Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Paul, Emma and I went out on our bikes last weekend. The first test for the sportive in April. We went out late afternoon, after Niamh's birthday party, so time and light were against us.
Up until Sunday, the furthest distance I had cycled in the last 15 months was the 8miles I did with my friend Jo in Wales last August.. I had no clue on my ability, stamina or mind set.. I was nervous!! 

From the few times I cycled the 2 miles to and from work during the autumn, I knew that I had lost a lot of confidence. I've never come off my bike, I've never had an accident and never been worried about it. But for some reason it now plays on my mind all the the time! I am a nervous nelly, constantly watching for pot holes and other magnets which will either jarr my back or make me fall off.. Paul says it makes me a better rider.. All I know is that it makes my thighs ache, constantly lifting my bum off the saddle!!
Emma very sadly had her beloved bike stolen a couple of weeks ago, so she borrowed another friends bike and after a few adjustments we were off!
Only we weren't, because Paul's road bike sprung a spontaneous puncture and to save time he took his time trial bike..!
Half way round I was feeling so good that we decided to up the 10miles to 15miles, adjust the route and race home before the light went.. But then I got a puncture! More time wasted.
But we did it!!! I LOVED IT! How I have missed my bike, how I have missed cycling with Paul. How I missed my cycling adventures with Emma! We added a further half again onto our route, and despite my fears I came home a conqueror! I've lost quite a bit of movement in my back (duh! It's called fusion for a reason!) which means Im going to have to relearn how to look over my shoulder when pulling out into traffic and I have other minor adjustments to figure out, but I'm not worried about it anymore!

The following day Emma, Vikki and I took all the kidlets to the park for fresh air and it was so nice to hear that Emma had enjoyed the ride as much as I did.
Apart from anything else, the ride proved how valuable and well spent my time in the gym is. 
I go to the gym, slog my heart out on the cross trainer, angry beyond reason that I'm not well enough to run yet, jealous of the people on the treadmill and wonder at the point of it all.. Then I'm able to spontaneously go out on my bike and take 15miles in my stride.. Well worth the effort!
Whoop whoop!!
Thanks for reading Clanettes xx

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


The 25th March sees me at one year post fusion and I think we can all agree that I have been struggling mentally recently. I realise some would say I am mental and struggle generally, but even I would admit to some fusion related anger recently.

On Saturday I spent the afternoon with my amazing friend Emma, amongst other parts if our friendship, she is my long missed cycling partner.. We went to a vintage fayre at the weekend, hoping for chintz, tea pots, cake stands and tea pots.. Instead we got shell suits and a cream tea.. One out of three isn't bad!!
After a lovely afternoon, and some tears on my part (apologies once again Emma, I didn't intend to cry at you! Even though I do admit to being one of life's cryers!) I realised that whilst I have spent the last year healing, I have also spent the last year resenting everything about healing.

Clearly it's time to take action Sarah, muster some heave ho and crack on. 

So I've booked a sportive. It's nothing compared to what I have achieved in the past, but given then I have only ridden my bike 6 times in the last year.. It's a challenge and that's what I need.

It's a 38 mile trip around Winchester and looks like a lovely gentle route. Perfect for my first foray back into the world of sportive cycling. And best of all, I get to do it with Emma, with my Dad and with Paul. A whole team of supporters!

I miss this!! I miss my bike!!
A New Forest sportive with Paul in 2012
A sky ride with Emma and Chez in 2012
A woodcote sportive with my Dad in 2012.

I'm ready to get back on my bike and have a bit of fun!! Man I've got some work ahead of me if I want to cycle 38 miles in 9 weeks time..!

Monday, February 3, 2014

THE plan

Clanettes! Niamh turns 3 next week! THREE! Time is creeping past, after all the Feb birthdays we hit March and then I'm 1 year post fusion.

I think its time I shared my life plan with you.

I mentioned I have applied to college.. Well, using an exerp from an email I sent my parents last week, let me explain what I'm actually doing.. 
"The course at college I applied for this morning is called 'access to higher education' for people over 24yrs who want to go to uni and either haven't got any qualifications or who haven't studied for a number of years. There are 5 modules, I can remember that two are social science and history off the top of my head. I choose 4 modules.
It starts in sept, 4 mornings a week. 9.15-12.15. There is an onsite crèche for Niamh (and hopefully pre-school!) The bigs will go to breakfast club at school. It's an academic year long.
It costs a lot and I need a specific loan from the govt.

I then apply for midwifery at Southampton uni. That course is full time and 4 academic years long.. I apply for the course fees using the same loan as the college and then when I graduate the govt write off both loans because they desperately need midwives.

Because the course is in essence free, 200+ people apply for 35 spaces.. They are picky and I need to stand out. Hence volunteering etc.

It's a very long term goal!! Terrifying in fact. I will hear from the college in May as to wether I've got an interview for a space on the access course."
Eeeek! I've written it down now. I've put it out there..
 Me and my colleague Caroline, just before our demo's. Caroline talks about baby monitors.

My demo paraphanalia
A good shot to show you the size of the group of people listening.

A glorious shot of my bald patch, just as I started my talk.  

I'm hoping that I will be able to use shots like the ones above to show that I have carried my love of supporting pregnant mums through into my retail job, ever working towards my goal of midwife.

With regard to volunteering, I keep a diary and write up each visit as I get in so thats its fresh. Two recent anecdotes spring to mind for you Clanettes... On the ward where I volunteer, each patient room has 4 beds in it, split with curtains. The space isn't massive and one bed and chair is in each division, with not a lot of room for anything else. When I go into each room, I shake the curtain and call 'knock knock' to let the people behind the curtain know that I'm there, then I poke my head round whilst introducing myself. They either invite me round or I politely move away.. You never ever know what you are going to get behind a curtain.. A couple of weeks ago I poked my head round a curtain, after invitiation, to be faced with a packed space full of African tribes people in full of tribal outfits. They were all clearly talking about in a very different language and I was massively intimidated... MASSIVELY. But help the lady I did. 
Secondly, in only 5 weeks, I have also learnt that not everyone is happy to see you in a different setting. Whilst helping out in the cafe at work last week, looking particularly sweaty from dishwash stacking during a busy lunch time, I put a stack of trays back in their resting place, whirled round and came face to face with a lady I had helped the week before. The last time I had seen her she was at her most vulnerable, only hours after giving birth without many clothes on. She clearly recognised me, and then chose to ignore me (As is her right, I would never acknowledge anyone I knew from the hospital until they had acknowledged me) the problem that remained was her being sat on the only free table, looking right at me as I filled the dishwasher in the back of the cafe.. I didn't know what to do with myself!

Away from work and volunteering, we managed to get out the park over the weekend and enjoy some sunshine - even though everything seems flooded!

I leave you with some shots of Niamh with Barney and Liv, Vikki's baby's. I wanted to publically thank you VF, for loving Niamh like one of your own. Your pep talks and plans for pre-school runs and kidlet swapping have settled me no end when I think of the juggling act I want to embark on. Thank you xxx