Blog

Mount Everest

Support Jamie on his climb to Mount Everest

The challenge of Mount Everest base camp is going to be a real test on Jamie’s mental and physical state. Completing the full walk on Crutches the challenge will be a test of upper body endurance. Once completed Jamie will join a very short list of disabled climbers to reach Base Camp and as far as we can tell he will be the first CRPS Sufferer ever to achieve this amazing feat.

The Story as you may know

In January 2014, Jamie McAnsh was diagnosed with a functional neurological condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). A condition that left my neurologically paralysed from the waist down. Jamie’s journey has been life-changing. However, instead of focusing on a restricted life in a wheelchair, Jamie focused on living life outside the box.

Jamie developed a new taste for adapted adventure and committed to showing that a disability does not rule your abilities. In the first year as a wheelchair user, Jamie found a new love for sport. By March 2014, he became a signed member for the Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basketball team. By the August of 2014, Jamie was selected for the Welsh Wheelchair Rugby 7’s team, Representing Wales in the Home Nations Cup as team Kicker.

With the ultimate aim to not only prove his own abilities but to show and inspire others, Jamie decided to set himself 12 challenges– one new challenge every month, for the year of 2015.

As part of this, Jamie completed the 100-mile-long course of the Carten100 as part of the South Wales Hand-cycle team.

Barely giving himself time to recover, 4 weeks later, Jamie became the first wheelchair user to complete the gruelling WAAT4 challenge!

Jamie’s tireless determination earned him the WAAT4 Greatest Achievement Award.

Jamie has won several other awards for his profound work within disability sport, charity fundraising, reaching a staggering £250,000. Just part of his outstanding achievements. Jamie has been described as inspirational, motivational and a role model to young and old alike. Demonstrated by his determination and willpower.

In 2016, Jamie became the countries first ‘Brave Britain Award’ winner of the “against all the odds” category.

The reality behind the dream

For Jamie Everest is a dream, Base Camp is a childhood ambition and now with your help he has the chance to achieve something that 5 years ago was thought of as impossible.

Jamie was once asked by a physio during his journey to learn how to walk. “What is your ultimate goal? Jamie replied “Base Camp Mount Everest” Facing continual pain and spasms Jamie’s journey was not easy. At 33 years old and having to learn the basics of balance and movement he put in everything he had.

For hours he would stand next to a wall and move one side step at a time. Determination was his driving force and 5 years on he has travelled along way.

Far from better

Still very much a wheelchair user. Jamie can walk with the use of Smartcrutches. Jamie knows that he can complete this challenge, but he cant do it alone. He needs your help. Kit, travel, food and expenses Jamie needs to raise £6000. This will cover the costs for himself and his partner and carer Charlott to reach Base Camp and back home safe.

As well as personal sponsorship. Jamie and Charlott are looking for company funding to help not only fund the excursion, but also raise awareness for a condition that leaves the sufferer in continual pain with very little relief. Most people have never even heard of CRPS but for Jamie it is very real and Charlott supports him every step of the way.

So please help in any way you can! Visit Jamie’s website at www.seenobounds.co.uk or find him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We appreciate your support and any assistance you can offer.



Ysgyryd Fawr 1/5/2019 366 days till climb

First steps of Training last night with a trek up Ysgyryd Fawr an easterly outlier of the Black Mountains in Wales, and forms the easternmost part of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The mountain is often referred to locally as just The Skirrid. With a hight of only 486m it is only about 5000 meters lower that base camp Mount Everest.

The Squash Pod

The Squash Pod (The Story)

The Squash Pod is the fantastic idea of Bevan Duff & Jamie McAnsh. Both Jamie & Bevan relished the chance to have some fun whilst also having a serious message about supporting and growing squash and racquetball at grassroots level. This is where The Squash Pod came in.

So who are these cheeky presenters? Well both are from South Africa and have now made Wales their home.

Jamie McAnsh is a real inspiration. On 7/1/14 Jamie woke up without the use of his legs. He was diagnosed with a rare and incurable illness called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) CRPS UK. This is a rare condition that leaves the sufferer in constant pain due to the brain sending the wrong messages. Jamie shares his story through Jamie Seenobounds as well as promote a #getbackup attitude with The Squash Pod.

Jamie McAnsh’s bravery and attitude lead him to being recognised with the “against all odds” award at the Charles Holland awards which was presented to him by Falklands Hero Simon Weston OBE. Jamie McAnsh has a fantastic outlook on life. He hopes to inspire others and to help grow squash and racquetball through The Squash Pod. Jamie is a keen player himself and competes against able bodied players in tournaments recently Welsh Masters supported by Squash Wales – Sboncen Cymruand also very recently in Squashland Ljubljana during the Slovenian masters, playing with the use of calipers.

Bevan Duff is a level 2 Squash Coach and loves the game. Bevan has been a club player for a number of years and fell in love with the game at an early age.

Like most squash players Bevan loves nothing more than introducing people to the game.

Bevan Duff & Jamie McAnsh would love nothing more than to help grow the sport and to have a “right good laugh” along the way! We hope that the squash community, Workd Squash Federation and other groups such as SquashSkills will help us to raise awareness of this great sport, so that we can help the game to flourish and to bring new blood into the game.


Listen to “iPad to iSquash – Technology in squash with markos aristides kern + Special interviews with the welsh wizards.” on Spreaker.
Listen to “The Squash Pod – The Benefits Of Squash” on Spreaker.
Listen to “The squash pod – lets get this show on the road.” on Spreaker.

100 Meters To Harmony

Think Harmony and gain power.

What do you see when you look at this picture? A man with a Smartcrutch perhaps!

Okay you would be right this is a man with a crutch and yes he is stood by a waterfall! And yes it is also me!

However, believe it or not I am stood less that 100 meters away from a busy town, main road and even a school.

With in meters of going off the beaten track I found peace and quiet. A little bit of harmony.

