VOLUNTEERING

HOSPICE VOLUNTEERING

Today has been a nice day, yay, the sun did come back.  We have had some dreary old days and not much of a Summer.  I am not looking forward to Winter at all.  The mornings and nights are certainly getting darker. 😦  The sun does makes everyone feel better.  I did the Park Run at 8am this morning at the Dunedin Botanical Gardens,  it is only 5kms, but very hard with some hills on the 2nd half.  To me, they feel like Mount Everest, especially when running.   Today I walked the Park Run, it seemed harder than actually running the Event. Yesterday after work I was a good girl, I actually went for a jog/walk when I finished at 5pm.  I tripped over some toi tois (NZ native plants I think) and rolled down a small grassy bank.  Unfortunately the toi tois are like cuttey grass, they have cut all of my arms and legs.  They still sting like anything.  I hurt my dodgy knee again too. 

I sucked up the soreness and blood and soldiered on jogging back to my car.  🙂 I thought today I had better take it easy. I enjoyed the walk this morning though and felt good for doing something physical.

Yesterday at work a few of my work mates and I dressed up in Green for St Patrick’s Day.  It was nice to have a fun day at work as we have been so busy, one of the girls is away on Annual Leave seeing Adele in Australia so we have been under the pump with all of the work load.  I also have been teaching a new lady in the office the basics of the job all week…that is tiring.  I didn’t even get much training myself in the job when I started 7 months ago, it was around3 days overall I think.  It was so busy then I was thrown in the deep end.  I guess it is a bit of a complement really that the Management think that I can teach her rather than one of the other girls that has been there a long time.   I don’t really like teaching people though , not for this long, especially when we are a staff member day as well. It has been pretty stressful.  

This weekend is a long one as Monday is ‘Otago Anniversary Day’.  That makes me happy, an extra day off work and maybe it will even be a little lie in, until 9am ish.  That would be nice.

After the Park Run this morning I had a coffee and chat with my Walking friend at a local healthy Cafe.  It was a good catch up with him.  

Tomorrow I am up early again, but this time to help out at the Hospice, I am on cleaning duties.  I like doing this even more than being in the Kitchen working as it means I spend even more time with the patients in their rooms cleaning and chatting to those that can talk.  They seem to like having a little bit of company after their Breakfast.

Two weekends ago I had a Birthday, my big 50!!   I didn’t do anything special really(my choice).  I decided to not even go out for tea/dinner.  I had had a few busy weekends and the day before my Birthday on the Sunday I competed in an out of town event down South.  It was a 2 hour drive to get there.  

My Brother Steven went and a girl from Harriers.  We went in Steven’s car.  He has never done an off road/race event like this before.  He ran it and did really well.  It was 15.5 kms, with a BIG hill to run up, we ran/walked on the beach for 5 kms, that was hard. Then up through tracks, in through Farmer’s paddocks with long grass with big ruts, then on to gravel roads, straight up.  Then down, down, down.  This was my third time doing it, walking.   I did a PB, knocking 4 mins off my time.  I came over the finish line 4th Female Walker and 12th overall out of heaps of Walkers.  I was pretty happy.  It was nice to have a laugh with Steven and Julie too, feeding our faces messily in the car with birthday cake.  It was Gluten Free so was falling to bits due to the lack of gluten.  Steven’s Daughter, my Niece, Isabella made it.  She is only 10.   We had cream cheese icing everywhere too.  🙂  It was so tasty.

The photo below is of the Walkers at the start, I was rearing to go, the weather was nasty, rain, wind, awful, but the event was awesome. Superb views.

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Me at the finish, I look like I am going to whip a horse or something…I wonder what I was doing??

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Photo of my Brother below, he was almost at the finish line. I am not so sure what the guy behind him is laughing out.  Maybe something written on his back? ha ha

Julie ran the event for the first time as she normally walks it but has started running last season. She ran really well, she has guts and determination and was 2nd female Runner to cross the line.  She even surprised herself.  She is amazing.

