Posts tagged england
The Graham Homes Memorial Ride will be 2,000+ miles of Great British roads over a week at the end of May 2013, raising money for two cancer charities. It will be our biking tribute to Graham, my father in law, recreating something of our John O’Groats to Land’s End trip in 2009, while hopefully making a difference to someone else (and their family) by fundraising.
LincsGeek and I will be joined by four friends, there will five bikes in total, and all of us are keen to raise a decent sum of money for charity. We have chosen Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support as the beneficiaries of our ride. They say cancer affects everyone in some way. Well it affected us in a massive way last summer, and it seems only right that we use this trip to do at least something to try and make a difference to other people who find themselves going through anything like this.
The challenge will take us to the furthest points east, south, west and north of Great Britain (in that order – we’ve decided to go clockwise). We’ve not set our route quite yet, but we like to think we will be able to see a little of the best scenery Great Britain has to offer on our journey (life is all about the journey, after all) and create some new memories on the way.
I have set up a blog that will include everything associated with the bike trip – updates, photographs, profiles, fundraising, information and so on – it will be the place to go for everything GVH Ride focussed. We would love it if you went over to the Graham Homes Memorial Ride blog, subscribe either by email or by putting us in your reader, and share what we’re doing with your friends and family. There’s a link in my side bar too just in case you need it. And of course, most of all, we would appreciate it an awful lot if you’d get out fundraising off the ground by donating. We’ve set up a page on Virgin Money Giving to make it really easy to give money. Thanks!
Remember THIS POST where I spoke about being too old and too sensible for the adventure that was becoming Visit England’s “Fan in a Van”?
It turns out I was wrong. Yes, I know! Visit England weren’t looking for a student. They chose a 30-year-old who has put her life on hold to take part in the trip of a lifetime. Fantastic! I love that they chose someone a little bit like me to do this thing – I am obviously a teeny bit jealous it isn’t actually be but I can’t complain as I didn’t submit an application! But genuinely, I am pleased that the lovely Rachel Kershaw from Lancashire was deemed England’s biggest fan and is now a little way into her trip.
Quite simply, Rachel, 30, wowed the judges with her passion for England and her zest for life. She was plucked from a shortlist of 12 wannabe Fan in a Vans. The judging panel, which included Lady Cobham,VisitEngland’s chairman, Martin Dorey, author of The Camper Van Coast Book, and Sally Shalam, brit-centric travel journalist, chose Rachel after viewing her entry video, photograph and reading her description of favourite place in England (Newcastle upon Tyne, if you’re interested).
Rachel seems to be having loads of fun already – she’s been walking, cycling, surfing, eating, creating, visiting – experiencing some of the best things England has to offer. She is vaguely following the route of the Olympic torch relay (when it’s in England!).
Life is all about the journey. But sometimes everyday life gets in the way of taking a specific path, however awesome it might sound.
I’m talking about the Visit England campaign to find someone to tour the country (all expenses paid) and blog/tweet/photograph/video it for 12 weeks this summer. The lucky traveller will get to follow the Olympic Torch as it makes its way through England, finding out what is so great about our fair land, and telling everyone about their experiences along the way. And it sounds incredible. I’d love it. The travelling, the writing, seeing different places, trying out different things, learning loads about this place where I was born. Look – http://enjoyengland.typepad.com/fan-in-a-van/2012/03/englands-biggest-fan.html - what a wonderful opportunity for someone who loves writing and wants to get a bit of adventure. It would be an amazing opportunity for me. It would be something never to forget.
But the fact is I’m not really what they’re looking for. They’re looking for someone who is not doing anything for 12 weeks from mid-May… someone young… someone willing to throw themselves into the task without a second glance behind them. Even the web address for applications is something to do with students. And of course as a 31 year old home-owning full-time-employed married hobby-blogging sensible person, I don’t fit into that. Several people have made suggestions such as taking a sabbatical, which I appreciate because it means people believe that I could do it, but it doesn’t help the fact that there is no way “all expenses paid” includes my mortgage. Or that I would actually miss my husband a great deal.
I sit and wonder what would happen if I felt confident enough to drop everything and go for that opportunity. Assuming I got through the selection process and was the one chosen to take the trip, I imagine myself in that camper van, driving through some of the best scenery the country has to offer. I would eat proper pasties in Helston, pork pies in Melton Mowbray, Bakewell Tarts in Bakewell, sausages in Lincoln. I would surf at Fistral Beach, jet wash an elephant at Longleat, ride Rita Queen of Speed at Alton Towers, take a trip in a boat along the Norfolk Broads. I’d visit Buckingham Palace, Dover Castle, St Michael’s Mount, Blackpool Tower. All the time telling the world about my fantastic journey. What an amazing three months it would be!
