Piratemania 6 – Farewell me ‘Earties

Monday 29 July 2013

Farewell me treasures

Farewell me treasures

This was the final day for all the Kent County Cachers, some were heading on to UK Mega 2013 just up the road at The Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon and the rest were heading south back to Kent. We had a slow casual pack up and in between breaking camp the lads and geokids enjoyed a soaking water fight.

Wet and not because of the weather

Wet and not because of the weather

Smif247 breaking camp

Smif247 breaking camp

We were making great progress and managed to get everything loaded just as the thunder & rain began. Heading off site towards Stratford upon Avon for coffee refils at half 1pm. Hopefully we will be back in Kent by 5pm and in time for dinner…

Oops!

Oops!

Doesn’t look like we will be going anywhere just yet. That tyre is not going to make the 180 mile trip south. A quick internet search for the nearest Kwik-fit and we’re all good. Trouble was we would be hanging around for over an hour waiting for it to be fixed. This didn’t seem to phase any of the crew, the geokids spotted a toy & model shop next door, Much ado about Toys so took a gander as to what they could spend the last of their money on.

Geowolf97 finds a distraction

Geowolf97 finds a distraction

While I was in the toy shop with the children Nick the trucker went off to grab a few geocaches, Freeview situated outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Gregory’s Grab and Infomaniac (these caches were placed for WWFM VI – Stratforde – Ye Inhabitede Islande) and Smif247 took a wander around the market place (I have a distinct feeling he may of been playing that other gps location game[Ingress]).

Well an hour passed and the car was still outside the garage, by this point I had already written most of Piratemania 6 – Celebrity Visitors and was in need of more caffiene or I definitely wouldn’t make the drive home (the busy weekend was taking its toll on my health) so NTT and Geowolf97 went in search of a coffee shop. They found more than coffee, Geowolf had managed to get an ice cream out of NTT and they took a stroll along the river and found another narrow boat.

Excersising Misty

Excersising Misty

Narrow boat tea room

Narrow boat tea room

By the time they were back the car was ready and we could make our journey home. We finally left Stratford upon Avon at 4pm, we won’t be home by 5pm then. 30 minutes down the M40 and CadencetheGeokid announces she needs a comfort break!!! This meant another stop at the Junction 10 services, not content with making themselves comfortable, the rest of the crew decided they needed more food. We finally got away and continued our journey south. Once on the M25 we caught all the usual rush hour traffic which added another hour and a half to our journey.

As we were closing in on the Cobham services I was beginning to “crash” quite badly so another stop was needed for me to rest, down more caffiene and take my much needed pain killers so I complete the last hours journey.

Then…

With only 28 miles left to go my fuel light comes on.  I had only 20 miles left in the tank, and travelling at motorway speeds I knew this wasn’t going to get us home. A little careful coasting towards a nearby fuel station, I filled up the tank (slowly & stiffly, as by now I could hardly move) and we slugged along to our final destination.

Home at last, with cars unloaded by 20:30, that has got to be my longest journey yet. And I am already looking forward to the next camping UK Mega event, just three days from now.

Hoist the sails, it's time for the off

Hoist the sails, it’s time for the off

 

Farewell Pirates, see you on the open seas

Farewell Pirates, see you on the open seas

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Piratemania 6 – Celebrity Visitors

Sunday 28 July 2013

This morning saw on onslaught of women and supporters all dressed in pink. Pink shirts, pink shorts, pink shoes, pink hair, you name it – everywhere was pink.

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Race for Life – Cancer Research UK

Us pirates were now sharing Stratford Racecourse with another event, Race for Life. The national fundraising initiative for Cancer Research UK, and boy did they know we were there.

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Racing to the finish line

I popped over to grab a few photos. The host for the mornings event was none other than Emma Bunton (previously famous for being Baby Spice of The Spice Girls). No sooner were the words “hello racers” heard over the tanoy, the pirates resounded with an awesome and very loud “ooh arrrrrrrrrr!”.

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Words of encouragement

After the race was over and they had all packed up we were blessed with another famous (or should I say infamous) guest to the Piratemania site. Adam Redshaw, editor of the rapidly growing UK Cache Mag (and purveyor of silly grins) popped round to say hi to the scurvy sea dogs from around the country.

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Adam with his Wolfieswork’s key fob

When Adam arrived at the Kent County Cachers camp he was presented with a gift from Wolfie of Wolfiesworks, his very own polymer clay key fob with the UK Cache Mag title logo.

