understand Hink's knee had come out of place and was no longer sliding up and down freely, it had been torn and was stuck, causing him lots of what must have been excruciating pain. He was a really good boy at the vets when being examined, however did give a low warning growl as the vet checked him out, his way of saying "yeah that's the spot, ok that's enough, get your hands off please, we all know it's not working". Just then the other vet I had been seeing came in and we all had a further chat. He explained that the surgery required was very extensive and that they wouldn't even attempt it at their surgery. Not only that there was no guarantees it would fix Mr Hink's or that he would make it through the surgery I mean remember his dodgy ticker. Also the whole procedure would be very expensive a guesstimate for the cost of the surgery was around £1500, money I just didn't have access to at the time. The vet went on to explain that many dogs get along quite well with just 3 legs and that Mr Hink's could possibly be one of those dogs. So we decided to take him home and think through our options.
  
I had no problems about having a disabled dog. I mean Mr Hink's was family and you don't just get rid of someone because they suffer an illness or a disability. 



We would look after him and offer him all our love and continue to make his life a happy one. That Tuesday night however was a hellish one for poor Hink's he panted all night from coming home from the vets right through to the next day. His glands were right up and he just didn't know where to put himself. At around one in the morning I got up as I could hear him whimpering down stairs in his crate. I just sat outside his crate and he pulled himself out, hopped over to me and tucked his head under my arm, then  pushed himself as far as he could onto my lap. It was obvious he was frightened, in pain and just wanted a cuddle and someone to be with him. After a while Ern got up and he decided he would sleep down on the floor with Hink's and he took over looking after him as I had work in the morning.
   


Wednesday morning all I could do was think of my poor lad. I knew in my heart today was going to be the day I would have to say my final farewell to one of my best friends. Loads of stuff was going through my head, the majority of which was guilt, the fact I was deciding Hink's fate and playing god in his life. But I simply couldn't bare to see him suffer and be so miserable. So upon getting back home I talked through my thoughts with both my dad and wor Kyle and with heavy hearts we all agreed, it was for the best.

Yay lets roll down the hill
I rang our vets and made the appointment, with a lump in my throat and a slightly choked voice, 2:00pm. We had an hour to wait. An hour to say goodbye and pet and stoke our beloved companion and tell him what a good boy he had been and how much we all loved him. One of the best bits about Mr Hink's was his expressions. With him having a patch above his left eye it always looked as if he was either intently listening or just plain bored with your crap conversation. Today he just looked on as if he knew his fate, yet didn't judge us on our decision. Really he was just one sad pup. A very slow ride down to our vets in Lanchester and well the rest is as you can imagine a very traumatic experience and still a very raw one.
 WoW I've had some laughs with Mr Hink's... Here's just a few memories I can recall...

Coming back from hospital after just having my leg amputated. Mr Hink's was around 5 months old and very excited to see his da, after all I had been missing for a few days. As I hopped in towards our back door on elbow crutches Mr Hink's thought it would be a good idea to get behind me, trip me up and help me fall, arse first into a huge full bucket of water. There I was sitting in the bucket with this mad bull terrier jumping all over me excited I was home.


Is it on,Is it on???
 Hink's used to have typical bully mad half hours where he would run as fast as he could all around our house spinning and jumping and knocking over anything that was in his way. My friend Lee was over on one of these days and Hink's got soooo excited so much so he ran at Lee who was sitting on our couch, Hink's flew towards Lee who had to duck and Mr Hink's  shot over the back of our couch hit the wall and fell down the back of the couch.



Learning that actually it was quite good fun to howl at the police sirens when someone was playing Grand Theft Auto and then realising hold on we live on the main road to Durham and there is an ambulance which goes up and down everyday, lets Howl at that when it passes and why not chuck in the doorbell every time it rings.

Chasing and playing with my dad while he was on his bike what a great day
One of Hink's favourite games get filthy then get Ern to rub down, worked everytime

Deciding that around the same time each evening, it was time to run outside and scare off any intruders, even if there wasn't any about and bark my head off.

Helping with the gardening. Wait until Ern puts all the new bedding plants in then go and dig them all up again.Plus digging huge holes at random places in the lawn, wait for someone to fill them in and then go do it all over again.


The tripping people up and untying their laces game. As you used to walk Hink's took great fun in gently biting your shoe laces and undoing them.
The stick your tongue in anyone's belly button or ear game, oh and as my friend Essi will tell you, the bite the end of a tit game, well bite sounds such a harsh explanation, yet nibble sounds a bit perverse...Yeah lets just say bite.


Stand at the door, right at the door don't let anyone out, unless it's me first as I want to go for a ride in the car. Once at the car pretend I can't jump and get Ern to lift me into the back of the car, that Ern is such a push over, for years I managed to get him to lift me into the back of our car. You know how I discovered Mr Hink's could get in himself, nope not food or treats. I used a ash tray that used to make a coughing sound. Mr Hink's used to go bonkers when he heard it and i placed it in the back of the car and started it coughing, he jumped straight in and gave away his little secret that "actually I can jump I just choose not too".

