Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Ooops, mummy checked up on me!!

Hi all, Mummy is finally online YAY, but means she has been checking up on my blogs and the work on the website, apparently my spelling is not up to scratch....haha!

So just a quick apology to all those readers having to deal with the complexities of phonetical spelling, and the perils of a spell checker that cant understand me!! hehe.

Have a wonderful day.

Charlie xx

Friday, 27 November 2009

Winter Walks :)

Its getting chilly now, so we have pulled out the warm hats, cosy socks and gloves and are powering on with the training. Nothing can beat an evening on the beach all wrapped with a couple of dogs, mummy has been telling me all about it, she's having a lovely time.
Nothing to important to report, fund raising is steady but will be really kicking off over and after Christmas.
Both mummy and I are busy busy busy other than the walk organisation, I have my uni course, which isn't leaving me with much energy lol. Mummy has her uni and the community shop in Cemaes bay, which she does a lot for.

The dogs are slowing getting
fit, Milo is enjoying his walks meeting new friends, i think if he new what was a head of him, all of the new people, he would be a little more excited about the training! Mac's training is on hold as he has been a little unwell, waiting for test results to come back from the vets, but right now he is on sofa and garden rest. As for Treacle well, she is sleeping, wagging her tail when she thinks there's food or someone to talk too and sleeping, all that she needs to do, she will be with me for the walk. She has got joints that get too sore if she walks for long periods. She is a Pets As Therapy dog who is just about to turn 10, so doesn't being on the side lines for the younger pair as long as she gets plenty of cuddles :) :)

Have a Lovely Weekend, Mummy shall be the next to update,

Charlie xxx

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Sorry Its been a while :)

Hi all, Mummy's busy moving house at the moment and has no Internet connection :(,
so its up to me to update with all the goings on.

Not entirely sure what I'm meant to be saying, so please bare with me :). Although i am currently at the other end of Wales to my mum, i do know that she and Milo are training again, after a short break, big things like moving house always seem to come around at the wrong time lol.
Fund raising for the walk is up and running all over the country with family members and friends very kindly being our spokes people.
The planning of the walk its self is really quite exciting, and we are really enjoying sorting everything out. Campsites are the next stage for us to organise, i really cant wait.
I would just to add a personal message to my mummy, to say thankyou for what you are doing, thankyou for me and for all the children and parents who will get support through Action Medical Research, I love you. xx
I will update soon on the goings on, but until then keep safe, Charlie

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Well, Charlie's gone back to Swansea - she started Uni yesterday. The house is very quiet and very empty! I'm moving house in about three weeks so there are half packed boxes everywhere. It makes it difficult to get out walking but I'll catch up with the training as soon as the moving is over. I'm very excited about the new house - it'll be so snug and warm, unlike my present home which has wonderful views across the sea and to the mountains, but is bitterly cold with a constant breeze blowing through it.
Charlie will be talking to her tutors now she's back to decide what to do for the best with regard to her course. She wants to be involved with the walk and to be honest it will be very difficult to do it without her - trying to organise support vehicle drivers for 99 days would be nigh on impossible. It now looks certain that the walk will start in March, finishing early/mid June, then we can book appointments for the Chiari Institute in July. That way, even with quite prolonged treatment, Charlie will be b ack to resume her degree at the end of September. I may have mentioned that in my last blog, but it wasn't as certain then. The boots and socks are still as comfy as ever. I still can't believe that a new pair of boots could be so comfy so quckly - not even a slightly red patch after the first wearing and now I can wear them all day and forget I have anything on my feet. I'm going to get some more socks when I've saved up enough, but I can't decide whether to go for a different colour since red seems to work so well.
Got to go pack another box, there's still a scarily huge amount still to do.
Back soon, Susan

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Back again!

