Anatomical differences Do make a difference!

Namche Bazaar – photo coutesy of Cameron McNeish

It’s not often (well, never really) that I’ve let a male shop assistant get his hands anywhere near my boobs, but last weekend I let the very helpful Greg do just that. At least I think his name was Greg, it definitely began with G.

Now, before you all start thinking I’m getting desperate or something, let me point out that it was all in the name of research. Research of the trekking variety – this time I was checking out day packs for my upcoming trek in the Himalayas. I’m not sure whether it was the excitement of being in the midst of all this wonderful gear, that up to a few weeks ago I had been completely unaware of, the suitability of the particular day pack in question or the excellent salesman, but I walked out of the shop with my very own Deuter SL daypack. It did help that there was an impressive reduced sale price attached to the purchase.

Having never been in the market for such stuff before I’ve had to rely on advice about what I’m going to need. The lovely Learna from World Expeditions has given me a few pointers about what to look for and the aforementioned Greg (?) at Mountain Design in Joondalup was an absolute fount of knowledge.

This is not something you can go into blind. Let’s face it, if you get an ill fitting pack you could end up with chaffed nipples – and you wouldn’t want that, would you? My day pack is designed specifically for women, we have shorter backs you know, and the sternum strap (which is where Greg came in, needing to fasten this said strap across the boob area) is designed to help reduce pressure points in the chest area. The info that came with it states that ‘A team of female outdoor sports specialists has taken a long hard look at the anatomical differences between men and women rucksack users.’ Wonder where I can apply for that job.

Ok, moving right along, away from what could happen if I got the wrong one to the fact that, apart from fitting well, the Deuter SL has lots of lovely compartments designed for storing all the necessary bits n pieces, a bottom compartment and an extendable lid. I could go on but I’m thinking you’re probably starting to lose interest.

Now, I just need to put some weight in it and practice walking with it. Do you think it’ll look odd if I start hiking through the streets with it on?

Of Ancient Rocks and Games

Good intentions are just not enough sometimes. I fully intended to write this post during the Olympics. I knew the angle I was going to take and, let’s face it, not only did I have the two weeks of the actual events in which to get it on to the page but there was quite a long time before that when we all knew it was going to happen. I could have been more prepared and got it written. But I wasn’t and I didn’t. So, here you are, a little late but useful information all the same.

Australian olympic sailors off the Jurassic Coast

I’m sure I was squinting at the television when I was watching the Olympic sailing events recently. Do I need new glasses you might be asking. Well, no actually, I was just trying to get a better view of the coastline behind the boats. Although several hours from the hub of Olympic activity in London, the guys and girls who seem to love the thrill of ocean sailing definitely got lucky as far as venue was concerned, I used to live around there so I know what I’m talking about.

The Jurassic Coast, stretching 95 miles from Exmouth in the west to Old Harry Rocks in Studland Bay in the east, was designated England’s first and only natural World Heritage Site in December 2001. It was quite fitting that this ancient landscape should be chosen to play its part in the 2012 Olympics by hosting the sailing, one of the oldest sports to be part of the Olympic movement.

Durdle Door, Dorset

I’m going to quote the Jurassic Coast website here because they say this much better than I could. ‘It is the only place on Earth where 185 million years of the Earth’s history are sequentially exposed in dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, coastal stacks and barrier beaches. The ‘tilt’ of the rock creates a unique ‘walk through time’ from 250 million to 65 million years ago, through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods as you walk eastwards along the site.’

This area has a huge range of attractions for all members of the family and when we lived here we were never short of somewhere to head to on a weekend. From beaches rich in fossils to World War II test sites, from traditional seaside resorts to the source of stone used in St Pauls Cathedral.

The seafront at Swanage

For 12 months, in the late 1990s, we lived in Swanage. This is one of those towns so typically British. No one does the seaside quite like the British. Complete with a row of bathing huts, a promenade that is closed to traffic in the summer months and a steam train that takes you through the beautiful countryside on the Isle of Purbeck with magnificent views of the ruins of Corfe Castle, I have very fond memories of our time there. As a bonus, from the front windows of the flat we were renting we had views over the Solent to the Isle of Wight, on a clear day that is, and the writer within me liked this sort of inspiration.

Some of my favourite spots along this ancient coastline which you MUST visit if you ever get the chance are:

  • Old Harry Rocks and Durdle Door – ancient rock formations.
  • Lulworth Cove – a natural horse-shoe shaped harbour created over 10,000 years ago.

    Lulworth Cove, Dorset

  • Kimmeridge – the bay here has been a source of shale since Roman times.
  • Chesil Beach – 18 miles long and separated from the mainland in most places by a saline lagoon. This beach was used as the testing place for World War II ‘bouncing bombs.’ The times we were there it was always windy and cold, but the fishing’s supposed to be good.