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The next day on my birthday, I was just happy to stay home. 🙂  I got a nice piece of pink depression glass from my Daughter.  It is a huge plate, beautiful.  She even gave me chocolate and made me a yummy Gluten Free chocolate cake. Colin gave me a new cell phone.  My one was a bit old fashioned, I wanted one with a decent camera on it.  I have one now :), I just have to work out how to use it.  

My Sister Brenda sent me a lovely orchid plant and also a helium balloon.  I was so so chuffed, it would have cost her a fortune arranging it from Australia.  And I have never ever had one of those balloons.  And it is still inflated and only going down a little bit.  Spoilt rotten. 

I am not one to make a commotion or have a big party, me being me, I was happy to hang around home and just do my knitting or something. …I guess I must be getting old. ha ha.  Have a good Sunday …Donna

A special hello to Bren in Brisbane.  I miss you Sissy. xxx

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WHAT DID I DO THIS WEEKEND?

MAKING THE MOST OF THE SUN SHINING

Yay, finally we have a weekend of nice weather.  🙂

It was a very busy working week, therefore by Friday I didn’t have much energy left.  The Night Noodle Market was in Dunedin for a week selling lots of Asian inspired foods and drinks.  

The three of us decided to go down town on Friday night and have a look, we ended up sitting on the grass eating satay and rice and watching a few artists dancing with fire.

Saturday morning I went for an hour and a halves walk by myself and then got groceries.  Home at 1pm after attending a huge garage sale I spotted in town as I was driving home.  I also went across the road and viewed an Auction House that is holding the auction their Wednesday.  Because I am working, I put a absentee bid on two different items. A tea set I would like to buy for our Daughter’s Birthday in May, she collects this particular style, for myself I did a bid on a Crown Lynn (made in NZ) vintage swan. I think I may have bidded too low, but you never know.

Today I was up early and met 3 other friends (from my Harriers Club) at 9 am to go on a big walk/hike.  It was off road, going up thru native bush and ferns etc to a height of around 800 metres above sea level. There was a beautiful view of Dunedin City at the top.  We were away for 3 3/4 hours doing a hard hilly 17 kms. 

This photo below is from a week night when I was playing around with our camera.  Taking black and white photos and sepia ones of plants and flowers in my front garden and also some of the dogs.

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I met Colin and our Daughter in town to go on a tour of the Sea Shepherd ship that saves marine wildlife.  It is named after Steve Irwin. The ship was at the Harbour/wharf for the weekend and showing people on board, it was fascinating.  A very popular event, we lined up for over an hour in the hot sun. The ‘Sea Shepherd’ ships are run by volunteers and the crew are the same.  They are a non profit marine wildlife conservation organisation. They are active on the high seas protecting endangered whales, dolphins, seals and all marine wildlife.

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It was nice to see all of the families there with their children, teaching them that we need to care and help prevent poachers and the killing of our wildlife.

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Then it was home to pick some vegetables out of our vegetable garden to cook for tea.  I made nice vegetarian potato and vegetable patties tonight to go with some smoked fish that Colin smoked.  It was very tasty.

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Another busy week ahead, especially at work.

I have picked some pretty roses to take to work tomorrow for our front Reception Desk.

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 I have another walking event I am entering next Saturday, this one is 15.5 kms and is a race. I am going down there with my Brother and another girl from Harriers.  They are running the event, I am walking it.  This one, is hard & hilly, especially hard when racing and trying to go as fast as you can.  I have done it twice before.  It is a neat event. It is at Papatowai, around 3 hours out of Dunedin.  Todays walk was a good practice for the event.   After my ‘Stump the Hump’ 62 kms event a couple of weeks ago, I feel like this one will be alright.   It should be good.

The photo below is of an alleyway that I saw walking back to our car.  It was neat, it got narrower and narrower, with a little bit of light at the end. I had to take a photo.