I could not hear the busy world on the other side of The wooded area I was in. I could not hear people or cars. All I had was birds and of course the water rushing behind me. For me this is my harmony but for others this can be found in different ways.

You see you don’t need to travel to the end of the earth to give yourself space you just need to travel a few 100 meters and you can have all the space you need.

Give yourself room to breath and think and you will create a healthier space in your mind to think and gain balance. With balance you gain your own harmony.

Don’t forget to live!

Today, I will not stress over things I can’t control. I will however live for the things that are in my reach.

 #lovelife#getbackup#seenobounds#mylife#lifestyle#life#healthylifestyle#healthymind#befree#beyourself

A Tunnel of focus

Recently I enjoyed a fantastic and need I say inspiring day.

“I am a roll model for young people” I am their Tunnel of focus. Apart of the Big Ideas Wales Project

That was the outcomes of the recent course! That offers me a few fears. Am I the right person for the job?

My Business is based on me telling my story! My life journey! A path of ups and downs. I ask myself time after time am I doing the right thing with Seenobounds?

Can I make this work?

Then I realise that somehow I am making it work! I am doing it! And then the fear of success strikes me.

What if I actually get it right?

What then?

Truth is who knows. The picture in this post was taken after I had got out of the class room and going for a walk. I came across this bridge and I connected it to my day…

Its a tunnel with one way in and one way out, a path if you like that we have to follow. Guided only by the walls on either side. In the tunnel is a gate! Sometimes that gate will be open and other times closed.

For me this image represented a focus, with a light at the end of the tunnel! The gate symbolised an object or obstacle that could prevent me from getting from A to B…

This is basically my random example of focus and taking guidance. But also a symbolic statement of achievement because not only did I walk through the tunnel from one side to the other and the gate did not on this occasion cause me any issues,

I also remembered that the tunnel itself was an example of if you can’t go around and obstruction in your life maybe the best way to go is directly through the middle.

 #getbackup#seenobounds#driven#guidence#divineguidance#motivation#business#findingaway#myjourney#miniblog#tunnel#life

A Picture of Calm Chaos

A Picture can say more than just that.

I love this it is a picture taken by my beautiful partner Charlott.

A Picture that shows an image of calmness. Blue skies and long views of fields and natural beauty. I am stood gazing into the country with what seems to be a clear mind.

Granted a lot of that is true except the wind was wild and strong enough to wipe you off your feet. Whistling across the landscape taking no prisoners. Chaos all around us.

We was protected in a little cove as we ate a lovely picnic making the most of the moment. Why am I writing all this?

Simple this image is one we all face and see every day. Calm faces pleasant smiles and what can only be assumed as blue skies!

However very often it is in fact a wind swept mind of chaotic emotions. Be kind to all and remember that sometimes it’s not what you see, it is what that person wants you to see.

 #loveyourself#lovequotes#live#love#time#bekind#bekindalways#bekindtoyourself#mentalhealthawareness#mentalhealthadvocate#seenobounds#getbackup#keepgoing#bestrong

See No Bounds – Van Life


“Van life” One thing that there is to love about the UK is that no matter what the situation, if you look hard enough you will always find a lovely little place to just park up and relax.

Like many people both now and in history , The idea of travelling and the concept of learning! has always come with excitement and adventure. Jamie is no different and with his love culture and different traditions travel was soon on the cards.

How people live and interact with the world around them. People fascinate me but at the same time terrify me.

I have seen what one human can do to another in the most horrific of cases. I spent a few years in the Army and seen more than I wanted to.

Yet I have seen acts of kindness that are more impressive than anything I have ever experienced and it’s those qualities that fascinate me the most.

Jamie dreamed of camper life and soon that reality was born from a time in his life that was in his words absolutely unbearable like anything Jamie faced it head on.

When my ex wife and I split and went our separate ways I felt that somewhere along the way I had lost myself. Lost who I was.

We all change for our partners in small ways here and there and suddenly over the years you realise you are a completely different person. Sometime you need to take stock, look at yourself and see where you go from there.

The idea of a van was for Jamie to go and find himself. Reading books of adventure and tales of those who are doing just that excited him beyond belief. Meeting new people along the way, learning new things and experience different ways of life is more exciting to Jamie than anything and it was a goal he was determined to achieve.


Listen to “Boats, Parks and Amazing people” on Spreaker. Listen to “Trip around Cornwall” on Spreaker. Listen to “Question and answer time” on Spreaker. Listen to “My first van trip. Epic fail” on Spreaker. Listen to “Llanerchaeron” on Spreaker. Listen to “Dolaugothi estate and gold mines” on Spreaker. Listen to “The good the bad and the ugly” on Spreaker. Listen to “Vanlife intro” on Spreaker.

See No Bounds – The Story


Meet Jamie McAnsh! The man behind See No Bounds. You have read all about him. You may have seen some of the crazy adventures he has completed. Now you get to hear his story, his thoughts and his feelings in his very own words.


#12

Listen to “A message to you.” on Spreaker.

#11

Listen to “Detox your mind and inner self” on Spreaker.

#10

Listen to “A message in a bottle #ownthatshit” on Spreaker.

#9

Listen to “4 Things you cant get back” on Spreaker.

#8

Listen to “Your one step away from nothing” on Spreaker.

#7

Listen to “The Gift That Keeps On Giving” on Spreaker.

#6

Listen to “How to enjoy your life.” on Spreaker.

#5

Listen to “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear” on Spreaker.

#4

Listen to “The Man Behind The Mask” on Spreaker.

#3

Listen to “A year of bad experiences but positive outcomes” on Spreaker.

#2

Listen to “The Story of #challenge2015” on Spreaker.

#1

Listen to “The story from the beginning” on Spreaker.

Life! Extraordinary stories.


It is true that in life we are surround by so many different people, so many different warps of Life. We are also surrounded by so very extraordinary stories.

Every one has a story to tell something to share or a voice. We are all scared with a past or faced with the tests of time.

