Immobilised at Cavelodge

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Immobilised at Cavelodge

I had an unfortunate accident a couple of days ago, I was out walking with Kate and slipped awkward on the road and fell with a jolt, hitting my leg and knee, I went to the local hospital which was absolutely wonderful and they x-rayed my leg near the tibia and fibula and said they couldn’t see a fracture or anything to be concerned about, they bandaged it for me advised RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and sent me on my way.

I was still feeling a lot of pain but thought it would die down by the morning, unfortunately it got worse in the night and my knee was very swollen in the morning, so Julie and Marcus who have been so wonderful to me since this happened took me back to the hospital in Soppong for them to x ray my knee, by this time the pain was tremendous, I couldn’t put any weight on it at all.

The hospital in Soppong mainly serves the tribal villages but they dealt with me very quickly, in fact they went out of their way to ensure my suffering was minimal.

I had another x-ray to check for dislocation but they couldn’t find anything apart from damaged ligaments.  Because of the huge swelling they gave me local anaesthetic and extracted quite a bit of blood from the knee, this relieved the pressure and pain immediately but I was also anaesthetised so couldn’t feel any pain, they bandaged my knee with huge pieces of wadding and added a plaster splint to keep my knee in the same position.

They gave me strong painkillers to go home with and told me to keep it elevated as much as I can and gave me some crutches to use so I don’t need to put my weight on it at all, they were so wonderful, showing me exactly how to use the crutches, giving me physio advice and having a general chat with me before I left.

Julie and Marcus stayed with me the whole time and their support was invaluable, they are like my second family and I am honoured to know them, I truly felt so supported, Julie speaks Thai so could converse with the doctors for me and Marcus carried my backpack everywhere and wheeled me in the wheelchair, they also drove me down from Cavelodge.

When I got back to Cavelodge, I went for a lie down because I hadn’t slept at all last night, and by the time I woke Julie and Marcus had arranged for me to have a better room which didn’t have so many steps and they moved me to it straight away.

I have never had such a bad injury before so have never had to rely on others, it is very frustrating but nothing is too much trouble for Julie, I feel so at home here, at times like this you really need your family and yearn for their touch and comfort, but Julie and Marcus were definitely the next best thing.

I feel truly honoured to have met these people I will be friends with them forever and all the staff at Cavelodge have gone out of their way to help me, these people have made a firm imprint on my life that will never shift.

Sadly it has curbed a lot of my plans for caving and hiking for the time being, I was hoping that by next week when I get the splint removed I will be recovering well and be able to consider at least kayaking through the caves, you can’t come to Cavelodge and not explore the caves.  Unfortunately I have learned today that it will take  a long time to recover from torn ligaments and I will need an MRI scan to determine the extent of injury, in certain circumstances they can do a minor operation to correct the ligaments, but it still takes months of recuperation.  Then to top it all, I fell off my crutches down the steps to my room and cut my arm and suffered more bruises!  OUCH!! LOL! It doesn’t rain but it pours.

There is so much to see apart from the caves here, but I will just have to change plans.   I will  get the chance to learn to speak Thai, it is a relatively easy language and I have already made a start; Kor kow pat sai gai sai pak noy ka which means can I have chicken and rice with vegetables please, my favourite dish here, they cook it fresh to order with vegetables they grow themselves.

For the time being I will do some blog posts on places I have been before with the children, friends and family members, as it’s a travel blog, it will be nice to reminisce anyway. Gutted, I can’t do much but that’s life I suppose, it could be worse!!!!

I am lying on my bed in my new room with the slatted windows open, with mosquito mesh to protect me, listening to the jungle sounds outside, if it wasn’t for the pain it would be bliss!!

I am in the process of negotiating with my insurance company on what is best for me to do!!!


diet healthcare concept. Brown raw flax seeds linseed as natural background and red heart symbol. Healthy food for preventing heart diseases. Flaxseeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids.

What I have learned so far

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What I have learned from my experience so far

I have only been away from home for a few weeks and already I have learned a lot about the local area and actually learned stuff about myself.  There is a lot to do in North Wales, all pretty interesting stuff, but I believe there is a lot to do everywhere, we just don’t see it while we go about our daily lives, because we are too caught up in working lots of hours to pay bills for the house we need to live in, in order to work lots of hours.  When did life become such a treadmill?  I really don’t believe the creator (whoever that may be) meant for us to take the work, work, work till you die path.

Beautiful abstract love tree with hearts. Heart tree greeting card illustration. Valentine tree love leaf from hearts.