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Have a nice week. 
Donna

TICK OFF THE BUCKET LIST

YAY, I FINISHED THE ‘STUMP THE HUMP’ WALKING/TRAMPING EVENT

As you know I did an event last Friday and Sat.  It was a real hard nut walk/tramp.  Called ‘Stump the Hump’.   It started at midnight  in Tuatapere, about a 4 hour drive from Dunedin. I had to work at work for 6 hours instead of my normal 8 hours in the morning.  It would have been great to work less and get some sleep prior, but my Boss was unable to let me go earlier.  Colin and I left home around 3:30pm.  We found Colin’s accommodation when arriving to pick up my registration pack.
It was a great little cottage, I was jealous I wouldn’t be sleeping there the night, it was lovely.  I felt nervous, and waited and waited until midnight for it to event to start. 😦
We walked thru the night, non stop firstly up a huge Mountain, some of it being vertical to one of the top huts.  We had gale force winds at the top, then a little rain. That took me 5 hours to reach the top of the mountain, stopping for ten minutes to change my socks, and eat something… then I carried on walking to the next hut at Port Craig.  Lots of downhill, steps, boardwalk and slippery mud.  It was a grueling walk, especially the first big hill. 
I walked under a huge old viaduct.
Taking in beautiful scenery, fauna and flora, lots of swing bridges, viaducts , old railway tracks, beach etc.  Simply stunning. 🙂
The finish was 62 kms from the start line.  It wasn’t an actual race, just an endurance event, I did it in 15 hours and 1 min lol.  🙂
They tell me that I was roughly 31st out of 113 people.  About 4 got helicoptered out and a few didn’t finish as it is so hard or they felt unwell. 
I chatted with a couple of ladies along the way, but mostly walked by myself. I met a lovely girl called Amy, from Christchurch, we walked for around 2 hours and had lots of laughs.  I then walked over the beach and another fair distance  (around 20 kms)to the end. It was around 25 degrees by then.  I finished it at 3pm (actually 3:01pm) on Colin’s Birthday. 🙂
After a shower we went out for tea/dinner in Invercargill to celebrate both events. We stayed in a basic ‘Bed and Breakfast’ the night then drove home on Saturday after picking up some new hens in Gore and admiring the farmer’s piggie. 
 I was ok the next day except for 3 extremely bruised & sore /black toes and nails.  I think the nails may fall off, yuck, I hope not.  
I am still smiling and on a high from this event.  
I was determined to do this walk, I was worried before I started.  I never thought of giving up.   I loved it, but never again ha ha 🙂
It is hard on the knees and calves doing the downhill and walking on the boardwalk. It is probably the hardest and toughest event I have done yet.  🙂 I am a stubborn buggar.
I took around 120 photos along the way, I will add a few below to show you. You have to excuse me for doing all of the selfies, I asked a couple of people to take a shot of me in front of the splendid views.  So many photos of me looking tired, goofy but in my element & I want to show you the view.  
Awesome !!!!
I will leave you with a quote I like:
‘To get the body in tone, get the mind in tune’.

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STUMP THE HUMP

BIG WALKING OFF ROAD EVENT

I am getting very nervous.  I have entered a huge walking event on Friday.  I am also excited too.

Haven’t had much time to train, due to working full time and lots of things on.

The walk is near Invercargill, around 3 hours driving from Dunedin.  I have seen photos of the terrain and been told that this is a beautiful part of scenery.  I have to work for 6 hours on Friday, 😦 as we are too busy for me to get the whole day off.  I suppose leaving at 1pm instead of 5pm is better than nothing.  Colin and I will drive down there to the event, in the late afternoon when he finishes work.  I was hoping to get a bit of sleep in prior to leaving.  Not sure if that will happen.

The event is off road, (a new thing to me really as I am a road/street walker, but I have done a few longer bush walks these last few weeks).  The event, called Stump the Hump leaves at midnight (yes in the dark), we walk up a mountain with very steep terrain, getting to 900 metres.  I have been told a lot of people pull out of the event, due to the extreme hardness of it.  😛  I am scared. They have to pay to get helicoptered out.    I realllllly want to not only do it but I want to complete it.  21kms to the top of the hill, then a lot of board walks, steps, bridges, along railway tracks, beach walking and bush again.  62kms of non stop walking.  A chap told me that I will probably take about 16 hours, he has done it once and took 14, he does a lot of long distance walking and running.