This show is about giving people a voice, opening the platform of expressions. And showing that we have a purpose and maybe that purpose is handing down the lantern of knowledge and experience to others.


Life Esther – Balance and breath

Listen to “Life Esther – Balance and breath” on Spreaker.

I have met a lot of people over the years, Some have been motivational and inspirational, others have just worked hard to get where they are. recently I met an amazing women called Esther. 

Esther is motivational with out a doubt. Her story is inspirational to anyone who has had to fight addiction. And it is safe to say she has had to work very hard to get where she is now. So with out wasting any more time here is her story.


Bev Jones – Paralysed from the inside

Listen to “Bev Jones – Paralised from the inside” on Spreaker.

I have known Bev for many years, before my days of my illness and before i was disabled. To have Bev on the my recent show “Life” on podcast, was absolutely amazing.

Not only my dear friend but also my mentor and inspiration. I love this women dearly but her story was not always one of positive energy. 


Dave Davies, Adventures in Peru

Listen to “Dave Davies, Adventures in Puru” on Spreaker.

As a motivational speaker based in South Wales myself, I need to build a network. A simple concept of and business person. People buy from people. But who are the people you are actually meeting? Well when I met Dave this was not the story I had expected.

Diagnosed with Heart disease Dave was not going to be held back. Going from not being able to walk up a set of stairs to walking Peru Dave’s story is rather remarkable.



10 year challenge – See No Bounds

So here it is my 10 year challenge.

A 10 year challenge for most but a 5 year challenge for myself.

10 years ago stood on the summit of sugar loaf. (Top left) Able bodied and not a care in the world.

5 years ago climbing Pen Y Fan in a wheelchair 9 months after losing the use of my legs. Bottom Left) in the pic I am having my hands taped back together by the team first aid member.

And then there is y years after that (right). At the top of Hay Bluff walking with my Smart Crutch 10 years on from the first photo, even though I will never be the person I was 10 years ago.

I will always be the guy that drives myself to reach my goals. You can reach your summit and that is a promise.

 #smartcrutch #getbackup #livethedream#hills #10yearchallenge #mylife #crps#crpsawareness #crpswarrior #journey#nevergiveup @smartcrutchuk@crps_awarness @visitwales@breconbeacons

Remembrance

The world is currently moving around me!

I know all about remembrance. Those I have lost and seen fall. This day is never an easy one for many, and nor is it for me.

I realise that I am a small spec in the world. Yet for me the world is a beautiful place.

The world is Made up of amazing things and even though, I, a small spec in this world I appreciate what it has on offer.

On Days like this we often look at the those we have lost. So on this day i have decided to look at the thing we fight so hard for in-order to protect.

I have not marched remembrance to remember those of my friends I have lost I have put my head phones in and sat by this pond.

I am thinking about their families and their children. Where are they now? How do they feel today? Is this a day of sadness or pride?

The sun has come out to shine down on us and with the crisp chill in air this is a good day to be thankful for our peace.

 #remembrancesunday #getbackup#remembranceday #seenobounds#fightforpeace #mind #mindfulness#mindfullness #lestweforget #lestweforget🌺 #calm #peace #peaceofmind#timetoreflect #sun #sunday #myspace

Jamie Gane

Jamie Gane and I met around a year ago through a mutual friend and since then I have followed him as he progressed further on in his journey.

I find his story incredible. When i first thought about the “Guest Spot” project i knew i needed to get Jamie involved. He has shown me so much about adaption and over coming. Adding this to my already adaptive way of thinking has made me very much a “go getter”

I recently got together with Jamie who agreed to have a chat with me and tell abit more about his condition and his Journey!

Early Days

Jamie, your a lower limb amputatee that never seems to get held back. And its fair to say you dont let it slow down either.

For so many this is a massive inspiration, if you dont mind telling us, What actually happened?


 I developed a condition at the age of 9 which initially affected both feet.  After multiple operations, the pain condition became worse and developed into a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).

Due to this condition, I was unable to use my right foot at all – I wasn’t able to place any pressure on my foot or wear shoes or socks.

If I was to go out in the rain or wind, I would need to quickly get back inside as it was too much for my foot. This ultimately lead me to becoming a full-time wheelchair user. 

And how old was you when your life changed?

At about the age of 16, a doctor spoke briefly about amputation as a passing comment. Despite his swift talk, I was adamant to investigate the potential of amputation.

As a young person, I had already undergone 25+ surgeries and was ready to remove the pain. Despite this, it took me 6 years to find a surgeon that was willing to amputate my foot.

Eventually it was done in 2016 and in June 2017, I received my first prosthetic leg and started walking for the first time in 14 years. 

Prospective

For many people reading this, having your leg amputated would seem a negative life changing event. But in some cases taking the plunge to have a limb amputated could infact be a positive move forward! would you agree with this?


Absolutely! Amputation, for me, gave me the chance to be free, a chance to live without pain.

Even waking up post-surgery, I immediately felt so much better and my concentration levels started to increase.

I found myself coming off of medication and life started to have a purpose. 


Tell us a bit about your initial build up to having surgery, I mean it must have been a terrifying time for you but at the same time there must have been an element of excitement?


All the way up to the day of surgery, I was very excited about the procedure (as excited as anyone can be about an operation anyway).

I was nervous that it would not remove the pain however I was ready to start the next journey of my life.

Post Op

 
So Jamie I want to take you back to those first moments! you have had surgery and you have now woken up with a below-knee amputation!how did you first feel about your new situation?


I started to feel completely different even in the first few days – my pain was gone and I started to think about how I was going to live my life.

I had fought so hard to have my amputation that I didn’t realise how much energy I used thinking about the operation itself.

Once it was gone, I had a new space in my head to start thinking about new possibilities. 

Sport

 I see that you are an international competitor in judo. And I believe you have managed to bag a few silver medals aswell. Well done! what got you into judo in the first place?

Started Judo at quite a young age however when my disability started to escalate, I had to stop.