See I could jump when I wanted too
 Loads more memories that keep coming to mind, one of my favourites is of not so long ago and my brave little m8 having his first real swim and doggy paddling his way to me at Druridge Bay as I practised my open water swimming.

A favourite memory I miss my Hinky so much
 A few shots of Mr Hink's and some of the adventures we have shared 



 
 























Mr Hink's was quite the character a real Joker, very stubborn, very mischievous and although some people took longer than others to get used to him everyone who met him eventually came to love him, really you had no choice, as  he would pester you until you gave in.
Peek a Boo










With my friend Essi, sorry for nipping your tit
Crap who put that there



I'm Thinking
Hink's doing what he did best

What a handsome lad
Been digging again
Can I look yet?
  R.I.P Mr Hink's April 11th 2007 - September 17th 2014

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Pace Rehabilitation - Real Lives

It's always nice to do something that's worthwhile, something that not only makes you feel good, but also gets the word out about the people behind the scenes, the ones who facilitate your success in a way.

Upon getting in from work today I checked my mails and was very pleasantly surprised to find out that I had been featured in Pace Rehabilitations - Real Lives. My friend Scott Richardson who is the Business Development Manager or PR Guru as I like to call him had wrote a very nice piece about my recent participation in Arctic ONE's triathlon down at Dorney Lake, Eton.

Of course the article is centred around me and what I have achieved, however I couldn't have done this without some very special people helping me along the way. I have been supported by Pace from very early on in my cycling adventures. We have a great relationship and this has moved on to become more of a relaxed friendship. What I like about Pace is that they take the time to listen, if I have ideas or suggestions they don't write it off and they do everything they can to encourage me, rather than being negative which I have found a lot of as an amputee.

Another huge influence on what I have gone on to do is through the use of my BTK or Bartlett Tendon Knee. Again without Brian Bartlett's backing and support I would hate to think of where I would be now. As an ordinary guy who didn't lose his leg through and accident and I wasn't in the military well funding such expensive prosthetics would have been very difficult. I realise just how lucky I am to have had the support of people and clinics like Brian and Pace. Though I would say to anyone, you can make things happen if you want them bad enough. I did. If your positive and determined in time will shine through, of course you still have to take the knocks and put in a lot of hard work

More recently, maybe because of what I was doing or involved in. Or just because I put myself out there, Arctic ONE came along and agreed to help me fund raise towards a running prosthesis. This is a huge help and one that will not go unrewarded in return. My aim or goal after learning to run of course is to try and return all these peoples kindness and go on to help other people in similar situations to myself.

The Challenged Athletes Foundation accepted my application for a running blade and I got notification in April of this year. I now have until the 31st December to make my dream come true as that is when my grant runs out. So that's why I have been hard at work trying to fund raise and take part in various Arctic ONE events.

Anyhoo on to the Article and if you feel you would like to help either myself or Arctic ONE here is the link.

Virgin Money Just Giving Glenn


Pace Rehab Glenn-Johnstone-Triathlon-ArcticONE

Monday, 8 September 2014

Thanks Michelle for treating us to a fantastic Bush crafting experience.

Quite sometime ago my friend Michelle bought Lee (Michelle's husband), our friend John and I a lovely surprise gift. It was a days taster course on Bushcrafting. This is where you learn to use skills in order to set up a camp. Things like making, constructing and putting up shelters, how to light and make a fire and one of the most important things how to obtain safe drinking water from different sources.

Well yesterday was the pre-arranged day for our Bushcrafting adventure. John had decided he didn't fancy going, which was a shame as we had a fantastic day and learnt lots, even though we only had a short period of time with the instructors. So rather than just waste the place our friend Al jumped at the opportunity to come along and expand his knowledge of playing in the great outdoors.

Al and Lee at Kirkley Hall

Lee called for me around 8:30AM and we had a lovely leisurely drive up to Kirkley Hall, which is in Ponteland. There we met Al and had a few moments to have a chat and also meet some other adventurers as we waited. After a little time had passed we figured we must be in the wrong area as time was getting on and we hadn't really seen anyone else. So we asked this very friendly lady just where abouts the Bush-craft course people may be.The lady directed us down through the car park and towards the woods and there we found a larger group of people and some of the instructors, Ron and Margaret.

Ron and Margaret gathered a few details from all of the group and explained a little about how the course would be ran and then we were off walking down an incline and some steps and into the woods, all very scenic.


