Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Rain,Fun and a complete Cock!

  Once upon at time there was this geet old miserable twat...But hey we will get to that bit later on...

Just lately I never seem to have a minute to myself, don't get me wrong I'm not complaining, it just takes a lot of getting used to. Going from being ill for all those years and basically doing nothing everyday then getting up and knowing I had the same to look forward to the next day, then the next and so on. I suppose in a way it's the same for the majority of people who are unemployed, no money to do anything,depressed and frustrated. My friend John is out of work and I sometimes see his frustrations and how he doesn't like taking anything from me, for instance if I treat him to a McDonald's or buy a gear cable for his bike. I tell John "that's what friends are for" to help you out when your struggling, give you a bit of morale support and tell you everything will work itself out. You can't buy proper friendship and hey money is made to go around.

My m8 John

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Challenged Athletes Approved and supported by Arctic one I'm a happy bunny

Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF)

Arctic One

                     Sometime ago I applied for funding for a running blade from an organisation called The Challenged Athletes Foundation. I decided to approach CAF on the advice of Scott Clark a prosthetist who works at Baker Orthotics and prosthetics in Dallas Fort Worth TX. I had been introduced to Scott via my good friend Shannon who receives treatment at their clinic.
So pretty much as soon as I got home from my trip I approached two people I really respect and admire to see if they would be willing to support me and write me a couple of good references.  Both my boss at work, Dan and Toby who has been my prosthetist at Pace Rehabilitation for some time now didn’t let me down and wrote me two of the most fantastic references, which really blew me away. Thanks guys for your support.

Probably a week or so after I had completed the online application to CAF I received a very nice email from one of CAF’s representatives. It went on to explain that unfortunately CAF couldn’t support my application as they didn’t fund International athletes at the moment. I was gutted, and informed both Dan and Toby thanking them very much for their support in being referee’s for me and their time in writing such glowing references. And so yet another “road block”. This isn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last, yeah it does knock you back, however you just have to find something else to do or keep on trying, knocking on people’s doors so to speak.

A good month or so past and after I came in from work one day I was checking through my mails when I noticed I had one from Toby, entitled CAF and appt 11/4/14. I opened the mail and was very surprised and excited to read that Toby had gotten an email from CAF saying that I had actually been approved for a running blade. The blade being an Ossur Flex Run. WoW, awesome. I immediately mailed Toby back as I was so excited.

This is fantastic news for me as I have wanted to try and run for some time. Different people have said things like “Oh it’s really hard as an above knee”, or “it takes a lot of commitment” I totally understand this, however think everything I have done so far since having my amputation and of course being ill since 1995 has been a commitment. Some people climb Everest, or head off to really cold uninhabitable areas on expeditions and then there are other people whose biggest goal in life would be to walk 10 steps after suffering illness. I guess what I’m saying is this is a personal challenge for me. I know I’m not going to break any records, other than the ones I set myself, but I do think everyone should at least have the chance to be the best they can be. Unfortunately this isn’t always possible and I realise just how fortunate I have been to have had absolutely amazing support throughout the years, from people all over the world, whether that be words of support, friendly advice or indeed being sponsored on new pieces of technology and great design ideas.

And so this new path in my life is starting to evolve. There is lots of hard work to do as at the moment all I will have is basically is a foot, and well that in itself isn’t much good without the rest of the components to make it into a full running prosthesis.

Toby suggested it would be a good idea to contact a lovely gentleman named Matt Kirby who may be able to help with fund-raising ideas and also help me in gaining the required funds necessary to get me fitted up with a complete running set-up.Matt is the founder of the charity Arctic One. Arctic One was launched in November 2011 to coincide with Matt running the Antarctic Half marathon. And the Arctic one Foundation – Get involved, became a charity in its own right in October 2012.

I corresponded with Matt a few time via email, then we arranged a chat on the phone. To be honest it wasn’t the first time I had spoken to Matt. As I recall he had rang me around Christmas time about getting involved with Arctic One and at that time I was off to a works Christmas party so couldn’t talk. We then both just didn’t get around to getting back in touch. It’s sometimes funny how things turn out as if we are following some pre-destined path. Anyhoo Matt rang as he promised and I knew immediately that we would get along. Matt has this real passion when he talks and he comes across as being very supportive. One of the questions Matt asked was “are you sure you are committed to this”. I’ll be honest and quite often doubt myself. I hope I don’t come across as being big headed, however many people contact me through social media or read my blog and comment on how inspirational I am. Although I accept the lovely comments and I am very grateful I don’t see it as anything other than getting on with life and doing what I want to do. So again being honest yeah I’m a little scared in case I fail, however I’m also pretty damned stubborn or call it determined.
As I chatted with Matt and then on another occasion with both Matt and Bex Stubbings who is another of Arctic One’s trustees I agreed to join forces with them. Letting both Matt and Bex know that my aim was to increase more awareness where I live up in the North East. I have strong feelings that not enough is available here in our region and if by helping support Arctic One and Arctic One in turn supporting me, then may be hand in hand we can help create more opportunities and input for people in the North East.

