Category Archives: Sports

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LEJOG – Peter’s 70th Birthday Challenge Part 2

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We have been home for a month now and life is settling back into normal routine.  The Big Trip has taken a back seat but also feels surreal.  For a few nights afterwards I was still driving north in my … Continue reading

LEJOG – Peter’s 70th Birthday Challenge

Well he did it! 12 days averaging 80 miles most days in awful weather much of the time, Land’s End to John O’Groats.  Approx 910 the route he took.  I feel in awe and so proud.  I was of course logistics back up in my little Skoda but what I had planned to be a leisurely role was anything but relaxed or stress free.  I was constantly aware of the huge effort Peter was making day after day, drawing into the depths of himself but had not considered what it would be like to wave him off each morning and wonder if I would see him again.  I am not exaggerating, he looked small and vulnerable alongside some of the huge vehicles thundering past him.

I hope you won’t mind but so much has happened I will write about the trip in instalments.  No worry then of missing any crucial bits out.  We set off on Saturday 8th September for what seemed then like a long drive to Cornwall, paled into insignificance when I set off for Scotland in 30 mile stints.  We stayed in a hotel at Lands End but it was such a rip off, I was embarrassed as so many tourists make a bee line for the place.  Despite the surroundings the views of the headland are breathtaking and the hotel staff so friendly and kind.  We had a photo taken at the temporary sign as the main sign which is up in the day is “owned” by a photographer who charges a lot of money to take photo.  Business is business I know but this is taking advantage. Enough moaning as it did not detract from our efforts.

At 9am Sunday 9th September after a hearty breakfast Peter set off on his marathon ride.  I felt very emotional waving him off, apprehensive and proud all at the same time.  I admit to a few tears so walked part of the headland before setting off myself.  We met up after 40 miles or so at Truro for a lunch break and for Peter to stretch his muscles.  I found supermarkets helpful to get supplies and hot drinks.  Another lone rider left just after Peter, I passed both of them at different stages, and we met him again lunch time.  He was cycling a much shorter distance but appreciated having someone to chat to during a break.  We coincidently met up the next day too at Okehampton. En route to Taunton. Sunday we stayed at our first Premier Inn at Liskeard, the routine was repeated 7 other times during the long journey and Premier Inns were an ideal break.  Even had bike sleeping with us!!

Monday 10th September we rode (not together!) over parts of Dartmoor to Taunton.  The scenery was stunning but once in Devon the hills were testing for Peter.  Tuesday 11th we stopped in Bristol at our eldest son’s house for a family reunion as our younger son left yesterday for a new life in Turin with his Italian wife so more emotions again.  Adam, the eldest, then cycled with Peter to Monmouth over the Seven Bridge which was great for Peter.  3 counties in 3 days and ending up in my homeland Wales.  Next day Wednesday 12th September onwards to Shrewsbury via Ludlow which was when I started to compile a list of places to revisit.  Each day my schedule was tight but a routine soon developed.  No time for sightseeing!  We stayed north of Shrewsbury in our third Premier Inn where there was an interesting welcoming committee. Yes alpacas in the middle of Shropshire!

I’ll finish here for now but more next time. Thank you for your support and encouragement in this venture.  It has been a life enhancing experience in many ways.

Follow Your Dream

I wonder if we all have dreams but some of us never realise them for one reason or another, a bit like bucket lists.  My husband Peter’s dream is to complete the challenge of cycling the whole length of England and Scotland alone, a challenge known by several names but he calls it LeJog.  Land’s End to John O’Groats, an approx 950 mile journey.  There are several routes but Peter is in the process of finalising his preferred route, it all comes down to stamina and strength of will to achieve this dream.  I will be logistics support in my small Skoda car!  An important responsible role but at least I am not on a bike!! I find the idea exciting but challenging and think lots of humour, as well as providing refreshments and a comfortable night’s sleep, to be part of my role.  The whole thing depends on an all clear for me in August from the Breast Clinic at my two-yearly check up. Peter also must be sure his health is up to the task too. On 4th September Peter will celebrate his 70th Birthday so this trip will be his personal fulfilment of a dream.  Many people undertake the journey but often in groups with lots of support.  My husband has always been a loner so why change the habit of many years.

