Monday, 10 October 2016

A few days away with Claire

It has been sometime since I last blogged, however rest assured I am still around. Quite a lot of stuff being going on, however quite a bit of it negative and that is most certainly not what I am about so took a bit of a time out. I mean we all have enough negativity without reading about someone else's right.

Anyhoo this blog is going to be relatively short, mainly because I am just back from a 5 hour drive from visiting Scotland and Oban with Claire my partner in crime. Claire had been telling me that she would love to visit Scotland and go to see Fingal's Cave. So I took a week off work and found us accommodation for 3 nights at The Lagnakeil Highland Lodges. I then booked us a 3 Island Tour, which took in Mull, Staffa and Iona. Fingal's Cave been situated on Staffa.
Claire and I at Fingal's Cave


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

"Do not judge me by my success. Judge me by how many times I fall down and get back up again"

I have enjoyed my few days off it has given me a chance to get out and do a spot of riding and even get out on my blade and try and get the hang of this thing they call running. Where I am concerned I am not so sure it would be classed as running as Omg! I am all over the place.

Anyhoo this morning I got up went straight downstairs after getting dressed of course, skipped breakfast and popped my Challenged Athletes / Arctic ONE running limb on. A quick bit tinker with the Pace Rehabilitation supplied socket to make sure I had it on correct and I had a little bit bounce around the house. I then grabbed my car keys and headed off over the Millennium Green in Tango. I figured the ground shouldn't be too boggy over the field and I could see how the new check socket my prosthetist Paul Richardson from Pace had designed was preforming and feeling.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Bath Tub Loop 3 times

Due to socket issues, my everyday limb is killing me I haven't been out and about as much. Yes you can always tell with me when things are not so good as my blog kind of gets left on the sidelines.

Well today even though I am sporting a nasty bruised and sore sensitive area I thought enough of sitting around. You see I am on 3 days hols and there is nothing I hate more than sitting around when I am off, it is just so depressing. I hate being inactive.

At the moment I am in check socket phase with Pace Rehabilitation on both my Bartlett Tendon and Arctic ONE/ Challenged Athletes running blade. I have just lost loads off my little leg since chemotherapy last year, going down from a 34cm liner to a 30cm. Man it's tough when nothing fits, but hey ho, hopefully if I can manage not to get too sore before my new NHS check socket is complete I might be able to get out and ride and practice a spot of running, which I have to add is horrendous at the moment.

Possibly the oldest Cobbles In South Moor
Anyhoo back to today. I have been riding over on Chapman's Wells for years now, it is one of my favourite places as it is local and pretty quiet. Of late I have been riding over and depending on which way I go it is anything from 1.7 to 3 miles away. From there I do a nice little 1.7 mile loop, which is all off road apart from one tiny section. It's a canny loop for building up my fitness as it ends in quite a steep off road section. I enjoy changing things up to test myself and stop from getting bored, so on some occasions I will see how quick I can do the loop and then on others I will complete the loop in one gear, then on the next time round increase to a harder gear for the climb.

Through Glass Wood

Possibly Oldest path in South Moor
In between all this I also fool around and try to get a few snaps. I rode something like 15 miles today I know not epic, however like I say I am sore. Once home a quick rub down and I popped on my running blade and tried a little bit of jogging up and down the street.

Out on the Pyga after having wheels sorted, keep breaking spokes

I am really finding it hard to motivate myself at the moment. I just think it's a bit of a domino effect. Lots of little things all coming at once, which inevitably end up having a big impact on my overall wellbeing.

This is for my good friend Mark Peterson, yes I almost fell off LoL
Bath Tub Loop I named it myself
Maybe a new bike is what is needed LoL

Mondraker Crafty RR 27.5+

Been wanting to visit here for Ages

I have always had a natural curiosity. So books such as Dan Brown's  TheDa Vinci Code and the accompanying movie plus documentaries such as The Curse of Oak Island really capture my imagination. I quite enjoy history particularly when there is a conspiracy involved in the retelling of any story.

As my Blog titles says for this current blog I have 'been wanting to visit here for Ages' the place in question was Rosslyn Chapel, which is in Midlothian in Scotland. The chapel features in both Dan Brown's book and subsequent movie and also in the documentary series The Curse of Oak Island.

Rosslyn Chapel
As this was a special adventure I wanted to take someone special along with me. After all memories shared with someone special make the occasion that more...well memorable. I have been informed by that special someone I am not allowed to blog about her as she is shy, so no pics of her.

