10,000 steps a day – days 21, 22 & 23 – miscellany

I’ve been ticking along on the challenge quite nicely for the last three days. No big dramas, although I did need a short walk in the dark on the 21st to reach my target. The last three days have been busy, so this post is a bit of a miscellany.

21st – ARIS User Group, London

A really well attended and informative event, held at the Glaziers Hall. This was the view from the lunch room.

London Bridge22nd – Derby

My Fitbit tells me that mowing our lawn is worth 1,325 steps. Target achieved!

Mowing the lawn23rd – Derby again

The preparations for Derby Festé are in full swing. A number of fire-breathing dragons are currently being assembled next to Riverlights.

DragonsCancer Research have also reminded me that there’s only 7 days of this challenge left to go …

7 days to go… and finally, I was given my first new fiver today in change for a coffee. Many people are donating their first plastic fivers to charity, so that’s where mine is going, bringing my total raised so far to £305.

First plastic fiver

There’s still time to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September. My donations page is here. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – days 19 & 20 – work

Sometimes reaching 10,000 steps a day is a significant challenge if work means I’m writing a document or presentation. Monday was like that – by mid afternoon I was still below 2,000 steps for the day. I eventually reached the target by some judicious gardening and taking the long route to the shops. Other days, like yesterday, work makes reaching the target very easy. Well, easy, apart from lugging around the case that I had with me for my overnight stay. Wrestling it on and off the underground at peak times is never easy for anyone …

After yesterday’s exertions, I spent the evening in a hotel in Hammersmith. I was on the 13th floor – so great for clocking up extra steps up and down the stairwell. And the view was, well, of Hammersmith.

HammersmithThis morning, I’ve been ranting at the Independent’s headline writers on twitter. They’re misreporting an initiative by Microsoft by suggesting that software will ‘solve’ cancer in the next decade. If they read their own article, they’d see that’s not what’s being claimed. For rare cancers, like MCL, the issue isn’t sifting through lots of research of course, it’s getting the research funded in the first place.


If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is here. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – day 18 – Hardwick Hall

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Derbyshire. So Jane and I took a quick hop up the M1 to Hardwick Hall – one of my favourite National Trust properties. You can spend a whole day here, as there’s the Hall, Old Hall, gardens, walks around the estate and the tea rooms to keep you busy. Especially the tea rooms. We decided to do the Sculpture Trail (in blue) – around 2.5 miles. While the walks are all well signposted, the free leaflet is helpful too.

Hardwick Estate MapIt’s quite steep in places and because we were taking in the views, our progress was rather sedate.

The WalkAfter all that exertion, a cream tea with lashings of ginger beer was most definitely called for.

Cream Tea

© 2016 Jane Holyoake

Followed by a walk around the Hall’s gardens.

Hardwick Hall

© 2016 Jane Holyoake

And a doze in a thoughtfully provided deckchair.


© 2016 Jane Holyoake

I recorded over 16,000 steps even with the deckchair interlude, not to mention a quick blat in brum gnu later.


If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is here. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – days 14 & 15 – halfway there

Halfway there!

Halfway there… even though it did mean more aimless wandering to reach my step count yesterday. These are the perils of having a job that meant I spent most of yesterday driving, in meetings or at an M42 service station.

WalkMost of the people I see out and about in the evenings are dog walking. Dog owners can be quite intimidating if you’re out walking and don’t have a dog. I can feel them staring at me, wondering where my barking, wagging, panting ball of fur is. I haven’t quite reached the stage where I’m pretending that I’m looking for my lost dog, but it feels like it will be only a matter of time.


If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September without a dog, my donations page is still open. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – day 13 – taking the cat to work

I took the cat to work today. Thrill as you see me pull away without stalling. Be amazed as I slip easily under Derby’s notorious low bridge without scraping the roof (11 minutes in). Watch as a taxi driver performs a questionable U-turn in front of the bus station (13:40). See me shake my head! Wonder why I simply didn’t drive under the barrier at work, rather than stopping to use my pass.