Our recent trip to Cornwall was part of our research into the enterprise.  We checked out Land’s End (the start) but from a distance as it was £6 to go into the area around the famous signpost – more of that if we manage the trip.  Land’s End seems to be a theme park now but remains the iconic starting point for many such challenges.  My role is to book suitable overnight stays, meet up regularly to refresh Peter and be a general factotum.  I hope to use the time in between meetings to explore some of the areas we pass through.  I am not familiar with Scotland so am looking forward to new places, albeit fleeting visits.  I hope to update you all with our plans plus possibly raise money for a charity.  What I don’t want to do is put extra pressure on Peter.  I anticipate other challenges to be the weather, possible injuries and bike repairs so my little car will be a hub for all eventualities.  Communications may be a trial at times but we will overcome as the song says. Now Peter does daily training rides when he finishes work, usually 25 miles plus 80 mile rides most Saturdays and Sundays. Occasionally I persuade him to take a day off to recharge his batteries!  We have a family nickname OMIL for him (Old Man in Lycra!) based on a term MAMILS (Middle Aged Men in Lycra).  His outfits are quite distinctive but a necessary extra safety measure.

I realise I’ve not shared my dream, at the moment I just want him to succeed.  If any of you wish to share your dreams please do so.  I anticipate a couple of interesting months ahead! Watch this space!!

Of April Rain, Cold, Audits and Lemons

Jillian here. April thus far has been interesting here in the panhandle of Florida. It’s been abnormally cold. We always get a lot of rain in the merry month of April (yeah, I know the poem says May) but this year, it’s different as it’s not a warm rain. The days are not sunny and lovely (not many anyway); rather, they are cold and overcast. It’s been in the 40s Fahrenheit at night and we even had a fire in the fireplace yesterday as it never got much over 45 all day with the overcast skies. My son was shocked when he saw I’d made a fire. He said, “It’s April, Mom.” My response, “And I’m cold.”

We had torrential rain already on several days and Saturday, the 7th was especially heinous. Hobbes wouldn’t even get out of the bed. Poor thing.

I have a position I have to be audited in every four years. It’s never a bad thing but it is stressful to have someone going through your records and giving you a grade on how you’re doing. That was last week, so I am in the clear for four more years. I collapsed when it was over on Friday and didn’t do much all weekend. I watched my beloved Liverpool play on Saturday (Had to get up at 6:30 am for that) and read a book by Christopher Fowler. He’s such a great story teller. This was a book from the year 2000 called Calabash.

Today, I went to lunch at Sonny’s BBQ and ordered iced tea. The waitress asked if I wanted lemons. I said no.  She not only ignored that, she brought not one, but two glasses of tea with three lemon slices each. When I was ready to leave, she brought me another in a takeaway cup with three more slices of lemon.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her I didn’t want all that so I left them in the drink. I think that qualifies for my good deed of the day, doesn’t it?

Stay warm, my friends! IMG_4356 (2)

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Of Books, Birthdays, New Year, and Football

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Jillian here. Happy New Year! Since last we visited, I had a book release (the weekend of Christmas which was not my choice of dates), a birthday, the passing of the old year and lots of ball games were played. … Continue reading

Not Cool to Bully On the Ice by Valerie J. Patterson

If you’ve been listening to the news or any sports talk show, then you know that Milan Lucic–the Boston Bruins left winger–said, “I’m going to [insert expletive] kill you next year”, a threat he delivered to the Montreal Canadiens, Dale Weise while making his way down the hand shake line after the final game of a Stanley Cup playoff series in which the Bruins lost to the Canadiens.