During the week I arranged our overnight stay for the Saturday night at a absolutely fantastic B&B. This was Ivory House in Gorebridge. Both Jack and Barbara the owners were so warm and friendly and the accommodation was excellent. Jack was so helpful, drawing me a map of how to take a short cut to Rosslyn Chapel and also giving us a bit of local history about Rosslyn Castle. To be honest I wasn't even aware of the castle , but so glad we got the opportunity to go and see it as upon 
re- watching the Da Vinci Code again I saw exactly where we had been and where parts of the movie had been filmed.
Rosslyn Castle and Bridge
Remaining parts of Castle wall
Part of the remaining castle
The journey up to Scotland should have been straight forward on Saturday afternoon, but me being me, combined with Tango (my Smart Car) and her Sat Nav well I took at least 3 wrong turns. In a way not to bothered as we got to the B&B, yes a little later than expected, however we did take a marvellous scenic route. Could I dive that way again, 'errrr No'. After meeting Jack (Barbara was away at Sunderland Air Show) and getting settled in, Jack recommended a place to go for a bite to eat. It was called the  Coronation Inn. Jack even rang ahead and booked us a table, then proceeded to give me directions. The Coronation Inn being in walking distance. Once there we enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous meal and a few drinks before heading back to Ivory House all excited about the following day.

On Sunday we were up and down stairs for 9am. Jack had prepared us a beautiful breakfast, consisting of things like breakfast Haggis, black pudding, sausages,bacon and eggs, mushroom and tomatoes. We had a lovely relaxed morning, before grabbing our gear as well as the map Jack had drawn, paying our bill and saying our farewells, promising to return another time , which I hope we can do as I really enjoyed our stay. Jack was telling me Peebles and Glentress is not to far away so it may be an opportunity to rent his cottage and get some riding in at Glentress. We had fully planned on visiting Glentress forest to be honest but the day just got away from us.

Tree growing through wall

Pictures from nearby grave yard

The ride to Roslin took no time at all and soon we saw the sign for Rosslyn Chapel. As the Chapel did not open until 12 noon, it gave us enough time to have a scout about and have a look at Roslyn Castle and the small bridge. Jack told us the Castle is on a rock precipice, there is a small bridge which allows you to cross a 120 feet ravine. When the English under Oliver Cromwell (I think Jack said) tried to invade the castle they were caught on the bridge as it forms a 'V' at each end, making the bridge very narrow in the middle. The Scots piked the English soldiers over the low walled bridge. Rosslyn Chapel at one point was used to house the enemies horses. The Chapel dates back to 1447 I believe.


After visiting the Castle and grave yard we went to pay to get into Rosslyn, there was quite a queue. We noticed almost everyone was speaking different languages, French, Spanish and Italian. It is no wonder as Rosslyn just holds so much history and once in and you see the building itself, well it is amazing. It was a lot smaller than I imagined. Actually William Sinclair died I think 38 years after work began and his son did not complete the Chapel to his fathers design. if he had it would have been a lot bigger and in the shape of a cross. That said what was constructed is a masterpiece. If you think the outside is amazing, the inside which you are not allowed to take photographs of which I wasn't really aware of until I got there is absolutely incredible. Obviously gutted I couldn't get a few snaps of the inside. Things like the 'Green Man'.  I cannot possibly describe the detail. I mean yes over the centuries things have worn and decayed. Wow what it must have been like when first completed and everything was sharp and detailed. There is just so much going on in that little chapel. The crypt with it's very steep stone steps has a weird feeling to it. I would like to think just like in Dan Brown's book or as mentioned in The Curse of Oak Island there are lots of secrets built into the walls. Some of the designs picture fruit and flowers that were never indigenous to mainland Britain for instance. Rosslyn was built approx 100 years before the 'New World' was discovered by Christopher Columbus. So does that mean Ancestors from the Sinclair family travelled by sea to far off shores and discovered the fruit and flowers some 100 years earlier then depicted these items in their workmanship.

We spent 2 hours there and that was not nearly enough to take it all in or describe the half of it to you. During our visit a lovely young lady, who I think was French began a talk about the history of the Chapel. From it's creation to present day. Wow if those walls could talk.

So much going on in the architecture it's difficult to take it all in.

