Have you seen Mike?

OK, finally motivated to go in the gym. Watched the build up to the France Ecuador match and the first half while working out. Weights, 30 reps of one thing and 30 of another, god knows what they’re called, but generally pushing, pulling and lifting weights anyway. Plenty of cycling, in two sessions, with high resistance, never look at the distance or speed, but the calories: 600.

At least the noise of the equipment drowned out Phil Neville.

Found myself this evening thinking about parts of the walk that I had forgotten. Can’t remember whereabouts it was but I recall being quite dehydrated and, without being lost, finding a camp site with a small shop. Was barked at by the dog and found the shop had only quite expensive soft drinks, so I bought a 4 pint carton of milk and guzzled about half of it straight down, while a young boy was clearly taking the Mick, being shushed by his mum. As if they were both laughing at me, but didn’t want me to notice.

Tempted to Street View parts of the route – I think I am now reminiscing more as time goes on. Perhaps it is hard sometimes to believe what I did, an experience I’ll never have again. Still collecting donations and have now collected a presentation cheque from the bank. You know, one of those oversized cheques that you see lottery winners receive. They have no monetary value but are just for show. Watch out for photos in the course of time. If you would like to see an even larger amount being given to SANDS, you can still donate at http://www.justgiving.com/keith-spicer1.

Today was memorable for nothing to do with the walk or charity but a meeting at work where all six of us corpsed in laughter. Very difficult to explain, but it involved a phone operator, the ‘c’ word (which was only inferred and never said) and a reenactment of a scene from Porky’s, and I don’t mean the one in the changing rooms! Perhaps this is the time to call it a day on this post.


Gym’ll fix it

It might be more beneficial to me today to have an hour in the gym today rather than some 15 mile walk. Certainly I need a bit of toning up after a slobbyish week watching the World Cup. Not that the football ends with us being eliminated, but at least the 11pm kick offs come to an end!

I was going to the gym quite regularly for a couple of years but stopped going after I strained my neck falling asleep on a plane flight. Not much point then paying a monthly membership if you are not going, so I jacked that in. But we did convert our garage into a gym, with a rowing machine, cycle, cross trainer and weights. Has to be said that my attendance comes and goes but Matt has been pretty regular for months, especially during his recovery from his ankle injury and operation. I must resolve to have at least one or two sessions each week there, since we have a TV and DVD player to watch whatever we want.

Feeling pretty upbeat at present. I haven’t even told Pammy this, but I stopped one of my medications about nine days ago and don’t feel any worse for it. Still taking the Propanalol or whatever it’s called, in fairly small doses. Perhaps it’s all the ego boosts that I have had in the past few weeks, and even now people are coming up to me asking how my walk went, that I have done really well, I am an inspiration etc etc. Lovely to hear people say that sort of thing and compliments always lift the spirits. I have learned now not to take negative comments too personally while still to take the positives out of the nice things people say and good things people do. In short, I always try to look for the positives, even if they are in short supply. There are too many people in this world who have to find fault with others and almost seem to enjoy the chance to criticise. After all, everyone who one criticises is also a human being like you and I, and they have feelings too.

Still a chance to donate if you haven’t already. Www.justgiving.com/keith-spicer1 will be open for business until next May at least. Still quite a few bits and bobs to sort out on the total. I fear there has been a small amount of double counting on the off line donations that we just need to iron out, but this is still a mammoth total for SANDS. Thank you, every one of you, for helping to make this venture such a success and, in turn, helping me back to where I need to be in mind, body and spirit.

Potato Head

£70 raised by the cake sale. Super effort and thank you to all concerned.

Feeling a trifle tubby – everything is relative, you might say – and need a decent walk in between all the World Cup footie and the cricket over the weekend. Sunday looks favourite for a really long one, hopefully the day after Sarisbury Athletic have put one over on Liphook and Ripsley, and one or both of the unbeaten sides New Milton and Basingstoke & North Hants have succumbed to their opponents.

What do I reckon to tonight? Could win, could draw, could lose. I just hope that old Potato Head proves his critics wrong by having a blinder when played in his best position.

Having cake and eating it

A fun half hour or so judging cakes. Some great efforts and surprise ingredients.


Congratulations to Denise Williams for her hemispherical World Cup football cake, with all the icing in the style of the Brazuca, the official football of the 2014 World Cup. The inside betrayed a chocolate orange flavour sponge, tasty as well as aesthetically pleasing.

