Bowery Mural

A good week.... and only 6 weeks to go

Friday, 20 February 2009

What a good week it has been this week and here's a few reasons why.

Well it seems that there are at least one or two people out there who do actually read this blog so I am continuing to spill everything in this manner until my adventure is over!... and maybe beyond that adventure and onto the next (might need a name change though). One reason I know it's read is that I got a very nice email from someone offering me my first free piece of kit for my trek. Yippee!! It was from Paul at Terrevista Trails a company based in Edinburgh, offering me a Jag Bag silk sleeping bag liner - free of charge. Now in the current economic climate this is a very unusual offer but of course I jumped at the chance. I'm eagerly awaiting delivery and can't wait to try it out. Very generous and a huuuge thanks! Links to their website and blog can be found in the 'Blogs I like!' and 'Websites and Fab Links' sections on this page.

Wednesday saw the fifth in the series of fundraising cake sales at work - back by popular demand!! There were only home-baked cakes by myself, Linda and Brigitte (oh and scones from my Dad) so the funds weren't expected to be that good, but we still made £65.50. Everyone (especially Linda and Brigitte) has been so generous and kind in terms of baking and buying cakes. Thanks guys!

Wednesday evening was a long walk out through Bridge of Allan and back to the car. It was dusk when I set off after work but the road was quite busy with traffic so I wasn't that scared walking on my own. It was a good wee walk and gave me some time to try to think about what is next on the To Do List and a chance to get the wind in my face again.

Had my appointment with the Orthotics doctor at the hospital on Thursday morning. He is going to make me special insoles for my shoes/boots. But for a minute there I thought I was getting special shoes! ha ha. As I sat in the chair taking my shoes off so he could see my feet i looked around and the fear went right through me. There was a poster on the wall with (what I can only describe as) Old Wifey shoes with model names such as Maggie, Isa, Betty, Rita..... Aaargh!! Please don't say I'll need these Scholl type old wifey shoes?!?! But no, I'm getting orthotic insoles for my boots but I'll need to go back and get them moulded and fitted. Knowing the NHS this won't be any time soon and certainly won't be before my trek so fingers crossed everyone that my knees will be fine.

Talking of dodgy knees... After much deliberation and to-ing and fro-ing I've ordered a pair of Leki Carbonlite Antishock trekking poles. I debated with the idea of Black Diamond ones but hadn't really seen or held these ones before and didn't know anyone that used them so stuck with the Leki ones. Got a bargain on them too which helped. Hope they are ok - anyone used them??

Thursday evening was spent at the OMC (rugby club) and it was another talk. This time it was Niall McNair. The intro on his blog reads '27 year old into most aspects of rock climbing, but especially trad and sport onsighting. Been climbing for 12 years now and still learning...' Again as with all of these talks it was very inspiring as well as being rather funny. Shame about the mishaps with the laptops and speakers but everyone seen the funny side, including Niall, which was good. Oh I nearly forgot, his funny home-movie version of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (I can't remember what his version was called) with two friends was hilarious... got to see it! The accents and acting was a bit ropey in places but hilarious.

I'll end with news that it's now just under 6 weeks until departure, I have over £3500 in the fundraising pot and all is ... well, rather good really.

Next week I'm off to see Snow Patrol at SECC and the week after it's all go again! I shall report in due course.

Take care and play safe
Ange xx

PS I just love Kings of Leon...

Target, smarget. All I know is I've reached it!!!

Monday, 16 February 2009

It is with great delight and a big chunk of selft satisfaction that I announce that I have now met and indeed exceded, my fundraising target of £3250. As of 2 minutes ago my total now stands at a whopping £3439.85!!!! This is fantastic news and there's still more money due in from various sources including the 'fifth' in the series of tasty cake sales at work on Wednesday.

The target was reached on Friday night when my Auntie Mig (short for Margaret) had another prize bingo night and all her generous friends came along to enjoy the night. I even partook in a wee game of bingo myself and it must have been beginners luck cos i won a very luxurious towel bale and perfume. Excellent. Was starting to get bored by the end though as bingo ain't really my thing but the evening was a great success and raised £279. Thanks to all the ladies of Dunblane.

Now that the funds are well and truly taken care of, I admit to being a bit stressed out about my ever expanding To Do List before I go.... It's turning into a really busy few weeks starting with a trip to the dentist tomorrow evening! Then there's the hospital Orthotics clinci on Thursday for my biomechanical assessment - sounds fancy but what it means is that they will confirm (again!!) that i have flat feet and that i need orthotic insoles specially made that will hopefully help my knee pain. It's the doctors next Tuesday morning for the first of my jabs - ouch! A trip to Kinlochleven with the OMC next weekend. Not to mention a wee jaunt to Glasgow next Tuesday night to see Snow Patrol - have a spare ticket if anyone fancies it??

