Thursday, 17 January 2013

These boots are made for walking...

Thursday 17th January 2013, the day has arrived in the blink of an eye.

It seems Christmas has only just been and gone but I'm sat on the 13:15 from Leeds to Kings Cross at the start of my trip to the summit of Kilimanjaro.

An overnight flight Heathrow to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and after a few hours the flight to Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania.

The trek should start in earnest on Saturday morning and I hope to blog along the way, coverage permitting.

Meantime, here's the just giving link if you'd like to sponsor me :-D

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Fundraising target reached ... Kilimanjaro is looking ever closer...

The fundraising target has been reached with some feverish activity over November.

Firstly, Kate's school Ermysted's Grammar School has a non-uniform day for the Alzheimer's Society on the 23rd November and the staff and pupils raised a massive £700 towards the target.

In addition, I've been making charity Christmas cakes every weekend (I think we're up to a dozen or so so far) and some very generous people have moved me onto reaching my target of £3,900.

So now the next phase of preparation ramps up - lots of walks up in't Dales!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Going Loop de Loop!

Wow, so much has happened since the last post way, way back.

We're all systems go for Kilimanjaro.  This means my life is taken up with fundraising.
I held a horse racing night down at the Memorial Hall in September and that raised a significant chunk of money.

Whilst contacting companies to get auction prizes, I ended up speaking to the good folks at Lightwater Valley who offered me the chance to do a "ride-a-thon" to raise funds.

Sooo, on 14th October I'll be riding on The Ultimate for as many times as I can to raise money.  Whilst this seemed like a good idea at the time, I'm getting more and more anxious as the day approaches.  

The ride is around 1.3 miles long (the longest in Europe) and is one of the bumpiest rides I've ever been on.  Knee and elbow pads will definitely be required!!

The local paper, the Ilkley Gazette, also featured an article on my plans, which was great of them, click on this link to see the article online.

Oh, and I'm also managing to get some walking in, most recently on the Stanza Stones trail (part of the Ilkley Literature Festival) from Bingley to Ilkley...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ouch – One Step Forward…

Having reviewed the kit list for my trek up Kilimanjaro, a trip to buy some new walking boots and a bigger rucksack was in order.  Over in Harrogate is a family run outdoor pursuits shop called Out and About ( ).  My good friends Pat and Diane duly kitted me out with shiny new boots and rucksack and my “flexible friend” helped out too.  If you’re jaded by the lack of customer service at Cotswold, Blacks et al, give them a go!

What to do to break in the new boots? A short walk to minimise problems would be advisable.
So a crisp Sunday morning finds me stomping off along the Dales Way from Addingham to Grassington, not such a short walk!  Kate joined me at Burnsall and we walked up to Grassington and back with a break for lunch.  Despite the doom-laden weather forecasts of the last couple of days, it was a sunny morning, t-shirt walking weather in fact.

After around 16 miles, my feet felt fine with no blisters but my right shin had become quite painful (maybe the twinges after 6 miles or so should have been heeded).  Needless to say there was little sympathy in the Shaw household after my antics.

On the fundraising front, I’ve also set up an account with Easy Fundraising … a website that offers cashback if sites are accessed via its pages.  Instead of the cashback going into your pocket, the cashback is given to the nominated charity.  Quite a neat idea and I’m hoping it’ll generate a little extra into the fundraising pot.

If you want to contribute via the cashback site, click here:

There are also details on how the site works here:

Meantime, if you’d like to give via the traditional donation route, then click here:

On the fund raising front, I’m looking at organising a music night at Addingham Mem Hall sometime in September if I can get some bands together  and also looking into whether I can organise a horse racing night too.  Kate’s helping out too by roping in Ermysted’s Grammar School to do a “non-uniform day” for the pupils to contribute a £1 each.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Reality Bites!

It's been a long time since my last sporadic blog but I actually have something to blog about for once...

This week’s “earworm” is the refrain “you may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?” from Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads.  "Why's that?" I hear you muse...

At the beginning of last week I got confirmation that I was successfully registered for the Alzheimer’s Society hike up Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2013.

