Time Travel Dreckly

Every time I have heard an explanation of the possibility of time travel it includes the need to achieve incredible speed.  I am Cornish and that sort of rush is just not necessary even for time travel. All I need to time travel is to walk.

A year ago I was at my biggest 17.5 stones. Today I am just over 16 stones and on the cusp of going below 16 stone for the first time in about 3 years.  On 4th August I will do a sponsored walk from Charlestown to Fowey on the coastpath. I haven’t walked that sort of distance for 4 years. T do this I need to take my body back in time to a fitter and lighter era.

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I have excellent walking boots and today I will find out if I can wear them again.  When my weight grew it never occurred to me that my feet would get fatter and the boots I had trekked the Inca trail in would become unwearable. These boots are made for walking not to sit as an ornament in my porch.

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I put the boots on and get ready. They seem comfortable but I will carry my trainers in my rucksack just in case. I used to do a lot of walking and my crowning achievement was in May 2011. Today I will only travel to Lerryn a riverside village but I will be well equipped with my rucksack and coat as well as my boots from my Machu Picchu. These relics of my past will help my present build my future.

 

I have chosen a straightforward woodland walk much under tree cover which will shelter me from the sun. Unlike some of my other destinations it has no childhood memories but my first footsteps here were alongside Kirsten. My first serious relationship, that bequeathed several routes through the glory of the Cornish Countryside.

On arrival booted and ready to go, I looked across the river and the line of stepping stones that surmount the low tide. I can see my oldest daughter Rhi, striding purposely across as she herself remembers the past. There are many family memories here. It is the place my second daughter Shan lost her Mother and Fathers wedding ring. An inexpensive trinket that to her was a priceless expression of her identity. Thankfully someone handed it in, at the local pub.

 

I can hear the birds in the trees as I walk body in the present as my mind slips between natures surrounding beauty and thoughts of the past.  The golden daffodils and carpets of bluebell have passed and now is the time of the striking foxglove   This is the first place I walked with Liz, Rhi and Shan after we met. Two adults each with a child that we had hoisted on our shoulders. A care free time full of hope that went unnoticed but absorbed in every breath.

 

I walk alongside the calm of the river taking pictures as I go. I walk at an unhurried but steady pace, my boots thankfully at peace with my feet. I am getting close to the halfway point now and will soon be in St Winnow and then I come to my first stile.  Stiles are structure using steps that allow the crossing of a fence or hedge.  Such benign helpful objects that I did not anticipate any problem.  I stepped onto the stile stepped up and lifted my leg to step over at the top. I couldn’t lift my foot high enough to get it over. I tried again changed the angle but no joy.  Third time lucky by using my hand to support on the top post of the stile I got my foot over. One down and one to go.  I sat there for a minute pondering how to get the other one over. It was like I was on a horse without knowing how to dismount. All I could thing was I didn’t want to have to ask strangers for help getting my leg over. Again using my hands to support my weight I somehow got my other foot over. There would be nil points for style but I was over.

 

I walked on with my thoughts back to my childhood. When I was little my Mum had a record by Lonnie Donegan and the song filled my head but with new lyrics. Putting on the agony
Getting leg over stile
Dignity of young folk

Been missing for a while
As I get my leg over
Watchers can’t but smile
Christ it is agony
And nil points for style

 There were ten stiles on this walk and although ungainly I got across without as much struggle as I had a method. This was fine until I came to a stile of a different type. This stile was a bit like a fence with horizontal planks of wood. The top hinged so you could lift it and step over the lower ones. Problem I needed to hold it up while stepping over but my stile method involved me using my arms to take the weight. I somehow struggled over keeping the hinged plank from my decapitation.

I should explain I get some tightness in the muscles in my inner groin started several months ago after playing badminton  and is much better but muscular injuries seem to take an age to heal. It affects my flexibility and fortunately I have no plans for any gymnastics.

 

 

I walked into St Winnow hoping for a cup of tea at the farm museum. I walked this route with Ilona about 4 or 5 years ago but walking is not her passion.  The highlight for her was the friendly cat we met as we drank our tea outside the museum. Well this time no cat and no cup of tea as the museum was closed. I walked out of St Winnow and into the fields up the hill before looking back and taking pictures. I continued through the fields finding stiles to cross the hedges. I leave the fields for the woods and my final ascent before crossing a field and walking downhill back into Lerryn

 

 

The stepping stones covered so I use the bridge to cross back to the car. I buy myself a honeycomb flavour icecream. Double scoop of creamy cold luxury in a waffle cone enjoyed as I amble slowly along the river. Memories of the past, combine with todays walk helping me to a new chapter in the future. I head back to the car smiling as I  think of a Dr Who once said “My body is a Tardis.”        