While Adam went off to seek out other cachers to chat with I rallied my troops together so that we could all join Adam off site for dinner. Our destination was The big Fish , an award winning fish & chip bar in the heart of Stratford’s retail estate.

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Kent Cachers enjoying food with UK Cache Mag

Whilst there I think our group must have managed to sample at least half of the menu options including the Southern Fried Fish, Fish Bowl Combo and Warm Cajun Chicken Salad. Good food in good company and we had the honour of meeting the owner and giving her an onsite review of the tasty tidbits that were on offer. If you took the opportunity of visiting The big Fish then why not “like” their Facebook page .

With our bellies full and the fact that the staff were trying to lock up for the night smif247 and I decided to take our crew and Adam out to a nearby cache that we had found earlier in the day. One that just so happens to be owned by Kent’s very own caching couple, Bacas. The geocache in question was Red Phone Box #43 – Stratford upon Avon. I figured that as we had five geocaching teams that needed to claim the find (and it would make an interesting cover photo for Adam’s magazine) we would see if we could fit all of them into the phone box. It was a tight squeeze and we must have looked a funny site, but we just about managed to fit 4 adults and 2 children into the confined space.

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How are we all going to get in there?

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Nick the trucker, Geowolf97, CadencetheGeokid, TeamFayers & UK Cache Mag all inside a world famous Red Telephone Box

Thank you Adam for joining us for food and fun.

Once the sun had set we had the usual camp antics, bonfire, chats, marshmallows and….

A glow in the dark scorpion!

 

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Luminesence with Sting

If you’ve been following then you will remember me telling you about Sting the Scorpion , well it turns out that under a uv light scorpions look like they glow in the dark and I had the privilege of holding him (while shaking in my boots).

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Scorpions really are ultra violet

A very eventful day for all of us, I have no idea how I have found time to write all this down 😀 The last installment is still to come, but there may be a little wait while we pack up the gear and tackle the 180 mile journey back home.

For more Geocaching event news and Geo stories why not subscribe to the UK Cache Mag, just click the icon below.

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Categories: Geo Stories, Geocaching Events, Piratemania 6 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Piratemania 6 – Camp Antics

Saturday night 27 July 2013

Things started to get a little out of hand once all the Kent geocachers returned to camp for the evening entertainment.

With the children safely deposited over by the bouncy castle, sumo wrestling and pirate childrens entertainer, Jack Sparrow, the “grown ups” began to get food sorted by queuing up for a very long time (in the pouring rain) at the Caribbean food tent.

Once the jerk chicken & curry mutton dishes had been scoffed the grog was getting poured in copious amounts. So much so, that we began to witness Gary exhibiting some odd behaviour.

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Not for the faint of heart

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Bacas behind!

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Gary sent to the crow’s nest

Dinner complete and it was time for the evening entertainment. The main hall was opened up and the Real Ale tent open for business. The geocaching fraternity had the pleasure of a live band “The Rude Boys” playing a good mix of Ska music and much loved cover songs.

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The Rude Boys

Our hosts for the weekend Pop up Pirate and The Cachehoppers got stuck in with the singing and dancing too.

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A little too much grog!

I am led to believe that a generous amount of alcohol was consumed throughout the evening and into the early hours of the morning, safe from the heavy rain inside the large hall. It certainly looked like little miss naughty and The Cachehoppers had a most enjoyable time.

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The Cachehoppers & little miss naughty enjoying the music & grog

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Categories: Geo Stories, Geocaching Events, Piratemania 6 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Piratemania 6 – The Main Event

Saturday 27 July 2013

After a good night’s sleep we awoke to beautiful sunshine and a pleasant temperature. However we did find gas problems. TeamFayers were having issues with their regulator and our gas had expired. Thankfully last night’s fire was still smoldering so we got it up and running so the crew could have a cooked breakfast.

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Nick the trucker stoked the fire and cooked us a hearty breakfast

Registration, trackable swaps and new caches took place from half 9… And many of us uploaded our gps receivers with a plethora of geocaches and waited for a dip in temperature before heading out.

Smif247 and I took a wander around with sidderz through Stratford upon Avon picking up the usual local caches, enjoying the scenery and architecture.

We began with Off Course, it seemed rude not as it was at the entrance to Stratford Racecourse, then followed the footpath towards SMJR Walk and Paddock Lane.  We then progressed towards town via Really Sidetracked and Trinity Tryst, so called as there were three different denomination churches all facing each other.

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Random stream beside a residential garden

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Holy Trinity Church across the River Avon

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Footbridge close to the Colin P Witter lock

The weather was hot and muggy but we carried on towards Stratford’s theatre area and the River Avon. By this point I was getting tired and achy so instead of walking to the nearest foot bridge decided we would cross the river via the chain ferry.

1930s chain ferry

1930s chain ferry

Our next stop was at a cache called River Avon Navigation where we spent a while watching the lock in use and our geopup took a swim to cool down. Sidderz junior also helped out with opening/closing the lock.

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Misty taking Rick for a paddle

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Sidderz junior helping with lock gates

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Lock information

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Narrow boat cruising the River Avon

After a good break we carried on towards the racecourse to pick up the tail end of the Piratemania 6 caches. Starting with PVI #14 – Merchant man. Having not seen any pirates all day it came as a bit of a shock when hoardes of scurvy crews were rapidly descending upon us along the narrow river footpath.

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A rather ornate footpath gate

We knew we were nearing the end when we came across a very old railway bridge. A bridge (not) too far is located at Stannal’s Bridge, where the old railway bridge crosses the Avon.

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Stannals Bridge

Unfortunately we had to Dnf (did not find) the geocache but in the distance I could see the campsite. The give away was all the flags swaying in the breeze.

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Piratemania 2013 and Stratford Racecourse

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Categories: Geo Stories, Geocaching Events, Piratemania 6 | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Piratemania 6 – Stinging Trackable

Friday 26 July 2013

As a geocacher we do enjoy discovering trackables, today has seen the most unusual trackable to date.

The geokids heard that The Flying Boots were on site and had bought their reptiles along with them. Well, the kids were off to check them out along with Nick the trucker and sidderz. Turns out that their scorpion is a trackable pet and to claim the discovery you must have your photo taken with Sting the Scorpion.

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Geowolf97 & Sting

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Nick the trucker looking a little nervous

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A confident Sidderz

Cadence wasn’t quite so brave but was comfortable to have a “cuddle” with their 60 year old tortoise.

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CadencetheGeokid holding a tortoise six times her senior

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Categories: Geo Stories, Geocaching Events, Piratemania 6, Travel Bugs | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Piratemania 6 – The Journey

 

Friday 26 July 2013

We set sail at 9 this morning and our first port of call was the Cobham services on the m25 to meet up with fellow pirates, TeamFayers, JLFbrick, little miss naughty and Bacas.

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Lunch break for the scurvy crew

Well Bacas missed the turning and little miss naughty couldn’t find us. So they carried on towards our final destination (Piratemania 6). Another quick break at junction 10 of the M40  and we found little miss naughty.

We finally anchored up at around half 3 and the mammoth task of pitching up camp in the scorching sun began. Boy were we hot and the sweat was dripping off everyone.

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Kent County Cachers in port for a piratey weekend

Shopping was the next task so off to Morrisons (Stratford Trollied) with a couple of the crew so that we could enjoy a communal barbecue.

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Barbecue in full swing

Sir-Lancelot and easytiger09 were late to the party, but at least they bought along their “muggle” friend Gary who happens to be trackable and a massive party animal.

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Gary enjoying a drink

 

Not forgetting the most important part of a campfire – toasting the marshmallows.

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Geokids toasting marshmallows

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Piratemania 6 – Packing up

Thursday 25 July 2013

Today has been rather manic and hectic. I have a habit of not preparing or packing for a camp until the day before I leave. This is due to the regular changes in the British weather. And today has been no different.

Tomorrow we head across the country to Warwickshire for the best geocaching MEGA event in the UK calendar Piratemania.

With cars loaded and costumes ready it is time to become a pirate for four days. I can’t wait to get there. I’m hoping to find time in the busy weekend schedule to write a diary of blog entries and share some photos with you.

First up are some glamorous shots of our crazy scurvy crew.

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Pirate Captain – Luminesence

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Powder Monkey – CadencetheGeokid

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Captain’s First Mate – Smif247

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Musician – Geowolf97

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For a list of Pirate crew positions why not check out Brethren of the Great Lakes

Categories: Geo Stories, Geocaching Events, Piratemania 6 | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Greenlane cache and dash

Advice for the adventurous…

Back filling the ditch

Back filling the ditch

Well the day started well, a sunny Saturday in Kent (The Garden of England). Luminesence and I decided today wouldn’t be an ingressing day but a caching one. As we both have our own health challenges, we decided on a local walk which has been newly published “Plumbus’s Hoo Massive”.