I have had a lot of luck and some bad luck in my life but the way you learn from the bad stuff is what makes your life better, if you dwell on all the bad stuff then it will continue to dominate your life but if you put it behind you and move on into a different way of being then life can be so enriching.

I have learned that I actually love writing and recently I got a message from someone who read my blog and said “I’m loving your blogs!  You write really well!  It’s as if I’m there with you!!!!  You’re so inspiring xxx” I was so chuffed to get this message, now don’t get me wrong I realise this is just one person, but it doesn’t matter one is better than none!  If my English teacher from Grammar school heard this about me she would laugh her socks off and so would I have many years ago, I thought I hated English but it turns out I love it after all.

Yin Yang Star man some elements provided by NASA

I am going to read more and try and do course on writing to try and keep improving my style of writing and my technique, I’m hoping to write a book soon but there are so many ideas I have that I’m not sure which to choose first.

I also learned that there are many things in life that are just a trade-off, I am staying in an area where Wi-Fi is pretty non-existent and just when you think you have found some Wi-Fi in McDonalds, it is so slow that it takes over half an hour just to upload one picture, this can be very frustrating when I am trying to make a living out of my writing.  I have a long, long way to go yet before that becomes a possible reality.  There is so much work to do on my blog alone and as there is no Wi-Fi in the place I am staying, I am restricted as to how much time I can actually spend online.


When I do go to McDonalds there are parking restrictions, the longest I have found is in Mold, which is 2 hours, so I set my alarm on my phone to go off just before the two hours is up otherwise I get so carried away working on the blog or researching online that I might forget and then I will end up with a big fine.  The problems don’t end there, once you have found a McDonalds you have to find the one plug point inside so you can work without your battery going flat, it is the school holidays now so that plug point is hogged by gangs of kids charging their phones.  All in all I have realised that having good Wi-Fi in my old home was a bloody luxury and I just wish I could have brought it with me.

Anyway the trade-off is the water power is shit hot, power shower every day, no trickling up here in North Wales but great strong water power, whoop whoop!!


Another major thing I have learned which I probably already knew is that I miss my kids and grand-kids a lot, much more than I realised I would, but my intention is to make something of my writing so that once I am making a decent living from it I can go home and stay for longer periods contributing more to their lives, at the moment because I have nothing to give, I feel I can’t contribute, even though they want nothing from me financially, I feel like I want to give but can’t.  I do feel like that is the only sacrifice I have made but I think it will be worth it in the end and if it is not then I will have to go back and find a job anywhere and rent a room off someone, it won’t be the end of the world.

I have learned that I still have too much stuff, I brought way too many clothes with me, they can be washed and worn again obviously but I think I have brought enough for a new outfit every day for a month (maybe not that much but not far off).  I need to get more minimal especially when I go to Thailand; I am hoping to have my big pack on my back and small pack on my front whereas for this trip I have brought a car full of stuff.  I did need more stuff here as I am preparing my own food and doing a kind of detox so I’m using my nutri bullet, rice steamer, juicer etc., and I had a cupboard full of food left from my move which has come in really handy, I made bean curry a couple of days ago which lasted me for two evening meals.  I am only buying fresh fruit, veg and salad stuff.


I really need to make sure that the next place I go has Wi-Fi as it will be an integral part of my life now that I am building my blog, it is essential and from now on I will only pick places that can guarantee this.  I can live without hot running water and power showers but I can’t live without Wi-Fi and apart from anything else it keeps me in touch with family and friends, I had to go the bus stop up the road today to Facetime my daughter on her birthday.

I don’t mind my own company but would prefer to be with other people sometimes.  I think a good balance is what is needed, I definitely need time to myself to do all my writing but I need to be with people too and there are so many lovely people that I have met so far and I have only been here a few weeks.

Beach travel - woman walking on sand beach leaving footprints in the sand. Closeup detail of female feet and golden sand on Kaanapali beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA.


I do not like the fact that I can’t give much, I am a generous person but at the moment I have nothing to give.  Yesterday I visited a fellow CSAS marshal and his wife and they made me a wonderful 2 course lunch and Alison the lady of the house gave me fresh Welsh cakes to bring back with me and I felt like I should have contributed more but couldn’t financially and I can’t return the favour because circumstances won’t allow, I did buy flowers for Alison and gave them to her when I arrived but I probably should have bought wine also, although I wasn’t sure they would want wine at lunch in the middle of the week even though I would, it turned out they did, it was such a lovely lunch, all home cooked.