I think with any sport, if you have the passion there, you will return. Once I had my amputation and that had healed, I was ready to go again and start Judo. 


Now I currently play Squash, like you in my chosen sport I am the only squash player in the world with a lower limb disability of my kind.

My goal when I first started was to compete against able bodied players. since then I have played in local competitions.

Moved on and started playing in club leagues and in April I will be playing in the European masters. do you think you would ever be in a position where you could compete in an able bodied category?

Don’t worry, you aren’t the only squash player in the world with a lower limb disability – I know plenty of lower limb amputees who play. 

Thats awesome maybe we need to get together and arrange our own League.

 All of my international competitions are against those without any physical disabilities.

I am not allowed to compete in Judo with a prosthetic leg so I simply have to hop around the mat and try to trip people up.

Would love to get into more disability-focused sports such as sprinting. 

 I would love to see Judo to be made into a Paralympic sport. It currently has a visually-impaired classification however I would love to see this expanded into Physical disabilities. 

I think it is so important to be able to inspire others with disabilities and open their eyes into what is achievable.

Certainly think there is a need for it. 

Tough Mudder


Lets move on to Tough Mudder! you are an Ambassador for the competition, and a little birdie told me that you have infact completed more courses than any other adaptive athlete! Am I right? 


Um….sort of… That is certainly true in the UK. Worldwide, there is another amputee who has completed over 100 Tough Mudder courses  however I have completed more courses than him as an adaptive athlete (he was able-bodied before his amputation). 

How many courses have you completed? 

52 to this date. I have 3 more to complete by the end of this year. 

How did you get into tough mudder?

Initially, I completed my first Tough Mudder with a friend of mine while I was a wheelchair user.

I loved the atmosphere, the teamwork and the challenge and I was certainly keen to come back for more.  

How does your amputation effect you in this gruelling sport?


You’re dealing with very uneven terrain, which is very difficult to run on often for an able-bodied runner.

Without an ankle to support me, it places a lot of pressure on my knee and hip so completing multiple courses can be very difficult and recovering between runs is very essential.

I’m always having to make alterations to my prosthetic and having to wait for different sockets or liners to be made for me to continue.

My prosthetic certainly takes a bashing so it’s important for me to have a great team behind me to support my sport.

Jamie you are clearly very active! do you think this helped you in your journey from amputation to now?

I think it has – it’s given me something to strive for and a reason to continue 

Tokyo 2020

Lets talk abit about 2020! Tokyo! is this still your long standing dream? 

Actually not so much anymore.

Unfortunately, I had lots of issues with my recovery when I had my amputation.

The initial planned amputation was cancelled just 10 minutes before the procedure and subsequently my recovery was put back about a year, meaning that 2020 was/is just not simply achievable.

 Having said that, I think that it’s now far more important for me to enjoy my sport and at the moment, I couldn’t wish for anything more. 

Thats a massive shame! what sport was you looking to compete in? 

I was looking to compete in discus, javelin and shotput.

Well never say never! i think we will be seeing you in the Olympics one day for sure!

Funding

how is funding coming along?

Just this year, I very kindly recieved the support of a sponsor, Essity, who have been fantastic at helping me achieve my goals.  

That awesome! If people want to support and get involved how can they do this?

Please get in touch with me through my website: www.jamiegane.com 

Social media pages under Jamie Gane Adaptive Athlete (Facebook and Instagram).

To support my sport, I am a motivational speaker and often work with schools, colleges and organisations.

So please get in contact if you’d like to hear my story in more detail. 

Inspiration

Inspiration! I often get told how I am inspirational!

To be honest its those comments that kind of keep me doing what I am doing!

But I am also inspired by people around me.

People like you!

Thank You!

who are your inspirations and why?

It sounds strange but I am actually very inspired by other adaptive individuals who are just cracking on with their own lives.

They don’t need to be athletes or advocates but they are simply keeping their head down and enjoying life. 

I have to admit I agree 100%.

Sometimes life itself is the challenge.

Some people just stick their back into it no moaning and get on with what life throws at them.

Coming Up

 I believe you have a few events coming up in the next few weeks! tell us abit about these?

In a months time, I have the largest event of the season – World’s Toughest Mudder.

This is a 24 hour endurance race in the US where you run for 24 hours straight with obstacles. It is certainly going to be a challenge!

Well Jamie Can I offer you a massive good luck!

As Well As All That


Jamie as well as all this training, working, blogging and competing you also run a very active social media platform and website!

If people want to follow and keep up to date how would they be able to do this?

Through Instagram (@jamieganeadaptiveathlete),

Facebook (www.facebook.com/jamieganethrower 

My website (www.jamiegane.com)

Jamie, we all know that having any form of disability comes with its own struggles.

What final words of encouragement would you tell anyone who is either starting their journey or finding their path?

I always say…Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance.

Keep your head down, crack on but also appreciate where you are.

Appreciate the moment and the small moments you have of peace and really embrace them. 

Finally

Jamie J want to thank you for offering me a bit of your time to let us see the world from your eyes.

I look forward to keeping up to date with your future adventures,

I will be keeping a keen eye out for you in Olympics in the future thats for sure!

good luck


Bath – Roman history and amazing buildings

Bath

Famous for it Roman baths. Magnificent to say the least but understated for it architecture and history. Bath really is a very special place.

I really fancied a little trip to this fantastic historic town but it has been a while and I find that whenever I seem to go back to a place I always find something new. maybe its because I am getting older and all of a sudden my tastes are changing. Who knows?

Bath Abbey

We visited Bath Abbey and what a place. the pictures just don’t do it credit. Sitting in the pews and looking up at the magnificent stain glass window was just blinding. The shear skill and art that had clearly gone into the making of this monument is just breath taking. Trust me if you are in Bat you need to go and see it and appreciate it magnificence.

The building itself although shadowed by its master window, is something quite amazing as well.  The work and stone masonry that has stood the test of time is a tribute to the the old ways.

a bit of history

Bath Abbey, former Benededictine monastery is part of the Anglican church. First founded in the 7th century it was recognised as Bath Abbey in the 10 century and still know as that today.