The Alzheimer’s Society is dedicated to defeating dementia through research. They fund research into the cause, cure, care and prevention of dementia.  My father in law Walter passed away after a long time of suffering from dementia.  I saw a bright and funny ex-bank manager fade away as the dementia took hold.  I also saw the effect that Walter’s dementia had on his family and friends and this trip is a way for me to raise funds to help improve our understanding of this pernicious disease.

At 19,341 feet (5,895 metres), Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the African continent and the trek up the mountain is not for the faint hearted (apparently).  Whilst I can prepare for the walking the one thing I can’t prepare for is the threat of altitude sickness at such heights.  However, if Chris Moyles and Cheryl Cole can make it up there for Comic Relief…how hard can it be ;-0

To be honest, I am most worried about the fund raising aspect…  I have to raise £3,900 for the Alzheimer’s Society by November of this year!
I now need to start planning some activities to get the money flowing; first up a horse racing night sometime at the start of July and then I’m hoping to arrange another event at the beginning of September.  Any fund raising suggestions are welcome!

Meantime, if you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so at the following link:

More on my fundraising ideas and training progress to come J

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Poetry, trying to “get it”

Unlike some people, I “get” Jazz and I “get” Prog Rock but despite numerous attempts I can’t seem to “get” Vic & Bob. Also on my “I don’t get it” shelf is poetry.
I felt it was time to move poetry to somewhere else in my mind space (no chintz allowed) and that’s why I find myself attending a poetry evening at The Craiglands Hotel put on as part of the Ilkley Literature Festival.

I have a barely suppressed feeling of entering a familiar but somehow different reality as I sit down and wait for the fun to start. People are chatting about poetry, poets and their personal favourites and I feel apart, left out and bereft of conversation. To me “iambic pentameter” sounds like a device Walter Bishop would invent on the sci-fi programme Fringe and I feel slightly uncomfortable. Then, horror of horrors, the person next to me asks me a question about the poets appearing tonight… now I know how a rabbit feels heading towards speeding wheels. Neatly dodging the question by asking one of my own, the evening starts.

Tonight, three poets are reading from their collections.
First up is Paul Bentley. Brought up in the South Yorkshire coalfields, his first reading is a section of a long and powerful poem about the miners’ strike. He finishes with a football related poem regarding traditional team rivalries. I think I would need to study Paul’s poems on the written page to appreciate all that he was conveying tonight.

Paul is followed by Jonathan Davidson and his poems are personal, nostalgic and humorous with the unexpected appearance of death and mortality in a lot of them. So much so, that I can imagine Pratchett’s Death sitting at the back (thinking in capitals of course) and nodding sagely whilst wearing a beret and puffing on a Gauloise.

The final poet is Ian McMillan. Another of the Barnsley professional Yorkshiremen alongside Dickie Bird and Michael Parkinson, Ian’s poems, when he can fit them in around an almost non-stop raconteur patter, are funny and observant. He’s fast becoming another national treasure.

The evening ends with a Q&A session and then I reflect on three poets with completely different approaches to the medium and all of them making me stop and think about subject matter and observation.

So, do I “get “ poetry now?

Nope, but I am starting to appreciate the breadth of what poetry can be and a desire to understand more. Where to start is the issue.

Now, where did I put that Shooting Stars box set 

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Village Update - more like a catch up!

The Scout Hut is no more :-(
Scouts and Beavers/Cubs are now meeting in "temporary" venues until the Parish Council and the local leaders can determine a permanent venue... I don't think I will hold my breath over that after the acrimonious debacle over the Parish Council "providing" a new alternate venue...seems local politicians are no different from those on a larger stage.

Access to Ilkley Grammar School for Addingham residents was eventually resolved, for now, but the spectre of future problems looms. Attention now moves to the possible redevelopment of the IGS site with the "best" solution from a bad bunch being a new purpose-built campus in Ben Rhydding. Needless to say, there is local opposition in Ben Rhydding to increased noise/traffic issues and concern in Addingham that the school is even further to travel to - possibly meaning further catchment area issues. Ho hum.

Here's a link to Education Bradford's website on the programme. Given that IGS is in phase 3 and phase 2 is only just getting under way; we may have a long wait for a new school wherever it may be.