Thursday, 20 June 2013

Day 3. 160 Miles Complete!

160 Miles Completed!
We did it!

Over our 3 days Georgina and I completed a strenuous 160 miles around Norfolk.

It is very satisfying to have now finished our bicycle ride and it feels like a real achievement as I have never done something like this before.

As I have previously mentioned I am not a huge fan on activities that include too much exercise so to train for the ride actually go through with it has been very good for me!

A huge thank you to my sister Georgina for completing it with me and thank you to my mum for making sure we had enough food and drink when we needed it!

Today was meant to rain all day but it seems that luck was on our side and it only rained once in the afternoon and it wasn't even heavy rain so we can't complain.

There were not as many hills today which was great but it also means that there was not so much free-wheeling!

It was nice when we got about 10 miles from home and actually knew the way instead of having to map read and our dog Tangle ran the last half mile with us which was impressive as she takes after me and does not enjoy running!

This time next month I will be up of the Isle of Coll with all the other Ugandan volunteers, getting to know them and meeting the 2 girls I will be living with in Kyenjojo and most importantly, learning how to use my skills to be a good teacher! I am very excited about this as it will help me feel prepared to leave on the 1st September and also, Project Trust are just so warm and welcoming and my Selection Course was so fantastic and the Training should be even better, so I am really looking forward to being there again! I will also get to meet my Desk Officer who is in charge of Uganda and a main point of contact for when I am over there. I have spoken to her on the phone but it will be really nice to meet her. Also a girl (Jessica!) who was on my Selection Course also got chosen for Uganda and although she is living and working elsewhere in Uganda I am very much looking forward to seeing her again as we have spoken a lot through the past year and got through the fundraising together!

I know I keep saying it but I really really mean it, thank you SO much for all of the support! It is so heart warming to know that so many people are interested in my up-coming 12 months in Uganda and have supported me and my sister with our 160 mile bicycle ride.

I cannot believe that I am now over £5000! I literally have been dreaming of this day since August 2012. It is a beautiful feeling... I am so nearly at £5400 I could cry with happiness.

I promise I shall try my very hardest to keep my year up-dated in Uganda, it is just the difficulty of finding internet out there! THANK YOU to everybody who has supported me!

Scroll down for more photos.



Day 3 in photos.

Day 3.



Georgina had to wait a VERY long time to cross the road...


First spot of rain.

10 meters to go!

We finished! Thank you for all of the support!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Day 2 Complete.

Another day finished! We did 50 miles today which means so far we have completed 110 miles and tomorrow we need to do another 50 then we will be done!

Today the main places that we cycled through were Barningham (where we started), Cromer, Gresham, Felbrigg, Mundsley, Happisburgh, Sea Palling, Hemsby and ended at Caister-On-Sea.

Cromer was chaotic! It was our first encounter with very busy impatient traffic. Most of our bicycle route was on the National Cycle Route so it was easy to find where we were going as there were blue signs everywhere but in Cromer it was a bit confusing. There was so much traffic that we could not even see where the signs were so had to do a bit on foot as to not hold up the traffic finding out which way was the right way. Then going out of Cromer there was a very large hill! After this the rest of the day seemed quite calm.

We are both definitely better at going up hills, a lot faster! It has been an exhausting day but the places we went through were quite pretty and it was nice being by the sea.

Thank you so much for all of the support, it is getting us through the miles!

If anyone would like to sponsor us please visit my page:

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BellaWatson

Day 2 Complete in Photos.

Start of Day 2.




Georgina went to look at Sea Palling beach.


End of a tiring day!!!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Day 1 Complete.

So Day 1 is complete!

Today we cycled a huge 60 miles! It was meant to be 55 but we over shot it a bit...

The weather started out very nice for cycling - cloudy, not too sunny and quite warm.


We started our bicycle ride in Sporle and cycled through many different places. I have not got the map in front of me so cannot be very specific... I shall give a more detailed description about our whereabouts tomorrow. However one of the first roads we encountered was awful. It was a series of steep hills one after the other, up and down and up and down. We managed them though! 


After about 23 miles I think it was, we stopped at the Sedgeford King William IV pub. We were planning on stopping for lunch somewhere is Burnham Market which was about 9 miles on but the weather started getting very hot so we thought by the time we had lunch it would have cooled down a bit. We had some delicious paninis!