Once in the woods there were cups of tea and coffee available and we where introduced to a few more instructors who were going to be helping with the Bushcrafting activities. There was Steve and Ron's son Alex.  The group of people attending the day was quite large so we were split into 3 groups of 7. This was great as it gave us all a chance to meet new people and really enjoy our successes and of course all have a laugh at our failings, of which I have to say there were few. Ron decided we should give our individual groups, names based on Indian themes. This is because he particularly likes the history of the Native American Indians, their use of the land and the tools and weapons they chose to use all those years ago. Ron is very much into archery, knife throwing and the use of a tomahawk and he has passed this passion down to his son Alex. The names of the tribes each group came up with were The Mow-hawks, The big Wood Tribe and the tribe I was in was called the Running Stream.


Each tribe then set off with an instructor to learn about different aspects of Bush-crafting. Our Tribe Running Stream, got Steve firstly as our instructor. We were to learn about shelters. Steve did an excellent job of testing our knowledge and then going on to explain how and why each shelter was made in a different way. Steve showed us an array of different knots, taking time to go over each one and if anyone got stuck helping out and offering top tips. It was a really good exercise in both team building and gaining valuable knowledge of how to construct a basic shelter within minutes. Top marks to Steve he was awesome, and like all the instructors on the day very likeable and easy to get along with.

We all thanked Steve and then broke for lunch. I decided to opt for a nice cup of coffee to go with my pre-prepared Nutella and carved chicken baby bread, fruit loaf sandwiches. It was great just sitting around the camp fire sharing stories and experiences with everyone. Me well I seem to talk more than most, in fact it's something I'm becoming increasingly aware of and at times I feel I should reign myself in. I don't know if it's because I'm getting overly confident these days or the opposite I'm quite afraid so I just waffle on about anything or nothing in particular. For those who know me I can't win as if I'm quiet I'm in a huff or sulking and when I'm chatting all the time I must be annoying. It's weird what you think of when your just typing away lol.


Lee checking for a saggy bottom
Lee chuffed his bottom isn't sagging
  After lunch we set off with Alex,who was going to teach us all about fires,. The best materials and tools to use to create a fire. Firstly Alex showed us what small kindling we would need to collect in order to get our fire going. We were asked to head off into the woods and collect 2 bundles of kindling each. Fine pine tree branches work best as they ignite well and the sap within the branches helps the fire burn. On our return Alex asked us all to take a seat and he meticulously went through various tinder's, how to make or prepare them and different methods of igniting a fire. We got to practice with fire steels as well as a metal striker and traditional flint. Then there was the old fashioned playground method of igniting a piece of Charred cotton, using a magnifying glass and the rays of the sun, Alex even used an old 9 volt battery and some wire wool in his demonstration. After Alex's demonstration we all got the opportunity to practice making our own fire, using a firesteel and a small amount of cotton wool which we rubbed Vaseline into. This makes for a great method of starting a fire and is very easy. Before long we all had fires of varying size and were all pretty proud of ourselves. Alex did a great job of teaching us all, he took time to answer our questions all the while making the exercise fun, informative and safe. Again top marks.

 
Ho Ho I have created Fire!
Al got well into it so
Blow Al Blow
Lee and Alex




Having a chat around the camp fires

Our next exercise was in water filtration and this was led by Ron.  As many of you will know water is very heavy when your attempting to carry it. I know a great deal of my overall back pack or Bike Bag Dude Frame bag weight is in carrying 3 litres of water, so being able to source water if or when you are on a long trip is a valuable piece of knowledge. I found this part of the course very interesting indeed. Ron went through lots of different ways in which we could source water and then the dangers of drinking from certain places, how we could utilise both natural and man made items such as reeds, socks, denim jeans,bottles, polythene bags, charcoal, sand and the list goes on, all to help make filtration devices to make the water safe for drinking or in order to collect safe drinking water.. More very useful information and definitely something I think we can and will put into practice as we plan for our adventure next year. 

Finally we joined up with Margaret who had a real treat in store for us. We were going to make Bannock Bread. Margaret handed us the ingredients and the small mixing bowls. It was my job to mix up the stuff for Lee Al and myself. I commented that the bread would be nice with raisins and Margaret just happened to have some, as well as some cinnamon, so I popped these in. Once mixed I attached the dough to a stick and spread it out evenly and Lee baked the bread over the open fire. it only took around 10 to 15 minutes and when done the bread tasted amazing.

Making Bannock Bread Mmmmmm!
"What are you boys doing!"
Lee giving the sign of his approval
 Wow the day had gone so quick and we had all thoroughly enjoyed it. This was just what they call a taster session, obviously you couldn't learn everything in one day. I have to say though I learnt so much in that short space of time and the guys over at Taught in the Woods  were all simply fantastic, so a huge thank you to Ron,Alex, Margaret and Steve. If your into the great outdoors I can't recommend doing something like this enough.

In ending a Huge thank you to Michelle for arranging the day out, we all had an awesome day. I will be giving you a huge hug and a few kisses when I see you next xXx