Just wave the “little finger”

I haven’t been on here for a while because I’ve been concentrating on another project, but I came back to the old “HN” today because I wanted to comment on a blogging friend’s latest post.
After that I thought I’d refresh my memory about what some of my more recent posts had been about, (“Recent!? That’s a laugh!”), and I watched the Youtube video again in the post “It’s not the words, it’s what you do with them“.
When the video finished Youtube brought up some alternatives for me to view, as it does, and I watched this one.
Being someone who has been hit by a car who’s driver wasn’t paying full attention I found it quite moving. But most of all I liked the message at the end of it.
I hope when you see someone driving like an idiot you too will wave the little finger!

A few days activity break, or how to discover you have one dangerous wife

We had a great few days away at the Calvert Trust near Keswick last week with some members of the Fife Headway group, even though we were playing “dodge the rain” a lot of the time and, to be honest, the food left a lot to be desired.

After we arrived on Monday afternoon and got ourselves sorted out and fed we were kitted out with appropriate waterproof clothing and backpacks for the week. This was a good move !

Calvert Trust, Keswick

Calvert Trust, Keswick, Lake District, England

Easy strolling territory

Easy strolling territory

Tuesday morning consisted of a nature walk along an old, disused railway line.

This was a good surface for the less mobile among us to negotiate with their wheelchairs and mobility scooters. I also quite appreciated the fact that it wasn’t too challenging as my back hasn’t been my best friend of late.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it and there was plenty of flora and fauna to keep people interested.

Tuesday afternoon we loaded ourselves up into one of the minibuses and were taken to the stables.

Amanda had been looking forward to this part the most as she had always wanted to ride a horse. She picked her favourite in the stables and was lucky enough to be allocated that one by the staff.

I was too heavy for any of the horses they have there and wasn’t really interested in being taken around on a trap so I kept myself busy performing my duties as official photographer. Amanda had a good time as the group was led gently along the lane and around a couple of fields, although the second group got soaked through as yet another downpour struck.

Amanda on horseback for the first time

Amanda on horseback for the first time

Then came the scary bit…

One of the barns at the stable complex was set up for archery and, having tried it out a few years ago, I was keen to get started. John, our instructor, went through the basics with some of us and allocated the equipment. Then seeing that I was reasonably capable he concentrated on tutoring some of the others in the group.

When Amanda and the rest of her group returned from riding he gave them their instructions and everyone had a few arrows practice. John then suggested we have an archery competition and we were divided into two teams. Amanda and I were in the same team but unfortunately we lost. I still say the other team were cheating because they were using a crossbow mounted on a stand whereas our team had to do it properly.

However… there were two large targets at the end of the room and slightly in front of them a small, styrene target suspended from a beam in the roof. John had said at the beginning that the small target was worth a mass of bonus points, but we had all forgotten about that during the competition.

With the competition over Amanda said that she was going to try for the small target and, given that she had been firing off some fairly good arrows, I thought she might stand a reasonable chance of hitting it with one of a set of three.

Don’t underestimate a woman who has never done archery before…

Amanda's three arrows

Amanda's three arrows in the hanging target

Amanda hit the small target with her first arrow, missed it with the second, then hit it again with the third.

Having collected her arrows she then proceeded to put ALL of the next three in it, including one in the small blue centre spot which had only ever been hit seven times before. As soon as an arrow is sticking in it, of course, it swings around and the weight of the arrow makes it come to rest at an odd angle, thereby making the next shot more difficult.

I think I’d better watch myself in future… this woman is dangerous !

My only question would be “Why couldn’t you do that in the competition ?!”

On the Wednesday morning we had an excursion to Lake Windermere and took one of the steamers from Ambleside to Bowness and back.

We had a hour or so to wander around at Bowness and while we were there a full, low rainbow appeared like a bridge across the lake. This was really strange because it was 11:30am and the sun was quite high in the sky behind us so why the rainbow was so low and flat puzzles me somewhat.

Low rainbow at Bowness-on-Windermere

Low rainbow at Bowness-on-Windermere

Amanda and some of the group above Bassenthwaite Lake

Amanda and some of the group above Bassenthwaite Lake

Wednesday afternoon was supposed to be the Orienteering but, due to the weather and the abilities of most of our group, it was abandoned in favour of another nature walk.

This time John took us up to the top of the hill behind us and we strolled down the forestry track and in through the back of the centre.

There were plenty of different types of fungus and plants to see, and we saw a kestrel and some red squirrels. Something for everyone.

Oh yes, and there was the scenery.

Thursday. Abseiling. (Or “Rock and Rope” as they like to call it).

This was another thing I had been looking forward to because it goes against my fear of heights, and what’s an activity break without a challenge or two ?

Unfortunately we’re not talking high up in the great outdoors here because the centre is serving people with varying degrees of disability, so this all took place in the sports hall.

Amanda was just like a monkey, of course, taking everything in her stride. I wasn’t.

I managed the rock climb (slowly), the abseil (twice), and then tackled the “winch yourself seat” suspended from the ceiling, but no way was I going to do the swing from one end of the room to the other. No way !

Tom way above his comfort zone

Tom way above his comfort zone

The "other" boat

The "other" boat

The afternoon was listed as canoeing, which was another event I was looking forward to. As the weather had improved so much that day I assumed the alternative, sailing, wouldn’t come into play.
Despite the fact that Bassenthwaite Lake was like a mill pond in places and there was hardly any breeze to be had, sailing we went.
I started off feeling a bit miserable about the change of plan but actually ended up really enjoying it.
We were again split into two “teams”, in identical boats, loaded up (or should that be “boarded” ?), and towed out into the lake whereupon we were given some basic instruction in sailing techniques and told what was expected of us.
As I was sat at the back I was involved in the steering.