There was major restoration work was carried out by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the 1860s. It is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country.

It unbelievably seats 1200 people and is still very much used today for ceremonies, concerts and lectures. Its congregation numbers are in the hundreds, and annual visitors to this amazing place reachers numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

The choir also performs in the abbey and if you are lucky enough to witness this, i hear it it is something quiet amazing.

The Town

Everywhere you look you are surrounded by a mix of modern day life and historic buildings. With the street performers entertaining the crowds.

The masses of history wherever you look. There is literally so much to see that neither your brain or concentration can absorb it all in one go.

We stopped for coffee and cake down by the river and for a few hours i could have not imagined being in a more fantastic place.

Cheddar – cliffs rocks and beauty

Cheddar

So the weather is a little drizzling and yet you still need some fresh air. What a better place to go than the quaint and beautiful town of Cheddar.

It been years since I have been and I can honestly say I had forgotten just how beautiful this little town actually is.
The shops are all very unique and quaint. Little craft shops and art shops. The cafe’s here are also very different.

We stopped for a Bite to eat right on the stream. The views were fantastic and the staff where just so friendly. Every window had its own little picture of beauty.

So peaceful

The whole town is very quiet and peaceful, the passing crowds where mainly walkers who had been out and about exploring. All with their walking boot on and back packs. Made me a little jealous that I had not been up in the hills exploring myself. Maybe next time!

I think when I get my little van this may have to be a spot I stop at for a few days and take in the surroundings. Go for a walk or should I say a Jamie style walk.

A bit of history

The Cheddar Yeo is the stream that runs through the town and the water is crystal clear. In fact it makes up some of the feed for the local water supply. Honestly I can see why, cleaned through the rocks and reeds the water is simply amazing.

I was very surprised to find out that it in fact the stream comes down from the Mendip Hills. Part of one of Britain’s biggest underwater river systems fed by the water through the limestone rocks.
The village itself has a long history and was once a very important centre to both the Romans and the Saxons. If you look closely you can still see the signs of long ago pasts.

Cheese

It’s also no surprise that it is a village famous for its cheese but believe it or not the cheese is still made and still matured in the caves around the area.
Cheddar offers a great deal for all ages from the gorge, the hills and right through to the history tour. Something else I will need to do next time.

Literally loved it here, a few hours of peace and tranquillity. And still loads more for me to do on my return. a nice little adventure to add to my blog

Usk – The town of bloom

usk – the town of bloom

It’s strange really when I sit down and think of it. Usk is the town of bloom known to many. It’s won awards for it splendid flower parades. There appears to be a community spirit around the place with the recent “great Usk Bike Off” and everyone is getting involved. But all this is amazing in itself but nothing amazes me more than the fact I have never actually visited this quaint little town before.

I have driven through it loads of times and in fact it is a matter of 20 minutes from my house. Yet, I have never been here and enjoyed all that it has to offer.
It has some very quaint shops.

I went into one shop and it was jammed from floor to ceiling with basic brick ‘N’ brak. It amazed me how he sold anything. Clearly does alright with what he is doing though or he would have closed along time ago. The walk ways where so narrow I could hardly walk up and down.
I did however enjoy the whole concept of the place.

Living up to its name

Usk is very cute and lives up to it’s name of the town in bloom. Everywhere you look there are flowers.
Every garden is beautiful and full of colours. Even the fish and chip shop looks like it should be on the cover of chocolate box.

I visited the museum. What a treat! What a jewel in the crown for USK. In this picturesque town is a cave of history and heritage. The museum is run completely by volunteers.
Housed in an ancient malt barn the Museum has 5000+ exhibits. I was informed that these items had been collected by local enthusiasts over the past 50 years. A true monument to the work of country people in the Welsh Borders. Some of the museum peaces date back to Victorian times. Displays range from the smallest hand-tools and household items through to large agricultural machinery and vintage tractors.

I read on a plaque that the museum portrays rural life in Monmouthshire covering a period of approximately 100 years. As a registered charity and run entirely by volunteers with an addition the museum contains the Usk Visitor Centre with local information and guides together with advice and guidance about the area.
If you do go then this is a must stop location even if it is just to wonder around its history.

Loads to see and do

With a short walk to the castle there is a fair amount to do and see here. I cant believe it’s taken me this long to actually visit this lovely place.
Sadly the castle was closed but I did enjoy a pack of fish and chips in the grounds. Basking under the sun and chilling in my own world of peace and harmony. Definitely need to go back for a second trip and this time hopefully the castle will be open to.

Tintern Adventures

Tintern Abbey

Ever since I was a boy Tintern Abbey has been a popular run out location in the car. Many a picnic or walk along the river with my family. However as strangely as it sounds I have never actually been in side the Abbey itself. It has to be said all these years I have viewed from a far and I have missed out. The d

A little history

The Abbey was first founded in 1131 by Walter Fitz Richard of Clare. Walter Fitz Richard was an Anglo-Norman lord. the Abbey was then later destroyed by Henry the 8th.

My Tintern Abbey EXPERIENCE

The grounds are very special, it is so clear of the history that once surrounded this amazing place. Everywhere you look near the Abbey shows strong connections. There is a scare of time once bustling with life but now stands in ruins.

The structure shadows over you and offer’s a real sense of calm. Looking around it is still almost clear to see the touches of life that once inhabited this mighty structure. You can almost imagine what it would have been like to live here.

Entrance if you are disabled is free for both yourself and your career. I was amazed at how accessible the grounds where as long as you where relatively capable in a wheelchair.  Although I was able to use my crutches on my visit I would have been very happy to have taken my wheelchair.

You could still visualise the kitchens and the rooms off of this area. There was clear signs of the drainage system that once held its own as the most advanced drainage system of its time. If you looked hard enough you could see the last remaining traces of the medieval glass in the windows high up in the abbey’s inner walls. but you have to look hard.

