Week 11 day 76 – Sunday 7th June – The End part 2!

Mary

From my point of view, although the first phone call was totally out of the blue and my initial reactions were along the lines of ‘it’s too far, it will take for ever!’ and ‘what can I find to say if I’m not actually going to the places?’, it was actually just the push I needed. Rather than frittering away my lockdown with procrastinations such as ‘sorting my sock drawer’ or ‘cleaning the spice cupbaord’ I had to focus on writing. We both found it was good to have a structure to each day and a deadline to meet.

I definitely think I had the easier option, scouring the internet for interesting stories on the places we visited as well as looking at beautiful pictures of the Scottish and English countryside. My only problem was getting side tracked as there was so much to discover! Of course, some days the words just wouldn’t flow and some places were more inspiring than others, but mostly it was a joy to write and I not only improved my geography, I had the chance to ‘play around with words on the page’.

If you have been reading this from the beginning you will know that this was no ‘Sunday afternoon bike ride’. Maybe you have been in a gym and seen someone on an exercise bike pedalling away in a steady rhythm whilst maybe reading a book or watching the TV? This wasn’t it.

There were ‘hills’ to climb, levels to push up, speeds to beat and distances to increase as well as weight training 3 days a week. Apart from rest days on Sundays, never a day was missed. In fact some rest days involved outside bike rides! 

Take a look at this brief video of the final push and then read some of Rosalind’s thoughts and summary of fund raising.

Rosalind

When the Government announced lockdown on 23 March, with an initial term of 3 weeks for most of us, but 12 for the more vulnerable, it was a shock to us all. Travel plans, work commitments, socialising were all cancelled and we would all need to find new ways to cope.

In fact, full lockdown actually lasted for 7 weeks. Restrictions were gradually lifted after that and each week we can see another slight easement in restrictions. But here we are, at almost 11 weeks, and nothing is certain. Many of the conversations I am having are around the implications and potential pitfalls of getting back to ‘normal’. What will ‘normal’ be like and how will we cope? That is something we have yet to learn.

When I rang Mary with the idea of doing the JOGLE, me covering the mileage on an exercise bike and her researching the route and writing it up into a diary, I think she thought I was just a little crazy.  But having mulled over an idea with me to write a ‘lockdown’ blog of some sort, she had only herself to blame really! 

However, we have a lot in common. We both love to travel and always have a plan and full diaries. And as you also may have noticed, not only do we love food, we are also partial to the occasional gin! Although lockdown could have meant one or both of us going stir crazy, we are ‘glass half full’ people and we generally try to find a solution whatever life throws at us.

How would we cope with our thwarted travel plans in lockdown?  By doing a virtual journey of course! So, we agreed to go on the isolation JOGLE and on 24th March we were on our way.

I think Mary would agree that having this shared goal has been a saver of sanity. Of course, we have both had days when we really struggled and just wanted to curl up with a good book. But in fact, the upside has been that the weeks have flown by and by the end it was a bit of an anticlimax to actually reach Land’s End.

However, the ‘journey’ isn’t over; we have made some great discoveries, learnt a few facts and found some hidden gems, and we will be visiting some of them for real – as soon as we are allowed to.

On a personal note, I have greatly improved my aerobic fitness; I have lost 1.6kg and 14.73cms, meaning I have gained some muscle – which is not easy at my age! I still have ‘tasks’ from the start of the diary to do – declutter the house and give away the clothes I haven’t worn in ages – but as we are still in a partial lockdown, that can wait for a week or two.

I am so pleased we were able to use the journey to raise awareness of Rowan as well as some much-needed funds and as I write, the total currently stands at just over £2,000, which is fantastic. Thank you to everyone who so generously donated. Thank you also for your positive feedback along the way and suggestions for my music. 

During the journey Mary has found many great quotes, so I thought it would be good to end with one –

  • There has never been, nor will there ever be, a life free from problems. It is not the presence of problems but how we tackle then that determines the quality of our lives.

Hetti

When Rosalind first approached me with her JoGLE journey I thought…how is this going to work? We had just gone into lockdown, the Rowan building was closed and we were starting to work remotely with our students. But I thought…it’s worth giving it a shot! 11 weeks later and here we are. What a fantastic achievement on Rosalind’s behalf and it has been so wonderful seeing the journey that Mary brought to life!

The support and feedback we have had has been wonderful. A few comments from those supporting…

Well done Ros, we’re very proud of you for what you have achieved.

Well done team Rowan for all you are doing for your students. Amazing – keep it up!

Great effort Ros – inspirational stuff.

What a wonderful cause. We are so proud of you Rosalind and in no doubt you will finish

Keep pedalling!

Rowan has always been there for the students and they continue to do so through these difficult times. Keep going Rosalind!

Well done Rosalind and thank you Mary for becoming part of the Rowan family.


And finally, Mary and Rosalind have braved the cameras to reveal our lockdown selves. Hairdressers can’t open soon enough!