It’s not the greatest movie ever shot, but I think you’ll agree that its far more entertaining than London Has Fallen.

In other news, you’ll be glad to hear that I’m still on target to meet the challenge. Thank you again to everyone who is supporting me. Funds raised for Cancer Research UK has topped £300 today.

Day 13 progress

If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is still open. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – day 12 – why I’ve gone purple

This may come as a surprise. It may even be a shock to some of my friends who are aware of my lifelong political views, but I’ve decided to go purple. It’s taken a lot of heart searching to come to this decision as you might expect. I’ve spent hours agonising over this move. I hope that none of you think any the less of me because of it. However, given my desire to truly change things for the better in the UK, the purple option is the only course of action that I believe is open to me.

Today, September 12th 2016, marks the start of Lymphatic Cancer Awareness Week. I’ve temporarily turned the border on my blog purple to show my support. Shame on you if you thought I was talking about joining UKIP by the way. I’ve never been so insulted in my life! However, if the words at the beginning of this post drove you to read this, then that’s a good thing. And the Lymphoma Association has achieved many good things, so please keep reading.

For anyone who isn’t aware, Lymphoma is the UK’s fifth most common cancer, with someone being given the diagnosis every 40 minutes. I received mine in August 2104 and I still vividly remember the shock of that day. However, not everyone knows about the signs. The Lymphoma Association published this handy card a few years ago, so I’m reproducing it again here.

Lymphoma symptomsOnce I was given my diagnosis, I found the information on their website about treatments, ‘watch and wait’ and other support services invaluable, as did my family and friends. As part of their activities this week, the Lymphoma Association are also launching the Types Matter initiative. Lymphoma is complex, with more than 60 distinct types and sub-types identified so far. Different treatments are required for each one, so knowing your type is crucial if you’re to get the right treatment.

I’m also naturally carrying on with my 10,000 steps a day challenge for Cancer Research this week. If my purple confession has made you smile, perhaps you could donate a couple of pounds to this really important cause.


If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is here. Thank you!

10,000 steps a day – day 11 – dissertation done!

My dissertation is officially finished. Yay! Well, almost: I will proof read it again tomorrow before submitting all 9,000 lovingly crafted words. But, done. Which brings me to the end of my MSc, too. Here it is in all of its front cover glory.

Dissertation front coverMy advice to future students is simple. No matter how tempting it seems, if you’re going to do a qualitative study purely because you’re scared of statistics, think again. Qualitative research is far more time-consuming and the analysis process far more onerous than anything SPSS can throw at you. Trust me – I’ve done both now. Only do a qualitative piece of research if the question you devise demands it, you have masochistic tendencies and are completely committed to your ontological approach. Otherwise you’ll hate it. And even if you meet all of these criteria, you’ll still hate it at some point during the process. I know I did, but I got through it. There is hope for us all.

I believe that I deserve a beer, before I return my final library book.

BeerNaturally, I walked several thousand steps more than I needed to before I bought the beer. Day 11 and still on track. Only 19 left to go.


If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is here. Thank you to all of my sponsors who have helped me to raise £280 so far. Please join them if you can. It will make me feel like my dissertation has some real value (don’t groan).

10,000 steps a day – day 10 – King Lear

The weather wasn’t particularly pleasant yesterday, so going to see the RSC’s King Lear in Stratford was excellent scheduling. Spoiler – everyone dies by the end of the play. There were some good performances from David Troughton as Gloucester, Paapa Essiedu as Edmund and Oliver Johnstone as Edgar, but otherwise the production was somewhat disappointing. We also went for an after-show meal in the rooftop restaurant, which was very tasty.

King Lear ProgrammeBy the time we arrived home, I was a little short of my target, so I took a walk to the shop to buy chocolate. I expect I won’t be losing any weight during September after all. The blue line is the direct route; the red line is the journey I made. 10,244 steps for the day – phew!

Chocolate expeditionToday’s goal (other than the 10,000 steps) is to put the finishing touches to my dissertation.


If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is here. Thank you!

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