Tag Archives: My left foot.


Light at the end of the day.

Light at the end of the day.

Having a wonderful warm and dry few days. Getting fitter [and bored] on my cycle trips round the local lanes. The highlights yesterday were lambs frolicking in the fields, no doubt invigorated by the warm sunshine. Felt I had to turn down a climbing [or social] trip to Giggleswick today as I didn’t think I could manage the walk up never mind put a pair of rock boots on. The day turned out beautiful and sunny!

Pleased therefore to get a message from Robin suggesting a visit to Crowshaw Quarry on Longridge Fell in order to check out further bouldering possibilities. Went along really in a supportive capacity –  providing an extra bouldering mat, encouragement and spotting, This hidden old quarry is actually a pleasant spot for a few hours bouldering, especially on a lovely day like today.

Cronshaw Quarry.

Crowshaw Quarry.

There is one particularly steep and solid section of rock which we had highlighted for some hopefully good problems………………

Robin soon had dispatched a couple of traverses and the route up the right arete. All looked hard.


Low traverse.

Low traverse.

Up to now I had been happy just to be out in the sunshine but the nagging started in my mind and soon I was tentatively pushing my painful, scarred left foot into a rock boot. A few little excursions onto the rock proved relatively painless – the second eureka moment in a week – not only can I pedal a cycle but I can attempt, in my modest way, to get back on the rock!

Other problems for another day were spotted, may need a bit of Spring cleaning! All of a sudden I am reactivated and feel the batteries recharging. On the way home even pop into Craigy for a chat. Just miss out on photographing a really spectacular sunset over the reservoir.

So there is light at the end of the day and more importantly at the end of my particular tunnel.


Bike and Bowland.

Have not made much progress with my walking, go up to the shops for the paper and back in the morning, that’s about it. Not wanting to push the pain too far.  So for two months I’ve lived the proverbial couch potato and it’s not suiting my psychology. Didn’t think I would be able to pedal my bike with the post-op foot but last week out of desperation dragged my old trusty road bike out of the garage and gave it a spin around the village. Pleasantly surprised to manage with minimal discomfort, kicking myself for not trying earlier!

On the fair weather days I’ve pedaled around the flattish lanes  realising how unfit my old body has become.  Today was one of the better with lovely almost warm sunshine and little wind. So in late afternoon I cycled out to Chipping and back, feeling much invigorated by the gentle exercise. Chipping is a delightful village at the foot of Parlick in the Bowland fells. It was mentioned in the Domesday book and is a fascinating place to look around. At the cobbled entrance to the old part is the building originally used as Brabins School established in 1684 and round the corner is a shop/cafe, built by the same John Brabin in 1668, said to be the oldest continuously trading shop in Britain. Two of the three pubs are still open. The Anglican Church of St Bartholomew’s presides over the village. So lots to see. Sadly the last remaining wood turning mill has closed.

Brabins School.


St Bartholomew’s

Another reason Chipping deserves its popularity for, especially with cyclists, is the  welcoming Cobbled Corner Cafe and that’s where I headed for today!

                                                                                                                                                                         All is not rosy for the cyclist in these parts – motorists use the lanes as race tracks and if they don’t get you the proliferating potholes might.


      I need to readjust to two wheeled transport, somehow it doesn’t connect to the land as much as walking does for me. Still I may get fit and loose some weight.

The Preston Guild Wheel next.


Pendle viewed from the car.

                                                                    Pendle viewed from the car.

Two weeks further on with my foot convalescence and it was time to drive again. My temporary raised surgical shoe wasn’t allowed for insurance reasons, this meant using normal shoes for driving and taking the former if I had to walk anywhere. A right pain! [or rather left]  Despite starting my car up a few times over the last weeks the battery was completely dead when I came to use the car. So it needed a spell of trickle charging to bring it back to life. So town, friends and relatives are now in reach but it was only today whilst the sun shone that I thought of driving up Longridge Fell for my favourite views. Glad I did as all the usual vistas  [Pendle, Yorkshire three peaks, Bowland, Morecambe Bay and North Wales, aren’t we lucky with our location]  were clear and despite being frustrated that I couldn’t wander up any of the fell tracks I positively felt a surge of optimism and joie de vivre.

This lead me to thinking about recharging my own batteries. I suspect in the circumstances it will be a trickle charge of trips like today rather than any jump starting.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do as on top of the car not starting my house phones died [what a wonder is internet shopping when you are house bound?] my mobile seemed to block all texts and to top it all my computer then came up with the blue screen of death! Couldn’t get round it for a week until my son was able to work his magic and restore the workings without any loss. A good reminder to always back up to an external hard drive. Anyhow here we are again but I realise my deficiencies in the modern technologies.

