on fast food and wifi

when you are enjoying a wonderful relaxing holiday, the fact that your wifi is not working is not a problem.  When that holiday is for more than a week or so this is different.

While we enjoy the delights of North Wales we have always accepted that the connection to the internet is not good, we say that is fine, it means we can relax and don’t have to worry about Facebook for a while.  But, after a week or so things need to be done. There are updates needed, facts to be checked and people to catch up with.

So, this bright sunny Bank Holiday Monday morning finds me in a place I rarely ever come to  A fast food outlet, the one with Golden Arches, offers free wifi.  So here I am, sorting all the must do tasks online, accompanied with families all eating burgers and chips at 11am.  This is a world I want no part of.

I remember the excitement of my first ever visit to this chain.  It was Amsterdam, I was nineteen or twenty and completely blown away.  There were no plates, no cutlery and the best milk shakes I had ever tasted.  I am having a milk shake this morning, old habits die hard.  Years later I took my children here, we even had a birthday party once.  In the years since then I had forgotten about the place.

Free wifi is free wifi and I have respect for this offer.  It is fast and functioning and I have managed to do all the things I needed to do and more.  I may well be back.

on finding paradise

my friends and family all know that I yearn to live in a place with the mountains behind me and the sea in front.  I believed for a long time I would find this place in Greece or maybe in Spain.  Yesterday I found it in Wales.

Now I know Wales quite well, we spend a lot of time there and I enjoy it a lot.  The beaches are clean and the sea is often blue.  The mountains of Snowdonia watch over you wherever you go, sometimes hidden by clouds but always just around the corner.  I thought I knew Wales well.

Since I have been walking I am seeking out new places to walk and found a small town on the coast we had never visited before.  Yesterday afternoon saw us getting out of the car in paradise.  This place has everything.  It is small enough to be friendly and big enough to have a high street of shops.  It is overlooked by impressive crags and green hills and it opens its heart onto the sea.

As we walked around the nature reserve, the history of the place was explained to us by an elderly gentleman sitting on a bench.  He told of cockle beds and salt marsh, of a hospital full of ‘lunatics’ and of rich people visiting.  He pointed to the hills and showed us his house.  He clearly comes to walk as far as the bench where he can see home.  He seemed happy with his lot.

Later we watched flocks of birds landing and taking off from the shore, we found houses that I immediately want to live in.  We ate fish and chips on the sea front and enjoyed the views across to the island where my Nina was born. I feel so connected to her here, I am looking forward to trying to find the rest of my Welsh family tree, I feel sure that they are close by.

One day, when our gorgeous girl is off to university we will come here and make it home.  I am sure of this.  Once you find paradise you revisit as often as you can.

811,000 reasons to be cheerful

wow!!  sometime this week the woman who never walked anywhere passed the 800,000 step mark.  I cannot quite believe it.  Indeed if you count my practice walking in June I am already well over a million steps.

Some steps have been tentative, some strong.  I have walked in the rain, in the hail, in the sunshine and in the cloud.  I have walked early in the morning and late into the evening.  I have walked in fields and in cities.  Every step moving me nearer to fitness and to improved health.  The benefits are endless.

Firstly I have lots considerable weight, I am about three and a bit stone lighter than I was in May.  I have new clothes and have been able to pass on my good but now too big tops and bottoms to friends.  I am no longer breathless.  I can do up my shoes and I can walk up hills.  I can run.  I can get down on the floor with my darling girl and play trains. I no longer feel ashamed of my body.

Walking??  Who knew??  True I have also been careful with what I am eating, but the daily and consistent exercise is the thing that matters.  The folks at Diabetes UK are genius, creating such a long term challenge.

I know I will be passing the million steps for real sometime soon, so I am planning my next adventure.  This is not going to stop anytime soon.

If you are reading this and thinking you couldn’t do it, yes you could.  It is as simple as putting one foot in front of another.  It isn’t a race, go at your own pace, any movement is better than none.

Go on, I dare you, give it a go.


on being tired

it has been quite a week on this million step journey. Alongside walking more and more each day, the work I do with a glad heart to support refugees has been particularly emotional this week.

On Monday night we saw a heartbreaking post from a Facebook friend who is a British doctor working in Syria.  He included a photograph of a baby girl being held down for treatment by three people as they have no infant canulas to administer aesthetic.

In the almost a year of working to help these people there have been a few heart stopping moments and this was one of them.  The same day I had spent with my gorgeous Granddaughter, who was way too similar to the baby in the photograph.  What could we do?

We talked to the doctor, to others and we hatched a plan.  We needed money, and we told all our Facebook followers what we wanted to do.  In 48 hours we raised almost £3,000. From ordinary people, just like me, they trusted us with their money, from a donation of £2 to £250 the money poured in.  It was truly amazing and made my heart, once so saddened, happy.

As I write this there are plans to provide a full intensive care bed for babies and children, to help where it is so needed.  We have been full of gratitude and humbled by the trust people have given to us.

At the end of this extraordinary week I have a holiday.  This is wonderful  Time for me to spend with my hubby, and to catch up with friends and family.