I can always give my time and my abilities and since starting working for my hosts, I feel like I am contributing even though it’s only in a small way it is a contribution nonetheless.  The work I do is easy but helps them to run their business, they are both very busy people who work non-stop every day of the week because they run the business between the two of them and there is such a lot of work involved when you are self-employed, I know this from my own experience.



I have learned how wonderful people are and how special each and every individual is, I have met friends who have taken me out with them to fab places, people who have done special things with their lives and with all these people I have coincidental connections.  The whole trip has made me think a lot about connection and the fact we are all connected has never seemed truer.  I am trying to make sure I take photos of everyone I speak at length with and at least take their names so I can include them in my blog if they are willing.  Life just gets more and more fascinating.


I am a big believer in the good that is in us all and this trip has proved to me already how much good there is out there, from breaking down and hitching a ride twice which I have told the whole story of in a separate blog post, to the man who towed me all the way back to the place I am staying even though it was late and it was just over the mileage I was allowed.  It makes me feel warm inside to see the loveliness of people.

Another main lesson I have learned is it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of time to get my blog to the position I want it to be and I mean a lot of work, I have just been watching the video course I have on how to build an audience and it is extensive!! OMG!! I have such a long way to go, but as Lao Tzu said in the Dao De Jing “A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step”.  Onwards and upwards.


This trip so far has tested me mentally, physically and emotionally and I have cried many times but equally I have smiled many times, the situations, the environment and my own recovery programme has sometimes pushed me to the edge but when you are on your own you just have to think logically about how you can resolve any situation you find yourself in.  Life is good and I need to sometimes remind myself how lucky I am and how lucky and wonderful my life has already been.  I have already had a perfect life raising my wonderful children; anything from now on is a huge bonus.








Adventure up Snowdon

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Since I became very ill last year with various problems I have not cycled, ran or walked/hiked since the end of 2014.  Snowdon was always one of my favourite walks/climbs so now that I am a lot better I really wanted to test myself and climb Snowdon again while I am in North Wales.

IMG_2897The day was wonderful, the weather was ideal, the sun was shining so I decided today was the day, but I didn’t want to go too early as the carpark at Pen y Pas fills up very quickly with all the keen and eager early climbers, I know you can do the park and ride from Llanberis but then you are restricted time wise with buses etc. so I decided to take a drive over after lunch and try to park in Pen Y Pas so I could do the Miners path.


I haven’t done the Miner’s path since I took my boys up many years ago, the times I have done it since we went on the Pyg track and it was in the worst conditions on one occasion; I was working with a company called ExpeditionWise and we were taking a group of people on the National Three Peaks challenge in June, the weather was so bad, we got drenched many times in between the strong winds drying us on Ben Nevis, stopped from climbing Scaffell Pike because it was completely flooded with the Fire brigade stopping people going up, so we ended up staying in the mini buses in a carpark in Carlisle while we waited for the weather to improve before we could move on down to Snowdon.  But when we arrived at Snowdon the weather was even worse with driving rain and 50mph winds, but the group had paid to be guided on the challenge and after doing a risk assessment it was decided that it was a possibility so we went ahead and made the climb and in record time, I think everyone just wanted to get it over with.

IMG_2865Another time I went on the Pyg track it was with two lovely friends from Cycle club and we had a lovely day, we took our time and enjoyed the views, the weather wasn’t too bad but it was a bit cloudy and cold at the top but we celebrated our climb with a Welsh beer bought from the café at the top.


Anyway I got to the carpark at Pen Y Pas at about 1.30ish after lunch, the drive over was tremendous, having come from a different direction to the way I have come before, the views of Snowdon were amazing during most of the drive and I was really looking forward to the climb on such a lovely day, there was a little cloud covering the peak of Snowdon but mostly it was a good day.  I got to the carpark and it was full, so I was really gutted and sitting there wondering what to do when a car came out of the carpark which meant I had a space, great, I quickly parked the car went to the loo and started my journey, there is still some pain in my knees and legs in general but I felt compelled to do it as a kind of benchmark by which to measure my recovery.