In between all of that I still need to find time to buy a few major bits of kit - 1 x return plane ticket to Heathrow for 2nd April!!, 2 x trekking poles (Leki or Black Diamond??), 1 x sleeping bag liner (silk or cotton??), a few more pairs of socks, spare boot laces, base layer bottoms, a trekking towel (do they work?), a Buff (but i want a nice one!), thin pair of gloves (lost my own pair in the gym!), toiletries, earplugs, suncream (no, not for sunbathing ha ha), wet wipes (lots of them), antibac hand gel (priceless) and some Halls Soothers - in case I get a cough! Phew... Where will I find the time?

So... there you have it. The target has been reached and (almost) final preparations are under way. I think I'm starting to panic! Need some words of calmness bestowed upon me so if you see me around send happy and calming thoughts my way - cheers! ha ha.

have a fantastic week,
Ange xx

On the music front I'm still loving One Day Like This by Elbow.

Countdown - 45 days!!


Monday, 9 February 2009

What is inspirational, what is inspiration and does it come from within? I went for a hill-walk up Dumyat this morning and got to thinking (as you do) about what is inspiring me just now? What are my motivations right now? Who is inspiring me and why?

For the past year and a half I’ve been going through a real transition period in my life. By that i mean i have been getting out and about and doing things I never thought I would be doing. And quite frankly I love it – fact! So what has inspired me to do this, and does it come from external sources or is it really from deep within?

To be honest I think it’s a little of both of both really. For me i can be inspired by a little quirky smile from the cutest nephew in the whole wide world – Ryan, or it can be an amazing and uplifting piece of music or maybe it’s the amazing stories you hear and photo’s that you see when you go along to a talk by some mountain types. Mostly i think you’ve got to want to be inspired for things to inspire you and at the same time you can then maybe, perhaps, be an inspiration to others around you. That’s the plan anyway.

An advert came on the TV yesterday morning for a concert with the BBC orchestra on the ‘red button’ digital function. It was with Elbow and i like some of their music. I watched it for nearly an hour waiting patiently for my favourite song to come on and well it did not disappoint me. The song is ‘One Day Like This’. It was brought alive by the full orchestra and a plethora of choir singers. Shivers went down my spine. And you know what? I went to the gym and walked up Wallace Monument, which were not in my Saturday plans. That one piece of music inspired me to get out. If you’ve not heard the song, have a wee listen. May not be to everyone’s taste but i love it.

Over the past two years there have been a few moments, amazing vistas, great music, friends and family that have really inspired and motivated me. I’d like to share some with you.

Mark Beaumont. The guy who cycled around the world on his bike, by himself – very brave;

a piece of music in the movie The Insider – it’s called Sacrifice by Lisa/Pieter Gerrard, it’s simply beautiful and reduced me to tears the first few times i heard it;

when Ryan said to me last week ‘Angie going far, far away up big mountains’ after i said we couldn’t see the Ochils from the car on our way home from a wee day out. I could have cried it was so cute and i’m wondering how he even knew about it, maybe his mummy told him. According to him the Ochils are ‘Angie’s hills’;

Some pictures i took on my first outing with the OMC at Roy Bridge – they are pretty stunning and i was so proud of a few I’ve entered them into a few photo competitions; when my breath was literally taken away after reaching the summit of Stob Coire Sgreamhach in Glencoe. I didn’t think you could get altitude sickness at just over 1000m! It was amazing though;

my Dad, for getting on and doing new things since being made redundant after 34 years with the same company – a victim of the credit crunch! He’s cool;

my Mum for being the ever present source of helpfulness, she never stops doing stuff for people and doesn’t realise her skills and qualities make her special;

Julie and Bernie & Family are the ones who made me realise that i should be living my dreams and putting them into practice when they all emigrated to Perth, Western Australia to start a new exciting life. We always have email!;

All the mountain climbing talks I’ve been to in the past few months have been truly awe inspiring (Simon Yates, Kenton Cool, Ian Parnell, Es Tressider, Kev Shields, Olly Metherell). If I had an ice axe and crampons I’d be out there doing it too! Their dedication, hard work and enthusiasm really is infectious. (hint: my next challenge after conquering Everest Base Camp?!);

Mid March 2008 and my trek plans were in their infancy. I started to search the web for any information i could find. That’s when i came across a blog giving an account of the trek i would be doing. I followed it regularly signing up for updates and became enthralled by the journey this person was going on. It was my first port of call in the morning when i arrived at work and i loved reading about places being passed on the way to base camp, stories of actual base camp, stories of heading into the icefall and then the summit story. A truly big inspiration for me was the fact that someone was living a dream and although it may never have turned out as he’d wished it was still a remarkable achievement;

Lance Armstrong – who could fail to be inspired by such a guy! No need for an explanation really;