I think the hill for be the most difficult and staying awake, if I get to the top, I am hoping I will manage the rest alright.  I have just had blood test results this week too, I am anemic again and also have low white blood cells.  There is no way that I am not going to do the walk though, I am not giving up now because of that.  With Coeliac Disease, we lack in taking in the nutrients, I am always on Iron pills, but now have to double them.  No wonder I am always feeling low in energy and tired.  …I will push myself though, as I normally do.

I also have to take a back pack with my own food in it (extra weight) as the organizers won’t cater for Gluten Free 😦   A bit of a shame, as food is offered to everyone else, porridge and toast at the first hut, soup and sandwiches at the 2nd and a bbq at the finish.  The event cost $150, I think they should at least have one option of something GFree, but nevermind.

I will make sure I have enough food to get thru this in my bag.  I have most of my gear ready.  We start at midnight Friday, finishing some time late Saturday.   I hope I can take my camera.  Rain is due both days, hope it doesn’t happen as it may wreck the view, and also will be slippery.

The event is not a race, so that is good, and also I just want to push myself and cross it off my bucket list.  Fingers crossed for me, I will report in hopefully with photos next week.  🙂

Did I tell you I’m nervous hee hee 😛

Donna

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF SUMMER

SUMMER = Rain, wind and cold ???

It is a Sunday late afternoon, the rain hasn’t stopped falling since early this morning, there are puddles everywhere.  It is also very windy 😦 

I can’t speak for all of New Zealand but down South, here in Dunedin we have NOT had a summer yet.  It is so so disappointing.  Everyone I talk to feels ripped off.  Last year was also not the flashest summer either.  The forecasters predicted that this year was going to be a wonderful hot summer, they got something wrong  

We have had a couple of warmer and sunny days, but on the whole it has been terrible.  Oh I hate being stuck inside on my days off work.  I am suppose to be training for a big off road walking event coming up in two weeks time eeek.  I entered it after a friend gave me a free entry that he won.  It is worth $150 to enter, therefore great chance for me to enter.  I have been doing a bit of tramping walking rather than my usual walking on the road.  I have also been running through tracks on a Monday night with a few Harrier members and other like minded people.  

A photo of Bailey below, taken the other night….’It’s a dog’s life’ 🙂 

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I have really enjoyed it, although my knees are sore, especially when going down hill.  I ran years ago and had to give up after 7 years because of my sore knees.  I then took up walking.  I still love walking and I think I am better at that (not the hills though) than running.  I am nearly always the last runner on a Monday night, but the group don’t mind, we have moments of rests and they are great encouragement.  My Brother has also been coming along, so I see him more now.  

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He fell over heavily last Saturday, so is out of action at the moment. He ended up with a black eye, grazing on his knees, gravel in his hands under the skin and cracked ribs.  He is still very sore.  He tripped on a lace on his shoes.  Blood everywhere. .  Poor buggar.  Rest is the only thing he can do to mend a suspected broken/cracked rib.

The photo taken below was prior to Christmas when it was a slightly warmer day = teeshirt and shorts.   Myself with Turbo the cat, and Bailey in front of my VW

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I am getting a little nervous about my walk/challenge/event.  It is in two weeks time, near Invercargill.  The event is not a race, a lot of people pull out and not finish as it is tough. They get airlifted out by helicopter with a $200 fee. 😦  Some of the walking is vertical,  the chap that gave me the entry said he has done it once, but didn’t want to do it again.  And he is a great long distance runner/walker. 😛  I am stubborn and unless I get injured I plan on trying my best to go as far as possible, and fingers crossed I will be aiming to complete it.  It starts at midnight, walking not stop up a massive hill for around 6 hours, then down hill, along the beach, tracks, bridges for 62kms.  I have never done night walking with a head lamp.   Someone said it will take me around 16 hours??  

I feel better now as I talked to another friend this morning about what to expect.  He is a believer and stubborn like me and reckons I can finish it.  I will give it my best shock if my body holds up.  