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Support your Libraries so they can support us

 

 

Some of you may know I champion Creative Writing for People with Parkinson’s and I also write about Cognitive and Mental Health issues for Start Living Today PD(a closed Facebook group that promotes a positive approach to life for those with Parkinson’s).

 

Sometimes I include issues on my blog so they are available to others outside that group. This includes posting activities that people with Parkinson’s can do to keep their cognitive talents ticking over. This post is not about one activity but a fantastic local resource here in the UK that may have slipped under our radar.

 

Libraries are looking for their role and are so much more than a collection of books (which is a great thing in itself). Enthusiastic staff are providing activities and groups which can have a lot to offer if only we spot them. Over the last month I attended an Art and Literature for wellbeing evening, a poetry evening and joined a creative writing group. all at local libraries. 

 

My own local library as well as books, CDs, DVDs, has events and activities, Readers Groups, Family History, Knit and Stitch Group , Uklele Tuition, Phone guru(advice on Apps etc, Hearing loss advice, Royal British Legion Outreach, Author talks, special events. 

 

There are also many children’s activities and what could be more worthwhile than helping a child or grandchild develop a love of books.

 

All I ask is if you can visit and investigate your local library. The more people that use their services the better those services are protected. Support them so they can support us.

 

I will finish with a poem I wrote a few months ago but happens to be appropriate.

 

Chapter House

 

Words printed

Cemented by imagination

Yet dance with perspicacity

To enlighten the open

 

Blended with pictures

Visual lyrics

Sing of new wonders

Colouring the world

 

Romance and history

Melded to enchant

As timeless couples

Fated to find destiny

 

Murder and mystery

Piloted by plot

Tension and suspense

Until we twist again

 

Horrors, terrors

Scared by suggestion

Or fuelled by gore

Take a drive with evil

 

Scientific prediction

Today’s parables

Mothered by invention

Mirrors hopes and fears

 

Life as we know it

Reality educates

Practical and posed

Ideas supposed

 

Oasis of intellect

Pages of wonder

Pruned by austerity

Chapter house under siege

 

Thank you for reading. Take care.

Jon

School

Best days of our lives.

How many times have you heard it said that your schooldays were the best days of your life? I went to a reunion last July and it made me think.  It wasn’t well attended and many didn’t remember me and yet I had a good time. Acquaintances from the past have become friends and I am looking forward to this years event.   

 

Reunion

Archive of expired hope

With glasses half full

Relive life’s early glories

Echoing a time

We evoked the future

 

Burnished and brazen

Bravado in abundance

We strode the study

Of our schooldays

With feigned surety

 

Learning life’s lesson’s

As though we had

Patented wisdom

Yet often perplexed

As we foraged for fate

 

Reunion of memories

Shared immaturity

Stories of smiles

Myths of manhood

Female fantasies

 

A touch of relish

Recalls youthful zest

Bodies Progressed in time

Hearts and minds

Still exuberant

 

Pride in our past

Gift of our present

Sentience gathered

As we unwrap destiny

With talents galore

 

Passing the baton to

Our children’s cohort

Yet still running

Our relay alongside

Promoting their promise

 

Schooldays long past

But emerged from

Their camaraderie

The essence of

Enduring entity

 

Celebration of

Our foundation

Footsteps of youth

Stride to adulthood

Blessed by reunion

 

School days were days of great excitement but also of vulnerability . Days of the uninformed uniformed. Where we strived to be noticed without putting our head above the parapets. Differences were allowed if peers could relate to the context.

Great days maybe the best days of my life but it is not cut and dried every stage of my life could make a case that competes. Now included. We can choose a winner or just decide our whole life can be fun. Never too old for life to be a blast.

 

Thank you for reading

Jon

Pontsmill part 2-Heritage

IMG_20180512_103230I am in the middle of a drive to get fitter and today I wanted to undertake a walk of at least 5 miles so I set off on a beautiful morning with my camera to photograph flowers for my daughter. I headed towards a place that had only one purpose for me leisure and enjoyment but to my grandfather it was a place of work.

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Not only is Pontsmill a beautiful place but it was once important in the production of China Clay. There are still many remnants of it’s past here.

Pontsmill was once a port on the Par River. In my grandfathers time it was part of the production of China Clay. My grandfather worked in this industry from the age of 13 to when he died in 1966(two years before I was born). He was one of 12 siblings and some of my uncles also worked here.

Alexander John Charles Mallett, my Grandfather (on my Mums side) suffered from Silicosis a lung condition caused by the clay dust. That left him in poor health and he became kettle boy until he caught cancer and it was too much for him.