An amazing place and with the right imagination you can happily experience life in  a very different time.

The white monk cafe

Now here is the place to go if you want cosy, reasonable and you are looking for good service. the Staff are all lovely and in fact I think beautiful would be a better description. I enjoyed a bit of banter with them as I was suffering with a hangover but the waitress made me smile and for me that is what counts.

The food was fantastic and the White Monks Hot chocolate was amazing. To be honest the biggest glass of water they had went down rather well in my current state.

The building itself holds some strong connections to the Abbey and there are plenty of features that show this. The mix of tables and chairs gives this cosy little room a real sense of warmth. Very well laid out Space and very welcoming.

The church of st mary the virgin

Up on the hill-side over looking the Abbey is an old church. If you look into the trees you can just see the bell tower. The church was once rebuilt in 1866 but then was destroyed by fire in 1973.

The features of the church still stands tall and proud but the last few years has seen mother nature take back what was once hers. I looked around the yard at some of the most amazing tombs. Standing landmarks from hundreds of years ago. I was very surprised to find graves there as recent as 2015.

This little treasure is very understated. stood high above the beautiful abbey it is hidden in the abbeys massive shadow. I am so glad that I decided to venture up to it. if nothing else the views where also absolutely amazing.

summary of the day

I love spending time out and about with my mother. We are and have always been very close. My Mum has always shown me that honesty is a strong quality but also sometimes life is way to short to spend it stuck in one place.

Day Out In Hay-On-Wye With Mama Mac.

Sundays are for road trips

What are Sundays for? Day trips, family time and maybe lunch out. Today I had all those things. A Day out with my Mother (Mama Mac). Hay-on-wye was our Sunday destination.

Since my Dad passed away in March 2016 life has been very different for my mother. Since my wife left in January this year I have also felt the burden of time on my own. There is nothing like the silence of your own company. Don’t get me wrong I love my own company, but after a while it is deafening. Today my mother and I decided to team up and hit the road. Go and see something different. Have a spot of food and a natter.

Hay-on-wye!

A very quaint country town. Hay-on-wye situated deep in the Welsh hills of Powys. Surrounded be stretched views and engulfed in history. Cute little shops and commonly known as the “town of books”. Hay-on-wye has a lot to offer. I have been here before but for some reason it was like it was my first time. We first hit a lovely little coffee shop called Cafe Hay.  What a lovely little place very clean, well presented and a great cup of coffee. If you go it’s not far from the car park so really hits the spot as a first stop.

Books, Books and Books!

They call Hay-on-wye the “town of books” and I can definitely see why!

Book shops are everywhere but book stalls are on every corner. Little sheds or lean too’s with shelves of books and an honesty box.

Mama Mac who loves a good read had a good nose around those! Most of them was like £1 for a hard back book or 50p for a soft back. So if you are a book-worm and out in the area stop and have a look they are there in mass.

Hay Castle

We stumble across Hay castle by accident. At first we didn’t know what it was. The building is completely run down the grounds are left un-maintained and all in all looking very sorry for itself.

But underneath all that it is a fantastic piece of history that is currently being rebuilt. I don’t really need a reason to come back to this gorgeous little town but the development of Hay Castle is something I am very excited about. I have followed them on FaceBook so will definitely be keeping a close eye on the progress.

Shops

If you are anything like me you will hate shopping! I do however love the little unusual shops that you don’t get on the high street. Hay-on-wye had loads of these little shops selling odd little items that you don’t see every day.

One little shop that absolutely stood out was a place called OtherWorldz. I loved this shop. the layout was so cool. The decor was fantastic and the overall atmosphere was rather magical. The lady that worked there was so sweet and chatty I even forced her to have a selfie with me.

The owner was in the shop next door called Satori. Also a really nice guy.  There was loads of magical stuff in his two shops. Jewellery, Crystals, Incense, Candles and Windchimes. I really want to take my friend Lewis to this shop he will love it.

My final thoughts

This town can be described as cute, as beautiful and very special. From start to finish I kept coming across more and more cool shops and lovely corners. Most of the town is wheelchair accessible however it’s not all easy as there are a lot of hills and several shops have steps. I think this is a common issue with old towns like this but for me I have always understood that it can’t really be helped as most of the properties are listed.

But over all if you are looking for a peaceful place to go  then this has to be one to put on the list.

Open-mind To Minimalist Living

What is minimalist living?

Minimalist living seems to create two very different opinions. The main concept is to live. Not to be suppressed by possessions and be free of the clutter both physical and mental.

Some say that they like there stuff to much. Others love the concept of no clutter. I feel clutter causes stress. Clutter takes away the ability to sit and not be crowded in your surroundings. A clean environment offers you the chance to have a clean mind.

The minimalists

I watched a show on Netflix called The Minimalists. The show inspired me to want to try and live a clearer life, free from the unwanted clutter.  I came to realise the pressure of the want. The want for the next best thing. I realised how we are pressured by marketing and general conception that what we need to have lot of stuff. We are convinced that it is stuff that marks our success in life. The show showed me that in fact happiness in the true measure of success and it is something we can all work towards in our own way.

My minimalist journey

I started to clear out my home after my marriage broke down. This difficult task offered me the chance to create my own space. I could have my home how I wanted it. The feeling was energetic and I quickly felt free. Firstly I cleared out the kitchen and got rid of all the stuff I have not used or intended on using. I cleaned every cupboard and organised my belongings to make it easier to use. Sorted out the bathroom and I had clear and free space. I then simply moved from room to room doing the same thing and before I knew it my house was completely clutter free.

 

Once the house was done i moved onto my life

Once the house was completely minimal I realised that I had to much space. I have decided that I dont want to keep the house anymore! There are to many memories there to much mind clutter! I needed to have a sort out of my emotions as well as my stuff.