So down to fund raising and idea’s, wow it’s tough as just about everyone appears to be doing something, whether that’s zip lining off a bridge, or parachuting out of a plane. Matt and Bex have suggested I take part in a triathlon.” Mmmm”  I thought, “yeah why not”. It will be a first for me, something that both excites me and scares the pants off me. I’m not entirely sure how I will complete the running section as I can’t manage much more than a steady walk with my current NHS limb, however I’m willing to give it a go.

Last week I headed to my local swimming pool, Derwentside Leisure Centre I think it’s called, my friend John in tow. Boy was I nervous, this was the first proper swim I was about to have since having my leg off. I can honestly say the last time I swam other than a quick paddle in a pool whilst on my holidays last year was around 2 decades ago. I hate being on my crutches as I feel totally disabled, but no good being a wimp I’m on a mission now which I have chosen to accept. I don’t want to turn up at some lake and drown after all. I was very proud of my first swimming session, yeah it was a lot harder than I expected or imagined, however I managed 30 x 25 meter lengths, taking a few short stops and breaths.

On Thursday a pretty big box arrived for me, along with a thick envelope. Upon opening the box I found a couple of Arctic One mugs, water bottles, and two beanies. The envelope contained all the bumf relating to Arctic One, their goals, objectives and mission, also what events where going to be taking place.

Arctic One stuff has arrived
My Arctic One Gift Box

 And so I need to get myself in shape for August when I will be taking part in a triathlon and trying to raise as much awareness as I can as well as much needed funds. I’m hoping to do this through the use of my Facebook Group, Facebook Amputee’s and of course my blog, you the reader and my family, friends and work colleagues. 

At some point I would also like to come up with an idea to fund raise myself and will do this on behalf of Arctic One. Why fund raise for Arctic One you may ask when there are so many other worthy charities. Well simple really, for me Arctic One encapsulates a few things that are close to my heart. The fact that the charity isn’t all about raising money, it’s not all about elite athletes, it’s about ordinary folk of all abilities getting involved and active in the community (something I would like to see within the North East as I have mentioned) Introducing people to new sporting opportunities, regardless of ability. 

Arctic One also aim to support projects that contribute to cancer, in terms of research, treatment and cure and so this to hits a cord with me as I have a kind of cloud that can overshadow certain days if I allow it, in my Lymphoma.

Really it’s about making a difference, whether you are able bodied or disabled and I like this ethos.

So I am very proud to announce my involvement with Arctic One and you will be reading lots more blogs of my adventures involving them.

Oh and if anyone would like to leave comments on fund raising ideas, that would be much appreciated and totally awesome.



I have to get myself one of those

If you have been keeping up with my adventures you will know that I was off bike packing with my two friends John and Lee. Well after we arrived at the camp site and had pitched our tents we decided to head to a local pub for a nice cool pint and some grub. We where there until oh I don't know 8:00 pm and as we left the pub it was starting to set in a bit darker. I hadn't brought any lights with me (I usually have my Blackburn Flea's in my pack, though not happy with my front Flea as it's not retaining it's charge) As I didn't have any light's Lee rode at the back of our small convoy, with John up front and me in the middle. As we neared the camp site Lee sped ahead looking forward to his pasta and as he did so I noticed his back light. Dear me it was like a mini sun, all be it red lol. I shouted out "hey what kind of rear light is that" to which he replied "a Moon". Ok I have to get myself one of those I thought.

And so after perusing Google and finding the lowest price I could, £29.00 or so I waited for my new light to arrive. Well it came today and I have to say I'm well impressed. In fact I'm struggling to type up this blog as I have just blinded myself with my new light...I had a flash back of earlier days and the Movie Gremlins "Bright Light! Bright Light!". There is definitely no way I should ever get rear ended with this, well not unless the driver is blinded and runs over me.

I like the different modes, though the intense flashy one makes me feel like I am going to have a fit and the nice easy attachment is great,a sturdy clip and rubber strap. Makes it easy to pop on and off when needed. The light isn't mega big either so doesn't look out of place on your ride.