To cut a long story short not only did I really enjoy it but the instructor commented that he had been watching the way I was constantly fine-tuning the direction and said that I seemed to have a real knack of being able to hold the line just off the point at which we would be facing too much into the wind. He even suggested that I really should take up sailing because he was sure I would be good at it.
How one would know one is “good” at sailing without being in a competition I wouldn’t know, but the session has certainly sparked an interest in me so anything is possible for the future, as long as I don’t have to remember how to tie knots.

We headed back home on the Friday morning having had a really enjoyable and entertaining few days and the whole group would like to say a big “thank you” to the members of the Dalgety Bay Round Table whose efforts in the Edinbugh Marathon and other fundraising made the whole trip possible.

Further information and pictures will appear on the Fife Headway website early next month.

Short break

We’re off in the morning with our local Headway group for a few days “Activity Break” in the Lake District. Nothing too strenuous, I hope.
It looks like the weather is going to be fairly horrible, so the orienteering will probably be a slow, muddy trek. 😦
This is where we’ll be.
Back Friday.
Stay safe.

Being faced with two wild tigers (This post is not “Super-awesome”)

Last night I was sent into a state of panic again by one of the WordPress features, i.e. Surprise Me!.
To save me retyping what I have already written in the Forums here is a transcript of my response to the question “Can “Suprise me!” cue a video?” asked by windwhistle and the response by 1tess that reminded me that this is an optional feature.
Read the rest of this entry »

Sweetie – the marathon running hamster

Sweetie - the marathon running hamster Sweetie, the Marathon Running Hamster,
has helped to raise over £5,000 for Fife Headway.

Find out how by visiting her blog !

Sponsor a long-distance hamster for charity



You can have some fun following the exploits of Amanda’s hamster, Sweetie, and sponsor her on her nightly marathons to help raise funds for Fife Headway.

Guess how far she can run in one day !

To read Sweetie’s full story, click here.

Update: Sweetie now has her own blog !

Read the rest of this entry »

Waaaaahhhh ! How am I going to eat ?

I am right handed, and have just been holding a set of chopsticks in my left hand to see if I could possibly eat left handed.

Why ?

Because on Thursday or Friday (I can’t remember which) I was going out of the building where I work and, as I pressed the button on the wall by the front door to release the electronic lock, I leant against the door to push it open and my hand caught the frame of the door as I went through it.  Not the sort of knuckle hit that you might expect, oh no !  The tip of the middle finger of my right hand got caught on the outside of the frame while the rest of my arm and hand proceeded to follow the remainder of me through the door, separating the outside three fingers  from my thumb and forefinger.  😥

It’s not often I do impressions of cartoon characters (other than my “Donald Duck” voice… Oh, and “Top Cat” and “Benny” 😉 ) but this made me hop around in circles on one foot, alternately clutching my injured appendage to my groin and then shaking it out to the side.  I half expected to look at my hand and find that it looked like a throbbing, inflated, red rubber glove ! 😕

The red rubber glove would have contrasted with the brilliant blue that the air had turned at that point. 😳

I remember thinking to myself that I was going to have a lovely bruise around the knuckle come Monday, and began to look forward to the ongoing pain that was destined to ensue.

So today (Saturday) the swelling has really started to build up and the ongoing pain is… well, ongoing.

Amanda had said last night that I should put some of her medication oils on it (she has left half a hospital full of assorted medicines, oils, creams and whatever here, all of them nicely emblazened with Chinese writing… very useful :???:) and tonight I took her advice and had a rummage around in the medical box until I found a spray with something written on it in English.  “Point and Fire”, I think it said.

That may, or may not, help to keep the swelling at bay and assist with mobility but, while we were chatting online just now I realised that reduced mobility of my hand over the coming days would mean that I might not be able to use chopsticks when I get to China on Thursday ! 😥  So how am I going to eat ? 😥

Well, although I am right handed by nature I have managed to teach myself to “write” with my left hand in the past.  When I play darts (right handed), unlike a lot of  “traditional” pub players I like my darts and my throwing hand to be very clean, as opposed to covered in chalk as used to be the preferred method by many.  So, as chalk is often used to mark up the scores on the board I have taught myself to always mark the scores left handed, thereby keeping my right hand as clean as possible. (It’s that sort of attention to detail that helped me to improve my dart playing so much, which is a clue to my previous post.)

On that basis I ought to be able to teach myself to use chopsticks left handed without too much difficulty.  The first “dummy run” a few minutes ago (well, about an hour ago now, given the speed I type :sad:) reminded me of the initial difficulties I faced when learning to use chopsticks, one of which is keeping the sticks on the same vertical plane.  The difference this time is that I know what the problem is, can remember what methods I employed to correct it and, therefore, I know how to counteract it.

Good news ! 😀  I may still be able to eat in China after all. 😎

Also good news on the memory front.  As soon as I got them into my hand and tried to move them I remembered exactly the experiences I had when I was first learning to use chopsticks properly and the methods I adopted to correct the fault.  This is a good sign, because it proves yet again that I can retain some memories from the past three years in a way which is instantly retrievable.

If only that would happen with things which occurred only a few moments beforehand…..

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