So I have decided on moving into a relatives house for a bit to get myself on my feet. Give my mind some free space to think.  I have thought about following my dream of buying a motor-home. Then I thought well if I had a motor-home maybe I could get rid of the car. And then the true reality of a life long dream hit me!!! Why don’t I just live in the motor-home!! It’s a perfect solution. Cheep, as minimalist as it gets and I can go wherever I want.

The motor-home

At first i was Fuelled by my new found ambition.  Full steam ahead with the plans. Of course! I have been faced with two very different opinions. Of course I have! On one side, I am completely crazy. On the other side my idea is amazing.

Let’s go back to crazy first!

I currently work full time and every penny I get is taken into the cost of the bills. No little luxuries! No free cash! Just bills and paying for food and fuel. So I spend my life earning just enough money to go to work and eat. I am trapped in a job I don’t really like! Feel captured like a caged animal in a world made up of two computer screens and a telephone headset.

I drive a car that basically works as a tool to get me back and forth work to pay for a house that is fundamentally half of my ex wife’s. I have all the normal debt and nothing to spare at the end. Let’s hope my boiler don’t break down.

So I ask you is it not crazy to live this life for the next 40 years? Running on the spot to simply pay bills? Never seeing anything more the two sets of four walls!

now let’s look at the amazing opportunity.

Living a life of little responsibility. Enjoying seeing some of the most beautiful parts of the world. Never having to worry about being home for work on Mondy. No dead lines! Not governed by targets! No real rules except your own. Taking time, having a clear mind. Living life your way at your pace and being free to roam and explore.

For me the life of a full timer is definitely for me. Yes I am worried about the life changing choices. Getting rid of my STUFF was in fact the easy bit. Essentially turning my back on normality and creating uniqueness is the dream.

I plan on writing a book. Get more creative with my poetry. Take up photography and simply being free.

So why?

With simplicity and minimalism your requirements are rapidly reduced. Your expectations are fewer and your decisions are less complex. You are free to think! I have now moved out of the house. De-cluttered my mind and my stuff. I now have what I need. Everything I own has a purpose. My mind feels free from the stress of perception and expectation. Will I travel full time? Will just travel part time? Who knows! What i do know is my life will be simpler and less congested leaving space to concentrate on me!

 

Muggi – The safest cup holder around

My Muggi Review

How has Muggi made a difference to me?

As a wheelchair user one thing I do struggle with is cups of boiling hot water. Carrying multiple cups at the same time! carrying even one cup and something else, like biscuits is a bit tricky.

For many this simple task is an everyday event but for me it can be an impossible chore. I have attempted to try several ideas. To be honest I have either got to do several trips or ask for help. Hot tea in one hand and the risk of wearing it getting from A to B is normal.

in work

The area I was struggling with was in work. I work as part of a team and we do have a tea rota. The team I work with are fantastic and treat me no different to anyone else. Yes they are well aware of my odd restriction and in fairness never ever raised any comments. If I never made a cup of tea they would understand! for me it was a simple task that I wanted to be involved in!

I have never been beaten by anything and it was frustrating that I couldn’t do it. Recently the company’s health and safety department decided that they would review how cups of boiling water was being carried around the office.

The company purchased  1000 muggi’ and this for me this was an absolute revelation. It meant that I could now take part in the tea run. Ok there is a catch! Due to health and safety in work I am unfortunately not aloud to carry the cups on my lap with tea in them. However I can now carry all the empties to the kitchen! wash them! fill them! however then one of the guys just carries them back to the desks. So much better and very simple.

At home

At home it’s another story. This simple design makes carrying so much easier. No more risk of spilling.  I get a sense of pleasure when I can roll in with the teas. However as I recently discovered it works great with a few beers and also a bottle of wine and two glasses.

I know for many reading this you may ask! How is something so simple as making tea such a big deal? It’s about the simple things that make the difference. This is better than any tray. The cups are secure. There is a lip so nothing can spill and it fits nice and solid on your lap.

This really is a fantastic wheelchair must.  I would love to see how someone with poor grip would benefit I think it’s design would assist in that area two. I think the Muggi has really hit the unintentional mark.

Muggi Specifications

• Muggi is designed and manufactured in the UK from a lightweight but super tough Polypropylene.

• It is available in a range of colours including Blue, Red, Grey, Purple, Green, Pink and recycled Black.

• It securely holds most shapes and sizes of mugs, cups and wine bottles and will catch any unwanted spillages, BUT it also features four non-slip rubber feet, finger and thumb holds!

• Can be produced in virtually any colour for orders over 1000 units.

Dimensions

• Width 200mm

• Depth 200mm

• Height 70mm

• Each cup holder diameter 89mm

Honestly trying it is believing it.

My Honest Smartcrutch Review 

Smartcrutch

I first came across Smartcrutch at Naidex the mobility show in Birmingham.

Instantly impressed by the look and design. Tried them out and really fancied putting them through their paces.

Most people think crutches are simply sticks to help you walk, to be honest you would be right, however! Crutches have come along way in design and practical use over the years.

I have a set from early days that are adjustable NHS issue and they do the job. Except the fact that you clink every time you take a step. I was then issued with a solid every day set. Made to measure! These where great but came with the normal issues that you get for prolonged use. Pressure pains in your wrists mainly.

over looked on everyday crutches

Let’s look at a few of the things that are over looked on everyday crutches. The elbow cuff is normally made of moulded plastic that can be a little rough. Jumpers tend to get snagged and soon ruined by this.

The hand grip is normally also made of hard plastic and anyone who uses them for a period of time will get that red painful palm where you are basically pushing down on the grip.

The rubber feet that you only ever get full floor coverage when the crutches are completely straight, use these on tiled floors like super markets and they can be lethal.

The main point to note

Crutches are really designed for a short period of time. Crutches are not designed to take your full weight. The main idea is to assist with balance not to replace it.

I tend to take most things and turn it on its head. For example a wheelchair, cut off the front end add a 3rd wheel and climb a mountain with it. not its purpose.

When smartcrutch asked me to review their product I assured them that I would push it to the limits.