The afternoon shift got a bit cold and it also rained a little bit but not a lot. I just wish I had windscreen wipers on my glasses! Apparently it is going to rain so much on Thursday which is not ideal.

Georgina was in charge of map reading and we didn't get lost once so well done to her! It was really nice to be doing the bicycle ride with her too. So thank you Georgina.

The whole day wasn't as bad as I expected and I think it was becuase our leg muscles started to get used to the hills so they were not as challenging as they had been when we started in the morning. That said, the last 10 miles was a bit sore! Georgina has a bit of a sore shoulder and my back hurts a little but that is probably just because I am so tall... So no injuries which is great! 

The roads were not that busy but we did come across a rather large tractor on a very narrow road.

Also we had a rather funny moment where we were cycling then these 2 ladies came out on their bikes in front of us, both wearing blue so it felt rather competitive. Pink vs blue. They were rather slow so we overtook but it felt quite awkward! Later we we up against two cyclists in yellow, then two rather fast and serious looking cyclists in red and black. Then just as we were getting to the top of a rather steep hill so were not looking great, 4 very fast and professional looking men absolutely whizzed past us which was very embarrassing but very funny and Georgina was laughing her head off about it!

A highlight of our day was the horse that looked like a cow. Exciting, I know.

So a good first day but I will admit I am very sleepy now. We had a delicious meal at a friends so am feeling nicely full up! Also they have an incredible shower...

I am sure we will have a few aches tomorrow on the bikes but we have not as far to cycle tomorrow. Hooray!

Lastly thanks to our mum who after a certain amount of distance will give us drinks and snacks to keep us going. Very helpful. Although I was not happy about the extra 5 miles we had to do... I'm over it now.

Thank you so so so so much for all the support! Everyone who has supported us, you are AMAZING! It is the only way I am staying on my bike. Also a comment on my Virgin Money Giving page was very helpful, "Pedal through the pain." Indeed we have and will continue too! 


I shall up-date you all tomorrow if we get internet at the B&B. Hopefully we do get it there. 

If you would like to support me and Georgina on our 160 mile bicycle ride please visit my page and I will be most grateful! 

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BellaWatson

Day 1 in photos.

The Start!

Photos and text do not seem to be working well together. The photos keep overlaying my writing. So will write about my day in a separate post.

These are some photos of our first day. 60 miles now complete!






Lunch!

Monday, 17 June 2013

It's Tomorrow!

Hello everyone!

So tomorrow is the big day. The day that I was sort of hoping would never come as I have said before, I don't really enjoy exercise! 

Tomorrow Georgina and I are starting our 160 mile bicycle ride!

It will be hard work but I am confident that we are ready for it. I'm not dreading it too much, I exaggerated a little bit! I am up for the challenge and to carry it out as I have had so much support for it which I thank you all so much.

It is slightly overwhelming having all of this support, especially from people I have never met who have been so kind and generous! So thank you, thank you, thank you!!! It means so much to me. It is funny how I expected my year in Uganda to be very much a solo project. I thought it would just be something that I am doing and that is that, maybe a few family and friends would know about it. However the amount of interest and support from all sorts of people has been crazy and has made every time I get a little nervous or doubtful about what I am doing, easy to overcome as I know that people have put their faith in me. 

It has only been in the last month or so where I have started to feel nervous. Since August 2012 I have been dancing around the place boring my friends and family to death that "I'm going to Uganda!" Then every time I think of a question or learn something about Uganda, a past volunteer or Project Trust, everyone has to know and give me some form of answer about my question. A lot of people have told me how impressed they are about how laid back and calm about it I have been or how not bothered I am about the fact I will have no electricity or internet for a year, "No Facebook??" they all say! I would say I am pretty calm about it all as I chose to have no electricity and very basic accommodation so I suppose that is why i'm calm, it has always been my decision. The fact that I have running water and my bucket shower and loo are INSIDE rather than outside is a huge bonus - I wasn't expecting that! So thanks Project Trust!