Yesterday after a small run, I got home to Colin trying to make our shed we have started building prior to Christmas.  The weather keeps putting a hold on it. It looks pretty cute so far.  I have added a photo and also a photo of some poppies I took on a recent VW Club drive out of town.  

The shed so far..

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I will add a finished photo in a few weeks when it is completed.  🙂

Have a good week

Donna 

Happy New Year from New Zealand

BEST WISHES FOR 2017

Happy New Year to you all.

2017 has to be a better one for us, the last few years have been a little hard with lots of unpleasant things happening.  I know this year will be better for us.
I went to bed at 11:30 pm last night and didn’t stay up for the clock striking 12pm :P, I’m an old granny.  I was too tired as I had run 5 kms in the morning at 8am at The Park Run, then an hour later I went on a big 3.5 hour tramp with a few friends from my harriers club.   It was a awesome walk, my Brother Steven came along too.
Below is a photo of me from last Saturday’s Park Run.

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The photos below are from our tramp/hike off road walk yesterday. It was misty and windy on top of the mountain.

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We have been away all day today at the Waikouaiti Races with a few people from our VW club.  Colin and I bet on a couple of the horse races but that was it, I like going more for the fact of getting away from Dunedin, no housework to do or chores at home.  Just sitting around and having a picnic / bbq lunch with good company.

It is a  full day as we left early this morning.  It is funny how you can get a little tired, even though we were mostly sitting around in our outdoor chairs.
We took my friend A — with us, she is lonely and lives by herself.  Her Husband died around 3 years ago.  She is 84, I met her years ago at a group we both attend.  She has Coeliac Disease like me.  
She has two sons but they are not around Dunedin  to take her any where, especially at Christmas time.  She is a neat friend and a special lady with a super sense of humour.

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My favourite 8 year old was there also with his Mum and Dad, he made me go on the Ferris Wheel with him for the 2nd year in the row!  And again, I was shitting myself when we had to stop at the top to let people off.  The Ferris Wheel is the same one that my Sister and Brother and I went on years ago when we were kiddies.  It is so rickity and rusty and made awful noises.  My young friend thought it was hilarious that I was squealing again and holding on for dear life. My heart rate got up and my hands were sweating 🙂
 Next year I am going to make Colin go on with him, ha ha.  
Late tomorrow I am going on another run/slow jog with a group, My Brother and a friend are also coming along.  I may be the last one though as I believe it starts with a fairly big off road hill/mountain…eeek, what have I got myself in for.  🙂
Happy new year everyone, best wishes 
Donna

MERRY CHRISTMAS

THE GRINCH HAS SPOKEN

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017.

Christmas time is kind of sad for me these last few years.  It is not that I hate it, and really I am not the Christmas Grinch.  It is just not the same since my parents have died and there is not many family members around anymore.  

I feel the same on my Birthday too.  This year Colin has one Brother less after he died of cancer a few months ago.  A special mention and kind thoughts & best wishes to all of the people out there that are on their own, without their loved ones, either overseas or in heaven and the Elderly who feel lonely on Christmas Day.   Also the poor people or those that are sick.

I am ever so grateful to have my Husband and Daughter around me today and always.  I am so very lucky.

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We didn’t have a Christmas lunch today, instead we took strawberries and cherries out to Taieri Mouth beach , 15 kms from where we live.  It was a little sunnier than at home.  The reason for the trip was to take our two dogs with us for a well earned treat.  They were in their element and loved it.  We sat for an hour or so afterwards with a thermos flask and had a cup of coffee. 

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Then is was home time, back to the chilly wind (yes IT IS suppose to be summer).  We cooked pizzas for tea, actually our Daughter made them and Colin cooked them outside in our Pizza Oven.  The Gluten Free ones were yummy.  

Time for the Kiwi Pavlova soon and chocolate 🙂

Tomorrow morning (Boxing Day) I will be walking over to the cemetery to visit my Mum and Dad, I have already picked the flowers for Mum.  It will be about a 12 km walk.   I hope we get a warm, sunny day.  

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Best Wishes from New Zealand, especially to my family and friends overseas xx

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