                                                          I’ll continue trickling.


                                                             Sunset from home.

  Cabin fever – no not the feeling you get from a luxury Caribbean cruise but the feeling you get cooped up in the house for three weeks with your foot in the air. The boredom and restlessness have only been partially relieved by  good books and some climbing DVDs. The cricket I was hoping to enjoy was a disaster. Didn’t seem able to concentrate to get round to sorting through my recent photos of Israel for a post, still coming to terms with that strange conflicting trip. TV was even worse. Friends have been very supportive, particularly those who took me to the pub.

But somehow I imagine my body and mind must need outdoor activities and some interaction with nature. Even simple things like watching, from my bedroom window, the morning sunrise seemed to be uplifting. I found I started to anticipate and appreciate a lot of minor events outside that window; birds flying by, the laughter of kids in the road, the hail hammering on the glass and the swish of bending trees in the gales we have been experiencing. There has been some awful weather over the holiday period, that was one aspect I was happy to have an excuse to avoid. There is another storm blowing in as I write this.

Sunrise across the field.

Sunrise across the field.


Xmas and New Year have passed without much fuss, another positive aspect of my confinement!  I’ve not starved, the toe is healing, the stitches out and the crutches ditched.

   There have been a couple of bright and sunny days this week so have managed to hobble down the road for a brew and chat with neighbours. Great to get out of the cabin under my own steam. I’m still wearing the fashionable platform surgical shoe and this gives a lovely mismatch with the walking boot on the other foot. All seems to be progressing well, there is new life in 2014. The surgeon said it would be 2-3 months before I would hopefully feel the benefit !?!?

                        See you at the crag and up the fell soon.


A post for those who need the surgeons knife occasionally to keep them in the hills.

My left foot.

My left foot.

Thursday 12 December [Better than Friday 13th.] was scheduled for my toe operation.The plan was to remove bone around the left big toe joint [Cheilectomy  of  Left 1st MTP joint.] to make life less painful and hopefully get my foot back into those tight Red Chili rock shoes. All went to plan and I was back home with my foot up by mid afternoon. Haven’t been far since!

My instructions are to keep the foot elevated as much as possible for a week or so, to avoid swelling or infection. I’ve been supplied with a  nifty shoe which takes all the pressure off the toes and a pair of elbow crutches. Was also given a bag of pain killers for when the anaesthesia wore off – forgive any spelling mistakes.

     My new Coat of Arms.

Ensconced in my my bed with the foot duly raised on many pillows. I’m catching up with some book reading that has been neglected recently whilst away. Deep into Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places an environmental study with vivid imagery. Despite being unable to walk I’m lying here being stimulated to roam in the night, climb some trees or find a local wilderness. Out with the bivi bag…. Getting a bit ahead of myself now – should have been content with the prize crossword in today’s paper.

My cat, Seth, can’t understand all the fuss.

My cat Seth.


There's hills up there ...

There’s hills up there in the grey …

The more uninteresting the post the more catchy the title has to be ……

After all the storms last week the forecast for today was dry and milder. My walking pals didn’t believe me and declined a short trip. How right they were. It was raining most of the morning but by lunchtime the skies had brightened. I was determined to get a walk of a few miles in as next week I’m going into hospital for that toe operation.

Hadn’t been out long before the greyness descended once more. Nobody else was seen on what is normally a popular circuit on local lanes, maybe the dogs refused to venture out.

'Mile Lane'

‘Mile Lane’   Grey with a bit of green.

Drizzle set in to make everything appear even more miserable. Not much was visible so I was focused on my own inner world [toe operations!!] and on the ground to avoid the puddles.

Mainly grey.

Probably because of my limited vision a highlight of the walk was the sweet aroma of silage feed coming from a barn on route. Childhood memories of life on the farm.

The trees also drew my attention with their barren branches.

As I made my way home through the village the shops were closing on what had been a busy Xmas shopping day but now the street looked shabby and depressing. The miserable little Xmas trees doing little to brighten the place. At least my neighbour’s garden shone brightly in the gloom.

Talking of Christmas trees I’ve just returned from The Holy land and was in Bethlehem just before the famous tree was decorated. On the flight home we met the Christmas Decorators from Liverpool who had been doing the work!!  Watch the videos —

Will post on the Israeli trip soon – a land of contrasts and contradictions.

I can hardly believe that only a couple of days ago I was swimming in the Med off a lovely beach at Tel Aviv with the temperature 27 degrees! No wonder I’m feeling grey today.

Gordon Beach  Tel Aviv.

Gordon Beach Tel Aviv.