One google search away from being questioned under the Investigatory Powers Bill – I’m back!

Since I have way too much time on my hands I decided I would stop neglecting my blog.

I stopped blogging briefly after my holiday to the Isle of Man, this is because I was upping my game to get ready for the Great North Run and to concentrate on work.

I did run the GNR – and I kept up running afterwards (to be fair I think I’ve found my addiction) so I couldn’t be more proud of that this year. But not long after the GNR I had to go have a hemithyroidectomy (they removed half of my thyroid to get rid of a tumour) but I healed well and got back on the running!

But just as I was getting back into my stride, running regularly and planning my next half-marathon, I got a call from my doctor: they would need to remove the other half of  thyroid, soon, and I would need to have radio iodine therapy because I have papillary thyroid carcinoma – or to you and me: thyroid cancer.

Cue the instantaneous panic, thoughts of planning ones own funeral, thoughts I’ll never have kids, run a marathon, own a pig – the list was, at points, ridiculous and long.

But, I’m a pretty positive person (or I try to be) and I kept on running, working and just getting through it.

Fast forward and today I’ve had my thyroid removed, I’m sat on my sofa, in my pj’s, for the third day in a row after my two-night stay in hospital, with an abundance of energy, due to my body getting used to the levothyroxine, no work to do and I’ve been banned from running until the stitches are out – I’m about one day away from getting questioned under the Investigatory Powers Bill because all the random and odd things I’ve googled in boredom.

So, I decided I’d blog.

I’m back!

Ta Da!

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Glen Wyllin, 5 mile afternoon tea and wallabies

The next stop from Silly Moos was our first campsite on the east of the island: Glen Wyllin.

I was really excited to stay in Glen Wyllin for two reasons: 1) there was a specifically gluten free tea rooms “near-by” (please note the sarcastic quotations now) and 2) Glen Wyllin is solid proof you don’t need to head down under to see wild wallabies.

Once we’d arrived at Glen Wyllin and set up camp we were eager to get exploring and eager to try some gluten free afternoon tea so we decided to take a bus to Sulby where the tea room was, meant to be, “near by”.

But on the way to Sulby there was a strange moment as we were walking round a bend and saw something peeking its head out of a verge, I was confused, as I initially thought it was a rabbit – but it was too big. That’s when I noticed it was a bloody wallaby!

I mean, we knew they were wild on the island since escaping from a private collection years ago – but we never banked on seeing one.

After this we arrived in Sulby for my afternoon tea – but there was no tea room to be found and after asking a local where it was he said: “Just up that road for 20 minutes.”

It wasn’t ‘just up that road’ and it wasn’t 20 bloody minutes – in fact five miles and one aching knee, on my part, later we were finally there.

Okaaay, it was one of the best gluten free afternoon teas, but part of me forgot one thing about being stubborn and carrying on walking there – we had to walk back.

I just couldn’t take this thought and, admittedly, I cried – a lot. Like full on tears!

A woman must have over heard my crying (to be fair, she wasn’t eavesdropping or anything, I’m a particularly loud crier and I was in such a state I wasn’t bothered about hiding it) and she offered us a lift back to Sulby – which we took happily.

Call me a baby or make fun of me for making a big deal about five miles – which I can run easily, most days, in under 50 minutes – but I have a torn ligament in my knee and I think it was sheer frustration of the public transport on the island – or there lack of…

Anyway, we got back, got the bus back I was happy to just relax knowing that, yes I’d probably lost a great deal of dignity crying in front of strangers, but I had a cracking good gluten free afternoon tea – and the bread was even nice!

The day wasn’t over though, oh no, it was still early, so we decided to go look out to the Irish side of the island and climb the rocks by the sea. It was beautiful weather that I can’t help but pine for now I’m back in Cumbria and it’s winter!

Point of Ayre

Visiting the Point of Ayre was one of those things I wanted to do on the Isle of Man because it’s was one of those things you do to say you’ve done it. But as I was slogging the 8-mile round-trip in, what only could be described as, torrential rain I wasn’t all too sure I wanted to do it anymore.

The forecast hadn’t give the best weather for the day we had planned to head to IOM’s northernmost point, but we thought we had pretty good water proofs and boots, it shouldn’t be too bad – that was the first time I was wrong that day. 

The second was thinking Cumbrian roads were horrific for bad travellers – I realised I was wrong with this as I was emptying my guts into a Bride tea-room toilets after one of the most horrific bus journey’s I’ve ever experienced: a 45 minutes bus ride from Ramsey to Bride, via every, bump, hill, sharp bend and rough road surface available on the north of the island. 

Once we got to Bride the weather had kept up but we were determined to get there. So after a quick warm-up in the tea rooms (after my moment) and a latte, we set off. In short the weather was awful, but I really wanted to say I had been the the island’s northernmost point and we plodded on. As never ending as it felt he sing to the point, the scenery was just beautiful. 

We saw centuries-old cottages and farms with thatched roofs – it was like we had been transported through pike, well, besides the random car every so often that splashed passé (none of which stopped to offer a lift when we look liked drowned rats).

Drowned rats for the win!
Once we get there it may have been miserable, but it was an incredible feeling to know we’d made it to the islands northernmost point. 
On top of the world – well, the Isle of Man at least!
I was less than enthusiastic to make the journey back to Bride, and I genuinely don’t think I would’ve made it back had it not been for the best travel buddy I could ask for – my fiancé. 
Once we made it back to the “village” – because, to be fair, you could hardly called Bride a village, more of a hamlet – we treated our cold selves to a pot of tea and a portion of chips. 

We were absolutely soaked through, in fact I think we found the breaking point to our raincoats, as they certainly were not waterproof when we got back to the tea room. 