So many features to this building
Some sort of monument to side of Chapel
Even doorways are interesting with stonework

Engraved in Monument outside
Attention to detail is mind blowing
One of the Gargoyles

All in all a lovely weekend. I got to go somewhere on my to do list and as an added bonus I have someone special to recount a wonderful memory with. Now then what to do next weekend Lol

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Ooh a few prezzies from my friend Natalie

A few weeks back my friend Natalie from work, quite out the blue said 'Oh I have a surprise for you Glenn'. 'Mmmm whatever could it be I thought' Natalie then went on to explain that she is a reviewer for Amazon and as such gets items to test and use and offer feedback. Well thinking of me Nat had offered to review an after market Zookki Accessories Bundle kit for the GoPro. As you can see from the link the kit comprised of quite a few handy accessories.

Small Kookki Kit
I meant to test the kit asap, however what with one thing and another I just have not had time. Anyhoo last week Nat sent me a txt saying 'Oh I have received another accessory kit would you like it, this one comes in a case and has more stuff'. Well you can never have enough Gopro mounts and gadgetry so of course I said yes.

So today after leading my voluntary walk group over at South Moor I came home and decided it's a nice day I may as well take a few pics and see what these accessories are like and write a sort of mini review. I thought I'd write about the second kit I got from Nat the Kookki Essential Ultimate Bundle as it's the bigger of the kits and comes with what is essentially in the smaller kit, however with obviously that bit more in ways of mounts,stickers and a few more accessories. You can see the whole bundle by following the link above.
Kookki Caseand Kit
Large Kookki Kit
Ok so the Kookii Ultimate Bundle comes complete in a nice zipped case. The case is supplied with a type of velvet bag with draw cords and has the Kookki logo on the front. All your accessories can be found inside the case (again check the link at Amazon to see the complete listing of equipment). First impressions are good. I did find on a few of the mounts my GoPro Hero 4 protective case took a bit of coaxing into place. Non of the plastic accessories cracked or snapped and I think once the threaded bolts have been popped in and out a few times things will become a lot easier.

The Kookki chest mount was just as good as the original GoPro one I have. It has the same adjustment and felt nice and comfy and secure.
Kokki Chest Mount, thumbs Up
If I am giving an honest review I would say one of the things I am most disappointed in was the selfie stick. Whilst it has great attachment and can be manipulated into many angles, where Kookki have gone wrong is in making it like an extendible Ariel. You see the GoPro will not sit on the top of the stick as it turns and always rotates to the bottom. I also found the adjustable bracket supplied to be flimsy, so when attached to my bike it bounced all over and I don't think it would last long if encountering any bumps. On a positive note I did find the bracket and stick really useful for getting unusual shots by clamping the bracket to railings or tree branches. This means you can do ride bys and film yourself from different and interesting angles.

I'm not good with a selfie stick
Selfie stick and bracket work well in trees
Stick and bracket great for popping on railings
Nice ride by shots, easy to attach bracket
Attached in a tree
Great for ride in and ride out positions
Another bit of kit I really like and forgot to use was the wrist strap. I figure the wrist strap could also be used as a back back mount and if you take out the thinner strap and mount, you could use it as a helmet strap.

Another neat accessory is the suction cup mount. Ideal if you want to fasten your GoPro to your car. I may get Ern to do this and do a drive by whilst out on my roadie lol.

All in all as an after market kit this Kookki one is not a bad buy. It has loads of mounts for your GoPro, along with threaded bolts, sticky pads and extensions, so that you can adjust the position of your camera so that you can capture that perfect angle. I don't know about you but I am always loosing bits and bobs whilst out mountain biking. Now I can just go to my Kookki case and grab and lay my hands on the ideal accessory for the job.

Thanks Nat x

Monday, 23 May 2016

Bored tonight so been Tiggering with Baxter

I was especially bored tonight so whilst listening to music on the TV I thought I would try my running blade on and see if my old check socket kind of fit.

I haven't ran in probably a year as my chemotherapy last year put a temporary hold on my goals and aspirations. I am now awaiting to have a new check socket made with Paul Richardson my prosthetist over at Pace Rehabilitation and then hopefully I can concentrate on getting my technique and much needed fitness back on track. Running is so far the hardest thing I have attempted as an amputee. Not so much the whole motion of the prosthesis, no more that I'm a relatively old fart and my cardio sucks lol.

Anyhoo tonight I as I say I popped my running blade on and me and the Baxter had a little bounce around our sitting room, hence the 'Tiggering'.

Phewwww! a few minutes of bouncing and I had a sweat on, but it was quite a laugh and we both had a bit of fun.

