Challenge 2016

Wishing a Happy New Year to all my readers. 2015 was a quiet year for me on here. I’d love to say it was because I was so busy living it up, but I wasn’t. I just got side tracked with other things!

Well 2016 is going to be a busy one for me which I want to start writing about. It’s going to be a tough one as I’ve committed to two main challenges and I have several others in the pipeline as well as a house move in May!

The first challenge is to be part of PACT2016 with some wonderful people on Facebook. The challenge is to exercise every day and to log all the miles you do. If you miss a day, you pay £1 (up to £10 a month) and the aim is to make 500,000 miles in the year. The money all goes to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and their research and treatment of Child Brain Tumours. The cause is one that I have supported before and I’m excited to be helping, albeit only a little bit, again in 2016 (https://www.justgiving.com/PACT2016/).

The second challenge is one that will help with the first! And that’s to run my first ever marathon. This isn’t the first one I’ve signed up for as some of you may remember, but it will be the first one I ever do. And possibly the last.

Previously I have trained for a marathon but haven’t taken part on doctors orders, but this time, I am eating right, sleeping right and have been training for the training plan!

I will be running the London Marathon for two charities. I couldn’t make a decision between the two that I have most wanted to support so it’s a 50/50 split.

The first is the ‘Fishermen’s Mission’. They do a wonderful job supporting our Fishermen (those who work tirelessly to provide you with fresh fish every day!) and their families. They do a stunning job and this charity supports them through times of injury, illness and helps their families in times of bereavement.

I have become more and more fascinated by the effort put in by those at sea, ever since I got to know a few of the people of Brixham, in Devon. My visits there, coupled with watching programmes such as ‘The Catch’ brought home to me the troubles they face and I want to help in any way I can. Brixham itself has such a wonderful spirit and they put on two of my favourite events of the year – BrixFest and FishStock – where they celebrate the town and it’s Fishing Heritage. Worth a visit if you want to experience a working seaside town with some fabulous characters and a great community feel.

The second charity is much more personal to me. EDS Support UK help suffers of a little known condition, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. It’s an inherited condition which causes a lot of pain and discomfort to those who have it. I have seen the pain it causes, as my sister has the condition. I was tested for it a few years ago and I was given the all clear. Ever since, I have wanted to help raise money and awareness for the condition.

So tomorrow, 4th January, I start my training plan. You know the biggest problem I’m going to have? Not snacking on things that are just going to make me feel lethargic and not revved up for my training!

The killers for me are chocolate and crisps. Both of which are still in my house and willing me to eat them. I did attempt to do some good cooking today, but that didn’t work too well as my Venison pie was a bit of a let down… Needs more practice some may say. I think I might just admit defeat and stick to what I’m good at… Stir fry, steamed fish/chicken and curry!

Anyway, here’s the begging bit… If you can spare some money, even 50p, then I would be very grateful. I know that it’s hard for many to part with any money these days, but it will help me get round that course and it will make a different to both of these charities http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=jemmaphillips

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Worlds away

A holiday should be just that. Time away from the day to day experiences and a chance to recharge the batteries which are always taking a hit by the 9 to 6. My time in Devon has been all that and more.

Arriving on Saturday morning, we quickly unpacked and headed over to Brixham for their annual Fishstock festival. The event celebrates music, the sea and the Fish it offers to our plates. From the tasty demonstrations by the Chef’s to walking around a Trawler and seeing the conditions they live in when at Sea.

Smiles all round as Andy is declared the winner
Andy and Richard compete in ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’. Smiles all round as Andy (Right) is declared the winner

It was the walk around the Trawler which really got me thinking. These (apparently) large vessels, take to the sea with the aim of bringing back food for the tables of the likes of you and me. It’s the perils they face that make it an expensive business, both for the equipment they have to maintain and the injury/loss of life that they face in the harsh unforgiving depths of the Ocean.

Climbing aboard the Barentszee, we were able to walk around the kitchen and living quarters of the crew. For anyone who has travelled on the Northern Line in London, imagine living in one carriage, the seats replaced with beds (two of them to one row of seats), a Kitchen and Bathroom and sharing with several other people(!)

As we made our way up some narrow and very steep steps, we found ourselves at the helm of the vessel.

The Trawler
At the controls of the Trawler

The screens above the Skipper’s seat dancing with data and maps to help them locate their treasure, keep them safe and warn them of incoming weather fronts which may be of concern.

Radar on the Trawler
Screens on the Trawler

The boat gently swayed as more and more people walked on and around the boat, some venturing on to the RNLI boat moored next to it. I couldn’t help but stare at the giant rig’s on the Trawler. Seeing them up close was a surprise, as they always looked huge, but you can’t appreciate them until you have been stood next to them.

Today, the wind is blowing and the sea is creating waves that are crashing on the rocks in the distance. I can’t help by think of those who are still going out to work though. The waves are nothing compared to what you can face in the open waters of the English Channel, but they still look impressive.

Our Fishermen go out, whether it be for the day or a week, in all weathers. No option to ‘pull a sickie’ if they don’t feel like it. They have bills to pay and families to support.

When I face the train pain of my commute or wake up feeling sorry for myself because I don’t want to go and sit in my office all day, I’ll remember them.

And to any Fishermen reading this now, stay safe and good luck for your next trip.