Here's some techy stuff and a video that doesn't really do the light any justice, it's sooooo bright! LoL

The Moon Shield 60 Rear Light gives out 60 Lumens which will be sure to get you seen. The high performance 3.7V Lithium polymer battery will give you a battery life of up to 7 hours and has got 5 different modes. The Shield is also usb (usb included) reachable which makes it quick and easy charge up by plugging in to your computer and has a charge time of 2 hours. it also features a low battery indicator which will come on when there is 1/2 battery left. The shield is easily attached to you Handel bars or seat post with the tool free mount that makes it quick and easy to take on and off your bike it is also vertically adjustable to get the right angle for maximum visibility.
up to 5 hours 40 minuets - 20 lumen - standard
up to 3 hours 50 minuets- 40 lumen - high
up to 2 hours 30 minuets - 60 lumen - over drive
up to 7 hours - 40 lumen - strobe
up to 7 hours - 40 lumen - flashing

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

There and a bit of the way back - The Good the Bad and the Scummy

Ever since my birthday I've had a bit of an upset tummy. I wasn't sure whether it was something I had ate, or as my usual getting stressed about nothing in particular.

On Thursday, at least I think it was  Thursday (my memory is shocking) yeah it was Thursday as I have just texted John who was with me, we went to visit our new friend Lee and his lovely wife Michelle. Michelle had contacted us on Facebook saying she was going to prepare a nice home cooked meal and I mean who can refuse that. Not only that we were heading over to discuss plans with Lee about going bike packing on Saturday, staying over Saturday night, then returning sometime on Sunday. Lee is quite clued up on the local area and he knew of a decent ride which ended with a good camp site.

As usual I left everything until last minute and found myself with John and Ern at Go Outdoors trying to pick a tent which I could quite easily pop on my bike. WoW it was more difficult than I though, so many tents to choose from and then when I did eventually figure out which one I wanted they didn't have it in stock, so I spent the best part of another half an hour trying to find one I liked. Sods law really I should have just opted for the very first one I saw in the entrance to the shop as that is the one I eventually bought. The one I got was a Vango Tempest 200,it's a 2 man and not a bad little tent for £90...Not that I know much about tents, other than they are held up mostly with stick type thingy's and bits of rope.

Once at Lee's we discussed where we would be going, had a cracking lasagne, thank you Michelle and watched a few of Lee's home bike movies which were very entertaining. Lee appears to have a more professional approach to making his video's where as I just fudge stuff together and hope for the best lol.

Oh I better warn you now, this could be quite an epic tale so if you would like to head off for a cuppa and some biscuits I'll still be here when you get back.

As the Title says "There and a bit of the way back" and  "The Good  the Bad and the Scummy. well lets start with the good huh?

Saturday morning arrives I've been feeling ill all of Friday and only had a few hours sleep. Both John and Lee were proper decent and said "hey if you don't feel up to it no probs, we can always do it another day/weekend". Sod that I thought I've just spent £90 on a tent. Maybe I'll feel better once I'm riding. So I messaged back saying that  "we are still on".

Again Mr Unprepared I set about figuring out what I thought I would need, after all John and I didn't have to be over Lee's until 12 midday. This is when it became apparent that this camping and carrying all your own gear is quite a task in itself. I had a few goes at packing various things then came to the conclusion it's never going to all fit. After sometime I managed to get everything I was going to take squared away...Jeez my bike was like a laden mule and after I added 2 litres of water to my backpack it felt decidedly heavy. I'm just pleased I had my Bike Bag Dude frame bag as without this I would have been stumped. I was able to pop various things in this handy bag, everything from my GoPro to a few banana's and my bobbly hat.

John arrived around 11'ish, carrying his gear and we had a few minor adjustments of each of our bikes and gear before heading over to meet Lee at his house.

On arrival at Lee's we were greeted by both Lee and Michelle and proceeded to make final checks, get a few photo's taken and Michelle took a little video of us all leaving so that Lee could use it in his video that he was going to shoot.

John,Lee and Myself

Friday, 18 April 2014

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me...

Birthday McMuff
Another year older...I'm now at the age where I try to keep my birthday a closely guarded secret...awww crap another Fail!  Saying that I have to admit this birthday has been quite enjoyable. Maybe it's because I have lots more supportive friends who I enjoy spending time with and who in turn give me the kick up the arse I sometimes need in order to get me into action. Maybe it's because I'm a lot happier in myself as things are pretty tickety boo at the moment (well apart from this dam blog thingy going from my chosen text Verdana to something completely different as I type Grrrrr...Bloody just stop on Verdana)  Oops sorry side tracked there...Omg why is it doing that... Focus Glenn, Focus.

