Friday, 28 December 2012

Nordic and Fitness Walking

Having recently qualified as a Nordic and Fitness Walking Instructor, I thought I would add a short entry to my blog about Nordic Walking:

Nordic Walking originated in Finland in the 1950’s and is increasingly recommended by the medical profession (Click here for the NHS website).  It is a specific fitness technique and should not to be confused with trekking, hill walking or trail running as the poles are not planted in front of the walker/runner but in a specific way that increases the use of the upper body. It can be done by anybody, anywhere and does not require expensive equipment or clothing. 
Nordic Walking is the fastest growing fitness activity in the world and is used by individuals, personal trainers, health clubs, physiotherapists, doctors and health promoters because it is highly effective, affordable and FUN!

Nordic Walking is quite unique in that it provides benefits for everybody from those with medical problems to the super fit.

Whatever age, fitness level or goal; Nordic Walking is suitable, effective and enjoyable.

Physical Benefits:
  • Tones the upper and lower body at the same time
  • Uses 90% of the skeletal muscles
  • Burns up to 46% more calories than ordinary walking
  • Reduces the pressure on knees and joints
  • Great for the heart and lungs
  • Ideal for neck, shoulder and back problems
  • Poles propel the walker along, making it easier to move faster then normal without feeling the effort.
  • It is one of the most effective cross training techniques for athletes and sportspeople who require ultimate cardiovascular and endurance conditioning.
Other Benefits:
  • Can be done anywhere – no need for hills, country paths or even snow!
  • It appeals to all ages and fitness levels.
  • No need to wear special exercise clothing
  • It is very sociable - participants can chat as they go!
  • It is easy to learn and to keep up.
  • It combines exercise with the nature which has been proven to boost mood.

Monday, 24 December 2012


 All the fun of the fair and spirit of Christmas were abundant at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park this last weekend.  Despite the damp weather, we had a successful family outing to London to enjoy the circus and rides, along with the traditional German food and drink.
The real Santa was there, but the queues were a little too long so I didn't bother sitting on his knee.....I'm sure he will still deliver tonight though and I did get a photo (below) for those of you who are non-believers.

If you have never been to this event, it is well worth a visit and you can easily fill your day wandering around the traditional market stalls and taking in the sights and smells of Christmas. 

Merry Christmas to all the regular views to my blog and I wish you a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year - have a great one!! 

The Night Before Christmas
By Clement Clarke Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Just in case you missed it.......

It Couldn't Be Done
Edgar Guest 

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
  But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
  Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
  On his face.  If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
  At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
  And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
  Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
  There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
  The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
  Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
  That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


One of those things that has been keeping me busy and away from my blog writing has been my further training in the fitness industry.

I have been running for over 30 years and considered myself to be a half-decent runner.  I have completed runs and races over just about every distance; from 100m all the way up to marathons and beyond and everything in-between.  However, even this old dog can be taught new tricks and I have recently qualified as a "Natural Running" coach and this has put a new lease of life into my running career.

As you would expect there is an endless supply of information to be found on the inter-web about natural running, also sometimes known as barefoot running, so I will try to sum up the essence of it here, without going into too much detail.

Natural Running is about efficient running; minimising wasted energy and staying injury free.  Unfortunately, Mr Nike and the like introduced our feet to motion control footwear and caused us to start running less efficiently and less naturally, which in turn started an increase in the number of running related we bought more expensive trainers with more cushioning and more foot control, which cause more injuries.......(you get the picture?)

By removing the 'swoop' from your foot your feet and whole body can then start to run how it was designed to.  There are now trainers available that are designed to accommodate this style of running, although it is not advisable just to switch straight from your current super-cushioned-control-trainers to something a bit more minimalist - that is where a coach comes in.  With the help of a few drills and techniques and being aware of how you run you can soon change your running style and improve your efficiency.  

If you run and don't enjoy it, maybe you are doing it wrong - find yourself a decent coach and maybe things will change!

3000m Steeplechase - many years ago!

Monday, 19 November 2012


It has been a few weeks since I last put a new entry on here and, as usual, my only excuse is that I have been sooooo busy!

