Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Team

We are to complete the ride in September, we being myself, Cognac (of course), Saffy the dog and Samaal the grey pony. I'm planning on mostly riding Samaal, with Cognac playing pack pony and Saffy official hot water bottle. At the moment we are experimenting with different equipment (I've been down the army surplus store, it's a treasure trove!) and also with wild camping and the associated problems of carrying enough feed for two horses, a person and a dog, if we were to camp out for a few nights. When I sort all the little challenges, this will make us more adaptable and self sufficient.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Future plans

Cognac is very well recovered from his adventure last summer and has now had a little time off.

We have moved house recently and I put up my big poster of Britain up on the wall, where everyday I look at it and feel a little amazed at how for myself and my incredible horse came. I have been working a lot on the run up to Christmas and have found myself longing for the long summer days and the chance to hit the road and complete the ride.

However 230 miles just seems such a short distance- it would just be like a little riding holiday! I'm thinking about riding from my home in West Sussex up to Bath, where I will pick up where we left off and ride down to Land's End, from where I am considering riding home along the coast as much as possible. I think this will be about 700 miles in total and I want to take 3 months or more to complete it. I would like the journey to be as relaxed and chilled out as possible, with plenty of time to stop and chat and get to know people and the land. I am also going to take my Labrador, Saffy, along for company as she always comes out for rides with Cognac and myself now (and will be an excellent hot water bottle when I sleep in my tent!)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Families of Ocean Ward

Ocean Ward: -

This is the peadiatric cardiology ward at Southampton General hospital where Noah was officially diagnosed, had his operation, and is still treated when need be. The ward itself is amazing; they treat all children from birth right up until their later teenage years and cater for everybody. The whole ward is kept to an ocean theme, all the rooms and little wards have ocean themed names, the walls and floors are decorated to be like you are in the ocean and they have fish tanks too, which Noah has always loved to watch. There is a playroom with all sorts of toys and games and craft activities for all ages, run by two play specialists who are both lovely and friendly and welcoming. There are also dvds and portable dvd players available, which was fantastic for the last time we were there in June (just before Noah's second birthday) for a cardiac catheter and to balloon his valve to try and widen it again (which unfortunately was not successful). Trying to soothe a 2 year old who is not allowed to eat or drink in preparation for theatre, and doesnt understand why, only for that to be delayed and having to go even longer is not easy, thank god for this facility and Finding Nemo! There is also a kitchen for the families to make use of, a breastfeeding room with everything needed to pump and store breastmilk for the babies, without which I wouldnt have been able to keep up breastfeeding Noah while he was in for his first op and that was something very important to me as I wanted him to have the best chance possible. There is also a seperate area for teenagers where they have tv and games consoles and their own lounge so they can chill out away from the little ones. All of this costs a great deal to maintain, and then of course you have all of the medical equipment, and the many fantastic staff, who no matter how busy they are will always make time to talk to you if you are worried, and make sure you understand everything going on etc. It all adds up, but has meant so much to us so we would love to be able to give something back.


Families of Ocean Ward: -
Registered charity number 1145013

Wessex Heart House

The following is a note from Donna, my sister-in-law and Noah's mummy:

Wessex Heartbeat-

This fantastic charity, among other things are responsible for the wonder that is Heartbeat House. This is a house just across the road from the hospital where relatives are able to stay when they have somebody on the ward, and there is a part of the house specifically dedicated to the families on Ocean Ward called Ronald McDonald House. This was a haven for us as the hospital is a 100 mile round trip from home, (although many travel even further) and meant while I stayed up on the ward with Noah, Sean was able to stay nearby too, and we could have our daughter Faith with us so she still got to spend time with both of us and not be back home looked after by somebody and frightened not knowing what was happening to her brother. The facilities at the house are fantastic, you have your own room with shared bathrooms, a well equipped communal kitchen with your own cupboard and fridge space as well as communal lounge and garden. It provides a brief break from the intensity of the ward, and made an extremely stressful time easier to bear as we were all still able to be together. The house and all the running costs are entirely funded by the charity, and without fundraising and donations this wonderful house would not be able to remain open which is why when Katrina first mentioned the idea we were keen for some of the money to go here, as we are incredibly grateful for the house to have been there, and will no doubt need it again in the future.