Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Hello chaps and chapesses,

staying in a great campsite now called Tregarton Park. Its just a couple of miles from The Lost Gardens of Heligan and also very near to Mevagissey. Trouble is the walking is a bit hard at the moment and there's no energy left for exploring. Managed to stay awake long enough to eat sausage and chips on the harbour earlier but been vegetating ever since.
Today was 7.5 miles of strenuous walking - and it really was cos it was also very hot! walked from Portscatho to Portloe and only went wrong once; the book said that the path reaches the hotel but goes round the back not thru the tennis court. I went round the back of the tennis court but the book meant to go round the back of the hotel! Felt a bit odd walking past people sitting outside on their balconies and then arrived at the terrace where well dressed folk were enjoying a glass of Pimms overlooking the bay. I sort of did a bit of a 'jolly hockeysticks' hoho and said that now I knew I was lost and I was directed to the path to the beach, only it ended suddenly with nowhere to go and I couldn't bluff my way past the terrace again so I climbed the fence, throwing my rucksack and Milo over first!!!
Well, my campbed is calling. It's getting quite comfortable now so I think I've changed shape to fit it. I caught sight of myself in a shop window the other day and I definitely seem to have a bit of a 'rucksack stoop'. Hey ho, I'm sure I'll straighten out again when I stop.#
Just one more thing - had an idea for next year. I really want to do something for the young carers on Anglesey but don't think I could do another walk. Then had a great idea; we're an island so how about a whole bunch of us paddle kayaks right around the island? Anyway, think on it and we,ll discuss it when I return.
Byr for now,
Love, Susan x

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Halfway and beyond!!!

Hi everyone,

Sorry I've not been able to blog for a while - no library nearby and no power in the laptop. All working now tho.
Its been an eventful week. Been staying at Mullion Holiday Park - great site with lots of extra amenities and the pitch was free, so thank you to them. The last site was good too, Tower Park in St Buryan, a great centre for exploring Penwith. Both were instead of booked sites which had no disabled facilities that Charlie could use.
Been thru Penzance now and past wonderful places like Prussia Cove, Porthleven, Lizard Point, Porthallow and on to helford where they ferry takes you across the water to helford Passage and then on to falmouth where I finished today.
Porthallow was the halfway point, with 315 miles done and only 315 still to go.
There are lots of lovely places on the Lizard, full of character and a surprising number of thatched cottages, Cadgwith in particular was very picturesque.
been talking to lots of people and getting lots of encouragement which is great. Its especially nice when I get emails from people I've met on the walk (thanks Bernadette) saying well done, keep going etc. Makes me feel that its all worthwhile.
Moving again tomorrow, to a campsite near Mevagissey - seems incredible that in just over a week we'll be out of Cornwall and back into Devon.
This contact keeps breaking down - this is already my second attempt to blog, so I'll finish now and hope theres better signal at the new site.
Glad everyone who was stranded abroad is back safe and sound.
Bye for now,
Susan x
PS If anyone sees Tara (mothers dog) give her a hug from me after her unscheduled meeting with the car the other day, cos she's a bit sore

Sunday, 18 April 2010

broken wheelchair and a broken walking stick!!!

Hi all,

Been an eventful few days but first of all I have to say a huge THANK YOU to The Penzance Cycle Centre who dropped everything they were doing to mend Charlie's wheelchair. We've been tightening the screws on the castor wheels almost daily but we missed a loose one and lost it so Charlie was singing 'three wheels on my wagon' and going nowhere. All fixed now and better than ever.
The other near disaster was me as I walked into Sennen Cove - looked up to scrutinise the people walking towards me (nosey as ever), got my boot caught between two rocks and went down in a very undignified manner at the feet of those very people. Got a bruised knee but otherwise just a dented pride and a very bent walking stick. I had thought I'd push on that day to Land's End but wioth only one stick I cancelled that thought. Spare sticks at the campsite tho so all's well again.
Went past Land's End where I met Charlie and we had the required photo with the signpost - nice man, took some with my camera too! Then it was off round to Porthcurno and the Minack Theatre. The rocks and cliffs after Land's End are much more spectacular than the ones before, really stunning, but my favourite aspect of them is they're fluffy!!! They really do look fluffy, all covered in a pale green lichen with fronds about two inches long - wonderful effect and very beautiful. The rocks are all much more rounded too without the sharp jagged edges we've seen so far.
Yesterday was a horrible day - much longer than anticipated and exhausting. Everything went fine until I got to Penberth, where I discovered that the N.T. have imposed a no dog zone covering the whole of the centre of the village, even the carpark, with specific reference to coast path walkers who are walking with dogs. They had put up maps showing the alternative route but the path left the village , went off the map and came back in at the top of the map - not very helpful. So, I followed the signs, swearing about idiots demonising dogs because of irresponsible owners, and found a rather ambiguous sign about half a mile or so along, took the route I thought it meant and spent the next hour trying to extricate myself from a network of fields whose boundaries did not in any way resemble those on my map, and eventually got back to Penberth where Im met a lady and her son who sent me the right way. Then it was off to Lamorna with a path that never lets you get into a good stride, up and down, twisting, over rocks, thru gaps in rocks - all very hard on the old bones, especially after trapsing through fields for an hour! The one good thing about the detour is that now I know what makes Milo's feet sore, it's nettles. They actually sting his pads, so I'll know now how to keep his little tootsies comfy.
Met some great people the last few days, all listened to what I had to say, all agreed that my mission to improve the lot of poorly youngsters is a good one, all agreed that if a child says they're unwell then they should be believed first off and not after they've proved it, if indeed they can, and all put some money in the collection box strapped to my rucksack. It's great to know that so many people are behind what I'm doing, and understand why I'm doing it this way to start with.
Well, it's time to make tracks - bit of a late start this morning because I wanted to update the blog before we set off. I'm walking through Mousehole and Newlyn to Penzance today, lots of roadwork but after yesterday I don't think I'll mind, especially as I'll get to see so many boats!
Oh, forgot to say - has anyone read Derek Tangye books about his and his wife's life in Cornwall? I went past their place today, its now a sanctuary for solitude for anyone to go into and feel at peace, as well as a wildlife sanctuary too.
Take care everyone and I'll blog again soon.
Love Susan x
PS Do you know how odd it is to write a blog? Not like keeping a diary because other people read it, but more like talking to yourself without being written off as bonkers!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Cape Cornwall

Hello again,
It wasn't Sennen Cove - that's tomorrow. It was Cape Cornwall which missed out by inches on being Land's End! It was an amazing walk. I took loads of photos of the old mine buildings at Geevor Mine, which only stopped operating in 1990, then I arrived at Levant Mine with it's steam engine still in situ and working (except that today it was broken) and then I got to Botallack with its famous Crowns engine houses right down by the water's edge. It was quite an easy path in a way because it's walked so often that most of it is wide and well maintained. Charlie was waiting when I got to Cape Cornwall - she remembers fishing for crabs there with AJ and its one of my favourite pictures I have in my rogues gallery.
Hope nobody got offended by yesterdays blog but if people keep pushing my buttons one of them will make a noise.
On that subject, if anyone knows of a legal eagle who'd take on the might of the NHS for Charlie then start buttering them up now so they're well sweetened by the time we get home. Think I just mixed my metaphores but who cares, I don't, I'm a bit bone weary at the moment.
Going to check my email now before this internet session (at Penzance library) finishes.
Love, Susan x

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Hi again,
I'm in the library in St Ives, had to pay for the internet and could only have half an hour.
Moved campsites today but the new site, although it had a great disabled shower etc, had a nasty slope up to it, a nasty slope towards it and a really nasty slope to get off the pitch onto the path! We're now happily ensconced in a great site at St Buryan where we bought Keitha, one of our Shires from. Todays walk was slightly shortened so still possible - shortened by a dramatic cliff fall which neccesitated closing a long stretch, so it was quite a short if tiring walk to the next stop. Tomorrow its on to Sennen Cove I believe.
On a more serious note, I spent a long time awake last night worrying about all the things I keep being told I should've done or could've done. Well, and I mean no offense, I asked for help a year ago and none was forthcoming. Charlie and I arranged everything, we planned the stops, the meeting places, the campsites, we designed and built the website, we designed our logo, our literature, our promotional stuff, we wrote and distributed our own press release and inbetween I managed a little training for this huge undertaking. There were no more hours in the day for all the things we apparently 'could've' and 'should've'. We are very grateful to the people that have taken on the work still going on back home and I hope they know how appreciated they are, but I really don't need to be told all my shortcomings when I'm slogging at this walk. It's not a picnic, or an extended holiday - after all I could easily enjoy the sea and wonderful scenery right on my doorstep couldn't I?
There are, I know, one or two who have said that if I can do this walk I could go to work and earn a living like everybody else. I walk for a few hours each day, strapped at every joint, hurting on every step to fight for justice for young poorly people and their families. When I cared for Charlotte 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nobody suggested then that I was surely fit enough for work - strange, or am I becoming a cynic?
I should also let you all know that the walk will not be the end of this. I let the medical profession walk all over my daughter and ruin her life for ever - no more. I intend to find a solicitor with some courage, unlike the last lot that wouldn't even attempt to clear the first hurdle, and fight for Charlotte's right to justice. No doctor should be allowed to get away with striding upto a young person who can feel nothing from the neck down, slap their thigh hard several times and then walk away saying 'well, if you wont even try...', and no doctor should get away with going to a patient who has asked not to be treated by them any longer, pull out a set of car keys and scrape the soul of the foot to try to get a reaction, and then walk off leaving a red weal, and nobody should get away with changing a persons medical notes to cover up mistakes and lay all the 'blame' for illness on the child and the family. If I let them get away with it this time it'll happen again and again and again, so look out, I'm not letting it just slip away this time. Nobody deserves to go through what Charlotte did and I'm going to do my bit to stop it happening.
Thats my piece said, time's up on the internet in the library, so I'm off to try to keep the gas alight while I cook supper in the wind. Enjoy your settees, kettles and comfy beds - I'm looking forward to mine in June!
Bye for now,
Love Susan x

Monday, 12 April 2010

Past St Ives and on the way to Land's End!

Hi everyone,
Sorry I haven't blogged for a few days - been a bit hectic what with one thing and another and walking as well.
Where to start? Lets start with today and work back! Today i walked from St Ives to Zennor - the guide book says the footpath is severe but Roz and I did some other bits labelled severe. Hmm... now I know what severe really means. In fact my language at one point was quite colourful about what I would do to the person who called a boulder field a footpath and hadn't anybody heard of the Trades descriptions act? etc etc. So yes, today was a real test and at this moment, stretched out in Gertie I hurt in places I didn't know I had. The new knee, ankle and wrist braces are working well, but now I'm wondering if a too-small wetsuit might be good for holding the whole body together for the rest of the path.
Seriously, I am very tired and I do hurt a lot but I wouldn't be anywhere else at the moment for all the tea in China.
Charlie and I just had sausage and chips parked on the harbour in St Ives and it was great.
So, back to the previous few days. Matt came to join us on thursday and walked a couple of days with Roz and I. Godrevy Point was reached first and what a wonderful surprise to sea a beach full of seals! Roz and Matt pushed Charlie and her chair up to the cliff edge so she could see them for herself and she loved it. To see something of what we had been seeing was brilliant for her because, however many photos we take, its still not the same as seeing first-hand.
We moved campsites on Friday, to Polmanter, just outside St Ives - great site, 5 star and justly so. Charlie's facilities are brilliant and those for us ordinary folk are really good too.
Matt was due to return on Sunday and Roz had to return with him for family reasons. She was sorry to leave us but I'm sure she got her priorities right. It was strange walking without her and the morning routine is different but I'll get used to it. The porridge was a bit thick cos I didn't judge the quantities right for one!
It's Zennor to Portheras Cove tomorrow and I confess I haven't looked at the map cos if it's going to be like today and I know about it, then I'll just bury myself deeper into my sleeping bag in the morning. If anyone feels like a couple of days off and an invigorating walk, I can always use the company (and the gentle shove to keep going), and I also need help with Charlie in the evenings cos she is developing into a dreadful cheat with the playing cards!!!
Think thats about it for now, moving house again tomorrow but not very far as we're walking right around Penwith for the next few days so never far from about here really.
Time for a game of rummy,
Bye for now,
Love, Susan x
PS Went to Fat Willy's Surf Shack and bought a cute little surfer-dude tee shirt for Harley - aaah

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

St Agnes, engine houses and Tin

Hi all, charlie's typing this on her blackberry as I peel spuds.
Wonderful day today, blue sky and sunshine, saw tin being extracted and cast.
Saw engine houses everywhere, talked to Cornwall wildlife trust at St Agnes. This is my favorite bit of the walk so far :).
Got supports for both knees, ankles and wrists so all holdong togewther well! Will blog for longer when laptop is charged or internet cafe pops up. only 3 or 4 days til St Ives and the Tate.
Bye for now love
Susan x

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Made it to Newquay

Hello and Happy Easter to you all,

The last two days have been wonderful walking. Yesterday was Porthcothan to Mawgan Porth which meant going past Bedruthan Steps. Amazing huge seas made it all the more spectacular. Apparently, Bedruthan was a cornish giant who placed these huge rocks as stepping stones across the bay, but when he arrived at the other side, another giant called Diggory (Diggory's Island is on the far side of the bay) told Bedruthan to go away, so he did! Bedruthan Steps also meant National Trust tea room serving coffee and toasted teacakes.

Today we walked from Mawgan Porth into Newquay. A strange sort of walk because after quite a short stretch you find yourself walking thru some houses and then you are walking past shops and cafes with people everywhere. Its a ery young vibrant place full of surfer dudes and I felt very old! Thought Milo might find all the people a bit daunting but he took it all in his stride quite literally)

We move to another campsite tomorrow so we went back to Padstow tonight for some Rick Stein fish and chips - excellent they were too. There are so many different Rick Stein shops it begins to feel as if the place should be called Padstein!

Tomorrow we'll be camping near St Agnes and I shall be in seventh heaven cos there will be tin mine engine houses everywhere and as far as I'm concerned there are no buildings better than those.

Gotta go, been challenged to a game of Uno and the power has nearly gone on this.

Take care all,

Bye for now,

Susan x

PS Just a little rant - tissue dropper is out again! He/she was out and about in North Devon but then disappeared when the weather got nasty. Now its sunny and a holiday so they're out again.
This wind gives everyone a drippy nose and most of us make do with a good sniff now and then but tissue dropper has one blow and drops it, then a hundred yards further on, one blow and drops it again! Dont they know that pockets are designed specifically for storing such things as tissues? Ok, rant over, feel better now. Tata x

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Past Padstow, Nearly Newquay!

Well, here we are again, it's April 1st and today wasn't at at all bad.
After our day off on tuesday due to the inclement weather we awoke yesterday morning after a night of gale force winds, torrential rain, hail and everything else that the forces of nature could throw at us, expecting more of the same. In fact I did battle the wind and hail to take the dogs for their morning constitutional, then sat in the tent to make Roz and I our morning tea and porridge listening to the rain slamming on the top of the tent and the wind whistling thru the guy ropes and decided we'd have to have another day off - but, after a couple of hours browsing the delightful (and expensive) shops of Padstow, the sun came out, the wind dropped and we decided to do a days walk after all. Needed to leave the shops anyway cos I kept finding things for my new grandson Harley and the parcel is getting bigger.
So, yesterday afternoon, we did the Port Isaac to Port Quin Bay bit and so finished the path north of Padstow and the River Camel. Unfortunately as we walked thru Port Isaac I came across a wonderful shop and had to buy some Pirate skittles for Harley and abook about a local gull called Gully. Wanted a lighthouse shaped cushion too but couldn't fit it into my little rucksack so I'll try to remember it and make one when I get home.
The walk to Port Quin was great til the wind got up again and then it was bitterly cold and not such fun.
Today we 'moved house' -from a great campsite called Padstow Touring Park ( excellent facilities for us and for Charlie and very friendly people) to Watergate Bay Touring Park. It's Good Friday tomorrow so everywhere is open now. This site has a shop, bar, cafe et al and there are loads of people here.
Today we set offrom Padstow on a well used path with loads of people in front and behind but as we got further out around Padstow Bay they dropped off quite considerably. Met a few people walking the footpath tho including one man who's given himself five years to complete the whole path - says he'll see us at South Haven point in August 2014!
Had a great evening in a pub in Padstow last night and stayed fora meal. Met a nice couple from Oz and told them they must go to Hartland Quay on their way to Clovelly. Hope they liked it, they seemed the right sort to enjoy a place like that.
Tomorrow we're off to Porthcothan I think, but right now I have to go and get the washing out of the machine and put it in the dryer!
Take care all of you, and thionk of me on my little camp bed as you snuggle down into ypour nice comfy mattress.
Love Susan x