Work has been going well on Brown Eyes, although there are a few jobs that I do need to leave to the professionals and I am looking to get those completed during the winter months.

The plan for next year's circumnavigation of the UK is taking shape and it looks like that will be quite an adventure.  The journey will be a great opportunity to put Brown Eyes and myself through our paces and ensure that we are ready to go further afield the following year.  That said, it is not all about the sailing; this trip will also give me a chance to see parts of the UK and Ireland that I have only previously passed through before, without time to really appreciate them and also to visit and explore new locations.

I will publish details of the planned 10 legs on here nearer the departure date next spring and you will of course be able to follow our progress on this blog.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Another Quote............Life..........

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.” 

Ten Thousand Hits!!!

Thank you for viewing my blog, we have now had over 10,000 hits - please do keep coming back.  

The good news is, my books have now been accepted in the iBookstore which you can find in the iTunes store - just search for Living Spirit Photography. You can also download e-copies using the Blurb link on the righthand side of your screen.

Have a great day! 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Will you be the one?

This blog is getting close to its 10,000th viewer.......will you be the one?

Thank you to everyone who has visited my blog and for all the positive feedback that I have received - please keep coming back.
It's my mate again!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Tri, Tri, Tri Again.....and Celeb Spotting!

 This weekend saw Anita's annual pilgrimage to the Excel Centre to take part in the London Triathlon.  As always it was a great event for both the organisation and the atmosphere and it was terrific to see so many people taking part over the two days.

As well as Anita and many of our friends taking on the 3 challenging disciplines, there were plenty of celebs at the event (TOWIE was also being filmed there - whatever that is?), many of them were even taking part...although some of their make-up was just too good so I'm not sure they did the swim or pushed themselves too hard.

I will let you put the names to the faces.....


Sunday, 16 September 2012

We are sailing...........

 We had a great days sailing out along the Orwell River and past Harwich and Felixstowe docks.  It was the first real opportunity we have had to test out all the refurbishments, replacements and repairs we have done over the past few months and I'm pleased to report most of that work has been successful.

The tick-over of the engine seems to be a little slow, which caused the engine to stall just as we entered the Ipswich lock on our return to our marina berth.  Luckily we were almost at a standstill when it cut out, so we were able to secure Brown Eyes alongside before anything could get damaged.

There is still plenty of work left to do, but at least we can take her out sailing now.......

Monday, 10 September 2012

Proms in the (Hyde) Park

40,000 people at Proms in the Park 

And us of course
Picnic Blankets and folding chairs,
Sir Terrance of Wogan and his TOGs were there.
Bjorn Again gave us Dancing Queen
And Proms in the Park rocked the scene.
Bjorn Again - Waterloo
Kylie Manogue strutted her stuff
And Tony Blackburn made us laugh.
Tenor Alfie Boe blasted out his tunes,
The Il Divo four, “Somewhere” soon.
On a Night Like This
The Fab Four were back with “Let it Be”
Along with a Concert Orchestra from the BBC.
The fireworks rocketed into the sky
The British at their best - an emotional high!
The cast of "Let it Be" - better than the originals?

We were joined by Albert as the evening ended,
"Jerusalem" was sung, as one voice trumpeted.
“God Save the Queen” rounded off the night
And Union Flags were the only sight.

Lubricating our throats before the singing begins
We joined the Albert Hall for the finale - but only we had the fireworks!

Monday, 3 September 2012

More Fun and Games.....

Another trip to the Olympic Park; this time it was the Paralympics and also to take in the atmosphere of the park itself.  With tickets to the morning matches of the 7-a-side football and the evening session of the athletics, this gave us a chance to wander around the grounds and spend some time looking all the details and meticulously planned features that it is easy to miss as you dash from the station to the various arenas to take in the sport.


Well it was quite hot that day!
Beautiful carpets of wild flowers everywhere

7-a-side action
The main Olympic Arena

Seated Javlin

Irishman Jason Smyth on his way to Gold

The 'Blade Runner' way out in front
Fellow athletes watch those competing
Sprint start
World record after World record was broken that evening

As for the sport, well all the headlines and media coverage have already said it........inspirational!!!!!!