Category: General

Walking Challenge – London

After doing the Rome challenge I decided to do the London challenge, 21km. It was very easy and I did it in a couple of days, however, it encouraged me to move more than normal, and who can complain about that.

As with the Rome challenge, there were virtual checkpoints and postcards with information about the places. I took M to London back in 2002 to stay for a week and stayed in Bloomsbury, the hotel was in the middle of the square where Oliver Twist was filmed and the famous scene of “who will buy my beautiful roses”. We had a great time, but M has never been back since. I have been a good few times to see a dental specialist as I sued my old dentist (yes, I won the case).

The checkpoints where:

  • Starting point, Big Ben
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Hyde Park
  • The Regent’s Park
  • The British Museum
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Tower of London
  • Tower Bridge
  • The Shard
  • Finishing point, London Eye

I am not too sure which challenge to do next, but there are a few I like the look of, Everest Base Camp – 70km, Laugavegur Trail – 80km, Pyramids of Egypt – 132km, and The Great Wall of China – 300km. Other companies do challenges covering even more miles however, the medals are not as nice and that is one of the main attractions to the challenge, apart from trying to be healthy and increase my fitness.

So, until next time…

Walking Challenge – Rome

Back in 2016, I took M to Rome. He had always wanted to go as it was a bit of a dream of his, who was I to deny him this? I, therefore, surprised him with a week trip. We had a great time, we ate great food, drank too much fine red wine, walked what seemed hundreds of miles, needless to say, we had the best time.

I was on Instagram and noticed an advert for a virtual walking challenge around Rome and could not resist. We cannot travel at the moment due to COVID-19, so why not tour the city virtually. The challenge was a limited-time challenge that hit all the major attractions we had visited 5 years ago. The challenge used my Apple Watch to monitor the steps and distance and maps it out where I was in the city with virtual postcards at all the major spots. It was nice to do and brought back more memories of what a great time we had.

Checkpoints

At each of the checkpoints and the “postcard’s”, there is a write up about the place giving the history and some interesting facts all with a virtual 360 visit to the site. Once at the end of the challenge I got a certificate and was sent a medal which can be seen below. The medal is really nice and as can be seen, is hinged to reveal another view of the city.

Until next time…

Animal Rescue

I have written in the past about our animal rescues, from polecats to dogs we will rescue any animal that needs help. This week was no exception. On Monday, we heard a bit of a bang on the house, but could not work out what it was or where it came from. An hour later I went to get the car off the drive only to see a large seagull sat next front of the building quietly sitting there sheltering from the elements. I put the dogs and M in the car then showed M the seagull. At this point, I decided that I need to go over to him to see if he was injured. He flapped his wings but did not run away, which is unusual for a bird like this. As I had to take the dogs out for a walk I left him there until I got back. My neighbour called to me when I was getting out of my car, pointing to the bird. I told her that I knew about it, and with a large dog blanket, I put it over him and gently lifted him and took him into our back garden, where he was put into a rather large box with a cushion to keep him comfortable.

As the weather had taken a turn for the worst and the rain started and the winds picked up, we decided to put him in the gazebo and close the walls to keep him safe and out of the elements. Once he was settled I fed him with moist brown seeded bread, chicken and fat pellets. At this point, I decided to call him Gilbert, no idea if he liked that name though.

I kept checking on him through the day and evening, then left him for the night to rest. In the morning he was very alert and interested in watching me through the window as I went about the garden. We checked him and gave him more food. He still was not wanting to walk, so I think he has damaged either his hip or sustained nerve damage after his crash. I called a lady who looks after swans and other birds that need to recuperate before being let go into the wild again, and she said that she thinks he had damaged his legs since he wasn’t using them and to see if he improves, however, as his condition did not improve I decided to take him to our vets as they could x-ray him and give him the care he needed. So far they have not called me back to let me know what his condition is, so I will call on Thursday with my fingers crossed that he is on the road to recovery.

I’m Still Here…

Not that you would know half the time. I keep meaning to post but never seem to do it. Apathy applies? Oh most definitely. I have things to say, but sometimes I am just not in the mood to put fingers to keys, and after a long week working, then I just cannot be arsed with anything. I know, how rude? I know people read my posts, so I know I have an audience, but I seem to be losing my “voice”. Now, I know that I could post all the time as there is always something going on or a project on my needles, and years ago I used to blog/post many times a day, but these days I think I am in old age mode and happy to sit in front of the telebox and vegetate after work.