    Chesil Beach

  • Lyme Regis – with its ‘Cobb’, made famous in the films The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Persuasion. Packed in the summer, blustery but atmospheric in the winter, they do great fish and chips.

    The ‘Cobb’ Lyme Regis

  • The Isle of Portland – famous since Roman times for its Portland stone.
  • Charmouth – go fossil hunting on the beach here.

    Charmouth Beach

  • Chain ferry – not really part of the Jurassic Coast but if you’re coming from the Bournemouth end take the chain ferry from Sandbanks across to Studland Bay. An excellent experience and a shorter route than driving around. A bit of advice though – in the summer months there can be long queues at both ends so be prepared.

Is it REALLY that HIGH?

Just thought I’d reblog this post from Elytoeverest – it really puts things in perspective. Keith and Tim have also set themselves a challenge. They’re going higher than I am, to base camp in fact. I’ll be reaching about half way between Lukla airport and base camp so it would appear I’ll be at least three times as high as the summit of Ben Nevis while Mt Kosciuszko, the highest peak on mainland Australia is 2228m, 600m lower than the airport at Lukla.

Pop on over and check out Keith and Tim’s preparations, they’re raising money for a couple of very good causes – and getting themselves fit at the same time.

A Whole Heap of Steps and a Wandering Mind.

Ok, my boots and I have got past first base. We took our first walk together last weekend and we certainly bonded. We didn’t rub each other up the wrong way and we came back feeling very smug with ourselves, no one else we saw were half as compatible. We’ve decided we suit each other quite nicely and will enjoy our time together.

We’ve also discovered a couple of added bonuses to the training that we’re doing, at least I have.

You’ll remember that I’ve mentioned the coastal path that I take my walks on (well you will if you’ve been taking any notice of what I’ve been writing lately) anyway, I’ve found a better training track. This one is only a few minutes from home and I cannot believe that I’ve lived here for 7 years and haven’t found it before now. It’s an area of open bushland with a walking trail around and through it and the best bit, as far as I’m concerned, is that it has two sets of steps.

Going down – that’s the easy part.

There are over 120 steps that I need to go down and then back up. The first time I tried it I needed to stop twice on the way up, to catch my breath and explain to my thighs that they really will get to enjoy this and it’s doing them good. They didn’t seem convinced and in protest continued to complain for some minutes. The intention, though, is to get further each time before the complaining begins and eventually be able to go up and down a couple of times without needing to stop.

What goes down must go back up – including me!

The beauty of this discovery is that now I don’t have to get in the car and drive before I can walk, now I just step outside my front door and within a few minutes I’m surrounded by the peace and quiet of this wonderful bushland.

The second bonus is that all of this walking in such a serene and peaceful environment, with only the occasional dog and his walker as a distraction, allows the mind to wander. The stress of the working week gradually trickles away and my mind is able to let go and enjoy the freedom.

So my decision to go on this trek is already paying dividends, who knows what inspiration will flow from that released mind.

Sharing the Love

I’m afraid I’ve been rather remiss in not posting this sooner. Life got in the way and, as we ‘ve all figured out, there are only so many hours in a day. Once we’ve factored in eating, sleeping, working and generally taking care of life’s little dramas there’s not much time left and sometimes we just need to stop for a while.

Apologies done (or excuses made, depending on your point of view) I need to acknowledge an honour bestowed upon me and thank Christina for thinking me worthy.

Six months ago when I started this blog I didn’t even know there were such things as blogging awards and, when I did come across them in the course of my blog browsing, I seriously did not expect to have any bestowed upon me. I was just doing something I loved and not expecting recognition. There are some amazingly articulate, entertaining and thought provoking blogs out there and I am constantly in awe of the diligence and creativity of my fellow bloggers. I consider it a privilege to be among them and honoured when they single me out for praise.

Two weeks ago, Christina of Reconstructing Christina saw fit to bestow upon me The Very Inspiring Blogger Award and I am so sorry it has taken me this long to get around to acknowledging and thanking her. Christina is one of those bloggers prepared to share with us sensitive and often poignant insights into her thoughts and her blog is well worth a visit.

The rules of the award are:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award and link to them.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

So, 7 things about myself:

  1. I have a cat called Diesel who is constantly trying to kill me, by tripping me up.
  2. The first thing I remember cooking is baked beans on toast (if that can be called cooking) when I was 11 or 12.
  3. I share my birthday with Emily Bronte.
  4. and on that note … my eldest daughter was named after Cathy in Wuthering Heights (but spelt differently).
  5. I don’t like pineapple on pizza.
  6. I do like pineapple meringue pie.
  7. In the 1800s my ancestors were roof thatchers.

And now the bloggers that I pass this award on to, some are travel related, others about reading and writing. Some are very new to blogland while others are long established with an enviable number of followers. All are worth a visit: