Monday, April 30, 2007

An Epping Adventure

Yes once more our intrepid Duke of Edinburgh Award Nominees are off on an Epping Forest...Did they get lost?....No (or at least not for long) ...Did they walk 10km for YAP?...Yes (although they may have walked even further during their off route experiment) ...Did they achieve their primary objective?.....Yes - to get to the station and home alive!

Join me in congratulating our brave young men and women of the D of E Group and tune in next time when we shall hear more from the adventurers themselves.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007


Bought my bike from Decathlon and had to buy some sandals too to ride my bike home as I hadn't really given a thought to the fact that I wouldn't be able to take it on the train...however it meant I did know the way there and so when it came to picking up accessories like bicycle pumps (the ones with the side adapters for a very reasonable price, so reasonable we bought Thomas one for waiting with the bikes because I forgot the key for my lock) and a new innertube which we didn't actually get because they hadn't the right size.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Nature Nurture

Last week's reflections took the shape of having a look at the nature Vs nurture debate with regard to the young people we work with.

When we meet a young person are they 'who and what they are' because they were born that way or because society has made them that way? Most think it's a mix of both, that both can have an effect...but whatever the mixture, young people come in our doors with a whole lot of baggage we don't know about that can help or hinder the short opportunity we have to take part in that nurturing.

So this week our Adopt a Plant experiment began. Each worker got to choose a seedling for adoption (with birth certificate of course), give it a name (which was registered) and could take their seedling home to nurture as they saw fit.

No one knew the genetic make up of the seedling they took home, all they knew was from what they could see. Some took a be-draggled sad looking seedling because it needed the most attention and others sought the best looking or healthiest plant to give them the best chance of survival.

As the plants were chosen and named a relationship seemed to begin. As the days went by people talked about their adoptees. Some had re-housed their seedlings in new pots and compost , others were moving teirs about to get the best light. People swapped advice about whether to keep the existing housing and incorporate it into the new pot or when to water or feed with nutrients or if talking to their adoptee really worked.

In my role of Plant Health Visitor, I have talked to each 'new parent' about their adoptee and will as part of the Plant Social Services be checking up on all the seedlings at half term to see if they are developing and give all the 'parents' the opportunity to share their experiences so that others might learn from it.

There are also 8 seedlings which have remained in care so if there is anyone willing to offer one a home ...

Names on Adoption Plant Register

Nurturer & Nurturee

Nick & Philo
Renu & Billy
Emma & Munch
Craig & Sammy
Kelly & Vincent
Josh & Harry the Hard Nut
Jim Sebastian
Christine C & Ronan
Daisy & Petal
Rhonda & Plant
Keeley & Tristin
Jon & Pip
Christint M & Audrey
Thomas & ? (cant find name registered, you know how bureaucracy works…paperwork disappears…the case falls off our radar…all we can hope is that the parent is responsible and that we don’t read a story about the possible results of our lack of support (some might say incompetence) in the paper…

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Thursday, April 26, 2007


Its called an amarillus or amaryllis or something like that and about 50 weeks of the year it is just a quite boring plant with long leaves that kind of droop every so often...and then for two weeks it bursts into ginormous glorious flower...last year no one else saw it as it was during holidays but this year (thanks I believe to global warming) it has flowered early and not only that but there are two flowers where last year there was only one.

It probably seems a rather mundane little story and it won't have much to raise it above every other mundane thing that has happened this week in your life but to me its a symbol of my growth.... and is quite dear to me as one of the first things we grew from seed/bulb in club.

Look at the bottom of the blog page...thats where it started and look now...even if for two weeks of the year I could shine like that it would be enough...if I spread the hours of the 14 days over the 260 days I work that would give me about an hour a day!

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lea Valley Cycle

Today we added another 15km each to our total of kilometres on our way to our goal of 2085km (the distance from London to Africa) we are trying to swim/run/cycle/walk to fundraise.

We cycled north along the canals and had the idea to do a similar weekend cycle but this time further, camp out and cycle back the next day.

Craig discovered that it is easier to cycle when there is air in your front tyre (not impossible tho) and we will be carrying a pump for such eventualies.

Our route went up Teviot to Limehouse Cut, through Three Mills, past Hackney Marshes (see photo - goals in backround), along Hackney Cut, across Leabridge Road (where Lee Valley Ice Rink is) and to Harrington Hill where we thought we'd better turn back before we completely ran out of steam (see route on map above)

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

10 Reasons to Buy a New Bike

  1. You can only use your kid's for so many years before you gotta get one of your own (even if you have used it more than she has)
  2. Because you have a new helmet & lock for riding the old bike...the helmet which you were more and more likely to use because of the rust on the old bike on non-essential items such as the wheels, chain and brakes and the lock which was never needed as the bike was in such a state no one would steal it.
  3. The Environment - need I say more? Okay...less of a carbon footprint etc and more smug feelings that can only be got from things like recycling and cycling.
  4. To get fitter...only needs initial outlay for free fitness after that...yeah I know walking and running are free too...but shoes aren't and getting fitter means living longer - that is unless you get in a road traffic accident.
  5. So that you realise that actually the old bike might be brought back to life if you saw how a bike was supposed to work so meaning a less solitary pursuit ie. someone else could cycle with you (on the old bike, with padding, a reliable helmet & spare bike bits and body parts).
  6. To get back from the outlet from which you bought the bike as DLR & the Underground do not allow bicycles on so its probably the best transport to return the 11.1 kms home.
  7. Its better than spending the £69 on drink & drugs ...and certainly lasts longer (10 years at least going by old bike and would have lasted longer if it hadn't been left out in the rain)
  8. Because its a long time since you got a bike for your birthday and just cos it isn't your birthday it doesn't mean you can't have one and perhaps when you are less of a novice rider in the future you might appreciate a better bike and may even get one for your birthday and pass your old/new one on to a deserving home while you do the Tour de France.
  9. Because the new bike has nice things like a bell, lights and quick release front wheel and saddle and round wheels and brakes that work.
  10. Because you want to feel the wind in your hair (through your helmet) and remember those bygone days of cycling the three miles to school down the terrifyingly steep icy manure covered hills past the farms with the chasing hound dogs - perhaps that is something I should try to forget and instead do some kilometres for the sponsored walk/run/swim/cycle of the distance from London to Africa...of course if I just put the £69 into the kitty...oh well perhaps one reason not to buy a new bike - if the money could be better spent...and another would be if you don't know how to cycle (although that can be easily remedied with stabilisers) ...or if you are cyclophobic but a bit of hypnotism or role playing will turn the bicycle into your friend but if you do start talking to it you may get odd looks and questions regarding your mental health but don't worry - you can talk as much as you like to your bicycle, you can have a bicycle friend (expect though that you will be the more talkative in your friendship and don't be put off). So the last reason to buy a new bicycle, in essence, is so that you can have a bicycle friend - oh the joy, the frolics to be had!

There are probably more reasons which any bike will tell you about, please share them if they do...

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Southbank Today

Things to see & do on the Southbank today for free:
  • Walk from Tower Hill to Waterloo for exercise & YAP (3.5km)

  • Watch skate boarders, BMXers & skaters

  • Go to Borough Market & fill up on free tasters

  • Spot the Banksy Moments

  • Call into the Tate Modern

  • Check out the street art work

  • Drop into the OXO Tower Gallery (current exhibition: *'Forgotten, but not Gone')

  • Listen to free live foyer music at the National Theatre

  • Watch the numerous living statues (kids reactions are better to watch however)

  • Check out the parkour athletes

*Forgotten, but not Gone 21 March - 15 April 2007Admission free Open 11am-6pm: 1807 Britain abolished the slave trade. Two hundred years later at least 12 million people worldwide remain in slavery. Through extraordinary photographs and intimate stories photojournalist Pete Pattisson exposes the exploitation and enslavement of men, women and children in India, Haiti, Ghana, Burma, Ireland and the UK. This exhibition is a compelling reminder that slavery may be forgotten, but it is not yet gone.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


In Now Magazine of 16th of April Jane spotted a similar photo of David Walliams to the photo I took at Primrose hill on the 1st...and guess who the woman who was with him was....Geri Halliwell and the baby was Bluebell! Check out my Star Spotting on Primrose Hill

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Lake District

Roz & Dean's Mission: To escape London, go to the Lake District, camp, do some walking, practice navigation, take in some peaks, do some KMs for sponsored YAP & add walking days to our Mountain Leadership Log Books

Day 1:Walk from campsite in Great Langdale Valley to Landale Pike
(and back, which was at times a debateable option for me)

Langdale Pike
(view from lake along the way)

View of lake (left) & the valley (right) where we had started our journey up Langdale Pike

Top of Landale Pike marked by a cairn

(thats the pile of stones which people have added to over time which is a common marker of routes or peaks in the mountains)

Day 2: Hardknott Pass to Scafell Pike (the tallest mountain in England)

A mixture of fields, waterfalls, marsh, rock and some desolate landscape along the way on a colder, cloudier day...proper mountain weather!

Up the side of the waterfall we went and into the clouds...

We thought twice about going any further, considering it had taken us 4.5 hours already & it could take that to get to the top & down again...& many people coming down had got lost...& I was ill & walking at snail-pace (or at least the pace of a snail on the ascent of the tallest mountain in England) But we soldiered on...& got to the top!

Trig Point at the top of Scafell Pike

(only the tallest mountain in England!)

A little enclosure at the top of Scafell Pike...a haven from the cold, wind and rain at the top of the tallest mountain in England...we didn't stay long, we nipped down again before we forgot how we got up...we followed cairns and odd shaped rocks like one which looked like a shark fin...helped a few people find their way...and advised a few that if they continued there might be a chance that we would see them featuring in the News that night.

Things I learned from this mission...

1. I am not fit (although I knew this before I went but had it confirmed & had warned Dean about this before we left & even suggested he went with someone else)

2. I want to be fitter (although I knew this before I went but had it confirmed & realised that 20 mins to an hour each day on level ground is easier to the 8 hours up hill & down all in one day - so I should just get on with it)

3. Mountains are great...again I knew this but needed reminding...did I mention we got to the top of the tallest mountain in England?

4. I needed to get away & getting away is good

5. Spending time with friends is good & I sometimes miss that but I blame Dean cos if he hadn't left I wouldn't have his job and there might have been some hope of me having a normal life.

6. It might be a good idea to book a campsite way in advance of a holiday weekend like Easter unless you don't mind walking half a mile to the loo.

7. I am pretty stubborn, that's all I can call it because I did not really want to walk 8 hours, being ill and unfit up and down the tallest mountain in England but still I did it.

8. Fruit flavoured Rennies are good for upset stomachs

9. Toasted goat's cheese is lovely with cranberry sauce

10. Dean's Great Grandfather is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the biggest red cabbage...or maybe he said red cabbage is great pickled or that it is good for the complexion

11. YAP KMs are much easier to do off great pointy things sticking out of the ground (mountains being the technical term) and although we did about 35 KM each...they would have been much easier on flat ground.

12. The Meaning of Life

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Star Spotting on Primrose Hill

Today we were sent on an mission by Tom's workmates to Primrose Hill to star spot. I initially thought this was to be a night-time venture and the stars were to be in the sky but was mistaken.

So off we went with camera in hand ready to be paparazzi. We were no sooner there when Tom pointed out Madonna. I looked where he pointed and clicked the camera but she didn't look anything like Madonna. Then he turned and said, there's Jude Law and he clicked again. Where, I asked. No, he said. Not really he said, he just wanted pictures to show his workmates and would pretend that the people in them were famous. Great, I said, I hadn't realised he was joking...(even though it was April 1st) but the joke was on him because as his 'Jude Law' passed us Tom realised that he was in fact famous...we had found a star after all...David Walliams from Little Britain! Here's a picture I took of him from Primrose Hill! (Also did 10KM for YAP!)

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