The long winter is a bind that has not given me any inspiration to do anything, not that I have been lazy. I have replaced the floors in both bedrooms on the top floor. We have three bedrooms, one on the main floor and two upstairs in the attic. Now, the floors had not been touched since 1973 according to a newspaper I found under the boards in the main room, and 1980 for the smaller room. My home was built in the 1800s and some things have not been touched or replaced from this era. Whilst walking about it sounds like an old ship with all the creaking. In the main room, the floor had failed due to the window in the roof leaking for some time, this was leaking long before we moved in. We discovered the leak one night in bed during a rainstorm, when we were wakened to dripping on the bed, needless to say, I had to do something about it, but unknown to be at that point it had caused the floor to slowly rot. Due to M’s disability, we moved to the downstairs bedroom, so over the years the floor had slowly failed, and one day, M was upstairs and called me to say that the floor seemed spongy, I thought nothing too much about it, and years later it finally started giving away, so I had to fix it. This was one of the major hobs that I had to do this year. I am not a carpenter by any means, but I did manage to do a good job of it. well, I thought so, and M approved, so that was all I needed to know. Once the main room was done, I had the job of doing the second room, although we have no idea why that floor was failing at the time. I lifted up the carpet which I have never replaced as I treat this room as a junk room. I discovered that it had failed due to a previous owner of many years back installing a small hatch that I can only think of was for inspecting electrics that are now redundant. The opening was so shoddily done that it had fallen through, thus causing the rest of the floor to break. It was like biscuits so needed doing. However, once I had lifted the carpet up I did not feel like doing it, so left it for over a week, then one day felt I had the gumption to do the job, and within 3 hours it was complete. The only problem with the second floor was that think I managed to knock my pliers into the void and not noticed and had screwed the two 1m x 2m sheets of interlocking wood down in many places. I have had them for over 20 years, so maybe time for a new pair.

Main Room, 64 square feet of flooring replaced in the end.
Room 2 after lifting the floor. The sad blue carpet you see is part of the floor that lifts up which is a “dead man’s drop” that is used to lower coffins down the main floor (as you cannot get them down the spiral staircase). This is also used to take furniture upstairs too.

I have also been doing the kitchen up. The kitchen I think was modelled on that featured in Noah’s Ark. We have many cupboards which were brown wood originally and not great looking. I had painted them in the past a few times but never been happy with the end result. However, this time I am happy with it all as I also changed the tiles and the worktops. We had a new boiler fitted as ours was over 30 years old and although it worked, it was not economical, and we have only had a tepid home for many years rather than a warm home, needless to say, it can be like a hothouse in a very short time which is rather nice. One part of the kitchen is a small alcove where a fireplace used to be and where we had a small drinks fridge, however, I decided that the fridge needed to go and I got an imitation log burner (electric) fire, built a platform for it, and added an unfinished sleeper (only carved flat two sides) as the front edge to the fireplace. I still have bits to finished off as well as do the tiling there, but all in all, I am happy with the look. I am sure you will agree that the before and after are quite different, although the before is when we first moved in back in 2003 and had not even taken a breath, never mind thought about decoration/renovation.

So, forgive my absence as I have been working hard.

You couldn’t make it up!

On Thursday we received a letter from the DVLA confirming that we were no longer the owners of our X-Trail from 27th August. Now, this came as a bit of a shock as I had just got out of it and had definitely sold it. Within the letter it stated that I would get a refund on the road tax in due course. Because the car did not have road tax on it, my insurance would not be valid, and had not been valid for a week. Basically, I had been driving illegally and if I had an accident my insurance would not cover me, I could lose my driving licence, my car could be taken from me and crushed, and if in an accident possibly go to prison.

I made lots and lots of calls to find out what had happened, who was responsible for this and to get it all corrected. The top and tail of it was that no one wanted to take responsibility for the mistakes. The car dealer was blamed at first as we are getting a new car and should have had it delivered on 1st September, but due to COVID and Nissan factory shutdown it was running late in production. I was told that because we were trading the car in and the new car was late the dealer should have updated the dates and it would not have happened. I was not happy with this and argued that if that was the case then date from DVLA would have been the 1st and not 27/8.

In the end, I was told that something has gone wrong and that it would be fixed within the next week. WHAT? So how were we supposed to get about, and me go to work etc? I wanted a car and that was that. This was nothing to do with me, so whoever it is needed to sort out a car immediately. I was told that a car would be with me within 4 hours and the car hire people would call me to make sure they send a suitable vehicle. 3 hours passed and no call, so on the phone I went only to be told that they don’t have a car for me as the place up north is closed. In the meantime whilst a hire car was being found I was given a taxi account to use until it was sorted. But as with everything else in this, it was not that easy.

There are two places that do the car hire, one 30 miles south and another 35 miles north, and wouldn’t you know, neither had a car available. The place north of here is under COVID restrictions and is under lockdown. Understandably I did not want a vehicle that is sat in the middle of a rising city pandemic and made my feelings known. I was promised that my request would be adhered to, but promises are never kept. The southern branch I was told would call me and get it sorted, and again, this never happened.

Friday comes and I get a taxi to work. After 4 hours in work (11am) I call again to find out what’s going on and am told that it would be sorted out today and not to worry. Finally at 1:15pm I get a gall to say they have a car and it will be not he way soon, but it was coming from the branch in lockdown. I did not want to take it, but at this point in time I had not choice as I needed a car. 4pm it was delivered, a Vauxhall Crossland X, which is not big at all, and I think I could fit it into the glove compartment of my X-Trail. A quick spray with the disinfectant spray and crossed fingers that all would be well.

I spoke to the dealer after and told him what had gone on and he filled me in with what he had been told, almost sounding sceptical about it all, especially that he was blamed initially and that I was not blaming him. We have bought 4 cars from him over the past 10 years and never had a problem. I now have this car until it is all sorted out with DVLA, and my car is sitting on the drive doing nothing.

I told you, you could not make it up.

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