All started well and off we trot out to the first of our nearby caches (Football Field #1) to clear the area and stick the all important smiley on the map. A quick stroll and it was signed and returned to its safe haven, a nice gentle stroll back to the car and off we go.

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“I’ll just use some of this wood to raise the ground”

Before long we arrived at our first Plumbus cache, Hoo massive #1. Luminesence had pre loaded her Garmin Oregon 450 (I hadn’t, but it was safely tucked away in my webbing. I am trying webbing in place of a rucksack for weight distribution and to see how my back copes. So far so good). So first one found and a gentle stroll to get the next one. We soon found that one too. We were in fact doing the loop as a series of drive by & walks and this was all going to plan until we hit number seven, Ropers Green Lane. Lumi jumped out of the car next to gz and spotted the cache immediately but I was called on as a height issue was obvious.

Jacking the car up

Jacking the car up

Nearby was a pile of rubbish that had been fly-tipped, mainly what looked to be building rubbish leftover from someone having block paving done. “Ummm we are building raised beds at home” so I pop a pallet and a couple of the bags of ballast into the boot. At this point we looked at the map and I decided to grab the “just one more”, as time was against us. The little lane that was actually a byway became a dirt track at the cache we needed, so log found, signed and returned. A conversation ensued about turning around and going back the way we came or head on. I, being the driver and seeing the main road ahead on the satnav, decided that a “follow the arrow” aproach would be for the best. DOH! Off we went. I should point out that my car is a Ford Focus – the sport version.

A call for HELP!

A call for HELP!

Spotting two very big ruts cut by the farmers tractor in the field I thought two things.

A) It’s wide enough to get through.

B) Don’t drive in the very deep ruts. Some of which seemed to be around a good 12+ inches deep.

Everything was going ok with Lumi gripping the seat for dear life and me chugging along around 5 miles an hour. I should also point out here, I seem to only ever crash at low speed.

We can push it!

We can push it!

Next thing I know we slid into a dip and got well and truly stuck. I asked Lumi to get out as I thought all four wheels were on the ground. WRONG! The bottom of the car was on the ground and all four wheels were hanging in the air. Out came the supplies I had just procured and I began filling in under the tyres with ballast and pallet wood. No joy. An hour later still not enough. By now we had been joined by a friend who spotted our minor hiccup on Facebook (thanks to Lumi posting pictures of the predicament).

Rosieb123, Our supplier of energy

Rosieb123, Our supplier of energy

Sam (rosieb123) was soon on hand with doughnuts and energy drinks. She was followed by my plan b back up, the entire LA;RS clan and a chelsea tractor. I jacked up one wheel built up under it and so on and so forth around the car. All to no avail. Plan c – get a real 4X4 out. Phone call number 2 saw a 2 hour wait until a nice Range Rover driver came wandering up to my sunken car laughing at my predicament as had many others by this stage, including both myself and lumi.
Up he walks, “yup no problem I can get you out.” A brief discussion ensues and off he goes to get the Range Rover. With much relief, I see the back lights as he is reversing up to us, I am filled with imense joy. Which was rather short lived. As I watched an off roader get well and truly wedged and although he has offroaded all over the world without ever getting stuck, the track claimed its second victim of the day. By now my beloved lumi had been home and returned with my son, her daughter and coffee and sandwiches. Rob, Sam and the two boys (LA:RS) had also returned after finding a travelling community site and angel farm (home to the Kent chapter of the Hells Angels mc) but unfortunately no one with a tractor to pull us out.

Even the help got stuck

Even the help got stuck

With the new obstacle in my way (a 4.2 Range Rover) and a red haired helper. So with  much head scratching was going on along with “I wonder if so and so could be our plan d.” Off wanders my son in his flip flops to the traveller site and wanders back after finding a trailer filled to bursting with the female half of the community as all the men had gone fishing, after being asked in and if he would like to court any of the unattached ladies there he came back (eventually). So we were still scratching our heads as it looked like we would have to leave both the cars there till the morning. Then a new face who happens to have a JCB on tracks appears from the direction of the travellers site, “no problem” he says, “back in a minute” he said. Well I’ve heard that before.

The track takes its second victim

The track takes its second victim

Next thing I hear is the thudding of a big old engine after awhile not hearing an increase in volume as you would expect if it was nearing you. Scraping was added to the thudding, off went Ricky to investigate and the rather decent chap was now leveling out the road. By now I wouldn’t have been surprised if Father Christmas turned up with the Elves to tarmac and paint white lines on the road. Well up comes the little digger and drags the Range Rover out then parks in the hedge to let out the Range Rover.