But I’m not. Risk taking can be very expensive – personally, professionally and financially. And while I most likely have a Type A personality, I’m not so far to that end of the scale I will go for things whatever the cost. Which is probably why I just plod through life enjoying the moment but never making a real statement. This experience has been designed for an undergraduate student wanting some fun for three months after their exams. Not for me.
I guess it’s the same as the old dream I have of becoming a Blue Peter presenter (I’d make an awesome Blue Peter presenter!). It just ain’t gonna happen. Because I’m too old and too sensible.
But… I do love adventure and experiencing new things. I just have to keep my plans a tad smaller than 12 weeks in a camper van. A few years ago I created my ultimate to do list – a long and ever-expanding list of little adventures I want to have. My bucket list if you like. Some are tiny – like eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; others are massive – like go on a motorbike tour across the West of the USA. Some are about learning things – like ice skating backwards; others are about raising money for charity – like taking part in a trek up Kilimanjaro or somewhere equally as challenging. Some are about travel – such as visiting Niagara Falls; others are all about adrenaline – like wing walking.
Since I wrote my list I’ve crossed loads of things off. I’ve done a tandem skydive, a bungee jump, walked several marathons, been in the audience of a TV show, had a photo published, done jet skiing (best thing so far!), learnt to surf and ski, completed a Masters degree, ridden a Harley-Davidson from John O’Groats to Land’s End (a number of things in one go there!), and loads more. I’ve blogged about many of those things. And the list is always growing, I’m always adding things, and am always planning when I can turn the next thing green.
I might be too old and too sensible for a massive “leave everything behind” kind of adventure, but I’m loving life with all my little challenges and experiences. And I hope you’ll still read my blog even if I’m not a full time blogger taking part in the adventure of a lifetime. Oh wait, I am taking part in the adventure of a lifetime – I am taking part in my own journey.
So thank you Visit England for giving me something to dream about. This particular thing might be unobtainable for me in my current situation, but it doesn’t stop me (or anyone else for that matter) living in the moment and doing unforgettable things.
Life is all about the journey. Bring on where ever it takes me next!
I’m not sure when or how it started, but I remember that when my Grandparents lived in Budleigh Salterton, a gorgeous little village in Devon, that we would often take a drive to the seafront simply “to see if the sea was still there“.
It’s something that has stuck with me. Even before then I knew I loved the sea, I find it stunning. Not living with it on my doorstep (we’re about an hour away) I feel the need every now and again to just go and see it. It has such power, such grace. It reflects whatever is going on around it. It is beautiful to watch in the sunshine and in the rain, when it is still and when it is rough. I could spend hours just watching the waves. I wish I had the time – and I wish I could see it from my lounge window!
Being a fairly mild New Year’s Day we decided to go for ride – my husband asked where I wanted to go – to see the sea I said, of course. So I took my F650GS (and he took his SV) to see the sea (via some fabulous Lincolnshire countryside roads). We went to Sutton on Sea, between Mablethorpe and Skegness, a small seaside village with traditional beach huts lining the promenade. It makes for a lovely walk on a better day – and when you’re not wearing motorbike gear. It was busier than I expected, lots of people just checking the sea was still there.
The sea was pretty rough and very brown – it was churning up the sand. You can kind of see in my quick iPhone snap. And despite getting rather damp on the way home I was so pleased we went.
The bike runs really nicely. This is the first long ride (I guess about 100 miles perhaps) I’ve done since I got the F650GS a few weeks ago. The tall screen I got for Christmas is on it and makes a big difference. The height is just perfect for me – I know the factory lowered version with low seat is too close to the ground for many people, but it’s like it’s been made for me and my size. The 800cc engine doesn’t quite keep up with the 650 in our SV650S my husband rides, but it’s not far off and has plenty of power. It is so easy to ride at slow speeds in town, and is more than happy on Lincolnshire’s national speed limit roads. More about the bike another time though (when I’ve taken some nice pics).
So my first day of getting outside went very well… and my second was also seaside related. I met my sister for an afternoon in Skegness. A well known seaside resort, Skegness draws the crowds even out of season – although there weren’t any families with wind breaks making a day of it today. And I didn’t see anyone swimming (no chance of surfing in Skegness!). We found free parking and some lunch, and then walked along the sand.