The movie Once, it’s such a brilliant little movie that not a lot of people have seen. It’s not to everyone’s taste but if like me you have an eclectic taste in music then you can’t help but be inspired by this story of love – for life and music;

Who could forget August 2008 and the Olympic heroes of Team GB. Go on admit you had a tear in your eye when Chris Hoy went for his 3rd Gold, the emotional and excited commentary by Gary Herbert at the men's rowing coxless fours, Ben Ainslie winning his 4th Olympic medal, Tim Brabants (or as my Dad referes to him 'the doctor guy') winning 2 Olympic medals - well done all of Team GB;

There are so many other things that inspire me and motivate me daily. But for th purposes of this list for now I will say finally... myself, me, Angie!! I still can’t believe that in under 6 weeks I will be trekking in Nepal and hopefully will catch a glimpse of actual Mount Everest!! I can’t believe I was brave enough to be featured in an actual magazine (i still haven’t read that story by the way). Those that know me know that this was so outside my normal ‘box’ it’s not even funny.

So if after all that you still need a bit of inspiration/motivation i say get your favourite CD, put it on the CD player in the house/car and turn it up loud!! Just get inspired, and remember, you have to be open to being inspired.

Inspiration comes at the oddest times, usually when you least expect it. When it does come, don’t shrug it off… be inspired!
Jerry Grant Blakeney

Life is good, have a good week
Ange xx

OMC membership here I come!

Friday, 6 February 2009

It's nearly official ssshhh, as of March i will hopefully become a fully paid up member of the OMC (Ochils Mountaineering Club)!! This is great news as it'll get me out and about and ready for some much needed walking. Went along to the Thursday night talk and was nominated to become a member. Chuffed.

Last night's talk was by Olly Metherell about Super 7. Super 7 is an attempt to make a first ascent on every one of the seven continents. Pretty amazing and really quite inspiring. But, like I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm no less convinced that these people aren't a little bit mental - in a good way mind. No but seriously it is quite refreshing to see the passion, dedication and commitment these guys have for what they do. I just sit there amazed at what I'm hearing and sit in awe at some of the fantastic pictures. I'm not going to pretend though, I'm a complete novice and know nothing about climbing/ice climbing so I still don't have a clue what the difference is between an E9,V8, M11 - can someone please explain?

Anyway another good night at the OMC. Nice bunch of people, think I'm going to like being a member!

Take care
Ange xx

And keeping up my new post tradition i heard a song on the radio this morning i'd never heard for ages and remembered how much i loved it. It just so happens that it is quite appropriate to my current feelings today, here's some lyrics:

Games, changes and fears.
When will they go from here, When will they stop.
I believe that fate has brought us here.
And we should be together.. But we're not.
I Try - Macy Gray

Snow ... Patrol

Monday, 2 February 2009

The first real snow of the year hit the central belt today/last night. But gone are the days when we'd be snowed in and got the day off school. The roads weren't that bad once i got out of the village but i was going slow to be on the safe side. I like snow but when it turns to slush and makes the roads treacherous when it turns to ice then that's not so good.

I was thinking today that I haven't been on a sledge or played in the snow for years. Then I remembered a time when i was younger and there was me, my big sister Karen and our two best friends Teri and Alec (who were brother and sister). The four of us were inseparable when we were younger. Anyway we were out Teri and Alec's back garden and were playing in the snow and we built the biggest, longest and bestest snow caterpillar you'd ever seen!! Yes a caterpillar and NOT a snowman. We were different you see. There is picture evidence of this somewhere but I'd need to dig deep in our photo box to find it. Those were the days when you played for hours in the snow until mum called you in for dinner. It didn't matter that your nose was bright red or your feet were soaking because your shiny yellow wellies from Woolies weren't really fit for purpose. Brilliant. We'd be dancing about, singing, rolling huge snowballs and having a great time. What a laugh!

Then in the summer we'd be playing tennis in the street when Wimbledon was on. The cracks in the road from the heat of the summer sun would be our court lines. I was pretty good at it and could smack the ball pretty cleanly. Then we'd play swan lake with our roller skates on, pretending to be in the opera! Another game was kick-sh*te. It was our version of 'Shindig', that old fashioned Scottish country dancing programme that used to be on STV back in the day. Anyone remember it? This was also done on roller skates too.

Anyway, then you grow up and don't play swan lake or kick-sh*te nor do you play in the snow as much or let your imagination run wild. Aaaah them were the days.......

So yeah, it snowed today and brought back some brilliant memories from my childhood that I'll cherish for a life time. I thought I'd share some with you, hope you enjoyed.

I have no quotes or song lyrics in the tradition of previous posts but the ever changing songs of the week are:
One Day Like This - Elbow (simply beautiful), The Fear - Lily Allen, Halo - Beyonce & Life in Technicolour II - Coldplay (of course!).

Ange xx

PS 60 days to go..................