Monday, 14 April 2014

An old friend I had yet to meet...

Isn't it strange the power of the internet. Almost all of us are connected to a world which has become increasingly smaller thanks to the World Wide Web.

This adventure started many years ago as I recall, when I had the pleasure of becoming Mick's acquaintance on-line, through some amputee group or another. To be honest both Mick and myself can't recall just how long we have known one another or when we first started chatting on the internet in various groups/ forums etc. It's been a while, Mick has followed my progress, joining my Facebook Amputee's group and also becoming a follower of this here blog, oh and not to mention just recently as I started up a new forum called It's Gone Move On and offering great support there.

So anyhoo I noticed Mick had posted on my forum about his passion for getting out doors and going for a jolly good walk throughout various parts of our beautiful countryside. He had asked me to join him on an outing sometime ago. And though I had initially agreed it was at a time when I was having real bad socket issues, so we had to put our meeting and outing on hold. Well like most things it just got forgotten about and though we saw each other posting from time to time, well it just didn't happen.

As I saw Mick posting a little more about how much he enjoys his own adventures I thought I'd contact him and try and arrange to meet him and head out somewhere. Well this finally happened yesterday.

Mick standing under Coe Cragg

Friday, 11 April 2014

OMG! I think I've broke my bot...

    John had asked me earlier in the week did I fancy a look out and did I know of anywhere to ride that maybe interesting. I told him yeah I wouldn't mind having a ride out, however I was really running out of places to go locally that quirked my curiosity. Although I get out and about it's generally only a radius of around between 20 to 30 miles away from home, so in the years I've been cycling I've just about gone everywhere I can think of as interesting.

Anyhoo I had a think about it and suggested we maybe ride to Newcastle and we could always have a look around Leazes Park which is opposite where I work. John was up for this as he's a Newcastle United fan and St Jame's Park is right beside the Park.
Leazes Park, band stand, looking onto back of St Jame's Park

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Wheeeere Off to see the Wiz...Ahem OX!!! lol

During the week my friend John had asked me had I seen the photo's and Youtube footage of the Old Baths at Durham, to which I replied "No". So I decided to checkout the video and images and found them really interesting. It's a real shame that such a beautiful building which opened back in 1932 has not been looked after an converted in to something useful. The place has so much character

During my search I found various articles and thought I'd post this link to show you what the building looks like and just how it has fallen in to disrepair and been vandalised

Both John and I would have liked a look inside, well maybe not John as he thinks the building is "spooky" as he describes it lol

Anyhoo whilst searching on the line I discovered there was a sculpture down on the riverside in Durham. It was done by Andrew Burton. So I mentioned this to John and we both decided to have a ride down to Durham to try and find it and get some pics.


Saturday, 5 April 2014

I'm expanding...No not that way silly!

Instead of saying I'm expanding and having you all think I'm getting a little tubby, maybe I should have said I'm branching out. Now to many of you this won't really apply,as well you have all your bits...yes, yes I know some of you think you have all of your bits, yet are still lacking something, but hey who am I to judge lol.

Anyhoo instead of being cryptic I will explain. I have decided to start a forum, which hopefully is going to benefit the amputee community.

I have had great success with my Facebook group, Facebook Amputees, so much so that it now has over 1,000 members and counting. You know I say "MY" group, when in fact I feel I have actually handed the group over to it's members. So really now I class it more as "OUR" group, after all it's a joint venture of over 1,000 amazing people who make it what it is.

 I decided to try and start my first forum as whilst I like Facebook I do not like the new style format where important and helpful information scrolls off the page into oblivion. So my thoughts for a forum were, Mmmmm have a place that has the same kind of friendly atmosphere, the same kind of information,stories,support and advice, BUT have it on a board where if people wanted to add to a topic they readily can. This means anyone who needs certain information on a subject can either ask the question or it may already be laid out there for them to read.

So to the name of this new forum... Well I was thinking and thinking for ages and in the end after Googling and finding most stuff was taken I decided on something that was kind of fitting when thinking back on my situation. And so chose to call the forum "It's Gone Move On". Now yeah this won't suit everyone's Mantra, but hey. I guess I'm the type of guy who whilst I know what it's like to suffer from depression I also know that for me loosing a limb wasn't going to be the end of my world.

And so for those of you who are interested, if  you think you could either do with a little support or offer a whole shed load,why not come pay us a visit.

you can find us at