Holidays!

I’m off on leave. I should have been clambering all over the Brecon Beacons  but that’s not happening at the moment. So I have to try and find things to do to make the leave worthwhile and that don’t involve creating dents in the sofa where by bottom fits nicely. It’s hard (no, not my bottom, finding things to do). But here goes.

Yesterday was taken up mainly with the bitty, tedious administration stuff that has to be done but doesn’t have to be liked. The car went for a service. I hate spending money and not getting anything for it and with a car service (or MOT) it’s just money that disappears. Rather like petrol and taxes and so on. I took it easy in the afternoon, cleaned, changed the bedding (bored yet?) and took a load of clothes and other bits and bobs down to the local charity shop. The house is looking a little more empty than it was.

Today was much better. An early morning phone call from the female equivalent of Stephen Hawking told me my travel insurance claim has been accepted and will be paid in full within 5 working days. What a bizarre call at 8am. They’ve obviously decided my land line is a mobile phone. Still, nice to know that I’m, not out of pocket for the trip. I only hope the record of my claim accurately shows it to be as a result of an injury, not a condition, so that I can get insurance when I do decide to do the next trek.

Happy with that, I headed off to the River Tywi at Nantgaredig to take photos of the bridge, hopefully with loads of mist, and then on to Dryslwyn and the castle. The bridge was mist free but looking east, some of the trees lining the river had mist as a backdrop. and I spent a few minutes trying different settings to make the most of the conditions. In my mind, I was thinking ‘high key’ and with a few straight shots as bankers, I played around with the exposure to lighten the scene.

Then it was on to the castle, which I could see on a hill top in the distance. At first, it looked as if part of the remaining wall had fallen away but as I got closer I could see that this was a trick of the mist occasionally covering the hilltop. At the care park, I wandered along the river bank for a few minutes, managing to disturb a heron in the process. Throwing all caution to the wind, I made my way up to the top of the hill – and my leg didn’t fall off! Unfortunately, the most was the wrong kind of mist – the type that obscures rather than adds depth – and the photos I’d imagined weren’t to be found.

Instead, I decided to head back home and to call in to the doctors to see if my X-ray results had turned up. They had and although I need to speak to the doctor, the receptionist said they were marked ‘normal’. Probably not mine then as little about me has ever been described as ‘normal’. Nevertheless, this second piece of good news made me reconsider going home to rest up, so I grabbed the camera and headed down to the Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park to get some close-ups of flowers. And I wasn’t disappointed. The dull conditions are ideal for macro as there are fewer shadows and the even lighting brings out detail. There was plenty of colour too, and I spent a pleasant half hour wandering around snapping away.

The day is still young, though, so once I’ve posted this I’ll probably be off to do some strimming in the garden. Not worthy of a blog post in itself, unless something dramatic happens.

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&%$@@!%$ (&^%$@^*

Hark, another swear word. What’s going on?

I have mentioned my recurring knee issue in previous blogs.  I’ve been doing my very best to rest it between training strolls and apart from the swelling on the front below the kneecap, it’s been pain free and only mildly uncomfortable. But last night, I was on the exercise bike in the gym and with little warning I suddenly had that horrible feeling, as if my knee was about to lock. Accompanying it was pain – not excruciating, but enough to sound alarm bells.

I stopped cycling, of course, but the pain continued and did so for the rest of the night, despite ice packs and ibuprofen gel. And this morning it was still hurting enough to leave me worried. Ibuprofen helped, as did a tight bandage. But it was clear that there was something more than a week’s rest could fix.

I have 44 days of training left. The training plan calls for two 6hr hikes this weekend, including ascent and descent with back pack. In the following three weeks, I need to do another three 8 hour hikes plus increasing amounts of cardio-vascular training in the gym. By my estimate, I have a two week window to rest the knee and hope it gets better. Even then, there is no guarantee it won’t go again either during the final training or on the mountain itself. On my last trek 6 people had to be evacuated down the trail, two by helicopter. A couple of those were as a result of pre-existing conditions. It nearly cost all of us our chance of getting toe Everest Base Camp. I’m not going to do that.

I went straight to the doctor who confirmed what I already knew, that two weeks wasn’t nearly long enough to sort the problem out. I’m having an X-Ray done too, as there may be more to it than simply Housemaid’s Knee. As long as it has a name with multiple syllables that sounds vaguely heroic, I don’t care.

So, reluctantly, I have decided to postpone the Kilimanjaro trek. Postpone, not give up. I’ll be back next year.

My knee

You know this knee now. The purply red bits are the culprits. Grrr!

I feel gutted and frustrated. Part of the preparation was psychological. I still remember climbing Kala Patthar in Nepal – and that was ‘only’  5,545m. Kili adds another 450m on to that. I can’t risk my knee giving out at that late stage. More importantly, when the adrenaline runs out and we’re heading down, that is when the damage will happen and I’m planning on using my legs after Kili.

Watch this space. I’m guessing the next post will be about the experiences of trying to claim off my travel insurance.