Why is this an issue?  Isn’t hockey known for its violence?  Its brawls?  Its “let’s get even” on the ice attitude?  Yes, all that’s true.  However, this is an issue for many reasons.  For one, hockey is probably one of the few professional sports out there where there even is a hand shake line, a last ditch effort to lose graciously, leave the grudges on the ice, and congratulate the winners.

Secondly–and perhaps more importantly–Milan Lucic and his wife as recently as March of this year released a children’s book that teaches children NOT to bully others.  Lucic has been quoted as saying:  “I always feel like — and still to this day — that you should treat people the way you want to be treated.  That’s why I feel strongly about this issue. It’s unfortunate it’s still an ongoing issue.”

And he’s also been quoted as saying:  ““Teach [kids] to respect everyone, respect themselves and respect your peers. I know that’s what I was brought up to believe in growing up. My parents did such a good job with myself.”

Such excellent advice coming from a man who, in essence, bullied Weise when he threatened to kill him in the upcoming season.  Apparently, Lucic doesn’t exactly practice what he preaches…or publishes.  And, he’s a poor loser to boot.

In interviews with Lucic regarding the threat he’s said everything EXCEPT that he’s sorry.  According to Lucic, what’s said on the ice stays on the ice and he’s not sorry for what he’s said.   “I’m a guy that plays on emotion, and this is a game of emotions. Sometimes you make decisions out of emotion that might not be the best ones. That’s what it is.”

And how is this any different from being a bully?  Different “playground” perhaps, but same concept.

Additionally, Lucic said, “It’s unfortunate, because what’s said on the ice stays on the ice, and unfortunately that code is broken and it’s unfortunate that it blows up to what it is now,” Lucic said. “I’m not the first guy to do it, I’m not the last guy to do it.”

Neither of these statements make him credible as a player to look up to or as a writer of a book against bullying.  The excuse that he’s not the first nor will he be the last guy to do it simply shows he can’t or won’t accept responsibility that his actions and words were not appropriate.  Can’t a bully claim that what happens on the playground stays on the playground?  Yep.  But it still doesn’t make it right.

Bullying is a real problem.  This man–in my opinion–blew up his credibility as someone trying to teach children that bullying is wrong.  If children are to look up to professional athletes as role models then they need to clean up their own acts and live by what they attempt to teach children.

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So sorry this blog was late today.  Had no Internet service this morning and then took a much needed nap after work.

Hope all enjoy a lovely and bully-free weekend.  Until next time…

The Media…Overstepping or Merely Reporting? by Valerie J. Patterson

If you’re like a lot of Americans and folks around the globe, you’ve been watching the Olympics.  Even if winter sports are not your thing, you’re bound to have seen some sort of coverage by accident, even.

I’ve seen crashes on the slopes I thought surely had to have ended a career.  I’ve seen a skater quit due to a back injury.  I’ve seen both men and women crash on the half pipe. And I’ve seen a lot of tears…not only over missing a shot at the podium but also because our media has pushed these fine athletes to tears with their invasive questions.

This annoys me.

Greatly.

Brody Miller comes to mind.  There’s been a media hailstorm over the female reporter who repeatedly asked Mr. Miller about his deceased brother.  Mr. Miller evaded her question time and time again until he simply, seemingly had no choice but to answer her as she was relentless.  Only after he shed a tear did she let up.  It was painful to watch.  It also got people riled up.  Most thought she was invading his privacy all for ratings.  Most thought she should have stopped asking after he sidestepped her question the second time.  I thought it never should have been asked.  At all.

After people berated the reporter’s actions, Brody Miller even eventually came to her defense and said she was simply doing her job.  I disagree.  I think she was following the normal route most–if not nearly all–reporters take and that is to go after the sensationalized story.

I don’t think being a reporter gives you the right to push people to the brink of emotional distress.  I don’t think being a reporter gives one the right to prod their subject until they break down into tears.  Any rational. compassionate individual is going to miss a recently deceased family member from their lives whether it be a parent, grandparent, sibling or child.  Why must the media always go for the throat…or in this case, the heart?