So whats my verdict

Everyday use they are great. Covering the initial issues every box has been ticked. The elbow support is strong smooth and padded so you don’t get the issue with snagging and most of the support is through the elbow rather than the wrist.

The hand grip is a soft comfortable rubber that has plenty of give. The elbow section adjusts so that you can effectively use them solely with the elbow taking the pressure off your wrist all together.

Even though they are fully adjustable you don’t get the clinking as they are a good fit and well-built.

To me the magic is in the feet. Being flexible they offer a constant platform and grip to the ground so slippery surfaces are not so much of an issue and as a result shopping is a lot easier and I feel much more secure.

The adjustable elbow support means that once they are at a 90 degree you are completely supported through your elbow, not your wrist while your forearm is held firm and secure. This does however take some getting used to.

Now for the best bit

So as always once I had used these for everyday use I wanted to take them out of their comfort zone.

Squash is an active sport and one I enjoy. It keeps me fit and healthy but I used to fall over a lot as the floor is a slippery surface. My normal NHS crutches didn’t offer me a good solid platform to lean into.

The smartcrutch has really improved this area and is a massive assistance on court. The look is stylish , comfort is amazing and overall usability is awesome.

Next was to try them off-road. Here is where these awesome crutches find their slight but not complete weaknesses. On damp grass they don’t really hold well. On loose dusty surface they tend to lose a little grip.

Now here they do shine, on relatively uneven rocky surfaces the flexibility in the feet seemed to work fairly well. The adjustable elbow joint means you can place a lot of your weight through the crutches but only if they grip the ground. At this point I had not yet used them on ice but I fear the result would not be ideal but only because of the feet no being completely up to the job.

few words of IMPROVEMENTS

I really am not going to take anything away from this product the conditions I put them through are not what they are designed for.

In my opinion however it would not be difficult to adapt them to be a fantastic all-rounder. It would be all in the feet!

If I could have one improvement on this product it would have to be the addition of off-road feet. As an adventure lover I am never more alive than when I am off the beaten track and up a mountain.

There is so much potential for the Smartcrutch to be used as off-road with the design of feet that could be used on grass or in mud maybe even snow or better still sand. I think smartcrutch are missing this vital sector.

Stepping into the future

So after my review was first published Smartcrutch came back to me with a response to the off road foot. Meet the addition of the Flexyfoot!

These feet are literally the best feet on the market, attach them to the Smartcrutch and you are left with the very best product attached to the very best product.

So how did they do under pressure? In reply to that question! They done fantastic. I decided to take them to another extreme environment and climbed Snowdon. With 6 foot of snow drifts and an inch of ice I can honestly say the Smartcrutch and Flexyfoot relationship worked perfectly.

I had to put ice over boots on over my walking boots to stop slipping but my crutches stayed almost solid.

Great addition and the results are simply awesome!

final few words

These crutches are a fantastic all round product that like everything will suit some more than others. I have definitely pushed them and tested them to the current limits and I am very impressed.

I think that they still have so much more to give and really look forward to taking this product on my adventures and keep pushing their limits. I am also very excited about the future of this product.

Do I have to have a custom built wheelchair 

Do I have a custom-built wheelchair

Imagine this as a scenario! You are going about your life as anyone else would and something dramatically changes!

No warning and no time to plan! You end up in hospital! No clue what has happened! You know something is wrong ! But you don’t know what!

For many people going into a chair that is the exact experience. Let’s be honest who sits down and thinks I am just going to keep a few thousand aside in my bank just in case I need to redevelop my life around a disability.

I know I never! If you are reading this chances are you didn’t either. So initial shock has passed and along come the next stage.

Planning
  • What to do now,?
  • what do I need?

It’s all perfectly expected, and a natural fear of the unknown is common. Here in the U.K. We get the privilege of the NHS It is a privilege! Because in many countries this is not the case.

So you now know you need a wheelchair and you need one soon. An absolute need to live the best life possible. Something light enough to manoeuvre around in and don’t forget getting in and out the car.

Your new wheelchair is not just an item that gets you from A to B it is now apart of you. Annoyingly it also becomes your new descriptive characteristic. So yes it’s an important purchase.

Cost
  • So what do they cost?

Well honestly a few grand to be on the safe side. They are custom-built to your needs and everything down to the wheels is an added extra.

  • The big question is do you have to buy new?

Well for me that was not an option! If I had my way I would buy the Carbon Black, it’s amazing, light, sexy and expensive. If I was completely honest I would have struggled to go for a lower end spec chair from Bromkin, RGK or maybe Quickie.

So I turned to the internet and to be exact EBay. I knew my measurements and what I was looking for. The big things you need to know is leg, hip, and seat size.

If you look at chairs that are fully adjustable you will be on a winner. It is a case of spending the time and making sure you are happy. Don’t forget to ask other people what they think. You are not just buying a wheelchair you are buying the one thing you will use everyday and all day so it has to be right.

So you purchase a chair for a fraction of the cost and you may want to just put a personal touch to it! Your options are endless with some new casters that cost a few pound from a skate store or eBay. Kids scooter wheels are normally perfect.

Maybe you want to give a whole new style and refurbish it, look at sites like Pimp my chair they do all sorts from nice straps to complete back and cushion . But at the same time you may not need to do anything and it may be perfect with a few settings adjustments.

This option may also leave you a fund for accessories like the FreeWheel. I purchased a fantastic Kuschall wheelchair that I have had for three years and believe me I have put it through its paces including taking it down flights of stairs.

I have upgraded the wheels to spinergy, replaced the casters and lowered the back rest but initially all I done was tweak the settings to fit.

By going second-hand I saved an absolute fortune and would recommend you shop around before shelling out loads of cash if you can’t afford to. Since then I have now purchased a second chair that I used just around the house, again cheap and cheerful but does the job.

I know for many the importance of a custom fitted chair is unquestionably vital but for some it is just not in the budget and it’s those people like me that find the journey the biggest struggle.