Some other terrific efforts, as Andy Townsend would say. Phil Neville commented that “she’s got that in her locker” before everyone tucked in. Not sure yet how much has been raised for SANDS but it was at least £60 with still more coins appearing in the bowl. Thank you to Helen Hughes especially for arranging and everyone for baking and buying.

In anticipation of cakes

Total raised stuck for a few days on £11,178.70. This will change tomorrow as I am a guest judge for a cake competition at work, with proceeds going to SANDS. Three categories for me and two other judges to assess: Pies, World Cup and Anything Goes. No breakfast necessary for me tomorrow, but probably a long walk needed at the weekend. One tip for cake makers: I don’t do nuts, I love fruit, I do do chocolate and cheesecakes are definitely acceptable. Right, that is actually four tips.

So a chocolate cheesecake with fruit and no nuts looks like being a winner.

I am gradually coming round to the idea of doing the Kilimanjaro thing with Lorraine and Andrew. They might not want the idea of doing that walk with an old fogy like me, though, and I am not particularly keen on the camping thing. But I’m sure I could put up with it for a few days, if only they could put up with me! Sounds as if it is walking uphill rather than climbing, and a day or two of oxygen deprivation can only be good for you. Sort of, given some limits. Not until 2017 anyway and I might have time to do one or two other things before then.

Enjoying the football World Cup, and having the fact confirmed that footballers spend half their time pretending they’re hurt, in contrast to rugbyers who spend half their time pretending they’re not hurt. Not that I can really enjoy rugby, a game where you run forward only to have to throw the ball back. Logic it is not.

OK, let’s dip into my photo archive and show you someone’s garden, just as I was about to enter the village of Painswick, the scene of the infamous “Tea House” incident. Not this house, though. Bet their gardener / builder had an interesting project installing their water feature.


Bad Manners

Father’s Day and not too much thought about going for a walk today, especially as I was up late last night watching the World Cup and woke up this morning on the sofa after having fallen asleep during the 2am kick off.

The closest I will get to something too strenuous today will be doing the weekly shop at Tesco. Another of my pet hates roused its ugly head, as I reversed my trolley some distance to allow a woman in a wheelchair to pass. Not a murmur of thanks. OK, you might be in a wheelchair, but I’m sure your disability doesn’t stretch to an inability to acknowledge help or show any courtesy. Not that I have anything against the disabled, perish the thought. Poor manners, just poor, from anyone.

Anyway, I made my way around the store and bought a very fresh French bread. As I approached the till I relived the moment a few weeks ago when the gorgeous assistant told me that I had a very nice stick. That’s what I think she said. I was going to offer her a piece of it, but I thought better of it.

Well I guess it will be next weekend before my next walk. Either Friday or Sunday, it seems. Perhaps a gym session will have to do.

Fish, chips and cricket talk after New Forest walk

A walk in the New Forest with members of the ONS Walking Club. About six and a half miles at a relatively gentle pace and a very pleasant evening it was too. Saw a couple of fallow deer and plenty of various wildlife. Forgot to take my tablet with me, so no pictures unfortunately.

Pam and I almost missed the 5:30 start due to heavy traffic coming off the M271, but thankfully the other walkers waited a couple of extra minutes for us to turn up. 9 humans and 3 dogs set off from The Happy Cheese in Ashurst on a circular walk. Incidentally, any walk that starts and ends in the same place tends to be termed a circular walk, no matter what the shape, it is simply a topological thing. A square is a circle, as is a triangle, rhombus, ellipse or octagon. I guess that’s what makes the world go round.

Set off for home on return to The Happy Cheese and stopped at the local chip shop. I was very amused by the two young girls serving and the elderly lady customer as one of the young girls was trying to explain cricket to the others. She was saying she was a left arm bowler who normally bowled round the wicket that gave her a better view of the stumps, unless the batsman was left handed, in which case she would bowl over the wicket. The other two looked enthralled, bemused and confused in about equal measure, while the lady at the back of the shop was struggling to hold in a guffaw. Just before they got onto the lbw law, our fish and chips were ready, which was a shame, since I could have listened to her and watched them all night, or at least until the shop shut, or perhaps until the World Cup started in about five minutes.