Ooh I also got to try my new GoPro out. GoPro were fantastic when I reported the problem I was having with my camera. Even though it was 2 years old and out of warranty they replaced my camera with a new one and it looks like it is working great, so very happy.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Out for a bimble with John

I am feeling quite energetic at the moment so when John got in touch to say 'hey do you fancy a short ride out this afters' my reply was 'yeah can do'. 

I am not quite back in my regular routine of riding, truth be known I am just enjoying going out when I fee like it and the days I do not instead of beating myself up for being lazy I now think of them as days where I recharge my batteries and can just chill. Life does not have to be a continuous fight against ones self. I have learnt I have nothing to prove either to anyone else or more importantly to myself. It is good just been 'Me' and having fun doing it.

This week I have ventured out on my road bike for the first time this year. I completed just over 11 miles and I really enjoyed it. Normally I do not like riding the roadie. It quite often feels uncomfortable and well I hate all the plonkers in cars who cut you up. My biggest 'Not Like' is turning right, especially if it's on the approach to a hill. Drivers just don't give you time and I feel really vulnerable.

I also went for a swim this week. I did a nice warm up, then practiced swimming 400metres at my race pace. I am trying to get as fit as possible for when I attend Arctic ONE's Tri-festival on the 30th May down a Eton and Dorney Lake. Gutted I cannot run again this year, but I still have not got my running blade sorted following my chemo and going up and down in volume. Next priority is to get in touch with Paul at Pace Rehabilitation and spend a couple of days being measured,cast and fitted for a new socket. I can then hopefully go on to get a final socket which will enable me to start training and re-learning to run.

Anyhoo back to today, John came down just after 2:20pm and we set off on one of our regular routes. Along the Font to Craghead and up past the Wind Turbines. We then went to one of my favourite haunts, Chapman's Wells and once out of the nature reserve had a quick chat where to go next. I suggested heading towards Burnhope and taking the other back road past the other Wind Turbine Farm. Going this way meant we came out at Sacriston. It was cold up on the tops as the wind seemed to pick up and the sun vanished behind a big dark cloud. Not to worry I had packed my base layer so popped it on. As we rode along passing the trees on our leftside I got my eye on some rather pretty looking flowers. I decided to take a few pics and as normal ended up getting nettled. This means I will be itching for days to come as it always has a lasting effect on me lol.

The Old Girl
Before heading down past the scrap yards at Sacriston, John and I passed a number of fields with sheep and their new born lambs. I got my eye on this cute little fellow and was amazed when I made a 'Baa Baa' sound and 2 of the  lambs came right over to the fence. Awww the little black friendly one was so cute but he/she had a poorly eye. It seemed happy enough though and had John and I bad laughing when it did a little lamb spring as it ran away. It was bouncing all over.
Awww bless this friendly lamb had a poorly eye
Out on the Old Girl

Not a bad day got a bit chilly on the tops

John admiring the view
My Old Bern Lid, phewww it was hot with this on

As we went down into Sacriston I got my eye on a back trail around the back of the houses. So John and I turned around and we ventured along the trail until we came to this fantastic wooded area. We have not been here before and the riding was fun and very scenic. I love being out on new trails exploring and it just shows you do not always have to go far from home.

Discovering new trails
 John and I had a bit explore around and eventually after riding up the hill then going all the way down we came to a dead end and a fence blocking our path. We then had to climb back up and discovered another fence, this one electrified  with a warning sign on a post. As we pushed our bikes up one particular dodgy bit of trail which was un-rideable John noticed a Bumble Bee just sitting on the fence post. On closer inspection the little fellow just looked knackered so I thought it would be a good idea to give him/her some Lucozade and offer some words of reassurance and encouragement. Not sure if this worked but the Bee began moving, it then fell of the post and I went to try and catch it on a leaf, when John shouts out 'Dude that fence is electrified'...Oh Crap I had forgot about that. John's a good mate as if it had been me I wouldn't have said anything as I think it would have been quite funny to see him get a 'zap'

Poor Little Bee

Come on dude you can do it
We then rode along to Edmondsley and down Edmondsley bank 'Wheeeee'. When I got o the bottom and went to change gear I discovered my front mech was not working. On closer inspection I saw that the tensioner for my gear cable has snapped off at the rivets, this is on my Carbon Ibis Mojo. I think it's a relatively easy fix so will get Ern on the job.

From Edmondsley it was a nice ride to Blackhouse and then along and up to come through Craghead again and then home.