Well, it's been a while...
I had a rotten cold followed by another infection which laid me really low, so the training was set back and everything was such an effort - I know, weak excuse, but the only one I have!
Lots to report on now.
Firstly, I've been in touch with The Chiari Institute, the clinic that we'd like Charlie to go to. I sent them a copy of an MRI scan of her head, a brief recent medical history and an explanation of why I'd written. Had an email back two days later with an eight page questionnaire attached for Charlie to complete, about all the symptoms she has - this was followed by another email stating that the doctors had reviewed Charlie's case and felt she was definitely a candidate for their specialised centre. I was asked to send any relevant medical letters, reports that I had access to and another email from them reiterated that they would see her as soon as possible.
Secondly, having discussed the walk, New York, University et al with Charlotte we realised that by starting the walk in June, we would not be able to go to the US until September - which would be the beginning of her third year, not a good idea. By starting the walk in March, we will have the summer to visit the Institute and Charlie will be ready to start University again at the end of September. Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that March 'comes in like a lion', cos then it'll 'go out like a lamb' which will be much more pleasant for walking in!!!
We've started collecting sponsorship and people have been very generous. Long way to go yet, but we'll get there.
Just to add to all the chaos, I'm moving house in four weeks. I'll be in a warmer house without the need for heavy buckets of coal to try to keep warm. I'll also have easy access to lots of great walks, especially around the Anglesey coast path - a wonderful training ground for The Two Million Steps.
I've been advised that I will have to 'get out there' and really publicise the walk - not too good at that sort of thing, anyone any ideas how I should go about it? I mange to get it into most conversation now, even with total strangers at the Breakwater Country Park in Holyhead where I do my voluntary bit for the North Wales Wildlife Trust. If anyone should chance to call in on a friday afternoon (until end october) I make a good cuppa and apparently my hot chocolate is second to none.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Mac the super-pooch!

This is Mac, a very beautiful (sorry, handsome) chap. He works as Charlotte's assistance dog and is wonderful at his job. We trained him ourselves, tailoring his tasks to suit Charlie's needs. At first, when he was still a young pup and Charlie was confined to her bed, I took Mac to training classes with a great trainer called Margaret Booth. He was and still is a typical Springer - busy, busy, busy! He did everything with such enthusiasm and consequently often got it wrong, but no-one could doubt that he was keen. As well as basic obedience we also did something called K9 Multisports, great for a dog like Mac who needed to be kept busy and needed to learn all sorts of different tasks. Now, he gives Charlie the phone when it rings, picks up anything she drops, fetches and carries from me to her and vice versa, takes off gloves, socks, jeans and even t-shirts for her, takes the washing from the machine and passes it from the basket for hanging on the line. At K9 Multisports he had to learn to cross the room, press a button with his nose and return to Charlie - we went home wondering if this was a task too far, but no, he got it in minutes! We went back to training the next week and said confidently that Mac could do it. Doubting looks were followed by the challenge 'show us', and he did it, perfectly! Now he can also use his paw to press the pad that opens shop doors.
Unfortunately, Mac is not a certified assistance dog. The people we went too were unsure about his temperament - he can be nervous when people move quickly near him as he has bad eyesight but as he gets older his confidence increases, and he is getting used to all sorts of new experiences since Charlie started University last September. The University have invited Mac to attend classes with Charlie now and they are looking forward to starting the new term together. Even tho at the start it was me who fed and walked Mac, there has never been a doubt in his mind about where his loyalties lie. At nine weeks old, the carers had taken Charlie to the bathroom to get her washed and dressed when I realised Mac was missing - I found him sitting outside the bathroom door with the tv remote in his tiny mouth, the only thing Charlie could use on her own! As she improved the biggest problem was teaching Mac to walk beside the wheelchair - he had realised very quickly that even when unable to sit up and sometimes unable to speak, it was Charlie's face that told him all he needed to know, and walking beside her he couldn't keep an eye her to guage her needs.
So you see, super pooch is a well deserved title, but if you met him you would probably just see an exhuberant black and white Springer with an excess of energy, a slight squint, and a long flowing tail that is often dripping wet as he just can't resist jumping in to every drop of water he sees!!!
Bye for now,
PS New boots are bedding in well but still get a bit weary at the four mile stage even with red socks! Lots of time to improve though.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Introducing Milo

This is Milo on our first training walk!
Of course he had no idea he was training - he thought it was just another walk, maybe slightly longer than usual but that just made it more enjoyable, and we went along a new path and met new people and it was all rather wonderful for a Patterdale terrier who's only thirteen months old.
Milo will be walking with me next year, but sometimes he'll have a break and travel with Charlie, my daughter, and her assistance dog Mac will take a break from looking after the boss-lady and walk with me.

Milo is a bit of a character, occassionally very naughty but always loving and affectionate. I'm trying to teach him not to greet everybody he meets so effusively but I think it'd be easier just to wait for him to grow up and grow old! He just loves people!
Mac, Charlie's assistance dog, is a black and white English Springer Spaniel. A handsome and devoted companion who works hard all day every day to make life easier for Charlie. I'll find a good photo of Mac and post a blog all about him another day.
Bye for now,

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

These boots were made for walking....

Check out these boots!!!