Yesterday was the first day of this holiday, and I had not expected to crash quite so spectacularly as I did.   Sometimes it is when you stop that your body actually realises and stops too.  This happened to me yesterday.

In the week I reached 75% of my million step target, Saturday morning my body said NO!!  No to walking, no to running, no to talking or even to any sort of logical thought.  I was knackered.

Luckily I have a fabulous family, including said hubby who ignored the tired ranting and drove me in a storm and a traffic jam to see family.  Including the best sister and brother in law ever, who understood I was on the edge and made me lovely food and gave me quiet gently company, that was much needed.

Eventually I slept, and slept well, and tomorrow really is another day.  Today I awoke feeling fine and managed not only to walk but to mostly run the two miles to the sea and the gym machines.  The sea was wild, the wind was blowing and it felt amazing.  Over the two days I have managed just 14,000 odd steps, but every one is one closer to the million.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better again, sunshine and happy times await. The million is in sight and I will get there, one day and each step after the other.

on holding each other up


Yesterday afternoon I spent some time with a friend and her husband who I met for the very first time.  It was lovely to show them my home town and to walk some of the steps I do each day with her.  Her hubby couldn’t join us walking as he is in poor health, but he was happy to wait for us in the sunshine.  As we walked my friend is telling me something about their life together and the challenges they have faced.  Both have come through serious illnesses and their strength as a couple was clear to see.

It seems to me that it is the times we are challenged that our relationships either make or break.  ‘Normal’ everyday life is when we all muddle through, keeping the family safe and happy, but sometimes life hits us with a curved ball.

My hubby and I have faced several such challenges, although nothing as serious as my friend, we too have come through the other side.  For me it is so important to remember why we are together and never lose sight of each other in the madness that is life.

This morning my friend and I walked through woods near our home.  The path has been laid with chippings making the route easier and the early morning sun is peeping through the trees.  We come to a river with stepping stones across, months ago I would never attempt this, but today all is well.  We cross the river and wander through the greenery back towards the road.

A little further into the woods and there is a tall strong tree that has somehow slipped over.  It is standing at an angle and looks odd within the rest of the tall straight trees.  We look again, it seems the reason it hasn’t fallen to the floor is that it is resting on another tree, which is holding it up.  It made me think of all the times I have slipped and been glad of someone there to hold me up and the times I have been able to be the strong one and support those I love.leaning tree 1stones

Yesterday I completed another 16,000 odd steps towards this Million Step Challenge,  getting nearer every day to completing this wonderful journey.


on helping others along

I think this is about day fifty or so of this crazy challenge and I am still early morning walking, mostly with my best friend for company.  Today was warm and sunny and the three miles or so flew by as we chatted and enjoyed the countryside.

The sunshine brings the best out in everyone.  My neighbours are all out and about and we chat on the front.  It is a smiley sort of a day.  More steps are added this afternoon, out in the sunshine with friends and later at home I decide to sit outside in the late afternoon warmth and read my book.

As I am sitting down my neighbours have a visitor, a woman who I have known for some time, and as she leaves their house she walks around to where I am sitting. We are talking over the wall, about mutual friends, about politics and life.  She mentions that I have lost some weight and asks about my walking.  She explains that a mutual friend had been telling her all about me!!

She tells me she needs to lose weight and get fit.  She asks my advice! Seriously, I couldn’t make this up.  From couch potato to fitness guru in three months, me, really??  I encourage her as best I can.  She says she can’t walk far or fast, join the club I tell her.  I explain about how I started walking the field, and then the road, and now thousands of steps a day.  I offer to walk with her. She says she would like that.

So, here I am in my living room this evening, about to add today’s 16,700 odd steps to the Diabetes UK page, and wondering how all this happened?  From nothing and nowhere I have managed to walk myself to health and along the way have brought others with me.  We have a Facebook group with almost forty members, all encouraging and supporting each other.  I have lots of followers on my blog and lots of people donating  money and expressing interest in the Million Step Challenge.

I don’t know who dreamt this up, but it is genius.  I just have to find a new challenge for when this is over.  I have some ideas.

on milestones and Nanna magic

today the woman who didn’t walk anywhere completed 700,000 steps.  It is true, in six or so weeks I have walked over 300 miles.  Today I had a companion.  My gorgeous Granddaughter and her Nanna had a day together.

She arrived early, the sun was shining so we headed out to the swings near home.  ‘Push me higher Nanna’,  this little girl loves to fly high.  Next we headed to the slide but warmed by the sunshine this was too hot to use.  We went home and prepared to go into town.

Riding in her buggy she kept a commentary all the way.  ‘The lorries have big wheels Nanna’, ‘I am counting the bricks in the wall Nanna’, life with her is always fun.  We did the boring stuff, went to the bank and a few shops and then of we went to the big park in the middle of town.  Here my little girl tackled the netting up to the slide like a professional. Despite being tiny she held her own with the bigger kids and went up and down time and again.

It was lunch time so we said goodbye to the big park and headed for home.  After lunch and a nap we went to play in Nanna’s shop, where we tested lots of toys and chatted to lots of people.  Time for home again and the pram was not welcome. ‘I walk Nanna’, of course you do, so do I.  So I am pushing the buggy with one hand and tightly holding hands with the other.  Suddenly there is a bump in the road and the gorgeous girl takes a tumble.  Oh my, the tears fell.  ‘I have a hurt knee Nanna’.  I scoop her up and kiss it better, no we don’t want to ride in the pram I am walking Nanna.  Of course you are, just like me!!

Once home we deal with the poorly knee.  To see the trust in her little eyes while Nanna bathed it with her magic water and cloth was beautiful.  I managed to clean it and found very little problem underneath.  Happily we went out to play picnics in the garden, sore knee forgotten.

I had also forgotten how love and care from Mum or Nanna can fix most things.  I read somewhere that ‘kissing it better’ really works.  I am not sure how but the brain recognises the love and all is well.

By the time Daddy comes to collect her the injury is forgotten, she is full of the fun we have had. In the evening I am remembering the precious moments throughout the day and once again am grateful I am now fit enough to enjoy life.

700,000 steps is a very long way, soon I will have done my million, but I am sure I won’t be stopping walking anytime soon

million steps – day forty three

luckily everything was better today.  I was feeling much better and the weather was fine.  A complete transformation from yesterday when the cold wind and rain made walking difficult.  Today the sun was shining as I planned how to fit walking with all the things I needed to do this morning.

It didn’t help that I awoke later than usual, so I decided to take my car to the supermarket and then leave it in the car park while I walked.  That way I could do the shopping before going home.  This meant a walk along a busy road, not something I usually enjoy, but I soon reached the quieter streets where there is very little traffic noise.

The sun was casting my shadow in front of me as I walked and I was enjoying the warmth on my back.  Suddenly another shadow appeared next to mine.  I slowed down to let the person pass but instead they fell into step with me.  ‘I thought that was you, Mother’  said my lovely son.  He explained that he couldn’t be sure it was me as I have changed shape so much, but he knew he had me right when he saw me checking my pedometer.  It was a lovely surprise to see him.  I have three sons and he is the one I see the least of.  We walked together along the street chatting.  I wondered where he was going but he said he was going where I was going, so I spent a happy half hour with my boy as the steps disappeared beneath our feet.

Being a Mum has always been an adventure.  From the baby days, through toddle tantrums to teenage angst, all four of my children have had their moments.  I think sometimes it is only when they are adult do we Mums realise what an adventure it really was.  The days when I knew exactly where they were and who they were with have long gone. It is lovely now they are all grown up we spend snatched moments together.  I am so proud of them all, and it seems they are equally proud of me.

This lucky woman added almost 12,000 steps to her total today, most of it in sunshine.

million steps – days thirty nine to forty two

This has been a rubbish week for me health wise.  It started on Monday night, after our lovely day thirty nine, with me getting a really bad stomach ache, which hasn’t really gone away since.  I have been checked out, all is well, I just feel a bit poorly.  So with no walking at all one day and very little yesterday, this morning I had to have a go.

The weather was against me.  Cold wind and driving rain, not your average August morning, made for tricky walking. Together with a sore tummy it was doing me no good at all.  I pressed on, once out I felt ok, but tired really quickly. For once I took the swift route home and I didn’t walk around the field.  I dried off and got changed and was already feeling better.  Quite proud I made it out to walk at all really, I have to remember that this isn’t a race, and the million steps are going to be walked, one way or another I will succeed.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day, both weather and health will have improved.  Tonight my sorry total is just under 10,000 steps but it is the best I can do.

million steps – day thirty nine – family fun

Today started with a drizzling walk with my best friend.  As we moved through the town, getting ever more damp, we chatted about all the things that need to be talked about.  Family, work, life, there is something wonderful about such a friendship.

We walked into the park and made our away towards the lake.  The playground was empty, as was the adult gym equipment.  Dare we?  We did!!  It was such fun, swinging and stretching on the different pieces of kit, there was a freedom of movement and we just had fun.  I am sure anyone watching would have laughed at us as we got to grips with it all, but we didn’t care.  It was fab.

Later we have a very special date with our gorgeous Granddaughter, who will have her second birthday this week. Nothing prepared me for the sheer joy of being a Nanna, and the day she was born I found myself accepting this role with ease it was the beginning of such a lovely time.  She is a special little girl who can make me happy on the darkest day.  It was lovely to spend the day with her and her Mum and Dad, and her Grandma.  So many people who love her.  In the last two years of laughter and love, we have all watched her grow from a babe in arms to the clever funny little girl we have today.

We set off in convoy to a beautiful house, gardens and children’s farmyard.  The animals, from day old chicks to enormous Shire horses were all in view.  We wandered around together enjoying the experience, and I was put in mind of the days out I had when her Daddy was little, the places we went and the fun we had.

It was absolutely fantastic for me not to have to worry about not keeping up with everyone, or if I would need to sit down.  For once I felt totally at ease, wandering through the gardens, the farmyard and the maze.  My ‘new’ legs are working well.  The rain held off and we were warm and dry in the hazy afternoon sunshine.

Together with my morning walk, and a trip to town later I managed over 22,000 steps today, each one full of fun.