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A bit overgrown since my Grandfathers day but the site was powered by water and many of the channels and other engineering still remain. This includes a the large Treffry viaduct at the end of the valley(I didn’t get that far today) but I did get to the site of the old waterwheel high up on one side of the valley where the view is excellent.IMG_20180512_103027Anyway it has been a great day for me today and I hope yours has been as successful.

Thank you for reading.

Take care

Jon.

 

 

Pontsmill part 1 -Flowers to Lanzarote

I did a few sums because I want to visit my daughter Rhi in Lanzarote. If I went I would want to take her two sisters but recent plumbing disasters left a leak in my bank account. With more plumbing work to save for, it is just not possible.

How ever far away she is in my thoughts and my heart so I decided to send her flowers.

IMG_20180512_085900So I walked to Pontsmill in a wooded valley where we have had many walks and photographed the flowers as I came across them

To accompany the pictures I wrote a poem

Springs Herald
Golden trumpets
Have played final encore
Spring’s last  laments
Rings out as the bells
Play the blues
Gorse flowers dwindle
Their prickly protection
Can only stand by
Summer reveals
Its petaled cohorts
Dainty and delicate
Pink campion wavers
As breeze wafts
Its fresh essence
As tree blossom above
Floats with a shimmy
Slowly downward
Buttery cups glisten
As stalks sway
Amongst the green
Daisy’s give their answer do
Half crazy in the grass
Wary of future chains
Wallflowers watch
From their stoney bed
As life passes by.
Colours array
Subtle hues
with the vibrant
The palette of summer
Colours natures craft
Designed for delight
Pontsmill is special to me for other reasons and I will explain those in part two.
Thank you for reading
Jon

Exercise as Medicine Update

It has been quite a month starting with my blocked drains which provide exercise as I bailed it out with a bucket carrying about 100 litres of it to the front garden and about the same into an empty dustbin so I could pointlessly push four feet of hose into the blocked pipe. Failing to clear it I called out the plumbers who kindly unblocked my wallet as well as the drain.

IMG_20180416_081932The blockage happened in a section of the drains with old clay pipe but won’t happen again as I had the pipe upgraded. Even my drains now have a sewer lining.

Anyway I have increased my walking and reduced my weight down to 16 stone 4 and this month hope to drop below 16 stone. I have had a series to two to four mile walks.

IMG_20180418_175802As well as the walks I have used the exercise bike and the punchball and continued the Sunday morning badminton. I have also done more gardening.

Over the next month I will increase the length of walks so that I will start to do walks of about 6 miles.

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It has been a good month. I have done two Saturdays of overtime to help with the drains bill. I have other plumbing that needs looking at but need to pay for the drains first. In recent years I have not been sure I can cope with overtime but now my medication has changed I have more energy. I managed to hit the higher productivity targets needed for overtime despite my slowness of keyboard use, something I couldn’t have done under my old medicine routine.

IMG_20180507_110351More good news with Parkinson’s including some of my How to be me blog as Editor’s pick in the Parkinson’s UK Spring Magazine.

Thank you for reading. If anyone would like to sponsor me I have a Justgiving page at

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jonathon-bestcharlestowntofowey

Jon

 

Exercise as Medicine

This is the main message I took away from the recent Insight Parkinson’s Online Conference. I have become inactive and over weight and have decided to make changes. I already play badminton on Sunday mornings but on its own that is not enough.

The conference had a consistent message about exercise. Exercise can be used to retrain the brain to cope with changes created by Parkinson’s in a way that can slow down the progression of symptoms. To be most effective it needs to contain several elements.

!) Sessions of intensity

2) Variety of movement

3) Cognitive element

4) Exercising the movements affected by my Parkinson’s

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It is clear to me that I need to build a program so that I can hit all these points but initially I need  to become more active while I explore how to best address this I am going to start and in fact already started. So as an interim measure I am going to walk more, use the exercise bike for high intensity exercise and build a more active lifestyle. While I am doing this I will also be losing weight.

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There are limitations I have to work around. I have a busy life including a fulltime office job and osteoarthritis in my knee, badminton on a Sunday morning tires me.  However where there is a will there is a way and today after badminton I rested this afternoon and this evening drove to Menabilly and walked to the Gribben(Gribben Head where there is a watch tower.) I was more like the tortoise than the hare plodding steadily up the hill but I do like the Hares strategy of a mid walk nap.

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While I was doing this I decided to set myself a goal. On 4 August 2018 I will walk the 10mile stretch of coast between Charlestown and Fowey. I last did this 4 years ago but haven’t walked more than half this distance since.

This will help me to focus on committing to the changes I am making. I would welcome any offers of support. If anyone wanted to walk with me on the day that would really help.

I have also set up a Justgiving page to raise money for Parkinson’s Uk and would welcome any sponsorship.  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jonathon-bestcharlestowntofowey

I will update again soon.

Thank you for readin