Only a digger can save us now

Only a digger can save us now

Bloater40 turned up with his son and two big planks to see if he could help but by then the digger was back and I was hooking up the Focus. It was soon lifted free and my son happily drove it out onto the road, grinning like the Cheshire Cat knowing full well he has enough ammo to last him till the next time I off road…

Did I mention this isn’t the first time I have crashed a car at less than 1o miles an hour…

DOH AGAIN!!!

Finally being towed out

Finally being towed out

Categories: Geo Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Small steps – big differences

If you have been following my blog then you will know that I am going through some tough battles at the moment. I am in the process of finding out if I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia (twelve month waiting list for the local fatigue clinic – way to go NHS waiting times, only another possible nine months to wait). After having ruled out the majority of potential illnesses and disorders that a GP can exclude I am now going through the wonderful process of trying to find some way of managing the pain and fatigue so that I can function like a “normal” human.

My first crochet project

My first crochet project

Last time I wrote about My life, my journey… I was waiting to see my doctor again as I had been experiencing the worst flare I have ever had. The outcome was an increase of Gabapentin to 600mg per day and to go back on the Amitriptyline with a dose of 20mg per day (to help me stay asleep at night). Three weeks on and I am noticing a difference, I certainly hadn’t been feeling as tired as before, for the most part and the pain is more manageable than previously. However I am finding that most days I am maxing out on Paracetamol still (and the occasional Ibuprofen).

I forgot to keep up with the mild muscle & relaxation exercise techniques that I was going to try out, mainly due to the fact that my memory is shot to pieces and my brain seems more fuddled than I am used to. That is not to say I am not exercising though.  Over the past three weeks, I have managed to continue two regular garden stints (i.e watering, planting, pruning) a day and I have taken up crochet too (to keep me off Facebook and give me something constructive to do while recovering).

I revived these flowers over the past month

I revived these flowers over the past month

Although I am doing my best to keep myself active, I have noticed a decline in my social interactions. I haven’t been out very much and I haven’t kept up with my favourite hobbies. The only socialising I have been doing is when people come over here to visit or via social networks and even that has been tough on the old grey cells. Which leads me to believe that the latest flare has left me feeling very fragile on an emotional level. I have been hiding away almost like a hermit trying to protect myself from the outside world and all its influences. But what help is that to me really? All it has done has begun to cause all the negative thought patterns to creep back into my mind. Such as feeling guilt about not keeping the home clean and tidy and not seeing friends, anxiety and panic about how to keep the bills paid, feelings of uselessness or failure that I am not doing right by my children. All the emotions that if not dealt with can push me the over the edge into the dark abyss of depression. Thankfully my close family are very understanding and see my internal battles on an daily basis and allow me / encourage me to speak out. This is what really helps to keep the depression at bay.

FODMAP foods

FODMAP foods

Saying that though, there has been a slight “plus” side to having rested so much over the past month. With the fatigue levels almost at “my normal” and the pain virtually manageable I have been able to concentrate more on my diet, that is the diet where I find foods that don’t make me feel unwell and discover the foods that will eventually make me thrive and put on a little more weight again. I have already been on a gluten free diet for 10 months but have recently been asked by the GP to try the FODMAP diet. I don’t know much about it other than it is meant to be a good one for IBS sufferers. Basically there are many good foods out there that aggravate the intestines & bowels. Anyway, what I have had to do is eliminate certain foods containing fructose, lactose and other words I cannot remember or spell. When I first read through the list of foods containing FODMAPs I was able to eliminate a very large proprtion of them as they were foods that I don’t have anyway, which pretty much left just lactose products and a few of my favourite fruits. So this month I have cut out milk and other dairy products… And what a change I have noticed. On the occasions where it has been pretty much unavoidable but to have milk in a hot drink, guess what? It has aggravated the IBS symptoms. Trouble is I now have to read every set of ingredients on everything I plan to eat which makes choosing some foods a mammoth task.

Categories: Life goes on, My life, my journey | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

10 things you didn’t know about Geocaching.com | GeoCass UK GeoCaching

A great user guide for beginners of geocaching (and for those of us who have been at it a while).

Thank you GeoCass for this insight into http://www.geocaching.com

http://geocass.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-geocaching-com/#like-5188

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