I'm sorry it's a bit late but Happy New Year and I wish you all a very happy, prosperous but most importantly, a healthy 2024.
I'd also like to thank you all, you have been following and supporting me on this challenge for a whole year and I'm very grateful to you for taking the time to read my blogs and for the many messages of support you've sent me through the year. Your support on this blog and on Social Media has kept me going through the most challenging times and has also been entirely responsible for the incredible amount of money we've raised for The Masonic Charitable Foundation to date... more about that later. 😍
Another year has passed by in a flash, we are all a year older and have probably lost someone in the last year and I'm sure like me, you will have looked at the list of all those celebs that passed away through the year, although removed from our personal lives, they were part of our lives growing up so meant something to us.
It's not my intention to start my first blog of the year on a somber note but more to encourage you all to stop and think for a moment, the clock is ticking so what have you planned to do this year for you ? no matter how small it might seem, we can all have our own 'Everest' to summit so what's yours going to be in 2024 ?
I know you're running up your own backsides, you are that busy but have you started the New Year with a plan to look after yourself ? Are you taking a little bit of time out just for you ? Every single day you deserve a little bit of time so I hope you are finding that bit of 'your time'.
If you haven't considered what your 'Everest' might be for this year then have a think, what would you really love to achieve ? Whatever it is, I wish you lots of courage and luck. Taking that first step is the hardest bit but you can do it...
I've got a plan for this year, I'm hoping it will involve walking another 3000 miles to get this challenge completed but unfortunately I'm under strict orders to get my foot sorted out first. You may remember that I had an X-Ray and an MRI scan just before Christmas as we couldn't work out why I was in so much pain all the time.
We knew I'd suffered with Plantar Fasciitis which you'll know is painfull enough if you've ever suffered with it but I was wearing good boots and purpose made insoles but the pain kept getting worse so there was clearly something else going on. The X-Ray was inconclusive but with thanks to the MRI scan, all is now clear.... this is the problem.
For you medically trained people, you'll recognise this as a Calcaneal Contusion, Trabecular micro-fracture. 🤓 To us non medically trained folk, it's called bone bruising. 🤪 It turns out that by trying to sort out the Plantar Fasciitis, I've actually done myself more damage. The moulded orthopaedic insoles that were made from molds of the soles of my feet were rock hard pieces of plastic, no cushioning whatsoever. I did mention this a few times to the podiatrist that they were very uncomfortable but they were insistent that I didn't need cushioning to cure the Plantar problem. Without any cushioning my feet have been getting hammered, 15-20 miles per day with the combined weight of my fat arse and a 37Kg rucksack pounding down on them.
Anyway, there's little point moaning about what I could or should have done, now I know what the problem is, I've been instructed on what I need to do to sort it out.
Lots of rest, sitting with the foot elevated whenever possible with an ice pack.
Daily excercises, rotating and stretching my feet, Achilles and calves in order to build muscle strength but also to repeatedly stretch the plantar tendon.
Plenty of swimming; swim as often as I can, this is the best non-impact excercise we can do so I'm trying to get to the pool 3 or 4 times a week, 40-50 lengths takes me just under an hour and that's a great workout. When the pain in my foot has greatly reduced I need to start gradually building the walking up without a pack on my back until I can walk completely pain free. I will then know the bone has healed and I can head back over to Wales to continue with the challenge. The last thing, I've done some more research and I've found the best reviewed, cushoined supportive insoles and the best reviewed cushioned walking boots, both of which are on order so all things being equal, I'm hoping to get going again sometime in February.
In the mean time... I'm challenging myself in a very different way... I'm having a go at being an author and a film editor !!! Writing a book and trying to set up a YouTube Channel !!!
One involves sitting in a quiet room using my blogs and photos as a reference while attempting to write a book that reflects my walking journey so far while also reflecting on my life journey up to when I started the walk.
The other involves sitting in a quiet room learning how to edit photos and film footage on an editing suite in an attempt to create an exciting YouTube channel. Neither of which I've ever attempted before so both of which are a huge challenge. I've also had to write a synopsis which I'm hoping will attract a publisher to publish the books, that was probably the hardest thing I've ever tried to write in my life...
So, plenty to keep me busy while the foot heals. It goes without saying, I'm also getting some Freemasonry in, plenty of visiting Lodges in Lincolnshire as well as my own Lodge and I'm still trying to keep the fundraising going.
I was a guest at a fantastic meeting at Lindsey Lodge up in Louth last Friday, thank you Stuart for your hospitality and to the Lodge for your kind donation of £250.
Cheers also to the other Stewart who drove which meant I could enjoy a pint and a glass of wine... only the one, of course... 😉🍷 with nearly 100 masons in attendance, it was an excellent night so it would have been rude not to enjoy a little tipple with them.
I also had some fantastic news this morning, my good freind and Social Media mentor Simon was installed as the Master of the Lumley Lodge in Skegness for the second time and the lodge very kindly donated the proceeds of their raffle. An incredibly generous £370 which has just tipped us over the £30,000 mark... How good is that... 🥳 Sadly I couldn't get to Skegness last night as I had Round Table Lodge business to attend to but I'll see Simon to thank him tomorrow night as we are both visiting Shakespeare Lodge in Spilsby.
Thank you to the brethren and visitors at the Lumley Lodge Installation last night, I'm very grateful to you all. 🥰
That's enough excitement for you for now.
I will sign off but will be back in touch soon to share details of the brand new YouTube channel. I can't wait to share all the film footage I've been taking while walking around the coast. Looking back through the photos has been a great reminder of some of the most beautiful and spectacular parts of our coast, I really have been the luckiest bloke in the world to have seen it all and I'm dying to share it with you.
For now, two of my favourites...