It may have been a miserable day, but I’m quite glad we went to the Point of Ayre. Thought I can’t say I’d do it again – well, maybe in my car! 

Laxey, Ramsey and Silly Moos 

Once we were done with Douglas we packed up to head for Laxey – this, of course meant the four mile walk into Douglas so we could get the Manx electric railway up to Laxey.

I was used to small old railways that rattle – I’m from Cumbria after all – but the electric railway was something else. All the wood seemed to move in different directions as if it slide together worse than the ikea wardrobe I put up once. Put it this way, you could tell it was old, but it was an amazing experience you could see Douglas in a whole new way and as we headed into Laxey you could see the beautiful white sand and clear sea.

We decided to sit on the open carriage as the weather was atypical with that of a Spanish holiday, not that you’d expect of an island in the Irish Sea.

Once we got to Laxey, we managed a quick peek of the famous Laxey Wheel then headed to find the next campsite – this was an issue, the walk said half a mile from the station, it was more like three, then when we got there the campsite was full! Brilliant!

But, Luckily we made the plan that we’d just move on to our next campsite, a place Silly Moos – a funny name, but a place that turned out to be one of the best campsites you could ask for. We had a little bit more of a look around Laxey, pried me away from the woollen mill and buying stuff, and really admired the views of what I could only describe as a truly picturesque village.

Eventually, we managed  to hop back on the electric rail and headed up to Ramsay – this journey I can only describe in a Cumbrian way; psychically it was worse than a northern rail journey from Barrow to Carlisle, but it actually had 3G.

Ramsey was somewhere I was rather eager to see, mainly because it has a gluten free bakery and because it was on my list of  places to see in IOM.

Unfortunately, every time I went to the bakery it was closed – I was indescribably gutted.

Eventually we found a shop called Shoprite – arguably better for GF stuff than most places in Cumbria – loaded our bags and four. Silly Moos.

Silly Moos was brilliant – everything was painted in cow patch, it had a microwave and a hairdryer(!!!!!) this was major.

I wasn’t too amused with Birkenhead Scouts – basically they were loud, annoying scouse little buggers that got away with far too much, in comparison to my brownies days –  but Robert and I found a deck of cards and really let our competitive streak loose.

While we stayed at Silly Moos we also visited the Point of Ayre – but that one deserves a post all of its own!

A journey to Ellan Vannin aka The Isle of Man

Living the on the Cumbrian coast the Isle of Man is somewhere I’d always seen when I looked at across the water – on a clear day – but never been too, and always somewhere I wanted to go.

I’d missed the years of taking the bi-yearly ferry from the local town when I was young, so when Rob and I wanted an extended backpacking trip in prep for a planned Machu Piccu trip, away from Cumbria we took this as our perfect opportunity to visit the Ellan Vannin aka Isle of Man.

We decided to fly from Liverpool – as ferries are not the friend if a girl who suffers sea sickness – which was ace, except the three hour flight delay. Luckily it was a smooth half-hour flight that gave us spectacular views of not only IOM, but Cumbria.

When we arrived I initially  thought it would be just like England, but from the road signs, to the flags it was very obvious I was in a different country as every town name is followed by the translation into Manx Gaelic, and they all sounded like something straight out of a Tolkien novel.

We camped up and on day two we took our first trip in to the island’s capital- Douglas.

It was an easy three miles into the town and it was just beautiful. The bay is spectacular with a cute horse drawn carriage to take you round.

We decided on lunch on the harbour and found out that it’s not just the seagulls that you have to worry about – it’s the pigeon as one hopped up on Roberts leg while he had a sausage roll in hand, I jumped a bloody mile in shock!

After my traumatic pigeon experience we headed to the Manx museum. It reminded me a lot of a local museum back home – except, I must admit, they may be more patriotic and heritage proud than us Brits back home.

A cute little addition to the town was a flower display trail – my favourite was the bottle of popped bubbly – we didn’t get all of them but it was a fantastic way to see different part of Douglas.

After walking ten miles round the town we were definitely ready for bed and headed back to a, thankfully, quiet campsite.

It was a fantastic introduction to the Isle of Man and I was eager to see more.

Running with a cause

If you remember on my ‘this running girl can’ post I blogged about my fitness journey and my running journey and how, initially, I struggled with the motivation to actually get up an do it.

I am genuinely one of those people that gets up and thinks ‘urgh I really hate running and don’t want to go’ – but once I completed that 5k, 4 miles or 10k, I sit there and think ‘omg this is amazing – I feel brilliant’.

But I had to give myself a goal to get myself motivated so I picked the Great North Run, which I’m running for the British Heart Foundation, because this charity is close to my heart.

My Mam died of a heart condition in 2013, at age on 47, this was a huge blow to me and as I’ve got older I do worry about my own heart.

So not only my vanity and fitness levels became my motivation, but my health was included too and all for this goal to do the GNR16.

I’ve been training now since May and in that time I’ve run, nearly, 120 miles! Never in my life did I think this was possible – but it is for me and anyone!

Also in that time I’ve completed the West Cumbria Hospice at Home colour run and the Race for Life. I’m not only proud of myself for completing these, but I’m proud of myself for finding them easy to do and also I was able to help two more causes.

I was able to contribute to charity that helps people in my local community with the colour run and recently my colleagues wife, who has run the race for life in the past, got diagnosed with breast cancer and I was so proud I was able to run it, with her daughter, when she wasn’t able to.

I feel like my running has a cause and as I draw closer the the GNR and I accomplish more, such as finding longer distances easy, it just feels more real and doable.

So wish me luck with the rest of my training and my 3rd 10k tomorrow – also wish me luck with my physio, as I warn you now that if you start running something will start hurting and for me it’s my knee, but  with the motivation, my strict routine and my determination to run for a cause, it feels worth it!

Ciao for now,
Rachael
xxx