I went to Cotswold in Betws y Coed and asked for advice - not even as a child in the Clarks shoe shop were my feet so carefully measured. A young man called Paul served me and not only fitted my feet perfectly but also coped with my mother and my daughter nattering nineteen to the dozen as well.
The boots are Scarpa Womens New Trek GTX - I reckon with a name like that they could walk the whole of the South West Coast Path on their own. Even the socks were carefully considered and tried until the right ones were chosen - and I liked the comment that red socks would make me look like a real walker! (He had seen me walk around the shop a few times by then and noted my less than elegant gait).
Now I need to get out there and bed them in. The dogs looked excited - think they thought the boots looked business-like and likely to engender some good walks. I'm very lucky living where I do. I can walk to the beach, drive twenty minutes to huge sand dunes and forest, drive forty minutes to the heart of Snowdonia or just a few minutes more to high moorland.
I'd like to walk more in the mountains but had an experience as a child that makes me wary of 'getting it wrong'. I've also spent several spells in our local hospital, where if you're lucky and get a ward on the right side, you get a fantastic view of the mountains; you also get to watch the helicopters bringing in the people who either have genuine accidents or who treat the mountains with such a lack of respect they are an accident waiting to happen.
My experience involved the very Clark's shoes I mentioned earlier. I was eight, my brother was ten. Our father walked up Snowdon whilst in the army and so foolishly considered himself a bit of an expert. We set off on foot halfway between Nant Peris and Pen y Pas - Daddy knew a short-cut that would take us onto the Pyg track! I should say here that I was wearing a summer frock and my (fairly well fitted) Clark's sandals, my brother was wearing his grey flannel shorts, white aertex shirt and plimsolls. I don't know exactly how long we climbed, about five hours I think. It involved a chimney that I negotiated rather well I thought, and finished on what I now know to be Crib Gogh! I can still see the sheer drop one side and the scree slope the other, although I haven't been back since. A group of people came towards us and recognised our predicament - my brother and I were escorted by two people each and taught the proper way to walk down a mountain. Our father followed about fifty yards behind accompanied by the rest of the group explaining precisely what they would do to him if they ever saw him anywhere on the mountains again!!! My parents moved to Anglesey about a year or so before my father died and he always seemed a little wary when we drove into Snowdonia - think he thought one of our rescuers might see him and remember the threat even after all these years!
I'll report back when I've taken the boots for a ramble and when I've found out whether red socks really do make you a real walker!
Bye for now,

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Daunting but exciting

This is a first time blog for me, but hopefully the first of very many!

Today my daughter and I set up our web site ; twomillionsteps.com, we worked out our stopping places and ordered some really good maps.

But, back to the beginning..... we as a family suffer from something called Ehler's Danlos Syndrome. It affects our joints mainly and can be very painful. My daughter, Charlotte, is badly affected and now unable to walk. Added to this, Charlie began some years ago to suffer problems that didn't appear to be caused by the Ehler's Danlos Syndrome (EDS). We now have a good idea of what the problem is and although a different one it is closely linked to EDS. Charlie has no sensation in her right side. She has constant severe headaches and other neurological difficulties. There is a centre in New York that specialises in this condition, and whilst we are realistic and accept that there is no cure, we need to do everything possible to ensure that she doesn't deteriorate further. Charlie is 24 years old and the most positive, optimistic person you could ever wish to meet.

I can walk, albeit in a rather wobbly way and with two sticks, so it's by walking that I intend to help Charlotte and many other people whose lives are made more difficult by crippling diseases.

I have been fascinated for many years by the South West Coast Path - the longest long distance footpath in Britain. I wanted to walk it twenty years ago but the fates conspired against me and it didn't happen. Now it makes sense. Now I NEED to do it, it's not just that I want to.

I've measured my stride and worked out that from the start at Minehead to the end at South Haven Point in Dorset is (roughly) 2,000,000 steps.

To raise money for Charlotte's treatment and funds for Action Medical Research I intend to sell each step for 10p - the potential is there to help Charlie and a lot of other people too.

I will update this blog as the training goes ahead, it'll help to have a vent for the good and the bad, for the doubts and fears, for the upbeat positive times when I KNOW I'm going to do it. I'll put in pictures of my dog Milo who will be coming with me, of my other dog Treacle who will be too old to walk but will be there in the campervan to greet me at the end of each days walk, and then, next June, when the walk starts, I'll update every day, so if you're out there and reading this, join me, it'll be quite a ride!
Be back soon,