I suppose mid-afternoon is not the best time to go up for most but the path was pretty clear, just a few people ahead of me and a few behind, I met very many coming down so I think I chose the right time, the climb was harder than I remembered, I had taken banana sandwiches to eat when I got to the high lake which was the start of the real climb, before that on the Miner’s path it is pretty flat for a long while and the path meanders around a few lakes but there is a higher lake which you have a gradual climb to then the fun starts, anyway I got to the high lake within an hour and a half, ate my sandwiches and carried on up the hardest part, it took me roughly 3 hours in all, but the best thing about it was, from quite low down I could see the peak, the clouds had cleared and it was a completely clear sky which only egged me on more, it was tough, my knees were in pain but it was not insurmountable, I was very careful not to fall or trip over the rocks.  I reached the stone post which is the point where you can see the views over the other side of the mountain and it was jaw dropping, you could see the whole of Anglesey, the Isle of Mann, the Wicklow mountains in Ireland and even parts of the Pembrokeshire coast.  I just stood for a while and marvelled at the view along with a few others.  By now the sky had no clouds to be seen just pure blue sky; I carried on up the path to the summit as the train passed me taking more people down the mountain to LLanberis.


I reached the summit and just couldn’t keep the smile off my face, when I was ill last year I never thought I would be able to do this again, due to the damage done to my knees and feet and ankles because of the RA, but I did it!!!!!  I quickly started to dread the descent which is much harder on your knees.  I opened my pink Champagne which had been given to me as a gift before I left and celebrated my achievement.  I sat on the summit for a while just looking out at the wonderful views and just enjoying everyone else’s success, there was a young dad with his son, a teacher with a group of school kids, a group of American girls, two guys with their bikes (MAD) as well as some others milling about so I became chief photographer taking pics of them all on the summit.


I went in the café and sat for a while looking out again at the views and watching the train coming and going with more passengers, I did contemplate going down by train but apart from the fact that it would have cost £22 it went down into Llanberis and I was parked in Pen y Pas so I would have had to get the bus to get my car, I quickly dismissed this idea and prepared myself for the descent.


I took my time coming down because, as I thought, it was much harder on my knees but as there weren’t too many people about it was ok to be slow, I got back to my car about 9.30pm and I have to say I was really worn out and aching, I suppose the thing you forget when climbing a mountain is when you reach the peak you are only half way through your walk, but anyway I was so glad I did It and have smiled to myself ever since.

IMG_2905Snowdonia is a beautiful area and one day I want to come back and climb some of the other peaks, the good thing about that is  I live in Wales and will always be coming back, even in between all my travel trips and after I have finished my travelling I will still come back to Wales.


clywdian hills

Benefits of walking and Offa’s Dyke path

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I am going to do some walking on the Offa’s Dyke path which passes just outside the place where I am staying, so I thought I might do a blog post on the benefits of walking and new discoveries made about how beneficial it is to your health, especially walking in nature in the great outdoors.

In the past several months, a bevy of studies have added to a growing literature on the mental and physical benefits of walking outdoors. That includes recent research showing that short micro-breaks spent looking at a nature scene have a rejuvenating effect on the brain — boosting levels of attention — and also that kids who attend schools featuring more greenery fare better on cognitive tests.


Senior couple on country walk


The studies have been done on walking in general and walking in nature and were published recently by Gregory Bratman of Stanford and his colleagues from the USA and Sweden.  The paper looked at 38 individuals who lived in urban areas, they had half of them walk in an area of nature and the other half walked on a busy street in the city.

Before the walk the participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire designed to determine the tendency toward depressive illness.  Before and after the walk they also had their brains scanned, in particular the area called subgenual prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain shown to be most active with people are in depressive states.

The questionnaire was filled in after the walk in which case some of the questions were answered differently and the conclusion was that with the questionnaire results and the brain scan results which also were different after the walk, there was clear evidence that there was reduced activity in the area of the brain related to depressive tendency.



“This provides robust results for us that nature experience, even of a short duration, can decrease this pattern of thinking that is associated with the onset, in some cases, of mental illnesses like depression,” says Gregory Bratman, the lead author of the study.

Lots of studies have been done on walking and the benefits but this goes to show that walking in nature is even more beneficial.

Other diseases which might benefit from walking in nature include, helping to prevent dementia and osteoporosis, it’s good exercise for everyone, it helps tone the muscles, helps the cardiovascular system.  It gives you energy, boosts our vitamin D levels and it boosts your mood adding to your general happiness.


The Offa’s Dyke path runs the whole length of Wales and now that the coastal path also covers all of Wales’s beautiful coastline, you could literally walk around the whole of Wales on one path.

The 177 miles Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail was opened in the summer of 1971, linking Sedbury Cliffs near Chepstow on the banks of the Severn estuary with the North Wales coastal town of Prestatyn. The Trail is named after, and often follows, the spectacular Offa’s Dyke, a great frontier earthwork, which Offa the King of Mercia from 757 to 796 A.D. ordered to be constructed.

The Trail passes through no less than eight different counties and crosses the border between England and Wales over 20 times. The Trail explores the tranquil Marches (as the border region is known) and passes through the Brecon Beacons National Park on the spectacular Hatterall Ridge, the highest point on the route at 700m/2300ft. In addition it links no less than three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Hills.

Offa’s Dyke Path is the most attractive and varied of the National Trails. The route crosses high wild moorland, attractive, well cultivated wide river valleys and ancient woodland. It passes through historic towns and isolated hamlets. En route can be seen hill forts, castles, abbeys and surviving remains of the habitations of former occupants of the beautiful corridor of the path. The flora and fauna are as rich and as varied as the scenery.

The above is some information taken from North West Walks.


I found the Offa’s Dyke path running through Afonwen where I am staying and decided to do some of the walk.  I only did a short part of it to get my bearings and to see the lovely view.  I will go back in better weather and when I have more time, but from what I have seen so far, it is beautiful, rolling hills for miles and miles.  From the top of one of the hills near Moel Famau I could see the towns of Denbigh and Ruthin in the immediate vicinity, as far as Blackpool Tower to the right and Snowdon and the Snowdonia range behind me with the continuing Clwydian range to my right.  It is really spectacular up there, the walk is very undulating with some sharp ups and downs and some meandering trails.


I took a look at the map when I got back to see where the path runs and it is definitely one I would like to do more of.  I wonder how long it would take to walk around the coastal path and the Offa’s Dyke path in one go?


Selling my stuff

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It’s tough selling all your stuff, because I have advertised it online and on my Facebook, everyone knows the reason I am selling everything is to go travelling, so they very often offer less because they know I have to get rid of it by a certain time.  This can be quite disheartening, especially when I paid a lot for a certain piece of furniture and I loved it and people want it for nothing, but, having said that, a lot of people have been wonderful and paid me what I was asking for something, in a couple of rare cases people have even paid a little more and wished me well on my journey!

Selling stuff in a car boot sale has been worse; a lot of people want stuff for next to nothing no matter how much you paid for it or how new it is.  I had one person arguing over a book I was charging 50 pence for , he wanted it for 30 pence but I didn’t give in I stuck to my guns and got 50 pence woohoo!!!!  I have to say that sometimes if people are polite about offering me less then I will take it but it’s all about the way it’s done!  I feel that car boot sales are like reverse capitalism, you go with 500 quid’s worth of stuff and come away with 50 quid if you’re lucky!!!


There was one day during the whole getting rid of my stuff thing that has been lovely, both my boys helped me clear out the shed, ready for its new owner to pick it up the following day at 9am, (£700 shed sold for £100, gutted but had to go before the 2 weeks was up) we took lots of stuff  to the tip and after we finished we all had an Indian takeaway then had a bonfire to burn all the old paperwork, school work and Tobi’s school uniform (end of an era).  After the bonfire had burnt everything we lit the brazier and toasted marshmallows.  It was a lovely day, shared by some of my favourite people including Caitlyn Zak’s girlfriend.



That night all my diaries from the last ten years went on the fire along with the other stuff and it felt weird, watching each page burn was like saying goodbye to my past even though I suppose I have already done that, I feel that holding on to the diaries meant that in some way I was holding on to the past.  The past is gone, I can’t bring it back, I have my memories and they are the best but it’s time to let go and move on into a new era in my life a “finding myself era”!!!!

I miss the life I had with my children and I don’t mean my current life with them I mean the time when they were my children, the fun we used to have, going on picnics, the beach, walks, out on the bikes, picking blackberries and taking them home to make a crumble etc. etc.  Nothing prepares you either for the getting rid of their stuff, as you bring it all down from the attic each item holds a special memory, finding the pile of sheet music which was for piano, singing, flute, violin and all the books which they used to learn their skill, the times I spent watching them in concerts, the time I spent taking them to their lessons, it all comes flooding back and I miss it.  They don’t want the detritus of their lives as children any more so if you don’t have a house to keep it in then you can’t keep it.  I don’t need it to remember the good times they are firmly implanted in my memory but getting rid of the stuff just reminds me of the years of joy I had with them.  I have cried so much for what has gone but I’m sure it’s the same for everyone when their kids grow up.


I managed to sell most of the big pieces of furniture but ended up giving some of it away because in the end I just needed to be rid of it, the notice period in my house was creeping up on me.  I had quite a lot of stuff which was supposed to be going to a house clearance company and they were going to give me a price for it all, so I put it ready and they didn’t even turn up and they didn’t let me know either, in the end a friend of a friend took it all and will sell it on.  It has been very liberating but also quite poignant selling all my stuff, most of the furniture was part of our lives when we were all together so it holds special memories but I know the memories will stay with me, I don’t need stuff to remind me. I am at the point where all I own now is my car and the belongings in my mothers’ house which does scare me slightly, but it had to be done.

A lot of people are asking me and family members what I will do when I come back, I do have a bit of a plan which I might reveal in another blog post, depending how the blog is received, but the future is far away and we all need to live more in the now, I will cross that bridge when I come to it, but having said that, I can always rent a room with someone and get a local job, it’s not the end of the world if I don’t have all that stuff!


The main thing I have learned about myself is I am a terrible hoarder and if I had carried on moving all the personal memory stuff from house to house over the years I would have been like one of those old ladies on the tv programme about hoarders. Never again will I a hoarder be!!!

I do feel a kind of freedom now I am not tied to the paying of the bills and all the responsibility of owning a house and owning a business.  I wish I could bring my kids on my travels with me then it would be perfect but I can’t, so I am happy to keep going back to see family and friends because even though you can stay in touch much better now than years ago, there is still nothing like a cwtch from your kids to make you feel alive!!!



Duke of Lancaster Shipwreck

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Before I came to North Wales I had read on an article on Facebook, a story about this ship called the Duke of Lancaster which had gone aground on the beach at a small town called Mostyn in Flintshire so I really wanted to go and see this.  I’m really not sure why, but I have a weird interest in weird stories and abandoned shipwrecks, buildings, piers or in some cases whole towns, I don’t know why they fascinate me but they just do.


Anyway I asked Nicola, my host about the shipwreck and she said it wasn’t far away so I decided to take a drive and go and find it, I was told that once you are on the right road heading for Mostyn you will just see it.  I drove quite a way on the coast road from Flint and couldn’t see it so I stopped in a carpark and asked a gentleman there who took me to the end of the walkway and pointed further down the coast, around the bend.   I got back in my car and continued my drive and sure enough there it was as large as life, looking like it was in a field,  but as I got nearer it was obvious it was on the beach close to the shore and could be seen the other side of the field.






However it had a huge fence built up around it warning people of danger and with “do not enter” signs all around, but I really wanted to take a closer look, I bumped into another couple with their expensive cameras trying to get a closer look just like me, as we approached the fence a car came towards us and the driver got out and explained that he was on guard and that it was being watched at all times in case of accidents so there was no way we could get closer than behind the perimeter fence.



I decided to try and get around the other side, where you could see there was a path which took you nearer, but there was a stream in the way, which stopped you from getting too close and trying to climb aboard, which would have been pretty difficult anyway as it was so big, it was far too high to climb aboard.  The hull has been decorated with graffiti by some of Europe’s most talented street artists which looked kind of cool.  The artists, from the UK, Russia, Latvia and Hungary, have named themselves the DuDug collective – a play on the Welsh for ‘black duke”.




The ship has sat in dry dock in the Dee Estuary since 1979, she was launched in 1956 by Harland and Wolff who built the Titanic and HMS Belfast, after serving as a Sealink passenger ferry she was renamed the Fun Ship and used as a bar and flea market but was closed to the public in the mid-eighties.  The ship’s owner allow the graffiti artists to decorate the ship as the locals want something done with it, the council have scuppered all plans proposed by the owner and the locals want to turn it into a sort of art gallery with all the art being on the outside or a hotel.  The graffiti art is an ongoing project which is not yet finished, but already looks fab.  I love Graffiti, not the loutish nonsense daubed on the side of buildings but the arty stuff.  I used to work in a bar in Butlins many years ago in Bognor Regis called the Graffiti bar and it was entirely decorated with Graffiti, everyone loved it!



A local group have formed a Duke of Lancaster Appreciation Society, DOLAS and they have a group you can join on Facebook.  I’m going to join the group because I loved the ship and I’m not sure why, but I feel the graffiti adds something to it, it’s definitely a piece of art and most definitely better than some stuff that is actually called art, like that unmade bed by Tracey Emin, Really???????   I think more people would be interested in seeing it if they knew about it.



Definitely one of my most interesting finds while in North Wales.  I sat on the rocks, taking some pics while I marvelled at it, wishing I could get closer, I really wanted to get aboard and explore all the rooms.   I might go back and take a walk along the beach at low tide so I can see it from the stern.