We were blessed with a beautiful blue sky today, unlike yesterday, but the wind made the sea a little unsettled. Others were at the seaside too – there was a family scattering flower petals into the waves in what appeared to be a moving tribute to someone, there were children and dogs running up and down the sand, there were couples walking hand in hand along the promenade, there were people sat relaxing on benches eating fish and chips out of the paper, and there were fishermen seeing what would bite. I love how the sea is so many different things to different people. I hope all those people had a great day. I hope that family scattering petals found it helpful. And I hope the fishermen caught something.
Of course being a winter’s day at the seaside we went for the doughnut treat rather than ice cream – mmmm deep fried goodness.
I doubt I’ll get to see the sea tomorrow – I can’t really spend over two hours on the road for a third day in a row to satisfy my want, but hopefully it’ll only be a few weeks before I can breathe in the salty air again. At least I know for now that the sea is still there at Sutton on Sea and Skegness and can sleep easy! I will absolutely be outside doing something, that is my New Year plan after all. If the rest of 2012 is like the last couple of days then things are looking good.
I hope you’ve had a good 1st and 2nd day of the year and that you have so far managed to keep whatever resolutions you made without temptation. Let’s keep it up!
How totally gorgeous and cute is this lamp?
I saw it on The Ana Mum Diary a week or so ago and commented that I thought it was gorgeous, and White Rabbit England asked me if I’d like to review one. So here it is. And I love it even more in real life.
It’s designed as a night light for kids, and it would look amazing in a nursery, but it really isn’t necessary to have any kids to appreciate this piece. It’s cute but not “cartoony” in appearance – the shape is beautiful and the bunny has a lifelike stance and expression that is often all wrong on bunny shaped items. I particularly like the “one ear up, one ear down” design as it reminds me of my Chocolate when she was tiny before both ears lopped fully. Although for some reason Chocolate and Ginger weren’t keen on posing with the lamp (I’ll get a pic of them with it over the Christmas period sometime!).
The lamp is made from silky white bone china here in England. The light glows through the china giving a soft warm glow that is a nice low level light for a room ideal as ambient light (this isn’t a lamp to read by). It would sit on a bedside table or on top of a bookcase in a bedroom, or would be very happy in the corner of lounge or dining room too.
You can find the lamp on the White Rabbit England website priced at £59. That might seem a lot in the first instance but when you look at the quality of this and what it is it really is very reasonable. I think it’s simply adorable and it will absolutely be staying on my kitchen window sill because it looks perfect there. Yes, I am a 30-something year old in love with a cute night light!
If you do have kids and think this would make a great theme for your nursery then you may also be interested in the adorable Rabbit Cushion and Rabbit Crockery - and there are other matching items on the website too.
It’s stuff made of fairy tales – like Disney himself orchestrated the day. The big day for William and Kate was finally here. And the world watched as they made their way to church, made their vows, exchanged rings (well one anyway) and became Man and Wife. Awwwwwww I hear you say in unison.
I love a good wedding. Weddings by their nature are celebrations of love. And while I didn’t think it would happen, I was totally drawn in to the coverage on the telly as the guests arrived, I couldn’t wait to see “the” dress, and really enjoyed the pomp and ceremony that for some reason us Brits do so well. Yes so this was an expensive day to put on – but look at the tourism and revenue it brought the country as a result. And who can resist an event that makes so many people smile so much?!
Getting married is a personal commitment to each other – and I have to say I do see that deep love in the couple’s eyes. I wish them all the happiness in the world. I hope they can look back on today and smile, remembering all the fine details that were so carefully planned. While they are a Royal couple and therefore their lives are public ones, they are also a modern loving couple who are with any luck doing this for the right reasons.
What was the image of the day for you? Ok so I wasn’t blogging from the wedding (my invite got lost in the post perhaps?!), but these two pictures from the BBC coverage are ones I will remember…
The first shows the pomp and the extravagance of the occasion. The amazing sight of Westminster Abbey – including the trees – as the Bridal party make their way down the aisle.
The second is of a little moment that I think shows that this couple are indeed in love… William says “you look beautiful” to Catherine as she arrives by his side at the Altar. Awww.
So whatever you made of today’s events in London – whether you were drawn into the whole ceremony or not – I hope that you at least join with me in wishing the happy couple all the best for whatever happens next in their lives. A round of applause for them!