As I was saying... in the last month or so I have had a few doubts about what I am doing. I think it is because it was coming up to the last month of school and I was very sad to leave and after school, there is nothing in the way or any distractions from Uganda. I have never thought that I am making the wrong decision but I just love art so much and I keep thinking, "Maybe I should just be going to Art College NOW!" or just worrying that I won't be a great teacher but I think I should be ok!! Especially after my Training in July up at Coll. I will learn a lot up there and hopefully put some worries to rest. Then there is the pretty basic thought that makes me a little nervous that is that 12 months is a rather long time, then again, that was the selling point of a Gap Year for me. I wasn't planning a Gap Year at all then Project Trust came to do a talk at school. It was a compulsory talk and I remember feeling a bit grumpy as it was in my free period so I could have been in art block but instead I had to spend an hour listening to a stupid talk. The three things that stood out almost straight away was: Africa, 12 months and the Selection Course. I thought, hang on a minute... This sounds pretty cool and incredibly different to what other Gap Year companies offered. Also Project Trust is a not-for-profit charity which was a nice touch! 

So as you can see, almost every worry I have has a "but" and a good point after it. 

I remember VERY clearly nervously ringing up my mother and saying I wanted to take a Gap Year. To be quite honest it did not go very well and when I put the phone down I thought that this was going to take some persuading and I would need to put my serious hat on. I think she thought it was a very spur of the moment decision which I guess it was but it didn't feel like a stupid spur of the moment decision! What luckily played into my hands was that mum obviously told dad that the charity was called Project Trust and to everyone's surprise, my dad had done HIS Gap Year with them when he left school. So this was a big advantage and made mum relax a bit! So luckily they "rather seriously" agreed to go to the Parent's Evening in Norwich and were VERY impressed and I was practically jumping off the walls about how GOOD this Gap Year sounded. I am pretty easily impressed in life in general but this was unlike anything I had felt before. I felt hugely daunted by it, to make a decision to spend a year of your life in a third world country is huge but my oh my it felt so right! I have always been fascinated by Africa (thank you David Attenborough!) so without planning it and it all happening by accident, this felt like a very natural decision. I was seriously nervous about the Selection Course as it was the first step but I took comfort that rather than just having to sign a piece of paper and "Ta-dah!" i'm having a Gap Year, I would get to learn about Project Trust, they would make good judgement about if I was capable of a Gap Year and even if I did get accepted, I didn't have to accept. I left Project Trust over the moon and waiting for the letter to say if I had been accepted, it felt more important than my AS results which were due the same week. 

So when I get a bit doubtful I remember that first encounter with Project Trust, how negative I felt about having to go to the talk and how after the first 5 minutes they had sold it to me. I also remember how I managed to get my parents from doubtful and "You know how much work this is going to be. You have to take it seriously. It sounds fantastic but it won't be easy etc etc etc" to being very excited for me going up to Coll. That was a nice feeling too. However I suppose the best feeling is how surprised I felt about myself choosing to do this. Before 6th Form I was very shy and was incredibly nervous about starting my A Levels, making new friends etc. If you asked me at the beginning of year 12 if I wanted to spend 12 months in a third world country teaching, I think my eyes would have popped out my head. Project Trust came to talk at the end of year 12 so I like to think how much I changed in that year. 



I had no intention of all this babbling, I was just going to tell you about my bicycle ride tomorrow but that's the thing with a blog. My train of thought just doesn't really stop and it is quite hard to stop typing!!

I realise that I never wrote a Part 2 to my Selection Course. Sorry about that. I shall get that written some time after my bicycle ride!

So again, THANK YOU so much to everyone who has supported me through advice and donations or even just stories of friends or relatives who have been out to Uganda. It is very exciting, all of a sudden my fundraising has just gone BOOM and I'm under £800 to go! Being on £4000 mark is extremely satisfying. The thermometer is nearly at the top! I love that thermometer...

If my sister reads this, (I don't think she does!) THANK YOU GEORGINA! You have been a huge help and no one forced you to do this bicycle ride so I think you are excellent! Also I would have never got on the bike in the first place if you hand't got all grumpy with me at the start. I hate grumpy sisters so I got on the bike and now we are doing rather well. :)

I shall keep this blog updated on our progress of the 160 miles.

If anybody wanted to support us it would be greatly appreciated!


http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BellaWatson



I shall stop talking now...!