Only the Lonely

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As I prepare for my journey, there is a lot of thinking and worrying and wondering going on in my brain. Should I be doing this? Why am I doing this? Do I need to do this? So many thoughts, so much surmising. One of the main questions people ask me is “Are you going on your own?”

There are a lot of lonely people in the world and there are a lot of loners but there is a difference between the two. In my mind a loner is someone who enjoys being alone and is not too bothered about spending time in their own company for long periods, however, a lonely person is not that happy about being alone and just because they enjoy going places on their own doesn’t mean they are the same as loners. In fact I believe lonely people go places on their own because they want to be with other people, they don’t like being on their own and they prefer the company of others.


I believe this is one of the reasons I feel compelled to travel alone, there is nobody within my family and friends circle who can or would want to do what I want to do at the same time as I want to do it, so there are not many options other than to go alone. Many people think I am brave to make the choice to go alone but it is not bravery it’s necessity.
I have brought up five children who are now all strong independent people, admittedly my youngest is still only 16 but from a young age he has wanted to join the army, the application process has already begun and he is going through the interview stages, once he has officially left the family home I will be alone. By alone I don’t mean that everyone is gone forever and I am completely alone, what I mean is I will have to live alone. I don’t want that. For the last 29 years I have had other people living with me which includes my children and my ex-husband, one by one over the years they are all leaving, I don’t say this for sympathy, it is a fact, however, it is a fact that I find hard to take.


Living with my children has been full of joy, laughter, noise, mess, chaos and so much more and I miss all that. Apart from missing the buzz of a full house, I don’t want to be paying so much in utilities, just for me. So I have known for the last few years that things were going to change when my youngest finally left.

I didn’t expect to be travelling the world, even though I had jokingly talked about it on many occasions, I never truly believed it was possible for me because I have severe financial restrictions, but as mentioned in previous blogs I will be volunteering, which is much more financially viable for me at this moment in time.


To get back to the loneliness issue, I truly feel that one of my reasons for doing what I am doing is to alleviate the feelings of loneliness. I will be meeting new people all the time and living with them as part of their family, while working and helping them in any way I can. I think, for me, it’s the fact that I will feel needed again that draws me to this way of existing. I like to be needed. Whenever I have joined anything like clubs or associations in the past I haven’t wanted to just be like a spare part, I like to have a role and fulfill that role to the best of my abilities.

Life is an Adventure

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What is adventure? What does it mean? I think it means different things to different people. If you look up the definition in the dictionary: Adventure = “An unusual and exciting or daring experience”. Whatever you do in a day that you don’t normally do in the daily run of your life could be considered an adventure. Therefore if you go to work every day at the same time, eat the same food etc. then by making a change to just one of these regular happenings, it could be considered an adventure, for instance if you eat packed lunch every day then decide to have a pub lunch in a place you have never been to before, in the middle of the week, this could be seen as an adventure to some, but, to others they need something more exciting like bungee jumping or swimming with dolphins or any number of things which people might put on their “bucket list”.

I believe things you might put on your list are big adventures and other things you might do which are a change from your daily routine are small adventures and everything in between vary on the scale of adventureness!! (I know this isn’t a real word, just thought it sounded good lol)

a girl walking in a field with a flock of birds with an original quote

Anyway I believe that everything in life can be an adventure if you decide it is going to be, the problem with a lot of people’s viewpoint is it’s negative, they go to work and feel like hamsters on a wheel while their life disappears before their eyes but I think they can try to experience an adventure regularly by doing things they might never have done before. For a start they can do what is mentioned above and go somewhere different for their lunch, they could do a meditation class in their lunch break, basically anything they do that is different can be an adventure and I believe we should all ensure we have at least a few every week if possible.

Happy children silhouettes on summer meadow running and jumping

When I go on my great adventure I want to experience something new and different as often as I can so I am open to all sorts of things, already I have been offered the chance to work at a pop up restaurant, join an Irish choir, go sailing off the coast of Ireland, go snowboarding in France, learn about making yarn on a spindle from a sheep fleece in Wales, do crafts with local children in Thailand, feed chickens in Bali and these are just some of the fun things I will be doing over the next few months.

For some people these might seem mundane and for those people I would urge them to find something which they would find more interesting and just make adventures out of them. Life is very short and to go through it doing the same thing all the time means you will look back and wonder where it all went, but it has been proven scientifically that the more different things you do the more memorable your life is.


There are many things people want to do but they very often put it off saying that the time is not right so they will wait until that time is right but sometimes that time never comes and they regret not having done the things they wanted to do. Think about the things you want to do, like learn how to play an instrument, learn a language, learn to sing, travel the world, have a family, buy a house, all these adventures resonate with lots of people but their fear stops them from going for it, however, the time to go for it is now. All we really have is now, the past is gone, the future we plan may never come, and this is why we have to do it now.

If you are not a very adventurous person because of your fears, start with small adventures like going out for lunch in the middle of the week and gradually build up until you are ready for the big adventures like travelling, having children, moving house etc., you will feel more alive the more adventures you have. It has been mentioned to me by someone I know very well that they feel I am constantly looking for something that I will never find, because I am continually having adventures but this is not the case, I am happy with my life, I don’t believe in regrets because there is nothing we can do about what has gone, as mentioned before all we have is now and those moments while you are living in the now can be many and precious and exciting. I have believed for a very long time that I needed and wanted to cram as much adventure into my life as I could and I am still trying to achieve this. There is never too much adventure!

Senior couple on country walk

If you feel you can’t afford whatever your adventure might be, find a way to do it in another way, for instance, if you feel you can’t afford to visit a certain country because the hotel costs are too high, think about camping instead, I have always been a big believer in finding the cheapest way to do things, probably because when I was married there were seven of us living in the house and everything we did, everywhere we went could have been expensive but I became Mrs thrifty and always found a way to save money and still have our adventure.


If we went on holiday that involved hotels, we would make our lunch out of the buffet breakfast food, or if we were camping we always went to the supermarket and made our own meals instead of eating out at every opportunity which can be very expensive. These are just a couple of examples that probably a lot of people already do but it’s just to point out that you shouldn’t let money or the lack of it rule your life. Money really isn’t everything. After I took part in the London to Paris bike ride I realised that I wanted to do that trip more often, but couldn’t afford it, so I went to work for the company, there is always a way to do what you want when you really think about it and there is always plenty of ways to have adventures.

Doctor uses needles for treatment of the patient. acupuncture needles. alternative healthcare

Practical Acupuncture

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There seems to be a lot of confusion over what acupuncture can treat, I get asked this question all the time, when people find out what I do, bearing in mind Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncture has been used in China for about 2500 years, it is a more holistic approach to medicine with the view that each mechanism in the body affects all others, so in order to ensure the health of the body or person, you need to look at all the parts and treat accordingly.

TCM acupuncture helps the body to heal itself, so any condition you may present with, be it Migraine, back pain, Tennis elbow, IBS etc. etc. then acupuncture can treat it, because through the diagnosis, which involves taking a full case history, taking the pulse and analysing the tongue the practitioner will try to treat the root cause of the illness as well as the symptoms which helps the body re balance and heal itself. Acupuncture also helps your body to create the right environment for healing.

Acupuncture - Application of needles in senior at the spa .

Traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis is based on eight principles, those being, Yin and Yang, Hot and cold, Internal and External and excess and deficiency, alongside these eight principles we look at the whole person and how they present at that exact moment in time. This means the treatments each week may vary depending on presentation.
Very fine sterile needles are inserted at points on the body which are found on any one of the 12 channels/meridians carrying qi through the body in the same way as veins and arteries carry blood. These points are determined by a diagnosis as mentioned previously. Every patient is treated differently according to how they present at that precise moment in time.

The Eastern or Asian acupuncture medical treatment said to prevent or treat a variety of medical ailments including pain.

TCM Acupuncture also uses other methods of treatment including: Fire Cupping, Slide cupping, Moxibustion, Electro acupuncture, Ear acupuncture and Tui Na massage.


Female laying on chest with cupping treatment on back

In a recent analysis published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers concluded that acupuncture has a definite effect in reducing chronic pain, such as back pain and headaches – more so than standard pain treatment. Real acupuncture also produced slightly better results than using sham needles, which suggests the benefits of needling are due to more than the placebo effect.

The Eastern or Asian acupuncture medical treatment said to prevent or treat a variety of medical ailments including pain.

The researchers discovered that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, Osteoarthritis and migraine. Although within this research these were the only conditions proven to respond to acupuncture, it has also been proven in other studies to work on other pain conditions such as arthritis, knee pain and most other pain conditions. It has also been proven an effective treatment for anxiety and depression.
Another major advantage of using it is that acupuncture, which is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is remarkably safe with few, if any, negative side effects, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.